It is hard to believe that this is the last weekend of a truly wonderful summer with Bean. Our summer began with me packing up my corner of the Learning Lab in Conway and saying goodbye to the many good friends I made there along the way. In June I accepted the position of special educator in my K-8 hometown school. No longer will I be 40 to 45 minutes away from my dear Bean; my new school is only a mere 8 minutes from my house. It is also only about a 15 minute drive to Nate's school/daycare that he'll be attending in the fall. Such a serendipitous blessing for us all!
We also packed our suitcases for two wonderful summer vacations - One to Maine and the other to my hometown in Baltimore, MD. Nate got to share precious time with his grandparents and uncles. He also spent time with great aunts and uncles, cousins, and his great- grandma. We visited many friends and even found time for a trip to the zoo! Though I have to say that Nate, as a "puller" and "grabber" these days, was more interested in the plants and bushes he could reach out to while in his stroller than the animals.
In August, we packed up our towels and sunscreen and headed to a town pool with our local gang (Mommies and toddlers). It was a first for Nate! We lathered him up in sunscreen, put on shirt and hat, packed up our toys and towels and enjoyed playing in the pool on a hot summer day. I think we stayed in the water for over 2 hours. It was heavenly for us both.
This summer we also packed up Nate's portable high chair and headed out to meet several new families who have little ones with Down syndrome. We hope to find a way to create a playgroup with these boys who are so close in age. In addition to meeting new friends, we so enjoyed seeing our old friends - R-man in Bratt and big boy P all the way up from DC.
And there was unpacking too......
So starts a season of many big transitions for us all. Unpacking also represents change and new beginnings. My heart sinks when I think about it. It's all good, but new. I start working full-time again (and sadly have to say good-bye to my days with Nate), Eric is home with Bean for the month of September, and Nate begins the transition to preschool. Lots of unpacking, shifting, and settling into new routines.
Speaking of transitions (and unpacking), we think Nate is on the verge of another milestone. Usually right before something big changes for him, we see a bit of regression and plateauing of skills. Perhaps putting together some new skill takes all of his focus -- he's working so hard at one thing, other skills lose priority for him. Because motor skills in general are so challenging for Nate, we've come to really appreciate all that goes into a motor milestone. I watch toddlers move effortlessly from sitting, to side lying, to squirming on the floor. It's fluid and so natural for them. Yet for Nate, we have to break-down the skill into all the prerequisite steps that go into the action. So we practice helping him move to side-lying when transitioning to a sitting position. We provide hip support to work his mid section muscles. We also continue to work on strengthening his upper body so that he can use his arms to support his body. For Nate, this work is hard. I don't mean a little hard, but red-cheek-heart racing hard. A real workout. Essentially we have to unpack all these developmental milestones for him. Luckily, the wonderful book, "Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome, A Guide for Parents and Professionals," by Patricia C. Winders does a lot of the work for us. Thank you!
So yes, lots of packing and unpacking this summer. So many new experiences for all of us...
And now for some pictures.......
Happy visiting his Richmond cousins! Bye bye!