Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Imagination and Down Syndrome

I have heard parents share that they have been told that children with Down Syndrome are unable to imagine, as if it is general knowledge that children with Down Syndrome do not advance enough cognitively to gain that ability.  And I gotta say...  When I watch Charlie play this sometimes sneaks into my awareness... that someone should think him incapable of imagination...  preposterous!

Charlie is "the imaginative one" of our two boys old enough to play this way.  Here he is playing with "Mo" who he has since renamed "Me-Mo".  Charlie will play for hours inventing games with a variety of pals he has around.  His favorites these days are Buzz Lightyear, Mo, his dogs Little Jefe and Big Jefe, and Grover.  They are a group of friends up to high adventure daily in this house.

Mo catching a ride on Little Jefe.

I remember when Charlie first began to do "imaginative play".  It was a big milestone (especially given the 'rumors' it was impossible).  It is true that some children will never advance enough cognitively to engage in this type of play.  And that is okay.  Most children with Down Syndrome are only mildly to moderately cognitively delayed, though I think there is the perception it is normal for it to be 'worse' than that.  When asked I always tell people Charlie is just your run-of-the-mill kid with Down Syndrome.  Pretty average in his capabilities... and yet SO capable!  He imagines.  He creates.  He talks and jokes and understands and interacts.  He has friendships and he can learn and he is caring and generous and helpful.  He imagines!

After he caught me snapping photos of him imagining with Mo and Little Jefe, he wanted me to take a more formal portrait of him and Me-Mo.  He posed himself and Mo very carefully.  (If I had the software I would have photoshopped that laundry right out of this picture, but then that would not be an acurate portrail of our life!).

Taking Charlie's picture with Mo inspired Calvin to want to have his pic taken with his favorite toy... his race car track and race cars.  Calvin is also very imaginative, but not in the same way or to the same extent as Charlie.  First, Calvin pretends almost always using machinery as his characters, or in many cases if he is playing pretend he pretends he is repairing or operating machines.  And when he is not imagining Monster Truck Rallies or Building Sites or Care Repair Shop, he is accomplishing tasks, completing challenges, and or forming a band with his brothers.

(Incidentally both of my boys favorite toys happen to be made by me... which makes me feel pretty rad.  Yep.  That's right.)

And then there is this little boy.  Oh gosh.  Look at those eyes!  Miles favorite toy these days is whatever-brother-is-playing-with.   He will imagine soon enough.  I can hardly wait to find out what sort of games he will invent.  

There's a whole lot of imagination in this house, Down Syndrome or not.  I wish you could be here with me every day to see it.  Definitely one of the coolest parts of my day as a mom.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Charlie

My Charlie boy is 6 today.

Oh Charlie.  I just can't help but look at you, so grown up, so clever, and so, so special to me, and remember that first day.  You were the smallest, most beautiful person I had ever seen.

You are our first.  The boy who made us parents.  Our first.

Gosh Chars, I just can't believe how the time has flown right by us.  Now you are six.  And you are so wonderful.

You are our imaginative boy.  Always toting around your 'pals', making up games, having adventures.

You are talking so well and so much.  I love to hear what is on your mind.  Your thoughts are precious to me. 

Charlie, what will the year ahead hold?  There is so much ahead of us.  And grand adventure.  I am BLESSED to be your mama.  Just as you are.  Always.  You are WONDERFUL.

Happy Birthday Big Boy.  You're SIX!



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oh Conky-conk!

Our bright shining baby toddler Miles, aka, Conky-conk.

We all just love this boy so much.  Notice the red bonk on his nose, blood crusted nostril, and wiley hair.  We don't call him Conky-conk for nothing!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Hey, it's been a pretty good year so far.  We began it right playing Domino's with friends into the first hours of the year.  Made a fun visit to Grandpa and Grandma's church Sunday morning.  An impromptu bagel fest at our house afterward.  And the fun surprise of Ray only having to work half a day today (now, what should we do?).

Do you have goals for 2012?  We do.  We don't usually make a point of it, but after kind of a crazy last few years we decided to sit down and decide what our goals are for our family.

Number one goal is trust God, and say 'yes' to His call.

Number two goal is focus on our kids, and allow God to cause them to be the blessing in our lives that we believe he intends for them to be ('cause sometimes it doesn't feel like a blessing, it just feels crazy!).  We are so glad to have the space and time and a year wide open with possibility to make this happen.  No... allow it to happen as we listen to God and say 'yes'.

The last goal is simple... try really hard to not get so behind on laundry and dishes.  Honestly, I think we have a better shot at the first two goals than this one.  Still, it would be nice to feel on top of these two pesky jobs.

And finally I will leave you with Calvin's two goals he made for himself:

1. In the new year I want to learn to play baseball with no tee, and...

2. When Miles turns 2 I want to teach him to look with just one eye like this...



Happy New Year Friends!
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