Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Just a Typical Toddler

When Kennedy was born I had no idea what was ahead.  I had no idea what life would be like in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years.  I quickly found out, that life was pretty typical.  And the older she gets, the more similarities I see.  She is sweet and adorable and so much fun!  She is also in the midst of the terrible twos!  She can throw a tantrum like any other two year old - complete with foot stomping.  She's also an amazing big sister.  She loves to give her brother kisses, and always comes running when he's upset.  She thinks it's so funny to tickle his feet and his belly.

Her communication skills are growing by leaps and bounds.  She's picking up new signs and words daily!  She is copying everything we do.  In fact, this week she attempted to stir the food (on the real stove) and took a plastic cup out of the pantry and tried to get ice/water from the fridge.  She loves to climb on the furniture.  And she has mastered opening doors.  She climbs the steps at the playground and goes down the slide.  She loves music, dancing and dogs.  She asks us daily for a dog.  We still haven't given in.

She amazes me more and more every day, and I could not be more proud of her.  I love seeing her learn new things and the look on her face when she accomplishes a task.

Here's some quick photos of our last trip to Washington D.C.  I have some adorable photos on my phone, but I seem to be having technical issues.  You can also get a sneak peek of her dancing, her enthusiasm for a dog and her quacking, which she started completely on her own after watching the ducks one afternoon.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Little Miss Chatterbox

I was thrilled when Kennedy started walking.  She walked relatively early for a child with Down syndrome.  I couldn't have been any more proud when those one or two baby steps transformed into her being an independent walker.  But what about talking? Communication has been a tough one.  And admittedly I spent a lot of time worrying.  What if she never talked?  And yes, sometimes it felt that way with crawling and then walking.  But how many times have you seen someone with Ds that doesn't know how to walk? Yeah, me neither.  But the reality is, some individuals with Down syndrome are not able to talk.  I'm not sure that I ever admitted to anyone just how real this fear of mine was.  I tried to focus more and more on signing, and while she used a few signs, they were far and few between and overall she just didn't show much interest in using them.  She spoke a few words, but seeing how much other 2 year olds were talking was sometimes hard.

Until last month.  Shortly after she turned two.  In true Kennedy fashion, she decided she was ready.  She randomly started generating words and signs.  Some that we have barely worked on.  Over the past few weeks she has continued to add more and more signs and words to her vocabulary.  This weekend she put three signs together and asked to eat more crackers.  We took an impromptu trip to Virginia to see some family, who happen to have two golden retrievers.  As soon as she saw them she pointed, yelled dog, and then signed it.  Over and over and over.  She asked to be put down.  But then the dogs rushed to play, knocking her over and licking her face.  She was no longer a fan of the dogs. However she has been talking about them repeatedly since Saturday. Using both the sign and word.  I may need to invest in a soft, snugly puppy that barks and plays.  And runs on batteries, because I don't have that kind of time when it comes to taking care of animals.

It's an amazing feeling to see her signing things not just for her basic needs, but about things that she sees and things that excite her.  Although we aren't having true conversations, I feel like we are able to communicate so much more these days.

So, the hard work is paying off.  I am so proud of Kennedy and how hard she is working at speaking and signing.  And I feel a sense of accomplishment.  These are all things I've taught her.  We haven't had any sort of consistent speech therapy since we left Florida.  Last week was our first real session with the therapist in North Carolina.  I feel like she will be a great fit for us and provide a lot of guidance.  We're facing a lot of tough decisions regarding Kennedy's future and education, as she prepares to age out of the early intervention program at age 3.  Her recent accomplishments and progress have me feeling more confident about our decisions.  But that's another topic, for another day.

Here are a few photos from our Passover and Easter celebrations.