October 18, 2011


My buddy is officially a preschooler.  He loves school and is excited in the morning to go.  I have to physically restrain him just to give a quick kiss before he runs into the building.  He could care less that Mommy is leaving.  I was emotionally fine on the first day.  I knew he wouldn't cry and he would have fun.  It's right up his alley - a room of fun toys and friends to share them with.

As the days go by - Ok so it's only been 3 days but that's not the point - I'm having a harder and harder time with it.  All the parents get a sheet home that says what the story was, what songs they sang, what activities they did and what snack was.  But that is all I know.  My buddy can't tell me anything about what he did.  I have no idea if he tried the snack, ate any of it, drank anything.  Did he sit for circle time?  Has he been listening?  Do the other kids play with him?  Is he trying to communicate with anyone or is he quiet?

I don't know if I'm being Overprotective Mom by wanting to know all of this.  I know it's only 2.5 hours and I don't expect the teacher to give me a blow by blow but I get very little information.

I also didn't expect so much of preschool to be above my buddy.  I know that sounds crazy.  He has Down syndrome and will never be on target with his peers.  I also know that when he is little is the closest he will ever be to being on target - the gap will only widen as he gets older.

When I think about the class having a discussion of their neighborhood I can't help thinking about the obvious - my buddy can't talk so he can't really be a part of the discussion.  But on top of that, I don't think he even knows what a neighborhood is.  They drew pictures of their favorite toy.  Aside from the fact that there is no picture drawing for my buddy, I don't think he could answer (even using signs) if asked what his favorite toy is.  They have to bring in something from home to share with the class.  Sure I can stick a toy in his backpack, but how is he going to share it with the other kids?  Other than naming it (with signs) and possibly saying the color, (with signs) that's about all he has.

I need to just let it go.  My buddy loves school and that should be enough for me.

October 13, 2011

end of an era

Birth to 3 has been coming to my house since my buddy was 4 weeks old.  There have been small changes and additions to our team but for the most part they've supported, educated, and worked my buddy to the bone for the past 3 years.  When he hears that knock, his face lights up and he goes running to the door.

Monkey bear has been known to play speech therapy or physical therapy - games that I'm sure aren't in every house!  She studied the therapists and helped with encouraging words then puts her babies through the trenches.

There have been times when I didn't want someone coming over twice a week every week and felt like my child wasn't my own.  It's tough having the 'homework' and list of exercises I should be doing with my buddy.  I always dreaded the report of, "he hasn't done anything new."  But I know with all my heart that he would never be doing all the things he is able to do without their guidance and knowledge.

Our Birth to 3 team came the other day for a goodbye party.  Since it was a party, monkey bear insisted I bake a cake.  They brought balloons and presents - even one for monkey bear for being such a good helper.  They all ate cake even though it was 9:30am.  There were hugs all around.  My buddy made two rounds with the hugs and gave out some kisses as well.  It was bittersweet. 

October 3, 2011


We survived and maybe even flourished on our Disney vacation.  Both the kids were amazing.  I had some doubts and reservations before leaving.  I just can't believe how good they did.

A friend lent us a portable DVD player which saved the airplane flight.  A few episodes of Dora and Signing Time and my buddy (who was strapped into his car seat to prevent escape) was entertained and quiet.  Monkey bear was so excited to be on an airplane - and eating Jelly Bellies.  And what child doesn't love a bus ride?  Disney had its share of buses for us to ride.

Our hotel was beautiful and Nana and Grampa were there to help.  My buddy loved the free reign of running through the bedrooms, kitchen, and living room.  He quickly discovered that he could climb into the jacuzzi tub and turn the water on all by himself.  I quickly discovered the door handles were just tricky enough that he couldn't open them himself.

Disney is so good about guests with special needs.  We got a pass that allowed us to skip almost all the lines.  We never waited more than maybe 10 minutes for anything.  Which is a good thing because at about 8 minutes my buddy has had enough.  At about 9 minutes my arms are about to fall off holding him and the sweat from his little furnace body in the hot FL weather is about too much to bear.  Good thing there were 4 adults.

Monkey bear was overwhelmed when we first stepped into the Magic Kingdom.  She refused to smile, talk, or get out of the stroller.  We went on Small World and she lifted her head in interest.  We went on Peter Pan and she said, "Can we ride that again?"  And we did.  Monkey bear loved all the rides and loved hugging each character she met.  At first she wasn't sure.  She kept asking me, "Are they real?"  "Of course they are."

When my buddy first spied Mickey Mouse (after we skipped the gigantic line) he went running right into his arms with the biggest smile on his face.  His favorite ride was the carousel.  I truly love everything Disney, but this carousel is awful.  It is slow and only spins around 3 times.  But if we walked by it, my buddy would sign 'horse' and point and throw a fit if we didn't ride. 

It was really hot and the kids would melt around 2pm each day.  My buddy woke from his stroller nap drenched in sweat.  But a short stroll from our room was a pool with a playground next to it.  We stayed up late one night for the light parade.  Monkey bear was in love.  She sat on my shoulders and clapped, pointed, and waved.

The only bad thing is we are in the post vacation slump.  Monkey bear wants to know why we have to live in CT and why we don't live in Disney World.  My buddy will randomly throw himself on the ground in protest.  I imagine he is thinking, "hey where's all the entertainment?"