Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's that time of the year again ...

October is just around the corner ... you know what that means?!?!  It's almost BUDDY WALK time!!!

As a new board member of our local Down Syndrome Network here in Greensboro, I have taken on some of the resposibilities of planning our 8th annual Buddy Walk!  I am excited and honored to be playing a major role in this year's walk, but organizing such an event is impossible without the support of local businesses, dozens of dedicated volunteers, and friends like you!

Jack was only five months old at his first Buddy Walk last year, but he managed to be among the top three kids to raise the most money for our cause!  (Because of this, he is one of the three adorable faces featured on the cover of this year's Buddy Walk brochure!!!)  "Jack's Pack" had one of the largest teams in 2010, and we hope to have just as much, if not more, support this year!  So, we'd love for you to join "Jack's Pack" in October for our 8th Annual Buddy Walk!

Who: Down Syndrome Network of Greater Greensboro

What: 8th Annual Buddy Walk

When: Saturday, October 15, 2011 from 11am until 3pm

How: Register online at or visit our DSNGG website for more information.  (If you are interested in volunteering at this year's Buddy Walk, please contact me.)

Everyone pre-registered for the Buddy Walk by September 25th is guaranteed a T-shirt. On the day of the walk, there will be great food, music, games, crafts, face painting, and much more! We will also have special guests joining us at the event.

If you can't make it or live out of town but would still like to show your support, please consider a donation to DSNGG in Jack's honor in the form of a "High Five!"  The individuals who raise the most money by getting the most "high fives" will be featured on the cover of next year's Buddy Walk brochure, so let's make sure it's our Jack!  {Giving "high fives" is super easy and fast!  One "high five" equals a $5 donation, and so a $20 donation would equal 4 "high fives," and so on.  To "high five" Jack, just visit our Buddy Walk website and click on "Donate" at the bottom of the screen.  Fill out the requested information, and then when the screen says "Review your donation" CLICK ON "DONATE IN SUPPORT OF" (written in small blue letters, listed on the left hand side underneath the words Down Syndrome Network of Greater Greensboro) and insert "Jack Hickling - HIGH FIVE" before your final click.}

We sincerely thank all of Jack's fans out there for your constant support for our family!  You are amazing, and we hope to see you on October 15th!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


"Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights."
- Pauline  R. Kezer

 Our little boy has been doing some amazing things lately!  I find it ironic (he, he) to title this post "continuity," being that I have not been very consistent in blogging recently (Sorry!).  Jack has just been so busy this summer exploring and learning new things every day that I just can't seem to leave his side!   Although I sometimes feel guilty about not working as much now (and thus not contributing much to the family finances), my husband and family assure me that Jack's recent developmental spurt is due to my being home more consistently and having more continuity with his daily routines and therapies.  So, my excitement and pride over my little boy's accomplishments have certainly outweighed my guilt over working less. 

To update all you "Jack Pot" fans out there, here's some (but far from all) of the things our little man is now doing:

1.  Jack LOVES to swim, and even understands the words "kick" and "splash" when we tell him to do so, responding with the cutest little "swimming" motions in the water.  He is not afraid of the water AT ALL, and surprised us by jumping some pretty gnarly waves with Daddy during our last beach trip.  We can't wait to start swim lessons this fall ... I think we have a future Special Olympics Swimmer on our hands!!!

Our cutie at the annual Down Syndrome Network family pool party
2.  Jack is pulling to stand with very minimal help.  He did it completely independently about 5 times on the beach earlier this month.  Most of the time, though, he needs help to plant one of his feet under him to then pull himself up.  (Therefore, in therapy world, it's considered an "emerging skill.")  Our PT let us borrow one of her therapy benches, which has really helped Jack hone this new trick. (Thanks, Carrie!!!) 

Jack pulling up to stand on a beach chair, which he did ALL BY HIMSELF!
3.  Jack has absolutely MASTERED sitting up from lying down.  This transistional skill is one we've been working on nonstop for about 4 months or so now, so we were really pumped when Jack did it for the first time.  Every morning, I'd enter Jack's room just hoping to see him sitting up in his crib, and I think I was starting to get used to it not happening.  Well ... he sure showed me!  Daddy found Jackers sitting up in his crib one morning about 3 weeks ago, and we just couldn't believe our eyes!  Now, he does this like it's second nature ... so proud of our little buddy!

4.  Jack is really, truly ALMOST crawling!  Jack has no trouble getting into quadruped position (on all fours), and he will rock back and forth in this position and sometimes lift one foot to place it on the floor as if he's getting ready to stand up.  We really have no doubt that Jack CAN crawl; we think that maybe he just can't get the movements all coordinated yet.  We'll see, but we think it's coming soon!  And, who knows?!?!  Maybe he'll skip this step altogether and just start walking!!!  We're hoping that continuing classes with other toddlers this fall at The Little Gym will help him get more on the move.

5.  Jack is a total chatterbox!!!  He tries to imitate most words and sounds we make now, which has really encouraged us that we made the right decision by pushing to get Speech Therapy at such a young age.  Jack has been seeing his therapist Jill every other week now for about 2 and a half months and has developed his communication skills by leaps and bounds.  He occasionally signs "mommy" and "daddy" (at least, we think that's what he's doing!).  He has also signed "elephant," "milk," and "all done," although not consistently. 
Jack can say "bubble" with verbal prompts (and real bubbles help too), and he says "wow" or "whoa" all the time now.  My mom taught him "wow" and "whoa" one afternoon while riding on his new lion friend (see below).  He purses his lips together to make the most perfectly pronounced "w" sound ... quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen!  (I will try to capture this on video soon to share with you all!)  He also tries to say "meow" like a kitty, "roar" like a lion, and "woof" like a doggie!

5.  Jack is a DANCING MACHINE!!!  Anytime this boy hears any music, from symphony to rock 'n roll, he's grooving to it!  He throws his arms out and swings them side to side and up and down ... it's hilarious!  Daddy has coined these sweet moves the "Baby Boogie."  We have referred to it as such so many times that Jack will now do his little gig when we simply say, "Jack, do the Baby Boogie," with or without music!  Good thing we're continuing music class this fall with the Gate City Musikgarten!

6.  Jack has lots of other new little tricks, too ... from sometimes patting his head and touching his nose on command, and holding the cordless phone to his ear (very cute)!  He's also isolating his pointer finger all the time now to push buttons, point to things, and touch different textures in books.  With the help of his development therapist Annette, he's also learned how to "put things in" and "take them out," like putting blocks in and taking them out of a box.  Such a bright little man!

So, as you can see, our little boy's development has really taken off since I've been at home more with him.  I'm realizing that change isn't always a bad thing.  In fact, it can be the answer to all your prayers.  After all ...

"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies."

Rest well, my sleepy little butterfly ...