So much has been going on in the last couple of weeks that I just haven't had the time to write. But I've wanted to!
We did our first Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Association of LA and our team, Team Smiles, came in second place for amount of monies raised! The overwhelming support from all of you, our friends and family, was just amazing. And our team grew from the original 3 to 18 people!! Thanks to those of you who made it out to walk with us!
I was so nervous about the Buddy Walk and how I would feel being surrounded by so many people with Down syndrome, but it turned out great! Instead of feeling sad or scared about Miles' future and our future together, I actually felt pretty serene. Seeing all those families with their kids with Down syndrome, some young and some old, was beautiful. Everyone there was loving and supporting and their enthusiasm for our kids was exciting. So although I had certain moments of feeling like I was in someone else's surreal life, I was mostly grounded and present in my own life. And that felt good.
There have been many "firsts" for Miles in the last few weeks. He went on his first pony ride, which both scared and excited him, he starting waving hello and giving high-fives! And as I said in a last post, he also started holding his own bottle and finger feeding. It's amazing how many new things are going on with him!
Our next big hurdles with Miles are walking and speaking. His OT and PT are really working on his balance, weight shifting and strength, getting him ready for walking. He shows signs of wanting to walk, he is pulling himself up on chairs, climbing over obstacles (like my legs!) and standing up in his crib. But he still hasn't developed the core strength and lower body strength needed to sustain himself upright for a while. He also doesn't have the weight shifting down, which is an integral part of walking. So we are practicing standing, crouching, kneeling and holding himself up. To do that we just have to entertain him with some kind of toy. As long as he is focused on something fun, he doesn't think about the fact that he's standing and he can hold it for over 5 minutes! It's pretty exciting to see.
Then there is speech. In a couple of months, Miles will be evaluated by a speech therapist and we'll have a better idea of where he's at and whether he will begin speech therapy now or later. I can see him trying to communicate with us and starting to get frustrated when we can't understand him. He babbles a good amount, though not as much as typical kids. It is the quality of his babbling that hasn't improved so much. Now that my 1 year old niece is in town I can hear the difference in the type of babbling. It's almost like she has a larger "vocabulary" of sounds than he does. That's not to say he doesn't have any new sounds, but you know, as with everything it's just a little slower. So I am looking forward to his speech evaluation and starting him on that track. I do think that once he can talk, he will not stop cause my Little Man seems to have much to say!