Natty has always been a
feisty independent little soul.
From persevering until she could feed herself with a spoon, ignoring the fact that she was covered in carrot purée, to dressing herself in a colourful array of inventive costumes that Vivienne Westwood would be proud of, to insisting on climbing up to reach her favourite bowl BY HERSELF! even though you have offered to pass it to her.
Yep, just call her Little Miss Independent.
|Little Miss Independent demonstrates her life skills|
Now sometimes letting your child with Down's syndrome do things by themselves takes a lot longer. You're in hurry for the doctor's appointment and you really need to get in the car. Now.
You feel your frustration mount. But the only way any of us learn is by doing things for ourselves and building on the mistakes that inevitably occur. And at these moments I always remind myself that I don't want Natty to learn to expect others to do things for her, to become reliant on them more than is essential. So I bite my tongue and try to avoid the words, "hurry up" for then all is lost.
So this week, when we came in from school I asked her to get changed into her relaxing clothes and put her painty school cardigan in the laundry basket according to our little routine. I took this moment to nip to 'the smallest room of the house' and on my return heard the washing machine splish-sploshing and turning its load.
But hang on, I hadn't put any laundry on that day.
"Natty, what's in the washing machine?"
I paused for thought, to make sure I reacted in the right way.
"Show me what you did."
"I put the cardigan in. I twist this (turned knob to 40oC quick wash), and I press S-T-A-R-T." She spelled out the word as I do each time I set the mechanical workhorse going.
I hoped my surprise wasn't showing on my face. I have showed her this many times as I chat through what I am doing, and she had remembered exactly. I felt enormously proud of her.
"Did you put washing powder in?"
"Yes. Here." she declared pointing to the soap tray.
I opened the soap tray and asked her which part she had put the soap in.
Her little fingers pointed to the section for main wash, not the pre-wash or conditioner.
"Good work, littlest of smalls," I thought.
Eager not to look shocked, because, well, why should it be a surprise that Natty can complete such a task successfully and by using her own initiative? I gave her a big hug and thanked her for helping me.
"Mummy is so very proud of you Natty."
"I'm proud of you too Mummy."
I didn't have the heart to tell her that perhaps it was not incredibly eco-friendly to only put one item in the machine at a time. I'll work on that next time, perhaps when she gives Daddy Downs Side Up a lesson in the workings of The Cardigan Cleaner...