Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Neigh, baa, cheep cheep

Riley has been working really hard to use both syllables of words when he speaks.  Sometimes it takes some reminders but he tries so hard.  He is really into animals so we use a lot of animal names and noises to practise.  Last night he crawled up next to me and wanted to read books and I was able to capture some video of his animals. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is it time to retire...

Well I wish that was in real life but really I'm considering retiring from the blog world.  I'm feeling like it might be time to close this chapter.  I use my facebook to share pictures with families and friends and just because I don't write my own doesn't mean I can't read all of yours :-)  I'm ok with being a cyber stalker commenter.

I've been thinking a lot lately like this a boring place to visit.  It all started as a way for me to share my world and the adventures of Hurricane Riley.  I am in such a different place than I was almost two years ago and I'm not twisted in knots of depression and craziness.  Riley is funny but not very exciting.  We don't have day to day struggles. Yes, he does have Down syndrome but he is way more typical than not.

I think I've lost my bloggy way.  I don't write the crazy of my life because I'm really not near as crazy as I used to be.  My kids are healthy other than the buugs that the pollen is causing all of us.  I don't have any drama, no one has attacked my parenting skills in almost a year.  Overall life is pretty dull.  Oh do I love it that way.  I am enjoying puttering around in our little world and watching Rex become a confident reader ready to jump into second grade and helping Riley explore his world.   

So just as I talk myself into closing up shop I get a funny shot of Riley that I really should share.  He enjoyed a few Oreo cookies with Rex this evening.  YUMMY

Not sure if any of this makes sense even to me. I guess part of it stems from the fact that I don't want to have to be a Down syndrome advocate. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to hide Riley away or not talk about Down syndrome I just don't want to feel like if I'm not seeking to interact with every family that has been impacted by Ds that I have some how not done my part to be educated on what is best for Riley.  I hate that as Justin and I worked to choose which school would be best for Riley that I thought about a single other thing that what was best for Riley.  I don't want to loose track of whats best for Riley because I'm busy advocating for inclusion and equal opportunities for everyone with Ds.  As a mom I will always advocate for what is best for my boys and simply what is best for them. 

So who knows if Hurricane Riley and His Big Brother Rex will continue since I've been known to change my mind over and over again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jump Jump!!!!

Riley has been busy busy lately.  His most recent accomplishment is learning to jump.  He has been jumping off things for a while but its been more like a dive.  He loves to jump off the ottoman on to his bean bag or the sofa.  He has finally started jumping from a standing position and landing on his own.  For a while he'd jump and his stance would get wider and wider but he seems to have stopped that because I tried to get a video.  Riley is so proud of himself and his new skills you can see it in his smile!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mommy Guilt...

I'll apologize right off if this is a rambling post but I have had lots of thoughts floating through my brain and figured writing them all down would help sort them out and if I did it here hopefully some really great blogging friends will weigh in with inspiring and insightful thoughts and all will be well with the world again.

We have been thinking, planning and dreaming about Riley's future in school.  Just in case you haven't picked up on this I'm a planner. I like to have things laid out with a nice plan.  The funny part is that I generally change plans a million times and am OK with that but I do like to have a plan to get started.  So back to planning for Riley.  We have spent the spring planning for next school year and after a lot of talking with teachers and therapists have decided on what we think is best for Riley.  We have decided to keep him in his current preschool class that is a self contained class. All 15 kiddos have some disability of some sort.  At the school he has at the teacher splits the  morning and afternoon and the after class is generally the higher functioned kids. Riley is in the afternoon class so there are good verbal role models only one really wild behavior issue.    In this years class Riley is the only kid with Down syndrome and is by far the youngest.  He started on his 3rd birthday and most of the kids  in his class are 4/5 year olds getting ready for kindergarten.  About 6 will be staying in the class for next year but the rest are moving on to kindergarten.  So as you can imagine Riley has to really work to keep up with the big kids (seriously bigger - he short compared to three year olds so he is really little in this class)  Riley is making amazing progress.  This afternoon when I met with his teacher she had wonderful things to say about Riley.  He is identifying the letters of his name and today sat and spelled his name out loud.  Granted he was quiet and didn't think the teacher could hear him but she is so on to him.  He is starting to do patterns.  When the teacher starts a basic pattern he will complete it.  He has mastered sorting by colors and she is starting to work on sorting by shapes and having the colors not match and that bugs him but he is making good progress with it. 

While I do love bragging about Riley's accomplishments that's not really where I was headed with this post.  I have been feeling this crazy feeling that I guess would be labeled guilt about choosing a self contained class over the integrated class that we had the option to place Riley in.  It seems that every blog that I'm reading and every article you see is all about how our kids should be integrated. Not only should they be but if it isn't an option then parents should be ready to fight for it and ensure that our kids are allowed into typical classes.   Did I really just turn down an opportunity for my kiddo to be in a typical preschool and by doing that did I let down all the other parents of kids with disabilities that have fought for me to be able to even have the choice?  Yikes that's a lot to think about. 

I had a meeting with Riley's teacher, PT and OT this afternoon.  I didn't have to include the speech therapist because we have an amazing speech therapist and are lucky enough that she not only works part time in the school district but we knew her in her real life and were able to get into her private practise.  Riley loves his Marie time!!!  Anyway, it was a great meeting and I was given a ton of positive feedback about Riley and some great ideas to work on this summer.  Riley has been thriving in the routine and structure of her class.  That is  the biggest reasons that we have decided to keep Riley in this class.  He is teacher has very high expectations for him and all of her kids.  She is such a mom to them and really is protective and demanding of her kiddos. So if Riley is thriving in his current environment why would we consider moving him?  Riley thrives with structure and consistent high expectations.  Would having typical role models really be worth it?  The biggest question that comes to me after I have typed all of this out is why in the  world am I doubting my judgement as Riley's mom and the decision that Justin and I have made for him.  Is it bad that Riley is thriving with other kids that need a little extra help too?

I wish there was a magical equation that would let us all know exactly the perfect setting for our kids and also magically fund it.  I hear about all of these children that are in typical classes with one on one aides to help them stay on track and wonder how that is possible with all of the budget cuts.  How do you make it work and get your school district to provide something special for your child in a time of great budget cuts. 

OK I'll stop rambling now and your reward for getting to the end of this is pictures of Riley and Ella on Mother's Day.  Kacey and her family join my mom and family to partake in a yummy Asian themed meal.  Turned out pretty stinkin good if I do say so myself.  The kids were "racing" down the hallway with Ella's Nana.  What a crack up these two love birds are.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Big Bird and MELMO

Riley has finally found a video that he likes besides Signing Times.  Don't get me wrong I love Signing Times  and am totally amazes at Riley's signing vocabulary but it is a nice break to have a new video he likes.  He loves MELMO aka Elmo and Big Bird and the crew.  We happen to have the video below from when Rex was little and Riley is trying to sing with it.  He is such a mimic. 

I haven't posted in a while so for those of you keeping tabs we have decided to keep Riley at the same school for next year.  We love his current teacher and all of the pros outweighed having typical kids in class.  Riley is around other kids quite a bit and he idolizes Rex so I think all in all it will balance out pretty well.  My goal is to have him ready for kindergarten in a typical class if he is ready and verbal enough to be successful and I think this decision will help him be as ready as possible.