Saturday, March 26, 2011


I was reluctant for it to happen -- but it's not like it's something I can control.

Liam's visiting teacher suggested we get a clear canister, put something Liam may want in it, and get him to hand it to one of us as a way of communicating, "I want help with this." Not an easy task: if he doesn't want it, he won't do it, and if he wants it too much, he'll shake it, see it doesn't come out, get angry, throw it, and want nothing more to do with it.

Marisa was able to move it with his hands toward her, open it, and with just that he was able to get: I hand it to Mommy and she'll take the ball out. (It turned out to be more interesting to put the ball in, put the lid on, have us screw the lid tight, then hand it over for release, take the ball out, and restart the process, than to actually have the ball.)

We left the ball in, and Charles found it, cried, and when I went over, handed it to me. "Get this out for me!"

The teacher and occupational therapist had a toy guitar for Liam at a recent visit. Would he figure out pushing the buttons? While he looked it over, Charles came over and pushed them. I had to take Charles out in a recent teacher visit; he kept getting between the wait-and-see Liam and the toy and taking over.

Charles is looking over books and saying "woof" (or at least "ff!") when he sees a drawing of a dog. Liam recently followed through a reading of an animal book and made at noises of the animals: neigh, baa, whoo, and of course moo.

I've been feeling sadness when I see Charles catch up. But now it's pretty close to a reality: Charles is trying to run while Liam's still (competently) walking. Charles doesn't have as many words as Liam yet ("hi" and "woof" to Liam's "hi," "no," "toes," "down," "off," "pop"), but he's approaching fast. Liam can put gears on the gear toy; Charles is close. Liam can stack rings; so can Charles. Charles hasn't mastered that whole "feet first when coming off the couch" thing, but he can hand us toys and now points to things he wants (incessantly).

Maybe it's partly personality: Liam is cautious; Charles says, "So what if I face-plant into the door frame? I'll worry about that if it happens!." Maybe it's partly birth order. Maybe it's interest: Charles wants to manipulate things more; Liam's more into music. (Know any Down syndrome rock stars? opera singers? Me neither.) Though Charles is now getting the point in dancing and Liam's of course trying to get control of his hands, when he isn't too pissed off at the possibility of failure to try.

But of course a big part of it is that no-expletive-is-bad-enough Down syndrome.

Yet, while I have teared up a little, I guess I'm adjusting.

Maybe now that Liam is no longer clearly in charge, disdaining his little brother in a stereotypical way, maybe he'll pick up some things from Charles. Maybe his one time of repeating animal sounds out of a book was because Charles was getting it. (Or maybe not. It was different animal sounds.)

Or maybe I'm just telling myself that. One thing seems clear: Liam learns when he's ready to. Sometimes I think all this therapy has no long-term benefit. But I'm sure it has short-term benefit, in that if he didn't have it, he wouldn't be using a spoon or, say, asking Marisa to take a ball out of a canister. We shall see.


  1. One thing that I notice is that Vada brightens up when ever her sisters walk in a room, talk to her and of course, play with her. She loves children. Younger than her or older than her, it doesn't matter. Now that we are able to, I love exposing her to new little ones. I think that in retrospect she will learn more from her peers than she will ever learn from me as an adult. Everyone, having Ds or not, learns in their own way. Your little man is his own person, he will learn and grow to the greatest of his abilities just as my Vada will.

  2. We may not all be in the same situation, but your posts about Liam contain lessons for all of us. I am glad to see that you are still posting from time-to-time, Will.