The time has come – Violet is now talking more than Seren. Violet is 15 months old today and Seren is 3 years and 1 month old.
I think Violet overtook Seren in terms of her speech about a month ago, but Seren still is ahead of Violet in terms of her understanding, her physicality and her grasp of language and the world around her. In fact, it is this side of Seren that I remain hugely proud of. When Violet was born, I thought she would be about 18 months old when she caught up to Seren on all aspects of development, but I now think it will be more like when Violet is aged 2 – 2.5 years old.
Violet and Seren fight a lot. They are constantly competing for my attention and fight over toys, drinks, food, anything you could possibly imagine. Seren’s extreme jealousy has come as a total shock to me – Ava was never and has never been jealous of her younger siblings so I just didn’t think it would be a trait in Seren’s character. How wrong I was.
Violet’s temperament is so different from her older, confident and outgoing sisters – she is a needy child, never happier than when she is stuck to my hip and is prone to prolonged periods of crying when she isn’t. She has opened my eyes to how hard parenting can get – on a plus point, my little family is definitely complete – I could not contemplate having another child… three is definitely my lot, and Matt has been neutered now anyway, so I can’t change my mind!
So here we are, a month after Seren’s third birthday and in this last month, Violet has expanded her vocabulary and tolerance of Seren. They have started playing together! I have been peeping at them as they have been making each other laugh and have been playing simple games together. It has been so sweet. Seren is still hugely jealous of Violet, but we are having snippets of kindness, snippets of two way play where Seren makes the most of making Violet laugh, and Violet has the funniest laugh… My favourite moments are when all three girls are together and they are all playing and laughing. There is no sweeter sound, no sweeter sight. My girls have the ability to make me deliriously happy!
Seren’s jealousy of Violet is manifesting for a variety of reasons – she has stopped referring to her as a “baby”, and regards her with interest and curiosity as she uses more words and babbles endlessly. I can also confirm that Seren is determined to try more and more words herself (in competition with Violet!) and even though most are completely unintelligible to other people, I am understanding her efforts and lavish her with praise at even the smallest attempt to say a word. I am confident that Seren will speak, however it is definitely her biggest area of delay. Seren still has speech and language therapy (SaLT) but its not ideal as I have no idea what is going on; the SaLT sees Seren in preschool and really I need to have the provision at home again or I need to be there when Seren is being seen/assessed. We are even considering paying for private SaLT because we do feel the provision is inadequate and has been for a long time. Now that Seren is making more effort I feel like we need to ramp up SaLT intervention. As for the “language” part of SaLT – Seren is much better at understanding and has a lot of signs, so we know that it is the “speech” part that needs the most work. Although I am always telling people that she understand a huge amount of what we say, she still surprises me sometimes. The other day I asked her to “go and get Violet’s dummy from upstairs” and she did! I opened the stairgate and let her go upstairs by herself. I waited as she padded along the upstairs landing, went in to Violet’s room, came out and then lobbed the dummy down the stairs at my head.
We have been SO busy over the last weeks, barely having time to unpack one suitcase before we are off on another weekend away. We went up north to visit my Gra (my mums mum) we went to Burnham-on-Sea for a Down’s syndrome meet-up and then we went camping the other week with a group of friends.
I keep telling people how having a child with Down’s syndrome gives us access to a secret world – I only had to mention where I was and someone from the FoD community (Future of Down’s – our online group) came to meet us in a soft play on the outskirts of Manchester, and in Burnham I got to meet even more of the lovely families that I have been chatting to online for a couple of years – it was a wonderful experience and I hope to meet some more families next year! I feel humbled and privileged to part of the FoD community and I often think of how boring my life would be without Seren spicing it up a bit!! We have access to “friends” all over the country and all over the world – far from hindering us in any way, I have found that having Seren has actually enhanced our lives – both socially and emotionally. We are doing things and experiencing things that we simply wouldn’t have without her. Two nights ago I was invited to dinner with the local Rotary Club and Inner Wheel to talk about all things Down’s syndrome – it was a lovely night out and something which I will remember for a long time – another experience which I wouldn’t have had if Seren wasn’t in our family!
Camping weekend with local friends
So now the summer holidays are starting and we are looking forward to spending some lazy days at home as a family – we are also doing a trip to the Isle of Wight for our holiday this year which we are really looking forward to.
Happy holidays everyone!
Here are a couple of interesting bits and pieces – have a look!