Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fireworks at Home Depot

Today, instead of going to preschool, John Michael (and Daddy) met his class for a field trip at Home Depot. Once everyone arrived, the kids went on a treasure hunt throughout the store and had to find a ladder taller than they are, pick their favorite color paint sample, count how many saws there are... there were about a dozen activities all preschool-related.  They also planted some sweet pepper seeds in the garden area and had lunch together.

When John Michael spotted this rug, he said, "Fireworks!"

Such a cool 3D rug!  I can see why he would think that!
After his nap, I asked him about the field trip and the fireworks at Home Depot. With a worried look on his face, he covered his ears and said, "Loud. Scary."

Silly boy.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Deep in Conversation...

Every once in a while, you get a heartwarming reminder of just how cool it is to have an extra chromosome.

Tonight, John Michael and I raced to Straw Hat Pizza to catch the tailend of a DSIA Pizza Night for adults with Down syndrome and their parents.  As a board member, I'd signed up to be there the whole time, but never actually put it on my calendar! 

While it would've been nice to have been there during dinner, I think the most important thing for us happened when the evening was almost finished.

When we walked in, we met Jeremy.  I could tell he was drawn to John Michael.  It was mutual.  They said, "Hi" and made small talk.  It didn't take long for John Michael and Jeremy to find a table and chat.  I used the time to meet a few parents who have many more years of experience raising a child with Ds and learned about some of the things they are concerned with... but that's another post... 

I love how attentive Jeremy was with John Michael. 

I think that's what struck me tonight.  We are always so busy, checking our cell phones, making sure to catch every message, every text, email, call, facebook, whatever...  Heaven forbid we should unplug and be present and in the moment!

He told Jeremy all about Elmo, sang and signed the "Slippery Fish" song and the "Wheels on the Bus" song.  (I didn't hear their conversation, but asked John Michael later on in the car what he and Jeremy talked about...) 

Jeremy listened patiently while this little 4 year old shared his deepest thoughts.

I asked Jeremy and his mom, both, for permission to snap photos and to post on my blog.

The memory this left me was one of great joy and hope.  John Michael, I think, reminded some parents of their children long ago when they were little.  It was nice to see so many parents of adults with Ds be friends and chat about things relevant to them and their adult kids' needs as they get older.  I know we'll have that with the friends we've made, too.  Long-lasting friendships with people who really know what it's like.  The good and the not so good. 

What about Jeremy stood out to John Michael?  I'd love to know...

Does he somehow "know" that they have something in common?

Time will tell...

For now, this sweet image will remain with me and I will cherish the memory.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012


Mea Culpa!!!

Please forgive my slacking on blogging. We have seriously been hit HARD with the nasty cold and flu viruses around here and making its way through 5 kids took a couple weeks. Then, something new pops up and we're at it again! All the kids were in school today for the first time in 2 weeks. Let's just say, I was soooooo ready!

Memory.  Cognition.

It's something that I often joke is failing (in my brain...), but it's really no joke. My grandmother in Germany had Alzheimer's Disease in her 90's and it was a very difficult time for her family. My grandmother's son also died with Alzheimer's. So... it runs in my family. 

Knowing that, I felt immense guilt when John Michael was born with Ds and I read that people with Down syndrome have a greater probability of getting Alzheimer's Disease by age 40. Yes, 40!  I know there is research being done for this very reason (Dr. William Mobley is a leader in this area) and I am hopeful that by the time they find a treatment and it is approved for people, it won't be too late for John Michael. You know how research goes...

Well, the image above made me smile, which also sparked this post.

2 years ago, when I was pregnant with Luke, and John Michael was just about 2 1/2 years old, Doug's Uncle Piet, Aunt Bettie and great grandmother "Granny" visited from Holland (I posted about it back in May 2010).

John Michael fell instantly in love with his distant relatives, but was especially drawn to Piet. Something about John Michael drew him in and they enjoyed each other's company.

Piet used to do this silly thing by pulling on his ears and sticking out his tongue (see 1st photo above). John Michael thought it was hilarious and soon copied. The relatives visited only for a few weeks and John Michael hasn't seen them or had contact with them since.

So, I recently asked John Michael, "What does Piet do?"

And he immediately gave me a big smile, tugged on his ears and stuck out his tongue and then said, "Piet does."

This is sooooo cool!

We love to play little memory games with John Michael to get him to recall the past. But 2 years is awesome!  He wasn't very verbal at that stage yet, but he understood most of what you told him.  The fact that he could recall it, do it and say it was fantastic.  Just look at how little he ws back then!

Just had to share...

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