Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mind Blown

Confession time: 

As much as I love and appreciate hearing about the successes and accomplishments of my friends' children, especially those with Down syndrome, sometimes it's hard to feel great about them all.

When I see the fully mobile kids running around, it's hard not to be a little bummed that Cora isn't quite there yet.  When I see videos and facebook posts of the kids Cora's age speaking so well, I admit that sometimes I don't want to click on the links.  I think it's wonderful, I do.... but seeing other children do what she can't yet do isn't always what I want to focus on.

So sometimes I get hesitant about posting Cora's accomplishments. 

Brag time:

But right now, I am so flipping BLOWN AWAY that I can't hold it in.   My girl can totally sight read!

I suspected that she may have learned a few sight words more than a year ago, when she started pointing to the words in Goodnight Moon instead of the pictures.  But then she stopped.  We've been working on some reading programs for a while now, but not always consistently. 

We got the iPad app, "Special Words" based on the See and Learn program for teaching children with Down syndrome.  We got it months ago and Cora wouldn't use it at all.  The child that has been able to correctly point things out in pictures for well over a year refused to play matching games.  But today I tried again.  And today it seemed to click with her.  After successfully matching pictures for some time I tried having her match words to words.  She got that.  So I skipped ahead to the hard stuff:  Having her match a picture to the written word.  Well, she did it.  Again and again.  After showing me 21 words with ease, she decided she was done.

And I was floored. 

I know that kids can learn sight reading.  I know that kids with Ds can learn.   And I know that Cora has been exposed to these words for quite some time, in so many different formats.  So it shouldn't be that hard to believe that she recognizes the written words.  But I am still in shock.

My 2-1/2 year old can sight read better than she can walk or talk, and that is just amazing to me.  I think sometimes I make the mistake of not recognizing how very capable she is, and a lot of that is probably due to making comparisons.  I know wholeheartedly that comparing her to typical kids is not only not very fair, but is not realistic.  And even though comparing her to other kids with Ds may not be fair either, it's hard not to do.  It's hard not to see what other kids are doing and note that Cora isn't doing many of those things. 

Sometimes I don't give her enough credit for what she can do.  Sometimes I think more about the fact that she doesn't use much spoken language and overlook how amazing it is that she knows and uses hundreds of signs.  There is no doubt that she is a smart girl.  Sometimes I don't recognize how very capable she is, and for that I am sorry.  I know that in this life, there will be many people that will underestimate my daughter, and I don't want to be one of them.

I am sorry, my dear little Beanie for underestimating you.  And I am so grateful that sometimes you choose to show me just what you can do.  You are one sneaky, smart, and amazing girl. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Steps

The whirlwind of summer is officially upon us.  After a couple recent family trips, we are finally home, getting ready to welcome a new barrage of family members over the next few weeks.

We've been playing and relaxing, achieving as close to a laissez-faire attitude as we're likely to get.

We just got back from a family reunion trip up to Christina Lake, BC, where we camped mostly in the rain, dressed up like superheroes, and had way too many laughs.  Cora entertained the troops.  That girl is a hoot, and seemed to really enjoy her time with all the grown-ups.  She wasn't too interested in the toddlers, and kept her distance from all the dogs.  She surprised me with how well she handled all the craziness.

And she also surprised me with her newest skill:  taking her first steps.  Last week about an hour before embarking on our trip, she stood up and took 2 steps toward me.  I just looked at her with stunned amazement.  I mean, it's not like I wasn't expecting her to start walking, but I guess when you feel like you're (mostly patiently) waiting for something for so long, it's just a real shock to see it happen.  Since then she's taken up to 8 little steps.  I don't expect running around for a while, and probably not even real independent walking (as in using her feet as her primary way of getting around) for a while either.  But it's a big step, nonetheless.

Not too much else to say, since my brain is still on vacation.

So I will leave you with a few images from our blast of a trip, taken by my cousin-outlaw Shon Taylor.  (Thank you, Shon!)
My beautiful girl and her Daddy.  True love.

Taking a couple of steps between Grammie and Grampie (since the kids and dogs were away.)

So proud!!!!

What a proud pair!

My little super villain:  The Silly Signer.