|Peek a Boo in the mirror|
|Hands up high in the mirror|
Yesterday, Felix spend about half an hour sitting in front of the mirror in our room. For anyone who has a child with any sort of delays, invest in a full length mirror. It has been a valuable tool for Felix to learn to play independently and for him to learn to mimic behaviours. He sat there running his hands through his hair for a good few minutes, making his hair stick out in all directions. He looked quite pleased with the end result (Justin Bieber eat your heart out!) When he's sitting in front of the mirror, I will ask him to put his hands up. He will stretch up high with his arms and think he's really clever for knowing what I'm asking him to do. He will also 'sing' and do the actions to his favourite songs or pull funny faces and laugh hysterically at himself. I think we have even more fun sitting and watching him play.
|Our little fish|
Something I find brilliant within the Down Syndrome Community is that there are always people with more experience, or who have experienced different things with their children, that me. If I want to ask a question (no matter how stupid it seems) there are always people willing to share their views or offer advice. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology (Facebook, forums etc) those helpful people could be from the other side of the world!
My question this week has been about whether I should take Felix to swimming lessons or not. He is a natural born fish. He loves the bath, the beach, the shower and the cat's bowl of water! I have no doubt he will take to swimming like a duck to water. My dilemma, however, is my concern about him getting ear infections.
People with Down Syndrome have much more narrow ear canals and nasal passages than your average person, making them more prone to ear infections, colds and sinus issues. Felix has been super healthy, which I am thankful for every day. He has never had an ear infection and has only had a couple of colds (less even than our 'typical' kids). I know I can't spend my life wrapping him up in cotton wool, but I also want him to maintain his good health. I probably sound like a paranoid Mum!
|Trying to put his sock on by himself|
Thanks to the many, many responses to my questions on this topic, I have decided to enquire about swimming lessons this week. As most parents pointed out to me, the benefits of swimming for kids with Down Syndrome far outweigh the risk of infections. It is a great tool to improve their muscle tone and coordination, and most parents have found their kids easily keep up with the other kids in the class and some really excel at swimming. Parents of children with Down Syndrome are constantly aware of finding an activity their kids are 'good at' and feel confident doing. Who knows? Swimming might be Felix's area of expertise!
One piece of advice which was offered by a lot of people, was to get Felix a wetsuit to keep his core temperature warm while he's in the pool. Others have suggested ear plugs which may help prevent water getting in his ears. I'll be busy researching these this week and try and figure out what will work best for Felix.
|Helping Mummy fold the washing|
Something I appreciate about my friends in the Down Syndrome Community is their willingness to ask questions and/or give advice, and the way we can celebrate with each other when our child reaches a milestone. I often felt, when raising our 'regular' kids, that it was a competition to see whose child did something faster or earlier than someone elses. Within the Down Syndrome Community I feel there is more of an awareness that our kids will do things in their own time, and when they do it is something the whole community shares with you. Where else would a group of people from all over the world get so excited because your 12 month old ate a piece of fruit for the first time without choking, or your 3 year old took their first steps, or your 7 year old could consistently use the toilet? Of course there will always be those who see life as a competition, but for the most part it is a place to feel happy for each other and enjoy each milestone no matter how small. We are all travelling the same path and I, for one, feel like I belong!