Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Now I am 4!

Happy Birthday Ella!

For some reason, 4 seems so much bigger and older than 3 to me. I feel as though she's grown up so much, more than the passing of just one year... 

3 to 4... A reminder that Ella is no longer a toddler but a little girl.  And I've been subtly aware for a while now of all the little changes I've noticed in her that have been signalling this transition.  But now I can actually say she is 4, they all suddenly make sense... The growth spurt, starting pre-school, her growing confidence in the world around her, pushing boundaries and how grown up she looks - especially next to her little sister.  

I recently attended Ella's first review meeting at nursery.  A chance for me to meet with her teachers, educational psychologist, next years reception teacher and a representative from the childrens' disability service.  It's the start of her educational career and the putting in place of her 'Educational Health Care Plan' (the new process of putting in place a statement of needs for when she starts school).  There is a lot of emphasis about parental input in the new system and I was asked to tell all these new faces in the room who Ella was, what was important to her and what her needs are. I felt very responsible being her advocate and was glad of the support from the nursery staff and her teacher Bianca.

So Ella bean, this is what your teachers and I said - a reflection of you aged 3 and a great place to start now you are 4...

Sociable, happy and always busy

Creative - loves to draw, build things or get immersed in imaginative play

problem solver

You've a Big heart

And a smile to light up a room

Keen to learn - will always try hard

Love the outdoors - happiest bouncing on the trampoline or getting messy in the mud

Your caring side always evident, especially around your little sister who you love very much. 

Now you are 4 xx

Friday, 21 November 2014

{Proud Moments} - November 2014

There's a lovely little thing that happens every month in the 'Future of Downs' Facebook group. 

We celebrate our children's milestones and share what's made us proud. We do this on the 21st to represent the three copies of chromosome 21 present in Down's syndrome.And there's no such thing as an achievement too small. 
There's a whole lot of love and pride bursting from the members every month - and quite rightly! 
Proud moments happen everyday.  I'll be sharing ours on the 21st of each month. 

This month, we've had a great report at our first parents evening, improvements in Ella's speech and great progress with her counting.  

We've had '1,2,3' for a while now and sometimes she would manage to count to 5 but not consistently - getting numbers in the wrong order or missing numbers out.  

Over the last few weeks she has been doing lots of counting, often to be found sitting with her abacus and nursery have reported she spends a lot of time in their number corner...  I know at this stage she is just learning a sequence, an order of words, she doesn't yet know what each number represents.  But it's a great start and she's getting better every day.  She can now manage one to ten - again, it's not consistent yet - and of course getting to ten takes longer than 5 which means more time for distractions!... 

Lucy is becoming a real little character. The cheekiest face and a devilish laugh.  We were really proud of her on bonfire night.  While Ella (who doesn't like loud noises) headed inside after staying out for a few pops and bangs, Lucy stuck it out although you could tell she wasn't at all sure. She looked on, very concerned and then after each firework came a little voice 'more, peese mummy', 'it's ok' and 'don't worry'... And she's learning to work a crowd already...

Friday, 24 October 2014

Sisters #4

Through the recent sleepless nights, two poorly girls, temperatures, tears (including mine!) and snot there have been lots of (mostly) lovely moments between my little ladies.  Seemingly small, trivial and fleeting things that don't mean very much on their own but when you add them all together they become much more significant...  

Lucy asking for Ella as soon as she wakes from her nap

Ella bringing Lucy her dummy when she's upset

Lucy stealing Ella's food at meal times after she's finished her own (Ella is a slow eater!) 

Playing together (normally consists of Ella quietly playing by herself and then Lucy sidling in shouting 'share' at her)

Arguing (well, lots of shouting 'No!' at one another and tears!)

Blowing raspberries together and giggling

Giggles as they (illegally) bounce on mummy and daddy's bed

Lucy shouting for Ella when she disappears upstairs

Ella giving Lucy her cat and snuggle  

Lucy asking for Ella all the way to nursery at home time

Ella asking For Lucy to be on the swing with her

Ella randomly giving Lucy kisses and cuddles 

Lucy turning off the TV while Ella's watching Mr Tumble

Ella washing Lucy's hair in the bath

Lucy copying her big sister and trying to walk down the stairs

Both wanting to be sat on my knee if the other one is

Reading a book together

Lucy charging in and breaking Ella's latest sticklebrick masterpiece

I'm loving watching their relationship and bond grow. My two little girls, sisters and friends xx

And as October is Down's Syndrome Awareness month, I'll leave you with a picture of my girls from this time last year...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

{Proud Moments} - October 2014

There's a lovely little thing that happens every month in the 'Future of Downs' Facebook group. We celebrate our children's milestones and share what's made us proud. We do this on the 21st to represent the three copies of chromosome 21 present in Down's syndrome.And there's no such thing as an achievement too small. There's a whole lot of love and pride bursting from the members every month - and quite rightly! Proud moments happen everyday.  I'll be sharing ours on the 21st of each month. 

This month, (and following on from September's proud moments), we've had Ella's first recognisable picture.  She still loves to draw at any opportunity she gets.  At nursery, they have a box with a folder for each child's drawings so parents can take home with them.  I can tell which is Ella's slot from the other side of the playground - literally bursting with paintings and drawings...  She needs her own box!

So here's her first masterpiece...

She said 'pink' for the pink crayon she was holding and then 'look mummy, piiiig'.  It was a bit more defined before I managed to get a pic of it.  I had to prompt her to draw the legs, but she put them in the right place.   She's not drawn anything recognisable until now although she often tells me what she is making a picture of - 'horse' 'sailboat' and 'car' get mentioned a lot during her furious scribbling! Her speech is also improving at the moment (post soon) and she's started walking up and down the stairs instead of using her hands and knees.

Lucy has started being very assertive and very cheeky.  Answering back already (generally a 'NO!!' with a cheeky grin).  She's definitely going to be a very mischievous child, I just know it! It's really lovely to see her character and will developing (most of the time).  I've also noticed some imaginative play over the last couple of weeks, trying to dress baby or doing teddys nappy.  

They suit her!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Pre-school begins

We are already 3 weeks into Ella's first term at pre-school.  Time is flying by!

And I'm happy to report that she seems to be loving it and has settled in really well.  I was able to drop her off on her first day and she happily left my side, making an immediate bee-line for the sand pit.  She already knows the nursery and the staff as she's been attending one of their opportunity groups since we moved to the area 2 years ago.  This has definitely helped with her transition into the nursery and feedback from the staff is that she is doing really well.  I had a lot of anxiety over this change for her.  It's a new era, a new setting and it also coincided with Ian working away.  Other than her waking once or twice during the night (very unusual for Ella) she seems her normal, happy self and has taken all the change in her stride.  Not that I'm worrying any less mind!  

I've been off this week so have been able to drop her off - she's correctly picked out her name off the board when she arrives and can almost find her peg to hang her coat on (although she's so keen to get into nursery that she just throws it at any peg as she charges in!).  And she knows where the nursery is too - every time we drive past the end of the road where it is, a little excited voice in the back seat pipes up 'Charnwood!'. 

I've shelved the attempt we tried over the summer at starting potty training. She's definitely lost interest for now so we will try again when everything has settled down a bit for her. I don't want to overload her and put her off. Having said that, she did manage to use the toilet once at nursery a couple of weeks ago and I was awoken at 5am yesterday morning to her crashing about in the bathroom putting her toilet seat onto the toilet saying 'wee wee, toilet'. She didn't do anything but we will keep trying when she asks and then go for it properly in a few weeks time.  I'm very keen to get her out of nappies, at her own pace obviously but it would be nice to have her dry (at least during the day) before she starts school next year. The other issue I have is changing her nappy out and about is now nigh on impossible as she is too big for the baby changing tables in public places. I don't think it's right or dignified for her to be changed on the floor or not in a toilet environment.  She will get there and I have lots of advice and experience from others to draw on, I just feel now is not the right time to be pushing it.

For now, she's concentrating on putting more words together and practicing pronunciations. She's started storytelling during her imaginative play and is also confidently walking up and down the stairs instead of on her hands and knees. Quite enough to be going on with! 

Happy Monday everyone xx


Monday, 29 September 2014

My Big Girl and I, Part 2

This is my last Monday with only Ella while Lucy is in nursery. Then it's back to normal from next week. So today I thought we'd do something that would be nigh on impossible with both of them and that (more importantly) Ella would get the most out of...

I've had this activity in mind for one of my Monday's with Ella ever since I discovered it a few weeks ago. And as daddy was here as well, it seemed a great opportunity to try it out. 

You'll know by now that Ella loves her trampoline and is very good at jumping properly and bounces whenever she can (including on the beds and sofa...).

With that in mind, today we paid a visit to  'Jump Nation'. It's basically a massive trampoline arena of 139 connected trampolines (including some semi vertical ones on the walls). Ella heaven!! 

The staff were great and were very accommodating, taking into account Ella's extra needs. They went through different options before we paid and offered to show us the arena so we could decide what was best.  We decided upon daddy being with her as a carer which was £2.50 - the price of a pair of trampoline socks (but he couldn't bounce, just supervise). The lady on reception said they were hoping to organise some sessions for children with special needs/disabilities and she recognised Ella was using makaton which always wins brownie points with me!

So, kitted out in her jump nation socks, wristband and bright orange tabard off she went.

Our very own little 'Tigger'!!

They have an under 6's area cordoned off, which she spent all of about 5 minutes in before venturing out into the main arena with the teenagers and adults (this didn't surprise me at all!). Thankfully daddy was there to supervise while I had the hard job of sitting in the cafe with a latte and slice of carrot cake...

Unsurprisingly, she absolutely loved it. We're even contemplating Jump Nation as a certain little lady's 4th birthday party venue! 

All bounced out xx

Sunday, 21 September 2014

{Proud Moments} - September

There's this lovely little thing that happens on the 21st of every month in the 'Future of Downs' Facebook group. 

We celebrate our children's milestones and share what's made us proud. We do this on the 21st to represent the three copies of chromosome 21 present in Down's syndrome.

And there's no such thing as an achievement too small. There's a whole lot of love and pride bursting from the members every month - and quite rightly! From first finger feeding or first steps to first days at school or first sleepover with friends. Anything goes. 

So, I'm hoping this will be a regular post on the 21st of the month where I can share Ella and Lucy's recent achievements...

Ella's had a lot of change in the last few weeks with Ian working away and with starting her new nursery. But, in true Ella style she has taken it all in her stride, is loving nursery (post soon!) and although she still looks in our room every morning for daddy, she's happy with the explanation that he's at work in his helicopter. She's suddenly putting 2 and 3 words together much more naturally and is now holding her crayon properly when drawing. 

Lucy is now walking very confidently indoors and out. She also is a little chatterbox and continues to learn words and signs everyday. And she's ridiculously cheeky!

It's good to take a moment to appreciate the little things and to define what's made me proud. 

What will you share for the 21st? Feel free to leave your comments below xx

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