This past week, we had a number of firsts in our household which is really quite timely and fitting as I write this first post for my blog.
Emma had her very first play date at her friend Ella’s place without me. Not a huge deal in the scheme of things but big for her as it was the first time she has been happy to be left on her own at a friend’s house. For me, it was yet another reminder of Emma’s growing independence and that my baby girl is growing up!
|Emma and Ella|
Over the years, I have watched Emma build beautiful friendships with many of the kids that belong to my friends. Ella, however, is the first friend that Emma has chosen for herself. Emma and Ella became friends at daycare when they were about two years old. Ella started Kindy last year so Emma was without her at daycare for a whole year. For the first few weeks on the way to daycare, Emma would say “I think Ella is coming back to daycare today.” She really missed Ella and looking at her hopeful eyes and having to tell her that no, Ella was at Kindy now and didn’t need to come to daycare anymore made me sad.
We also enjoy catching up with Ella’s parents and we managed to get the girls together just a few times last year. No matter how long it has been between catch ups, these two are still the greatest of friends and at the top of each other’s birthday party invitation list. I love watching how excited they get when they first see each other. They are two kindred spirits with a very special friendship.
Emma also had her first day of Kindy. She couldn’t wait and when the teacher opened the door both mornings, she was the first one into the classroom. Although Kindy is only two days a week, it is still the start of school for her and my very last year of having her around during the week. How fast they grow!
|Emma’s first day at Kindy|
I cried in the morning of her first day and told her how proud I was, how much I would miss her and how I couldn’t believe she was old enough to be going to school already. On the way to Kindy, she said to me “Now mum, you can’t cry, ok? You have to be happy for me because I am really excited.” (she actually said “escited” which made me smile because that is proof that she is still my baby!) You bet I’m happy for you babe. These tears are just happy tears that my precious baby has grown into such a wonderful little girl.
Chloe had a couple of firsts this week too. It was the first time we were able to take her to Playgroup and it was so nice to have her there. All these months, we had to leave her at home in preparation of her heart surgery and then again while she recovered.
|Chloe and her new friend Tessa|
There were so many new things at Playgroup for her to look at so I am sure that she had a great time! I am looking forward to watching her grow and enjoy Playgroup and make friends just like her sister has done.
It was also Chloe’s first Early Intervention therapy session this week. For the first 20 minutes, she enjoyed being rolled and stretched and played with by the therapists. When they put her on her tummy, however, she let us all know how unhappy she was about it. She started crying very loudly and when I picked her up, she used her baby words to tell me how unimpressed she was and then immediately fell asleep. Bless!
I have been feeling a bit apprehensive about Chloe’s therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful that there is all this support available to help her be the best she can be, but it’s also a reminder of the condition that she has and the effort we need to put in with her. When I look at Chloe, I see a sweet, beautiful 5 month old baby whom I love and adore. I forget that she has Down syndrome but obviously, things like therapy will always be there to remind me. I am sure that over time, the positive outcomes that we see from therapy will make the overwhelm fade and therapy will become a normal part of our weekly routine.
Andrew is planning on doing the run /paddle legs of the Anaconda event later this year so accordingly, he did his first run in over 20 years. When I say “first run”, I mean that he ran up and down the outside of the squash court while he waited for his turn to play. The reason Andrew doesn’t normally run is because he has really bad knees and what I find funny about this whole situation is the limping and hobbling that went on for the next few days. It’s not like he ran 10km or anything. Apparently, it was because he didn’t warm up his hammies. I really shouldn’t laugh because bad knees and all, Andrew has the most amazing will. He believes that anything is possible and his desire to win is unlike anyone I have ever known. Do I aspire to be like him? Definitely not!! But I do admire him more than he realises. I just never tell him that because I don’t want to encourage him.
To give you an idea of Andrew’s determination, in 2009, he entered the Avon Descent but early on the second day, he got hit in the back by another kayak while going through one of the rapids. In extreme pain (and with hypothermia), he continued to paddle for another hour until he couldn’t breathe and reluctantly had to pull out. It turned out that he had broken ribs. It was such a shame because he had trained so hard and was super fit.
In 2010, Andrew competed in the Avon Descent again. This time, he had to work massive amounts of overtime and wasn’t able to train for the event much at all so he wasn’t as prepared or as fit as he was the year before. On the first day of the race, he pushed himself so hard to the point of exhaustion. When we got out of the car on the second day, he ran into the bushes and threw up twice. He then said to me that today, he would have to take it easy. At the starting line, however, when the gun went off, I watched as Andrew went as hard as he could and took the lead as the paddlers disappeared around the first corner. I remember shaking my head as I laughed. That’s my Andrew! In the end, he finished 25th in his class and 79th overall in the driest race event ever. Very impressive effort and definitely worthy of admiration! Anyway, I digress!
|Andrew (blue kayak) 2010 Avon Descent – Day 2 starting line|
Last Sunday morning, I somehow got myself out of bed at 6.00am and went for a walk. This was the first time in ages that I have been out on my own and being by myself with just my music was invigorating and very much needed. I am hoping to make this a habit but we will see if time allows me this pleasure. I love to exercise but it hasn’t been a priority lately. Must get onto that really soon though because I know that I will feel so much better for it!
And back to my first blog post. I have wanted to write a blog for a long time and in fact, a couple of years ago I started one that was called something patronising like “How to be a happy, organised fabulous working mum”. Blah! I only ever wrote one post and have since deleted it. I wasn’t in the right place to be writing at that time. Now that I have found my spark, I am really enjoying this writing and although it’s scary, I really feel that I have to do this.
Significantly also, this is the first time I have announced in a public forum that Chloe has Down syndrome. A huge step for me. Massive.
|Beautiful Chloe in her favourite outfit|
To many, I am now that friend of a friend; that girl they went to school with; that mum at the school; or that lady who comes into their shop, who has a child with Down syndrome. Often it is easier to identify a person we don’t really know with a label so I know I shouldn’t take it personally. It’s still hard sometimes but I will get there.
This week there will be two more firsts – Emma is starting dance classes and I am starting a photography course so our household is looking forward to some beautiful dancing and some half decent photographs, some of which I hope to share with you.
Until next time… J