31/52 {noticing differences}

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“Mum,” Charlie started, “when Nicholas has his next birthday and turns four, he’ll be talking like me.”

Statements like these always catch me a little off guard. Because it means that they’ve noticed differences between themselves and the little brother they adore. Because one day we won’t be in our safe little Love cocoon and other kids will notice differences too.

“Well,” I responded, “he might be. But you know how Nicholas has Down syndrome? Sometimes kids with Down syndrome take a little longer to talk.”

“Oh, okay,” he said, and in the next instant he was chatting about something else.

Days later, I heard Charlie in Nicholas’ room early in the morning, giving his own version of speech therapy and asking Nicholas to repeat various words. After Nicholas attempting quite a number of words successfully, Charlie ran into my room and announced excitedly, “Mum! He does know lots of words!”

After babbling from very early on and saying “hello” quite clearly at 12 months, I had optimistic visions of Nicholas’ language progressing similarly to his typical peers. Like his other milestones, I expected it may be a little slower than typical children, but would increase incrementally in a similar fashion to his older brothers. That certainly hasn’t been the case. At three, I can’t imagine many people other than his immediate family could interpret his words and he is far from speaking in sentences.

However, ever the optimist, I am still encouraged by his progress, even if his timeline is a different to what I anticipated. His receptive language (his understanding) has been very good from quite a young age, and he is definitely attempting more new words and sounds lately. I always leave our speech therapy appointments feeling uplifted, as our ST points out various things that Nicholas is doing that are apparently great signs for speech development (like doing pretend play, saying new words that show improved tone in his facial muscles, etc). Our littlest Love may not be conversing like your average three year old, but he sure is good at getting his point across. And, just quietly, the other two can talk under water so there are some benefits to the third not being quite so verbose just yet 😉

Charlie was our photographer for some of the shots this week, capturing Mummalove on the other side of the camera for a change. We love the way Nicholas looks at the camera when Charlie’s behind it – a look reserved only for adored older brothers.

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nicholas: Charlie took your photo this week. Daddy loves it, because you aren’t giving the big cheesy smile like you often give Daddy or I when we’re taking the photos. You are looking at the camera the way you look at your beloved Charlie. Have I mentioned lately how much we love hanging out with you? You really do rock, and you impress us every day.

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charlie: You love the feel of my soft scarf, holding it against your face or wrapping it around your neck. “It’s so cosy,” you told me. I think it looks quite glamorous on you, especially with your ruby lips from the winter wind. I cherished spending a morning in your classroom this week, doing group work rotations and sharing in your class liturgy. Being a bit sniffly, you appreciated the extra snuggles during your school day too, I think.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my youngest boys every week in 2015.

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