Lauren had her PT and OT evaluations at the University of Michigan Milestones clinic today! Everyone was super nice and Lauren LOVED the therapists.
One of them even asked, "Does she just really like me or is she always like this?"
I promised that while I was sure that Lauren really did like her, she is always like that! I love that Lauren is so friendly. Sometimes she'll stare at people and not really know what to think but as soon as someone is willing to pick her up and play with her she is Miss Congeniality.
Lauren ended up not qualifying for services through the clinic because she is currently at age appropriate level for both fine and gross motor skills! Go Lauren! She's at the 50th percentile for development. They warned that it might slow down a bit as she gets used to her helmet though.
They showed me some different ways to play with her to encourage her to reach for things while sitting supported and on her tummy, how to help her learn to sit up and how to work with her upper body to get her ready to eventually crawl. They said she is doing great!
I wish I could take credit for any of it. But the truth is that Lauren happens to love playing on her tummy which is the #1 thing recommended to help build core strength and upper body strength. Ryan hated tummy time. Lauren loves it!
Sometimes I wonder what will happen when Lauren hits somewhat of a developmental "plateau". She eventually will, whether it be intellectual, physical or both. Will I care? Will I be sad? I might be, just because especially as new parents it's ingrained into us to look at milestone charts to see where our kids are "supposed" to be. It can be challanging to step back and let our kids set their own learning curve, Down syndrome or not. Example: My sisters are both great at sports and we all played softball. Me? I got stuck in right field and everybody prayed I never had to catch anything. I think it's important to encourage our kids to step outside of the comfort zone (hello softball, soccer and track! I drew a line in the sand when it came to basketball. I'm 5' 2!) but it's also a pretty good idea to let a kid decide for themselves which talents they want to foster.
I hope I can remember to take a step back and realize that it isn't about me or what I want for Lauren. It's about Lauren and what she can accomplish (which is a lot!) and what her goals are. I want her to be a ballerina. But maybe she'll want to play soccer! What if I push her to be awesome at math and she just really wants to be a writer, or play the piano, or loves history? What if I want her to be an athlete in the Special Olympics and she's more than content just to watch?
I think that for all parents we tread a fine line between encouragement and pushing just a little too hard. I hope that for Lauren I don't allow Down syndrome to stop me from stepping up to that line. And I hope that my ideas about her future don't allow me to step too far over it. I think maybe all parents worry about this, I know I do with Ryan.
Parenting isn't supposed to be easy. If it was we'd all end up with lazy kids who expect everything to be handed to them. Sometimes it happens even with stellar parenting! Sometimes I worry if I can do a good enough job with my two awesome kids and if I'm capable of leading them into being two awesome adults. Good thing we have help, I really do think it takes a village to raise a child. Lucky for us our village is pretty dang sweet!