30 August 2009

That T21 Traveling Afghan is Something Special!

Okay, so not only is the premise of the T21 Traveling Afghan amazing, but I think that afghan carries some special mojo. In the week Sheridan had the afghan (which was, admittedly, a while ago), he accomplished many, many firsts. And made great strides in other areas. But we'll get to that...

Warning: Excessive LOTS of Pictures Follow (so it's a pretty long post - I promise that one of these days I will learn how to make collages so my posts aren't so long)

First, Sheridan received the afghan just in time for the National Down Syndrome Congress annual convention. I opened the box (just to get it started) and set it down next to Sheridan. I walked five feet away to get my camera (silly Mommy for not having the camera ready), and when I turned around Sheridan already had it out of the box and was rolling with it. Ok, so no pics of the unveiling of the afghan, but we quickly whisked Sheridan and the afghan up and headed out to the convention...

Where he played with the afghan in our hotel room.

(he's laughing really hard here)

And he cruised the exhibit hall checking out the amazing art created by people with Ds.

And he met up with his gal pal, Playette. He shared the afghan for a few minutes, and assured her she would be getting the afghan soon (and she will, in just a couple weeks!).

But pretty much Sheridan just put the afghan to work...

The afghan came with us to the blogger lunch, but I was so busy feeding Sheridan, dealing with poor service (like, nobody coming to take our order for over 45 mintues!!), and rushing to get back to the next session, that the poor afghan just did it's work (hanging out on Sheridan's stroller) without fanfare. I planned a great photo op with the babies, but I was so rushed at the end (and some of the babes fell asleep) that the pic never happened. I take full responsibility for that...

But, I at least have proof that the afghan was at the convention.

And the rest of the week was busy for the afghan (I'm tellin' you, that boy put it to work!). It was with him during music therapy...

I had to stop taking pictures because it was distracting Sheridan from the task at hand. Which is why I didn't take pics of Sheridan doing physical therapy and occupational therapy on the afghan, but the afghan definitely provided him with some comfort during all of his hard work.

He did use it as a comfy place to grub after a hard workout in water therapy (I often feed him lunch in the back of the car because he's so hungry after the hour-long session).

The afghan went everywhere with us. Literally.

Of course, Sheridan had to give the afghan a proper welcome to California! What better way than a photo op at the State Capitol?

Um, exactly what is Sheridan trying to tell Governor Schwarzenegger and the CA legislature about the massive cuts to services for people with disabilities? (click on the picture below to see his message clearly)

Not very subtle, Sheridan. And you shouldn't use that kind of language... but good boy for standing up for your rights!

The afghan went with Sheridan to the park to watch Gary play basektball and then go on the swings... and Sheridan's poof was in rare form!

How does his hair do this????

Sheridan took his first photographs. First, he wrestled the camera away from me.

Then took two pictures. Imagine that. They were both of the afghan.

We went to Trader Joe's. Sheridan likes the overhead fans in the flower section.

To Nopalitos where we met Gary for lunch.

Ok, so we eat at Nopalitos A LOT. It's owned by a husband and wife team and they make the best pancakes in the city (truly!). And both their American and Southwest breakfasts and lunches are yuuuuuuummmmy! It's a wonder I haven't turned into a burrito. Or a chocolate chip cookie (the owner, Rose, makes the best chocolate chip cookies fresh every morning). If any of you ever come to Sacramento, we'll take you there for breakfast or lunch. It's the best! Here's Sheridan with Miss Rose...

To Whole Paycheck Foods.

Exactly what is Gary teaching that boy?

I guess Sheridan will be the first sommelier in the family!

To family night at Bertha Henschel Park.

(this is how he claps when he's excited... flap flap flap)

(he really loves looking and feeling the grass through the holes)

Our good friend, Kimo, tried to play ball with Sheridan.

But Sheridan would have none of it. Kimo makes Sheridan cry. Kimo makes me cry, too, so I can't blame the boy.

To a playdate with John Michael.

To visit Miss Jen (ok, so I left the afghan in the car, but it was technically there!).

To the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

It was with us when we had to live like nomads when we had a power outage. Here it is keeping Sheridan warm as we invade move in to my dad's house temporarily.

In fact, he slept with it during the day quite a bit. But he always preferred his own afghan at night, which is fine by me!

But most of all... he just played with the afghan. And played. And played.

And then came the day we had to pass it along to the next child... John Michael! We met in the park for a play date so we could do the hand off. Sheridan was, should we say, less than happy to part with the afghan...

But eventually he acted was happy to pass it on so John Michael could have his turn with the afghan.

Even if Sheridan did try to take it back at one point...

And John Michael began enjoying the afghan immediately, and playing with Gary's head.

As you can see, Sheridan loved his time with the afghan and recovered quickly from its absence (he does have an afghan of his own, after all!).

And remember that special mojo I mentioned? Well here are the new things Sheridan did that week. Witnessed (or perhaps motivated?!) by the afghan...

1. He stood at the couch. He didn't pull himself up, but he did hold himself in place while playing with the afghan. (And now he does this all the time!)

2. He began crawling. Backwards. Yep, he learned to push himself backwards to get where he wants to go. So, between the rolling, pivoting, and now backwards pushing, he's all over the place.

I left him here:

I found him here (he's the small thing at the end of the carpet - note the afghan on the couch overseeing the situation):

And here he goes again...

3. He improved his abilities in quadruped. Again, the afghan was there for support.

4. He made the sign for "more" for the first time. Lately he grabs our hands to make us make the sign (he does this for clapping, too), and after I let him do that, I say "more" and I lightly hold his elbows (trying to wean him from hand-over-hand on this sign that he truly understands now)... and this week he actually put his hands together, fingers first, and then clasped them gently together to make his own baby sign for "more"!

5. He added all kinds of new sounds (r, l, bl) to his babbling. He started babbling more. And louder. And he's using his existing sounds we've been working on (for example: m, o, oo, b, ee, d) a lot more in his babbling. Making all kinds of sound combinations. It's so much fun!

6. He made great strides with his pincer grasp. Which means that when he finds a stray cereal O on the ground, he's on a mission to pick it up!

I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that I hoped Sheridan would finally have his two front teeth come through while the afghan was here. He had a few really bad teething days and I was hoping the mojo would work for him... but alas those stubborn teeth wouldn't give in (or come out, however you want to say it).

It has been amazing to see Sheridan grow so much during his week with the afghan. And it's a wonderful memory for my family to know that this afghan was created out of love, connects us to a nation-wide (and international!) family we never knew we'd have, and that Sheridan's accomplishments are now forever connected to the afghan and all of the people with Ds who have already, and will, share it with us. It is truly a beautiful thing. And for that I deeply thank CJ.