Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

For my last 31 for 21, I give you Halloween that you can admire our witty costumes,

my yuck factor cake,

and I can brag about how cute my kids were trick or treating.

But also to document that life here is pretty normal (or as close as one can get).  I remember that there was a point in time that I didn't think that life would ever be 'normal' again.  And to anyone reading this blog who has ever felt that, or is feeling that now, because a child of yours has been diagnosed with Down syndrome...I offer you these photos.  Because you will smile again.  And you will celebrate.  And you will do all the things you thought you would do with your child.

You will go trick or treating.  He will knock on doors, say "tickoteeeet" and pick out a sucker, say thank you, and say "buh-bye" with a wave.  He will be a sticky mess by the time you go home.

He will ride in a wagon with his brother and dance to the music that he hears from his dad's phone playing Black Eyed Peas remix all evening.  And then he will refuse to ride because he would rather walk with the big kids.

You will plan fun things to do with your kids, and they will actually turn out fun.

You will still have a lot of friends...who may or may not do Jello shots with you before trick or treating.  And also possibly drink lots of spiked punch, as well.

Life will return to normal-ish...and it will be good :)

Happy Halloween, all!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All Hallows' Eve...Eve

Busy busy.  Amongst the Tootsie Roll and Starburst wrappers, we have done lots tonight.  We:

*Carved 2 pumpkins, one by the pattern, and one freehanded by Ian.  He spent all evening drawing his pattern on the pumpkin and sawing it out, then adding accessories.  Pics to come tomorrow.  

*Painted our shirts for our costumes.

*Baked 2 cakes for our trick-or-treat get together with Ian's old preschool crew (more to come about my cakes...woohooo!  Can't wait!)

*Made jello...shots :)  Another reason why we are looking forward to our preschool crew Halloween party!


I missed a blog yesterday. We were out late last night because of a PTA-sponsored movie night at the boys' schools.  I volunteered  to work it, but was on clean-up duty, so I got to sit and enjoy the movie with Bryan and the boys.

It was pretty cute- everyone was in their pajamas and brought sleeping bags and pillows and sprawled out all over the gym floor.  We ate pizza, popcorn, sno-cones, soda, and a pickle (Ian's choice).  I am pretty sure I was severely over charged. Looking back on it, I should have paid $9 for everything, and instead I burned through $20.  It was dark, I had all three boys (before Bryan got there from work)...Ah, well.  I am considering it a donation to the school.

The littles were happy until the popcorn and the sno-cones ran out, so Bryan took them home for bed.  Ian and I stayed, lounging on our blanket, watching the end of How to Train Your Dragon.  Ian held my hand and told me not to worry when it got to the scary parts.  Love that boy, and loved that time with him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Famous Again

You know, I always wanted my name in lights...these are just a different kind than I imagined them being...!

Bryan, Chase and I were all interviewed (well, Chase didn't really talk much, except to say CHEESE with a big hammy grin every time he saw the camera) for our church's outreach video highlighting the partnership between Elevation and the Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte.  They participated in the Buddy Walk and took a ton of footage there, and they are going to weave our story throughout that.

It was weird, there.  Sitting in front of the camera, answering questions and telling our story out loud.  I mean, I've written it down plenty, but actually vocalizing it?  And trying to tell it without being able to go back and rewrite?  Hard!

It was also hard just trying to find the right words...there is so much depth to having a child with a disability...heartache and grief, but also joy and celebrations...and many many places that you draw support from, some big and some smaller.  I don't know.  It was just difficult to tie it all up into a neat package for the general public to understand.

I'm nervous that I didn't do a good job.  I feel like I focused on the sad parts at the beginning, and then didn't have enough time to tell the awesome parts at the end.  I don't want people's pity, I just want them to understand- to understand me, our family, and Chase.

Agh.  I will post the link when we have it.  Maybe ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guy and the Jack's Big Music Show intro

Gavin's favorite part of this show is the first 15 seconds of it.  We watched several of the Jack's Big Music Show's introductions today... :)

Pumpkin Painting

We're getting down with our crafty selves here for the Halloween season.  Today we painted pumpkins.  And  Chase may or may not have painted his tongue when he was done with his squash.

I love how they were all so intent on their projects.  Pumpkin painting is serious work, people!

 Chase is giving himself a round of applause above.

 Our resident south paw.
Blue tastes the best!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teacher Phone Calls

I like that Chase's teacher has great communication with me...I really do.  But dang, when I see that number on my phone my stomach drops!

Today's phone call was to let me know why he may come home with a big old bruise on his forehead.  He was walking in line, looking backwards, when he turned to the front and ran directly into a pole.

The bruise isn't bad.  She said he was walking slowly (which, apparently he does in line but not while I am chasing him across Ian's football field) so he didn't hit it that hard.

Bad Mommy confession:  I giggle a little bit when I picture it happening.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I'm trying really hard to count my many of my frustrations are trivial, really, compared to others' problems.  That being said, sometimes one just needs to VENT.  So, if I balance my whining with celebrations, does that even out?

1- The giant pile of laundry that covers, oh, my entire 2nd story.  After two trips to NY, and 3 weeks of generally living in this house without setting any time aside to do general chores (like occasional loads of laundry) my washer got plugged up with little kid socks, a bunch of change, rocks, acorns, buttons, little pieces of toys, and hunks-o-lint.  I couldn't catch up on laundry because I couldn't do the laundry if I wanted to.  So last night, Bryan finally had some time to go fishing in the drain line and fixed it.  Since then, um, 24 hours ago, I have been washing clothes.

2- Chase will not keep his fricking patch on his fracking eye!!!  GAH!!!  He was doing it without too much complaint, but we upped the ante to three hours a day, and he has decided that this plan no longer is acceptable.  He tears that thing off every single flipping time I turn around, and now he no longer delicately peels it off so that I can re-stick in on.  He tears that sucker off and crumples it up, then hides it in a corner.  I am not giving up the battle, but I foresee glasses in his future.  And I am about ready to duct tape that sh*t onto his head.

3- Ian moves like molasses whenever I need him to move quickly.  Like when we are late for something (always) or when it is bedtime.  And then he plays it off all cute, so I have to feel really bad about hollering at him to get into his pajamas because he was hiding behind a couch to scare me or something.  The kid just wants attention...but why oh why does he only want it when I have a billion time sensitive things to do and it is a school night?!??!

4-Guy threw like 3 plates of food on the floor today.  Awesome.

1- I had time to take Ian to a Kung Fu class with his friend Colin today and he totally loved it.  I loved watching him learn something new and enjoy time with his friend :)

2- I did not overeat or snack mindlessly today...a pastime that I have been working on way too much lately and need to control again.

3- Chase pointed to the pictures in his book tonight and named them.

4- The pharmacist was out of Chase's prescription this evening, but he gave me enough for free so that it would last me until it was restocked.

5- All the boys had GREAT appetites this evening (probably because they were starving, but whatever) and ate pasta with red sauce and meatballs, and green beans.  

6- Bryan got me this new computer :)  I like that he thought about what I needed and acted on it.  Love!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Long Awaited Team Photo

This ended up being a partial shot...a few people didn't make it for the actual walk, and some had last minutes issues for the day.  Still, we know everyone was there in spirit :)

We had some new faces there this year- love that Chase's circle of influence is ever-growing!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Playtime outside last night, after dinner, enjoying the crisp weather and the relative quiet that is just my boys and no daycare kiddos.

Ian gave his brothers rides in the 'stang.  I had a flash-forward as I imagined him, 24, just getting his license, and taking them for jaunts around town.  No, he is not getting his license at 16.  Seriously!  Babies behind the wheel?  No thank you!

 *Note my attire.  This is what I look like at the end of the day.  Disheveled.  Layered.  Mismatched.  And sporting whatever shoes happen to be close to the door.  Nice.  Positive note:  Guy fits into the SWEET blue Chuck's I got on sale this summer now.
 Have I mentioned lately how awesome Ian is at being a big brother?  Guy and Chase are going to grow up absolutely idolizing him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Peer Presentation Recap

I haven't had time to get to this, so it's a little after the fact.

The Ds Presentation in Ian's class went really well.  The kids were active and involved, the teachers watched and took notes (and she even submitted it as a story for the county website!) and I had a really good time.  Ian wanted so badly to help and share his was good stuff.  When his teacher asked what the best thing was about having a brother with Down syndrome, he said, "Because he always likes to play with me."

The activities were a big hit (especially the one with the marshmallows) and I had enough time to fit everything into a 30 minute block.

I would tweak it a little for next time, and really emphasize the "More Alike Than Different" tactic.  I think I will probably repeat that phrase, oh, four hundred times on my next visit.  I guess I forgot that they are, essentially, Kindergarteners, and that they wouldn't grasp the main idea of the presentation if it wasn't in their face.  I spent so much time on the "different" activities (fine motor and speech) and not enough time on the "alike" acitivity (more alike list) that they, of course, picked up more on the "Chase is different" theme.  My fault.

...hence the message on the thank you note :)

But they were so cute and did such a good job with everything I threw at them.  I am so thankful for Ian's teacher being open to be my guinea pig.  Next year it will be even better!  And by the time I have to do one in Chase's class, it will be flawless :)

Guy Comparison

I found this picture yesterday while I was purging my dining room full of arts and crafts supplies.  My mom is always saying how Gavin reminds her of me when I was little, and there is a crazy resemblance.  Having kids is so surreal...the idea that you can make little copies of yourself is unreal when you really think about it, isn't it?

Now, obviously I am a little older than Guy in this picture (4 maybe?) :
But isn't it a little freaky?  (Please ignore the ham on the right.  I don't have the patience to crop him this morning.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BW Pre-Walk Photos

I am still waiting for the official team photo from my dad (ahem, Dad.) but these were from before the walk, when the boys and I were babysitting the golf carts (long story!).

I just like them.  I think they just capture Chase and Gavin's personality.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pink Shirt

Ok, I lied about not having anything to say.

Ian came home from school and immediately wanted to change his shirt because "the shirt you gave me to wear this morning has something girly on it and I can't wear it again...and I had to wear my sweatshirt all zipped up all day long today because I didn't want anyone to see it."

He refused to tell me what made it "girly" in front of the daycare boys, so he whispered it in my ear.  It's pink, Mom!

I'll have to add a picture later, but the shirt is red, okay, it is a muted red...but not pink!  And he's worn it a couple times before...wonder if he just got called out on it today by some little twerp.  Poor Ian.  I felt so bad.  It reminded me of the time that my mom sent me to school in my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas because it was "Jamz" day- she didn't know it meant those cool shorts, not sleepwear.  I spent the whole day in my winter coat, zipped up to my chin.

He changed into his Star Wars t-shirt (which, btw is getting a wee small.  If anyone wants a Christmas gift idea, t-shirts with cool things on them, size 5/6, or S would be GREAT.  Star Wars, Spiderman...etc.) and advertised the fact that he was wearing a better shirt now to everyone: See how cool this shirt is that I am wearing now?!

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

I'm making this for tomorrow's Roots and Shoots get together.  That is, if I can refrain from eating it all before going.

...and this is my post for the day.  Blah.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ian's View

Ian took a bunch of pictures today.  It was pretty cute seeing his perspective on the world.  Here are some of his best:

Edited to add:  I forgot to tell you that Ian also took a close up of my butt as I leaned over to get a toy off the floor. I did not include that photo.

Ian helps Chase with his homework- video

I suggested to Ian that he do these color flashcards with Chase today after school.  I didn't really think that he would do it, mostly because by the time school ends, nobody in this household has any patience for anything.  At all.

But he surprised me and was SUPER sweet to Chase, working with him, encouraging him, helping him, and never got too bored to finish it.  In fact, when I asked him to do it again for the camera, BOTH of them willingly obliged.

Now I am waiting for something awful to happen this afternoon, because it has been much too warm and fuzzy here...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chase's New Expression

Every time Chase has something go his way, he exclaims, "Perfect!"

I will try to get it on video, because it is incredibly cute.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

We just got in tonight.  Boy, 14 1/2 hours in the car will really do you in, right?

It was really nice seeing my family together this week.  We told old stories, we drank wine.  There were lots of hugs and some tears.  There was laughter and music, children giggling and too much food.  There were reunions between family members that haven't happened for 3, 4, 5...11 or 20 some years.

Oh, and there was also a stomach bug...because, really, what trip away from home is complete without that?

Good to be back.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lessons from my Grandpa- what I am saying at his service today

I have the privilege of being Bud’s only granddaughter (well, at least I was until my brother and my cousins decided that girls really don’t have cooties), and I also have the honor of being the mother of his three great grandsons.  So I know him both as Grandpa and as Big GG, and oh, how he fulfilled his roles in his lifetime.

Grandpa was a part of our family that was bigger than life...sometimes I think that he didn’t have to shop of the “Fat and Wide” man’s store (as he liked to call it) because of his stature, but because of his heart.  He loved us so much, and was so proud of all that we did...and I wonder sometimes if he knew that all of us became who we were because of his influence.

Grandpa was a role model for us, and we learned by his example.  I made a list of just some of the things I learned from him:

Freely give hugs and kisses.  Even if the kisses are full of whiskers and the hugs squeeze the breath right out of you.

Remember people’s names, and use them.  Grandpa once even introduced me to Dawn, the girl who ran the car wash that he always went to.

Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are a good thing.  Patty’s diner served up a mean breakfast for a good price, and always had good people to talk to.  Our last meal before my family moved to FL from NY was at Patty's Diner with him.

Enjoy good food.  Eat everything grandma cooks for you.  Get fresh corn and strawberries.  Eat pie with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese.  Keep a candy jar close (fill it with candy corn in the fall).  Fresh fry cakes from Schutt’s (not Schutt’s!!) are the best.

Sing.  Sing often.  Make music, any time.

Be silly for kids.  Kids laugh at silly, and kids’ laughter is important.  I still smile when I think of him reciting, “Starkle starkle, little twink.  Wonder what you is, I think?”

Treat children with respect.  I always knew I was important to him.  And even when I saw him last week, he was holding entire conversations with my one year old, Gavin.  Gavin would ask him a long question in baby babble, and Big GG would answer him back very seriously...and then Gavin would come back with another story.  I really think they understood each other.

Cheer your loved ones on.  When I was maybe 11, I marched with my parents in the West Webster Marching band (they needed a cymbal player and I happened to be there and was big enough to carry them).  I knew when we passed Grandpa on the side of the road because I could hear his voice carrying over the music as he yelled, “Hey Laurie!!!”

And finally, be proud of your accomplishments.  I think I witnessed one of Grandpa’s proudest moments when I attended his Murphy reunion in Canton, OH...when he was able to show off 4 generations of Meeches to his shipmates, melding together his accomplishments in the Navy with his family legacy.

Grandpa will always be with me, with us, because we keep his lessons in our heart.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guest blogger

My name is Tiffany. I live next door to Laurie. I have known Lauri for 4 years and have had the privilege of being there for everything with Chase. Laurie is on the road. Her Grandfather passed away yesterday afternoon and the whole famiy has gone to pay tribute. I offered to do a guest post for Laurie to help her with her 31 for 21. So because Laurie is not here to stop me I am going to do a tribute to her.
Laurie is pretty much the coolest mom I know. She has taught me so much what it means to have patience and kindness. She is the epitome of a Mothers Heart. When Chase was born I saw the typical struggle that I am sure is very common, but I saw very little of it. What I saw the most of was pure love and acceptance. I saw a woman eagerly plowing new ground. It amazed me and made me reevaluate my own life a little. To this day she still does that. Amazes me a little bit day by day. Chase and Ian and Gavin could not have asked for a better mother AND father. There is so much love in that house that it is literally spilling over to mine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No words.

My grandfather is in probably his last moments of earthly life today, right now.

I don't have any words that fit this feeling.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time Off

Bryan has this week off from work, and my daycare kids are home with their mommies who are on fall break.  We aren't going anywhere, but I am so.excited.

Because this means that I can catch up.  Catch up on everything.  Cleaning, organizing, laundry, dentist appointments, sleep...?, and playing outside enjoying this awesome, but weird, combination of fall and summer weather.

Thankful for time, thankful for my family.

That is all tonight :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Hit and a Miss

Whoops.  Missed yesterday's 31 for 21 blog post.  Dang.

BUT I missed because I was so incredibly busy for our Buddy Walk, which turned out to be our biggest turnout/fund raiser EVER.  More to come on that when my dad has a sec to send over some pictures of the day.

I just want to take a moment before I put my feet up for the night and enjoy a full one hour of reading time to think about what a ca-razy day yesterday was, even though it was a compete HIT as far as fun and fundraising was concerned.

It started at 2am when I couldn't sleep because I had a running list of things to do for the following day.  So I got up and worked from 2:30am-4:30am and packed the car for football and the Buddy Walk.  Then I caught a couple more hours of sleep.

At 8:50 we were on the road (we being me and the boys, because Bryan had to leave early to get to the walk).  Ian played his game (and was a darn cute quarterback) and I did the quickest after game snack ever (I think I MAY have beaned a kid or two with a Capri Sun or a granola bar).  Then we piled in the car and headed off for Freedom Park.  I stopped on the way to fill the volunteer coolers with ice, then got to the parking lot to babysit the golf carts that we were using to transport people to and from the walk area and the parking lots.  The kids played, I had to pee really badly, and Bryan eventually came to take over while I ran to the bathroom.  The kids changed into their walk attire, we all worked/played/walked at the BW, helped to clean up at the end, and then jump started my van afterwards because Mr. Chase had turned on every lever/button that he could find earlier in the day and drained the battery.

We made it home with ALL THREE children still wide awake at 8pm, dumped all of them in bed and then sat comatose in front of last week's Glee episode before dragging ourselves upstairs.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Amsterdam International

If you have ever read Welcome to Holland, and then experienced life with a child with special needs, then you should read this.

I remember reading Welcome to Holland, and it comforted me, to be sure, in that moment, and several others along the way...but there were huge gaping parts missing.  Emotional parts that we, as parents, relatives, and friends go through while dealing with the diagnosis and raising our children go through and sometimes are afraid to admit.  But everybody does it.  Everyone has those thoughts.  The ones that you don't say out loud.  The ones that gnaw at the back of your brain.  The ones that make you think you can't do it, that you are not cut out for it, that God made a mistake in choosing you for this child's parent.

We ALL think them.  And it is OK.  Because I don't know about you, but sometimes I have a need to curl up in my own little pit of despair for a bit, to feel sorry for myself, guilty, scared, worried, and anxious.  And then once I sort through all of that, I can stand up, dust myself off, and keep on.

Because that's what we do.  We keep on, even when it is hard.  Even when we don't particularly want to.  Even if we aren't sure that we can.

Because when you put one foot in front of the other, it turns out that it really isn't that difficult, right?  Not that hard to take it in small chunks, to look to tomorrow instead of what-will-happen-when-I-am-gone?

Anyway.  I just like how Dana (the author) writes about the parts that no one really wants to talk about it...but the funny thing is, when we DO put it out in the open, it isn't all that scary anymore.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

BW Shirt Parade

The Larsen girls and Ian and Chase are all wearing their Buddy Walk team shirts to school today for funsies.  And I guess awareness and whatnot.  But mostly because it is fun to be dressed like your friends when you are in elementary school :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bonus Post: Jamie Foxx on Ds

I had no idea Jamie Foxx had a sister with Ds.  I like this quick article on him talking about her, though.


Remember these shoes?  I still like them a lot.

But they are not good for running full speed across an airport while pushing a stroller, pulling a suitcase, carrying a diaper bag, and stopping 2 or 3 times to pick up that &%^*# monkey that Guy kept slinging overboard in order to make your flight because you forgot your wallet in your Grandma's car in Walworth and it is impossible to get it in time and therefore had to go through Special Security Clearance because your ID is in said wallet and you have exactly 1 minute to get on the plane because it is the last one leaving for JFK that will make it to your connecting flight that evening.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Home again...almost

I'm going to post early today since we will be leaving for the airport in a couple hours and won't be back home until after midnight (due to an unfortunate oversight I had while booking our tickets...apparently Gavin and I have a FOUR HOUR layover at JFK this evening.  Oops).

I don't really have anything worthwhile to blog about.  Just stressing a bit over last minute details for our Buddy Walk...will be incredibly happy and relieved when they are all resolved...Oy.

I guess I'll also take this opportunity to say how much I am enjoying reading all the other 31 for 21 bloggers out there...this network rocks :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

In Your Eyes

Got the report from my mom (who took Chase to the eye doctor today) that now we no longer have to patch his eye for an hour every day!  Woot!

...we have to do it for 3 hours every day.  And follow up with some kind of electrode-to-his-head test in 6 weeks.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 3: Live from New York!

Thanks to Bryan for guest blogging yesterday!  I think that was his first official appearance here!

Gavin and I are safe at the GG's house, after a 6am flight out of Charlotte, which was booked after our initial evening flight had been delayed so much that we would have missed our connection to Rochester the night before.  All things considered, we both did very well on the trip up, and neither of us had any temper tantrums.

The weather is beautifully crisp here, the trees are starting to change.  We've made our first trip to Wegmans and I am planning to go out to Chase's for some fresh produce and to Schutt's for some cider today.

Gavin immediately took to Little GG, and he follows her everywhere, gifting things to her and asking for her to hold him all the time.  He also learned quickly where Big GG's candy dish was, and has since become a candy corn addict like myself.

We stopped at Sue and Dahni's house after they picked us up at the airport, and Gavin wandered and explored everywhere, discovering and scaring one of their kitties, Bella.  He spent the remaining time at their house calling, "Weh-waaaaah...?" trying to find where she had hidden.

It's nice up here...we are enjoying family and seeing the GG's, but it is very very strange without the other boys.  I think even Gavin feels a little weirded out with all of the attention on him every second of the day (although I think he may be enjoying it, as he is putting on quite a show for everyone with his total.extreme.cuteness.).

Must go...Guy is begging for animal crackers now, and I am sure that Little GG would like to sit down and take a little break :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

31 for 21 Day 2

Well Laurie is off having fun with her Grandparents this weekend. She was up at 2:30am this morning and I am guessing was too tired to wait for the "GGs" computer to work with her because she left me a message asking me to guest blog for her tonight. Hello, this is Bryan.  :)

I would say that Chase has the best big brother on the plant!  Below you will see Chase reading one of his mothers books (for about 10 minutes) and Ian playing with the baby toy near by. Not sure why Ian is playing with a baby toy and Chase is reading a book but maybe it is to remind me that I should not assume what will entertain either kid!

We went to McDs tonight for some good (easy) dinner and quality play place time.  Every time I take the boys there Ian holds Chase's hand and walks him into the restaurant. Then Ian likes to hold the door open for both Chase and I. Ian usually will make his dinner request and then lead Chase into the play place. I did not have Gavin with me tonight so I just watched thru the window and learned that Ian really is the best big brother Chase could ask for!

Chase goes up to the stairs where Ian stops him and helps him take his shoes off. Ian then puts his socks on and heads in saying Chase! Chase! 

They ended up playing for a good hour and a half. The whole time Ian leading Chase around or being chased by Chase, both were having too much fun. Thanks Ian for loving your little brother!

Friday, October 1, 2010

31 for 21 Day 1... Peer Presentation Lesson Plan

This year, Ian's Kindergarten class is in the same hallway as Chase's class, so they see each other throughout the day.  I decided that it might be the time to go into Ian's class and do a presentation on Down syndrome (and what better time to do it then Down syndrome Awareness month?!)- to answer any questions that they might have about his brother.

I approached his teacher, and she was really awesome about it- I have 30 minutes to do my thang on October 12th.  And because I am a teacher-nerd, I have my lesson plan already written up and ready to share with you :)  It is geared for K, but you could easily do with with up to third without tweaking it, and just add more of the science-y stuff and possibly a different book for older kids. 

I also have a handout for the kids to bring home to their parents...It is kind of like a mini Ben book (the one I am using for the presentation), but I am putting Chase's photos in and filling it in with Chase-specific words.

*Disclaimer:  I did NOT think up any of these activities myself...they are borrowed from a presentation from the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City.  I just put them all together.  :)  Borrowing ideas is what I do best!

Lesson plan:

Introduce myself as Ian and Chase's mom, thank them for having me in their class and share with them that I have a book to read to them.  Explain that the little boy in the book, Ben, has a secret, and Ian's brother Chase has that same secret.

Talk about how Chase was born with Down syndrome, too.  Define Ds (body is made of cells, cells have information called chromosomes that tell the body what to do, most people have 46 chromosomes, Chase has 47)

Chromosome Activity:  Ask for 3 volunteers.  2 people stand back to back and link arms, illustrating a pair of chromosomes.  Have them wiggle their arms around.  Now add a 3rd student, who stands on one side and links arms with them.  Now ask them to wiggle again...this time it is more difficult to move...that is what the 21st trisomy looks like.

Now, even though Chase has that extra information in his body, he is still just like all of us.  
More Alike Activity: Read a list of Chase's likes and dislikes.  Have children raise their hands if they agree with any of the statements as you read them.  Example:  Who likes goldfish crackers?  Chase does too!  Who doesn't like cleaning their room?  Chase doesn't either!

Down syndrome does make it a little harder for Chase to do some things.  He has to work extra hard at learning things sometimes.  His muscles sometimes don't work as well as yours do.  Like when he talks.  It is hard for his mouth to make the sounds for all the letters.
Speech Activity:  Pair up students.  Tell them that they are each going to get one marshmallow.  Taking turns, each student will place the marshmallow on the top of their tongue and then try to tell their partner something (ex, what they had for dinner last night) and the partner will talk about if they could understand them.

Fine Motor Activity:  Choose a few students to come write their name on a piece of paper.   Then ask them to put a thick sock on their hand and write their name on the paper again.  Discuss how it was harder the second time and why.  

Wrap up:
See?  Chase is just like you guys, he just needs extra time to learn things.  It's our job to help him when he needs it, and to spend time teaching him things he needs to learn, and being friendly.  It is also our job to treat him respectfully, just like you would treat your friends and your friends' brothers and sisters.

Q and A session, then close by thanking them for letting me share their classroom.