Friday, August 27, 2010

Teeth, hands, knees and tush!

This week Olivia got herself from her tummy to a sitting position! "all by herself"! Despite all my working with her to get into sitting "by the rules" she did it the Chinese splits way. So I keep working on the "by the book" way, but congratulate her on her initiative. (read: hugs, kisses, clapping, yay!)

Both of these photos were taken by a proud Mommy after Olivia put herself in this position!

Yesterday, while Olivia was waiting for me to get her up from her afternoon nap, we saw her, on the video monitor, get herself into the "up on all fours" position! She even rocked! Again, I have been working overtime on this! So we were super excited! Later in the day, Olivia and I went to visit my 87 year old godmother. I put Olivia up on all fours, and let go. Olivia stayed there and rocked, all by herself for about a minute. God only knows how many milestones I will be able to share with my godmother, so it was extra special to be able to share this with her.

Olivia has been screaming occasionally. It is the Teething Scream! Sure enough, I can see two gray marks that indicate that two teeth are almost through. This will make 10 teeth. This will give her 4 teeth on the bottom front.

Podiatry and Down syndrome

Today I took Olivia to meet a high school friend of mine. We had an appointment. He is a podiatrist! Since Olivia is doing some less supported standing, I am getting a chance to really look at her feet and ankles in action. I did not feel comfortable with what I was seeing in her right foot, and also wondered if I was seeing a small bit of it in her left also. My parents believed in taking kids to podiatrists and using good shoes, so I grew up seeing a "foot doctor" until my feet were well established in a good direction. Because bones in children are still growing and have not ossified (hardened) they are somewhat moldable. If there is a problem such as flat feet or pronation, childhood is the time to correct it! The feet are the foundation for the body! To give your child good foot care is to give them a good foundation and prevent them from dealing with so many problems as an adult that could have been avoided had they received good medical care as a child. When we were hoping to adopt Jacob,who was already school age, we realized that many of his problems could have been avoided had he had good parenting. Now with being given the opportunity to raise a child from week two (NICU was the parent before then since we were foster parents at the time) we have the responsibility to do the best we can to prevent any problems that are preventable. A daunting task sometimes. May our Good Lord help us!

The doctor examined Olivia's feet, then took x-rays. He said I was insightful, as the x-rays showed exactly what I saw. Where there should be no angle, the right foot had a 18 degree angle and the left foot a 10 degree angle. There is pronation and flat footedness. In addition there are some tight muscles in one ankle.

So he showed me some more exercises to add to our day, and gave me a list of requirements for her shoes. Prior to this point, she had been shoeless, since she was not standing. But now with standing, she needs shoes with good support, since she has foot issues.

Having foot issues is very common in people with Down syndrome. Flat footedness, joint issues, low muscle tone, fungal issues in kids with compromised immune systems.

This weekend will include a trip to Stride-rite, with our list of requirements in hand. I will have to post a photo of Olivia in her new sensible shoes. Daddy says that he will still buy her cute shoes for special occasions. What a sweet Dad! Girls have to have cute shoes that match their outfit sometimes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Lord's Day

Sunday was a welcome relief! Father spoke about how our sufferings help us enter through the narrow gate. Olivia causes no suffering to us. There is really one area of life that causes suffering, and that we are regrouping about as we realize that being made miserable at times is not just. Father prayed in thanksgiving for the good things of the summer, and we did have some great times with family and friends. So, there were some unpleasant things, but lots of warm wonderful moment to savor. Saturday I was coping with a lack of sleep, a fever and apparent pink eye. I think I was seeing the world through "conjunctivitis glasses".

After nap on Sunday, we went to the K of C picnic. It was fun to spend time with people from our parish. We had a chance to talk with a family who have their children at our parish school. We are Catholic. We were so excited to learn about the school and it may be a good fit for Olivia. She could start preschool at 3 years old. I went to Catholic schools for 14 years. To give Olivia as much Catholic education as possible would be a blessing to her and to us also. The principal already told us that Olivia is welcome there and that they will get her an aide if she needs it. It appears we are lucky to live in a small county and small town where this happens all the time.

Olivia with our deacon:

At the picnic:

Talking with friends:

Olivia was worn out from all of her socializing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What a week!

This has been a very tough week! Amongst other things that have made this summer particularly difficult, Olivia had shots on Monday. Thus our typically happy baby who sleeps well, has been cranky and having a horrible time sleeping. I am really exhausted! Although she has typically settled down for the night by 7 pm. This week it has been more like 11:30 pm. She still gets up at 6:30 am no matter how little sleep. She has taken morning naps twice this week. Her stomach has been very upset. (as has mine!) Hopefully next week will be better and all the other things that have made this summer horrible, well hopefully that goes away, too!


Peace and Justice issues are a big deal around here!

Let's leave with these quote:

If you want Peace, work for Justice!

and also:

No Justice, No Peace
Know Justice, Know Peace

The news stories that I have heard about people with Down syndrome, getting horrible treatment, just makes me sick! Maybe you have seen them. BC posted a few of them this week from the news. As a Mom to a child with Ds, I know that I have to teach her that there are two kinds of people in the world: Bad and Good. I sure wish I did not have to teach her that, but if she doesn't learn it in a safe environment of home, then she will be hurt horribly as an adult. It is such a sad fact of life! Bad people harm good unsuspecting trusting people.
Lord have Mercy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Well Baby Doctor Visit- 15 months old

Olivia had her 15 month well baby visit Monday. Doctor was very pleased with how well she is doing and especially with all she CAN DO! She can do her stacking rings (mostly), she can spin an old fashioned top (mostly), she can so so many performing tricks, (so Big, clap, monkey, motorcycle, etc.) She is very friendly and High Fives everyone she meets. We had a hour and a half wait at the doctor's office, but Olivia was having a great time socializing in the waiting room. One mom and a 12 year old girl sat down next to us, and it turned out the girl has Ds also! That was really neat! The girl was quite the young lady! You could tell that the parents had worked very hard with her. Her interests were very much the interests of a much younger child and her speech was typical for a person with Ds, but she was intelligible, and had very good social skills.

Olivia grew in height!!!! But only slightly in weight, which is just what the doctor wanted to see. Weight is 40%: 22 1/2 pounds and height is 40%: 30 inches. This is on the typical charts. For the Ds charts she is 90% for both! So she is a smaller typical child but a large child for a child with Ds. That is Good!!!!! She is likely to grow to be a normal sized woman!!!! I would not doubt that she gets to be as tall as me! Being a normal sized person will help her be accepted in society! And will help her be able to live in a world designed for adults. Praise God!!!!

Olivia is still spitting up on a couple of days a week. That would usually be gone by this age. It may be related to GERD due to low muscle tone, or it may be something else. Thus, Doctor is ordering a Swallow Study. He says it is probably nothing and will go away as she starts crawling or walking and thus getting more exercise in an upright position. But we need to be cautious!

Olivia with her cousins this past weekend. These are my oldest brother's sons. We tell Olivia that they are her "Hunky Uncles"!
Olivia with her girl cousins. These are my other brother's girls. They are known as "The Girls" because my family is loaded with males! In fact, there are two new babies born this year, and both are boys. Olivia and her girl cousins are "roses among thorns" as they say. Or perhaps she is "sugar and spice and everything nice, amidst the snakes and snails and puppy dog tails"! But we LOVE the males in the family and think they are pretty darn amazing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Olivia The Actress

This is a video of Olivia showing off some of her tricks. We joke about babies being trained monkeys sometimes. So this is our trained monkey!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fisher Price Stacking Rings

Olivia has been working on the Fisher Price Stacking Rings since her birthday in May. It is going much better these days. She also has wooden stacking rings, but it is harder for her to get engaged in working on it without the music and lights. At first I did not like the music and lights, but I have found that they motivate her and keep her on track.

We also have been working on the old fashioned top. She has the idea to use two hands and push. Now to just get a bit stronger so that the pushing goes better. But once again, she is making progress.

Rings on pegs

This is Plan Toys hammer bench. It is a wonderful toy. But right now, Olivia is not ready for hammering. I thought she might be strong enough to push the pegs down with her hand, but not yet. But Olivia discovered that she can put her rings on the pegs. These days Olivia is very interested in all things ring and peg. She has both a wooden stacking rings and a Fisher Price lights and sounds stacking toy. She is getting good at both. It is neat to see this new development in her eye hand coordination.

Olivia also loves to take things in and out of boxes, bags, baskets, cups, egg holders, etc. It is so amazing to see Olivia using her hands to accomplish a task she has in mind! Of course, one of her favorite tasks is taking off mom's glasses.

At the moment, I am sitting quietly, watching Olivia move herself around the sunroom as she explores this and that toy, and takes toys off of her shelf by herself. Lorelai, the cat, is about to get her nap disturbed, so I best intervene. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Past Weekend...

We took a little drive south into IN, and visited with family. Our first stop was to Olivia's Grandma B's Big Brother and his wife. Olivia had never met them before, but she fell in love with them immediately!

Next stop was to attend Olivia's first Baby Shower for her cousin's baby who is to be born in September. Everyone said that Olivia was quite the little lady. (even though she let out a few loud noises to remind everyone that she was there!)

This is Olivia with one of Grandma B's best friends and one of Olivia's Best Friends too!
Olivia was happy to tell the Mommy to Be all about Babies!
And speaking of Best Friends. This is Olivia with another Best Friend! Olivia has lots of Best Friends!
The following day, Olivia and I took an afternoon drive to visit with her Great Uncle, and Great Aunts. And as an added bonus, Grandma and Grandpa B were there!


Before we had Olivia, it was a task to maintain this big old money pit we have called home since 1999, and now with Olivia in tow, it is an extra big task. Every time I need to move to another room to clean, I have to pivk up and move 23 pounds of a beloved wonderful ragdoll. And keep that sweet raggedy annie happy while I work. Most of the time I do chores after she is asleep at night, because it takes half the amount if time when I can work solo.

Today I finally took heed and brought some diaper changing items down stairs to cut down on trips up the long main staircase. When a friend of mine told me that babies with Ds walk and crawl late, she also said that it is ok because they are also smaller than typical children, but Olivia is an average size child in comparison to typical children and is a large child in comparison to children with Down syndrome. So there is more of her to love! And more opportunities for me to build muscles! I am hoping that this will help prevent osteoporosis! :-)

My husband is not getting any younger and has his own physical limitations also, so we recently contemplated moving to a smaller less aged house. But long story short, we are staying here for now.

What we are doing is rearranging how we live in this home. One is turning the large living room into a formal living dining room, such that we close it off and only use it for special occasions. Thus, it will need to be cleaned less frequently. We are also paring down furnishings. This means getting rid of furniture that we really don't need, and cutting down on how much stuff is out in tables and shelves. This will help in the long run, but right now I plug away at sorting. It is a good feeling though. I know that the library just has to be sorted one shelf at a time and the same for the butlers pantry. I sorted through the cats' three baskets of toys! It was good to get rid of choking hazards before Olivia becomes mobile.

My other realization is that I need to start looking for a handyman type person to hire to make up for my ineptness with a hammer. My 87 year old godmother gave me instructions on tearing out the old ceilings and putting up the new drywall, and all I could say is, "You are not serious, are you?" She, like many women are great renovators and very handy, but not me. I need to start asking around and pray God has some referrals :-).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This week....

Olivia has about eight "words" these days. It is so nice to hear her sweet voice requesting "cup" or "up" rather than a scream. We had been told that words or signs would replace the screams, and indeed they have.

Olivia is making progress in getting into a kneeling position to climb on Mommy. Then she pulls to standing on Mommy. All of this with support, mostly under her low tone belly.

The cushion is usually off the sleeper sofa and the cats have adapted.

Olivia loves taking things inland out of boxes and bags!

Olivia is getting stronger and stronger in the kneeling position.

This purse was a birthday gift from a neighbor whose daughter is an occupational therapist. This has been a great addition to our OT work. It is always nice to have different ways to motivate Olivia to use her hands.