Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Aug '09

What a Day

When I woke up this morning I had a plan:

1) Clean kitchen: Do dishes, clean sink, wipe counters, put away clutter, etc.

2) Water plants.

3) Do laundry: Baby laundry, whites, bedding.

4) Get through enormous list of things I’ve been meaning to catch up on for a week: Emails, phone calls, bills to pay, stuff for church calling, etc.

5) Feed family: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

6) Prepare stuff for my Zumba classes this week.

7) Exercise.

8) Lift weights.

9) Attend friend’s Zumba class.

I should have added:

10) Maintain sanity whilst kissing my goals goodbye.

The reality of today:

1) Cleaned kitchen: Did dishes, cleaned sink, wiped counters, put away clutter, etc. The kitchen was so clean I kept looking at it and smiling.

2) Watered plants. My outside plants were getting crispy and hovering on the brink of death, but now I think they’ll make it.

3) Started laundry. Got the whites in the washer, dryer, and then put away. Got the baby laundry in washer, is still in dryer. Got 1/2 of bedding in the washer. Is still there. Other half of bedding still on laundry room floor.

4) Started to get through enormous list of things I’ve been meaning to catch up on for a week. Responded to five emails. Made three phone calls. Paid one bill. Did not get to church calling stuff or variety of other Important Stuff categorized under “etc.”

5) Fed family (including John as he’s always home). John ate everything I gave him. Wes threw most of his food on the floor. I tried a new recipe for dinner, during which time Wes helped himself to the lower shelves in the pantry, dumped out a container of wheat, scattered pudding boxes, granola bars, and mixing bowls all across the floor, and then whined for my attention.

6) Prepare stuff for my Zumba classes this week.

7) Exercise.

8) Lift weights.

9) Attend friend’s Zumba class.

New To-Do List to Finish before I Go to Bed Tonight:

1) Sweep up loose wheat grains. Put away pantry items. Put away mixing bowls.

2) Put away leftover food from dinner.

3) Re-do dishes. Re-clean sink. Re-wipe counters. Put away clutter again.

4) Change out of exercise clothes I’ve been wearing since noon, thinking I’d have a few minutes to exercise, or prepare stuff for my Zumba classes, or lift weights, or make it to my friend’s Zumba class.

5) Make new list for tomorrow.

Aug '09

Waving and other great things

Wesley apparently learned how to wave “hello” and “bye bye.” I don’t have video proof yet (soon, though), but I’m proud of him. If you tell him to wave “hello” or “bye” he’ll put one of his arms straight out in front of him and kind of maniacally throw it around. But it’s a wave.

Other milestones:

I borrowed a “Signing Time” video and he sat and watched a full 20 minutes of it with me.

He’s getting a little better with his signing. He can sign “more” the correct way now (bringing both hands together so fingers are touching).

He can fold his arms on demand. Nursery at church taught him this initially, and then at home before most of his snacks we say a blessing on the food. I say, “Fold your arms” and like lightning his arms are folded. They don’t necessarily stay folded for long, but still…

He’s also getting two molars on the top. Still no top front teeth. Just the bottom two front teeth and the two top molars.

He can step off of curbs by himself. He likes to step down and then run into the street. The therapist wants him to practice walking on and off curbs, though, so…

Not necessarily milestones, but other things about Wesley:

One of his favorite pastimes is knocking chairs over. And pushing chairs around. The nursery leader at church says Wes is very “helpful” by pushing the chairs around all the time during playtime.

He also likes to knock me over. If I’m sitting on the floor he’ll come up to me and put his hands under my feet or legs and try to tip me over. I will humor him for a little while, fall backward, and ask him to help me by giving me a hug. He’ll either flop onto my stomach and hug me or climb onto my stomach and sit there like he’s king of the world.

I took him to an aerobics class the other day, and after class two ladies came up and asked me all about Wes. I couldn’t figure out why they were so interested in how old he is, whether he’s my only kid, how he’s doing. I was kind of worn out from the class but tried to be polite and ask them about their kids too, even though I was only mildly interested. Later I realized they may have recognized Wes has Down syndrome, and maybe they were a little fascinated. I forget about these things.

Aug '09

Speech therapy review and…first word?

Yesterday Wesley’s speech therapist came and did an annual review. She goes down a list of questions that she asks me (“Can Wesley do…?”) and if he passes then she goes to the next question. She stops going down the list when he fails five questions in a row. She also does a few tests with Wesley (like set out three objects and ask him to identify and pick one of them specifically) to see how he responds. Then he’s given a percentile ranking.

First off, she was impressed by Wesley’s attention span yesterday. Sometimes he’s all over the place, but he sat and worked with her really well for the first half hour.

She graded him on the scale for 18-23 month olds (he’s 23 months). He scored in the 18th percentile. I thought that sounded really low, but she said it’s actually really good. Kids have to score in the 7th percentile or lower to qualify for the services Wesley receives. On the other hand, when she scored him using the scale for 24-29 month olds he ranked only in the 3-4th percentile. But that’s OK, because he has six months to improve and we’re sure he will. She said he’s functioning, speech wise, at about the level of a 17-month-old. Which I didn’t think was too bad.

Part of the reason he did well is that he hit two major milestones this week. Speech is typically harder for kids with Down syndrome to get, and for Wesley it’s been hard in part because he’s always struggled with imitation. Imitation is one of those essential developmental skills that he needs to have for speech.

He started imitating some motor skills, like clapping, in the last month or so, but if you say, “Hey Wes, say, ‘mamamamama,'” he’ll just stare at you. Or, more likely, grunt at you to get you to stop trying to make him do something he doesn’t want to do.

First milestone: This past week we discovered that if we coughed, Wesley would cough too. This was amazing to us! So now we’re often playing the Coughing Game. See below.

Now, Wesley still doesn’t initiate the game himself. That’s one thing the therapist talked about (with much concern, actually)–Wes has got to start initiating more. Not just with sound games, but with everything. She freaked out a little when she asked if Wes will point to objects he wants and I told her no. If you offer Wes something, he’ll let you know if he wants it or not. If he finds a container of pretzels he’ll bring it to you to give him one. If he’s tired he’ll come up near you and wait for you to pick him up. And if you hold something up for him to come across the room to get, he’ll hold out his hand as he walks towards you to get it. But I’ve never seen him point at something to indicate he wants it. I’ve never heard him make noise to indicate he wants something without me offering him something first. And he doesn’t lift up his hands for us to pick him up unless we hold out our hands first.

I would never think of these things unless someone pointed them out to me. It was kind of exhausting, listening to the speech therapist go over all this with me and give me assignments.

I hope that pointing to objects will be around the corner. I know it took Wes a long time to figure out how to use his pointer finger at all. It’s just been in the last couple of weeks that he’s gotten good at using his index finger to point. I think it’s because we have a star stacker toy that has a button on the top (a very small button) that he learned how to push with his index finger. He will sit for ten minutes pushing that button and making the music play over and over again. And it seems that the therapist was kind of freaked out when Wes was younger (closer to one) that he didn’t use his pointer finger at all. He’s getting it now, though, so maybe pointing to objects isn’t too far off.

Something else the therapist wants us to help Wes do is to pretend feed stuffed animals. She brought a stuffed bear, a plastic cup, and a plastic spoon. She told Wes the bear was hungry and showed him how to put the spoon to the bear’s mouth. Wes didn’t get the idea of feeding the bear right off. But–and this surprised us–after a few minutes he started dipping the plastic spoon into the empty cup and putting the spoon to his own mouth, like he was pretending to feed himself. I don’t think I’d ever seen Wes do anything pretend before. And a little while after that he would put the spoon to the bear’s mouth (or, his face, anyway). I only just started helping Wes use a spoon to feed himself this past week. I put a little yogurt or baby food in a bowl, help him grip the adult-sized spoon, and keep my hand over his to help guide his hand to the bowl and up to his mouth. He gets the basic idea of using the spoon, and his coordination will get better over time so I won’t need to guide him so much.

Second milestone: The other great thing Wes is doing that involves imitating sound is shown here (sorry it’s dark):

Is it his first word? I’m not 100% sure, but the speech therapist thought so. Because he can say one word he scored better on the speech review. Also, while the therapist was here Wes dropped his plastic cup on the kitchen floor and said, “Oh oh.” He makes the sound “oh” frequently, so it may have been coincidental, but the therapist thought maybe it was intentional. It’s hard to know. By the time Wes is 2 1/2 they want him to be able to say five words.

Aug '09

Another Year

Lately a few people in my Zumba classes have been asking how old I am. When I tell them they usually respond like this lady I taught on Friday (imagine Spanish accent): “Twenty-eight? You look like twenty. Or TEENager! No twenty-eight!”

But alas, it is true. Yesterday I turned 28. We didn’t have any candles except for the ones leftover from John’s 31st birthday, but John creatively made them do.

I admit I had low expectations for my birthday this year. I wasn’t terribly excited. But it turned out to be one of the happiest days I’ve had in a long time.

First off, John took me shopping on Saturday. At the mall. With Wesley. Who was Fussy. I mean, does this man love me, or what?

I didn’t know what he ended up buying until last night. I tried to argue that he didn’t have to buy me anything, but I lost that battle pretty fast. I ended up with two nice (and inexpensive) dresses. He also got me a shirt that has stripes because he says I don’t wear stripes enough. Problem solved.

As for the jeans… Long, long ago when I started trying to lose weight I told John my goal was to fit into the same brand and size of jeans I vaguely recall wearing in high school, which were Gap size 5. By the end of high school (after I started working nights at a cafeteria) I had gained weight and didn’t fit into those jeans anymore. And then I went to college and gained more weight. I know jean sizes vary greatly brand to brand, so sometimes the numbers are relative, but I think my biggest size was 11/12 in Juniors (which would be a 10 in Misses? Why are women’s sizes so complicated?). Anyway, after I lost a little weight I was a size 8 for a long time. Then I remember a couple years ago visiting Gap (I usually don’t shop there) and trying to squeeze into size 6 and ending up with baaaad muffin top, and I’m not sure I could even button them up. I probably blocked that memory. Since starting to teach Zumba my tummy has trimmed and toned up enough that I ended up with–Ta Da!–size 4 jeans. Now, it’s possible that Gap has done that size inflation thing that’s supposed to boost your self esteem (where they take a size 6 and rename it size 4). If they did, it worked. So this is how I ended up with two pair of Gap jeans for my birthday. Thank you, John.

The other thing he surprised me with was a box of hand-picked chocolates from See’s Candy. No one has ever given me a box of chocolates before. Ever. I know it’s a small thing, but it just made me feel kind of special. And, yes, that’s a bite taken out of the piece in the middle. Because it’s my own box and I can do that.

Plus my big brother sent me flowers. I don’t remember ever having flowers delivered on my birthday. Again, I felt kind of special.

Lastly, I made my own birthday cake (which is different from the one in the picture above). I made a yellow cake mix in two round cake pans, split each layer in half so I had four layers, and then layered the cake with ice cream and frosted it with whipped cream cheese frosting (store bought). The piece pictured has chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. It was dee-lish-ous.

John made me feel like his most valuable person in the world, I got lots of love from family and friends, and now I can say I’m 28.