Friday, December 31, 2010

Clever

I want to end the year off with a positive post. I have an inspiring memory of Matt from the year that I return to whenever I need to rejuvenate my spirit.

I think it was in November - we were watching the news and Matt saw some aeroplanes on the TV. He became excited, pointed, and signed aeroplane (while saying "ane, ane"). He then jumped up, rummaged through his toys, until he found his aeroplane puzzle. With great agitation he pointed to the aeroplane puzzle and then to the TV.

"Yes Matt there is an aeroplane on the TV and on your puzzle, you are really good at joining the dots, aren't you???" I said

Matt grinned at me, and gave me a look that communicated healthy confidence whilst also communicated a mom-you-should-know-me-better message. Then he signed the word clever whilst boldly declaring "vava".

What could I say, Matt is indeed clever.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vulnerable

I find that I am haunted by a mental image.
The picture is of Matt during his end of year concert at school. For the last song all the kiddies stood on their chairs. Matt stood there proudly. After their cute rendition of "We wish you a merry Christmas" the kids jumped down off their chairs and exited the "stage" to go inside to get treats. The teacher led the kids indoors. Matt, however, could not get down from his chair. He is not always that confident with climbing, and certainly not when his arm is in a heavy cast. So there he stood. Alone. All the other kids able to get down and head inside. Matt didn't look too upset really, I imagine he was thinking that since he knew he couldn't get down, he would just wait until someone could help him down. Fortunately I was standing on the side of the "stage" area and could quickly move in to offer him a hand to descend from the chair.

I know that this is not a catastrophic event. I have no hard feelings towards the teacher - she can't be in more than one place at a time. I know cares for Matt and makes space for him in wonderful ways - he has really blossomed in the play group. I also recognise that I was there for Matt when he needed help and so he did not experience any frustration. I also know that this situation emerged, not necessarily because he has a syndrome, but because he had a broken arm.

Yet most nights (usually when I am up feeding Nic, and all is quiet and my thoughts can roam without distraction) I am confronted with this image of Matt standing alone on that chair. It haunts me. I realise that I fear the vulnerability that he might face in the future. Vulnerable, because in this world, in this society there might not be space for him to function independently. Vulnerable, because he will need to depend on others. Vulnerable to loneliness and aloneness.
I am still trying to figure out how to respond to this. Do I plunge myself into unceasing effort to help him to become independent; or do I just embrace his vulnerability, make peace with it; and trust and pray that there will always be some goodwilled, gentle and loving person around in Matt's life on whom he can depend?
I am not sure if I should post this, but since I find release in writing, I type. I also remind myself that this blog is, after all, not just about the victories that we experience, but also the struggles we face. So I share these feelings as a commitment to being authentic about our journey with RTS.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Christmas Present

The night of the 23rd December Matt could hardly sleep as the itchiness of his cast was bothering him so much. So intense was his scratching it looked like he was trying to scrape his skin out from under his skin. His normal cry was replaced by a panicky scream alternating with a miserable whimper. It was heart breaking. Finally exhaustion and the effects of a light sedative released him from the suffering into a kind sleep. The next morning we managed to squeeze him into the surgeon's schedule. It was decided that the benefits of keeping the cast on were not outweighing the suffering it inflicted.

What a joyous Christmas present - to be completely cast free!!!!!


Matt was blessed with a number of presents from various family members and friends. However one stood out from the rest. My dad had made him a cricket set - with bat, ball and cricket stumps. Matt immediately grabbed the stumps and transformed them into drum sticks. These "drum sticks" are his absolute favourite - taking them with him everywhere drumming to every tune he hears. In addition to drumming on the floor, chairs, upturned buckets, and tin cans; and he is a pretty good air-drummer.
This year Matt really understood a lot more about the Christmas celebration. He certainly was the most excited we've seen him about unwrapping his presents. On Christmas eve he came to us signing house and saying "ouse ouse??" with a definite question tone. He was referring to the nativity scene my parents have in their home. Matt was genuinely curious and listened as we shared with him our beliefs around Jesus birth. It was special to be able to share with him our faith. And I was particularly delighted that he asked a question about something. Often I see my friends kids asking why? and what's that? and I've wondered if Matt wonders about things. I am thrilled that he does, I look forward to answering more of his questions.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday

Here are some of the highlights from our small holiday away just before Christmas. We had a fun time with two other families, all of us in this one huge farm house.
The view from our house.

Enjoying swimming in the dam

Matt enjoying the company of Kristen and Ethan.
They were quite good at sharing chips.
Matt being brave, but nervous on the canoe with his dad.

Story time whilst we all are sitting around the braai (barbecue)

The kids got to watch a dvd in the midday when it was too hot to go outside.



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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Greater freedom

After four long weeks of lumping around a heavy and uncomfortable cast that disturbed his sleep and meant all water play was off-limits, Matt now has a new, light-weight and water-proof cast. Once again he braved the scary process of having a cast removed. By the time he was home it was all forgotten and Matt delighted in the new found freedom of movement.
I am so thrilled for Matt. Tonight he gets his first bath in 4 weeks. Tomorrow we leave for a 4 day break away and I am relieved that Matt will be able to partake in the water fun. In two weeks time Matt will be totally cast-free, and hopefully remain like that for a good few years.



RTS Cape Town

On Sunday we met up with Matt's younger RTS brother and sister. It is always so nourishing and inspiring to connect with these two families. Over a leisurely afternoon tea we swopped stories, shared advice, celebrated progresses, encouraged and supported each other.
The youngest is pretty Payton (on the left) with her mother Tamsyn. Then big boy Matt in the middle, and on the right is Sam (aka Smurf) and his mom Nicky. (If you haven't already checked out Sam's blog, follow this link.) The dads were also part of the gathering, but they were outside watching older siblings who were swimming in the pool.

It proved to be very tricky to get all three cutie-pies to remain seated, looking at the camera and smiling - despite a very energetic rendition of Wheels-Of-The-Bus by yours truly. So this pic was the best of the lot.
What precious little people.


Matt's end of year concert

Matt's teacher emailed us these pictures of the end of year concert. I was there but only managed to take some really poor video clips (whilst holding Nic) for Lloyd who sadly couldn't attend. Matt was unwell on the day of the concert, but still managed to enjoy it a little.

We are so grateful to his teacher Debbie for the excellent way she has included Matt into this group and how she has allowed him to be who he is, but has also introduced him to some new things. I am told that the kids have also been embracing of Matt - with one or two taking on a protective role of calling Debbie when Matt needs help climbing the jungle gym, or making sure Matt gets the playdough when it is being handed out. Others were not sure how much Matt could understand and would ask Debbie to ask Matt things, but she has encouraged them to talk directly to Matt and he was responded well to this. We look forward to Matt attending there for a 2nd year. Thank you Debbie.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rejoice always

video

Matt is teaching us a lesson on being joyful in all circumstances. Here is a short clip of him dancing during worship time at church. Not letting his cast hold him back. He is my inspiration.

(Sorry for the sound quality - I was using my cell phone)

Rejoice always

1 Thessalonians 5: 16

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Take 2

You would think that since we all adapted to Matt's of wearing a cast the first time it would be easier the second time around. Sadly not.



Maybe its because the weather is now much hotter and we are more aware of how much water play, swimming and bath time Matt is missing out on.



Maybe its because it is more uncomfortable - it contains plaster as well as fibre glass as it has been specially scuplted to Matt's arm to limit his movement (which is good for healing but makes it heavier); and it has a built-in sling keeping it firmly in place (the previous one's detachable sling lasted 10 minutes with Matt). The increased discomfort has made sleep hard causing great frustration and wakefullness at night!



Maybe its because he is not allowed to remove the sling even to put clothes on so he has to wear his t-shirt over his arm and cast, which doesn't really fit and is rather annoying.



Maybe its because the memory of how the cast was fitted brings back unpleasant feelings. Matt was put under anaesthetic so that the doc could manipulate into place his broken, angled bones and then put them in cast. After he came around from the drugs he was in the grumpiest mood he has ever been in (understandably - poor guy).



So what caused Matt to break his arm again, 2 weeks after his cast had been removed? No he didn't fall off a jungle gym or tumble down the stairs or get his by a truck...he was just walking, holding his teachers hand, decided to change direction, tripped and (while still being held by the other hand) caught himself on his arm at just the wrong angle. Same break, same arm.

Just 32 more sleeps.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Matt has broken his arm again.


Sigh

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Challenging Expectations

Maybe he thought that since Matt can't talk he won't be able to understand or maybe because Matt has a syndrome he thought it unnecessary to explain anything to him.
Matt developed a limp so we took him to be checked out. The Orthopedic Surgeon was very friendly and kind - I can't fault him there. I give him credit for asking relevant questions and genuinely seeming to be interested in Matt. However, I was angered by the way he started to examine Matt.
Matt was lifted onto the examining table, squirming. And the doctor proceeded to manipulate Matt's legs and hips - all the time Matt is trying to get off the table. Doctor tries harder - physically, still no words.


I intevened: "Please explain to Matt what is happening and what you are doing. He really does understand"

I started to tell Matt what was happening and why we were on this strange table. The doctor looked surprised but followed my lead, telling Matt that he needed to check his legs.
Matt calmed down.
He asked Matt to bend his leg. Matt did.
He asked Matt to lift his legs. Matt did.
And the rest of the examination followed calmly with a co-operative Matt.
I think Matt expanded this doctors expectations.

Freedom

I have never seen anyone scratch as much or for as long as Matt did the moment the doctor removed the cast from his arm. Even the nurse offering Matt a lollipop from a basket brimming with lollipops did not get a second glance - all attention was on scratching.

We were very proud of Matt how he endured wearing the cast and also its' rather brutal removal.

His arm is still a bit tender, as it is not fully healed. Apparently the bone actually requires movement now to assist the healing process. Whilst it is still weak Matt should take it easy and try not to fall on it. Hhhmm that is going to be interesting.
It is a delight to watch him being able to page through books again, to splash in the bath, to swing a bat, and to carry two items at the same time. And sleeping has become comfortable again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Matt turns 4!

Matt's birthday celebration was simple and low key this year, but it was no less special for him. His birthday morning started with the opening of some fun presents. Sadly many of the toys required 2 hands! But he still was extremely pleased.
One present which didn't require 2 hands was his cute CARS hooded towel.

We did not do a big birthday party for Matt since our lives were a bit upside down as we were adjusting to life with a new born. So we decided to do an activity that he would really enjoy - we took him on a bus ride. This might sound a bit peculiar. But Matt absolutely LOVES buses. He points them out when we are driving. He could watch The Wheels of the Bus Song video 100 times and not get bored. He asks us to sing that song to him every night before bed. In South Africa our public transport system in not well developed and we rely exclusively on our car for transport. Matt has never been on a bus. His birthday treat was a bus ride along the sea front, followed by playing in a park and picnic with his grandparents, and the cherry-on-top was the bus ride back to the car again. The only word to describe Matts reaction: mesmerised.

The following week Matt's birthday was celebrated at his school. We provided the cupcakes. His teacher made him a crown and he blew out candles whilst his class mates sang to him. Matt was really chuffed with it. Here are pics that his teacher emailed us of the event...
When I think back on how far we have come in these 4 years I am overcome with gratitude. I remember the dark days of coming to terms with Matt's diagnosis and fearing that the rest of our lives would be filled with difficulty and sorrow. I would never have anticipated the joy. I also remember reading about RTS and what to expect. Developmental Delay (and more gut wrenching words) were used to describe my baby's future. I could not have imagined Matt at 4 years - a curious, joyful, determined boy who enjoys people; loves music, song and dance; kicks soccer balls with impressive power; makes his opinion known; is passionate about animals and trees; and whose personality is really too big to capture in words on this blog.
I am so proud of Matt. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Big brother Matt climbs up into his carseat and insists that I turn Nic's car seat at an angle so that Matt can look inside it. Matt smiles, then waves hello and says "ic" while doing the sign for Nic. This happens every time I fetch Matt from his school.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big brother Matt has turned 4 years. Photos and story to follow when there is a little more time.
Big brother Matt has figured out that babies love their dummies (pacifier). And that one needs to be found quickly and brought to mom as soon as Nic starts crying. Often I turn around, whilst holding a crying Nic, and there is Matt offering me a dummy that he has managed to scrounge from the car seat, cot, couch or floor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A mystery

Big brother Matt has a broken arm. And how did it happen? Well we are really not sure. Last week Thursday we noticed that Matt asked for help to get into the car seat - he can normally climbs up on his own. And that afternoon during play with rice and beans he was only using one hand whereas he usually loves rubbing and moving both his hands through the textures. However he did not appear to be in pain and certainly wasn't crying. Only on Friday morning when Lloyd pulled Matt up onto our bed did he start crying. Knowing that many RTSweeties have been reported to have unusually high pain thresholds we decided we had enough suspicious evidence to warrant an xray.
No doubt about it: a fractured left arm, just below the elbow. But as already mentioned we are not certain as to the cause - was it when Matt toppled off our bed; or when he ran and fell on the grass; or tripped on his toy in the lounge; or one of the many other times when his exhuberant playing caused him to bump into or fall off something? An unsolved mystery.
Lloyd took Matt to have his arm put in a cast - which I am told he endured with much grace and calmness. Initially Matt was not sure about wearing this cast. He can say the word OFF now, and initially would repeatedly show me his cast and request it be taken OFF. I think he understands that it is here to stay. He has since adjusted to having only one arm in use. He has figured out new ways to climb up on beds, chairs and stairs without assistance. He can still feed himself and open the cupboard to find his snacks. And can still find a way to spin plastic lids; play with his cars and turn the pages of a book. He is more independent than I thought he would be, and really only needs a hand to drink from a cup, take his clothes off and get up into the car seat.
The biggest impact the broken arm has had is on his ability to communicate. Matt tries to sign with one hand, but as many signs require the use of 2 hands. Often we are not sure what he is trying to say. But we are persevering. And we are also using some of the PECS pictures to help us where we get stuck.
For the next 4 weeks bath time will be a bit more tricky and sadly no swimming for Matt. But hopefully the time will pass quickly and by then the weather will be perfect for his first swim.
PS I'm also learning to do things with one hand. My reason is a little different - Nic likes to be included in what I am doing during most of the day. I have to admit that Matt has adapted far quicker and more proficiently than I have!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Big brother Matt likes to put his cheek against Nic's warm head - and give him cuddles. Very cute!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Big brother Matt has discovered that Nic has small feet and cute ears - just like he has. He will point to his own ears, then to Nic's, and then sign "small".

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big brother Matt is fascinated with Nic's eyes and relishes any eye contact he can get.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Babies are not that interesting

When people ask me what Matt thinks of little Nic, my standard response is that "Nic doesn't come with buttons that play music or flashing lights, so Matt is not that interested in him". In fact most of the time Nic is ignored by his older brother. Matt knows the signs for "baby", "brother", and "nic", but will not really initiate converstation about his sibling. When asked "What does Nic say?" (as opposed to "What does a cow say? or a pig? where Matt will imitate the sound) Matt's response is that "Nic cries".

Matt is however really interested in Nic during his bath time. He watches very carefully as dad dunks the little crying guy into the water.

Here is Matt overseeing Nic's first bath at home.




Matt hasn't missed any of Nic's bath times yet! When he is not checking out Nic swimming, Matt loves to screw the vaseline and aqueous cream lids on and off.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reflecting back - the feeding and the memories

Being born at 35 weeks little Nicolas found it difficult to feed. This is apparently quite normal for a premature baby, and I was told to expect him to take up to 10 days to figure out the whole breast feeding thing. Nic received his feeds through a naso-gastric tube.





With the help of some amazing nurses I started the journey of teaching Nic to breast feed. Most attempts would result in him in hysterics, desparate for milk but unable to co-ordinate the drinking. It was hard. However, it wasn't the task of feeding Nic that was so challenging - it was the emotion-laden flash backs to the time when Matt was born and he struggled to drink. Matt couldn't suck and co-ordinate swallowing. He was in the high care for 3 weeks as we tried to teach him how to drink. The months that followed consisted of hour-long feeding sessions with a bottle that I could squeeze when Matt became too tired to drink, expressing litres of milk, managing reflux, and cleaning up vomits at least 2 or 3 times a day.


I was surprised at how powerful the memories of Matt's early days were, and how debilitating they were. On the second night after Nic was born, I phoned Lloyd from the hospital, in tears declaring that I just couldn't go through it again. I was so overwhelmed by it all. For Nic's 9pm feed I was blessed by the company of an angel - well she was human, but she was like an angel to me. Her name was Frankie, she was one of the high care nurses on the night shift. She sat with me and Nic for about an hour, helping me to try breast feed, then expressing and feeding him through his tube. I am not sure what exactly it was about her: "her down-to-earth"ness, her sense of humour, her patience, her chatting about her love life, her gentleness with Nic, her confidence that he will get this whole breast feeding thing - probably all of these were like a tonic to my tired and frightened soul.


I fell asleep with peace in my heart, and I woke with courage to do what I needed to do to get my little Nic feeding. Early the next morning Frankie brought Nic for his feed - and he latched well. It felt like a miracle. Franke also told me how she had tried cup feeding him through the night and he had taken to it. With my new found courage I became reaquainted with the breast pump. I got the nurses to teach me to cup feed, whilst still persevering with the breast.


By day 4 I was able to give Nic all his feeds through cup feeding - so out came the naso-gastric tube. And mercifully the paediatrician agreed that we could take him home. I don't think it is policy to send kiddies home unless they are feeding well by breast or bottle. It definitely helped that Lloyd is a paediatrician, and that we had experienced more challenging feeding difficulties with Matt.


It was glorious to be home with Matt and Lloyd. And Nic completely surprised me by mastering the art of breast feeding by the 2nd day home. Good bye expressing, good bye sterilising. What a joy to be able to breast feed. I still stare in awe at Nic gulging down the milk.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Reflecting back - the birth

Despite anticipating premature labour, by the time we reached the 30s weeks I thought that we would carry to term. I couldn't see what would prompt early labour if it hadn't already happened. So in my mind I was expecting to carry until the end.




On the 18th August, at 35 weeks, the membranes of our little dead twin's sac ruptured. After a lot of debate and discussion our gynaecologist decided it was best to get our healthy twin out as soon as possible as the risk of infection in my womb was now very high. And my body concurred with this decision as I soon went into labour.




Only thing was Lloyd was writing his neonatology subspeciality exams on that day, and the following. So my courageous husband came home from exams, took me to the hospital, watched the birth of his baby, supported his wife, went home and wrote the 2nd part of exams.




We had planned to do a lot after Lloyd's exams - including deciding on the name of the baby, finishing off the nursery, going on a romantic weekend away, finishing off work... So our little boy didn't have a name for the first few days of our life, and we have had to be fexible with our life plans.




We chose the name Nicolas because it means Victorious. We felt that this reflects God's purpose for his life. His second name is Michael - after my father.



What a relief to see that he was healthy and well - even though he was born at 35 weeks. Nicolas was in the High Care Ward for one night only - mainly to monitor his breathing. After that he spent most of his time with me. In the beginning he struggled a lot with breast feedings, and received his feeds through a naso-gastric tube, but more about that in the next post.




My heart rejoices in the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:1




Friday, August 27, 2010

Reflecting back - our pregnancy

I haven't written much about our pregnancy journey in the last few months. Each day required a an intentional and conscious holding onto God's gift of peace and refusing to let fear to root itself in my heart. The threat of losing our second twin was constantly looming in the background. Reflecting and writing about the process was just too taxing. Every day, from the day our one twin died at 19 weeks until we reached 30 weeks, Lloyd and I lit a candle to thank God for keeping our other baba safe, and we asked for just one more day. That is how we lived - day by day.




Weeks passed and the threat of prematurity diminished. We celebrated that our baby remained safe in my womb. Yet our peace was still threatened - a different fear: that this baba may be born with abnormalities. I felt guilty having this fear, as I felt like I was betraying Matt in some way. I love Matt and who he is, I don't despise the fact that he has a syndrome. Yet I was not sure I could manage a second kid with a syndrome.




We had decided not to have any genetic screening tests or scans during the pregnancy. It is very seldom that these tests give a definitive diagnosis, mostly one walks away with a probability or statistic. We couldn't face living with such an uncertainty again. It was torturous during our pregnancy with Matt. So we chose to wait until the baby was born and then if something was wrong, we could deal with it as a definite. However this did mean we had no idea what was in store for us when baba was born.




Lloyd was studying for his neonatal subspeciality exams in August. The text book from which he studied was called "The Diseases of the Newborn" - over a thousand pages of all the things that can go wrong with new borns. Not an easy topic to study when your wife is in her third trimester.




We did not always manage to live in that place of peace every moment and every day. There were times when the fear would almost choke the breath out of my lungs. There were, however moments, by God's grace where despite the possible threats to the safety and health of our baba, we still experienced joy and delight of life.






Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7






Sunday, August 22, 2010

Matt has become a big brother

On Wednesday 18th August 2010 Matt's little brother, Nicolas, was born. He caught us a bit by surprise but we are thrilled with his arrival.


Photos and stories to follow.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

First: Do No Harm

This weekend Lloyd attended an International Paediatric Conference which was held in Johannesburg here in South Africa. He displayed the following poster at the conference. In it we share our insights that we have gained parenting a child who has special needs, with a specific focus on how doctors can better support parents.

To view it in more detail click on the picture and it should enlarge it.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Matt starts school!

Today was Matt's first day at his playschool. He will be going twice a week for 3 and half hours in the morning. I was quite emotional about it - not because I have any concern about him going, but rather because it is a significant milestone. Matt's world is expanding beyond my care, my guidance, and my intervention. Up until now I have always been in the background as he explores new people and places. I try to let him have his freedom, but I am always watching for the moment when I need to partner him in engaging the world - whether it be to explain something new to him, or to help others understand his signs.
School is now his place...where he has to find ways to communicate, to contribute, to build friendship...all without me. And that is really good. I know he is ready. So my heart is at peace, but my heart was still sitting in my throat as I left him this morning - in recognition of the significance of it all.
When I fetched him I was told that Matt had not been upset, but rather had enjoyed exploring and watching and also choosing to engage where he felt comfortable. His teacher was positive about Matt's experience and felt that Matt was able to make himself understood.

Here is a photo we took just before we were about to leave this morning. I am not sure how much of the idea of school Matt understood at this stage, but he sensed it was a special day (and he really liked wearing his backpack).



Finding this playschool has been a real answer to many prayers. In South Africa there are no state run early intervention programmes for kids with special needs. In our city there are only one or two preschools that cater specifically for kids with special needs. I have been unsure about whether these are even the right place for Matt. I think I spent most of last year with this knot of anxiety as to what steps we would take in terms of Matt and formal education.
This year two unrelated people recommended this playschool for different reasons. I was told the classes are small, the teacher, Debbie, is a Christian, is very gentle and focusses on each child as an individual. What's more she used to teach at a school for kids with autism so she is familiar with signing and using pictures to communicate with non-verbal kiddies. When I contacted Debbie, she shared how she had recently come across our blog, and so was familiar with Matt and me. How amazing is that!?! And she would be delighted to have Matt in her playschool. Matt and I popped in for a visit and I knew immediately that it would be a good fit, especially because Matt was so comfortable in the environment. We made a video of Matt and Lloyd making Matt's signs so that she could familiarise herself before Matt started.
I am so thankful that God cares about every detail of Matt's life and that I can trust him with all the other uncetainties and unknowns that lay ahead in Matt's future. I am so proud of Matt and the person that he is. I look forward to see how he is going to grow in response to this new environment, and I look forward to see what impact he is going to have on this same environment. I have no doubt there will be mutual benefit!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Swim

One of Matt's favourite activity of the week has been his swimming lessons. He starts squealing with delight when he sees me with his swimming costume, and starts signing "swim" over and over. In the car on the way to the lesson he loves practicing his blowing and swimming arm movements.

The lessons are held in a lovely indoor, heated pool so we have been able to keep going despite the onset of winter. This week was the last lesson of the season, and fortunately Lloyd was able to take some time out of work to join us. Thus freeing me up to take some photos.

Usually there are more kids but this time the others were absent so Matt had all the attention from teacher Laurelle. During the session the temperature outside the pool room dropped as the rain came down resulting in lots of steam inside - taking photos became a challenge but you can still see what Matt is up to desite the fog.

The kids get to play on a shallow step for the first part of the lesson - learning to walk in the water and reach down to find all the fun toys that are on the step.



All the activities are done to music and song which really appeals to Matt. Through the song actions the kids learn basic swimming strokes.

Matt and dad blowing bubbles


Through more songs Matt learns to hold on to the edge and also more blowing.



This sequence of photos shows Lloyd about to submerge Matt under the water and Matt coming up reaching for the fish toy on the side of the pool. Matt is very comfortable with being underwater, and has learnt to hold his breathe.


Matt loves the funky toys that are used to motivate him to move along the side of the pool. Here he has used his hands to "monkey walk" from Laurelle to Lloyd - to get the toys.


The pool noodle helps Matt to float a bit more independently and encourages him to kick to move forward. Here he has fun collecting the balls and depositing them in the basket.
Matt's swimming will be put on hold a little bit as his little brother or sister is likely to be born when his lessons are due to start again in September. But as soon as I am well enough to take him again, we will be back in the pool. It is such a joy to watch in the water, we would hate to deprive him of this pleasure for too long.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Laduma

What has Matt been up to at his physio sessions this year?

Here are some of the activities he enjoyed in his session this week.


Bouncing on a ball


Building on Matt's interest in kicking balls, Pam introduced Matt to this new activity of dribbling a ball around a figure of eight. She gave hime a chance to get a feel for it, but did not force him to stay longer than he was interested.



And then to the kitchen for Matt's favourite - ice cream. Lots of licking. And an opportunity for Pam to work on his back.

And some stretching in between the licking





Look how well I am sitting, and licking on my own.


Then back to the new dribbling activity - and Matt really goes for it because now he is familiar with the game.



Laduma Matt Laduma*

*Laduma means "for it thunders" in isiZulu and is shouted in soccer when a goal is scored!