Sunday, October 6, 2013

31 for 21: Time to Reflect

Tomorrow is our third visit to Hope Haven Down Syndrome clinic.  I'm so excited!  We have had two amazing visits there so far, and I know tomorrow will be no exception.  The past few days have really given me a lot of time to think about where we are and how far we have come.  It seems like yesterday that Kennedy was a squishy newborn, fast asleep in my arms, while I obsessed over the fears of open heart surgery.  Now she is a wild toddler, running up and down the beach and into the ocean.  Although she has speech delays, she communicates with us to tell us what has caught her attention, her likes and dislikes, and what she wants or needs.  Her personality is really coming out and she is growing up so much in the past few months.  No more high chairs or booster seats for meals, she's requesting foods (which sometimes leaves me feeling like a short order cook) and she's chasing birds down the beach, trying desperately to catch them.  She races to the elevator ithe hotel to push the buttons.  

As usual, she is showing us how she really is more alike than different.  I remember all of the stress I went through when Kennedy was born.  All of the fears I had.  I was so afraid I didn't have what it took to be the mom of a child with special needs.  How ironic is it that I'm having a harder time parenting my "typical" child and Kennedy is proving to be the "easy one."  The fact that I've sat in the pediatrician's office saying, "I don't know what to do with him."  Yet, I don't think I've said that about Kennedy since that first day we got her diagnosis.  Who would have known?  

It's hard to believe the big changes we are facing over the next few months.  Kennedy will be three before long, which ages her out of the state's Early Intervention program.  It also makes her eligible for pre-school through the county school system.  The idea of sending my child off to school full time at the age of three absolutely terrifies me.  We have always felt that we would homeschool our children, but the closer we get, I wonder if it's the right decision.  Not because she has Down syndrome, but because of her personality.  And partly because she is so darn stubborn when it comes to working with me.  She is much more willing to work with her therapists than me, no I wonder if she would do better in a school environment.  But the idea of leaving my baby girl in someone else's care terrifies me.  I'm finally considering the part time program which would have her in school four days a week, three hours a day.  Some people think I'm crazy and that I should jump at the chance for a "break" but I'm still not convinced that this is the best avenue for our family.  Part of it is because I feel like I know her so well, and that I should be the best person to teach her.  And part of me is just plain terrified.  I keep trying to convince myself that I can't let my fears hold her back from doing someone that she will enjoy and that will help her succeed.

With that, I'll leave you with some photos of Kennedy's latest beach adventure.


  1. I can relate to this post! Luca is by far my easiest child! (so far). He is in a preschool program 3 days a week for a few hours and I was also really scared. I felt like since he can't tell me about his day I was losing those hours with him! But it really has helped him. Have you visited the classroom? One thing I always try to remind myself when it comes to school for any of my children is the decision isn't permanent. You can always change your mind if it isn't work. Kennedy is a doll and her gross motor skills amaze me!!

  2. I love seeing her sitting in the water in her clothes. I know how you feel. In our area, the only preschool that the school district provides is a special ed preschool. And her teachers don't feel she needs that much support, along with the fact that I don't really want to start out by putting her in a contained classroom. So since the other option is to seek out our own private preschool at 3, I am dragging my feet. I'm just not ready. And that's OK. I know that Cora is resistant to learning from me to some extent, like you describe. So I'm starting with a couple parent/child classes that can get her feet wet. I think that's a good way to go. Maybe in a few months or another year I'll feel ready to put her in school. But trusting her to someone else's care? That's a hard one.