It seems like when it comes to Annabelle's appointments, they all happen at once. Maybe because they all are appointments needed around the same age. It gets overwhelming and brings me back to a reality that I guess I typically stay out of. When I think of Annabelle and raising her, Down Syndrome is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. I don't talk about it a lot. I don't read a lot about it. I don't focus on it. Annabelle, and WHO she is, at this time in her life, is always my focus. There has continued to be 'new' things to focus on with her, and her growth. I also know that there are things she may be slightly behind on, but none of them concern me so much at this point. ALL kids grow up differently, and reach milestones at different times. I was told at the beginning, "Annabelle will do '_______________', but all in HER time.
Sometimes, I want to see it happen in my time, or in the time span of typical milestone charts. (Charts that I no longer look at, but studied during her first months) I just don't focus on where she is behind, as much as being excited about where she IS. I think today, I realized that maybe I do this, not only for HER sake, but for mine. To keep myself out of a bit of reality, so that I don't get overwhelmed by it. I NEVER want to think my child can't do something. I am not avoiding the 'What If's'. I'm not.
Today I felt a little overwhelmed, and Down Syndrome was on my mind. With evaluations, and an ECHO next week, I felt those emotions of a mom with a child with special needs. Not sure why these emotions arose. I wondered if they were emotions that are always there, that I don't allow to rise to the surface. Honestly, yes, I have fears. I also find that sometimes, just sometimes, jealousy, envy, and timidity are my initial reaction to seeing other babies her age ahead of her. That's typical in most mom's I think. Quickly, that reaction is replaced by how stinkin PROUD of her I am and how incredibly, and overwhelmingly thankful I am that Annabelle is mine, and belongs to no one else. The Lord overwhelmes me with peace about our life in the Schmidt house. :)
We have ECI appointments twice a month, with an O.T. We have been focusing so much on her motor skills since she was about 2 or 3 months old. I usually enjoy these meetings, and her OT is typically pretty proud of her progression week to week. Over the last few months, we have been stuck in just about the same spot. With the same goals and homework. Still, I haven't been concerned much about that. I don't think 'Down Syndrome' every meeting. I really think ANNABELLE. Today, we had an evaluation for Annabelle with Early Childhood Intervention. In the past, she has 'scored' right at her appropriate age. Today, she scored about 3 to 4 months behind in just about every area. I am not sure why, but today, I felt overwhelmed by that. They go through and ask questions about what she is doing, and how she is doing things. I hated it when I had to answer the questions with, "no, she doesn't do that", or "no, she can't do that". I almost felt tears well up in my eyes when they told me where she scored. They were very happy with her scores. They were very content and proud of the progress she has made. Me, on the other hand, had one of those times of the initial reaction. I was confused with thoughts I really have not had since the beginning. These thoughts did not last long. Really, they didn't. I do understand these are feelings I will have ocassionaly. My OT gets so pumped up and excited when she talks about her kids she sees. She gets SO excited about their futures and what they will be capable of. She encouraged me so much today just while talking about life in general and bits and pieces of her job. She was not trying to encourage me, cause she did not know I was feeling the way I was. She was just talking in general. I, too, get SO excited about Annabelle's future, and what she IS and WILL be able to do. She's incredible. I would not trade this experience for ANYTHING!! For real!
I had strange mom guilt today,that maybe there were things that I am not doing well enough. Just recently on Facebook, one of my friends updated her status with some clever sentence about how strange mom guilt is. She felt guilty for not taking her kiddos OUT to play enough. Then, she said, "Mom guilt is weird." Its true, it is. So weird. I pray I do everything I can for this girl!!! Everything and anything. And understand that mom guilt is just sometimes weird, and part of parenting.
Last Friday, we enjoyed a little family swim time at Lisa's apartment! Here are some adorable pics of Annabelle. She has THE GREATEST daddy!!!
And, this is her friend Lexi, feeding her some supper. She did a great job, and Annabelle loved it!
A couple cute videos for ya!