Let me tell you a little bit about "the sisters."
Ellie is one of Rapunzel's biggest fans. She has already decided that she wants to go to Disneyland to work when she grows up and become Rapunzel. She can quote the entire movie...no really. Every. Single. Word. And she can belch out the songs! She has always been a good singer but this little girl has an incredible voice and when she sings, we just listen with big goofy smiles plastered on our faces! She is good! So there is no doubt that when it comes to singing, she is a Stumbo.
Ellie also is attending summer school. She was getting bored and said she wanted to go to school. She has loved school. I was a little nervous about sending my girl to school. She went to preschool and she did great, I never even had a hard time sending her to school. No tears, nothing. However, a big public school felt quite different to me. She has thrived! And, this is one of those times when we are so glad that we waited a year to send her to school. Some might call it holding back, but we call it building her confidence and emotional maturity. I think her teacher really likes her and is thankful to have such a great little girl in her class. I know she has been impressed with Ellie.
She is beginning to show a lot of interest in riding bikes and playing kickball and her version of tennis. She is getting good at hitting the ball with the little racket we got and screams in delight every time she hits the ball.
Now we need to work on sharing with her sisters and not yelling at them when they touch one of her "untouchables."
Nina is doing really well from a physical standpoint...most of the time. She is still not wanting to walk. She could do it, but she is terrified of falling. Have you seen terror in a child's face? Standing and walking should not be instances where there is terror, but in Nina's case there is. She can stand and balance for a minute, we think she has it and all of a sudden a switch flips and she collapses in fear. I wonder how many times she fell and nobody was there to catch her. I do wonder how many times there was punishment involved with her disability. I saw Nina's best friend get hit for not walking, which makes me wonder about Nina.
On the other hand, Nina confessed to me a couple of weeks ago while she was taking a break from crying, "At the orphanage when I cried I always got to do what I wanted or Ira did it for me!" This was said with a little attitude.
Nina is really good a sharing...for real! She is the sweetest little thing as she will share with her sisters and with mom and dad. She finds great joy in sharing and I love that about her! She also loves to cuddle since she had surgery. She liked to cuddle before, but I don't think her body "felt" very cuddly. Now, she just likes to be held as she "fits" better in our arms.
In light of the fear of falling, we have been working on this. She has been using her walker outside in our backyard and our yard is not stellar when it comes to even ground. She has taken a few falls and tumbles and she is laughing about it. This is good! We hope this builds her confidence to realize that falling is okay and it is part of learning to walk. And she really loves being outside.
Lately Nina is not so much into photos but rather videos, so here she is being her silly self. You will see that old habits are hard to break. She still puts her knees together for balance because that is how she balanced for 5 years of her life. She also has to be reminded to put her heels down, and the walker as you will see is all about her arms trength and has little to do with using her legs. Still, she is a goof ball!
Nichole is a rascal...as usual. Nothing new there! She is all about climbing lately, can you tell form the pictures?
I feel like she is about to start talking. I mean really talking. When she was a baby I called my friend Leah on a day I was just frustrated about speech not coming along. She reminded me that age 4 is average for kids with Down syndrome to begin talking, and now that we are getting closer to 4, I can really see that. More words, more 2 to 3 word phrases, and lots of repeating! I cannot wait to get her back on speech therapy! We finally get to see a doctor on Thursday to get the referrals we need.
Her transitioning has been...tough. Nichole does not deal well with transition, and having a new house, church, and new people has been pretty intimidating to her. We have yet to have visitors come to our house and Nichole not be hiding in her room and calling them scary. She will not come out to see them and will cling to me or Andy or Ellie. That has been hard. Since she cannot communicate with us well, I think this is her way of dealing with "strangers." So for those wondering if kids with Down syndrome go to anyone that says hi, this is not always true. Nichole us very much all about her family and only her family.
And Nichole loves Barbie. Barbie dolls and Barbie movies. She is one big Barbie fan! And when we go outside to play, she calls for barbie up in the sky (because...she knows the Fairy Secret, and surely they will come) so she ask us to "fly her" so she can be Barbie too. Her pretend play and imagination are pretty superb.
So this is life with "the sisters." Fun, busy, and very girlie. I love it!