Watching Yirmiyahu develop has been amazing. Children with Trisomy 21 have some challenges, one of which is low muscle tone, which means it takes a lot more work for them to develop the motor skills than it does typical kids. It’s like watching a slow motion film, where I can see every tiny step of development, steps that I hardly noticed occurring with my first nine kids.
Yirmiyahu is a pro at climbing stairs and has now also learned to safely climb down, so I’ve been able to remove the unsightly safety gate that we had at the bottom of our spiral staircase. One day I took him to the park and on his first try discovered that without socks on he could climb up the eight foot long slide at the park (about six feet high) by himself! He loved that and after sliding back down the slide once he reached the top, he immediately repeated the feat at least six times in a row.
He doesn’t have any recognizable words yet but babbles a lot and it’s clear he has a lot he wants to say. Even without words, he’s amazingly good at communicating what he wants, combining patting, pointing and making expressive faces. A few days ago I was holding him and ds11 put his arms out to Yirmiyahu. Yirmiyahu shook his head, swatted his brother’s hands and then turned his head away while clutching me more firmly. I told him that ds11 would take him to the park- Yirmiyahu LOVES to go outside- and he turned and dove into ds11’s arms! He makes a beeline for the door as soon as it opens and I’ve told the kids they really need to close it behind them to be sure he doesn’t take his opportunity to go out. He’s fast and he’s the first to notice if the door is open.
Yirmiyahu has been drinking independently from a cup for a while. I’ve never been a fan of bottles nor sippy cups. Yirmiyahu has needed formula so bottles couldn’t be avoided, but when he began drinking water I gave him a cup and he learned to control the flow of liquids pretty quickly.
He’s recently become really interested in books and flashcards, and will climb onto the couch and deliberately flip through books and become absorbed looking at the pictures. In the past it seemed random when he was holding a book and I couldn’t tell how much he was getting from it, which contributed to me not being super consistent about flashcard sessions. Now he climbs into my lap and settles in for a read and loves it! This week we were gifted with several board books for him by a mom who no longer needed them and he was so excited by them. (If you happen to have board books in your home that you’d like to pass along, we’d love to give them a new home! Believe me, they will get a TON of use!)
And what is his latest achievement that has him clapping for himself and us cheering along with him?
And now, for your viewing pleasure, a few short Yirmiyahu clips demonstrating his newest skill!
Yirmiyahu started taking his first step a few weeks ago, and it’s been slow and steady progress as he builds the strength in his core muscles to balance and take more steps. It took him three weeks from the time he took his first step until building up to 5- 6 steps in the last few days. There have been many, many falls along the way though he doesn’t seem to mind. I marvel how he keeps trying and trying, enjoying the process of learning and acquiring mastery without getting discouraged. We could all learn a lot from that attitude!