I think every mother wishes she could replicate themselves as soon as they have more than one child. Well I've got the next best thing, Kera Forrest!
I'm not sure she knew what she was signing on for when she took her sister's place as our respite worker. She was simply told to come almost every weekday morning for 2 hrs. I then proceeded to overload her with all sorts of activities she could choose from to do with Eli. I would give her a weekly subject to focus on and depending on Bubbalicious and his mood she would fit it activities to match the theme. Fortunately, or unfortunately, our little Pumpkin loves attention from anyone and since she often serves as a great model for Bubby, she often joined in the activities.
I'm not sure Kera counted on mothering two for 2 hours, but she's taken it on like a champ! They both love her and Bubby is physically affectionate with her (which is a huge deal) and Pumpkin is soaking up her ABCs and numbers like a sponge. The following is a video of her reciting the alphabet.
She's not even 2 yet so it's pretty amazing to all of us, especially since she wasn't being taught directly.
Bubby has also had some significant growth in the process. He's speaking tons more! Words such as 'cookie', 'pool' and 'go' are clear as well as colors and repetition of numbers. He's so engaged and eager to learn that it makes me so happy to see so much success in such little time once we began honeschooling. This one on one time with Kera in a loving, personal way has really made an impact. The added plus is that in those two hours I can focus on the oldest two and their work so that everyone's needs are met. The following is a video of him speaking without as much struggle as he's had in the past.
But we've been missing Ms Kera these last few days as she's been gone on a trip overseas she had planned months ago. When she gets back I'll be so grateful for my duplicate!
On another note, we just had our latest Sharing Down Syndrome of AZ walk yesterday. It was so much fun. The kids had tons of Jamb Juice and played games galore. Bubby had his fun of freedom, running and jumping everywhere. We were all exhausted but a happy crowd after it.
We meet up with old friends we haven't seen in ages. All those from Bellair will recognize the Larsens. Porter cracked me up insisting on a picture of just him and then needing to see if it was good one.
Tara Larsen was one of the first people I called when we suspected DS in Eli and I am so grateful for her support and insight into our special boys. Porter is only a year older than Eli but we hope that someday these boys might be good friends.
Jode is another dear gal. She was pregnant with Nolan the same time I was with Leora. I talked the first time we meet, not long after she got his diagnosis in utero. We cried together then. Sadly Nolan passed away just days before his due date and we cried together again when I came to give her my condolences. Seeing Eli and Leora is a painful reminder of what she misses with her angel boy but also a bittersweet joy that it has connected her with this community that we love so much
And of course our picture with Gina, the founder of Sharing DS. She's in pink in the front and loves to hug on all the extra special people with DS. Eli was just too shy!
It was a wonderful day to be somewhere that Eli could run free and people just understood without words at his laughter, jumping and boisterous enthusiasm for the small things of life - a crunchy apple, open areas, sunshine, smoothies and games. We love this 'extra' family we've come to know all because of a little extra chromosome!