Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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May '11

Wes’s Words

When Wes started preschool in September he wasn’t terribly vocal. His school year just ended, and I am amazed at the words he uses. Sometimes it takes me several days of hearing the same thing over and over until I realize what he’s saying. Some of his new words and phrases are:


(I love that he says this sometimes when I ask him a question. “What do you want?” He’ll look pensive and say, “Um…” If I were a public speaking teacher I would probably try to break him of this.)


(I don’t love this one. It’s new as of last week and it’s probably the #1 word he says, all day long. Kind of like when he mastered “No!” Everything I try to get him to do, he says, “Don’t!” To everything the cats do, he says, “Don’t!” Even poor Carissa has to hear him tell her, “Don’t!” Maybe it’s a phase…)

“I said no!”

(I’m pretty sure this is what he’s saying. Wes bosses the cats around, and I let him. Because it’s the only thing he can even pretend to be in charge of, and they just ignore him anyway. When he sees them sniffing his food or doing anything else Wes deems inappropriate, he’ll say, “No! I said no!” That might be a little mini-me coming out in him already.)

“That one.”

(He says this a lot. It’s actually a great thing, because for the longest time I couldn’t get him to identify what he wanted. Even pointing to an object was a long time coming. So for him to tell me “that one” is pretty great.)

“Pretzel. Show. Train.”

(Wes is still at the stage where he mainly identifies objects rather than speaks in sentences. He doesn’t say, “I want pretzels.” He says, “Pretzel!” He prefers to eat his snacks in front of a show when I let him. Frequently he’ll say, “Pretzel. Show. Train.” which means, “I want pretzels. I want to watch a show. I want to watch the train show [Thomas the Tank Engine].)


(I just noticed this today. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard him use a conjunction. He was transferring two pear halves from a Tupperware container to his bowl. He said, “One” as he put in the first one and then… “and, two!” I was kind of surprised. And proud.)


(He learned this at school. When he wants to do something himself he says, “Me!” I guess independence is a good thing. While we were in line at Walmart a few days ago he pointed to Carissa and said, “Issa!” then to me and said “Ahm” [“Mom”] and then to himself and said, “Me!”)


(This sounds like “Guck.” A couple times he’s been caught and it took me a while to realize he was saying he’s stuck.)


(Wes has a bad habit of chewing on his fingers. Interestingly, two of the other kids in his playgroup for kids with Down syndrome do the exact same thing. I’m not sure why. Anyway, we’re always telling him to take his fingers out of his mouth. Poor Carissa, who is legitimately teething and sometimes chews on her fingers, has to endure him pointing at her and shouting, “Out! Out!”)

Wes can identify a lot of body parts that John taught him: cheek, ear, chin, neck, head, hair, etc. He knows the alphabet (and the sign language for each letter) and can count one to ten. He’s great at colors and their signs. He knows shapes and is learning prepositions like “in” and “on.”

My favorite thing, of course, is when I walk in the room and Wes says, “Ahm!”

(This is Wes obviously NOT ready for bed. He’s eating a late-night snack on the counter while I clean.)


Mini Cookie-Ice Cream Pies

As far as I know, I made this up.

I was baking cookies and decided to put some cookie dough in the bottom of a mini graham cracker pie crust. I baked it and then topped it with ice cream.

Um. Yum.

So here’s the step-by-step.

1. Take mini graham cracker pie crusts (I used Keebler Ready Crust) and press cookie dough into the bottom of each.

(Every time I make cookies I only make part of the batch and store the rest in the freezer. I happened to have whole wheat chocolate chip cookie dough and snickerdoodle cookie dough on hand in the freezer.)

2. Bake the crust and cookie dough at 350 degrees for the approximate time that the cookie is supposed to bake. For my cookies it was about 10 minutes.

Here they are, cooked.

3. Let it cool a smidge, and then top it with ice cream and any other toppings you want.

For the chocolate chip cookie pie I used monster cookie ice cream (from Target). The snickerdoodle pie was amazing with strawberry cheesecake ice cream (also from Target).

This is the snickerdoodle pie cut in half with the monster cookie ice cream.

And here’s Carissa. I was trying to get a shot of her pulling herself up onto her knees to play, but she wouldn’t cooperate.

May '11

Big Girl

(This is from our flight to California in April. She was a good girl on the plane.)

Before I forget, I wanted to record some things Carissa has accomplished on her way to Big Girlhood.

1. She is sleeping in a crib. Finally. Gone is her cradle. Which means I got to pull out the sweet pink and green crib bedding I’ve had packed away forever, waiting for this Big Girl moment to arrive!

2. She is feeding herself cereal puffs. She can pick up food between her thumb and index finger and put it to her mouth. She gums the food well (in spite of my constant fear of choking) and is eating baby food so much better and more frequently than she used to. She prefers baby oatmeal, rice cereal, and pureed vegetables to anything sweet like pears or peaches. Strange girl.

3. She is so curious and her fingers are constantly reaching for something to explore. This could be good or it could be a bad omen, suggesting she will get herself into lots of trouble later.

4. She can get herself into a sitting position from lying down. Now when I go into her room after nap time she often greets me sitting up. Looks like we got her out of the cradle in the nick of time.

5. She is so close to crawling. From the sitting position she’ll put her hands down and be almost on all fours (sometimes her back leg is bent under too far), and she’ll rock back and forth. I can’t believe how far she’s come in the last few months. I remember distinctly how she hated tummy time and didn’t push herself up off her tummy with her arms extended, and I would think, “When will she ever crawl?” Well, she’s getting close!

6. She babbles a little. “Da da” and cooing is common. I love to hear her sweet girl voice. Definitely different than Wesley’s little boy voice. She also growls sometimes.

7. Her hair is getting longer! The bald spot in back is nearly grown in. And the hair over her forehead is so long it covers her eyes if it’s not swept to the side. Time to buy more hair clippies!

8. She loves looking outside. If Wes is playing in the sandbox I’ll set her in a chair by the door so she can watch. It is the easiest form of babysitting I know.

9. She’s nine months old, which means she’s nearly one. Which means she’s hardly a baby anymore and soon won’t be one at all. Sad and good, all at once.

May '11

Preschool Program

Wesley’s preschool held their end-of-year program today. And yesterday. We actually got to go twice since he’s in both sets of afternoon classes.

Both days I met families who have kids with Down syndrome. None of these kids are actually in Wesley’s preschool (he’s the only DS kid), but one family has a 7-year-old with DS and another has a 7-month-old. It was nice to connect with their families.

The family who has the 7-year-old with DS told me that every day their 4-year-old who is in Wesley’s class would come home and tell them about his day, and that every day they would hear about Wesley. Apparently this kid and another of Wesley’s classmates liked Wes so much that they would compete to see who could be Wesley’s helper during school. I was happy to learn that he has friends at school, not only in his teacher but also his peers.

The mom of the baby with Down syndrome said that her preschool-aged son was the last picked up on the bus route, and that every day as she helped her son onto the bus Wesley (whose seat is up front) would smile and wave at her. And she said it just made her day, every day. I imagine that seeing Wes meant something more special to her after having a new baby with Down syndrome herself.

The kids sang songs and read a story together, and then we watched a DVD slide show of photos from their year.

The theme was “Spread Your Wings and Fly,” hence the bug hats (which Wes had a very hard time keeping on).

Wes did a pretty good job with the actions that went with the song they sang.


Rowing the boat…

Here they’re running through the woods as fast as they can. Wes liked the part that went really fast.

Wesley and his preschool teacher, Miss Rachael.


The Kids