Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Little mover

 Nothing is safe any more! 

I knew this time would come but I've become a little complacent having had a non-mobile baby for so long.  Everything now has to be moved up a level out of the reach of small hands...  It's a big learning curve (for me not Ella!).  Even strapped into her pushchair she today managed to empty the contents of the chemists shelf onto the floor as I had left her in reaching distance of the items on the shelf.  So there I was, on my hands and knees in the packed chemist picking up boxes of Immodium instants off the floor... 

Babies with Down's Syndrome are generally born with low muscle tone (hypotonia) which makes them quite floppy.  This means that it takes them longer to roll, lift their heads up, sit, crawl or walk  than other children.  Add a heart defect and major heart surgery on top of that and it can really delay a child's physical development.   This is why physiotherapy is important in helping babies with Down's Syndrome improve muscle tone and develop their motor skills.  

I have had it in my head all along that Ella would possibly be walking by the time she was 2.5 years old.  This may still be the case but we have been surprised by the sudden leap in her physical skills.  So, maybe my wish that she will walk before her second birthday could happen?  If there is one thing that Ella has taught me it is that anything is possible... 

So, after weeks of trying, Ella is now crawling! It's almost a proper 4-point crawl (she uses one knee and one foot...).  The commando crawl has most definitely been forgotten...


She is also pulling to stand on furniture, boxes, me (anything really) and beginning to cruise....


I have to confess to getting a little emotional when she started to take steps with her walker the other evening - she does need a little help from mummy and daddy for now but I have no doubt that her determined/independent streak means she'll soon be confident enough to go it alone. 

She was very proud of herself too (and so she should be)...




As Ella's newest word is Duck ('Du') we made the most of the (short-lived) good weather and went to feed the ducks.  Ella had a lovely time and enjoyed throwing bread...










We also went on the swings...



I will leave you with some pictures of Ella & her friend Daniel having fun in the ball pool...




I am off to baby-proof the house! xx





Friday, 15 June 2012

Home is where the chaos is...

It's been a full four seasons since we moved to Didsbury from our city centre flat with a small baby.  We knew then we would only be there for a little over a year and the time has flown by. 

The new leaves once again appearing on 'Ella's tree' in the school playground at the end of the road signal that it's our time to move on...  

  
Number 47 will always be remembered as a house where we were happy.  The place we celebrated Ella's first birthday, where I felt safe and content at a vulnerable time and where we brought our girl home to after her heart surgery...   



Although I was sad to leave, I am excited about what will be in our new house... Our home. 

And so we are now moved and beginning to settle in...


It's in need of a lot of TLC but we are lucky enough to be able to make our own mark on the place and turn it into our home.  We were without hot water or heating for the first week but we are toasty warm now.  Still no kitchen so coping with microwave, kettle and fridge in the dining room and washing up in the bathroom sink. Novel for now but thankfully the kitchen is slowly getting there.  For now, home is most definitely where the chaos is!..

Looking forward to some warmer weather so we can get out in the garden more...


The garden has really surprised us and is a lovely space to spend time in.  When we looked round the house in February, there was nothing to see but a few snowdrops peeping through the frost.  Now the borders are bursting with colour and life.  Climbing roses, clematis, cornflowers, bluebells, geraniums.  A lovely, well established English garden...






Ella has been as adaptable as ever.  She seems to like her new house and so long as her toys and people she knows are around she is pretty happy anywhere.  I worried she would be unsettled but she has been fine.  Her room wont be ready for a while but she has taken up residence in the 2nd bedroom for now.  It will be nice when all the workmen have left and we can begin to enjoy the house properly.   

The removal of all the downstairs furniture 2 weeks before we actually moved out of the Didsbury house meant that Ella had a bigger play space and could move around more... And find new 'toys' to play with...





Since my last post of a month ago, Ella has come on a lot both physically and with her communication.  She is now able to sit up from lying down....



She can pull herself to stand on furniture and in her cot...

(the cot was lowered following this photo!)

Semi crawl/commando crawl...


Have a drink from her beaker by herself...



Unfortunately, with moving out of Manchester and into Stockport all of Ella's current services have had to change.  The play specialist has said goodbye to us (Ella would not be doing so well without the input and hard work from Jaqui over the last year).  We now fall under the Stockport Portage service. They will see Ella in nursery as well as at home and after meeting the service manager at a recent meeting at Ella's nursery I am feeling more positive about the change and that the transition will be as seamless as possible for Ella and not impact upon her development.

The physio, speech therapist and our GP will all change too which I knew would happen but there is always the worry that the NHS 'postcode lottery' will mean we may have to wait for services we were already getting or that service provision will differ.  Time will tell.

So, back to Ella and her news...She is suddenly using signs to ask for things rather than copying or not using them in context.  These are the signs she is using now:
  • More 
  • Food
  • Star (with word)
  • phone
  • hair dryer (points at hair dryer and then puts her hand to her hair)
  • Mr Tumble ('wind the bobbin' motion with her hands) 
Ella is also able to point at things she wants or where she wants to go.  I can see she is more frustrated now as she cant always communicate exactly what she wants but hopefully in time she will learn more signs and be able to 'say' more.  She has said 'car' on two occasions - once when we were getting in the car and the other when looking out of the window at cars, not consistent with it yet though.

She now knows what a star is (as opposed to just being able to do the sign when she hears someone say star or copying the sign).  Everywhere we see a star she does the sign and says the word ('tar').  She also surprised us this week by building a tower using blocks...


The move has taken over for now but we have managed some time in the sunshine, a night off for mummy and daddy to see Coldplay (awesome!) and time with friends and family.  



Thank you to all who helped us to move and those who have helped with our many (simultaneous and ongoing) DIY projects!  We are hoping to organise a BBQ/house warming soon...

(A selection of photos from my phone, all uploaded to instagram - follow me @albion52)

Hopefully wont be as long until the next post and I'll have unpacked a few more boxes by then. And who knows, I might have a kitchen too!...


Happy weekend everyone xx










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