Sunday, 26 January 2014

Living Arrows 4/52 - sweet dreams

This weekend we decided to move Ella out of her cot bed (which we need for Lucy) and into a proper single bed.  I had no worries about the transition (other than she's growing up too fast!), Ella's been sleeping with the sides off the cotbed for a year now. She's still quite a mobile sleeper so the bed will give her more space to move around.

New sheets and a pillow are in place (she says 'pillow' in a very cute way!). She settled and slept really well, so far so good! And of course there's cat and snuggle too...

Lucy seems to like the cot bed, although not enough to sleep in it beyond 6am! So here she is wide awake in our room one morning...

           Sleep mummy??! Hahaha!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Living arrows 3/52 - Moving Up

This last week, Ella has moved up to the over 3's group at nursery.  She left the baby room 18 months ago and has continued to flourish since then.  And suddenly, she's become a real little girl now, certainly knows her own mind and lets us know it! She continues to make me proud every day.

I am also really proud of the staff at the nursery and so grateful for the time and effort they have put in with Ella.  Ella's key worker, Lucy took on the challenge of learning Makaton so that she could communicate more effectively with her. Makaton signs and symbols can now be found all over the nursery and they've incorporated it into everyday activities, including play and singing time. Ella's favourite is the 'hello song' where they sing hello to each child in a morning. Ella knows all her friends names and the other children have all learnt to communicate with Makaton too, it's lovely to see them all using it with Ella when they interact with her. 

Lucy has subsequently become a Makaton trainer and run a successful Makaton course for other parents at the nursery.  So many good things have come out of having Ella in a mainstream setting - for her and also importantly, for those around her.  And she has always been very happy there, as this weeks picture (which has pride of place on the fridge) shows.

My Big Girl xx

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Living Arrows 2/52- Lucy

This weeks pictures are of Lucy. I've been told she doesn't feature enough on the blog, which I guess is true being that Ella has dominated this space for the last 2 or so years... 

So Lucy and I have 3 days of the week together while Ella is at nursery. We go to baby sensory, swim, meet up with friends, run errands, do housework etc. I enjoy having time to spend with just her. Ella is 3, always on the go and in need of constant entertainment which can mean Lucy gets carried around a lot or left to entertain herself (which she is quite happy to do for the moment) while I do an activity with Ella. I feel I can make it up to her on the days when she has me to herself and she's still at the stage when a wooden spoon and a pan or foil blanket will keep her occupied, unlike Ella where I more likely have to get paints, play-doh or a sensory tub organised! I'm enjoying exploring new things with Lucy, just like I did with Ella. Still ticking off her 'firsts'. So here she is, showing off her new outfit in a mini and impromptu first 'photo shoot'!...


Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Little Things (again!)

Watching Ella develop and grow into the independent, defiant, funny child she is today has been one of the best things about being a mum. Along the way, we've always been more appreciative of the little things she achieves. Small milestones that may be overlooked or not recognised as such in other children - two word sentences, starting to undo buttons & zips or being able to follow simple instructions.  She's had to work harder to learn and perfect new skills and it's taken her longer to get there. 

But get there she does. 

Recently we've been practising threading beads onto a piece of string. Putting the string through the hole in the bead was mastered straight away. However, she's struggled to work out how to then pull the bead through onto the string (she hasn't yet worked out what the knot in the string is for and often tries to thread onto this end -cue shouts of annoyance!). Well, this week with some frustration, perseverance and encouragement she has managed to do it! Not consistently yet, but it's definitely getting there...

And having Ella to teach us all about the 'small things' has meant that we are more aware of child development. So now we have the pleasure of watching Lucy develop, we notice and celebrate her small steps too... A pointy finger, pincer grasp, her understanding of object permanence, reaching up to be picked up, taking toys out of a container... This week she's started clapping, sitting and kicking her legs at swimming. 

I suppose these are actually all big things when you're only 7 months old! Looking forward to what they both have in store to show us this week xx

Monday, 6 January 2014

Living Arrows 1/52 - cat and snuggle

Living Arrows - A portrait every week of what having children is all about.  Some weeks it will be Ella or Lucy, others a favourite toy, place, meal or just something that has caught my eye that wouldn't neccessarily have happened if we didn't have children!

So, 1/52 - Ella's beloved cat and snuggle.  Come bedtime, she won't be parted from them but at other times of the day they can be found in various places...  Finding them carelessly flung over the stair gate from the top of the stairs is always my favourite though!

living arrows

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 

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