Happy 4th Birthday, little Miracle!

Matthew,

It’s hard to believe that you are four years old today!

Yet, at the same time, it seems like a lifetime ago that you were born – so fragile and so sick, to parents who were so scared for you.

You have blessed us more than I can say in the last 4 years.  You have surprised us, challenged us, and entertained us.  You have the sweetest, most loving personality I have ever seen, and your concern for others is far beyond your years.  You have taught us more about love than you’ll ever know.

You are stubborn, and you are determined, but these traits suit you and will serve you well.

You are adorable, and attract attention everywhere we go.  You either stubbornly refuse to talk to strangers, or you smile, wave, and say “Hello, how are you?” to everyone!  (It sounds like only two words when you say it, though:  “Hewwo.  ow-are-oo?”)  You can recognize letters and say them, you are getting so much better at expressing yourself verbally, you love to sit at the end of our driveway and wave at the cars and trucks that go by.  You say, “Hi, black car!  Bye, black car!” and correctly identify the colors every time.

We are so proud of you.

(We are especially proud that you learned to use the potty this week.  🙂 )

We love you so much,

Mommy & Daddy

Our Potty Training Adventure

Potty training.

Oh boy.

Where do I start?

We knew Matthew was ready.  He was showing all the signs… literally.  He would sign “potty” to me as he squatted to fill a diaper.  He could stay dry for hours at a time, he knew what the potty was for, and had even successfully used the toilet on occasion when we caught him at the right time and in the right mood.

But, it was starting to become a battle.  He did NOT want to sit on the potty – didn’t want anything to do with it.  His stubborn streak – which is very, very wide – was asserting itself, and he was saying he did NOT want to do what we wanted him to do!

I knew I needed help.  Thinking back to how we potty trained Micah, there were a lot of conversations, a lot of bargaining, bribing, etc.  I knew that approach just wasn’t going to work.  There is NO bribing or bargaining with a stubborn 3-yo whose verbal skills are still quite limited.

So, I started looking for books.  As usual, most of the resources I found were written for kids with autism, but would have something in the subtitle about “…and children with other developmental disorders.”  grr.  Down syndrome and Autism are very, very different, and sometimes I still get frustrated by the lack of resources available for our little T21 kiddos.

One book stood out to me, though: “Ready, Set, Potty!”  I liked it because it made potty training “fun,” encouraged you to tailor the method to fit your child, and had success with kids with limited verbal skills.  We decided to read the book, commit 100%, and go for it.  With the carpet cleaner on stand-by, we embarked on our adventure.

That was two weeks ago.

Today, I’m excited to report a major milestone.  A breakthrough!  Matthew had NO accidents for the entire day today!  He went #1 and #2 in the potty without a single fight or complaint!

Getting there wasn’t easy.  The last two weeks have been difficult, exhausting, and frustrating to say the least.  We had to modify our methods, try different strategies, beg, plead, scold, and celebrate like you’ve never seen when there was a “success.”  We started going “by the book,” but deviated significantly by the end.  I’d tell you all about it, but I’m too worn out from the past two weeks.  I’ll share more details later for those of you who embarking on your own adventure … because there is no book titled “how to potty-train your especially stubborn 3-year-old who has speech delays & Down syndrome.”

1st day of Kindergarten

First day of Kindergarten

Micah started Kindergarten today, and loved it.  I know – it’s Labor Day – but I wanted our “first day of school” to be a day that Daddy was home to help run interference with our younger two.

I could write pages and pages about our decision to homeschool, but I think the following video will answer a lot of those questions.  We had to homeschool this kid!

When we were done for the day, Micah begged for more.  He’s so eager to learn, fun to teach, and will charm your socks off.  As part of an assignment today (working on rules of capitalization,) he was asked to write a sentence that describes someone in our family.  This is what he wrote:  “The pretty girl is Mommy.

I love you, my Kindergartener!  I’m so excited to be your teacher.