Monday, June 30, 2008

You Know It's Summer When...

... the husband fires up the barbeque and goes grill crazy. Mmmmmmmm!!!!!

Need to head out to Walgreens sometime soon and see if I can find earplugs for Kiki. I've decided there's no reason to scrap my (always tentative) plans to take the kids to the local pool over the summer when there's a simple solution to protecting the tubes.

Way back when we took Kiki to the geneticist, we met a woman who represented the local parents' group (DSGO). She gave us a packet, and she was so sweet and outgoing. She convinced me to go to the DSGO, which I'm really glad I've done, and we've gotten together a couple of times to just chat.

She's going to college right now, and she runs a daycare out of her home to help finance it. I took Kiki over to visit today, and got to meet her daughter and her husband. She mentioned again that she takes drop-ins. She lives pretty close by, so I'm thinking this could really be a good idea. I've been worried for a while that Kiki isn't getting enough socialization, especially on days where I really need to focus on work.

I also have a friend who lives around the corner who's also available to come over during the day, and I think between the two of 'em, it's going to be a win/win for Kiki and me.

Now it's just up to me to follow through. Which is always the challenge for me, dang it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


So weeks ago when I changed my template, I unfortunately took off links to places I go A LOT like FlourishMedia. And didn't notice it till today. I have fixed it.

Also discovered the coolest site of stuff I wish I were rich enough to buy. I envision this center with all this stuff where all the parents and babies I know could gather and let the kids workout. Okay, I know it's marketed and priced towards schools. Still. I want to be the founder of the first Toddler Disneyland. Or something.

This is what I want and am starting to save for. The little kid in the picture has the curliest hair; reminds me of my Dad's baby pictures.

Makes me wonder if I could actually talk to the other parents in the local group and discuss kind of building some kind of group playground. It's an idea... must consider.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh the attitude!

Kiki's new trick? Smacking her father.

Seriously! She'll be sitting on his chest, and they'll be happily interacting with one another, blowing raspberries at each other, babbling at one another and then she'll haul off and smack him across the face. And giggle.

Where she got this, I do not know. There is no one in this house who smacks anyone. And yet, there you go.

So she's a baby, and it doesn't hurt, but it's not exactly behavior we want to encourage. So I finally put my foot down and told Kipp we HAVE to make her stop. She doesn't exactly get NO unless it's bellowed, and so the next time she smacked him, he bellowed NO in her face.

Her eyes widened. Her eyebrows dipped in. Her bottom lip curled up and quivered.
Daddy melted, but before he was even done saying "ooohhh", she blew a raspberry at him and smacked him again.

Parents of the Year that we are, our simultaneous response was to turn our heads away so she wouldn't see us laughing. Because, you know, we're SERIOUS about curtailing bad behavior.

Thanks by the way for the comfort about Kiki's upcoming ear tubes. I appreciate it, very much. And I know I promised not to be whiny and all that, but what's a blog for if I can't, you know, emote and stuff.

I'm scared. And this is all about me, of course. But I am. How scared am I? I made an appointment for her preadmission, which HAS to be done before the procedure because we have to meet with the anesthesiologist and whatnot. Anyway, I made the appointment promptly, like a responsible adult.

And then I did not write it down. And then I completely forgot all about it. Which does not usually happen around here, I might say. I make appointments for Kiki two and sometimes three times a week. I'm very good about writing them down, even calling to doublecheck times and whatnot. For her entire life, I've missed exactly two appointments before this one: once when her PT was scheduled for a day that was not her usual day, and her cardiology appointment which I made an entire year in advance (so I think that one is actually forgivable.)

Okay. I'm not perfect. I'm a flake. But I'm usually pretty darned responsible, and this time, it just slipped away. I got two stern phone calls over it, too, by the way: from the preadmission AND from the doctor's office because preadmission tattled on me.

So it's rescheduled. I have it written down. I have it hovering in the back of my head, so I don't forget again.

Here's the thing: Kipp can't be there for the surgery. See, he got laid off back in May because his company merged with another company and his position kind of just went away. Happily though, he found a job this week, with a very large company, excellent benefits, doing something he's going to love. But... the first 5 weeks of employment are training, 6am to 1pm, and he can NOT miss a day for any reason at all. So... there you go.

I won't be alone or anything. My parents-in-law have promised they will be there with me, thank God, because honestly? Rationally, I know I can do it alone if I have to. But emotionally, it will wreck me.

I've spent a lot of time in hospitals, the lone caregiver for the person I've brought there. I don't know, maybe I exagerrate. Maybe it isn't a lot by many standards. Maybe I'm a wuss. I don't know. I just know that I've done that, been there, and I just can NOT do it alone for my daughter. I can't. I refuse.

You know, like I have a choice or something. Well, I guess I do have a choice -- and that makes the difference, if that makes any sense at all? I don't want to be alone, and thankfully someone wants to be there with me, and CAN be, and WILL be. And so there you go.

Now, if I could just stop being a wuss about this, I'd be alot happier. Umm, you know, duh.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bitch and moan, rinse, repeat

You know, I've never pretended to have the sunniest of dispositions, but I never thought I was a whiner. I mean I bitch and moan with the best of 'em, you know, and I can throw a MEAN pity party, but for the most part? I'm a happy camper.

You wouldn't know it by reading my blog, though, would you?

Bah humbug.

I've considered turning a leaf and not blogging unless I'm in a Mary Poppins mood, but those moods are better spent with the people I live with, bless their hearts. Not that those moods are few and far between or anything -- happy camper! HAPPY CAMPER!! -- but, you know, you never know when the well is going to run dry, and when it does, I want them all to remember when I was sweet and pleasant, which may make them hope I'll go back to that, and thus not leave me in a panic.

Hi! My name is Jeannie, and I'm a Happy Camper! (hi Jeannie!)

Okay, okay, really. Enough.

So, news on the Kiki front. Kipp's been teaching all KINDS of new tricks. She now sticks her tongue out and wiggles it. She shakes her head so hard she falls over. And she's back to babbling! And now if you stick your finger near her mouth, she'll yell so you can do the "bluh bluh bluh bluh" sounds against her lips. She LOVES that, and she vocalizes up and down in octaves while you do it until she collapses in giggles.

We're still doing the Your Baby Can Read videos, though not nearly as religiously as I'd like. Confusion has set in on a few points. While we watch the video, when the word "mouth" comes up, I bring her hand up to her mouth to reinforce it. "Mouth". You understand.

Well, this has wreaked havoc with the kiss blowing. I think the combination of learning "mouth" and getting tired of smacking herself in the face so hard (she gave herself a black eye once blowing kisses) has made her cautious. Now when you ask for a kiss, she brings her hand up fast, then slows it down as it reaches her face, then settles all of her fingers right in her mouth, and keeps them there with a little smile. It's like she's teasing you. "You want kisses? Okay, here's a kiss... no, just kidding! I'm keeping it ALL TO MYSELF!"

Her fourth tooth is coming in on top, right next to her Surprise Tooth. Ohh, and if you stick your finger in her mouth (to, you know, dig someting out that shouldn't ought to be there, for example) she'll clamp down, really really lightly, and her eyes will bulge out, and she'll make a Hulk face like she's going to TOWN on your finger. It's kind of alarming until you realize she's barely touching you at all.

And then she laughs. Because everything is funny!

And oh, she loves balloons! It's too bad the dog thinks they're alien invaders and won't stop skulking and growling when it's in sight.

No new pics. I mean, I have them but haven't had time to get 'em off the camera. *sigh* Soon! No, really. Okay, kind of soon. Maybe.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh no Toto!

Okay, my boss gets back from a week's vacation and I'm right back up to my butt in work. So much for my weekend... but it's good pay, so I'll shut up now.

Had to take a moment and chronicle this one though.

Tornados hit the area this afternoon. Bri was out at a friend's house; Chris had a friend visiting here; I had just gotten Kiki to sleep for a nap in her crib upstairs (I've been working upstairs). Well, Chris's friend's grandma shows up to let me know there's a touchdown in a town nearby and to gather up her grandson. I gather up the baby, my computer, and Chris, and head on downstairs -- we have no basement, but I know enough to be on the ground level.

Before I could panic about whether or not or HOW I'd go and pick up Bri, her friend's mom dropped her off on our doorstep. Evidently it is midwestern protocol to gather up the chicks when a tornado is imminent. I figured you just left 'em where they were and hoped for the best. Who knew?

Anyway, Chris does not handle storms well. Thunderstorm are bad enough, but if the rain is loud enough to audible, he even starts getting anxious. Add on to this a sudden hailstorm and an imminent tornado, and the boy was shaking.

Bri suggested I get their mom on the phone to talk to him. He curled up under a blanket on the floor, talking on the phone with her, and Bri suggested we build a fort. So we gathered some chairs, blankets, and pillows and built ourselves a pretty nice little fort. The four of us gathered in, and Kiki started trying to climb the bundle of blanket that was Chris, which caused him to peek out of his blanket, note that he was still covered. So he sat up, and the four of us spent a couple of hours sitting cross-legged in a circle, eating popisciles and Doritos and talking about Pokemon.

Well, Kiki didn't add much to the conversation other than a growl here or there when prompted, but she swiped the popsicle out of her brother's hand and kept trying to steal his toys. Now either she adores the heck out of Chris -- she sits and stares at him, then cocks her head and smiles -- or she's already decided she's going to bully him as much as Bri does. In any case, her attention was 100% on Chris the entire afternoon, no matter what he was doing.

So for those of you who worried, no worries. We are safe, we are sound, we are damage-free. We even had some fun!

And now... I head back to work.

Monday, June 16, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

I jest. It's the same old.

So took Kiki in to the ear, nose & throat specialist today. He examined her for all of 3 minutes (well, and studied her chart and all her hearing tests, so you know. I'm premenstrual and moody, which makes me all dramatic and grumpy.) before scheduling her for surgery.

I did not cry. There was this distinct burning sensation behind my eyes for a few minutes while I waited in the cashier line after the visit, but after about 30 seconds of waiting, I got so irritated that the burning simply went away.

I mean... okay, I knew it was going to come to this. And I also know that we are so incredibly lucky and so incredibly blessed that Kiki doesn't have any life-threatening health issues, like heart defects or weak lungs, and so I don't want to be all whiny about this, this very, very common procedure that so very many kids (not just T21 kids) end up having.

But on the other hand, anesthesia. Anesthesia. They are going to take my baby out of my arms, take her away from me into a sterile room, lay her on a table, drug her unconscious, and then cut into her. And then when they are done, they are going to take her to another sterile room for up to 4 hours, while they monitor her recovery from the anesthesia.

The reality of this, as you may note, is beginning to kind of sink in.

Worse yet, because her EN&T guy is at a different hospital than her eye doc, we may not be able to schedule both procedures for the same time. Anyway I'm calling her eye doc tomorrow. He may not even want to do the eye surgery as soon as the EN&T guy wants to do the tube surgery. The eye guy is very cautious. In fact, we're not even scheduled to see him again until August, when he'll see if the eyepatch 2hours a day has made enough of a difference that she may not even need eye surgery at all.

I feel like I'm juggling. One bout of anesthesia sounds INFINITELY better than two bouts of anesthesia, but having a surgery too soon or even a potentially unnecessary surgery sounds infinitely worse.

Four hours I will have to wait for my baby after surgery. I think they may have to sedate ME.

Okay, whining over.

Let the grumbling now begin.

I had surgery once. I had anesthesia. I don't remember the surgery (duh) but lord almighty I remember it taking 3 days to fully recover from the anesthesia. Okay, there was pain, too, but the anesthesia. And then every time I've taken a pet in to get fixed, they've always been pukey from the anesthesia. Note how I'm focussing on the nausea post-anesthesia and dutifully ignoring the whole anesthesia-can-kill-you-if-they-dose-you-wrong-or-you-choke-or-you-have-a-bad-reaction thing.

I know, I know. I'm a freaking drama queen.

I need a beer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Stuff

1. Tooth Number 3 discovered by accident as Mommy was checking out Teeth 1 and 2. Ow! It's popped in on top, and it's the first one that Mommy didn't track the progress of obsessively. We'll call that tooth the Surprise Tooth.

2. We put an empty diaper box in front of Daddy's computer to keep Kiki away from his coveted earphones. She wants those earphones SO BAD that she pulls herself up into a standing position just so she can stretch across it as far as she can. It's the only thing that she'll pull herself into a stand on.

3. Today during her second session of Your Baby Can Read, she started clapping when the word "clap" appeared on screen.

4. And she's babbling a little bit again. Generally when she wants something because she knows I'll respond to a babble. Sly little booger.

5. Put in is getting there... sure it's still slightly more accidental than not, but she's getting more directional. It's progress!

And I leave you with a kiss.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Frustrations of Motherhood

I've known this woman for about a year. We run into each other on occasion at parties of mutual friends and whatnot. At one point we got to talking about our kids, and she disclosed her son is autistic when I disclosed that Kiki has DS.

I ran into her again this last weekend, and we started talking again. Her son is school age, while Kiki is only a year old. Even with the age difference though, I'd have to say that I can't imagine what she goes through as the mother of an autistic child. She warns me that I'll have some of the same problems when Kiki is school age -- teachers who won't want to deal, kids who isolate and mock -- and I'm sure she's right. But right now, it's hard to imagine. Hard to grasp. And I still think she has it harder.

Kipp I think nailed it last night when we talked about it. What little I know about autism -- Kipp has more experience; his ex worked with autistic children and often included them in family holidays -- I'm aware that they have difficulty connecting, interacting with others. And this is why it's hard for me to even think of myself as the parent of a child with a disability. I'm aware that Kiki has a learning disability, believe me, but it seems so inconsequential compared to how engaging she is, how social and fun and funny she is.

And some things she just picks up and keeps. She has this growl she does, which was her first noise and her preferred noise, and we've learned to work it into context. Every time she did it, we started saying, "Kiki, what does a lion say?" And now, when you say, "Kiki, what does a lion say?" she growls on cue.

But other things. The babbling for example. For months now we've gone through this cycle where she'll babble incessantly for about three days straight. We'll reinforce it constantly, babbling to her, even to the point where she would babble on cue back to us, ba-ba-ba and ma-ma-ma and da-da-da, all of them.

Then one day she will wake up and -- just not do it anymore. And we have to start all over from scratch, as if she'd never learned it before, starting with ba-ba-ba, painstakingly for weeks until she's back where she was for those three days before.

And yes, it's happened again. Her babbling, after three days of absolute mastery, completely ceased on Tuesday or thereabouts. Today she's started hesitantly, almost accidentally, started ba-ba. So at least the stretches of time between amnesiac bouts seems to be lessening, but.

It's frustrating. And I am not a patient woman. And I'm a control freak.

I told Kiki today while we were playing, "I hope God had YOUR best interests in mind when He gave you to me. He certainly had my best interests in mind, at any rate."

And it's true. Like I say, I'm not a patient woman and I am a control freak. But if you were to compare me now to what I was a year ago? I'm not going to say anything drastic like "night and day" or anything, but there is a profound difference.

Um, I hope anyway (as I catch myself yelling at Bri to close the door behind her. Does she live in a barn?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Health

Again, behind. I go to these doctors then put 'em behind me. Check, check, check.

Anywho, saw the eye doc again last week (heh... saw the eye... never mind.) We'll be back again in two months. In the meantime, we're putting a patch over her left eye (the good one) for two hours a day. Hopefully that will make an improvement without surgery, but the doc seems pretty sure that surgery will be necessary.

On Monday we see the ear nose & throat specialist. Hopefully he will be able to see her eardrums and ascertain if there is truly fluid behind her ears. If so, and tubes are necessary, the eye doc told me to tell him to coordinate with him, so that the eye surgery and tubes can happen at one time, with need for only one bout of anesthesia.

Her ST came today and was wholly impressed by her blooming social skills. She suggested that we take advantage of her newfound prowess to mimic motions by pressing the signs on her. We're trying... so far she claps for more when she's eating and throws her arms up for all done. Of course, she also claps for Yay! and throws her arms up for Arms Up! And the blowing kisses thing could also be used to communicate Food, but I'm not sure how to put that into context for her.

Contextually though, she does seem to be grasping the mealtime signs, as opposed to their meaning when she's not in the high chair. I'm trying to get her to sign for her milk instead of whining when she wants it. This however is my fault... I've reinforced the whining by giving her the cup when she does it. It's just instinctual! I know she wants it! But it doesn't help her, soooo. *sigh*

That's all the news on the homefront so far. My week off is almost over and I haven't done a bit of catch-up laundry. Again. *sigh*

Tomorrow! Umm, maybe.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I was in the mood for a template change. So I went out and found one I loved, figured I could customize it and whatnot, and completely underestimated 1) how Blogger unique type tags and whatnot are completely unknown to me and 2) how much I'd forgotten about HTML, CSS and all that in the last two or three years.

Ah well.

Several panic and anxiety attacks later, I think I'm okay with the result. Not REALL okay, but okay. I actually have another feature I want to add, but I have to build the content for it first.

I'm probably going to scrap it all and start over again within days. It always happens. (sigh)

Let's see, news on the home front. The schizo dog who is afraid of windows, curtains, stepladders, iced up grass, and bridges is also afraid of -- tada! -- bubbles. We bought bubbles thinking we could teach Kiki to blow. This wasn't exactly a great idea. If we get the wand anywhere within reach she tries to grab for it with either her hands or her mouth.

However, after days of us blowing in her face, she's begun to try to blow back in defense, I think. She kind of starts off in a raspberry and ends up sort of blowing. As with everything she does, it's sooo damned cute we get the giggles when she does it.

She loves it when we blow bubbles at her though. So we do this as often as possible, while the brave dog sits by Kiki and eats the bubbles that get close enough, and the other dog cowers in a corner, as far away as possible.

She blows kisses now, but it's kind of... unaimed. She starts with her mouth, but generally gets distracted in the middle of a string of blown kisses and starts smacking her ear, her forehead, her eye. She's actually given herself a black eye from the fervor of her blown kisses. I have video, which of course is not processed so I can't share it.

Yesterday, I caught her trying to do Itsy Bitsy Spider by herself! She loves Itsy Bitsy Spider.

She puts her arms up and then down on cue. She waves and blows kisses when prompted. And Kipp is now teaching her to do the Vogue.

And she started babbling! And she's continued babbling! Yay! And I have it on video also! Which I don't have ready to share.

I find myself strangely lacking in more things to share.

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