Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Oct '08

Can I Just Say…

>hat I love Zumba. It is good for the soul. Today I spent much of the morning cleaning house (much needed), part of the afternoon in a playgroup, and then the rest of the day balancing a grumpy Wesley with trying to learn kickboxing choreography for Saturday’s class. Fortunately, Wes didn’t stay grumpy for more than an hour or two. All of a sudden the clouds cleared and he was giggling like crazy. I love it when he’s happy like that. Then I was able to practice my choreography and have dinner.

But when all was said and done I was tired and needed a pick-me-up. It may sound strange that an aerobic workout would be said needed pick-me-up, especially when I had just finished kickboxing for an hour, but Zumba did the trick. I went through an entire class routine (55 minutes) and my whole day is better.

Oct '08


Yesterday Wes attended his first-ever birthday party (thanks Nancy and Preston!). There was an abundance of active two-year-olds, and Wes just sat and stared at the commotion, mouth slightly open. They served birthday cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Wes would tolerate the birthday cake when I fed it to him, but not without giving me a clear look that said, “OK, lady, I’ll chew and swallow this, but the next spoonful had better be more of that creamy chocolate mint goodness.” He ate the entire scoop, except for a couple teeny bites I snatched.

I am getting addicted to grapefruit. A guy came around our neighborhood last week selling oranges, apples, and grapefruit. He gave me samples and the fruit was delicious, so I bought 30 lbs of it to store in the cool garage with very good intentions to single-mouthedly eat and enjoy every last piece of it. (John and Wes aren’t really into the fruit scene.) I asked for minimal grapefruit in the mix, but I’m starting to regret that now. I’ve eaten one every day and they are so good! I think they decrease my appetite, too. This morning I was eating one and grapefruit juice squirted me in the eye. I had to laugh because I’d only ever seen that in the movies, and here it happened to me in real life!

Also, box elder bugs are threatening to take over our house. I keep finding them crawling around like they own the place. I have no qualms about killing crawling things in my house (Wes excluded), so hopefully I’ll get a handle on their population soon.

I’m teaching parts of aerobics classes three times this week. It’s pretty much taking up all my spare time, but I’m loving it. I’ll be teaching a Zumba class starting in January through the local recreation program, which should be fun, provided people actually come.

Oct '08

Lotsa Updates

Wes loves loves loves to stand up. He likes to stand and play. He’ll try to pull himself to standing using anything he can as a prop:

His car seat…

His toys…

Even things taller than himself, like this desk.

His therapists have been coming and going and all (he has three) are happy to see he’s doing so well. Yesterday the speech therapist brought a toy that has three skills involved with it. The baby has to put the ball in the top of the toy, push it down, and then retrieve it when it comes out the bottom. After watching the therapist a few times, Wes started putting the ball in the top himself, and after a few more times he figured out how to push the ball down. He was really enthralled by the toy and the therapist was very impressed by how quickly he understood how to work it. My baby’s a smart boy.

Wes is crawling like a maniac and has discovered every nook and cranny of the house. Plus every trash can, every tissue box, every book on the shelves…pretty much everything I don’t want him in.

He’s also really great about climbing the stairs. A little too great. The other day I answered the phone in the kitchen (which is around the corner from the stairs). I was away from Wes maybe a minute and a half before I realized I had left him alone in the living room, and when I rounded the corner, there he was on the stair landing, sitting and looking down at me with a big grin. He doesn’t know how to get himself down the stairs yet (we’re working on it), but once he gets that he’ll be safer on the stairs by himself.

I took Wes to the hospital lab for a blood draw to get his thyroid checked. People with Down syndrome frequently have thyroid problems. The test checks two things: free T4’s and TSH. I don’t exactly know what T4’s are, but apparently they’re something to do with the thyroid that attaches to proteins, and free T4’s are ones that don’t attach to anything. TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. The results: Wesley’s TSH looks fine, but his free T4’s were a little high. But the pediatric endocrinologist said that this is not uncommon for kids around 12 months of age. Wes will have to get another blood draw in 4-6 months and be tested again.

Last week I took Wes for a walk outside. Because it was a chilly day I put him in a blue bear jacket that was a gift to him when he was born. I remember looking at it, and looking at him (barely four pounds), and thinking, “He’s never gonna fit into this.” Well, it took a year, but it fits him now. I think it’s size 6-12 months.

I enjoyed the walk and the scenery, but Wes was sound asleep by the time we got high enough to see a nice view of the valley and mountains.

It is hard to discipline Wes because he doesn’t seem to get that I’m disciplining him. I always tell him “no” when he gets to pulling at the trash can bags, but what do you do when all he does back is smile at you? And then go for the trash bag again?

Wes and the trash can

Wes loves our cats. They encourage him to move.

Wesley’s idea of recreation

Wes can open drawers. And smash his toes in them, too.

Wes discovers the drawer

Wes had a little trouble on the kitchen floor in his sleeper jammies.

Wes slip and slides on linoleum

In other, non-Wes-related news, I taught part of an aerobics class at BYU yesterday and it was so much fun. The teacher was impressed and got my number for her sub list. It was my first time teaching a class, and the class at BYU is huge. Teaching aerobics is one of those things that even though you think you like doing it, actually doing it is the real test. And I’m glad to discover that for me it is 100% fun. Now I know that I will keep doing it and loving it.

Oct '08

Library Monday

Most Mondays I take Wes (plus a two-year-old that I babysit Monday mornings) to the local library for baby sing-and-sign time. This morning I got there early, got a parking place in the parking lot instead of on the street (yes! major accomplishment), got Wes and the two-year-old in and settled, and then found out that the teacher was ill and class was canceled. A lot of moms had turned out with their babies, so the children’s section of the library became an impromptu playgroup.

A friendly lady struck up conversation with me and we chatted for a long while. One of the first things she commented on was Wesley’s Down syndrome. She had a lot of positive things to say about it, which I always appreciate hearing. She thought his smile is so bright and lights up his whole face, and that he’s very loving and good natured.

It surprised me, though, that she knew he has Down syndrome. When others mention the Down syndrome I always wonder, “How can you tell?” I don’t normally tell people he has DS. It’s not the kind of thing you throw into introductions: “Hi, this is Wes, and he has Down syndrome.” Like it’s part of his name or something. But I guess it must be visually obvious and I just don’t realize it. To me, Wes is Wes. I see him everyday, all day, and he looks completely like Wesley. Completely normal.

Yet others can look at him and tag him as having DS (or, as a lot of people say, as being “Downs”). It’s kind of funny that people can look at you and categorize you instantly like that. I guess we do it all the time, to all sorts of people you see everywhere (“he’s angry” “she’s a businesswoman” “she’s pretty” “he’s handicapped”).

I just realized I did a tag of my own the other day when I was at a store and Wes wasn’t with me. I saw a mom, a dad, and their teenage son (who had Down syndrome) in the shoe department. In the first millisecond of spotting them I unconsciously tagged him as having DS, then tagged him as a teenager (he was complaining about how long his parents were taking), and then I tagged his parents as wonderful, loving people whom I admire for raising their son in spite of his challenges.

Judging has a negative connotation, but tagging seems more like “sizing up.” And as long as people mainly associate positive things with Down syndrome, I can’t mind other people noticing it in my own baby.

(Wesley’s Halloween costume)

Oct '08

Wesley’s progress

Wes has really taken off with crawling. He’s getting more adventurous and roaming wherever his hands and knees will take him. Yesterday I saw him crawl from the living room all the way to the dining room, which involves going around a corner.

I think our two cats (poor, unsuspecting souls) have greatly influenced Wesley’s crawling skills. They’re his favorite friends/victims. Kyra is the older, more maternal cat that, while not loving Wesley’s affections, will at least put up with him. Grayson is the younger, more skittish cat that whenever he sees Wes approaching gets the heck out of Dodge. Which helps encourage Wes to crawl even more!

Video: Chasing Grayson

One thing I’ve been helping Wes learn to do is climb the stairs. I barely started working with him on it last week, but he has apparently taken to it so well that he feels confident enough to do it when my back is turned. This morning I ran upstairs for a minute and when I came back I looked over the landing and couldn’t see him where I had left him. I looked down further and saw him standing on the first step and trying for his second. His physical therapist pointed out that fear is not a bad thing for kids to gain and we should give Wes “controlled falls” so he can experience a little panic and fear and realize he shouldn’t try to stand, sit, or turn around on the stairs. Guess I’ll have to get around to trying that sometime soon.

Video: Up the Stairs