Parent Perspective, What does GiGi’s mean to me?
Hi, my name is Becky Archibald. My husband Dave and I have a daughter named Caroline who is almost 2 1/2 years old.
The first time that we went to GiGi’s was last year for cookies with Santa. I will never forget the first time that we went in.
As soon as we walked in, we were welcomed with open arms. Even though we hadn’t met anyone before that day, it felt like hanging out with friends and family. Everyone was so kind and made sure that we enjoyed all the activities, and that Caroline was able to participate.
I knew from that day on that GiGi’s would become an important part of our life. Soon after that, we started attending a program for toddler and preschool-aged kids called Leaps and Bounds weekly. And I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference it has made for us. Caroline is literally making leaps and bounds in her development. Since she was born during the pandemic, she wasn’t around a lot of other little kids, and she started out pretty terrified of other kids her age. But after attending for a couple of weeks, she really started to open up and interact with the other kids more and that has continued to get better and better over the past year. She has also picked up on so much from the songs and activities we do. She is definitely an observer and even the things that she doesn’t necessarily do while we’re in the building, I see blossoming at home.
But as much as GiGi’s has made a difference for Caroline, it’s made just as much of a difference for me. I have made so many connections with other parents. Some of them have kids around Caroline’s age, which is great because we can cheer each other on, and give tips and advice to each other about what works or what doesn’t. I’ve also been able to talk to lots of parents who have kids who are just a little older, up through teenagers. It is so nice to be able to get the perspective of other parents who have been in my shoes, and who can help me prepare for what to expect over the coming years.
Which is yet another reason we love GiGi’s. There are programs for all ages, so I know as Caroline grows, GiGi’s grows with us, and we will always have a community to support us.
It is so incredibly helpful as a parent of a child with Down syndrome to know that you have a place where your child will always be accepted and loved for exactly who they are, as they are. So, thank you very much for coming out tonight and supporting GiGi’s Playhouse!
-Becky Archibald, Mom to Caroline
Parent Perspective, Brew HaHa Speech, Oct. 2022