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.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mind of Her Own

Okay. So Kiki has decided that patting her leg for dog is too mundane. She has now decided that dog? Is patting her chest. She is adamant about it. She refuses to budge on the topic no matter how often we try to correct her.

I think she is also making up her own signs. At first I just thought they were new gestures, but she makes the same gesture repetitively and in the same context. Well, however you might define context. At various points during the day she will stop whatever she is doing, catch my eye, smile winsomely, and place both hands on her chest. I don't know if she's saying she's happy or she loves me or she just pooed. Well, I'm being facetious; it's obviously not the latter (I've checked.) It means something to HER, obviously. I wonder how frustrated she's feeling that I'm not getting it.

She's probably just saying "Dog" in a new differently wrong way to get my goat.

This weekend she got tired of stacking evidently and preferred to either hand me the toys or bang them together. I'm pleased she's handing things over though; that's a big step! I'm trying to teach her please this way. Of course it's only been since I've been teaching her please that she's changed her mind about how to sign dog.

This happens a lot. When she's mastered something -- what does a lion say, for example, or signing dog -- when we try to expound upon it, teach her a different thing that is somewhat close, she gets the things confused. For example, when she mastered "What does a lion say?" we tried adding "What does a sheep say?" because she'd been making "ba ba ba" noises independently.

Well, what happened at first was that we got a lion and a sheep, and then a lion and a demonic sheep (growling the "ba ba ba") and then only a lion for a loooong time. Now we've gotten the demonic sheep back at last, which is making me rethink dressing her as a lion for Halloween. C'mon, what's scarier than a demonic sheep?

Of course the whole family has gotten behind the lion thing and decided to make it an Oz theme. Bri is going to dress as Dorothy, which blows my mind because that means she's actually willing to dress up like a GIRL!

Chris however refuses to be either a scarecrow, tin man, or flying monkey. He's decided he wants to be a red ninja. I don't know either. We've tried explaining that red isn't exactly a stealth color, but Chris kind of sees things his own unique way.

When we suggested he dress as Toto, Bri changed her mind about being Dorothy and wanted to be Toto instead. Arrgh. Kids are tough.

Anyway, it's a nice thought for me and Kipp to consider dressing as a tin man and a scarecrow -- he's OBVIOUSLY going to be the scarecrow -- but I doubt we'll pull that one together.

Grandma and Grandpa got Kiki an after-surgery gift -- a V.Baby video gamey kind of thing. The first night Kiki showed an interest only in the receiver, not in the controller. Now she plays with the controller gleefully but hasn't quite made the connection that what she's doing is having an effect up on the TV screen.

And Daddy bought her a chair tonight. I thought a simple, you know, chair. I should know better; if I'm thinking simple and functional, I need to go out and get it myself before EVER mentioning it to the Daddy. Because the second Daddy was unsupervised, he went out and bought a cushy Dora chair that plays music.

Kiki won't sit in it. She prefers to sit in front of it and look at it. And, you know, dance.

Also discovered this weekend that the built-in car seat in my van? That Kiki has ridden in exclusively for the past week or so? And loved to distraction? Umm, well --

We decided to go out as a family this weekend to a old car expo thingie they were having in the next town over at a strip mall. Papaw's band was playing for the last time this season, and we had to catch it. So, we loaded up everybody in Daddy's car, which meant Kiki had to sit in the old-not-the-van-car seat.

She SCREAMED the entire way. SCREAMED. Inconsolably. So I think the lesson here is -- when she finds something she REALLY and OBVIOUSLY loves, don't try switching it with something else.

If only we could take the van seat and put it in Daddy's car. Of course, it wouldn't then be exactly safe or anything. Oh, sure, you could say, "Well, just do family outings in the van! Duh!"

My van's windows don't roll down. There's some kind of malfunction. Oh, sure, you SAY fix it, as if that's an obvious... um, fix.

Yeah, maybe we should.

Friday, September 26, 2008

And in Washington...

I'm not terribly political (meaning I know what I think I know and I feel strongly enough to argue about it even if I look foolish doing it but I will spare you all because I save it up for my phone calls with Mom) but I think this is a good thing.

The Kennedy-Brownback disability diagnosis bill passed. Patricia Bauer does a write-up on it here. (I can't believe I just found Patricia Bauer like yesterday. I live under a rock.)

And no, I steadfastly refuse to post one single word about Election '08.

No, I mean it.


(Did I mention that Kiki has a crush on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? I did? Well, the crush continues. If she could vote, and they were running mates, she would vote for them.)

(I think I would too.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And now a challenge for Mommy!

Get It Down; 31 for 21

I'm going to participate in 31 for 21 next month, Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It's basically a challenge to post every day in October. Check the link for more information. I'm actually committing to something! It's a miracle! And you know what else? Just to make me really step up? I'm going to try to post a new picture every day along with the post. (Because I'm never happy unless I've risen the bar too high on myself.)

So this morning I was playing with Kiki. Her OT had mentioned that now that she knew how to put in, stacking was the next step. We've also been working on honing the put in, trying to put things into smaller receptacles. So far she's mastered a box and a cup. We're working on her giraffe toy too.

I decided to take a break from put in and play with stacking. She has a set of Baby Einstein blocks and a set of different sized cups that stack on one side and fit inside each other on the other side. I stacked up two BE blocks, counting them as I did it, then put a cup on top. She knocked it over. We did this a few times, and on the 4th time, she reached for the cup as I did. I got it first and stacked again. She knocked it over.

I stacked the blocks, then this time let her get the cup instead of me. She picked the cup up and then very deliberately placed it right on top of the stacked blocks. I was so excited that after I'd stopped cheering and whooping and doing it over and over again, I texted all three of her therapists to brag.

And? I think she's learned the sign for please. This afternoon after being scolded for pulling my hair (again!) she rubbed her chest then signed for a drink. So either she made up a sign for I'm sorry, or it was please, or it was Mommy reading more into a gesture than was there. Either way!

I am just walking on air today. I'm so proud of my baby. :) (I do wish she'd stop pulling my hair though. And she doesn't just pull it. When I'm sitting on the floor, she stands up, grabs a handful, then quickly drops to her bottom. She's already pulled some out when I wasn't quick enough on the uptake to drop with her instead of staying put.)

Well, come on. You KNEW the blog had to end with whining.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More tricks

Oh, the games that can be played repetitously for hours!

"Where's Kiki?"

"Say Hi!" Why I say this when I'm taking pics, I don't know.

This is signing for drink. It's subtly different than a wave.

"How big is Kiki?" Soooooooo big!

I'm not sure, but I think these mean, "No more photos. Get rid of the paparazzi!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Standing room only

She's pulling herself up on everything to stand up. The evidence?

In her bedroom.

In her playpen. (I'm not torturing her. She just wants out. And I have to have some pics of her crying. My mom used to take pics of me crying. It's a family thing.)

On her mommy.

At the doctor's office!

Still more photo entries to come! Making up for lost time! :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Before & After

Finally I present to you the before and after eye surgery photos!

Three days before her birthday.

Four days before the surgery.

One day after the surgery. The reason her eyes are so dark is because of the blood in them.

And.... drum roll please.... pics as new as last night!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting ready for next month

Got this from Big Blueberry Eyes. is showcasing photos of babies with Trisomy 21 in preparation for Down Syndrome Awareness month in October. I submitted some photos of Kiki and realized as I did so how far behind I am in processing some updated photos of her!

I will fix that this weekend!

We've decided that Kiki will be a lion for Halloween to capitalize on her talent for roaring. I can't wait to go trick-or-treating and have her roar for candy!

Doctor, check

Kiki had her surgery follow-up this morning. I took the opportunity to doll her up in a pair of denim overalls and since it's been cool lately, I even put socks and shoes on her instead of sandals.

The shoes were a shiny red pair that a friend bought her at a garage sale. There's a pair of black ones as well. They've got velco fasteners on the straps instead of buckles, but otherwise they look just like the dress-up shiny gloss shoes I used to wear as a little girl to church or on Easter.

So I put on her shoes, put her in the car, drove off to the doctors, sat in the waiting room with her for a while, then in the exam room for a while. The nurse came in to ask us a few questions and on her way out, she stopped to admire Kiki's handsome little shoes. "Oh," she said, "it looks like she's scuffed them."

I took a closer look because as she is not walking, it is unlikely they could get scuffed. Sure enough, they were not scuffed.

They were chewed. By a teething child who is hyperflexible. Have I mentioned she can stick her big toe in her ear?

So no more shiny shoes until she's cut all her teeth, that's all I can say about that. (GoddessKristin, I can only say that I am glad I did not put on her ruby slippers. I'm sure she would have gnawed off at least half of the sequins.)

In other news, she's healing great! I didn't take any pictures of her directly after the surgery because I didn't want to flash her poor eyes. But a week later, all the blood is gone from the whites of her eyes and she is looking straight ahead! The doctor was very, very pleased. My girl is a good healer.

She's getting ornery about sleep time. It used to be she'd go to bed without any fuss at all. Then there were those three weeks where she'd wake up in the middle of the night screaming and she'd have a fever. After that she didn't sleep through the night for a couple of weeks; she'd wake up, sit up, and scream and I'd run up there and comfort her and there was no fever.

That seems to have set a trend. Now she resists bedtime and today she resisted naptime until she was practically passing out on her toys. Honestly. I think it might be the teething. I hope it's just a phase.

We had gone without the nighttime routine for a long time, but now because of her resistance, I've gone back to singing to her before lying her down. It worked tonight, so maybe that's all she wants? If she could only tell me.

At least she's signing for "drink" now at dinnertime instead of bursting into tears whenever she wanted her milk. She still lapses occasionally, usually when I'm not immediately jumping at her request. She seems to have inherited her mother's patience; all none of it.

I don't know if it's related to the surgery or not, but she's become far more fascinated by objects and her hands of late and she bursts into laughter a hundred times a day over things I can't even identify. In the car when she's in her car seat, she bursts into laughter every time the sun hits her face. I can't wait to see how she reacts to rain.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Discoveries

I remembered yesterday that my van has a built-in car seat. Duh! So we took it for a test drive yesterday and I think Kiki likes it better than the store-bought one. She's right by the window; she can drape her legs over it; she can touch more things. She giggled for about the first 10 minutes of our little jaunt.

Then this morning I had to make a trip to the bank and I caught her playing shadow puppets in the morning sun. If I'd only had a video camera AND I wasn't driving!

Today is the first day of Kipp's second week at his new job. He's really excited about it; they'll be training him on lots of new systems and OSs. He's kind of in geek heaven. We went out on Saturday and outfitted him with some new work clothes. He looked hottttttt as he headed out this morning! Well, he always does, but being dressed up all sharp is awesome. You know what I mean.

Had rain all weekend and the river flooded again. I think that's got to be the 15th time the river has flooded this year. Luckily we know the backroads and can get around the small bridges leading into our subdivision. Unfortunately, it's such a convoluted detour there's no way to navigate anyone through it via spoken instructions.

And I think that's about all for the updates. :) Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Surgery Update

We're home from the hospital and all is well. Kiki did great, but she was pretty grumpy after this procedure until I got her into the car, where she fussed periodically until we got home. 1 popsicle, 1 graham cracker, and 1 cup of apple juice later, and she's happy as a clam (and down for a nap for a bit!)

She's oozing a little bit of blood from one eye, and you can see a little blood in the whites of both eyes, but her eyes are definitely not as crossed as before. I think they're still a little tending inward, as much as she'll let me see, but I'm sure that'll differ as the days go by.

And as she was screaming I noticed another tooth poking through on the bottom. The doc said the other day that her entire gum line along the top right side is swollen as well, indicative of a possible swarm of teeth all at one time in the next month or so. Poor thing!!!

But it explains why she's been gnawing on her thumb.

Everyone in the hospital fell in love with her. Okay, well at least the anesthesiologist and four different nurses who came in to enthuse about how beautiful and charming and wonderful she was. She came home with a Princess bear in scrubs. I'm naming him for her. His name is Turk. It would have been JD, but he's wearing a surgeon's mask, so.

When Kiki can talk, she can rename him. She'll probably name him Jon or Stephen after her big crushes. Yeah, after months of enduring children's programming like Dora the Explorer and Wonder Friends to no avail -- she simply would NOT engage with the tv at all -- we gave up, deciding that raising a child who had no interest in tv could be a blessing in disguise.

So we switched back to OUR progamming of choice and discovered that whenever Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert -- ESPECIALLY Stephen Colbert -- came on, she'd drop whatever she was doing and become absolutely spellbound.

Well, she's got good taste anyway. And now we'll see what she thinks of them with her new Kiki Vision (tm)!

Monday, September 8, 2008

More signs!

Add "drink" and "dog" to her new signing vocabulary. The kid is on a roll!!!

Of course when we respond to "drink" by giving her the cup, she just grins and tosses it across the room. So it's highly likely that she thinks the sign for "drink" really means "You've been PUNK'D!"

Now to teach her "please" and "thank you".... or am I pushing things a little? :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Put! Put!

She's got it! She figured out "put in" a couple of days ago. It's still a little haphazard, and she doesn't as much "put" as "slam dunk", but by Jove, she's got it! I can't wait to show her off to the OT! (Although her PT was so excited by the new trick that she threatened to tell the OT ahead of me. I love that all her therapists are so committed to their charges that they talk about them with each other as if they were their own kids. I really love this program!)

She's become addicted to "This little piggy." If she's sitting on our lap or chest cuddling, eventually she will stick one of her little feet in our faces. If we're sitting within reach, she'll grab one of our hands and put it on her toes. Regardless of technique, she'll then look at us expectantly and grin hugely as we gamely begin recitation of the piggies' current carryings-on.

She's fine-tuning her signs. It used to be that "all done" was simply throwing her hands up in the air. Now she does it accurately, twisting her hands at the wrist. She's also learning "ball". We're working on building her vocabulary, and it's coming along.

She's also playing Peek-a-boo like a pro, and even plays it with her reflection in the mirror. We're still trying to catch one of her play sessions with her reflection, but she's too aware of her surroundings. When that camera comes out, bam! She's on it! Little diva.

She's also getting better at baa baa for the sheep, and being able to distinguish us asking for a sheep vs. a lion. It's still a little confusing for her, but you can tell she's trying!

And she is climbing over EVERYTHING. She's not travelling yet -- is that what they call holding onto furniture and walking along it? -- but she's starting to show an inclination in that regard. I think she may be walking by Christmas... but then I could be wrong. :)

And that is the current news of Kiki!

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