Friday, October 25, 2013


A few weeks back my oldest came home and told me the high school student council had almost unanimously chosen Ben as the Kindergarten crown bearer for our school's Homecoming celebration. 

While I was so honored an proud of the kids for choosing Ben,  I have to admit, I was in a bit of a panic. 

Anytime Ben gets anywhere near that football field, he thinks it is an opportunity for him to run for a pretend touchdown.  All I could picture was Ben spiking the crown in the end zone after he took off down the field with it. 

Before I even had confirmation from the school about it, I went to our Special Ed Director to get her opinion.  She also had a few concerns but it was decided that they would practice with Ben (and the little girl) during some of his down time at school and if the worst that happened was him taking off with the crown,  well, it would not be the end of the world. They also had video from a past year's Homecoming that they could use as video modeling for Ben, so he would know what was expected.  We did not want to set him up to fail, so we felt that giving him a little more help to know what was expected would help him to succeed. 

So finally it was Homecoming night.  The temps were supposed to be 40's so we layered Ben up. with some nice warm pj's under his dress pants and sweater.  He was pretty excited during the first half of the game and did not want to sit for us.  When it came to for them to line up and get their flowers on, Ben was more than ready to go.  The Special Ed Director was even there to help the two little ones get ready.   Ben got his pillow, just like he had practiced, but then they were thrown a loop.

The pillow was for the queen's crown, not the king's crown.  Ben was just expected to carry the King's crown in his hand.  At first Ben did not want to give up the pillow, but finally agreed when he was given the crown instead. 

They marched right out to the first hash mark on the field just as they had been taught with Ben only turning around to peek at the crowd once.  He stood pretty still ((at least as still as he can stand on one place) once they got where they needed to go.   But everyone was clapping as they announced candidates names over the speaker and his hands were full.  So he popped the crown on his head.  It was cute.I think he wanted to clap too!

After they announced the King and Queen, who just happen to be cousins and (distance cousins to our family) they took some group photos.  Ben did pretty good with them too, but still had to add his own flair to a couple photos, like this one:
Nothing like a good "Home Alone" face in a Homecoming photo.

The next night was the Homecoming dance. 
 I took John to get photos with his class, while Randy got Ben ready.  

 The freshman boys were looking very handsome!

Then it was off to school to take group photos of the royalty.  Ben did very good once he figured out what was going on, and cooperated beautifully.
 He even helped out when the King was not smiling,  by reaching over and giving him a tickle. 
 It worked!

 Then Ben wanted to take photos with everyone.  Here is one with his big brother.  He even photo bombed a couple other groups photos, and they all welcomed him to stay.

But once the lights went off and the music came on, he decided it was time to dance!  Both the crown bearers had fun dancing with the Homecoming Queen!

The next night while I was going through the photos, Ben came up behind me while this photo was on my computer and signed and said, "Mom more dance, PLEASE".  I tried to dance with him but he wanted to go back to Homecoming.  Sorry buddy.  We will just have to find some place else for you to dance. 

In the end I am just so glad we did it.  There were moments, when I thought it would be a disaster.  But Ben really stepped up and raised the bar again, by doing a great job while being really cute (in my biased opinion).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ben's Brigade2013

This past weekend was our awareness walk.  This was my second year of co-chairing the event, and I admit the job is not getting easier.  I know that seems odd because things tend to get easier the more you do it, and while I agree that is true most of the time, for me it was not.  Second the reason the job got so much harder, is because during the last three years that I have been involved, we have doubled the size of the walk in terms of both money raised and total walkers.  It has been great raising more money and having more walkers.  However, ordering and sorting 1600 t-shirts is a whole different ball game from sorting 750 shirts.  It all requires more volunteers, and those are harder to come by.  But in the end getting bigger is a good problem to have.

We are very proud of our team who continually comes out and supports Ben's Brigade (even on cold mornings like it was on Saturday)  Through fundraising we were able to earn three fact posters that were displayed along the walk. 

Ben enjoyed seeing himself in the photos.  

We are always happy to welcome new team members.  This year we were able to welcome a few of Ben's Kindergarten classmates.  I am just sorry that my duties as walk chair prevented me from doing more socializing with my team.  We were also sorry that John had to attend the Harvest of Harmony parade with the school band and had to miss out.  For the first time we were unable to take a family photo at the walk.   Thank you for everyone who supported Ben's Brigade!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kindergarten Learning

It is hard to know what Ben is learning in Kindergarten.  He really only answers yes, no questions, when I ask about his day. There is also the sheet at the end of the week that tells what everyone in class worked on, but by the time I get that, and question Ben, he does not always remember.  We have discussed having a communication book, but we need to come up with something that would be easy for the teachers to implement, since Ben is in a general ed classroom and does not have a 1 on 1 para.

That being said, I have seen glimpses of things he has learned when I watch him playing.  Last year I caught him doing the "Months of the Year Macarena" one day while he was taking a bath.  He would not participate with his classmates at the preschool graduation, but does a great version while naked and sudsy. 

The other night he was standing very straight with his hand over his heart and reciting something to his reflection in the fireplace glass.  It just took a second to realize he was doing the Pledge of Allegiance.  Not all the words were understandable, but he was saying many of them correctly and you could easily tell by the rhythm and the fact that he had one hand over his heart..  I tried to video tape, but Ben was too excited about the camera to do it again. 
 Then he started to play with his puzzle.  He was salting and peppering it then pretending to eat the pieces.  So I can assume he is getting his increased culinary skills from the pretend kitchen they have at school.
Finally when he was done he said to himself, "high five or fist bump?.....high five!"  Then he  high five'd himself.  That showed me that someone is giving him choices and he likes being able to make a choice.  He repeated this many times going back and forth between fits bumps and high fives.

P.S.  It is Down syndrome awareness month.  More on that later.