When Buddy Boy was a baby, I voiced to Hubby my biggest fear (and biggest wish). "I hope he will be able to talk one day." Many people with Down syndrome have difficulty with speech. I now realise that I would have understand Buddy Boy regardless. I understood him well before his speech was clear. He used body language, mime etc. to make himself understood. If you haven't communicated this way with someone, you probably don't realise how effective this communication method can be.
Nevertheless I love to hear my boy talk to me. He is now six (nearly seven) and in fact, he talks too much! He loves an audience and, if he can get the attention of everyone in a room, off he goes. "Blah, blah, blah. Oh, and one more thing." He always has just one more thing to say. His vocabulary is enormous!
With all children, it is nothing short of a miracle to watch them grow and learn. It is no less amazing that Lou Lou, Rosie, Belle and Pumpkin learned to talk, walk, dress themselves, etc. As a parent, I am so grateful to have so many wonderful children!
The difference is that I just took it for granted that my other children would acheive these goals. I wonder when, if ever, I will hear Buddy Boy constructing a complicated sentence and not feel that bubble of joy? His achievement is even more amazing to me because he has physical complications. When he was four, and was able to speak clear but simple sentences, he had his tonsils and adenoids removed. He came out of the operation not being able to speak. He was born with a submucosal cleft palate (a gap in the muscles of the roof of his mouth underneath the soft tissue) that no-one had picked up because he could eat and vocalise so well. It transpired that the oversized tonsils and adenoids had created enough pressure to make the roof of his mouth taut. Without them, he couldn't get enough tension to create the sounds.
He was horrified to discover he couldn't speak. I cried many tears for a few weeks. And this is what I mean when I say I can't take his achievements for granted. He persisted until he managed to learn to use his new arrangement well enough to be fairly intelligible. He can even whistle with his cleft palate! I think in many ways he is a stronger person than I am.
Now we wait for surgery, hope it goes well, and hope it doesn't make it hard for him to talk yet again, as he gets used to the new structure. He's on a waiting list, and to be honest, I'm in no hurry because I'm not ready psychologically yet.
So now, if I dare to hold up one of his sleeves to make it easier while he is dressing, if I try to help him into the car (to hurry him up, usually), if I fuss in any way, I hear, "I not a baby, I'm a big boy!".
On school mornings I lay his clothes out in what we call a Dressing Line. If he starts at the beginning of the line and works his way up it, he ends up with his clothes the right way around. On the weekends he dresses himself. He chooses his own clothes and works out for himself which way around to put them. It's very hit and miss!
|Working on his barrow. His own choice of outfit with shorts and top backwards!|
|I love this outfit from last year! He chose everything himself. Doesn't he look the typical pies fan, right down to the footwear! 'Scuse the mess.|
I know it's not the done thing to wrap up your own kids to the extent that I have just done, but I can't help myself. Buddy Boy makes me so happy and proud!