Just before school started, the boys and I made a quick trip to Houston. Ben had an appointment with the developmental pediatrics team at the Down Syndrome Clinic, and Evan wanted to eat dim sum. We figured we could kill two birds with one stone!
We made the most of it. It's a six hour drive up to Houston, so we got up early on a Wednesday and drove till mid afternoon. Our first stop was the Down Syndrome Association of Houston. The executive director, Alejandra Lima, and her staff were so welcoming! She gave us a tour and lots of information about how the DSAH operates. (This was vitally important because we just established a Down Syndrome Association in my town, I'm the president, and we need all the help we can get. One of these days I'll write about that whole journey.)
Next, we were supposed to visit one of my facebook friends - Anna - whose daughter Sophia is beautiful, close to Ben's age, and has Down syndrome. I was excited to meet Anna and Sophia in person, but we were so rushed for time that I had to call and cancel. Such a bummer!
Instead, we drove into Houston to stay with one of my friends from college (Regina), her husband and little boy. Evan was super-impressed with their house and their dogs. He was also full of energy. It didn't take long for him to break a picture frame (sigh), so we got him out of the house and took him to the park to use some of that energy. That night, Regina and I stayed up talking about college and life afterwards ...
Thursday was the big day! Ben was on the waiting list for this clinic for over a year, so when he finally got the appointment, we were a little bit excited. I got lost on the way, but managed to arrive on time anyway. We hung out at the clinic from 8:30 a.m. to noon. First Ben saw a speech therapist, then an occupational therapy team, then a pediatric resident and pediatric fellow, and then finally the developmental pediatrician. And a friendly genetics student sat in on most of the sessions.
Overall, everybody was impressed with Ben. The staff were positive and encouraging. After the assessments, both speech and OT said that Ben is developmentally around 18-21 months. So he's got about a 3-6 month delay. That sounded good to me.
Sidebar: I struggle to know how to think about Ben's development. I'm with him every day, and every day I see him learn something new. I think he's a fantastic kid and I don't tend to worry too much about how he's doing. However ...
I just received the written report from the Clinic, and it recapped everything the speech and OT people said, but it also included a Gross Motor assessment of 8-9 months. Whoa. That was a punch in the gut. I know he's not walking, but I don't think of him as being that far behind. I don't usually quantify his delays. I just think "well, he's not walking, but he's doing way better at trying to stand independently."
Silly boys at the doctor's office:
Back to Houston. We finished up at the clinic and went on a search for dim sum. Regina had given us the name of a place in the neighborhood, so we headed there instead of driving out to Chinatown. Ben knocked out in the car, and slept in the stroller all through lunch, so Evan and I had a pleasant mom/son date. He devoured two plates of siu mai and sampled everything I ordered. Fortunately, Evan wasn't a fan of the taro, so I got to eat all of those. My favorite!
Then we were off to the Space Center. This was a great place for Evan! We took a tram tour of the Space Center, so we got to see the real Mission Control ("Houston, we have a problem"), a mock up of the International Space Station and the real Saturn V rocket - HUGE.
Evan loves to learn, so he explored and listened and read placards while I entertained Ben. When we got back to the main building, Evan climbed a climbing wall while Ben and I played with balls in the "Angry Birds Space" kids play structure.
We didn't get to the Space Center until 3 p.m. so we stayed until it closed at 6 p.m. We drove through Houston, had dinner at Cracker Barrel and found a hotel. Friday morning (my birthday!), we drove a couple of hours to a little town near Victoria, where we had lunch with another friend, then did another 4 hours to get home. Whew! And then - we went to Open House at the kids' school.
We packed a lot of activities into our Houston trip, and I look forward to going back again!