Showing posts with label development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label development. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Looking back...

I know it wont be the same for everyone, but for us, on the whole 2013 was a good year. This time last year, I was announcing my pregnancy, Ella was just taking her first steps alone and the house was in absolute chaos as we renovated the downstairs rooms.

Now we have a 7 month old baby, a walking/talking/signing whirlwind of a little girl and a house that's now a home.  And all that via hard work, too many sleepless nights and a lot of tears and laughter (in almost equal measure!).

A year in pictures...

12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days condensed into just 12 snapshots.... It's been good looking back at 2013.  Choosing and looking through all the pictures from the past year got me thinking.  If I could choose just one picture to sum up 2013, which one would it be? 

It's strange to think that one captured moment could define an entire year.  This year, it was an easy one to pick out from the hundreds I had to choose from.  In fact, I knew as soon as I'd posed myself the question which one it would be.  For me, it doesn't just represent 2013 - it's a split second that defines so much more and one that I'll remember forever... 

It's that first cuddle between two special sisters.  A big sister who literally grew up overnight and a little sister who seemed instantly content in the arms of her sibling.  I took many pictures of Ella and Lucy's introduction but this one is my favourite.  It's not perfect in many ways -no smiles, Ella's hair is a mess, Lucy is asleep... but the look on Ella's face sums up the old saying perfectly...

'A picture is worth a thousand words'

What picture would you choose to sum up your year?

2013 on the blog...

I finally got around to writing Ella's feeding story - it's the post on the blog that I've received the most comments and feedback on.  It's good that sharing our story is having a positive impact and giving hope to others.  I wish I'd been able to read other people's stories and experiences when we were going through all the struggles in the early days with Ella.

In March we raised a lot of money for our local DS support group during Down's Syndrome awareness week.  It was all with help from a lot of you and your odd socks - thank you again for your pictures, time and donations!

I was honoured to be part of raising awareness when asked by Mencap to take part in their Learning Disability Week - you can read my 'Superheroes' post here

A Different View is also now linked with the NHS choices initiative - 'Talk Health'.  They publish all my posts so that they are available to anyone wanting to find out more about Down's Syndrome.  That could be a student, health professional or, more crucially a new parent or parent to be.  

It was also a lovely surprise for the blog to be recently featured on the Down Syndrome Centre (Ireland) website. A big thank you - you can read their feature here

So, very briefly, that was our 2013.  And we can only hope at this point that 2014 will be another good year.  We already know we have some challenges ahead of us in the coming year - all helps to keep life interesting!  

Happy New Year everyone xx 

Friday, 20 December 2013

The magic of Christmas

They say that having children re-kindles the magic and innocence of Christmas.  And this year, Ella's 4th Christmas, I have had my first glimpses of that 'magic' in action.

On Tuesday there was a special Christmas visitor to the opportunity group that Ella attends at our local resourced nursery.  

I wasn't sure how Ella would react to Father Christmas or if she would recognise who he was. As it is Christmas, we've had plenty of opportunity to point him out and she can say her version of 'Father Christmas' and do the sign too.  I had also let her watch the Mr Tumble Christmas Special that morning (complete with the man himself and his reindeer) to 'set the scene' for her.

At the end of each Tuesday session of play and craft activities, the children sit down in a circle with their parents for a singing session.  As I was busy giving Lucy her bottle, this week one of the nursery nurses sat with Ella which was lovely as I had a good view of her from across the room.  

I needn't have worried about her - as soon as he walked in I could see her do the sign for 'Father Christmas' (also accompanied by an excited pointed finger and 'oh look!'). He sat on a chair next to Ella and her face was a picture. Almost a bit start struck!...

She was the first of the children to receive her gift.  She then kept going back to him as he handed out everyone else's to say 'thank you' to him...

Something didn't quite add up for her though, something was missing - she kept going up to the exit gate, saying and signing 'reindeer' and pointing at the door.  I think she thought they were also there (maybe waiting outside with the sleigh!).  I felt a little sad that I knew they weren't, but it was lovely to see that she believed they were.   

She's definitely more aware of what's going on this year and has enjoyed the Christmas tree and its twinkly lights, singing jingle bells at any opportunity and all the parties she's been going to.  I've caught her more than once trying to unwrap the presents that are waiting under the tree and she cottoned on to mummies chocolate advent calendar far too quickly!

We're due to meet santa again at the Down's Syndrome group Christmas party later this week. I hope she's just as excited and in awe because it was truly magical...

Merry Christmas xx

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Everyday is a Rainbow Day...

Ella has always had a keen desire to learn. I feel massively responsible to nurture this wonderful trait and provide lots of opportunity for her to learn new things, introduce her to new experiences and (probably most importantly) allow her to use the skills and understanding she has already.   

My lovely friend and primary school teacher Suzanne recently helped me to create a 'weather station' for the girls.  I wanted to help Ella learn about different weather -she knows most of the signs, understands hot/cold and knows when it's raining/sunny etc so I wanted to put her knowledge to good use by creating something with pictures and a process for her to follow.  I knew a pictorial way of displaying this would enhance her understanding (Children with Down's Syndrome are visual learners) and allow her to choose and display the appropriate picture to match the weather she sees outside.

We included all the common weather elements and Ella is still enjoying 'doing the weather' a few weeks later.  

She is getting the idea of the exercise now but I still have to prompt her and simplify the process slightly. I've found that giving her a choice of two or three pictures to choose from rather than all of them helps her and generally she can pick the appropriate picture to match the weather outside.

However, most days after we've picked and displayed the correct weather picture, some time later I notice that mysteriously the 'rainbow' picture will have been stuck in its place instead... 

Maybe it's just her favourite picture but I like to think that maybe, to Ella, everyday is a rainbow day. 

Seems a good way to view the world to me xx

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bedtime adventures of Ella & Cat...

Ella's always been so good at going to bed, getting herself to sleep and on the whole sleeping through til morning. 

Her bedtime routine has remained pretty much the same since she was around 6 months old; bath, drink, brush teeth, book and a chat, lights out, sleep...

Then a few weeks ago when she started to act up at bedtime, this was a whole new experience for us to deal with. Whether this change was due to the recent leap in her development, her pushing boundaries (age 2!) or if she thought bedtime was suddenly a game, who knows?

So, all of a sudden bedtimes began to go something like this: bath, drink, teeth, book and a chat, lights out.... Then the fun begins... 

Just as whichever of us has put her to bed sinks wearily onto the sofa you hear her bedroom door opening and the unmistakeable 'shuffle-shuffle' of her walking across the landing in her sleeping bag.  We sit and look at each other, waiting for it... and there it is, a 'thud', closely followed by 'oh-no' or 'mummy/daddy'.  Whichever of us heads for the stairs to usher her back to bed, is greeted with...

the aforementioned 'thud' - hurled over the stair gate with purpose!

Followed by...

This can go on for some time before she finally stays in her bed and falls asleep, by which time we're pretty worn out too from running up and down the stairs so many times!...  To be honest, she absolutely cracked me up - to the point where I'd get half way up the stairs, take one look at her and then have to send daddy up as I couldn't stop laughing... 

Daddy was not amused, by either of us. I'm going to have to work on my poker face.

I am pleased to say, after 2-3 weeks of disrupted bedtimes, things seem to have returned to normal.  For now, anyway!

Partners in crime...

Friday, 11 October 2013

Welcoming autumn

We've had some lovely weekend day trips to my mums recently.  Trying to squeeze as many days out in the garden as we can before the cold weather sets in.  It'll soon be time for warm clothes, hot chocolates, autumn colours, Frosty mornings, Halloween and (dared I say it) Christmas!

A couple of weeks ago, we watched the post harvest field behind my mums house get sown with next years crop.  We will have to wait and see what will grow, but Ella certainly enjoyed watching the tractor - 'tattor' - as it got closer and closer to the garden fence...

She's become a real little parrot recently and will make an attempt at almost any word you challenge her with.  She's mastered the 's' sound this past week which has opened up a whole new world of words to her.  We now get a lovely 'yes' with a clear 's' on the end.  She made me smile when I bought her a new pair of boots for the winter as she exclaimed 'boots' when I tried them on her. She's doing really well with her speech and tries very hard but I do find that I am the only one who understands the majority of what she says/signs.  Even Ian has to ask for interpretation and she does get frustrated if she's not being understood (especially when she's tired). But as she gets more practise at talking and learns new speech sounds, she is becoming more understandable.  She's now able to add in parts of words she has had to leave out before as she couldn't get her tongue around them.  

Anyway, the two most important words that any toddler learns have the most impact are 'more' and 'no' which she perfected the art of very early on!

We are now continuing to practise blowing through her mouth, which is having mixed results. This comes in useful for sounds such as 'v' and 'f'.  She's not great at it yet - all the air comes out her nose instead of her mouth but we keep trying.   

Lucy is doing fab and has turned into a really smiley baby and I'm enjoying having two girls a lot.  I haven't worried about her weight, feeding, routine etc - very different to the early months with Ella but I'll write more about that soon.  She's started teething but no signs of them appearing any time soon.  Not rolling but seems desperate to sit and loves being able to see whats going on - she's a very typical nosey little girl!

A couple of weeks later, we enjoyed a stroll in the woods behind my mums house.  Again the weather was lovely and we even managed to pick some of the last of the seasons blackberries.  Ella is still not great at walking for any distance and needs reassurance in new situations, especially outside.  She walked a short way but soon realised there were plenty of people she could 'hitch a lift' with!  She managed to explore the undergrowth, leaves, pine cones, trees and made friends with a few dogs along the way too...

Just as I am learning to be a mum to two little people, Ella is learning and adapting in her role as big sister as Lucy grows and becomes more alert and interactive.  She still loves holding her, frequently asking for a cuddle and then shoving you right away as soon as you've laid Lucy in her arms.  She's very independent and currently enjoys pointing out Lucy's features - 'eyes' (finger in eye) - 'hair' (bash on the head).  She also loves doing round and round the garden and this little piggy with her too.  Lucy doesn't always enjoy this - here are a few good pictures and a few outtakes too!...

Ella signing 'sister' (tap your nose twice with a bent index finger)


No Lucy's were harmed in the taking of these pictures!

Happy weekend everyone xx

Monday, 7 October 2013

Cheeky (pig) Monkey!

It seems we have a cheeky monkey on our hands...

On collecting Ella from nursery on Thursday, I was met with 'She's been a right cheeky monkey today!'. 'Uh-Oh' I thought! 

She had been looking at a picture of a dog with Lucy, her key worker. Lucy had asked Ella 'What is it?' knowing full well Ella can recognise a dog, do the sign and say the word.

'Pig!' Ella exclaimed (and signed) followed by putting her hand over her mouth and laughing mischievously. Even when one of the other children came over and signed 'Dog' to Ella she continued to say and sign 'pig', laughing all the while.

This little story from Ella's day made me smile for a couple of reasons. Not only is she beginning to show us all her cheeky sense of humour, I was also touched that the other children have been learning makaton and that they are able to communicate with Ella and therefore include her.

We were treated to Ella's new 'trick' this morning in her Speech Therapy session. She chose a rabbit and when asked what it was... you guessed it...

'Pig!' hahahaha.

Here is a picture of our little cheeky monkey xx

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Summer fun...

We've had a quiet few weeks.  No holidays planned this summer as the house continues to take up our time (and money!).  However, we do have several weddings to go to including my brothers in September.  Ella and Lucy have been asked to be the flower girls which is very exciting.  Their gorgeous dresses and shoes have been bought and I'll obviously tell you all about it after the event -we can't wait! 

Ella continues to be a loving and caring big sister. Lucy loves watching Ella and always has a smile for her.  In fact life is all too exciting for Lucy at the moment and daytime naps are scarce!...

Ella is really into dancing at the moment. We went to a wedding evening reception recently which had a band, DJ and big dance floor.  Ella stayed close to where we were sitting to begin with, just taking it all in.  As the evening went on, she slowly moved closer and closer to the dance floor and you could see she was really wanting to go and dance but the loud music and other people seemed to put her off.  Then 10 minutes before we had to leave she plucked up the courage to step onto the dance floor and do some dancing.  She loved it, especially chasing the disco lights around the floor.  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get any photos of her in action but I'll be poised with the camera ready next time! 

Her speech and signing still come on every week.  She is managing some two word sentences now - 'black cat', 'blue car' and we get 'oh-no cry' when Lucy is crying.  She is now being seen by the SALT assistant who is doing 6 fortnightly home visits.  We have several things to work on. Getting her to blow through her mouth - cue straws, tissue paper balls and bubbles! Encouraging the two words/signs together and building upon the speech sounds she already has.

I will leave you with some pictures of what she's been up to. Pom pom fun, garden play, football at Granny's (which she can now kick) and lots of pretend play with her tea set and picnic basket...  

Happy summer everyone xx

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