I spent Thursday through Sunday this past week at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in San Antonio, Texas, learning all kinds of great new things about raising a child with Ds (I'll share in an upcoming post). Nic and Anna also attended the Brother/Sister Conference, and came away with some new friends, both with and without Ds. I even overheard Nic and Anna talking over breakfast that they don't "see" Down syndrome in John Michael anymore. He's just John Michael... AWESOME!
Being away from Greta, John Michael and Luke for 4 days, I marveled at how much they'd changed in that short amount of time. Luke is mastering walking forwards, backwards, upside down (well, it seems so) and turning quickly. He's all over the place and into everything, emptying drawers, splashing in the toilet, removing things from the garbage, etc. I love how my husband stated emphatically, "I don't know how you get anything done!" Well, I'm no miracle worker, and some days are just plain hard right now... no Super Mom here, but I guess I mostly have it together :-) Greta also matured in those few days, and strategically killed me in a mean game of Checkers. That girl is tough!
John Michael also grew. Not taller (LOL), but in other ways... he is using more language expressions that show me his true personality...
Today, I built a simple Lego house. I showed it to him and he said, "Awesome, Mom!" and pumped his fist. I have NEVER seen him do that or say that! That was HUGE for me. He also says, "Woo hoo" when something goes well and his latest thing is, instead of saying "Yes", he's saying, "Mmmm hmmm," which is something I tend to say. It's so funny because it's so deliberate. He is also saying, "Yes, Mom," when I ask him to do something, or else he might say, "Sure." He wants to be independent, so I give him the benefit of the doubt many times and let him try on his own before helping. I love this! He also recently helped me make tuna salad for the first time.
Today, I fought back tears as I was sitting with the two little boys and John Michael was showing Luke how to use the shape sorter. "No, Luke. Here," he would say to show Luke where to put the square. John Michael knows simple shapes and names them, knows the basic colors, is matching objects in picture books, and is getting the concept of "bigger than". He also says his name is either "John Michael" or just "Michael". So cute! Luke, who is 14 months old, is also blossoming... I noticed today that he could do the ring stacker and started to pay attention to size. He effortlessly removes and puts on rings, slides shapes into the shape sorter (with help), and stacks blocks. I never noticed how quickly typically developing toddlers hit all these milestones that took John Michael extra time and patience. Tonight, Luke said "Up" and finished it with a cute little "p" sound. I really think John Michael is good for Luke, but also vice versa. As Luke develops and eventually surpasses John Michael in some areas, I know Luke will be a very good teacher for John Michael. Greta remains my little teaching superstar to John Michael and now to Luke. She's also becoming very good at redirecting John Michael when he gets on a "naughty streak". Next Monday, school starts for the girls... it will definitely be quieter around here, but that means more work for me, because I'm guessing these boys aren't going to let me sit and eat bon bons all day! Stay tuned!
I've been married for 20 years to my wonderful husband, Doug. I'm a Catholic SAHM to 5 children. Our 4th child, John Michael, was born in November 2007, and has opened us up to the amazing world of Down syndrome. We are grateful to God for the blessings He's given us and the journey He's put us on. When I'm not spending time with my family, I sing with RSVP, an amazing vocal group, educate on Down syndrome, have my own health and wellness business, and blog about our life.