Thursday, April 29, 2010

Montessori Family

I think the pictures are worth a million words on this one. Daddy's Mom and Sister are both Montessori teachers and Daddy went to a Montessori school as a child.
And, Mommy herself is a Montessori teacher. It certainly is easier having only ONE child in my class rather than 18 two year olds!

Bench Sitting

Olivia had been having a lot of trouble with not wanting to bend her knees for anything! It is rather hard to kneel or get up on all fours, when you don't bend your knees. So Mommy got out the Topics in DS Gross Motor book and did some looking at what our PT was not doing. Bench Sitting!!!! Ahhh!!! Let's try that!!!!! Mommy used some books to figure out the correct height and Daddy went down the basement and found the old printer stand!!! Correct height!!! 4 1/2 inches tall!!!! It works great!!!! I have been doing this with Olivia since Saturday, and already we are seeing results in Olivia being more comfortable bending her knees in the pre crawling and pre walking exercises! Topics in Ds is a great series!!!!!

We also work on pulling up to standing with me just holding her hands. She LOVES that now. The first days I was trying to get her to do it, she looked at me as if I was crazy. But now it is a fun thing to do!

With all that we are working on, someone is tired at the end of the day! And Mommy is rather exhausted too! Somehow, I managed to get the whole house cleaned thoroughly in the past two days, and a bunch of laundry done, and taking care of the daily grooming of the cats and baby care, while doing all this extra therapy work. June Cleaver look out! LOL

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eventful Weekend!

Olivia made progress in three areas this weekend!

She mastered the straw cup! I am certain she prefers it to the bottle except for at bedtime. I don't know what the doctor will say, but I can see that bedtime soothing ritual bottle disappearing only slowly over the next months. Emotional well being is all important! Luckily, Olivia does not fall asleep drinking her bottle, and we have a soothing ritual of reading, rocking and singing that follows the bottle. This last part of our soothing routine is consistent for nap time also, and Olivia typically settles down in a timely fashion.( except when she doesn't)

Olivia can sit unsupported on a 4 1/2 inch tall bench. This is in the Topics in Ds book. Hopefully this helps Olivia learn to bend her kneesl better, which she needs to do to crawl and walk appropriately. On the bench, her feet are flat on the floor, and her bent legs support her weight, she really has great balance and sits up very straight and tall.

Sunday, Olivia woke from her morning nap babbling away for the first time. She said. " blah blah blah ". And " da da da" and " ma ma ma" all day long! It was such a fun day! We even video chatted with Grandma and Grandpa B !

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Olivia sucks ...

... like a pro out of her straw cup :-) In fact, she took no daytime bottles today ... taking all of her formula via the straw cup. She still has a bedtime bottle, but Mommy and Daddy (okay more Mommy than Daddy) are feeling bittersweet that she has taken this huge step. The complete end of the bottles can't be very far away - maybe even before she turns one!

- Daddy O

Here is a short movie of Olivia drinking from her straw cup

Here is picture of "Farmer O

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kneeling and Standing

We are to put Olivia in an upright kneeling position to strengthen the back of the thigh and hips in preparation for crawling and walking. She doesn't like this position very much at all. Here is a peaceful moment though.
Olivia likes to stand up to her Leap Frog table. It is good motivation to do this hard task. I usually have my hands on or near her, but this is an independent moment for the camera.

Things Olivia Can Do

Olivia is acquiring new skills these days.

Here is a list of a few of them:

1. Playing peek a boo using her burp cloth

2. Doing " high five"

3. Doing " buddies"

4. Doing "so big" ( in reply to how big is Olivia)

5. Standing up to her leap frog table. ( with occasional support from mom)

6. Pulling off mom's ear.

7. Sitting and playing by herself with only a pillow behind her to prevent her parents from worrying.

8. Getting out of sitting, not with grace but safely

9. Eating crunchy melt in the mouth solids, and cooked carrots and banana bits

10. Feeding herself with her fingers if it does not require the pincer grasp

11. Eating greens ( kale, collards, spinach) that have been in the food processor.

And more.......

Our Occupational therapist gave us a text book chapter on the Down syndrome hand. It helped us understand the major challenges in fine motor skills that Olivia is up against and gives us the knowledge base and patience to assist her on this journey. There are major structural differences un the Ds hand.....that is a blog post itself! For right now, it helps us understand why the pincer grasp is impossible for Olivia even though she has been working on it for 4 months . It will come some day, but not with out much work and patient endurance.

When your child has Ds, you rejoice in the smallest accomplishments because they were hard fought! You also love your child first and foremost and this gives ou the strength to stick by them and cheer them on through the slow development.

Olivia blesses us everyday with her sweet smile and laughter. She is such a joy that the challenges feel more like bumps in the road than mountains.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Celebrating the Mercy of God

Praise and Thanksgiving to God!

"For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

(This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Take a look at what the Easter bunny brought me!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Trip to GR: Doctor, Emily, Aunt Janet

Olivia had an appointment with her Pediatric Endocrinologist in Grand Rapids, so we had a road trip. GR is an easy 1.75 hour trip. The roads are good, the traffic light and the scenery lovely.

At the doctor's office, Olivia was smiling and greeting every patient and family member. She is a very friendly baby! Loves people!
Cousin Emily (and baby in belly :-) ) came to visit us in the waiting room on her lunch break. It was so great to get a visit, but it was much too short. We will go back to GR for some fun with Emily and her family.

After we left the doctor, we drove the short drive to Aunt Janet's home for lunch. Olivia took a 5 minute nap in the car, and with some free play time on the floor and lunch, her mood improved and we visited until tiredness set in and a nap in the car on the way back to our home was in order.
Mommy, Olivia and Aunt Janet (Linda's father's sister-in-law).
Daddy, Olivia and Aunt Janet
A good day! Olivia was quite a trooper on this very altered schedule. But we will have to go back when we don't have a doctor appointment so we can have more time for fun and visiting.

First Salon Appointment

We took Olivia for her First Salon haircut this week. She did really well and gave the hairstylist mostly all smiles.
Well... not all smiles.... it was a bit overwhelming for a short while during the middle of the haircut, but nothing that a few "happy babies" and "cock a doodle doos" could not fix.
So then we were finished.... And Olivia and the stylist both survived. We will return!
After Olivia's haircut, Mommy got her haircut. Olivia sat on Daddy's lap and LAUGHED! Apparently Mommy getting a bunch of hair cut off her head is hilarious!