Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Feeling Blue

Days have been passing so quickly, and it has been three months since I took the time to post here.

Summer has come and gone, and we are well into our home school year.  Amelia has taken off with her reading skills, and I have switched to using Alpha-Phonics with her.  She has a solid basis of hundreds of sight words, and is taking well to phonics now.  Micah is also using Alpha-Phonics (the exact same book I used with Alexander and Zachary, only slightly falling apart), but he is going slower than Amelia.  It will be some time before ShanLin is able to read, and she may never get past a first grade level.

Dante is still doing amazingly well in his special school.  Unfortunately over the Summer he began displaying some more assertive tendencies (I refuse to use the word aggressive just yet), and we are working to see what is going on.  It seems to be a combination of unmet sensory needs and the excessive energy of puberty coming on.

Leif is still his amazing little self.  The other day he took something from Kimberly that she should not have, and when I thanked him he simply said, "Just doing what I have to do".

And Kimberly.  She might be the baby of the family but she makes sure she is busy and doing what everyone else does!
 The other day she helped herself to some paint.

When she could not reach the paper, she simply painted herself.

And then she cleaned it all off.

She does sit still for a few minutes here and there, with one of our pets.

Back in August while we were on vacation, I noticed her night time sleep was fitful and interrupted by gasping for breath.  After nearly three months of appointments and waiting, she had a sleep study done last night at Boston Children's Hospital.

She studied for the Study.

And Daddy reports that she was an excellent patient.  

In a week or so we will have some results and see her ENT.  In the meantime, we will be keeping just as busy and active as we always are....

God is good.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hold On

Kimberly is already learning that little ones grow up,
and we need to hold onto them while we can.
And that sometimes when they act like they are too big to be held,
it's what they are secretly hoping you will do.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Triplets First Dance Recital, 2015

Many years ago Amelia, ShanLin, and Micah attended a weekly dance class at Boston Ballet that was specifically for people with Down Syndrome.  We stopped attending because gas prices were rising and the weekly 1+ hour drive into Boston (and home again!) was wearing on us.

Since that time I have every now and then searched for a dance studio closer to home that offers dance classes for delayed children, but had no success.

Apparently, Shining Stars was the best kept secret in Central Massachusetts!  Back in the Fall one of the moms from the kids SO Gymnastics team mentioned Shining Stars, and then there was an article on the local newspaper's website about a lady with Down Syndrome who would be in a local production of The Nutcracker, and it also mentioned Shining Stars.

In January of this year the kids started dance lessons with Bridget, one of the kindest and most encouraging woman I have ever met.  She is also quiet, humble, and very approachable; the kids just adore her.

Following are photo memories of our weekend:their rehearsal on Saturday, and a few from the show on Sunday.  Big sis Nikita put make-up on the girls, their first time ever.

The school year is winding down...the gymnastics competition last weekend, the recital just is the last day of gymnastics classes for Kimberly and Leif.  We are looking forward to a relaxing Summer with just Bike Camp for Amelia and ShanLin, Micah's riding lessons, and maybe a Summer dance class.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Special Olympics Summer Games 2015

June 6-7 the triplets competed in the SO Summer Games in Gymnastics.  They have spent most Saturdays this past school year out at Gymnastics Learning Center working with their team and coaches on the skills needed for competition.  They also learn skills needed for life...following directions, keeping fit, social skills with their peers, and sticking to a schedule.

Every year they love their weekend of competition!

The girls competed on Saturday.  They are at different levels, and both had a great time.  This past year was the first time that Sunny really took an interest in practices and put in a lot of effort.  The last few years she has at times been unconcerned about following directions, but something really clicked for her this year.

The last 2 years Micah has spent a night in the dorm with the team, last year Amelia did also, but this was the first year that all three stayed with the team Saturday night!  They were so excited!

Sunday morning before competition the athletes spent some down time playing duck duck goose.  Newly 13 years old, Micah seemed to choose the female coach quite frequently.  Ah, another teen boy in the house...

Micah works in spurts during practice throughout the year, but he really comes through at competition.

Another amazing weekend!

A breakdown of their scores, for my own records:

Amelia, Level 2 ages 13-14, 5 athletes:
Vault, 4th
Uneven bars, Silver
Beam, 4th (tie):
Floor, Silver (tie)
All Around, 4th.

ShanLin, Level 1 ages 12-15, 3 athletes:
Vault, Silver
Uneven bars, Bronze
Beam, Silver
Floor, Silver
All Around, Silver

Micah, Level 1 ages 12-14, 4 athletes
Floor, Gold (tie)
Pommel, Gold
Rings, Gold
Vault, Silver
Parallel Bars, Gold
High-Bar, Gold
All Around, Gold

Now we have the Summer off, but I am sure they will be excited to start practicing with the team again in the Fall.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When Special is Typical

Anyone living in the world of disability cannot help but have heard about the "typical" siblings of a disabled child.  They miss out on things because of Mom or Dad hauling the Special Kid off to yet another therapy or appointment.  They are always more compassionate than other kids, because their sibling with special needs taught them to have more patience and understanding.    

Are we supposed to be more grateful for these typical siblings, and wish we had been able to give them more attention?  I think we did a pretty good job of making sure the  "Original Three" still led typical lives, despite being saddled with special needs siblings.  Besides, they even got trips to Hong Kong and Taiwan because of the adoptions.  They're pretty compassionate, but show me any family with nine kids and you'll see a lot of love from the older ones being showered down upon the littles.

Five of our nine children have Down Syndrome.  In the realm of disabilities, I think this is pretty minor.  There has never been a lot of pitying the poor siblings going on here.  Besides, the Original Three are all grown up and moving on...although I do admit the reality that some day they may choose to care for their adult siblings.

Leif is still here though, a 4 year old completely typical boy being raised with his 5 special brothers and sisters.

Leif does not know what Down Syndrome is, or what it means for his siblings.  He does know Dante has Autism, and that it makes him different and sometimes irritating.  That's life, though.

So I guess now it falls to the oldest three-- Amelia, ShanLin, and Micah to help take care of their little brothers and sister.

Leif asked his big sister to pour him some juice.  Dante indicated to Amelia that he wanted to go out into the water, and he trusted her to take him.  Micah knew that Kimberly needed some guidance so he took her by the hand on the sidewalk.

Does this technically make them "typical" siblings?

Even Kimberly wanted to give our special Dante a toy and a pat on the head when he fell asleep on the floor.

My kids look after each other in ways that amaze me every day.

These kids are role models for each other. It made perfect sense for Leif to have Amelia do the driving when he and Dante wanted to hang out in Poppy's truck.  And when Leif asked his big brother and sister to play with him,  Micah and ShanLin were more than willing to put on some costumes and play along.  They think it's pretty cool that he's nicknamed them Iceman and Firestar.  (Amelia is Batman.)

In our house, all the kids are learning compassion, and they each get their own time too.  Amelia, ShanLin, and Micah take part in Special Olympics Gymnastics and an amazing dance class, Leif and Kimberly are each in a gymnastics class, and Dante gets to go to school every day and have boatloads of attention from his wonderful teacher and aides.

In our house everyone is typical and special, even if none of the kids living here know-- or would care-- what those words mean.