Gio is three years old. He turned three in October. It is a little obvious that with the Down Syndrome there will be several things that are not "normal" and he will be delayed. As I have mentioned before, Gio doesn't have a very large vocabulary. He doesn't hold a conversation. When communicating with him it's still a lot of yes or no questions, or asking him to point to what he needs. He was signing a lot while he was receiving speech therapy, but that had to stop because he turned 3 and he was suppose to start school in January, but I have decided against it and have him wait until the fall. I was told he can be referred to a speech therapist while we wait for him to start school so I will be looking into that. It's a bit upsetting to see him regress. For a while he was counting everything and very clearly and he signed "please" and "more" and "milk" and saying "teta" (bottle). Now I can barely get him to count to three on his own and he refuses to sign. Part of it is my fault because I take advantage of his progressions. I forget that I have to constantly repeat things to him or he forgets it. When I count to him to ten he will just say "uno" or "dos" over. I did, however, get him to say "agua" (water) yesterday, and that means he is going to take a bath.
I helped a lot with my sister when she was born and as she grew. I took for granted how quickly she picked up on things and how she would remember everything, as long as she was shown once. I mentally compare her and Gio all the time. How old she was when she started walking, how much she talked when she was three, how independent she was when she was four. My sister was three while I was pregnant and she asked millions of questions. Her curiosity was annoying, but now I get jealous. I'm so mad that I didn't enjoy and take the time to answer her questions and listen to what she had to say and just admire her knowledge at such a young age. While I was pregnant, she asked me "how did a baby get inside your tummy?" I laughed and told her I ate it. She told a friend's little cousin that the baby was a little seed that was running, running and that I wanted a baby so I caught it and ate it. They were both so shocked that I ate babies. It was hilarious. Her imagination at that age was icnredible and still is to this day. She is extremely smart and creative. This is what I expected my son to be at the age of three.
When I express myself to people, most of the time the responses are "but he IS smart, he learns so quickly," "he will talk don't worry," "he knows how to talk he's just lazy," "he's just babied too much," "a lot of three year olds don't talk." All of these I know come with good intentions, but sometimes I just wish someone would tell me that it's ok that he doesn't talk, but for them to acknowledge he has Down Syndrome. I wish instead of making excuses someone would help me find a way to help him. I do get lazy A LOT, but because I'm in so much denial still. I keep thinking it'll go away and tomorrow he will be asking me why his dad always falls asleep on the couch, or why Mater is so good at wrestling, or how far away the moon is because Mater got there really fast, or why Jack can't be Santa Claus why does he have to be the Pumpkin King. I want him to tell me to tell Santa Claus that he wants a Chuck dumptruck for Christmas. I want him to ask me to make him chicken with rice for dinner or to change the T.V. to the bubble guppies. He IS smart and he IS amazing. I wish I knew what he was thinking. Sometimes I catch him staring blankly as though he was lost in some very interesting thought. He laughs at random things in certain movies he's seen over and over and I want to ask him what he found so funny this time that he didn't see last time. I am so excited for the day he will communicate freely with me. I daydream about conversations we will have in the future and how he will respond and things we will laugh at together. The places he'll ask me to take him to. Until then, I'll pretend we have these conversations and continue to push him to communicate with him even when he's frustrated and annoyed that we pressure him.
It blows my mind how much we take advatange of on a day to day basis. You expect for your kids to be "normal" that when life throws you those curveballs it's a pain that won't go away. It isn't even self-pity, as most people would assume. It's a pain of knowing you're child won't experience things a certain way and since we live life that particular way. Everyone keeps asking what I want for Christmas and what I'm going to give Gio for Christmas. Of course I'm going to get him actual presents that he can open, but the one thing I'm going to give him is my patience and love and my presence. I won't ever let him feel alone even if it means I stand next to him for 24 hours straight so he allows me to get a break. I think the reason I can't decide what I want is because I don't need anything. I'm truly blessed, all I want for Christmas is his happiness. As cheesy as it sounds it's real, I want a whole lifetime with him. Forever; and if he never learns to really talk I will sign with him til my hands fall off. Whatever it takes.
Merry Christmas to everyone! (: