Sunday, October 31, 2010

31 for 21/31: All about Little Miss

Little Miss

1...wakes up happy every morning. Sometimes I question if she's really my daughter...(who is definitely not a morning person). When I walk into get her out of her crib, she flops back down and lays on her belly for a back rub. She knows what feels good.

2...has an insane addiction to pretzels. She'll sit at the pantry door, hold onto the hinge and scream "za" until she gets her snack...this occurs morning, noon, and night.

3...she is very interested in the potty and what we are doing in that little white room. As reinforcement for going on the potty, she often asks for a piece of toilet paper by signing tissue or saying "t". There are times (not always) when she will actually eat the toilet paper instead of using it for it's intended purpose. I have NO clue where she learned that from!

4...if we ask her if she's sad, she'll whine slightly and rub at her eyes. That's what she gets for having a behavior therapist as her mom. She'll know how to label her emotions. ;-)

5...LOVES music and dancing. The moment she hears the faintest sound of a beat, she starts shaking it up. At home, at the store, in the car...she LOVES a good beat. We watch you tube videos every night with different songs. She gets up and dances around for different songs. Her current favorite is Barney Mr. Bop.

6...has a laugh that is absolutely contagious. She tosses her head back and goes, "hahaha". Then she looks at you to make sure you're laughing along with her.

7...absolutely adores dogs. She signs dog all the time. She hears a dog barking and signs dog. Sees a dog on TV, in books, etc. she signs dog. What she doesn't know is that there's probably a dog in our future but she's going to have to wait until her brothers get a little older and for when her Daddy doesn't deploy quite so often. a sucker for story time. I love catching her leaning on the wall against a pillow with a book in hand pretending to read.

9...has a pistol of a temper (just like her mama), she has no patience for things that don't work the first time through. This results in moments of frustration and yelling "MMMMMAAAAAAAA" to come solve the problem.

10...enjoys hanging out with me in the kitchen, folding/unfolding laundry, cleaning. While I'm making dinner she rummages through the cupboards or plays with her Leapster on the fridge. Some days I love our time cooking together, other times I feel like she's in all the wrong cupboards, but then when she pretends to be stirring a pot of cooked mush...she melts my heart all over again. happy to give hugs and kisses, but those same moments can quickly turn into opportunities for her to lick your face. Yep, she's weird.

12...enjoys looking at pictures of family and will ask "who's that?". She's starting to figure out sign names for everyone, but always seems to revert to Grandma.

13...receives 6 different types of therapy: Play Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Occupational, Physical, and Applied Behavioral Analysis. She just met all of her feeding goals though, so we're actually down to 5. woot, woot! a little dare devil. She loves when her Daddy tosses her around. She'll giggle and sign more when he needs a break. She also loves to spin around in our office chair.

15...first sign and first spoken word was "all done". Once she learned that first sign...signing took off. We have Signing Time to thank for that.

16...loves when people wave at her, talk to her, pay her any attention at all. If you met her in the store you might think she's starved for attention. Rest assured, she is not.

17...celebrated her 1st Halloween this year (My parents never celebrated Halloween, so we weren't going to either, but for whatever reason I gave in and we dressed her up). She dressed up as little Nemo and was the cutest fish you've ever seen. She was a big fan of Reese's Cups, but still chose a pretzel at the end of the night. We both had fun going trick or treating and playing dress-up!

18...had heart surgery when she was 4 months old. She was out of the hospital on Day 5 following the surgery and we've never had to look back. thankfully, that's the only surgery she's ever needed. the ruler of our home for the time being (until the boys arrive anyway). She knows what she wants and when she wants it. This applies to food, music, and pretty much anything that a 2 year old could desire. As such, it's usually a guessing game, but "thankfully" she's not shy thought about letting us know when we have it wrong.

20. She's going to be a golfer someday. She'll pull out her little golf set and sign help for her Dad to come stand with her to hit some balls. She gets the biggest smile seeing the balls fly across the room. I think the daddy time is a huge bonus too.

21. She loves swimming, but doesn't care for bath time. Well, she likes bath time but she HATES to have her hair rinsed. The moment we bring out the cup to pour over her head she stands up and starts shaking her head "no". She refuses to lay down in the water for a rinse either.

Our Little Miss is just what and who God intended her to be. Each day when I don't think she could be any cuter, God's light just shines through her and reminds me of all the good that has been and will come from being apart of this little angel's life. She is an amazing girl that is successful, determined, and we are blessed beyond words to have her as our daughter.

The best picture we got of her was when we were just trying on her costume!

Heading out on our adventure. And that's me at 38 weeks pregnant...we'll be meeting the boys on Tuesday.

She waited very patiently for her turn to pick out candy. Although each time she got a piece of candy instead of putting it in HER bag, she tried to put it back into the container she took it from.

Grandma's in town to help with the boys, so she got to be there of our first Halloween. I'm pretty sure this was Peanut's favorite stop along the route.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 for 21/30

She's going to be an awesome big sister.
Lots of love to give...

plenty of computer experience to teach the boys how to make the computer sing to you...

and constantly working on her dance moves...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

31 for 21/29: Cloth Diapering & Toilet Training

Through no fault of her own, toilet training has been put on hold. Due to my present condition (being nearly 38 weeks pregnant with twins), I've found it quite difficult to get up and down with her and fitting both of us in the bathroom has been a sight to see as well. We still put Peanut on the potty when it's bath time and she will go immediately when the bath water is turned on. Additionally she will periodically request the potty by signing diaper. If we ask, "do you need to go potty?" She will then sign potty or shake her head no...which ever is her desire at that point in time.

So rather than sticking with our hourly schedule which was brutal on my very large pregnant body...we're letting her take the lead. So instead of learning all about the potty on my time schedule, we're going to let her take the lead on this one. We're going to invest in potty training pants from the wonderful Bumbledoo as funds become available and for after we have the boys and establish some sort of routine.

M gave us several cues that she was ready for potty training. Laying her diaper out, signing "dirty" when she had a wet or poopy diaper on, and following us (and even the occasional guest would hear a knocking on the bathroom door) to check things out. When did her interest peak in toileting?...when we started cloth diapering. Go figure!

I bought our diapers used on criagslist. Bradley thinks it's absolutely disgusting that I bought used diapers, but I got the whole stash for $ absolute steal for everything I got. I got more than what's in the picture, but this is how I first started organizing the dipes.

I had to strip the diapers. I soaked them overnight in VERY hot water with Rockin' Green, a detergent for cloth diapers.

I wash our dipes every 2 days and line dry them to help them last for the boys.

So, will switching to cloth help your child potty train? I haven't the slightest clue, BUT I do know that it has helped Little Miss become more aware of what's going on. So, why not make the big switch? It's better for your kiddos bum, better for your pocket book, and better on our planet. Still need convincing, check out a great site for cloth diapering called Diaper Swappers. There's a forum, marketplace, and blogs to help you find your way. Good luck and happy potty training, whenever you decide to venture down that road.

Got potty training tips? Please share them!

31 for 21/28: Cuteness Factor

Just a little girl out shoe shopping with her Daddy!!

Looking as cute as ever and knowing it!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

31 for 21/27: Come on and Dance

Walking has it's advantages...she can get up and dance, dance, dance!


She's actually dancing to the Wiggles "Shake your sillies out", but I don't have that in my library...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

31 for 21/26: The Creed

The Creed of Babies with Down Syndrome

My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace

Monday, October 25, 2010

31 for 21/25: 2 year old Tornado

If you see destruction...

this sweet faced little red-headed beauty could be the culprit...

Proof positive...more alike than different.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

31 for 21/24

Yesterday I posted that M isn't walking yet and that we are using her golf skills to increase her strength. Well, I lied a little bit. Peanut has been trying to stand since June and has been trying to take steps here and there. Within the last week, Little Miss has realized that walking gives her a much better view of where she is going and she carry along her snacks. Granted, she has a better view, but since her stability is a little off she still topples to the floor quite a bit, she gets right back up and tries again. We encourage her to do with lots of clapping, cheering, and applause. video

Saturday, October 23, 2010

31 for 21/23: Golf Lessons

Peanut is 2 years, 1 month old and isn't walking, but she's working on it. Our PT said to give her lots of opportunities to stand while playing such as basketball, baseball, pushing a stroller. We found this great little golfers set so Peanut can get a head start on the game. She absolutely loves playing golf with her Daddy. We love that she's practicing standing and developing her balance while doing playing a sport that makes her so happy. Look out Tiger, Little Miss is a natural! ;-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

31 for 21/22: People First

Words Shape Attitudes – People First Language

The words that people use can help all individuals to lead more complete and enriching lives. Words can also create barriers and reinforce stereotypes. The primary goal of this statement is to ensure that correct language is used when talking, or writing, about individuals with Down syndrome.

Words can create barriers. Try to recognize that a child is “a child with Down syndrome” or that an adult is “an adult with Down syndrome”. Children with Down syndrome grow into adults with Down syndrome; they do not remain “eternal children”. Adults enjoy activities and companionship with other adults.

* The correct name of this diagnosis is Down syndrome. There is no apostrophe (Down). The “s” in syndrome is NOT capitalized (syndrome).
* An individual with Down syndrome is an individual first and foremost. The emphasis should be on the person, not the disability. Down syndrome is just one of the many words that can be used to describe a person. Do NOT say, “That child is a Downs”. A child with Down syndrome, an adult with Down syndrome, or a person with Down syndrome is a more appropriate way to discuss a person with this condition.
* Encourage people to use person-first language, i.e. “The person with Down syndrome”, NOT “The Down syndrome person”! Identify individuals with Down syndrome as an individual, a friend, a student, or a family member.
* It is important to use the correct terminology. A person has an intellectual disability, rather than “suffers from”, “is a victim of”, “is diseased with”, or “is afflicted by”. A person with Down syndrome is NOT “a Downs”.
* Ask yourself if using the words “poor”, “pitiful”, or “unfortunate” when referring to an individual with Down syndrome is in his/her best interest.
* Each person has his/her own unique strengths, capabilities and talents. Try not to use the clich├ęs that are so common when describing an individual with Down syndrome. To assume all people have the same characteristics or abilities is degrading. Also, it reinforces the stereotype that “all kids with Down syndrome are the same”.
* Most important, look at the person as an individual—your child, your family member, your student, your friend. Proudly acknowledge their individuality and their accomplishment. Remember, persons with Down syndrome are more alike us than different. They have feelings too and are hurt by cruelty, stares and name-calling. They want to be included in your groups, not excluded.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

31 for 21/21

There's absolutely no arguing that this precious little girl is loved endlessly...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

31 for 21/20: Mark your calendars

We recently decided to potty train Peanut. However, with less than 2 weeks before the twins arrive, our hourly potty schedule has fallen to the wayside. First she got sick, then I got sick, and now I'm just too big to get up and down to help her. So, the schedule has sort of been on hold with the exception of sitting on the potty before her bath and whenever she strolls into the bathroom and sits down (fully clothed). However within the last 3 days, M has initiated going to the potty completely independently 3 times! She signs diaper and then heads towards the bathroom. I've been rushing to follow her and have luckily caught her and gotten her diaper and all that off. She's peed twice and pooped once! Way cool in my book!

Although I haven't been great about sticking with potty training, I'm excited that M is still very interested and very aware of what the potty is for. I was very excited to see the following e-mail in my account today about a webinar on toilet training and DS offered by the Down Syndrome program at Boston Children's Hospital. If you're gearing up for potty training or just interested in learning more, these webinars have been very informative thus far so I suspect this one will not disappoint.

Here is the correspondence I received from Angela, the program coordinator, on the upcoming webinar...

Woo Hoo! Don't miss our next talk at the Allen C. Crocker Speaker Series on Monday, October 25th!

We are thrilled to have Kim Dunn return to speak to our group on the wonders of Toilet Training and DS! This is quite a hot topic for many so we hope folks will be able to come in person and participate in the question and answer session after her talk!

If you are coming in person: Come to the Enders Auditorium at Children's at 6:30pm. Talk begins promptly at 7pm. There will be a question and answer session from 8 - 8:30pm.

If you can't come in person: Log on to this link below a bit before 7pm and watch it live from your personal computer!

If you aren't around on Monday night to view this, no worries, I will be sharing the link of the recording a few days after the event! If you aren't at this stage yet, you can always view it when needed from our website where all the information will be posted.

So, mark this on your calendars for this upcoming Monday, or check it out at a later date. Do whatever is convenient for you and your schedule.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

31 for 21/19: Interactive Books

So I quit my job at the beginning of the month so that I could put my feet up and relax before the twins run me to pieces. However, I didn't realize that Peanut would also enjoy running me to pieces during my time off before the insanity ensues. In addition to Peanut's agenda for each day I have the great skill of creating jobs for myself. I move things here, there, and everywhere only to decide it was better off where I had it originally. I know drive my husband crazy with the amount of organizing I do. He's forever asking, "where is such & such NOW?" Somewhere in my mind, I've convinced myself that this is one of the reasons he loves me.

Along with my random assignment of unnecessary chores to complete before our bundles of joy arrive I'm also working on some other tasks: fixing up some cloth diapers, sewing a liner for a basket to put our blankets in, AND making my own interactive book for Little Miss. It is essentially identical to the book listed on Downs Ed titled, What Color is it? by Joan Green.

I chose to create my own book primarily due to the price. The book costs $22.00. Not a bad price, but considering I've been scoping out ALL of the interactive books, my grand total would be around $200 for the books and shipping. I couldn't even find a good deal on Amazon or Ebay. So I was thinking...I have a month off...why not make my own? And that's exactly what I'm up to (in addition to all the other "stuff").

And of course, I've made a couple changes. First, I selected items that were specific to M...items that I knew she would have an interest in or items that I'm interested in teaching her.

I created a corresponding color page for each item. Which is the same concept as the original. These corresponding pages will serve as the section where all the pieces can be stored when the book isn't in use (once I get the Velcro on).

I duplicated the item pages and color pages to create matching cut out pieces to be used for matching.

Unlike the original, I added a page for each color/item that includes visual prompts. Meaning, the picture of the matching image is under the corresponding word. The picture of each image is identical to the picture that she will be holding to match.

I could take this a step further and use non-identical pictures to allow for generalization, but I just don't feel it's all that necessary at this point. However, the nice part of making my own is that if she needs a little extra help, I can make up some new pages with different pictures of dogs, apples, horses, etc.

Once M learns to match the pictures correctly using the visual prompts, I will introduce her to the pages that are essentially blank, with the exception of the words. She will still be expected to match the picture to the corresponding word, but she will no longer have a visual prompt. This will ensure she is reading and not simply matching.

So, I have everything cut out and sorted. I dropped it off at the print shop to be laminated and hole punched. I can pick it up on Friday. I did pick up some Velcro sticky tabs at Joann's to make this book "interactive". I'll post a picture of the final product and the cost of everything once it's completed. So far my total is at $3.50 on account of I already had card stock and color ink on hand from other projects. If it goes over well with Inspector Little Miss, I'm thinking that an interactive book of animal sounds will be my next endeavour.

If you have any interest in my version of the book, I'd be happy to e-mail the document. You'd have to cut it out, hole punch, & laminate it...but other than that...the work is already completed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

31 for 21/18: Communication Temptation

Music can be a great way to increase communication skills. Many songs offer cause and effect reactions such as "If you're happy and you know it". The person has to have a response for the song to continue. In your happy and you know it, the person should clap, stomp, etc for the song to continue to progress.

For most children music is considered a preferred activity. Using songs will encourage your child to participate physically, verbally, or through sign. When you reach a point in a particular song that your child will be able to "fill in" a section, provide a slight pause to give him or her the opportunity to sing with you. Your child will eventually learn if they say/sign/act out the chosen fill in, the song will continue. Singing will be enjoyable, while not feeling like speech therapy, and build confidence.

Start small with simple fill ins. Initially, choose fill ins that your child can already act out/say/sign independently. This will make it easier for him or her to grasp the concept of what you're attempting to get out of them. Once your child has "caught on", introduce new fill-ins and increase the difficulty level as well. The idea behind musical fill-ins is that your child will learn the cause and effect responses of verbal communication. However, if your child does not have verbal skills or sign communication, you can start with songs that require physical participation such as Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Start with expecting the child to tap their head and then progress through the song as your child masters each component.

For example, Peanut has very few spoken words or sounds. She can easily say "ah" though. We chose songs that would build her confidence that required her to sing "ah" at certain parts in the song (as you will see in the video). In order to teach her the expectation of the fill in, we would sing the song, singing her part as well, until we were able to fade ourselves during "her part". Peanut is extremely comfortable signing requests so we also chose songs that she could use her sign words as fill-ins as well. In the video, she signs mama as the fill in. However, we are now targeting saying "mama" for the fill in. This will help to transition her from signing to speaking.

Don't simply expect your child to just "catch on" to what you expectation is. You may need to prompt him or her verbally or physically. It took M quite sometime before she understood what we were asking of her. Now that M has learned what the expectation is during the pause, she learns her parts very quickly. She participates in over 20 songs with multiple fill in opportunities throughout, with varying sound/sign/physical expectations. When using prompts, just remember to fade them out as your child's skills increase. If you have questions about how to prompt, when to prompt, or any of the information I've suggested...shoot me a message and I'll be happy to help as best possible.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

31 for 21/17

I'm stealing this from Sweet Pea's mama who found it through Stephanie at Our Daily Smiles who got it from Tina's blog, and she found it on Dana Nieder's blog, Uncommon Sense. Dana is the author.

This absolutely blew me away as I read it! There is a story called Welcome to Holland that attempts to explain what raising a child with special needs is like. The one sentence summary is that you bought tickets to Italy, but are taken to Holland instead. The below is a spin off on that story that gets into the real heart of the emotions that come before you realize how beautiful Holland can be. I don't know why I am continually surprised that many mothers have gone through the same emotions as I. It seems that when you are going through it yourself it is a lonely place as you fear that you are handling it worse than you should be and reading posts like this can really make you feel normal again. I was given a copy of Welcome to Holland the first day Peanut was born and I wish I had read this right after! Thank you Dana for writing this!!!

From Dana's blog:
To fully get this post, please read (or re-read) Welcome to Holland before starting. Thanks.

In the special needs world, there is a poem (essay? whatever.) called "Welcome to Holland." It is supposed to explain what it's like to have a child with special needs. It's short and sweet.

It skips everything.

While "Welcome to Holland" has a place, I used to hate it. It skipped over all of the agony of having a child with special needs and went right to the happy ending.

The raw, painful, confusing entry into Holland was just glossed over. And considering the fact that this little poem is so often passed along to new-moms-of-kids-with-special-needs, it seems unfair to just hand them a little story about getting new guidebooks and windmills and tulips.

If I had written "Welcome to Holland", I would have included the terrible entry time. And it would sound like this:

Amsterdam International

Parents of “normal” kids who are friends with parents of kids with special needs often say things like “Wow! How do you do it? I wouldn’t be able to handle everything---you guys are amazing!” (Well, thank you very much.) But there’s no special manual, no magical positive attitude serum, no guide to embodying strength and serenity . . . people just do what they have to do. You rise to the occasion, and embrace your sense of humor (or grow a new one). You come to love your life, and it’s hard to imagine it a different way (although when you try, it may sting a little). But things weren’t always like this . . . at first, you ricocheted around the stages of grief, and it was hard to see the sun through the clouds. And forget the damn tulips or windmills. In the beginning you’re stuck in Amsterdam International Airport. And no one ever talks about how much it sucks.

You briskly walk off of the plane into the airport thinking “There-must-be-a-way-to-fix-this-please-please-don’t-make-me-have-to-stay-here-THIS-ISN’T-WHAT-I-WANTED-please-just-take-it-back”. The airport is covered with signs in Dutch that don’t help, and several well-meaning airport professionals try to calm you into realizing that you are here (oh, and since they’re shutting down the airport today, you can never leave. Never never. This is your new reality.). Their tone and smiles are reassuring, and for a moment you feel a little bit more calm . . . but the pit in your stomach doesn’t leave and a new wave of panic isn’t far off.

(Although you don’t know it yet, this will become a pattern. You will often come to a place of almost acceptance, only to quickly re-become devastated or infuriated about this goddamned unfair deviation to Holland. At first this will happen several times a day, but it will taper to several times a week, and then only occasionally.)

A flash of realization---your family and friends are waiting. Some in Italy, some back home . . . all wanting to hear about your arrival in Rome. Now what is there to say? And how do you say it? You settle on leaving an outgoing voicemail that says “We’ve arrived, the flight was fine, more news to come” because really, what else can you say? You’re not even sure what to tell yourself about Holland, let alone your loved ones.

(Although you don’t know it yet, this will become a pattern. How can you talk to people about Holland? If they sweetly offer reassurances, it’s hard to find comfort in them . . . they’ve never been to Holland, after all. And their attempts at sympathy? While genuine, you don’t need their pity . . . their pity says “Wow, things must really suck for you” . . . and when you’re just trying to hold yourself together, that doesn’t help. When you hear someone else say that things are bad, it’s hard to maintain your denial, to keep up your everything-is-just-fine-thank-you-very-much outer shell. Pity hits too close to home, and you can’t admit to yourself how terrible it feels to be stuck in Holland, because then you will undoubtedly collapse into a pile of raw, wailing agony. So you have to deflect and hold yourself together . . . deflect and hold yourself together.)

You sneak sideways glances at your travel companion, who also was ready for Italy. You have no idea how (s)he’s handling this massive change in plans, and can’t bring yourself to ask. You think “Please, please don’t leave me here. Stay with me. We can find the right things to say to each other, I think. Maybe we can have a good life here.” But the terror of a mutual breakdown, of admitting that you’re deep in a pit of raw misery, of saying it out loud and thereby making it reality, is too strong. So you say nothing.

(Although you don’t know it yet, this may become a pattern. It will get easier with practice, but it will always be difficult to talk with your partner about your residency in Holland. Your emotions won’t often line up---you’ll be accepting things and trying to build a home just as he starts clamoring for appointments with more diplomats who may be able to “fix” it all. And then you’ll switch, you moving into anger and him into acceptance. You will be afraid of sharing your depression, because it might be contagious---how can you share all of the things you hate about Holland without worrying that you’re just showing your partner all of the reasons that he should sink into depression, too?)

And what you keep thinking but can’t bring yourself to say aloud is that you would give anything to go back in time a few months. You wish you never bought the tickets. It seems that no traveler is ever supposed to say “I wish I never even got on the plane. I just want to be back at home.” But it’s true, and it makes you feel terrible about yourself, which is just fantastic . . . a giant dose of guilt is just what a terrified lonely lost tourist needs.

Although you don’t know it yet, this is the part that will fade. After you’re ready, and get out of the airport, you will get to know Holland and you won’t regret the fact that you have traveled. Oh, you will long for Italy from time to time, and want to rage against the unfairness from time to time, but you will get past the little voice that once said “Take this back from me. I don’t want this trip at all.”

Each traveler has to find their own way out of the airport. Some people navigate through the corridors in a pretty direct path (the corridors can lead right in a row: Denial to Anger to Bargaining to Depression to Acceptance). More commonly, you shuffle and wind around . . . leaving the Depression hallway to find yourself somehow back in Anger again. You may be here for months.

But you will leave the airport. You will.

And as you learn more about Holland, and see how much it has to offer, you will grow to love it.

And it will change who you are, for the better.

(copyright - Dana Nieder, 10/2010)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

31 for 21/16

Today was all about the 2 baby boys that we will be welcoming into the world in 16 days. A friend of mine threw us a baby shower and it was so nice! We played games, ate cake, and visited with friends. The down side is that I was so busy chatting it up that I only took about 4 pictures and they were of M and her little friend kissing. This was a completely picture worthy moment though, if I say so myself...

I did force Bradley to take a couple 35 weeks preggo belly shots when I got home though. Baby A currently weighs 5.5 lbs. and Baby B is weighing in at 5.4 lbs. Their weight gain has slowed down a little bit, but that's expected for twins. They both have a good amount of fluid although Baby A is head down, Baby B is breech so we're going full steam ahead and have our C-section scheduled for Nov 2.

Here's Little Miss and me...she was quite tired at this point, but I needed to showcase her adorable outfit.

And oh yeah...since I was bragging the whole time I was at the shower...potty training has taken a bit of a back seat. It slowed down when M and I got sick and she wasn't signing diaper or anything. And now, it's VERY hard for me to get up and down to help her with the potty. Essentially, there will probably always be a good reason not to work on potty training before the boys arrive. BUT, as I was leaving for the shower (which incidentally made us late to the shower), she signed diaper and was doing a little grunting. I rushed her to the potty and she POOPED!!! No pictures to share, but I think you've all seen a poopy potty. I AM thrilled that even though I'm having a hard time sticking with the potty schedule that she hasn't lost interest. How cool is Little Miss now?!? woot, woot ;-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

31 for 21/15

It's never too early to start introducing hygiene skills with your little one.

I bought Peanut her first toothbrush before she was even born. My mom and I were out shopping at this cute little baby boutique and I found the Summer Infant toothbrush. I thought it was so cute, I had to buy it for my baby to be.

I started introducing the toothbrush when she was about 9 months old. Granted she only had like 1 tooth, but I was excited to put her toothbrush to work! I liked the toothbrush because there were 2 heads with 4 options. I started with the nubby type option since she had such a tiny mouth. As she got older we moved up to the actual brush head. Peanut loved the vibrations which is WONDERFUL for sensory input and helps kiddos "organize" their oral senses. This rolls over into increases your child's success with feeding therapy. However, if your child doesn't care for all that sensory input, rest assured, there's an on/off switch.

Now, this was a good starter brush for both of us. It got me into the routine of actually brushing my baby's teeth and it got Peanut interested in brushing. However, the brush heads don't lock into place. So when we would brush her teeth I was constantly sliding the brush head back into the holder.

Now that Peanut is a little older and has outgrown the Infant Brush (or rather has discovered that she gets a rise out of me every time she pulls the brush head off and sends it flying) she now brushes with just a regular old kids toothbrush. I've been checking out the snazzy princess toothbrushes on the market though, but I believe they might still be slightly too large for her tiny mouth.

Based on price, the boys will likely wind up with their very own Summer Infant brushes as well, just to get us started. However, I've heard great things about the Z-vibe and the Nuk brush so I'm still researching our options. The Nuk brush doesn't vibrate though which is an option I really like for sensory input and I think it makes brushing more fun so the Nuk might not be lower on the list of 1st brushes. What's your favorite baby brush?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

31 for 21/14

Hyptonia (low muscle tone) is why I say M is a "floppy" baby. Her muscle tone is very low compared to other children's and will always be that way. However, there are ways to improve low muscle tone.

Whenever I think of muscle tone I consider the large muscle groups, the ones that get us out of bed to go for a run or that help us lift our cute little kiddos up for a kiss. However, the average body is about 40-50% muscle mass which includes the very smallest of muscles that make it possible to speak or pick up small items like a Cheerio. Muscles, both large and small, help us move, groove, and function.

For the smaller muscle groups, you can turn to either a speech or occupational therapist to help set and work towards goals. I like the principles used by Sara Rosenfeld Johnson through Talk Tools.

For the larger muscle groups (gross motor) I highly recommend the book Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome by Patricia Winders. This book progresses the parent/caregiver through the developmental stages of gross motor skills proving the reader with achievable goals and exercises on how to reach them.

As a quick side note/question: Low muscle tone impacts M's gastro-intestional tract (your intestines are a muscle). She takes Miralax everyday to help regulate her system and "get things moving. I asked our Dr. about probiotics and she said we could use them, but to continue with the Miralax as well. Anyone have any advice on probiotics and ways to add it into a picky eaters diet?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

31 for 21/13

I'm still not feeling so hot so I'm going to cheat again and post some pictures. I feel like I've been taking the easy route with pictures, but they really just say so much. We're just a typical family, living life, and taking in the precious moments. Like our weekend trip to the pumpkin patch...

Notice the dull lifeless expressions that are literally screaming, "why did you bring us here mom?"

My response: "because it sounded fun to me."

She did get excited to see some farm animals on the tractor ride though. She was pointing at everything saying "what's that?"

And she eventually admitted that she had fun after all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

31 for 21/12

We're feeling under the weather today so I'm just going to post a picture of how princesses sleep...

Notice how she's in the splits?

People with DS have low muscle tone and are very flexible, this is called hypotonia. Although, it looks pretty cool to be so flexible, it's not so good for development and growth. Go figure, sleeping in the splits is not good for development...

I'll post more on hypotonia tomorrow, hopefully we won't all be sick anymore and I'll have some much needed energy back.

Monday, October 11, 2010

31 for 21/11: Buddy Walk

Although Marissa has Down Syndrome. Our lives don't revolve around it, but yesterday was the exception as we participated in the Raleigh NC Buddy Walk.

And even though yesterday's event brought hundreds of people together that share a common bond and love for someone or many someones with that extra special chromosome, the events of the day were about having fun and just being together.

It was in the 80s, quite hot for October, in my book, and Lil Miss wasn't too happy with the situation at first.

But we indulged in the snow cones.

and of course we had to have her face painted with a heart for a sweetheart. :-)

She was even up for playing the games. This kid loves her some golf, just like her Daddy.

Of course we had to do some dancing. (Yep, that's me at 35 weeks pregnant.)

All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful day!