Today (the 23rd) was my birthday - and it had been a fantastic day. My day started off with a visit from Jenn (Hunter's EI) who was here to do a small evaluation on Hunter's progress to date. I always enjoy these visits because I am not worried about Hunter being behind or unable to accomplish milestones. If Hunter was ever behind or delayed - I take the opportunity to learn what it is that I can help him with. We have been very lucky indeed that Hunter hasn't had many obstacles that required a great deal of concern. Everything that he is to do, he has either done or learned. I never look at Hunter's development from a Down syndrome perspective. I embrace the fact that Hunter (Down syndrome or not) will develop when he can and when he is ready to, which to me is and should be no different then any other child. Perhaps it might be easy for me to think this way because he is my first child and with that, I do not have preconceived expectations. But I think in all fairness and honestly, I just know and realize that each and every child does develop at their own pace, 46 or 47 chromosomes. It matters not to me how fast or why it doesn't happen all together if it doesn't. To me, it's just the way it is.
I do smile at the fact that people tell me their stories - such as my "sister" (cousin as adopted sister) who recently reminded me that her son did not walk until he was 21 months old. My other cousin, did not walk until 20 months either and he's a doctor today. In both these cases, they have the typical 46 chromosomes. If not for the fact that I walked at around 10 months, I would probably have just thought that walking at 20 months was actually the norm! I learned long ago (even before Hunter and Down syndrome) that milestone charts and the like, are actually precursors to stereotypes. Yes, professionally there are reasons for them - but as far as in the home for comparative use, I have no "use" for them. However, don't get me wrong - I love to cheer, clap and praise Hunter when he meets or makes a milestone! That to me is what is important, not the comparing or pointing out that my child did it first or better then someone else's child. I am simply happy that my son did it for himself. Again, that is what is important and what I celebrate!!
With all that in mind, Jenn got her dose of Hunter today and he was mostly all smiles for her. (He was hungry though, and no amount of love for anyone can put hunger out of one's mind). He showed his standing, his stepping/walking, his (not so great) balance - we are working on that. And his favourite ball play. Our suggestion for Hunter's balance is to hold his legs by the knees, (force him to use his core to balance), allow him to stand on our legs while in our laps, (wobbly encourages balance too). More rough housing with Daddy (airplanes etc.) and stepping onto and over pillow mountains! All of these are great ways to encourage balance.
I have to brag about Hunter's latest trick - (and I had not posted about this because it happened on the 22nd September a couple of days ago) Since Hunter decided that he is once again confident in pulling up on the furniture again (had taken a bit of a break on the independent pulling up) he has been cruising the furniture as well as holding on with one hand. The other day, he tried this with one of our storage poofs (box benches) and the poof started moving away from him because he was facing it and ultimately pushing against it. I thought to myself (since Hunter was facing the poof) as it was moving away from him, he was going to do a face plant within seconds. But to my surprise, as the poof moved away from him along the hardwood floor, he stepped toward it to keep up with it. He took at least 3 to 4 steps with it - all on his own. I was actually too far away to be of any use, should he have not decided to step forward with it. I was holding my breath, (while cursing for not being closer) and nearly paralyzed with fear. I could not believe my eyes. Hunter took his first few steps assisted (like using a walker) but unassisted by human hands. What do you say to that?! I knew that I couldn't say much at the time, I didn't want to scare him! (Inside however, I was jumping up and down!!) Next thing I know I will be telling everyone how he is walking without my help - can you imagine?!
Onto just a few moments ago. I figured, one last fun game before bed - with hopes of tiring him out. We had come home from dinner out and as usual, Hunter was all wound up. I sat down with him (of course everyone else was in bed) to settle him down. I noticed that he was trying to pull up on his basketball hoop but since it isn't meant for pulling up on, I figured I would show him how to put the ball into the hoop. The light switch sort of popped on in my head since I noticed that during Hunter's assessment with Jenn, she wanted to see if he would sort some play pegs into their shapes, but he would have no part of it. I wanted to see if Hunter would actually "sort" the basketball into its hoop. I figured that I could get him to "sort" and work it out in his mind from a different angle. Playing basketball is a fun way to sort! Ball into circular hoop. Worked for me in my head! So, I showed him a couple of times (and this boy loves to play with balls, so I figured this shouldn't be too hard to compute) and he was definitely excited and interested. I handed him the ball and just like that, my son "sorted". How proud do you think I am now??!! Take a look at the videos below. Hunter had done about 10 baskets before I actually moved fast enough to get the video camera out, but I did manage to get some of them on camcorder. I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did. I know that for me, it was probably much more rewarding simply because I didn't know that he would or could do it after only seeing it a few times before hand. But, I am guessing that it will make you at least smile.
Talk about a great birthday present. Not for Hunter, for me! For my birthday it seems that Hunter was able to give me the gift of comprehension! And what a fantastic gift he gave to me.
After I showed him what to do with the ball, he promptly demonstrated that he could do it himself for me.
All star Hunter. Pro basketball all the way!! I am so proud - yet again!
Do you see how much fun this boy is having?!! I wish I could find that much happiness in the small things! I love that it made him so happy - never mind me! Thank goodness when he was finished playing he opted to go to bed shortly after that.
NOW, before I forget (this is definitely one packed post) - here are a few photos of tonight's birthday dinner. But of course. Enjoy!
|Mommy has just gotten her free brownie cake & sparkler... Wow, look at the sparkle!|
|This is Mommy's parents. My Grandpa and Grandma! They took Mommy out to dinner!|
|Mommy, there will be no tickling of me even on your birthday!|
|What do you think? Do you think I am handsome? Mommy thinks so!|
|Hey? Is that cake? Can I have some??!! I wish it were my birthday again!|
|Thank goodness Mommy loves to share with me! This is the first time I tasted chocolate!|
|Wow! No wonder everyone loves chocolate! It's really good! Right Daddy?|
|Look at my Mommy & Daddy. Don't they look happy? I think they are!|
|This is me and my Daddy! I love my Daddy so very much. I look just like my Daddy!|
|Daddy, you are so much fun! I love to play with you! I am going to get your hat....|
|I think you would look better without your hat... Humm, can I take it off?|
|I know I can get this hat off. And when I do... I will see what's under there!|
|I know my Daddy is thinking "Hunter... not my hat" But I'll get it off it's the last thing I do!|
|See! I knew I would get Daddy's hat off! And look at all this hair! I will pet you Daddy!|
|We sang for Mommy's birthday and I clapped! Yay for my Mommy!|
|Mommy! I am going to give you a birthday kiss.... get ready!|
|Here I come... are you ready Mommy?? I am perfecting this making sure it's just right....|
|Muhaaaaa! I give you a HUGE birthday Kissy! I love you Mommy!|
|And our server was so nice - she told me all about her nephew! I bet he's a cool dude like me!|
|This is my Uncle Richard & Aunty Catherine from England! I love them so much!|
|There is a reason why great Nanny's are English! Aunty Catherine was so amazing with me!|
|Hummm, (thoughtful moment) I think my Uncle Richard looks like Grandma!|
|Unfortunately the week is over & I am sad to see them go. Even Twiggy cat says bye-bye!|
Just a quick note (which I will elaborate on further tomorrow), I believe my playgroup opening will be postponed until the week of the 26th. We have been having a bit of a delay getting our flyer completed and out to all the families. The original date (19th October) I posted was a tentative date and had yet to be firmed up. At this point (Jenn, myself and Angela at the YMCA) we discussed the likeliness of being ready for the 19th and I hate to say we think it will probably be the following week. Boo! I was really hoping to have this started as soon as possible but we want this to be perfect when it opens. I will definitely post an update tomorrow or as soon as I can, after I look over the flyer details that the YMCA sent to me.