Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Planting the Planter

Over the last few days I've managed to get Bee's planter finished by layering it with a waterproof material to stop the wood from rotting, I got to use an electric staple gun and it was lots of fun! I was really pleased with the final results. I've been collecting small flowers and sprouting veg, along with a couple of seed packets and this morning we've spent some time in the garden planting them all!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Bee is very reluctant with texture or anything outside of her comfort zone. The idea of the planter was to challenge some of Bee's phobias and we'd been building up to it over a few days. We talked about doing some digging in the garden and planting flowers, spent some time getting used to the planter and (Bee's favourite) shopping for plants and a little garden tool set! I hoped that spending some time preparing Bee would make that final step of actually getting out there and digging in real soil much easier.

So this morning, armed with the tools and all our plants & seeds we headed into the garden to fill up the planter!

Bee was a little apprehensive at first, we've never done gardening and soil is a new texture. It helped that she was very excited about her new tools and was able to join in with the digging initially without actually having to touch the soil, it was a nice compromise.

We started with the plants rather than the seeds, something large and easy to manipulate for Bee. We had some kind of flowery plant, a grass (good for sensory touching), a strawberry plant plus some tomato and pepper plants. Bee loved digging the holes although I struggled to ger her to focus on one hole long enough to dig it deep enough, she liked to just use her trowel all over the place!

Once the plants were in we moved on to seeds. I chose pea and carrot seeds as those are something Bee enjoys eating so it was easier to get her engaged with something she liked. We talked about how the seeds would grow into plants and produce carrots and peas for her to eat. I don't think she entirely took in what I was saying but she was very excited about the pea seeds and dropping them in the hole.

As the exercise wore on I started to notice that Bee was so engrossed in the digging that she'd got compost on her hands. I encouraged her to use her fingers a little more in the digging, which she did, albeit a little reluctantly. Mainly she was happy just to use her trowel, although she did become a little more confident in knowingly touching the soil.

And so: ta-da!

The big empty space is full of pea seeds so hopefully we'll get at least a few pods out of it for Bee to experience growing and eating her own vegtables.

Overall the experience went much better than I'd anticipated. I think maybe I underestimate Bee sometimes. She's always handled most things with aplomb and her occassional sensory meltdowns mean that sometimes I assume she won't like or tolerate something before actually giving her the chance to show me whether she does or doesn't like it. One thing this little exercise has taught me is that my girl is brave and constantly surprises me with how wonderful she is.


Amy said...

I got to your lovely blog using the 'next blog' tab from my own blog. Have really enjoyed reading about Bee and everything she and you have overcome. She is a beautiful little girl and obviously very loved. I live in Manchester and have Ella who is 18 months and has Down's Syndrome. There is a lot you have written that I can identify with so thank you for sharing. I look forward to more of Bee's adventures and cant wait for her to sample the carrots and peas she has just planted. Kind Regards, Amy

Cath said...

Hi Amy, thank you so much for your lovely comments and taking the time to read my blog. You're not far from us, we're only in Warrington and all my family live in Manchester! :)
Kabuki Syndrome has a lot of similar symptoms as Down's Syndrome and I've actually gained a lot of useful tips and information from reading information designed for parents of children with DS. Unfortunately there's not much dedicated stuff out there for parents of children with KS.
Thank you again for your lovely comments and I'm so glad you enjoyed reading :)
Cath x

Cath said...

Amy I've just realised that you've said you write your own blog, is it a public one? Do you keep it about Ella? x

Amy said...

Hi Cath - sorry for the delay just moved and have no internet at home (or hot water or heating but thats another story!). Yes, the blog is public, about Ella and you can view it at

If I can ever be any help with any info please ask - the DS community is well informed and if I dont know the answer then someone will! Just a shame there is little info about Kabuki syndrome for you.
Take care xx