Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Preschool Sings

On Sunday, the family headed to Blake's school to watch his "Preschool Sings" performance. And what a happy little performer (far left) he is...

Luckily, he quickly forgot to be a mope, and started participating...sorta.

Then, they started singing his favorite song (Do Your Ears Hang Low?) and he was rockin' the house...

Lexi enjoyed the show.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lexi's progress, swim lessons, and mean people.

Alexis had a follow-up doctor's appointment yesterday to have her ears checked for infection. All clear. But a strange thing occurred to my usually happy and smiley daughter. As I started to undress her at the beginning of the appointment to put her on the scale, she started to cry. My first thought was that I hurt her. Did I bend a finger back when taking her arm out of the sleeve? Did your bare skin rub along my sweatshirt zipper? But the crying didn't stop. The nurse finished up and left the room. Did the nurse scare you with her loud voice? The crying continued. The doctor walked in. Still crying. You are either hurt or scared. The doctor suggested it might be stranger anxiety. Maybe, but I really don't think so. The doctor completed the exam, gave me the all clear, and sent us on our way. Still crying. Not until I had Alexis dressed, strapped in her carrier, and was leaving the room, did the crying stop. Oh my goodness. She remembers this place. And this is the first time we have ever been here that she didn't get a shot. First. time. ever. If she isn't getting her immunizations, she's getting a flu or H1N1 shot. If it's not that, she's getting her RSV shot. My poor little pincushion! No shots this time, baby.

I hate for her to start being scared of the doctor's office, but a tiny bit of me got excited that she remembers this. I still think of her as my newborn but she's growing up. She's processing. She's learning. She's remembering. I realize that the learning/remembering thing has been going on for almost a year now, but it's suddenly becoming more obvious. Today Alexis had her OT appointment. Any time Alexis picks up an item in one hand, she drops whatever she was holding in the other hand. Before today I had never seen her hold something in each hand and bang them together. But after the OT worked with her on it for a little while, she could do it. All. By. Her. Self. May seem like a small step to some. I was doing backflips.

Changing subjects.

The boys just had their sixth swimming lesson this evening. They are counting down until the 10th lesson is done so that they can get their bribes rewards. At Monday's lesson, Nicholas was having a bit of trouble getting started. He didn't want to put his face in the water. Tears ensued. The boys started off the session both being in group 2. (Group 1 in the beginning group for kids adjusting to the water.) By the middle of Monday's lesson, Blake had been moved up to group 3. Nicholas had been moved back to group 1. After a few more tears and a little time with his favorite instructor ("the pretty girl in the pink swimsuit" according to Nick) he moved back to group 2. Today's lesson went great. He put on a good show for aunt Paula and enjoyed being in the same group as his friend Parker. Blake remains in group 3 and spends the time acting silly and entertaining each instructor that works with him.

Nick at his first swim lesson:

Blake the daredevil and Nick holding on for dear life (with the favorite instructor on the left):

Blake. No fear:

Nick is still holding on. But happy. Blake is being a ham, as usual:

On an unrelated note, I've read a lot of blogs lately that mention some problems with pictures being "stolen" off blogs and websites. The pictures have been altered in cruel and hurtful ways and reposted on other sites, and because of this, I'm trying to be a bit proactive. I'm a bit limited in my understanding of how to protect my pictures, but have been able to figure out a couple of things (notice the text on the top photo?). The internet is a scary place sometimes. I may also stop posting blog entries on facebook after this, so make sure you check the actual blog from time to time for updates.

Friday, March 12, 2010


She's a talker! Alexis has started with the "Dadadada" and "Babababa" sounds. I'm really pushing for the "Mamama", but no luck yet. It's so fun to listen to entertaining. The girl has an opinion, but I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that opinion is. Nicholas is trying to get her to say, "Nanana" since he thinks the "Babababa" is her way of saying Blake. Blake just wishes she could say, "Arrrrgh."

I need to do a better job of working with her on sign language. I've got the books, the videos, have taught myself a couple of signs to use with her. But I can never remember to do it! Maybe I'll print off some signing pictures and post them around the house as a reminder to myself. I've heard so many different people talk about how signing really helped and I think it's so important that I do this with Alexis. Unfortunately, I can never remember...ummm...what was I saying?

Alexis had OT and PT this week for the first time in 2 weeks since she'd been sick. They were both impressed at her progress! Alexis is having some difficulty getting down the skills of chewing (I've tried the puffs...she spits them out) and using a straw, so the OT gave me a few more things to try with her, like crushing up a cracker really fine and pressing it onto her gums and capping a straw with my finger for her to receive small amounts of liquid. Alexis seems to respond to these things, but now meal times take forever! I've also started giving her some textured baby foods, which take longer for her to eat, but it's a great sign that she isn't gagging on them. It's just a slow process. I'm trying to figure out a balance so that I can be consistent with trying all these new things, but not have a single meal time last longer than it would take me to read War and Peace.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

11 months!

Alexis is 11 months old today! And what a beautiful day it is. I took the kids out for a walk and made a pitstop at the neighborhood playground. Our neighbors were there and I put Alexis in the swing with Meredith, their littlest girl.

Alexis is still taking her antibiotic but seems to be over her cough and ear infections. She's eating well again and back to her happy little self. The only one left who seems to have a bit of a bug is me. But it definitely helped getting out and getting some fresh air today.

Happy 11 months Alexis!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Y'all are some good eggs!

I knew that the day would come when someone--a stranger, would ask me if Alexis had Down syndrome. It happened yesterday at the McDonald's playground. I was talking to a dad and he asked, "does she have Downs?"

It's not that I've been dreading it, or worried about it really. Jason and I realize that the older Alexis gets, the more noticable the characteristics become. But I think that I've heard so many stories from people who hear others say really dumb or hurtful things, I've kinda been waiting for it to happen to me. It hasn't.

I've heard of people whose baby is diagnosed prenatally and are then urged by their doctor or family to have an abortion. I've heard of people who will have friends that "can't handle" being around a child with Down syndrome and end the relationship. And it's absoulutely shocking to me because these are people that they know and trust.

Alexis is almost 11 months old. I've known about her Down syndrome for 16 months. And I have had no one tell me I shouldn't have given birth to Alexis. No one has severed a relationship with me because of my daughter.

The man at McDonald's was curious but kind: Was she a Riley baby? No, St. Vincent. Does she get services through First Steps? Yes. When we took the kids to swim lessons tonight, we ran into one of Lexi's NICU nurses who couldn't believe how Alexis had grown and how healthy she looked (double ear infections and all!). There was also an 11 year old girl sitting next to us who couldn't stop gushing about Alexis and how sweet and cute she was. So far, everyone who has interacted with Alexis--family, friend, or even stranger, has done so with kindness.

I know that the day will come when things aren't so rosey. It's part of life. My boys don't have Down syndrome and they will both come home from school from time to time telling me something hurtful that someone said to them. It happens. And when it happens, we'll deal with it with as much grace as we can. But luckily, I know with absolute certainty that the happiness Alexis will experience in her life will far outweigh anything negative.

My children have changed me I think. I've always had a warped sense of humor and a very sarcastic streak. But my cynicism has been significantly curbed. Yes, the world can be a scary place. But the people in our lives, our family, our friends, and even the random playground dad or swimming pool preteen, are good.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A big milestone...

Alexis has her first ear infection. Okay. Double ear infection. The girl knows how to do it up right. I took her back to the doctor today (if you're keeping track, this is the 5th doctor's appointment in 3 weeks) because while her cough no longer sounded like croup, it's been over a week now and I just wanted confirmation that her lungs still sounded okay (always have to be watching out for RSV) and her ears were okay. Blake had a double ear infection a few weeks ago and when he went back to the doctor last week for his follow up, they were still red and there was fluid in there. So yes, 2 kids with 4 infected ears. That's what I get for bragging to my friend about my kids always being so healthy.

Speaking of milestones, Alexis is starting to pull her legs up under her in a crawling pose. So exciting! Holla! If she has a wall or something that she can push her feet up against, she can do it by herself. Or if someone can put her in the position, she can hold it for a few seconds. Get out the baby gates! Pretty soon she'll be moving quicker than Mommy in a speed trap. (Don't ask.)

The boys had their first swim lesson yesterday with no major melt downs. There were bribes involved. I'm not above bribing my children. They were both started off in the beginner's group and Blake immediately jumped in and went under water multiple times (Daddy's boy) and was moved to the next group right away. Nicholas was much more hesitant (Mommy's boy) but did eventually put his face in the water (there were some tears but he got himself together pretty quickly without any parental intervention). I was thrilled to hear Nicholas say he enjoyed the swim lesson after it was all over, but I'm sure that he's trying really hard to put on a happy face in anticipation of the rewards that have been promised after all 10 lessons are completed. If only bribes worked this well with vegetables.