Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Leaping Milestones!

There are times when as a special needs parent you get so sue to doing things for the child that you forget to push them to do it themselves.  Or at other times you're too tired with the struggle and so you don't bother because another battle seems too much.   And then out of the blue they do something you had know idea they were capable of and you begin questioning how much you've coddled him the last while.   It's been very much that way for us.  We finally got Bubby to learn to pee on the potty.  It was a combined Palovian method of cueing him to urinate when he got into the shower to shifting to turning on the shower and getting him to do it in the potty.  When he realized he got to flush the potty he was highly motivated do so at every opportunity, even at unfamiliar locations.  Dry diapers are seriously the best!

This has been the catalyst for all sorts of things as we've seen him grow by leaps just in the past few weeks.  It started with small things like deliberate eye contact and more attempts at gentle affection.  Or when we went to a park and his willingness to climb a structure that would have had him in a fit in the past.    New surfaces at the park that feel 'unstable' to him that tentatively trys out over and over while we're there.  One evening Keila was reading a book to Pumpkin and he crawled up on the bed to join in, looking carefully at all the pictures as she read.  These were all wonderful to see but he had more in store for us.

We attened our annual Special Kids day at McCormick Railroad Park.  Usually the other kids have a blast with the carnival style games and the bounce houses.  Bubby will watch, try a game or two and sit happily in the stroller munching on popcorn and ice cream.  He doesn't venture out too much.  Last year I took him up a huge bouncy slide and came down with him to his utter terror.  I thought I'd push him to do it again this year but Bug love offered to take him.   He was scared and struggling to climb up so a volunteer helped to carry him.  Then he was cautiously looking down and sat at the top for some time until Keila dragged him to one side and slide down with him.  He squealed with laughter and surprise.  His response was positive enought that I tried it again with him.  He was self motivated enough to climb on his one with minimal support at his rear.  Once I was with him he was eager to slide and we'd say 'Ready, Set' and he'd shout his 'Go' .  We did this 5-6 times.

Then we took our train ride which usually has him snuggling in close watching apprehensively as everything passes.  This time he was laughing, waving his arms in the air and squealing.  We tried the carousel where he usually clings to us in fear and again he was laughing and giggling, screaming with joy.  We asked him if he wanted to do it again and he said a clear 'Yes!"  It was a thrilling day for all of us and we were all quite exhausted when we came home

The week later we went to a similar event that was much smaller in scale.  He watched Pumpkin play with different sensory bins and  It usually takes some trickry to get him to stick his hands into new materials, but not this time.  Obviously some were tolerated more than others but he was trying new things!

While we were there he was great at listening to instructions, sitting and waiting patiently while Leora got her balloon, or while I grabbed a snack.  These gave me the courage to try the petting zoo with him.  He's fairly shy of animals, especially when they're larger than himself.  We had never attempted the pony rides but watching Leora on it I decided it was time to try.  I asked him if he wanted to ride the horsey and he said yes. (his automatic reply to everything is a no until it registers that we're offering him food he likes then he changes it to a yes)  The reply had me pretty surprised but he was watching everything carefully so I figured it wasn't a mistake.  When it was our turn he walked up to the pony, put a gentle hand on it.  I could see the size of the animal was making him change his mind so I told him I was going to pick him up and put him on.  With a little help he sat up and smiled.  We did high fives and petted 'Sugar'.  Then things started moving.  With one hand on me and one on the saddle horn he was curious, then aware, anxious and finally he was done.  He slide off into my arms and proudly gave high fives to Pumpkin aware that he did something a little scary but he did it well.  There was no screaming, no hitting or kicking, no fits of any sorts.  He was tired though and after another snack he clearly wanted to go home and i honored that wish.

We attempted to get him into a harness at AZ on the Rocks.  He did it so nicely that I thought I might as well hook him up to see if he'd climb.  Apparently he'd been watching us, he threw down his paper he was flipping and began climbing.  Although he didn't get too far I was pretty darn impressed that he did it.  These skills have paid off as he's gone hiking to harder areas.

This impromptu hike at Papago Park really had him working hard to get to all the caves the others were going to.

I am so incredibly proud of this little man.  I love his zest for life and I love to see him grow.  His triumphs will never make any world records but they make my world turn.  His birthday is this month as well as the World Down Syndrome celebration.  I'm so grateful for the unexpected gift you are.  You are moving mountains!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Christmas 2018

It never cease to amaze me how quickly Christmas comes and goes.  So much gets pack into a month and there's so many feelings that go with it all that can't be captured in words.  Hopefully the pictures will spark some of that when we look back on it.
 We got some presents from some our favorite people.  Our respite worker (Ms. Mary) has become a favorite fixture in our home for everyone, especially Bubby.  He will grab her hand as soon as she comes to go swinging in the back.  Pumpkin always is darling with her and so she's become an adopted Grandma of sorts, bringing story books or small toys from the dollar store.  We love her!
 The Harrisons are a couple I visit with often and has always been so kind to make candy trains for us at this time of year.  This year she gave up blankets as well everyone loved them!
 We found some unique light shows around the valley and went out in our PJs to enjoy them as a family.
 Kent's siblings and their families came to our home for the Christmas Eve party.  We see each other so little so there's always some catching up to do.

 These two are such hams together!  We just wished they weren't on the other side of the valley because they love each other so much!

 Sitting around waiting for the big man in red to appear.

 We finally had a tiny little one for Santa's lap and heard the good news of Jess and her baby to come.  Just Bug-love and Pumpkin sat on Santa's lap this year and Santa felt the need to make her Christmas wish come true by giving her a Paw Patrol stuffed animal.

 Pumpkin's response to her gift was perfect delight, on everyone's part.  She won't be this little much longer so I love seeing the magic that it is when wishes come true.
 These guys are too big and cool for Santa but they sure had fun playing games together.
Christmas day is always a joy.  In general we've tried not to make it about big things, most of the kids get their presents for each other at a second hand store or dollar store.  We do try to make it about thoughtfulness, something they know the other person will enjoy.  This year Bud was particularly thoughtful and it showed in how his gifts were recieved.   It warms my soul to see this sensitive side finding expression.

 Snuggles are always the best!
 A surprise gift of slippers, even a Pokemon themed one for Bud which has seen a ton of use since.

 After the chaos everyone settled into books and puzzles.

It was Ms. Mary's birthday so I had prepped a cake, a rather sad attempt at a chrismas tree, and we stopped by in the early afternoon to surprise her.  We got to meet one of her sons that we hear so much about and help to get Chloe her dog dressed for the day!

Things were fairly quiet and content post-Christmas. So much satisfaction was found in their new art sets that the spent the remaining hours on that. We started a 500 piece puzzle as a family on the 29th and finished it in 4 days.  Pumpkin won some tickets to go to the movie theater so I went with 3 of them to see Mary Poppins which we loved.

Park days with friends filled the in between times.  Bud got a kick out of digging tons of holes with connecting tunnels.  Somehow he got everyone into the fun.

We also celebrated our Baba's birthday.  Kent bought his own Cannoli cake from a special bakery not too far from his work place.  We place it in our fridge and somehow Bubby got to it and decided to redecorate it.  I asked if he wanted a new cake and he said, "Are you kidding?  this is the stuff memories are made of!" so we piled the remnants onto a plate and plugged in some candles!

It was a wonderful holiday filled with laughter and fun.  I'm so blessed to have this crowd to grow old with!

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Ngai Thanksgiving

As I get older the more I realize that family is worth time, energy and money.  My siblings and I haven't been able to have the contact I always wished for, due to life, circumstances, etc.  One of my brothers had moved to Utah for school and finally 3/4 were all in the same country, if somewhat spread out.  A few months before Thanksgiving we realized we'd all be in fairly close proximity, Joe and Becky (residing in Texas) would be with her family in Las Vegas.  Somehow we pulled it together so we could all spend time with the cousins playing.  It was wonderful!

James and Sam came out from Utah and we got a place with kitchen right next to each other.  My kids didn't want to leave their little ones and Bug-love was a popular attraction for both of them.  She adores little ones.  Pumpkin got to play big sister to this cutie and Bud was an outlet for a ton of energy.
 Learning all things Pokemon from a pro!
With Chinatown nearby and a Costco run just beforehand so we were set for food.  We spent our days sightseeing and playing at Bass Pro Shop the and meeting Santa. 

 The girls adored the mermaids and Pumpkin was thrilled to have her recognize her with her hands.

Snuggling/wrestling and lots of giggling for this girl!  She couldn't get enough of the little ones!

 Three out of four of the Ngai siblings!
After Thanksgiving day all 3 families met up at the park where the cousins played happily and the adults got caught up on life.  The three of us really haven't been together since James and Sam's wedding.  Looking back on the pictures both Joe and I have really aged.

A simple game of running up and down a incline that wore out all the littles and gave them good appetites for lunch.

Pumpkin LOVED all her cousins and was planning playdates as if they lived just down the street.

I had to chuckle when Bug asked if these little ones were really cousins.  We call all our Asian friends as 'Auntie or Uncle So and So' so naturally they thought all those friends were related.  It was a source of satisfaction to her that she was playing with her actual cousins and just loved all of them.  Hooray for family and when life serendipitously brings us within driving distance of each other.  The years will fly by and these little faces won't be little for much longer.  Here's to making memories.