Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Down syndrome awareness: AFFECTION

This is one of my favorite pictures of Seth and me because it shows an important aspect of Down syndrome:  affection.  I can't speak for all parents of children with Down syndrome, but Seth is SUPER affectionate.  He can also be SUPER hateful, but I'll save that for another post.  Seth shows affection in many ways:  physically (hugs, high fives, smiles, holding hands, kisses), verbally ("I love you," "You're the best mom ever!"), and practically (being helpful, listening to people's words and/or watching people's body language to see what he can do to be helpful).

That last one showed up just yesterday TWICE.  Usually, Seth likes to cause CRAZY chaos when we go shopping (running away because he loves to be chased or grabbing things that he thinks he wants).  Because of this tendency, if you see Seth and me shopping together, you'll see me pushing a cart with our purchases and pulling a cart with Seth sitting on a pile of pillows and blankets and watching a movie with headphones on.  This is the method that I've found to work the best since shopping is my daytime job, and crazy chaos is not what I get paid for.  Yesterday, Seth was in his cart watching his movie quietly when I realized that I needed two more bags of soup from the very top shelf.  When Seth was still in school, I would've either climbed the shelves to reach the top or taken the extra 15 minutes to find a store employee who could get a ladder to help me.  Now that I get to take Seth with me, though, I don't need to risk my life or look for the employees that seem to be hiding when I need help.  Seth gladly puts down his movie, stands up in the cart, and reaches whatever I need.  He gets HUGE praise for this help, of course, which makes him want to help more.

The second time Seth was helpful yesterday was at Costco.  I didn't have time to go to Costco before noon, so I knew it was going to be too crowded to use the two-cart method.  Seth agreed to help me shop.  I was nervous!!  Seth often agrees to be good and then forgets his promise in less than five minutes.  Yesterday he did not forget!  He really helped me!  He didn't act like a wild animal; he didn't yell at anyone; he didn't knock things off the shelves; he didn't push the cart into other people; he didn't whine about not getting something that he saw and wanted.  He helped me push the cart carefully, got exactly what I asked him to get from the shelves, put them carefully in the cart, waited patiently in the check-out line, and walked nicely to the car with me.  For his shockingly good behavior, Seth got a box of rice krispie treats (one of his favorites).

A side note to this, however, is that Seth's behavior is always on his terms.  He behaves when HE feels like it, and he misbehaves when he feels like it.  There is no reward fabulous enough and no punishment horrible enough to MAKE Seth do or not do something.  He has to decide for himself.  I try VERY hard to offer every incentive to be good and nice, hoping and praying that the rewards for good behavior will be more enticing than the fun of misbehaving.  Seth has his own version of logic, though, so even rice krispie treats aren't always enough to convince him to be good.  I can never underestimate my sweet Seth or assume that I know what he's going to do.  He is more than capable of unbelievably bad behavior . . . and also completely capable of perfect behavior :-)

Saturday, June 3, 2017


I haven't posted in this blog for three years because I've been posting everything on facebook.  Send me a friend request if you want to catch up on what's been happening with the Hofacker family :-)  I'm so tired of the drama on facebook, though, and plan to post here again.

The most recent events of "Michelle's Day" involve graduations.  My mom and stepdad came up to attend Joel's graduation from high school.

 Joel not only graduated from high school, but he also graduated from manual labor summer jobs.  He's working with the children's ministry pastor this summer and loves it.
 Makenzie graduated from summer couch potato/social butterfly to a part-time secretary at church.
 Luke graduated from Seth watcher to carpet cleaner at church/school.  He's not loving that, so growing up isn't quite agreeing with my Lukey Pookey.  With his Bible app, music, dramatized Bible on tape (I was shocked to find out that Fred Meyer is once again selling cassette tape walkmans!!!), and regular visits from Dad, Mom, and Seth, Luke is surviving.
 Seth graduated from Baxter Elementary special education program. . .
 . . . and started "school home" with me as his main teacher.  When he feels like cooperating, Seth is a really good student and learns fairly quickly.
 Summer walks officially began Tuesday, May 30.  Seth and I walk to the church at least once per day to either visit Luke or to pick him up to walk home together after work.

The Hofacker Family 2008