Warning: Extreme photo overload...probably my way of compensating for my feelings...you will understand if you stick with this post for awhile.
Sweet Pea's preschool visited a pumpkin patch last week.
This is Sweet Pea's general education teacher (I'm loving Angel's scowl):
And this is the moment that Sweet Pea became infatuated with hay:
It's a pretty pathetic pumpkin patch in the parking lot of mall...but that is what we get when we live in the city. It's big enough for the kids to enjoy. They had a bounce house where the kids could be in for a whole 5 minutes. That was the first time my kids were ever given a time limit in a bounce house and I wasn't sure how either was going to handle getting out when the 5 minutes was up. They play in them for hours at parties! I gave them lots of warning as the time counted down and the three boys from her school that were in the bounce house set a great example by getting out without any complaints and so I was thrilled when my girls slowly...very slowly...followed suit.
More alike than different...check out what both girls are doing in these next photos...at different times:
Reminding herself to be careful (she always signs "careful" as she says it):
Again...more alike...look at their positions...
Proof that there weren't any tears upon exiting the bounce house:
With our admittance fee we received feed for the animals. This didn't go well last year so I expected that feeding the goats was going to be a challenge again. I enlisted the help of Sweet Pea's inclusion specialist...Sweet Pea ADORES her and I think it is a two way street!
She is sitting very comfortable with her at this point, but that changes...
Hanging on for dear life as the goats approach them:
Angel thinking about feeding the goats:
And she actually fed them! Only once, but she let them eat out of her hand:
And then there was Sweet Pea...she held onto the food and started to approach the goats...
And then she dropped it and backed up...
The amazing thing is that she actually looks kind of happy here...please don't be fooled...no screams, but not happiness either:
When we gave up on feeding the goats we moved onto the line for the pony rides. We stood in this line for probably 10-15 minutes and so to kill time I tried to get a cute photo of them. Fail again! This time it was Angel who wanted nothing to do with it as the feeling of the hay on her bare legs was anything but enjoyable for her. Yes...she is a drama queen!
At least Sweet Pea was accepting of having her photo taken. I think she was happy that she was off the ground and away from any animals.
Photo shoot over mom!
Even though Angel hadn't wanted to feed the goats, I didn't think anything of it. She was just being Angel. Sweet Pea had done what I expected as well up to this point...all was fine in my head. And that is where the fun ended for this trip...at least for me...
When we finally got to the front of the line I walked Sweet Pea up to the pony and she FREAKED out! She screamed bloody murder and climbed me like I was a coconut tree and she was desperate for some coconuts! I couldn't get her to even look at the pony. The lady that was working it was ZERO help as she basically pushed us out and never looked at us again. I was standing outside the gate trying to talk to Sweet Pea about riding the ponies and wanted to try to put Angel on one, but the lady never gave us another shot. I was so annoyed that she wouldn't try to work with a child at all. Yes, the place was fairly busy, but if you cater to kids and to preschools shouldn't you at least give the children a chance? She wasn't willing to have our inclusion specialist walk next to the pony with Sweet Pea or anything to help our attempts.
I am still annoyed by this situation and I think the workers reaction was one thing, but the fact that EVERY other kid had no issues really got to me. I don't like to have Sweet Pea stand out in negative ways and this was a big one. I want her to show the world that having Down syndrome doesn't make her that much different. I know that many typical kids have issues with riding ponies, but none did while we were there waiting in line or while we were watching after. I automatically go to the DS when I try to find the cause of some negative action even though I know that it isn't always the root cause. Sometimes it is just typical behavior, but I tend to try to fault DS, because there is no way that a child of mine could EVER act out if she didn't have DS. (Ha! Ha! Ha! I could die laughing at that thought!) Anyway, I just think that when people see Sweet Pea misbehaving, they automatically go to DS as the reasoning and it bothers me greatly. I wish it didn't, but it does! I don't want Sweet Pea to stand out for any reason other than being her amazing self. She shines in so many ways and draws people to her in so many situations that it pains me when she isn't doing that. I guess I'm spoiled by the good side of Sweet Pea? I don't know. I hope one day I won't cringe in horror when she has an episode, but I probably will. I don't cringe in horror when Angel has one of her typical meltdowns because she is just who she is...a tiny tyrant. But with Sweet Pea it's different. It absolutely shouldn't be, but it is.
Looking at these pictures makes me realize that Sweet Pea had a great time at the pumpkin patch...why couldn't I? I felt horrible as it happened and now I feel even worse realizing that she did have a great time even if she didn't want to do everything that I had on the agenda. She played there for almost 2 hours! Most of the other kids had already left by the time we were leaving and both girls would have been content to stay even longer if I had brought food for them. Oh so frustrating knowing that I couldn't get past my mental hangup and live in the moment like my girls do!
I've been delaying writing this post for a few days now as I just haven't wanted to confront these feelings. I came across this post on Ella Grace with a Pretty Face and I understood it completely. Sweet Pea has some sensory issues and you never know from one minute to the next how she will respond to situations. People will ask me if she likes X and I just have to look at them, shrug and say "maybe...depends on the day". That always makes me feel horrible...like I don't know my own daughter, but it's true. Sensory issues are so difficult to pin down! They are improving, but I don't know if what we are doing is helping or if it is just timing and something will cause them to spike again. I pray it won't, but who knows!
Confessional over...on to happier times...
Angel did lots of squatting since she didn't like the hay when she sat on it:
Teacher teacher...look what I found!
Angel is so proud of herself:
Teacher teacher! Look at the hay I found! She was infatuated with both her teacher and the hay. She kept running up to her everywhere and showing her the hay she would pick up. It was sweet to watch as I don't get to see her interact with her general education teacher very often. She is busy working the door at pick-ups and drop-offs so it was really nice to see how much Sweet Pea likes her.
Mom! Teacher liked my hay! Do you want to see it too?
I love Angel's snarl:
I don't know what to call this look...Angel is the girl of a million looks though. If she didn't have such a huge vocabulary her face could say everything that she feels. No poker in her future!
Look Mommy...the hay even bends! She tried to break lots, but unfortunately it mainly just bent...despite her best efforts. She would say "break" but amazingly enough the hay didn't obey.
This was the best picture I could get of them with their tiny pumpkins that they got to take home.
To end the morning we stopped by her old center based therapy classroom and visited with many of the therapists and aides that were still working there. It was great to see everyone and it was especially nice to hear all the praises of how much both girls have grown and changed in the 6 months since she graduated. We participated in their closing circle time and it was fun to see how comfortable she was there even though the kids were pretty much all new and it had been so long since she had been there herself. A fun ending to what should have been a fun morning...and was if only I could get over myself!