The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Back at Preschool

The summer was short this year.  Just barely over two months.  The kids did a lot of playing with friends, a little swimming, a few trips to the zoo and Kings Island and a trip to visit family in Indiana.  Routine and schedule were not really in the vocabulary until the week before school...oops!  Hailey started a week after the boys.  The boys started the day after Brayden's 11th birthday.  I'm not sure where the years have gone! 

The boys are less than thrilled with my annual back to school photos.  They humor me, but not all the smiles are genuine!  Ian started 2nd grade and Brayden headed to 5th grade.

Hailey seemed a little lost without the boys for the week, but the smiles she gave them when they returned home were absolutely priceless!!!  She walked around all week with her backpack.  A week later, it was her turn.  She even chose her own dress.  We were walking through the Disney store when she announced "want it" to this Doc McStuffins dress.  It was hard to say no!  She was happy to put on her backpack, but doesn't always cooperate for the camera.  It normally is a two or three person job!

Look out she comes...ready or not!

She returned without skipping a beat.  No tears, no whining, not even a wave bye for momma.  My big girl was off again.

Since she has started school, we have gotten a few reports from her teacher and therapists.  For the most part, it has all been positive.  We have had a couple of not great words used....defiant...her own agenda...  Hmmm....imagine that!?!?  I love this little girl with all my heart, but neither of those comments surprised me, but they stung a little.  The defiance has gotten better.  Hailey has issues transitioning from one activity to another.  She prefers a:  it to be her idea or b: that she finishes with what she's doing before moving on.  She is like that at home.  Before school this week, she was serving food to her stuffed animals in her play house.  I told her it was time to go to school and she responded quickly with a "no, clean".  She was adamant that she cleaned up the food before she went to school.  Most of the time at home, we can let her finish her thought process before moving onto the next activity.  At school, she doesn't really have that option.  There is a schedule and she needs to follow it along with the rest of the class.  Her teacher started her with a visual schedule.  It shows a picture of each activity.  She knows that she can look at the schedule to see what it next.  One day she chose to lie on the floor instead of going to the table for snack.  Occasionally, she would look out of the corner of her eye to see if anyone was watching her.  Hmmm...sounds like a little girl who loves attention (shocker there too, huh).  No one gave her the attention and she finally sat down for snack with about 3 minutes left for snack.  Oh well little missy.  The next day, she did much better. 

Hailey's teacher has been fantastic.  She gives me updates randomly throughout the day.  She answers every email and responds with a very detailed account of the day.  I feel sorry for her teacher though because Hailey refuses to talk to her.  She will chat with her until her teacher asks her a direct question...what color is this, what shape, etc?  Not sure how evaluations will go if she won't talk to her!  She does seem to talk to her speech therapist and occupational therapist.  Her physical therapist said Hailey seems to have her own agenda, but is very cooperative.  I'm grateful to have a team that keeps plugging away at that attitude to provide her with fantastic services and pushing her to learn. 

Hailey loves kids and being around them all.  She loves the playground.  Her favorite center is the dramatic play one which is set up like a pet shop...hmmm....sounds a little like Doc McStuffins :-)  She loves learning the songs and movements. 

I'm happy to see the progress she has made.  I'm happy to see her growing up.  She never runs or dashes away at school.  It has rubbed off a little at home.  She doesn't dart quite as much.  Her speech improves every day.  We are getting closer to jumping and her fine motor skills are improving. 

We have had a few bumps and I'm positive we will have more along with way.  It's a learning experience for us all, but the main thing is everyone has Hailey's best interest in mind and she LOVES school!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hailey's New Found Love

Well, maybe it's not Hailey's new found love, but it is something we didn't realize before.  Hailey LOVES cats and big dogs.  It's a little funny because we do not have pets and the boys have always been apprehensive around pets and animals.  I first noticed it when Hailey was at therapy at children's hospital.  They have a dog visitation program.  It's not uncommon to see dogs walking through the halls and waiting rooms.  Hailey has always loved seeing them.  She seemed to love the bigger dogs and backs away from the smaller ones.  She prefers them to be substantially bigger than her. 

This summer we visited family in Indiana.  We stayed with my sister-in-law who has a large dog.  This is what we saw. 

If you were ever searching for Hailey, you just needed to figure out where Skip was...Hailey would be close by.

Apparently, Skip makes a good pillow...not sure Skip is as convinced!

Not sure what it is about big dogs that Hailey love so much.  Maybe they are calmer than small dogs.  She is super gentle with them, too.  I was worried since we don't have pets that she would be rougher or pull on him, but she is super gentle and just wants to be near them and love them.  There are no pets in our future, but I do love watching her with dogs.  It is so sweet!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Who is Hailey?

In honor of the Buddy Walk which is Saturday, I made a new "Who is Hailey?" profile pic.  Someone kindly pointed out that I left out a lot of adjectives for my daughter.  I admit I did, but I could only fit 10 or so.  It's funny, I made a similar one about 6 months ago for World Down Syndrome Day.  Most of them are the same, but just like any toddler a few new ones have emerged.  We had to add "dog lover" to this one...that's an entirely different post!

I always want others to see that Hailey isn't Down syndrome.  I want them to see what we see.  Yes, it is a part of her, but she is so much more!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Favorite Event is Almost Here!

 This weekend is an event that we as a family look forward to every year...The Buddy Walk!  The Buddy Walk® was established in 1995 to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Worldwide, The Buddy Walk has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to over 250 walks planned in 2013 (2014?). Last year, 295,000 people across the country raised more than $11.75 million to support local programs and services, as well as National Down Syndrome Society advocacy and public awareness initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.

In Cincinnati, 50% of our Down syndrome associations needed resources are raised during this event.   Hailey and her friends benefit so much from this fundraiser.  She has attended group physical therapy sessions and sign language classes.  She attends a Christmas party and an Easter get together.  We had someone from the Down syndrome association visit us at our house shortly after she was born.  Now that she is older there are other programs we can participate in, but with two older brothers in sports, we are having a difficult time getting to some of them.  Our local association also funds the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network.  Their mission is to ensure that every child born with Down syndrome has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family.  They do not charge a fee for their services.  Last year was a banner year not only in terms of money raised but also participants.  Over 11,500 people walked!!! 

The Buddy Walk to us is so much more than a fundraiser.  Yes, that's the main purpose for the event, but to us it's just a part of it.  The Buddy Walk to us is over 11,000 people together celebrating one thing...individuals with Down syndrome.  Every one there knows someone or is related to someone or has been touched by someone with Down syndrome.  Down syndrome is the norm there....Hailey isn't "atypical" there.  She's one of the stars.

We missed the first year Hailey was with us.  We had just come off of an unexpected diagnosis and open heart surgery.  We decided to lay low for the first year.  The first year we participated was 2012.  Hailey was 18 months old.  She was still such a little peanut.  I would be lying if I said the event doesn't bring tears to my eyes every year because it does.  It's overwhelming.  To see that many people there to support Down syndrome makes me speechless (and not much does!).  The boys look forward to the Buddy Walk every year.  This year both boys have decided to miss their soccer games to attend.  The boys might like it because of all the free food, but they would never admit to it :-)  It's important to all of us. 

Last year our team was smaller.  Big brother decided to play his soccer game.

If you ever get a chance to attend a Buddy Walk, please do!  I think everyone should attend one in their lifetime.  I think if you go once though, you will want to go again!  The more the merrier!!!  It's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!!