Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Alpoecia Confirmed

So we went to the dermatologist today. He did not flirt with my girl. He just pulled on her hair. And then he said the following.

It is an autoimmune reaction. It usually happens in adults and young adults, and can usually be treated with things like Rogaine. But we cannot treat Kiki, because they can't use those same meds with a child younger than 2.

Now most often when people have alopecia, it will spontaneously start growing back all by itself. Except when they show the same balding patterns as Kiki, which is to say balding along the bottom, and huge patches on the back of her head.

Because she has this particular kind of alopecia, it puts her in an even higher risk category of developing autoimmune thyroid disease.

We will bring her back in 4 months, when she is 2, and it's possible we may be able to treat with Rogaine. It's more possible that she will lose more hair, and all of the hair loss will be permanent.

Oh wait. No, that would have been the GENTLE way to put it. This is actually how he phrased it.

"Come back in four months. If her hair shows signs of regrowth, we'll try topical Rogaine treatments. I suspect however that there won't be signs of regrowth, and that she'll have lost more of her hair. And in that case, I will recommend that you shave her head and go for the Sinead O'Connor look or buy her some wigs."

Nice.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Update

I'm still catching up!

Every year, we spend Christmas Eve at Mamaw and Papaw's. It's been a family tradition since before I moved out here. Evidently everyone used to spend the night there on Christmas Eve so they'd be there Christmas morning. But things change. So like I said, since I've been here, it's Christmas Eve at Mamaw and Papaw's; and then B & C spend Christmas Day with their mom.

So we picked them up on Christmas Eve and had them open up their gifts from us before heading over. Christmas Eve started late this year because Chip had to work. While we were waiting for time to pass, Kipp broke out the rainbow sherbet. As always, Kiki immediately hung out by him to get some. And then the older kids soon followed suit.


We finally headed over and for the first time EVER we were the FIRST to arrive!!! Go us!!

As we settled in, Mamaw surprised us with a Christmas dress for Kiki! Kipp and I immediately began to quibble over whether or not to put it on her -- I wanted to, but Kiki is so difficult to get dressed these days AND she gets pissed off to boot. So I was about to give in, grudgingly, when Kiki promptly puked up rainbow sherbet all over herself and me.

I did not have a brand-new Christmas dress handy for myself, but nobody cares about how I look. :)

It comes with a little hat, and for Christmas Eve, she kept it on all night without seeming to care. I of course forgot my camera, so I put her in it today to get pics. She did not like the hat today.


Mamaw and Papaw always get such awesome things for the kids. They didn't know what kinds of toys to get Kiki, so they stuck with clothes and shoes, which means y'all are going to be getting pics of new outfits every day for a week. At least. If I don't get lazy. Boots! She got boots!! They are adorable.

Today, Santa Papaw came to visit, which is why she was in her Christmas dress two days after Christmas. So yay! We're on track with pics with Santa 2 years in a row!! (And the nice thing about Papaw being Santa is that we get as many pics as we want. Be warned.)

Let's see... I want...


The always necessary crying on Santa's lap photo.


You ARE real!!!!


And giving Santa a kiss.


And I have to end it with this one 'cause it glows with attitude and Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yay! Pics!

So after I threw my online tantrum last night, I sulked until Kipp was ready to go to bed, at which point he of course noticed I was upset. So after I explained I couldn't find my USB cable, he immediately started to search for it and found it... in my pile of stuff right by my side of the couch. Yeesh.

I'm such a big baby.

Anyway. PICS! Yay! Pics!!

This is Kiki before she got her haircut. Notice the real ponytail! I was so proud, but now that I look at the pics, I see where the bald spots are (you can see 'em peeking through the hair), and so I think this has been going on longer than I thought. I can't believe it took me so long to notice.

And this is Kiki getting her first haircut. It was such a cool place but soooo expensive. Still, it was worth it just for the experience. She was so good, which is awesome because I was worried she'd be all squirmy.

And this is Kiki with Grandpa JP. They just absolutely adored each other.

And Kiki with Grandma.

And Kiki with her mom, who obviously needs a visit from What Not to Wear and the Hair Dye Fairy.

And Kiki with Daddy, showing how she signs "I love you." She's got to be unique.

And this is how she waits for us to get her when she wakes up.

And this is how we found her sleeping last week. Yes, she's asleep. And yes, her feet are touching the ground.

Well, that's plenty for an update for today. :) More this weekend!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No pics

Right. So I was all avoiding the camera while Kiki was balding because I am VAIN. And then I lost a camera, the only camera that had a USB cable I could find because cameras appear to have weird proprietary USB connections that nothing else on earth have, and even if you have two cameras of the EXACT same brand, except 2 years difference in age, they will have different cable requirements as well.

But I still had A camera, so I used it when I came to my senses, the day before Mom and JP left and I realized, "Oh, hey, I didn't get any pics of Kiki with one of her sets of grandparents."

And then I forgot said camera when we went to another set of grandparents' house on Christmas Eve. Because I am stupid.

And then I found the LOST camera, which was NOT lost but actually expertly hidden from children (and, obviously, my own self), and it turns out that the one I had NOT lost was actually the one that had a cable I could find, only guess what? I can't find the cable now!

And I haven't been able to find my card reader for, oh, I don't know, 500 years or something.

So. I have pictures. But because I am a great big huge lameass, I cannot share them. At all. With anyone. Who isn't sitting next to me.

Which is, you know, all my family and closest friends. You know, the people who are the most important in MY life, most of whom have never met my daughter face to face, and rely on ME to keep them updated as to what she's doing, how she's feeling, the funny thing she did this morning, and, oh yeah, WHAT THE FUCK SHE LOOKS LIKE THIS MONTH.

So I am having an utter meltdown, obviously, without having a visible meltdown, so right now as I bitch online, my husband is sitting across the living room, singing to a capella music only he can hear while he plays electronic solitaire and I AM LOSING MY MIND.

Why am I always losing my shit? Why don't I ever lose someone ELSE's shit for once? Why is it always my stuff that ends up completely MIA? It's not like I strew my things all over the house. I have exactly ONE FUCKING PILE next to my side of the couch in the living room and then ONE FUCKING PILE on my desk upstairs. That's it. That's the full extent of where I put my FUCKING ELECTRONIC CRAP.

And yet somehow it disappears. Usually when things get CLEANED UP.

Well, whatever.

Other than the past hour, we have had a fabulous Christmas.

I hope all of you had a fabulous Christmas too. Please forgive my moment of madness.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What she's doing now...

1. Her first word is definitely "Up." I've been reinforcing it now for 2 weeks, saying "Up" every time I pick her up, and Kipp's been doing it too. I didn't know the sign for Up, so we just used the word... and sure enough, she started using the word every time she wanted to be picked up. It makes me wonder if continuing to teach her signs is a good idea?

2. She's now walking anything that moves around the living room: her toybox (which is just a big plastic container), her car, whatever. She can stand without bracing herself on anything for a good 10 seconds without wobbling too.

3. She's learned how to crawl through the entertainment center to get around the gate. We really need to babyproof the kitchen and get rid of the barriers. Kipp started putting the stuff on the cabinets, but evidently the cabinets are cheaper than we thought... the screws are kind of damaging them.

4. Either she's watched too many Discovery channel things about snakes or she's just mimicking us yawning, but she's taken to opening her mouth as biiiiig as she can. Just because. I'm trying to get her to do it and say "aaah" because won't the doctor be happy if she'll do that?

5. I'd read and heard that kids with Ds, their teeth grow in out of order. I thought maybe Kiki was spared that 'cause her two bottom teeth came in, then her two top teeth, then two more on the top, and then.... one on the bottom. And then her molars on the top, leaving a big gap between them and her front teeth. And it looks like her molars on the bottom are poking through now as well. And only three bottom teeth in the front... I was sure she had four. I'm beginning to wonder if she lost it or broke it.... every time she falls unexpectedly, she bites her tongue. And I noticed she grinds her teeth. Ack! I was supposed to ask the doctor when to take her to a dentist! Man, I need to make a list.

And tomorrow we Christmas shop. Ho ho ho!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Movie

Just got an email from our local chapter with this link to a story about The Child King movie.

I hadn't heard of it before, but it looks amazing, and so I thought I'd pass it along. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pretender

I feel like such a pretender these days. Such a wannabe. And now I feel like I'm bragging.

But here's the thing. Okay, supposedly I'm the mother of a child with special needs. But then I spend like five minutes watching Kiki play or babble to her mirror or laugh or eat or anything and everything and I think, "Where? Where is the special need part?"

The disability hat? Doesn't fit my daughter.

What has changed? My attitude, and that's all.

I feel so good these days. It's wonderful to wake up in the morning and not remind myself, like a mantra, "She will be okay. She will be okay." I don't have to anymore. Because suddenly I believe; I truly believe and have absolute faith in her.

It's also exactly a month and a week after I started taking Prozac. So you know.

Yep. That's my big confession for the year.

Now for bragging rights! She's pushing her walker car all over the living room. She'll walk it until she runs into something, then she'll drop into a squat and then sit and then crawl somewhere to do something else. She's also begun scooting around on her butt when she's carrying something somewhere. Hopefully she'll soon discover that walking is more efficient.

We're currently working with puzzles. She's not quite got it yet, but she's getting real close. And she's occasionally saying "Up" when she wants in my lap.

Havethe day off today so I'm gonna go play with my baby!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Love You

So Kiki has made up her own sign for "I love you." We were trying to teach her to cross her arms across her chest for "I love you," but we kind of gave up on that a few weeks ago.

Then Kipp noticed that most of the time when he says "I love you" to her, she tucks both of her thumbs under her armpits, like she's flapping like a bird. I said "I love you" to see if she would do it for me -- and she did. And she's immensely proud of herself for it too!

And she's taking more and more steps behind her little walker car, even beginning to push it by herself.

And yesterday was one of those moments I wished I had a camcorder attached to my forehead. She treated me to an impromptu puppet show. I am not even exagerating!

She started off her story by holding her arms over her head, her hands pointing down in a great imitation of Daniel doing the crane in Karate Kid, and growling loudly.

Then she looked at her right hand and babbled to it. Then she babbled to her left hand. Then she babbled to her right hand again. Finally one last babble to her left hand.

And then she fell forward, slapping the floor with her hands in a great big bow. Then sat up and giggled merrily.

This kid is going to be a great storyteller one day, I just know it. She's been composing these stories in front of her mirror for months now, but I've never seen her do it without the mirror.

Speaking of her poor mirror, it is in such sad shape. Most of the animals don't even talk anymore (only the lion and the elephant.) But I love the way she interacts with her mirror, making up these long stories and watching herself perform them, so Kipp and I ordered her a new one for Christmas.

This is the new and improved mirror she's getting!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Winter Colds

It's been busy since Mom and JP have been here, and all of us have been sick. Kiki finished her 10 days of antibiotics, and she's still snotty, so I called the doctor today. She had an appointment set for Monday for her shots, but I knew they wouldn't give 'em to her if she wasn't feeling well anyway, so...

So we took her in today, Mom and I, and met her new pediatrician for the first time. I think I've mentioned before that Kiki warms up to men faster than women, so I kind of figured she'd like him right away anyway. And he wore glasses and had face fuzz, so she was in heaven. The first thing he did was get down to face-to-face level with her, give her a big grin, and tell her how pretty she was. Instantly charmed, she held out her hand to him, which she only does to people she approves of, and he kissed the palm of her hand which passes the test. She giggled and was his.

And you know? Anybody who is that charmed by my child? Is aces in my book.

I asked him a couple of questions about preventive care to test the waters, make sure he knew more than I do, which he does, thank God. Thyroid checks, ENT checks, X-rays of her spine starting at 2 years, all of that. So he passed my test too.

I asked him about her bald spots. He said it definitely looked like an autoimmune response and asked if it coincided with her recent cold. It hasn't really; it started about 1 to 2 weeks before she started getting snotty, but she did start this snot thing about 2 months ago (I think) as well, and we were treating with Benadryl because she didn't have any signs of infection, and her previous doctor thought it might be allergies.

He is setting us up with a dermatologist just in case, but he assured me he's seen this before, and he checked out every inch of her scalp. He said in his experience, the hair has always grown back. He said also that with this kind of autoimmune response, we should count ourselves lucky that her system focused on her hair follicles and not something like her thyroid or pancreas, which it could also do.

So, you know, yay.

We're taking her back to the hair stylist tomorrow for bangs, regardless. I know she'll look a little thin on the sides but you know what? I keep having to pin her hair back to keep it out of her face, and if that's what's contributing to the thinness and breakage around the sides, then it's never going to stop. I need the hair out of her face, out of her nose.

I'd post pics of her current 'do, but there's no point. It's not a haircut right now so much as a trim; it doesn't look any different.

Let's see. In other news, Bri's Christmas concert was tonight. She's in choir and she had a solo! She did absolutely awesome; no stage fright and no fear of the microphone. I was so proud!!! I even let Chris hold the videocamera for some of the concert, so he was pretty happy.

Thanksgiving was fantastic. My brother-in-law sells these ceramic smokers, and so he treated us by smoking a turkey. My father-in-law made prime rib to go with. So we were all well-fed with yummy stuff. Kiki ate bunches, and I was soo happy because she'd been turning away meals for a couple of days leading up to that. And then to top off the evening, she managed to convince the whole family she was saying "I love you."

I remain unconvinced because I never heard it. Little stinker.

I'm also reasonably convinced she can walk, only she's refusing to do so. I've caught her standing without support for a full 30 seconds before she realized what she was doing. She sits down with complete control; she doesn't just fall back on her butt anymore. And she cruises from furniture to furniture without any effort. If she's engrossed with the spinny thing on her walker/car, I can make her take up to 6 steps before she stops.

She will NOT walk if you hold her hands. The minute you grab her hands, she kicks her feet up and hangs like a little monkey. So Kipp has taken to standing in front of her until she pulls herself up to standing using his legs. Then while she's hanging onto his pants, he'll start walking backwards and she'll follow. But touch her hands? Monkey time.

I like to think she's holding out until Christmas Day, because this will be her Christmas gift to me. I only hope I'm holding the video camera at the time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Alopecia Sounds Like a Girl's Name

After further exhaustive internet research, driven by my own innate vanity and gut-eating guilt, I've discovered that alopecia traction can be caused by hairstyles such as, you know, tight ponytails and whatnot.

So the balding areas along the sides of her head and at her forehead? Definitely my fault. And I've been poring through pics and watching that hairline recede through them. Why didn't I notice before?

It does not explain the smooth round bald spot on the back of her head, though. So yeah, I still need to confer with the Doc and hopefully not begin bawling and confessing all my sins in a virtual monsoon of guilt, guilt, guilt.

It's a good thing I'm not a practicing Catholic. I'd probably never be able to leave the confessional.

I wonder if priests keep a pot to piss in in their confessional booths.

I wonder if I'm going to hell for that question alone.

So this morning after her first haircut I still had to deal with snotty hair and moreover trying to figure a way to keep it out of her face while she ate. I used little clippies, which worked for a bit until she rubbed her peaches and cereal in her hair (as she's wont to do), so it took much readjusting and it was slightly frustratng and ended up with me demanding from my mother, "Why didn't I just have them cut it all off? Why? Why?????"

Easy answer: My husband would have stopped speaking to me. But since right now he's messaging me about buying an XBox upgrade? I don't think that would be so bad.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snot Factories

So we got new medical insurance, so we had to get new doctors. We bid a sad farewell to Kiki's pediatrican, whom I adore, and venured off into another office (one that she recommended of course!)

It's a very cool office, actually, and very kid-friendly. I of course had to fill out all the prerequisite paperwork, but much to my surprise and pleasure, Kiki sat on a little kid chair at a little kid table completely happy with a pamphlet the entire time it took me to fill it all out.

In the exam room itself, there was a shelf under the exam table that contained toys! Toys! Toys! which Kiki found immediately and immediately proceeded to pull down and play with. She has no trouble making herself at home.

When I was filling out the paperwork, I knew I should mention somewhere on it about her having Ds, but I just couldn't find an appropriate place, and so then suffered a mini-lecture from the new pediatrician (who is not really her new pediatrician, but was filling in for her new pediatrician whom we haven't yet met) who began to assume that Kiki was undiagnosed (sigh) and then on and on about the many things we need to be proactive about because of the Ds ad nauseum. Thank you. I'll remember next time.

She did see both Kiki's eardrums (yay!) and there was no sign of an ear infection, but she gave her antibiotics for the obvious and raging sinus infection, and in the midst of all this (and cookies too!) I forgot to ask about something that I had just begun to notice a few weeks ago. Or maybe a month ago. No more than a month ago, but more and more over the last couple of weeks.

Anyway. Fast forward to today, Kiki's first haircut! We took her to Cookie Cutters, and it was awesome. I was fully expecting Kiki to throw a fit, but she was absolutely thrilled with the red fire engine they sat her in, and she behaved throughout the entire haircut. Luckily her snot flow was also slightly abated (Thank you, Benadryl)

(I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Why would you take a child with an uncommonly snotty nose to an establishment full of children whose parents would quite likely prefer not to have their own ilk get sick? You're thinking, Can you be so oblivious? The answer is no, I am not oblivious. I am selfish. There is a difference.)

(Besides, sinus infections are gross but not contagious.)

And so, because the hair stylist was so sweet, and also because she started talking about other kids she knew who have Ds, I decided to ask her, you know, instead of a doctor.

"Do you see this bald patch?" I said, "And this one? And these around the sides? Are those normal? That's normal for kids, right? They lose their hair when they're babies, right?"

Sadly, no.

"Is it because I'm always pulling her hair up and back? Am I pulling out her hair?"

Sadly, probably not. It looks like alopecia to me, she says, but I'm not a doctor. You should talk to a doctor.

"It'll grow back, right?" I say.

And she says, "The thing to remember is, it's not painful and it's not because she's sick."

Oh, GREAT. Thanks.

So Kiki did not get bangs, because if she got bangs, she'd have visible bald spots on both sides of her head. Her hair is shorter now though, but still in her face, so honestly? I don't know that we've really accomplished much more than the ever-important milestone, Mini Baggie Of Hair.

I was going to keep all of it. But I did not after all.

Do I sound bitter? I think I sound bitter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Busy busy busy

Mom and JP drove into town about 2 weeks ago. Things have been on fast forward ever since. They're supposedly retired, but they brought work with them, and between their work and our work, we sort of bounce around each other like pinballs.

Kiki has been sick and teething for the past week. When I say teething, I mean there's five big teeth coming in all at once. On top of a sinus infection which luckily hasn't gone into her ears. Anyway between the two things, and possibly the change in routine and the new people, she's been uncharacteristically grumpy. Just about every day she has a crying fit and she's completely inconsolable, even with me.

Early last week she started throwing a tantrum every time we put her in the high chair. A few days ago she stopped eating altogether if we put her in it. Now she will eat a couple of bites or so, but only if she can wander around freely and only if it's off one of our plates. We've resorted to giving her Pediasure. We know she's hungry because she grabs madly for food, but then once it's in her mouth, she starts crying and spits it out. Sore throat or sore gums, we don't know for sure, but it's heart breaking.

We're stocked up in Orajel and baby Tylenol and teethers and Pediasure and biter biscuits and antibiotics and hoping this will pass quickly.

Meanwhile, of course, I've caught her cold and Kipp caught her cold and Mom is feeling under the weather and it's really getting cold outside.

Since the first day Mom has been in town, she's been insisting Kiki needs a haircut. Kipp grumbled and resisted until this week when he had to deal with her snot-encrusted hair when she first got out of bed. "Cut it," he said, "for God's sake, cut it!"

We'll be doing that sometime this week, I hope.

Now added to her signing repetoire: bath, bedtime, block, and ball. She knows what she's talking about too. The other day, she signed ball at me, then crossed the room to get her ball, and happily played ball with me for a while. When she signs block, she gets all excited when I gather up her blocks to stack them with her.

When her speech therapist was here, she tried to get Kiki to stand up (Kiki is very stubborn about doing this at someone else's behest), and said "Up up up!" to encourage her. Instead of standing, Kiki simply repeated, "Up up up!" with the same inflection. Her ST and I stared at each other, and each said, "Did you hear that?"

We could not get her to do it again.

When she talks to herself in her mirror now, she often includes her toys and several arm gestures. It looks like she's telling herself stories.

And that's all the news here for now!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good Day

Today was a good day. I say this with great satisfaction because I have to confess, I haven't been able to say that with conviction very often lately. And I know I'm blessed, and I know my life is good, and I love my husband and my children and even my dogs, though I'm convinced the canines are trying to figure out a way to kill me and still guarantee they'll be fed every day.

Some things are a little too personal to talk about on a public diary, and then somedays I just don't care. So, you know, TMI alert!

But not today.

Today instead I will tell you about my great day. My great day started with me procrastinating on work (when I say "start", I mean after: getting breakfast fed to the husband, the kids, the dogs, then myself, then mediating a deal negotiated by the two older children about how to share the PC and the XBox for the duration of the day).

I subsequently blew the whole negotiation out of the water by comandeering the XBox360 all by myself and refused to share and by doing so somehow managed to create an environment in which Bri ended up playing with Kiki and there was much rejoicing. Yay!

I then had this amazing revelation. One of my key needs is alone time. It always has been. Perhaps I'm an introvert. I don't know. I know this. I know that if I get to a point where I'm throwing a tantrum because I don't get to do what I want to do RIGHT NOW RIGHT THIS INSTANT LEAVE ME ALONE, then I need a time out, and that time out must involve a huge personal bubble, roughly the size of Texas.

The reality is there is no such thing as a personal bubble the size of Texas when you're the mom of a pre-toddler, step-mom to a pre-teen and oh-my-God-he's-going-to-be-a-pre-teen-too-any-day-now, dog mother of two very people-oriented dogs, and a husband who has social activity needs that run roughly on the scale of Paris Hilton.

I cannot escape them by watching TV. They gather around and want to know, "What are you watching? Who's that? What's going on? Where's the remote? Is that the remote? Can I see the remote? Can we watch something else? I'm huuuuungry."

I cannot escape them by playing video games. They gather around and comment on everything I make my character do. They want me to kill innocent villagers. They want me to slap annoying NPCs. They want me to give them the controller so they can show me how it's done. And also, they want to know if they can get on the computer, so then they can talk to themselves while they do so. Which I do, too, of course, but it's annoying when other people do it.

I cannot escape them by locking myself in the bathroom. They have knuckles they use to do this knocking thing. And they have high-pitched voices they use to simulate danger encroaching upon their very souls, evil danger that I, only I, can conquer.

But I discovered one thing I can do, one single thing that I can do in absolute peace and privacy and enjoy a personal bubble of at least the size of Rhode Island.

House cleaning.

Also? Give a pre-teen the choice of scrubbing a kitchen floor or entertaining the baby? Guess which one she will pick every time?

I have discovered nirvana. Eden. Heaven. And it is good.

Also my kitchen is spotless.

And then we went out to dinner to watch a friend sing a gig at a local Mexican restaurant wherein my loving fabulous husband insisted I drink a margarita. Ahhh, bliss.

I hope everyone is having as fabulous a weekend as I am!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Going Too Fast



I just sent out emailed photos to friends and family, and almost every one has commented on how long her hair has gotten. Now while she still hasn't figured out the patented hair-flip gesture, I have to show off just how she can make it fly by shaking her head to music. She's a head-banger, people.

So temperatures have dropped again. It was actually 65 to 68 in the house all day until I got cranky and switched over to the heater to get it warmed up to 70. Our AC is set to 73, so 70 was just chilly enough for me to be comfy. And it's all about me, of course.

The kids were out of school today, so I got 'em this morning and we spent the day playing video games. Well, Chris played on the PC, Bri on the XBox360, and I pretended to work on the laptop, while Kiki cruised from electro-zombie to electro-zombie, trying vainly to find someone interested in playing with simple, mundane, completely non-digital blocks.

And of course Sugar was sooooooo thrilled that the Kids! the Kids are here! The BIG kids, not the scary-miniature-kid thing who bites and pulls, but the Big Kids! Yay! So she was all bouncy, and whenever the kids showed her the slightest attention, that bouncy kicked into high gear, causing her to run over and across Kiki at least 3 times before I announced that Sugar no longer existed and NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER EVER AGAIN.

I know, I know. High-energy dog with sheep herding in her genes, confined to indoor space and not much exercise = ALL MY FAULT. I get it. I know. Call the ASPCA already. I'm fine with it.

Anyway I've already decided the family is spending the weekend cleaning the house. And I'm sending Bri out with Sugar to run her around the neighborhood. I'd send her out with Chris but, umm, I don't think Chris can handle it. He definitely can NOT handle Honey, who is basically a bull on a leash and even Kipp has a hard time holding her back. The funny thing? Honey has obedience training, but Sugar has always been innately leash-trained. Isn't that odd? Honey has NEVER quite gotten the whole leash concept other than it's just to, you know, slow her down a little.

Yes, our dogs are really named Honey and Sugar. We adopted Honey first, and she is honey-colored, and she is actually Honey Bear. Then we adopted Sugar and couldn't decide on a name, and I jokingly suggested Sugar Bear -- you know, the Sugar Smacks mascot, and also with the Bear at the end and the Sugar aspect versus the Honey aspect we already have -- and it just stuck.

Although in the normal course of the day, it's usually Honey Bear and Sugar Booger.

I just noticed that I wrote 21 blogs in October. 21 for 21? Does that count, if just for the irony factor?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voted!



We voted! We voted!

Yeah, so we were part of that Missourian crowd who first went to the wrong place and then had to travel to the right one just to vote. Luckily they're only within 2 miles of each other, and 2 miles of us, so it's not like we were running around all over town. No, wait. That IS all over town.

It's a small town.

Okay. Anyway, as we were waiting to sign in, the women in front of us started talking to and playing with Kiki. One of the women then made the comment that she thought it was great that so many people were bringing their kids to the polls. I thought at first, what an odd thing to say, because it never occurred to me to NOT bring Kiki, you know?

Then she continued, "When I was a kid, my parents NEVER took me when they voted. So when I was 18 and voted the first time, I was completely lost."

And you know what? My parents never took me voting either. I mean probably my Mom did when I was a baby, but not when I was older. And also, it wouldn't have occurred to me to take my older kids with us to vote either, but you know what? Maybe it would be a good, educational thing. It's just something I never thought about before.

Anyway. The three of us went voting and we are very proud of ourselves. (I wish the I Voted sticker was clearer; my cell phone is not the best camera.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

First the lion prowls....

Then she takes down Mommy...

And then Daddy!

But how can you resist the cute?

So I took her trick-or-treating (kind of!) to exactly 3 houses: two of our neighbors and our good friend who lives in the neighborhood behind us. She wouldn't do her lion impression at the last house, and did most of her growling for our next door neighbor who is mostly deaf so it was kind of wasted.

Here is where I start grousing about my neighbor. Please skip ahead if you don't like grousing.

Now mind you, I know he means well. He's an older gentleman, he's very helpful when we can't figure out why our backdoor light won't go on or I can't start my car and whatnot. He's also the one who scolds us if we don't keep our lawn mowed. Evidently he also keeps track of the number of people who go in and out of our house. Not that I care overmuch, but you know.

It's just.... okay. I may have blogged about this before, and maybe I haven't, but here it is again anyway. Some time earlier this year or something, I was chatting with him while I was holding Kiki and I mentioned she had Ds. He said he thought something was wrong with her, and made mention that he has a relative with Ds who is now 35 or so but didn't have a lot to offer in that regard either. And then he began to impress upon me that I had to start going to church because more than anyone else, she was going to need a lot of God in her life (I may be slightly paraphrasing, but the implication was very heavy on the pity.)

At the time I tried to put it all aside because he was, after all, regenerating the battery in my car for me. A nice, neighborly thing to do.

Tonight, Kiki and I stopped to visit to say Happy Halloween. He asked if she was walking yet; I said no, but she's cruising and her PT is thrilled with her progress. He then asked if that was all the people coming and going from our house, the therapists (sigh), and I said yes.

He then mentioned his 35-year-old relative again -- he was specific about the relation, but I've forgotten it already -- and somehow we got into the topic of how Ds children used to be institutionalized as a matter of course. He said he couldn't imagine doing that to his own child; they're our responsibility, after all, and we need to step up. So far, okay.

Then he says, "Of course they're more work than a normal child."

And you know, in writing this all down, I'm thinking the conversation wasn't really as bad as I felt it was. I think he was obviously trying to empathize with me. He mentioned on several occasions that Kiki was beautiful. He didn't say anything grossly insulting. But he made several little comments, little ignorant comments that I can't even recall right now, that I might have normally considered innocuous, but they bothered me.

And the thing is, he's concerned about her. That's genuine. And he's also curious about her; that's genuine as well. She signed Thank you to him for the candy, and he was shocked that she was learning sign language. I explained to him about the speech development delay and that signing helps her communicate earlier. He was a little critical of how she signed Thank you -- it's not perfect, but she's 18 months for cry-yi -- but he was still impressed.

I think what bothered me most of all about the conversation is that the whole conversation was about Kiki's Ds and not about Kiki herself. Or maybe I was just in the mood to be irritated. I don't know. He's not a bad guy, all in all, and he means well, and I probably shouldn't bitch about it.

Everyone else loved the costume, loved the cute of Kiki, and made no mention of Ds at all. Which I think is as it should be, right?

I have this thought sometimes, and maybe it's all part of the grandiose dreaming that parents do about their children, but it brings me a sense of comfort and pride. I think sometimes that all of us were brought into this world to touch others in some way. I think sometimes that Kiki's touch on people will be profound; it certainly has been so on her parents, after all.

When I was a child, I used to wander the neighborhood and visit with all our neighbors. I knew everyone on our street; not the kids, but the adults. I would go and visit with them for long periods of time.

I have this thought that Kiki may be the same. I have this thought that our next door neighbor may be one of the ones she visits the most, and that there may be a strong bond between the two of them that changes the shape of both of their lives. I have this thought that Kiki may have a profound effect upon him and everyone near us.

But that's as may be. I'm still struggling very hard to learn to live in the present, moment by moment as it were. It's not easy for me. I think I'd have been a soothsayer in a different time, as much as I love to live in alternate futures.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Best Laid Plans


Doesn't it look like her Rody is making bunny ears behind her? Silly Rody.

I had a list of topics I was going to address for the 31 for 21. I was going to have a fresh photo for every entry. Where has the month gone?

By my count, after this post, I will have to write 11 more posts to have 31 posts for October.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

So since that is obviously not going to happen and it's maybe slightly possible I'll post a costume picture tomorrow late at night MAYBE before the strike of midnight on November -- good lord! -- I will just have to give a quick update of events round these parts.

Kiki is now seeing her OT weekly. Starting today! We started working on puzzles today.

Mom is leaving AZ tomorrow and heading our way!

We took the kids to Spooktacular at the zoo last weekend and Kiki did the same thing she did last year: stayed awake and alert and quiet for the whole duration. She did her lion roar for at least four people.

It's gotten cold fast round here. Too fast for me to keep up, clothes-wise. It turns out though that Kiki still fits in most of her winter clothes from last year. Which relieves me financially, but then gets me all nervous maternally. I know she's fine; the doctor keeps assuring me she's fine. This time last year, Kiki was in the 50th and 75th percentile for her weight and height. Now she is somewhere around the 15th and 25th.

Then I remind myself of the first time I went to the DSGO meeting, and Kiki got to play with babies her own age for the first time. And compared to the other kids even 6 months older than she was, she was a MONSTER baby. So all things considered, she's completely okay. For the record, a few weeks ago she weighed 22 pounds and was 32 inches long.

She and Honey Bear (my dog, the corgi mix) have become playmates. Honey actually lets Kiki maul her quite patiently and nudges her playfully in return. Sugar, the blue heeler mix, still stays as much out of range as possible. You can see the look of irritation on her face when HER ears get pulled.

And let's see. What else? Kiki is beginning to string words together in sign language. She does "food please" when she gets hungry; and I know she's hungry because like clockwork, it starts happening right around meal time (we're pretty scheduled around here which completely blows me away.)

And that's all I can think of in the time limit I gave myself. :) Back to work with me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hmm

I just noticed that in all of Kiki's photos, it looks like she has brown eyes.

Her eyes are actually blue and appear to be slowly changing to green. They're more blue or slightly more green depending on what she's wearing (though her wardrobe is predominantly pink. Don't ask me how that happened.) She gets her eyes from her Daddy I think. He has one blue eye and one green eye, which just goes to show that he simply can't make up his mind.

I don't know why they look brown in photos though. But I wanted to set the record straight. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Kiki Scared Mommy. Happy Halloween, Mommy!



Yesterday morning, Kiki was having her usual breakfast of oatmeal and fruit cocktail. Kipp had just left for work. The day was pretty much starting out as usual.

I break up the fruit a little before I put it on her tray to eat. Most of canned fruit is really soft, so it doesn't have to be itty bitty pieces, but I'm generally careful about say the grapes, the cherries, and the pineapple. So I was breaking up this piece of pineapple into two smaller pieces, and as I was putting it on her tray, I thought, "Hmm, I can feel a little bit of the core still on the end of that one. I wonder if it could get stuck in her throat."

And then she swiped it up, shoved it into her mouth, chewed, grinning at me and then froze. Her eyes bugged out. She started flailing around in the high chair, her mouth wide open, her eyes bugging out, and not making any sound at all.

My brain freaked out. I immediately thought of the CPR instructions on the refrigerator, all the way in the kitchen. I couldn't remember the way to give the Heimlich on a toddler. I thought I wouldn't be able to run in there and run back in time. I thought, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God...

And while my brain bailed on all of us, my body whipped into action. Somehow I had her upside down, and I was smacking her back until I heard her cry. I looked, but there was no pineapple piece.

She was crying, but it was really faint. I could hear her breath whistling, wheezing, struggling. I knew I had to call 911. But we have a cable phone and I remember reading that dialing 911 on the cable phone is different but I didn't remember how it was different or why and oh my God oh my God oh my God....

While my free hand casually swooped up my cell phone and dialed 911 and spoke clearly and slowly to the operator on the other end about my daughter is choking, she is 18 months old, it was a piece of pineapple, yes she is crying but she is still struggling.

And while I'm talking and holding Kiki, I somehow find myself in the kitchen, staring at the CPR how-to stuck to the side of the fridge for just this type of "it could happen" experience. They connected me to the emergency at Cox and at some point in this conversation Kiki's wheezing had stopped and she was screaming full volume. That's a good sign, right? I asked. The EMTs are on their way, I was told.

Now we live maybe 30 seconds from the fire station. If that. I paced a little, still holding Kiki. I tried to sit down, but she started squirming, wanting to get on the floor and play. So I got up, still holding her, and picked up the living room. Then I put her pajama bottoms on, and took us both out onto the front porch to wait for the emergency guys.

When the first response got there, I walked down the driveway to meet them, Kiki and me, both barefoot and in our jammies. I said hi. They said hi. We exchanged a few other things, and then the young woman said, "Why don't we go inside where it's warm?" which is when I noticed they were both wearing thick coats. Are they called flak jackets? Who knows. I didn't feel the cold at all.

So we went in. I sat down, Kiki in my lap, and the young woman tried to listen to Kiki's lungs with a stethoscope, and Kiki kept swatting her away. Then the ambulance showed up. The first response people got their signature from me, swapped paperwork with the ambulance guys, and then the older gentleman who was obviously in charge of the ambulance team squatted down to listen to Kiki's lungs and she spread her arms wide, cocked her head to the side, and cooed at him. Little flirt.

Anyway her color was fine, her circulation was fine, her lungs were clear, her throat was clear, all was fine. It was like it never happened. In fact I don't recall at any time that she even turned blue or purple or anything; if she had, I would have remembered and truly freaked, I'm sure.

The gentleman said, "Must have been a good piece of pineapple."

I said, "I hope she enjoyed it because it's the last piece of pineapple she'll get for five years." And then I burst into tears. Well, I teared up and caught myself before bursting into tears. I tend to do that.

I've been inspecting every poopy diaper since then for an errant piece of pineapple with the full intention of burning the fucker.

And because that was not enough adrenaline for the week, today Kiki tumbled while playing with her dancing bear and started screaming high heaven. It wasn't a big tumble. She fell on her butt from a standing position. I picked her up and tried to comfort her -- she doesn't comfort well when she's crying, she pushes away and struggles and screams louder -- and she actually let me cuddle her. So I thought maybe she'd bumped her head, and I pulled her back a little to take a look and... there was blood all over her sleeve and the front of her shirt.

She'd bitten her tongue. With her 6 teeth.

She clots fast though. I barely noticed the blood pooling on her lip before it stopped completely.

I can only wonder what tomorrow holds for us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

(2) Changes may be coming



Daddy has taught Kiki how to blow her nose and this is the face she makes when she does it. Honestly, she learns things sooo fast when they come from him. She also now gives zerberts instead of biting because of him. I suppose it helps that he's ticklish and when she gives him zerberts he laughs and laughs, which amuses her no end.

So when Kiki's OT was here, she mentioned that things might be a-changing down at the therapy center. First Steps just recently underwent some bureaucratic office shifting, and they sent out this ominous-sounding letter a few months back about it. It seemed to me from reading it that they were likely to cease all therapy and place existing clients directly under Parents as Teachers.

I remember reacting in panic, and showing it frantically to Kiki's PT and ST, who both reassured me that no one was taking 'em away from us. Just our coordinator was changing (we're meeting her this coming Thursday.)

Well, now her OT mentions that yes, in fact they are considering dropping support for scheduled therapists for most of their clients, and assigning therapists as needed only as consultants to the Parents as Teachers representative assigned to each client. Ack!

Now I have nothing against Parents as Teachers. As far as I've heard, it's a great program. But it is not designed for children with learning delays; from what I understand, it's specifically designed to coach parents so as to keep their kids from developing any delays. Totally different approach, if you see what I mean.

Anyway I'd always known that Kiki would graduate from her therapies and go into Parents as Teachers (and preschool 3 to 5 days a week) when she turned 3, but I am NOT ready for this to happen before she hits 2. She's doing so amazingly well with her therapists! Dammit!

Well, it's too soon to panic, I think. I need to find out a little more and write some letters and drum up some parental outrage as necessary. You know, things I'm not very good at.

*sigh*

Almost caught up!



You know, here's the thing. I can't help but admire Sarah Palin. I don't like her politics, I don't like her mob rousing, but I have to give her enormous kudos for being out there.

I remember what I was like when Kiki was Trig's age. Her first year was easily the most rawly emotional and overwhelming year of my entire life. In my heart I don't believe that Palin is using her son as a political platform (I think McCain and his campaign are, but that is incidental). In my heart I think that when she was offered the position of running mate, she jumped at the chance to get into the spotlight, to take the opportunity to make a better world for her son, for all her children. Whether or not I agree with her ideology in that regard is incidental.

The point is that she took action to deal with this very real, very big thing in her life, at a time that I recall for myself being so frightening and surreal. I see her out there cutting ribbons on the opening of a dwelling for adults who have Ds. I see her out there meeting with people and families of people who have Ds, connecting, and I can imagine that it gives her hope, strength, fortitude -- all the things that she is then returning by having Trig in the spotlight, showing him off with pride and love.

So. My anger just sparked off because of McCain during the debate, turning her life into a political platform when he himself has no clue, as evidenced by his apparent inability to distinguish autism from Ds (yeah, I read all the spin later about his "apparent" slip. Whatever. I am not so convinced.) I directed that at her, but that's all McCain. Gah.

Okay. I'm done talking about politics.

In our own current news, I have to report that the Your Baby Can Read program is a big hit around here. Kiki LOVES watching the videos. And she recognizes "clap" and "arms up"! I am so not making this up. I'm hesitant to call it really reading, but on the other hand... she responds when she sees the words, before she hears them, so...

(I just noticed it's out of stock though...)

Once a day I watch the video with her, and once a day I let her watch it alone. At the very end of the video there's a section that begins with a young girl saying, "Parents, show this section occasionally to your children."

I swear, if you're in the other room barely paying attention, it sounds like she says, "Parents occasionally show deception to their children."

Which may be true and all, but don't tell her that NOW! Sheesh. She'll figure it out when she's a teenager, and I'll deal with it then.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

(3) To be fair

I realize I've sort of been on an anti-Palin rant the last couple of days. I'm not really anti-Palin as much as I am anti-Palin-McCain-policy-politics-whatever.

But to be fair. I read this blog entry: Blessed Chaos: Courage and Sarah Palin, and it rang true with me as well. Under all the campaigning, I know Palin is a mom dealing with a new child and a new world. I remember how that was. Hell, I still feel like that.

I honestly don't know how she's doing it, but she is. And that is strong. And I think that from now on, I'll stick to disagreeing with her politics and mud-slinging and mob rousing and leave alone the whole other issue.

I feel so up and down about that whole part of it. Part of me wants to connect with her, based on what we have in common. The other part of me is suspicious of her, and that suspicion just makes me... angry. At her, at me, at the world, I don't know.

But this is why God invented therapy, yes?

(2) Something new every day



Hyperflexible children apparently think this is a comfortable sleeping position. Personally, it makes my hips ache just thinking about it.

Learned something new from the Patricia Bauer site. I had honestly never heard of People First Language before. Or maybe I had and just didn't pay attention. That is entirely possible. Well, now I am learning as much as I can about it. Better late than never, what?

*Ooh, yes, I'm familiar with People First language. Just had never heard the term before.

I'm still learning to use it consistently and properly. Stopping to think about what you're saying does have an impact on your mindset. I'm not perfect at it, but I'm trying.

As for Sarah Palin not using People First language and being judgmental of that because I myself am still trying and made lots and lots and lots of mistakes when Kiki was as young as Trig is, I can only say this... I haven't put myself in a position where I'm trying to be some kind of champion in order to get into higher public office. As she is in this position, and she continues to use her family as part of her political platform, she puts herself in the unenviable position of being judged by how well she represents the people she says she connects with.

You know, first you gotta learn the language.

Blocks


She's now shown off her block stacking skills for all of her therapists as of today! So I had to get pics of her doing it to show off for the rest of the world too.

Since her face is kind of cut off, I'll add another picture.

She and Daddy have a new favorite game. He starts the game by crawling around, chasing her. Then he shrieks, and crawls off, which is her cue to start chasing him. One of these days I'm going to video this game because she laughs so hard while she's playing.

Ohh, while searching for new thriller movies to DVR for myself, I found The Seeker: The Dark is Rising! I thought if I was terribly lucky it might be based on the Dark is Rising books by Susan Cooper. I was right!!! Yay!!!! It's actually pretty good AND it has Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who!) playing the Dark Rider. Heaven. Sheer heaven.

Finally have some work so no more couch potato for me. Time to face the grindstone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

(3) And another thing....

While we're talking about politics, the whole health insurance thing... okay. Deep breath.

McCain's proposed health plan would provide $5000 to every uninsured family so that they could go ahead and purchase their own insurance. Great! Except that the plan does not require health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.

This means our family would never qualify for the $5000 because my husband has diabetes. I know this because a couple of years ago I attempted to get us private insurance, and was turned down during the phone call, without even getting any paperwork first, when I mentioned the diabetes. I called at least six large health insurance companies, and even the local hospital insurance programs. Same story all around.

I suspect, but do not know, that the same would be for insuring Kiki.

I do not know enough about "high-risk pools" in "some states" to offer any opinion in that regard.

Also, his health care plan proposes taxing health care benefits provided by employers. Okay, first of all, in my experience getting health insurance through an employer, I still had to pay for it. Not all of it. So let's say I had to pay $127 every two weeks for family health insurance coverage, and the company is absorbing half that cost. That means that in addition to paying $127 every two weeks for my health insurance, I have to pay an addition $30 in taxes (or something). That means I'm paying $4080 a year for the health insurance that everyone else is getting $5000 a year for. So you tell me. Wouldn't you then push your employer to NOT provide health insurance?

That is, of course, unless you have diabetes.

(2) Musings on the debate



I said before I would not blog about my views on politics. Bah.

We actually watched the debate tonight and while it is fresh in mind, I want to express my thoughts about a couple of key points.

First of all, McCain put Palin up as a spokesperson, advocate, and even expert on disabled children, specifically, autism. It is my understanding that Palin has a 4-month-old son who has Down syndrome. When Kiki was 4 months old, I would NEVER have positioned myself an expert on anything related to disabled children. At 4 months, she was still bottle-fed, slept a lot, burped up, pooped, and then slept some more. Like, um, UNdisabled 4-month-olds.

Secondly, autism is not synonymous with Down syndrome. I know next to nothing about autism, admittedly, but this I know: they are two completely different things. My daughter who has Ds and does not have autism is 18 months old, and I guarantee you I do not "know more than anyone" about autism. Or even Ds.

Thirdly, I do not for a second believe that Palin would support nor attempt to influence McCain to support any special programs for disabled children for the following reasons:

1. They are Republicans. Republicans do not historically support programs for special interests. And disabled children? Are special interest. They're actually a subset of a larger special interest group: children.

2. Palin has the money, the employment-supplied insurance, and tons more resources available to her than, say, Joe Sixpack and Hockey Mom have at their fingertips to benefit their children, disabled and otherwise. I think she's far more likely to think, "Trig and our family are doing exceptionally well without any special help from the government; so can YOU!" than any other response.

3. And I can NOT get past this. Palin supported making rape victims PAY FOR THEIR OWN RAPE KITS. "Hi! Want to prosecute the guy who raped you? Well, pony up the money, honey, or hit the street. Oh, and don't even THINK abortion. You KNOW it's your fault you got raped, so deal with it."

Got to love FactCheck.org. Evidently, I cannot in all conscience blame her for the fact that police chief of the town she was mayor of at the time put this practice into place.


4. A bipartisan board found her guilty of abusing her powers as governor. Hi. This bothers me A LOT (even as much as paying for your own rape kits.) I know she's put together her own report that finds her innocent -- did you think she would write a report that admitted her guilt? -- and I've heard some reports that the state trooper in question is icky. Still, I find this unacceptable for such basic reasons that I have difficulty understanding anyone not getting it.

Gah. Gah. And more gah.

Today, was Kiki's PT appointment. Her PT mentioned that at the last speech Palin gave (or one of the speeches she gave) that many, many parents showed up, bringing their babies who had Ds. I thought that was awesome.

I am happy that Ds is getting the positive attention it is getting. I am thrilled about that. I do not want to appear ungrateful for that.

But.... gah! gah! gah! I feel like I need a shower.

(On a more childish note: McCain and Joe the Plumber sitting in a tree...)

Oh the Horror



Kipp says this picture of Kiki looks like the creepy ghost girl in The Ring. Heh.

I love October. I think it's because Halloween is my favorite holiday. My favorite holiday used to always be Christmas, but all the traditions I grew up with revolving around Christmas have been abandoned over the years until there's absolutely nothing left. No one's fault but mine; I could have kept the traditions going on my own, but I didn't.

But Halloween, on the other hand, the traditions are easy to keep. Candy for the kids; check. Answering the door; check. Costumes; check. Best part? Horror movies!!!! All! Month! Long!

I think I've watched scary movies my whole life. When I was a kid, Mom and I would cuddle up together, holding a bowl of popcorn, turn all the lights off, and just watch 'em late, late, late. And I'm proud to say I'm well on my way to passing that tradition on to my own daughters; minus the cuddling (neither Bri nor Kiki are cuddlers) and the popcorn (when it's just Kiki.)

While I'm thrilled that Bri shares my love of horrible horror movies, I'm sometimes a little appalled by the ones her mom lets her watch. Don't get me wrong, we're on the same page on a lot of them. Like I don't think her mom would let her see any of the Saw movies. But... there are still a few she tells me she's seen that make me raise my eyebrows. I shrug it off though and don't let it affect what I'll let her watch here. If it's rated R, it's off limits. Period.

Anywho. What I love about October is that there is a veritable buffet of horror movies on all the time, and with DVR I'm in scary movie heaven. I rarely even look at the descriptions of the movies. I just scroll through all the horror ones and mark 'em for record if they're on a channel we get and I haven't seen it before.

So the other day I watched one called The Cradle. I was a little leery of it because the blurb said it was a about a man, his wife, and their newborn being haunted by a child who had been buried alive. Leery because I find that since giving birth, any material revolving around the endangerment of children COMPLETELY unhinges me. For example, I watched one scene in the movie Cold Mountain, the one where the soldiers take Natalie Portman's baby out into the snow and leave him there uncovered while they rape her inside her home. I actually, and I am not lying, went into hysterics, I cried so hard. For the baby.

Of course, I think I had only given birth like 3 weeks before that.

Anyway, I taped The Cradle and then watched it. First of all, Lukas Haas looks like my cousin. Secondly, it's seriously creepy. Third, I spent the whole movie yelling at the tv. Obviously, there's the typical "Don't go into the woods at night, you idiot!" type of coaching one normally gives the stars of such movies (that is normal, isn't it?) but in addition to that there was a whole lot of, "You are too STUPID to be a PARENT!" type of yelling.

Halfway through the movie, I announced I wasn't going to watch any more of it. But I did anyway.

And you know what? I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, days later. It's actually haunting me, dammit.

So because it's haunting me, I have to grudgingly admit that I not only liked it, I think it's rooted itself as a guilty favorite. I actually have to recommend it. YarnHacker, I mean you. I think you would like it. Halfway through you will probably decide not to watch anymore of it, but I encourage you to work through it.

Remember, I introduced you to Dead Alive. You know your life would never have been the same without it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Disassociative October



Octobers around here take some getting used to. Kipp always says, "If you don't like the weather here, wait an hour. It'll change." That's never more true than in October (and April. The Saturday after Kiki was born, it snowed. In April.)

The year we got married, it was HOT all through September. People kept telling me it would cool off by October, and I trusted them enough to book the wedding and reception in an old historic building with no air conditioning. Luckily, a couple of days before the wedding, the heat abated, and it was actually a very nice day.

This year it started getting cold in September. What that actually means is that most of the week it's in the 80s or 90s and then suddenly one day it will be 40. Now that it's October, it's about 2 or 3 days a week it's dropping into the cold.

So one night last week, it dropped one night and it was COLD. In the middle of the night, I realized I had to change Kiki into something warmer, and to my dismay it appears that she's outgrown most of her sleepers. The only one that seemed big enough was a deep winter one, which I put her in, and in the morning she was drenched in sweat.

So to be a good mommy, I went out and bought her some long-sleeved pajamas with long pants. They're soft cotton, so they'll breathe, but they cover her up so she won't chill.

Of course, Murphy's Law then dictated that it would be too warm to wear them more than one night. Thanks, October.

That's okay. I know winter is coming. And at least I am now prepared.

I figure I am now 5 posts behind in my goal of 31 posts for October. Is it cheating to post more than once a day to catch up? Well, whatever. I'm going to post multiple times a day on occasion just to catch up.

Besides I have tons to blog about. No really. I do.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tricksy Hobbit



I'm cheating. I took this picture yesterday, not today. She's gotten to the age where she knows she's supposed to pose cute for the camera. Or come eat the camera. She's still a little fuzzy on the details.

Kiki has decided that this Outsmart Mama Week. First up. Kipp was scheduled from noon to 9 on Monday and Tuesday. Monday it completely munched my schedule, so I decided I would get up at 6 am on Tuesday and be able to work for a couple of hours before Kiki got up. See, she usually sleeps until 8 unless we get up before that.

So what happens? She wakes up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off at 6. No early morning work for Mommy!

I decide that maybe I should plan to get up at 4. This way, with all the breaks I have to take during the day to tend to and play with Kiki, I should still be able to have work done by 8 pm. So, I set my alarm for 4 am this morning.

She? Woke up at 2 and didn't go back to sleep until 3:30. Now granted, I could have just stayed up at that point, right? Right. I didn't though.

It could have something to do with the teething, I guess. Hers, not mine.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Giggles



She loves playing with her clothes. And blankets. And anything fabric. She doesn't like being dressed and groomed though. *sigh*

I had the day off today so Kiki and spent time playing, catching up on True Blood, fighting with the water company, and grocery shopping.

By the end of the day, she started fussing loudly. Kipp suggested maybe her teeth were bugging her. Did I mention she now has 6? 3 on the top, and 3 on the bottom.

Anyway I managed to rub some Orajel on her gums and felt even more bumps a-coming, and this time instead of welcoming the Orajel, she slapped my hand away and wailed some more. We dosed her with Tylenol and in 15 minutes she was all giggles again.

Her daddy has a skill for motivating her to climb and stand. He sort of tricks her into thinking she's getting into trouble and she's all over it. And him. She was actually using him as a stepladder to climb onto the couch this evening.

Well, tomorrow is Kipp's last training day in the store and then he's back in his office. He's been complaining about his feet hurting because of the concrete floors but discovered today that if he starts off the day with painkiller, by the end of the day he feels pretty good. Wouldn't you figure he'd figure that out at the end of the week?

Kiki signed Mama today. Three times. Of course this probably means that in a couple of days she'll be confusing it with Drink, but she'll sort it out eventually. Her ST assures me she's processing everything, and everything will sort itself out as she figures it all out.

Of course, now that she's signing Mama, Kipp is trying to teach her Daddy. I was tempted to give him a wrong (and highly amusing sign) for Daddy, but decided that was cruel. Have to be nice to the breadwinner with the achy feet, you know.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Falling Behind (as usual)



Ooo, I'm cutting the deadline for today close! Didn't have time today to take a new pic, so I am posting a pic of Kiki with her daddy, just a few days after she was born.

Today is our 4th Anniversary. Happy Anniversary, darling! I love you so much. I can't imagine life without you; I don't know how I made it as long as I did before meeting you. You complete me.

Today was Kiki's ST day. She actually babbled for her ST for the first time! (It took putting a mirror in front of her to do it.) Her ST gave me some tips about where to shop for developmental toys and books... TJ Maxx, believe it or not. She says it's hit or miss, but she's gotten some great things there.

I am itching to shop.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eh, Whatever



Did you notice that I've been doing an alphabetical theme for the blog titles this month? This month that's supposed to be 31 blogs, one blog for each day, for T21? Did you notice that I totally bailed this last weekend and offered no explanation or apology? Did you further notice that for E today I totally came up with something lame?

Yeah, I'm like that. Hi!

So I'm brainstorming to myself what I'm going to blog for E, and do you know what my diseased mind comes up with? Exit strategy. Empaths. E-Commerce. Existentialism. You know what? I almost blogged about existentialism except that once I copied and pasted the dictionary definition of it, I had nothing to add.

Around here, Kiki is discovering new and different places to put her toys. On top of the couches. In the entertainment center. Tucked into cushions. Bounced off the ottoman onto the kitchen floor. She's also discovered how to open and close drawers. I know this because she emptied one of the drawers in her bedroom and spread the contents all over the floor; but there are no drawers open.

Unless, you know, she's developed the mutant superpowers of Shadowcat. Which is unlikely because she's not an adolescent yet.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Driving



I can sleep anywhere -- it's a blessing or a curse, depending on if you're the pilot and you're expecting me to keep you company/awake -- and I sleep fabulously in the car. I've always been a car sleeper. When I was a kid and we'd go on road trips -- and all of our vacations were road trips to Oregon or LA -- I'd sleep the whooooooole way. It kinda ticked my dad off because he wanted me to soak in the scenery or something.

Scenery is nice, but if I can't touch it? I'd rather sleep.

Now I figured that all babies sleep in the car. I'd heard stories in fact of desperate parents taking their babies for car rides for the sole purpose of getting them to sleep. I kind of figured it was just a given.

But Kiki? Has never been a car sleeper. She has occasionally slept in the car, don't get me wrong. But unless it's right at her nap time and/or she's exhausted, she simply will NOT sleep.

She likes scenery too. And she loves the built-in car seat in the van because it doesn't obstruct her view out the window. And she loves listening to the radio and rocking out as we travel along.

What she doesn't like, it turns out, is slamming doors. Once a car door is slammed, it's game over for a few miles while she screams her lungs out. Now because we have two older kids who slam doors as a matter of course and then look at you blankly when you say, "Stop slamming the doors," because they don't understand the subtle difference between a slamming door and a closing door, car trips with all the kids in tow has become something of a trial.

Hopefully this, too, shall pass.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Clothing



I am not a clothes horse. Nor have I any sense of fashion. When I shop for clothes or shoes, it's pure functionality and takes me as little time as absolutely possible. And it ain't often that it happens either.

However, I can't seem to help shopping for clothes for Kiki. I love looking at little girl clothes. I love the idea of dressing her up. Finances being what they are though, I've kept myself tightly in rein. Outfits I've bought her range max out at about $5 (sales at Wal-Mart or the consignment store.)

Shoes are definitely a foreign fashion thing for me; I didn't even start putting any on her until she was 9 months old or so. And evidently I don't know from cute. I bought her a pair of brown Pooh shoes at the consignment store for $3 (perfect condition! not shiny!) and I thought they were adorable. Bri immediately decided they were boy's shoes, and either to get my goat or because everyone is dense, the household sided with her.

They are NOT boy's shoes. Boy's shoes don't have the strappies on the top. They just don't. Do they? But they are brown, they have Pooh on them, and they look a little bit like hiking boots.

ANYWAY. I ended up splurging at a real department store the other night and bought her two rompers and some actual tights (!!!!) They were on sale, because I'm still cheap at heart.

We met Daddy for lunch today at the family restaurant, so I dolled her all up. I wasn't prepared for what she'd look like in a romper and tights though.

She looked like a little girl. Not a baby girl. A little girl. Look how big she is! Look how long her legs are getting!

I admit it. I cried a little. It's back to shorts for a few more weeks until Mommy toughens up.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that I've finally stopped tweaking my template. For now. I go through these phases where I have to change the look of the site, and then I find a template I like, and then I upload it and then.... all my widgets get wiped. Wiped! I'll figure out how to get around that some day. I think this is the 5th time I've had to rebuild my blog roll.

And I'm still adding blogs to the blog roll.

The other thing. One of Kipp's co-workers joined us for lunch. Right now Kipp is training in one of the local stores as part of his overall training on the help desk. Anywho, we're sitting and eating, and doing the whole huzzah, it's Friday, and whatnot.

Kipp says that today went faster for him than the day before. His co-worker disagreed and said the day before went faster for him because it was so busy.

Only he didn't stop at "It was so busy."

He said, "It was so busy, it was retarded."

Right in front of Kiki. I mean, not that she'd notice right now (she's still having a little trouble distinguishing "dog" from "please" so vocabulary isn't likely to traumatize her today.)

I wanted to say something, but I didn't know what to say. Even if I knew what to say, how would I have said it? It was obviously said so obliviously, so casually, so unintentionally. But I mean, Kiki was right there so I have to think, "Do you even know what that word means? Do you know what you just said? Do you know who your immediate audience is?"

It was kind of surreal. I don't even know how else to describe it. I know this isn't probably the right reaction, but even though it initially got my attention -- zzzzzZZZING! -- it didn't really hurt or offend me. I think it was becaue the context was so obviously... umm, weird. I don't know. I honestly don't.

But I do know I passed up an opportunity to advocate. Although in all honesty, really? To what end in this case?

I think maybe I should just buy the poor guy a pocket dictionary.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bedtime



Once upon a time, we had a firmly established bedtime ritual. It involved changing into jammies, taking bows out of hair, getting kisses and huggles from Daddy, and then getting the exact same list of songs sung while rocking before being put in the crib for the night. Oh, and then cue the 45 minutes of rain sounds from the white noise machine and it was lights out.

Bedtime is not so peaceful these days.

There's still the pulling of the hair organizers out of the wild head of hair, leaving her looking like a wild child being raised by wolves. But the changing into jammies is now a wrestling match. While Daddy has no problems at all getting cuddles when he gets home from work, once it's dark and after dinner, he has to chase her, and then she waaaaaaaaails and kicks and swats.

In other words, she knows what's coming.

The litany of songs to lullabye her has changed. And she no longer snuggles while she listens. Sometimes she honks my nose. Sometimes she starts dancing. Always she giggles and tries all kinds of cuteness to prolong the pre-bedtime-time as long as she can.

But it's inevitable, and we know from experience now that even if she acts like she's all wide awake and playful, if we let her stay up until 7:30, then all bets are off because now she's over-tired and she will fight sleep for hours at that point, just to let us know how righteously pissed off she really is.

I still haven't been able to get a good look at her 5th tooth, and I suspect that there are others breaking through. I try to get a feel when I swab her gums with Orajel, but I honestly enjoy having my fingertips and would like to continue their existence.

Short post today, I know, but I have work. And hey! I'm still on game for the month! Yay!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Awareness



Every time we've gone out in Kiki's short life, she's attracted attention. It's obviously common for people to coo over babies in stores and whatnot, but it's immensely rewarding as a parent to bask in that adoration nonetheless. Of course I'm a complete idiot socially so I've never really quite got the hang of responding gracefully to attention. When I'm told she's a beautiful baby, my quasi-socially-aware responses range from "Thank you" to "Well, we think she's a keeper." (I'm not even joking. I've said that. More than once.)

I never quite know where to go from there. Do I engage in conversation? The worst is when they have kids too; I usually compliment their children as well, because it seems rude not to reciprocate, but I always feel like it sounds so lame even though I swear I'm sincere.

On exactly two occasions in her entire life, strangers who have complimented her went on to mention that they had a family member who has DS (one had a granddaughter the other was a niece). Both times it took me completely by surprise. The first time it happened was the first time it had occurred to me that other people might *notice* she has DS; the second time because I'd forgotten since the last time that people might *notice* she has DS.

For some reason each instance set me to thinking that maybe, maybe every compliment she gets is really some kind of half-pitying encouragement, some way of saying, "If we tell you she's beautiful, that will lift your spirits and maybe help you get through another day."

And when I get to that point, I actually have to laugh at myself. For one, when strangers tell me she's beautiful, it does lift my spirits and makes me feel fantastic. And other than an overly active hindsight imagination, I've never had the impression that anyone offers me any pity. The compliments have always come from people who interact with my child; they flirt with her and she flirts back, and they are pleased. I've seen this same interaction between small children and strangers my entire life; countless times, I've been the stranger charmed by a child.
There's no difference when it's my child.

It does remind me though of an instance when I was pregnant. I remember one of my friends gushing to me that she had seen the cutest DS baby the other day at the store. I knew she was sincere, and I knew she meant all the best by it, but whether it was hormonal at the time or not, I remember being mostly struck by one thing: she hadn't seen the cutest baby at the store; she had seen the cutest DS baby at the store. She had classified the child by his/her disorder even in the same breath she was using to be complimentary. I mean even when people are talking about puppies, ie, "I saw the cutest puppy at PetSmart today!!", they don't generally mention the breed of puppy unless asked or because they've got a certain inclination towards that certain breed.

In summary I guess I should give her the benefit of the doubt and assume because of unborn Kiki's DS that she had an inclination towards it. But at the time my thought was, "How many people will go home after meeting Kiki and say the same thing? Will Kiki spend her entire life being that DS girl someone met or knew?"

Sometimes I don't know if I'm being ultrasensitive or not sensitive enough. I guess at the end of the day I can only be honest about how I feel or what I think and go from there.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Things Change

I was watching educational* TV this morning with Kiki and heard this quote. It strongly appealed to me, so I wanted to share it.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. -- Elizabeth Stone

I was thinking today about all the changes Kiki has gone through in her almost 18 months of life. I remember the day we first brought her home, how nervous and anxious I was, how sweet and peaceful and trusting she was. It struck me how 18 months later even though she is now rambunctious and active and vocal and willful and curious and explorative, she is still so sweet and so trusting.

There are times I feel like I can't even trust myself, times when I'm just about at the end of my rope and I have to put her in her playpen and walk away for a few minutes, and even at those times, her trust is liquid and implicit in her eyes. She has absolute faith in my best intentions; she knows to her very depth that she is safe with me (even if she may disagree loudly and wailingly about my insistence that it is not her God-given right to pull my hair and toss my glasses across the room.)

There are so many big things, big changes, but so many small ones too. Cutting her nails, for example. That was one of the big things I'd dreaded because I'm scared to death to even cut the dogs' nails. I'd read and heard suggestions like using a regular nail clipper instead of the ones intended for babies (because you already know how to use those, so you'll be more confident) or waiting until she's asleep before attempting the procedure so there won't be any fighting.

It turned out to be a nonissue. She never fussed or fought while I clipped her nails. She'd watch, calmly and quietly, while I conducted the procedure. I always used baby clippers, the ones with the magnifying glass on 'em (which is, by the way, utterly useless. I never have actually used the glass.) And it was a once a week thing (or sometimes twice a week, depending on how fast they grew) and every time, there was never a problem.

That, too, has changed. For the past few weeks, she will not sit still for it. I've had to do a couple fingers at a time over a couple of days just to get them all clipped. She fusses, she squirms, she wrestles. She's been doing this when I dress her too. She's always done it when I muck with her hair, but now every aspect of attending to her (with the exception of bathing) has become a battle. Diaper changing is still calm, unless I change her anywhere but the diaper changing station on her Pack and Play (and I KNOW she's too heavy for that thing by now).

I'm sure it's a natural phase, exerting her will and finding herself and whatnot, but man, it's exhausting. I thought it was supposed to happen between 2 and 3, not 1 and 2. Gah!!!

At this point, I think it's time to start teaching her to dress herself. I'm not quite sure how to go about doing that exactly, but I think we'll both figure it out.

She used to grab the spoon from me and put it in her mouth by herself, when I first started her on solids. Now she has no interest in grabbing the spoon, and when I prompt her to take it, she sticks it in her hair and then tosses it to the dogs. So I'm guessing I'm going to have to arm myself while I do this feedin thing with about a dozen spoons, the dogs in the bedroom, a tablecloth under her high chair, and about 5 bowls of small amounts of food. And seven towels to clean up.

Yeah. I prefer the cleaner milestones. But she's always so much happier when she's accomplishing something, when she figures something out, when she's doing something on her own.

Oh! So to try to get her to start cruising, her PT had started this game with her. She would put a toy on the edge of the loveseat to encourage Kiki to pull herself up to a standing position in order to get it. Then she would move the toy a little ways down the loveseat, to get her to cruise over to grab it. Kiki would instead drop to the ground, crawl over, and pull back up to a standing position.

So this morning after breakfast, I was watching her play. And she picked up a toy, carried it over to the loveseat, pulled herself up to a stand, and put the toy on the edge of the loveseat. Then she picked the toy back up, and threw it so it landed at the back of the loveseat. She pondered that for a second, then dropped to the floor and repeated the process.

Then? She nonchalantly cruised from one end of the loveseat over to the other end to reach for both the toys she'd tossed out of reach.

This is me, still wishing I had a video camera surgically installed in my forehead.

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*It was Outer Limits on SFC. Hey, I learned something. That makes it educational.

About Me

I'm originally from the west coast, but now live in the midwest with my husband Kipp, our two dogs, my stepdaughter and stepson, and our youngest daughter who has Down syndrome.

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