I was reflecting this past week on what to write for my 100th post and how to tie it in to John Michael. Since the beginning of my blog, I've been publicly celebrating John Michael's milestones, great and small. For my 3 typical kids, major milestones came without much effort and all happened within the standard timeframes. One day, you turn around and your one year old is walking. We celebrated the big ones like sitting up, crawling, walking and talking. But with John Michael, before each major milestone occurred, many mini-milestones had to happen along the way -- all the little in-between steps. Each victory was a cause for celebration in our home and another reason to post to my blog.
John Michael's newest milestone, at 21 months old, has been standing for 5 to 8 seconds unsupported and taking one to two steps forward. He puts his hands out for me to pull him up, lets go of my hands, and with his hands chest level, feet apart and hips balancing his weight, he takes a step forward and literally falls face-first into my chest. It's hilarious! We do this about 15 times in a row until his legs are too tired to stand again. It's quite an amusing game!
Here, John Michael is actually doing the work himself. Pulling up to stand with the help of the box chair, letting go and then grabbing onto the chair again. Getting a photo was quite a challenge since it all happens so fast!
Another recent milestone that took him several months to figure out is climbing in, turning and sitting forward in a chair by himself. This boy works so hard and doesn't give up easily. I love his spirit and perseverance!
Another cause for celebration is putting John Michael down in his crib for a nap or at bedtime while he's still somewhat awake and letting him put himself to sleep, with the help of his Binky. In the morning, he sits up and pushes the button on his little jungle music toy and waits for one us to pick him up.
Another milestone for me has been making so many wonderful new friends, both in person and online. There is an enormous support network for all of us parents who have a child with Down syndrome. It's amazing! Our local Down Syndrome Information Alliance, blogging, Facebook, Ds forums, NDSC Convention, and our local Ds buddies... they've all been ways to connect with moms and dads and to share each others' joys and trials... to give each other support when things aren't going well and to celebrate the milestones, great and small. It's been an amazing learning curve and growth for me personally. I also no longer "worry" about what other people think about John Michael because the positive experiences we've had far outweigh any negative ones. I now enjoy talking with people about John Michael, his abilities and try to help shape peoples' views about Down syndrome in a positive light.
Which brings me to this... John Michael just received his very own afghan, beautifully crocheted by CJ. We've had the pleasure of cuddling with the official T21 Traveling Afghan and have even given an afghan as a gift, but now it's John Michael's turn. This afghan has so much meaning to us and connects us to all the other beautiful children with Down syndrome who have their very own afghans as well. I chose the yarn and colors, and CJ did a beautiful job putting it all together.
Isn't it gorgeous?! John Michael loves it, too!