We threw sticks in the water from a bridge. (Image: Boy in minion sweatshirt throwing something off a bridge).
Then we hiked down to the water's edge and threw more sticks. (Image: Same boy, throwing something from the shore).
Then we saw a deer, just a few feet away. (Image: Deer in the woods, watching us)
Nico, pleased, turned to me to sign "deer." (Image: Boy in minion sweatshirt, signing deer with his hands on his head)
Then they all ran away. Nico signed "run" really fast, then "deer" again as he watched them go. (Image: Boy with his back to the camera, signing deer).
One of the things I've learned about parenting a child with Down syndrome is how intentional we are, or can be, as parents, to make every moment a learning experience. We do this with both our children, but I'm often more thoughtful about it with Nico.
We were walking for over an hour, nearly every minute working on language (mostly verbal, but he uses sign and verbal speech when he really wants to communicate), balance, motor planning, dealing with frustration (like when I say we have to go home), and so much more. He teaches me, too, revealing new depths of his understandings and desires, pushing me to find better pathways to communicate, and finding fun in the unexpected. At one point, walking by some "buffalo prints" that are painted on the sidewalk near the library (don't ask), he started to do this little galloping step down the sidewalk, giggling all the way. It was new, delightful, behavior from my boy.
A splendid Saturday.
Next week ... Italy. Expect more pictures.