Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Putting on the Ritz!

If you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go where Kiki sits?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I forgot...

Note the new links on the right there. One is to Flourish, a new web site community for parents of children with disabilities. The other is a video interview about research on Down Syndrome, hosted on Flourish.

Go check it out! I'm excited to finally be able to share its existence with everyone!

Done waiting!

I've been putting off blogging until I have actual video to demonstrate, but it's taking me FOREVER to get to that video processing stuff, so the heck with it. Gah!

First, her birthday was a roaring success! Bri and I made 2 dozen cupcakes, then Bri and Kipp arranged them in the shape of Pooh. (Sort of... it was cute. I have pics of that!) Then we sang Happy Birthday to Kiki, sat her in her high chair, and put a cupcake in front of her.

Now I've heard stories about kids at the 1st birthdays having no interest at all in their cake. No such problem with Miss Kiki. She smashed her hand down into the frosting, squealed with delight, then attempted to squash the entire cupcake into her mouth.

It was a mess. Note to parents planning their baby's first birthday party: pick a cake type that matches the color of the carpet. I meant to give her a carrot cake cupcake, but she ended up with a chocolate one. And after most of a cupcake and cup of milk, she puked in the livingroom. We do not have chocolate colored carpet.

And since then she's been leapfrogging through milestones. She started waving one day, the same day she started dancing. Now she dances almost any time she hears music. There are one or two tunes that she simply cannot resist. It's like she's wearing magic dancing shoes. After making her dance over and over for 2 hours straight, we almost felt like we were torturing her. But it's so damned cute!

She's also started to show an interest in trying to pull herself up onto her feet. And today, she started crawling -- actual crawling, not the military maneuver!! She's not clapping, but she'll bang toys together, and if she's holding onto someone's thumbs she'll do the whole Pat A Cake thing.

I have so much video, and not enough time. It's annoying.

But it has a been a very busy month for Miss Kiki. I'm sooo proud of her and can't wait to show off for her PT!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Great. GREAT. 17,000 words a day. Good LORD. You know, I keep telling myself to daydream out loud when we're in the car together, and I can't even do THAT.

That's it. I am on a crusade. It begins tomorrow.

(It would begin today but she's already asleep. Hey, does subliminal monologue count?)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kids' TV

I've been watching a lot of Nickleodeon lately, and I've decided Dora the Explorer makes me nervous.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's great that there are still kids' tv shows striving to teach their junior audiences some Spanish. I applaud the imaginative presentation of different geographical types to stimulate young minds into making up their own games of exploration into jungles and swamps and rainforests and whatnot.

It's even quite fascinating that she feels the need to traverse those places even though she's fully aware that they're all inhabited by ravenous crocodiles, rabid squirrels, flesh-eating spiders, and Rodents of Unusual Size. Run from those cheetahs in your imaginatation games! I know I did when I was a kid! (Actually, I was always the cheetah.)

The only thing is, I'm not quite comfortable with my daughter picking up the belief that with a pocketful of cookies, a half-hearted Hokey Pokey move, and a goofy song of one word is somehow arsenal enough to save her from being devoured (or worse) by the diverse collection of deadly beasties she's certain to encounter.

What do they expect from me? That I have time in my day to counter every episode of Dora the Explora with an episode of Bindy the Jungle Girl? My God, I've never even watched Bindy the Jungle Girl. What if she expresses the same devil may care attitude about wild critters? Where do I find the time to research what show will counter Dora's daft teaching about how to deal with wild animals? And then what show do I use to counter whatever goofy flaw that show will have?

Will my daughter end up watching tv 24/7? Will I turn into one of those parents I used to laugh at, who writes stiffly irritated letters to network execs complaining that their program selection smells ever so slightly of devil worship?

Tune in tomorrow for another thrilling episode of....

Monday, April 7, 2008

Countdown... 4 more days....

It's hard to believe it's almost been a year! It seems like it's been a long year, that Kiki's been in our lives forever, and at the same time... a year? Already? What?

There's a buzz on the 'Net about Roadmap to Holland. Obviously, I must get my hands on this book.

I used to be an avid reader. I used to tear through books like nobody's business. In the last few years or so, I've dwindled down to about 2 or 3 books a year. Kipp, on the other hand, reads a new book every week. I've always been far more interested in fiction than nonfiction, but as I get older, the nonfiction motivates me more to read than the fiction does.

I must be getting old.

Today I caught Kiki practicing how to wave. She'd raise both arms in the air, then she would wave her left hand around (she's left-handed.) She was doing it all day. When I'd see her, I'd say, "Wave, Kiki!" and I'd wave back at her. She would laugh and wave at me.

Of course, when Daddy came home, she wouldn't do it anymore. It's like she won't demonstrate it to anyone until she's sure the skill is ready for prime-time.

I've taught her how to high-five and low-five, though. And if I let her hold my pinkies, she actually brings her hands together like she's clapping, so I think that's a skill on the way.

This week I've started telling her Greek mythos for bedtime stories. I started with Demeter/Persephone because it's always been my favorite. I was pretty impressed that I remembered the entire Parthenon. Isn't that odd? I can't seem to remember a fairy tale all the way through, but a Greek myth? Not a problem.

Now Aesop's Fables, I will need a book for, I'm sure. How many of those can anyone remember? I recall the tortoise and the hare; the boy who cried wolf; the baby and the bathwater; the satyr and the woodsman; the hawk and the tortoise. And -- that would be it, I believe. There's another one teasing around the edges of my mind, but I can't put my finger on it.

As for the actual morals that go with the fables? Umm. Slow and steady wins the race. Don't cry wolf. Don't promise what you won't deliver. Be consistent. Don't envy the world of another? Honestly, that last one should simply be, "Don't trust a freaking hawk, dumbass."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

More Firsts

Tonight, Kiki had her first spaghetti dinner. I let her hand-feed some of it herself, and there was spaghetti EVERYWHERE. It was damned fun for both of us!

Yesterday, we went to Bri's first soccer game of the season. It was COLD, dammit. Well, the wind was cold anyway. I kept Kiki under my coat for a lot of it, though I admit it was a lot to keep ME warm. She didn't seem to have a problem with the temperature at all, though she kept squinting with the wind and the sun.

And of course, I ended up bundling her up under blankets in her stroller, where she napped peacefully the last 15 or 20 minutes of the game.

Bri's team lost by one goal, but they played well. We joked about Bri actually running this season (she's not very big on exerting herself.) She did great, actually got the ball a couple of times, and dribbled -- is that the right term? -- around the field really well.

I also finally had to replace my phone. It was 3 years old, and it had finally gotten to the point where I couldn't hear anyone unless it was on speaker phone, which meant that the people on the other end couldn't hear ME clearly. So I upgraded for free (I'm cheap) to a Razr (yay!) and now thanks to friends, a day later I have a killer ton of ring tones and am in cell phone heaven.

My computer, of course, has suddenly decided that whatever Bluetooth device it once had is no longer functional. I've had the computer for 2 years now, and the weekend I actually have some use for its Bluetooth functionality, it plays dumb on me. It figures.

When we were getting the phone, the saleslady leaned over the counter to smile and coo and wave at Kiki, who smiled back. "She's so cute!" the lady said, and I thanked her. We get much attention when we're out with Kiki, which of course makes me all poofy with pride and what not. Because she IS cute. She's freaking ADORABLE!

The lady went on to say, "God always finds the best parents to bless with a special child." It took a couple of beats for this to register, and by then she was continuing to tell about her grandson, who is autistic and learning disabled, and who is graduating from high school this year.

As always, I mulled this over later -- I'm a muller; I don't as a rule respond immediately to things. I know that Kiki as some facial characteristics that are recognizable for her Downs, but it doesn't register with me anymore, at least not like it used to. I think in the back of my head, I'd somehow convinced myself that no one else notices it either, that when they approach and compliment her, they're complimenting a beautiful baby, not a beautiful Downs baby, if that makes any sense.

And the other thing is this: I realized it doesn't bother me. It wasn't in the least bit of offensive; and in fact, I think she felt comfortable broaching the subject because of her experience with her grandson. It's something we immediately had in common, something we could talk about, like if two strangers wearing a jersey advertising the same sports team run into each other in the store and start talking about sports.

My mom was telling me today that she was talking to her cousin, to whom I send pictures every month, and Mom mentioned something about Kiki having Downs. I've actually never made it a point to tell many people; I've actually told none of my friends in California except for Yarnhacker, and I send many of them pics every month as well. And I've told nobody in the family except for Mom and both my Dads, and my step-mom, and I think my cousin. Mom's told my uncle, but that's about everyone who actually knows. And no one has ever asked me about it; and I'm not outwardly naive enough to think it's because they haven't noticed the characteristics; it's because they're afraid if they ask, it would offend.

Anyway, the point is, Mom mentioned it and Bon said she had wondered about that; she'd never said anything and wouldn't ask, but had suspected. (It then became a discussion about what Downs is, and Mom's rendition of that conversation is pretty amusing, but I will leave it for another entry.)

I can see if Kiki didn't have Downs, but still looked like she does, and I was as ignorant as I was before she was born, I would probably be put off if someone were to ask if she had Downs. But what I love? Is all the people who tell me what a beautiful and cute baby she is, and how genuine that is (because it is unarguably true). And I think, if in the back of their heads they're wondering if she has Downs but are afraid to ask, I think they're beautiful people and I love them and here's why.

Because they see the beauty in her FIRST, and they respond to that. And it strengthens me to know how many of those people there are in the world.

I think maybe I'm losing my cynicism.

Oh! I almost forgot the last story, which is funny, but almost at Kipp's expense. Poor Daddy. Anyway, I was carrying Kiki in from the car and as we passed Kipp, he leans in and says, "Kiki, want to give Daddy a kiss?"

And she said, "Nuh," and whipped her head around in the opposite direction with absolute authoritay.

After lunch and a nap, Kipp was playing with her. I was in the kitchen cleaning up, and Kipp started laughing and called me in. "Watch this!" he said. And she leaned forward, like she does when we play the Nose Bump-Beep game, but instead of bumping noses, she kissed him on the lips (well, she's not actually puckering and it's a pretty wet, slobbery affair, but it counts, right?) over and over and over.

I think she felt guilty about snubbing him before.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

First Birthday Present

Kiki received her first birthday gift the other day. It came from Grandma, and it's this activity center that starts out as a floor toy, then you put it on a pedestal for sitting/kneeling height, then add another post to make it a standing toy. Right now I'm working on getting her to kneel, because she has no interest in standing AT ALL. (sigh)

Just the other day I bragged about the child having the patience of a saint, so of course she has immediately decided the finger food method of eating? Is too frustrating to continue. She still starts off trying, then she cries, then she cocks her head to the side and bats her eyelashes at me in the hopes that I'll be her hands for her.

I wish I could say I do not cave. But I don't feed it to her... when she does this, I just take away the finger food altogether, and finish up with her sippy cup. I'm not sure this is the right technique, but frustration isn't going to teach her anything either, right?

I wish she had come with a manual sometimes.

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