She just fits right in because they treat her like she always belongs. Kids are awesome that way. Down syndrome just means she usually gets a little extra attention, lucky! They do not ever focus on her syndrome. Leighton is Leighton and they think she's pretty cute.
Yesterday I learned that people believe if they were to have a child with special needs this would isolate them. I have learned through this experience that it is not true, at least for us, at least not with Down syndrome. If someone decides to boot you out of their life because you have a child with special needs then who needs them anyway right? I haven't had anyone do that to me (at least not that I can tell anyway). If they did we must not have been close enough for us to feel it. I personally get more invites because people want to hang with Leighton they say- your bringing Leighton right? If I think its not an appropriate place to bring a two year old their like- Umm where's Leighton, its not as fun without Leighton here! (Oh Hi! Hubs and I are here though... alright I get it, I know were not as awesome) She's a pure ball of joy walking around and most people cheer up when they notice her. I see smiles out of the corner of my eye, and overhear comments about her. So I end up talking with strangers all the time and I actually get more human contact and conversation when she's with me. When I'm without her people usually ignore me and go about their lives because I'm nothing special.
If the worry is about family and friends not being able to "get it" when they need advice, help, or support. They most likely won't, but guess what? Your not the only one out there raising a child with special needs. You actually will have a massive amount of new friends waiting to meet you and to help you navigate through it all and completely understand how you feel. So in the end you make a whole new community of friends you never would have met without your awesome child.
This Picture of Leighton I took because she had sorted through about 100 stuffed animals and paired these to up and brought them out to play. She had just watched Mickeys Twice upon a Christmas and the first little story is Minnie and Daisy in an Ice skating battle. She does smart stuff like that all the time, and I know I shouldn't be surprised, but for a girl who doctors told us would very likely be unintelligent we notice a lot of little smart things all the time.
It's kind of a big deal that Leighton can just hold my hand and walk in to places with me. It took me by suprise and this was a realization she isn't a baby anymore. This growing up thing is moving a little to fast for my liking.
Therapy is part of a families life when you have a child with Special Needs. I'm probably the worst Mom when it comes to doing therapy. I don't focus on therapy very much when were not meeting with therapist. We play a lot, watch TV shows together, I sign with her as much as I remember, and give her the opertunities to learn. We have therapy appointments (it seems) all the time. We go to group therapy weekly, but it actually feels more like fun then therapy (it's kindermusik)
Practicing Rest Time...
Leighton is awesome at ring around the rosies, saying aaahhhnnnd STOP!, and doing a lot of the actions from class.
One of the learning opportunities I give Leighton is swimming lessons...
Her teacher is awesome and she's teaching Leighton survival techniques (if she ever falls in) as well as swimming. I feel its essential for a baby who has a magnetic pull to water. We saw great improvements in her gross motor skills whenever she was doing sessions. She started crawling the first session and walked her third sessions. She also learns to practice hard things, and its OK to be separated from Mom when she's learning. We do therapy all the time we just don't think about it all the time (if that makes sense). Leighton would probably progress faster if she had a more therapy focused Mom, but I sure do Love her to pieces and I try my best to balance her life between the work and fun. Right now I think she learns through her play so its not to bad to focus on that for now.
Leighton has a new thing where she throws all the DVD's out of the TV stand and picks interesting ones for her to watch in the car. She hands it to me and says this...and I say...do you want to watch this in the car now...and she shakes her head yes. She's brought me the Lorax (she was super into that cover), cloudy with a chance of meatballs, and toy story 3. She was so excited to discover her Jesse doll in her stuffed animal basket the other day (she ran over and showed me and yelled yeeeaahh) For some reason it just makes me happy to see her playing with it. I think the Toy Story movies are adorable and all my kids have had a "toy story faze". Leighton doesn't say as many words as my other kids did at this age, but she has the same interest she just communicates different but she get her point across.
So obviously I don't write that my husband was out of town this last week on social media but he's home now (flew in this evening) and I had a crazy busy night so I'm barely getting the chance to hear about his trip. Glad I'm not a single Mama (props to my friends and family that are, your amazing) This week sucked but I have an awesome Mom and Dad who help me a ton so I survived getting my kids everywhere they needed to be and even moped my floor yesterday.
Here's some pictures of Leighton from the past 2 years.
Can you believe how much she's grown? It has gone way to fast.
Newborn shots at 3 weeks
He first modeling gig for Infantino Everybody plays.
(trip to San Deigo)
meeting Kelle Hampton
Her First Birthday
Up at Primary Children's Hospital just 4 days after her Open Heart Surgery.
Her Trip to Scottsdale, AZ
Her trip to Hawaii
Her trip to Puerto Rico
That isn't even all the trips this little girl has been on, or exciting things she has done. Going through the pictures on the blog I can't believe all the highlights we have of her life. I would have to say it's been a really good two and a half years!!
Leighton always gets complimented on her beauty. Usually people say it with a bit of surprise in their voice. The best is that she really likes how she looks. She loves any reflection of her cute self. Kids with Down syndrome are actually really beautiful to me. I honestly had limited interaction with people who had Down syndrome before I had this little miss. Not enough to get to know much about them or see them for who they truly were. I started noticing babies, kids, teenagers, adults who had Down syndrome a lot when I was pregnant with Leighton.
I'm glad I get the chance now to get to know these amazing people.
Today we went to Hee Haw Farms for the United Angels Foundations fall family get together. We always have fun and this year was no different but it was really cold. My little Lolly was to busy enjoying the corn bin an slide to pose for any pictures.
(Brother was so good to take Leighton down the slide over and over).
Brother was actually my best poser for pictures too.
but Sister smacked my rear after I took hers then told me no pictures and informed me that she hates them (at least today anyway).
One of the things that happens a lot to me when people notice I have a kid with Down syndrome is they start telling me "things" I need to know about having a kid with Down syndrome because their neighbor, friend, Uncle, Aunt, 2nd cousin once removed also has a kid with Down syndrome. I'm always nice but sometimes I wonder....you know I have a kid with Down syndrome right? I know she's only 2.5, but I've heard all the likely's, characteristic that are common, markers to look for, and health things to watch out for more then once. Sometimes so much I don't even want to think about anymore and I chose to not focus on it until I have to. I mean I've read a lot of books, seen specialist and they actually told me a lot of this just hours after I had her. Knowing all these things can make you a companion to fear, and it isn't a fun place to be. So I guess this is a heads up since you know our Lolly, maybe don't do that. I would like if they said...my 2nd cousin also has Down syndrome he's really talented at____, or he's really into ____, or maybe a happy story. That would be so much more interesting. I really like when people individualize our kids instead of lumping them in a "Down syndrome" group. I don't mind if people notice that Leighton has Down syndrome first, I just want her to be seen as Leighton too, and I would admire someone for actually knowing their Uncles interest or talents more then the fact he has a Palmars crease.
So here's some things about Leighton that make her her. She loves to wear dresses, and cute outfits. I usually always let her pick out what she wants to wear. She is very active and is the happiest running, climbing, and moving her body. She is hardly ever still anymore even when she sleeps. She loves to play ring around the rosies with her brother and sister. She loves music, and singing. Her favorite movies right now are The Little Mermaid, and Tangled. She loves dogs, and watching and hearing birds. Her favorite food is my speghetti , and pasta with Alfredo sauce from Maglbys fresh. She doesn't really like food that's sweet, but she's started eating vanilla ice cream, and chocolate a bit. She loves balloons, balls and bubbles. She loves swimming, bathing, splashing in puddles. She loves fountains, the ocean, and I even have to watch the potty like a hawk or I'm in trouble!!! She is insecure around strangers, and loves her Mom the most (sorry but it's true) she loves her Dad a lot too, but I'm her favorite and I hope it never changes!!
I have croup. I didn't even know adults still got the croup. My older kids haven't had croup since they were under 3. The doctor said it could be whooping cough which would mean I'm one of the percentage the vaccine doesn't work for. If someone in the family has to get it I'm glad it's me. I hope the vaccine works for my kids. Anyway I don't feel much like writing anything so here's some cute Instagram pictures.
This first one I had Leighton try on her boots and carry her basket she's using for her Halloween costume. She walked up and down the hallway like a supermodel. She had the strut just like she was on the catwalk.
This second one is Leighton testing out mattresses when we were shopping for a guest bed
She had such a fun time there. See mattress shopping is as fun as Disneland to this girl.
Grandma watched Leighton basically all day. Here's the pictures she sent me of my baby girls adventures.
I have an amazing mother!
After (the first 2 hour block) she was answering my questions so well with nods and signs. I said did you have fun with Grandma, and she nodes yes then signed Grandma. Then I asked her if we should go home and eat lunch and she nodded yes and signed eat. She also blows the best kisses and then yells bye (like a Southern debutant). After I buckled her in she grabbed me and said Mawm, I luv ya! She's communicating so well now.
this was tonight...
Hubs and I went to this. It actually was pretty fun.