Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aug 19th: Annelies's First Class

Wednesday the 19th I took Annelies to her first “Wee Play” class. We were the first ones to arrive (I was very eager, even though I know it is only 5 minutes from my home I left myself 15 minutes to spare…). The class is held in a portable building that is occupied by the Placer County Office of Early Infant Education (or something like that). On the floor was a huge mat covered with squishy toys and Boppy pillows, very welcoming stuff for the around 1 year old crowd.
I met a Mom who had her daughter on the same day Annelies was born. (Until now I had only heard from our PT that there was a child out there who was born on the same day, so I was very excited to meet them.) This child is adorable and already sitting completely by herself (Annelies is almost there). It was nice to talk to this Mom, because until now I have shared very little in person with ‘fellow’ mothers of children with Ds. Very nice Mommy, also works full-time, so her mother will be attending with her Daughter. My Mom will also attend with Annelies on some occasions, so she won't be the only grand mom there. The famous Gracie and her Mom were there (I call her “The Famous Gracie” because she is the one I heard about when Annelies was born. She was born at the same hospital, about 2 1/2 months before Annelies. The nurses told me about how they adapted to the Ds Diagnosis (without getting too personal) and they gave me the family’s number but I never called (was not ready). Grace has the same PT as we do, so I received regular updates about her in the past 6 months. It took me this long to actually meet her Mom (I met her at the Convention). Kind of funny how these things go.
About a month ago I felt I was getting to the point where was feeling ready to meet others and share experiences and now I seem to be meeting them without much effort at all. Gracie’s Mom happened to be at the same workshop at the DS Convention (we had, like, 10 to choose from, about 100 people per room, and she sat down in front of me. I looked at hear badge and recognized part of her last name so I asked her if she was who I thought she was after the lecture). I had heard about the little girl born on the same day as my Daughter (odds of which are so small considering on average only about 15-20 children with Ds are born in the US daily) having 2 in one county on the same day is an interesting coincidence. They will be at the same High School, too. I really wanted to meet them and am glad I will now see them on a regular basis. There was also a little boy who just turned 1 yr old (lucky little dude with all the cute girls in his class!), and another little girl who was a little bit younger than Annelies I think.
The class begins with a circle activity that singles out each child for a few moments. Then we learn about an activity we can do with our child (in this case it was baby massage). After that a play activity, where we focused on getting the kiddo’s interested in a toy and having them rotate their trunk while reaching for it. At the end of the class there is another circle activity.
It is amazing and cool to see the different levels of development, and how quickly the kids develop and learn. At some point in the class I realized I did not see a group of kids with Ds or other disabilities, I saw a group of kids learning and having a good time. Annelies fit right in, she was all over the activities. She paid attention when she was addressed in the circle, and did not get overwhelmed once. I came away from this class exhilarated, and happier than I have felt in a long time. Between this class and the Convention a few weeks back, and the experiences I read about on the message board I really feel that there is no limit to what I can expect Annelies to do and learn, and that makes me so, so hopeful and happy!