Kaiden loves to be read to. So much so, that this past week he's been throwing crazy tantrums until somebody reads to him! He will go pick out a book and bring it to me to read, which I love. And then he wants me to read the same book about 800 more times in a row . . . he's funny about new books. Wants nothing to do with them at first, takes a few reads to get used to them. And OMG, don't even TRY to "read" him a picture book with no words! He will throw that book across the room every time.
I purchased some foam board and Nick cut it down for me into some nice sized pieces. There's 40 pieces, two sided, so that makes 80 sides we can use to put words on. I'm hoping to find some stickers to go along with the words, but if not, I'll have to take pictures, have them printed, cut them out, and tape them on. Yes, flashcards would be easier, but he chews on them; they don't last long.
Then I need to get some (really I should go write this on the shopping list RIGHT NOW) brightly colored tape, maybe along the lines of painter's tape, that I can write words on and stick to things at Kaiden's eye level.
Kaiden is very vocal but still no words. Not since Dec 18th, 2009 when he had already said "apple" "asshole" (oops!) and "Mama". At this point we think the seizures damaged the connections for speech and it's up to us to help him form some new connections. A big thanks goes out to another T21 Mama for the suggestion of using a Fisher Price Smart Cycle - as the motor skills grow, so do the speech skills. After all, speech is a motor skill if you think about it. Some therapists recommend a treadmill, but what fun is that for the kid?? And now for the financial aspect of it: CRAIGSLIST!!! Those blasted things are $80 new at Walmart and that's just for the cycle without any games. I found one on craigslist that comes with 3 games for only $10. Sure, I'm the 3rd owner and it needs a little help staying on the highest height setting, but as long as it works, I'm good.
I can't remember if I've mentioned it without going back and reading previous entries, but Kaiden has now mastered crawling. He rarely belly-crawls like he used to. And if I see him do it, I tell him "you can get up and crawl". He looks at me and then gets up and crawls. He also crawls to me now when I tell him it's mealtime. "Kaiden, are you hungry? C'mon, let's go eat lunch!" He pops up like a gopher at me saying his name, and you can see it in his face he recognizes "hungry" "eat" and "go". He recognizes a lot more words/phrases than that. Getting him to cooperate is another story. This morning's breakfast involved a tantrum where he tried to fling his plateful of food across the room. I told him that was not allowed and not acceptable behavior and he didn't try it again. Which brings me to another point. Raising children is a lot like raising dogs. Or at least how I raise our dogs. Training is simple: be consistent. Use the same words/phrases for the same things. Our first pair of dogs learned so many phrases over our many years together I rarely had to give them commands, I'd just talk to them; they knew exactly what I meant. So with Kaiden I've done the same thing. Used the same words/phrases for the things I want him to learn. Be consistent. It pays off. I even cross reference his books & toys with him. Some of his favorite books are the "First 100 Words" books - just pictures of items with the item's name. We have 3 of these books and while there are quite a few unique items to each book, there are also overlaps. So we will look at more than one book at a time and I point out the same things, to show him they are the same. And I'll even quote from his story books about relevant items. His favorite book is "Moo, Baa, La La La" by Sandry Boynton. He LOVES farm animals! So when we see pictures of farm animals, I quote from the SB book and point out the animals in the order they are in the story book. I hope by the time he's walking he still loves farm animals as much so I can take him to a farm to see them. The MN Zoo has a great farm section.
Although I didn't hear them say it, Nick heard the Gillette's doctors say they thought Kaiden had the skill set of a typical 4yr old with T21. The best quote I have resulted from a conversation with Kaiden's physical therapist: "Standard (American) diet + standard therapies = standard result." What does this mean? The best nutrition and alternative therapies pays off! Don't give me that crap of "of course he's going to be delayed, he has Down Syndrome". We gave away the therapy books that we'd purchased upon learning Kaiden had T21. So many people love those books and find them so helpful. In fact, they are given to new parents of T21 baby by the school system! However . . . let me tell you, we found those books to be condescending and depressing. They are "standard therapy" all the way. We've made up our own activities based on what Kaiden shows us he wants to do. We've created rough housing games that he loves to help him learn to better control his balance. He is finally just showing the beginnings of the stage where he wants to do stuff himself.
He is still not self-feeding. I sure wish he was! I even bought fun toddler plates & spoons/forks. He prefers them over the boring regular bowls (and let me know it!) and even allowed me ONE TIME to assist him in loading the spoon and bringing to and put into his mouth. One time only. I know he CAN do it . . . I've seen him do it once or twice all by himself. . . so hopefully now that he is in the beginning stages of "do it myself" he will begin to feed himself. Hopefully. Hell, I was hoping for that a year ago. We'll see.
Kaiden is also obsessed with a potty training book. I hate that word, potty. It's baby talk!! But since he loves the book, I might as well use the words the book uses to be consistent. Does he just like the pictures, or does he understand what the book is about? Who knows, but it sure can't hurt to try. I will be sad though when we no longer have a child in diapers. I love cloth diapers!!
We more travel plans this month and have an eye appt coming up on 8/25. I have no doubt that Kaiden's vision will still be perfect - but I want him checked every year anyway. I hope he inherited his father's vision and not mine!
That's all for now :)