I know I am jumping about a bit but that is what life is like....thoughts come into your head and you feel you need to get them on paper.
Before the twins had started school or nursery come to that we had the time when they attended Tumble Tots. Not sure if you have all heard of Tumble Tots but there are a number of similar activities around now. Tumble Tots was the first. I remember watching them on BBC 1 advertising this new baby gym where they had specific equipment to encourage agility, balance and co-ordination. Great could do with that. My eldest daughter attended and she loved it. Even went on to Gymbobs which was an after school activity. I worked for them for a while when my eldest daughter was young. I loved working with the babies and the girls that I worked with were a great crowd. Still kept in touch with a couple until just recently. Go see what I mean at www.tumbletots.com
Pippa started to walk at about 12 months and so we had to encourage SJ to do the same. I used to watch how Pippa got up and which way her arms, hands, feet and legs were positioned so that I could get SJ into the same position and eventually when they were just over 16 months old SJ took her first steps, which meant that we could join Tumble Tots. First of all though we had to have an X-ray taken of SJ due to the fact that children with DS tend to have a weakness in the bone that connects the neck to the spine and there has been a number of cases reported, nothing scary, just something to be aware of, where young people who have engaged in physical activity have been known to break their necks because of an accidental fall. Who is to say that this would not have happened anyway. I don't know the answer to that one. Anyhow there is a need to get your child X-rayed as a precaution if they are to take part in physical activities. The British Gymnastics Association have information and guidelines, web address at end of blog. There is also a useful leaflet from the Down Syndrome Medical Information Group, which you can get from the Down Syndrome Association. It is always best to know as much as you can, so you can be prepared. But it should never stop you from encouraging your child to take part in all activities, until they no longer like it, anyway.
So once we had the X-ray and the British Gymnastics Association gave us the go ahead we started at Tumble Tots. Pippa was like a little whippet and zoomed around the apparatus, my main concern was that she would hurt herself , but that is the best thing about Tumble Tots you have to wait your turn and you are assisted, until you can make the correct moves, by the Play Leaders, I used to go around with SJ. She loved it too. Especially as some of the apparatus helped with her walking. I am sure she would not have advanced so quickly if we had not attended Tumble Tots.
About this time we also started swimming lessons. Thanks to all at Kingsbury Pool. We had some hair raising times I can tell you. Suffice to say that getting into the cold water used to have an adverse effect on SJ ablutions. I cannot tell you how many countries we have had to walk behind her to get to suitable cleaning up and showering facilities.......ah well, it is all in a days work and to be honest in the scheme of things is only embarrassing at the time. But if we stopped doing them then she would have missed out on so much. You have to develop a very thick skin if you are to ensure that you take advantage of all that is available to your child with DS.
So by the time SJ started nursery she was running around, feeding herself, able to take turns, knew some nursery rhymes, (learnt at Tumble Tots, my favourites were the Scarecrow song, Three Little Monkeys and Five Little Ducks went Swimming, but they were many more). So when it came for them both to appear in the Christmas play! Well ! Not a dry eye in the house. I still have a video of the event. Recently we bumped into SJ support worker from the nursery, she was very emotional at seeing how SJ had turned out.
Although we had some issues starting nursery they were minor in comparison to what we were to face when we started down the track of mainstream education. Funny to think that we had to fight to get SJ into mainstream school, whereas now, parents are fighting to get their children into special schools. Why can't the government recognise that one size does not fit all! When oh when will things ever change?
Off to get my Sunday roast dinner.....SJ has made the stuffing....this morning she made the scrambled eggs for breakfast...slowly but surely we are getting there. If only she would stop saying...."Yes I know!" So like a teenager.