So its been a month since school started for the two girls and boy has it been busy. The kids are up at 7:25am and its pretty much go go go until bedtime. Lauren's school is an hour's drive away, meaning we are out the door no later than 7:35am. While she eats her toast and fruit in the car, we work on vocalizing and babbling in between bites. I enjoy this alone time I get with her, because it's usually the only alone time we get. Of course I do most of the talking and singing, but I think she enjoys hearing my voice (hey who wouldn't?). After work, Lauren has therapy appointments, Kayla some homework, and both girls have swimming once a week. I've been playing tennis and Steve is playing hockey at nights, so we both let out a sigh when the girls are in bed at 8pm.
2 kids is definitely keeping us busy. Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the girls to dos. Lauren has so many therapy exercises, it gets overwhelming trying to fit her homework in every day while still letting Lauren be Lauren. She's 2 and has an appointment calendar and rolodex much bigger than mine. While we want her to get in as much therapy as possible in a day, Lauren often refuses to cooperate and just wants to cuddle and be held. Its come to the point where we will now even strap her in her booster seat to get her attention and focus on the activity otherwise she simply just walks away from us.
With Kayla it's quite the opposite. We just want Kayla to relax and chill, but she's always go go go. She's always wanting us to work with her on her reading, writing, math and french - even when she has no assigned homework!..Yes Kayla makes me write out math questions for her to answer just for fun and likes to play spelling and rhyming word games. She has no issues keeping focus or attention on a task and can be left on her own to play, colour or read. At 4.5 years old, she has a social calendar and a large roster of friends that makes me jealous.
Lauren's personality is definitely showing through a lot more now. She's definitely loves being held and carried. She is now refusing to come down the stairs on her own and will sit on the steps and pout until someone picks her up...which is driving me nuts!! She loves squealing aloud while she's walking around the house with a toy in her hand, loves taking all the laundry out of the laundry basket, loves playing with the cordless phone and tv remote and still enjoys grabbing and pulling on Kayla's hair. While her development is still at a turtle's pace, she is becoming more her own person, and is definitely learning to use her voice to express discontent, her eyes to show interest, and her hands to explore (or not explore). We are currently working with Lauren on choice making - which seems easy enough - but is a huge struggle for this little girl, vocalization, imitation of sounds and gestures, problem solving with puzzles, throwing and kicking a ball - just to name a few! Yes the days can be long, and what comes so naturally for most is work for Lauren, but then I snap a picture like the one below and just SMILE at my little CUTIE.
This is my all time new favourite pic - also because my house looks so clean!!
Lauren is doing the best she can, at her own pace and in her own time. I think most of her struggles has to do with her unique genetic make-up. She actually is different than neuro typical kids, her chromosomes are different, and hence her output is going to be different...how different, we don't know, because there are only a handful of kids (like under 30) that are documented with a similar genetic composition as hers. Its a rarity and we won the genetic lottery on this one. Some kids have fewer developmental challenges and more medical challenges and others the opposite. I am thankful that Lauren is healthy medically as I cannot imagine what it would have been like if we had to deal with medical issues ontop of everything else.
What most toddlers can do naturally and easily is a challenge and struggle for Lauren. It is heartbreaking and frustrating to have to watch her work so hard to do simple things, but she's getting there, in time and in practice. If you watch her, you can really see she sometimes that she is "processing", that her brain is churning and churning to make sense of something before she decides to take an action. Its almost like she wants to say "don't rush me, I'm thinking about it". I think I might get her a t-shirt with this slogan on it for Christmas!!
As we approach Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, I'll sign off this post with my thanks:
- I am thankful for my wonderful husband Steve for his strength, love and humor
- I am thankful to have generous and loving parents and in-laws who have been helping to raise my two girls to be the best they can be
- I am thankful that I have two beautiful girls who get along so well and are such good friends to each other
- I am thankful that Kayla has filled our lives with humor (like her Dad), laughter and energy
- I am thankful that Lauren has filled our lives with nonsense babbling (like her Mom), smiles, and a "keep calm and carry on" attitude
- I am thankful that our family and extended family is healthy, close, supportive, and just plain old happy