Monday, January 31, 2011

Therapy Ball /24"

Olivia checked out the big 24" therapy ball at PT today.  She loved it and it provided her  a more dynamic standing experience as it moves with her as opposed to the bar which is stationary.  

Daddy was thrilled with what he saw, and in a matter of days a package will arrive with Olivia's own ball for home.
 We will get her walking yet!  And it is fun to work with her towards this major milestone.
Her therapist is the other person in the photo. Olivia still loves her therapists very much.  They are gentle and soft spoken and patient with her. Just the way she likes it.  When Olivia was doing OT she saw her PT go through the room and she took off after her.  This has thus far been a so much better experience for all of us than the way that Olivia did not take well to her early on therapists, even though they were indeed quite qualified and experienced.  Olivia simply did not click with them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Movement Sample

I wanted to show the physical therapist a sampling of what Olivia is doing at home in the gross motor area. Here is the sample video I put together.

Some recent photos from January

Realizing that I have written very little during January, I thought I would upload a few photos and try to fill you in on what January has been for us.  Olivia had a 24 hours stomach bug a week ago. She is fine, but it does set her back in the sensory issues of eating.  We are now going to Therapy at the hospital. It is going great! Olivia loves her OT and PT!  Olivia is so brave and friendly there! So good to see!  At therapy we are working on learning about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This is extremely common with Ds.  Olivia has this, but not as severe as we have heard some stories about.  So I am reading some books on SPD and learning how we can help Olivia more at home. One thing is that we are encouraging more old fashioned play, and have ruled battery powered toys for gross motor motivation and for when she needs a break (or mommy needs to get laundry started).

Olivia received this drum from her Grandparents M for Christmas. She is getting better and better at it.  It turns out that banging on a drum and listening to us banging on a drum will help her Auditory SPD.  And it is fun! What is not more old fashioned than drumming on a drum!  Notice that Olivia is sitting on her scooter car from Grandparents B. Olivia has discovered that it works great to get her around in a upright position since she is not yet walking.  Olivia likes to motor herself to her shelf and play.  PT encourages her scooter car as it is strengthening her legs, hips and torso.
And it too is Fun!

After Therapy, we stop by the cafeteria for a quick snack! Olivia is starving by this point!
And when we are driving home, she quickly takes a nap!  Therapy is fun, but tiring!

I know Olivia is making a funny face, but she loves playing on her blue ball.  It is strengthening her muscles too, and we are seeing her hips getting stronger so that maybe one day she may just crawl on all fours as opposed to her belly crawling position. Olivia is still adding words and signs to her communication.  When she wants to play with her blue ball, she speaks blue ball.  Now it doesn't sound so clear, but when you take it in context, one really knows that she is trying to say blue ball!  She can also say ball popper, but that toy has been locked up in the closet!!!! (I think it became a "safe place to hide" and not do the more challenging work that she is very capable of doing. As a parent, I want her to have fun. But I also want her to not limit herself to the easy work, when she can enjoy the more challenging work. But given a choice, Olivia will choose easy. I also think that the ball popper is not good for her SPD right now. She loves her ball popper though.)

Making progress in moving on all fours. She cannot crawl, but is pivoting and hopping forward a few inches.

Olivia LOVES LOVES LOVES her car! 

And for one of her battery powered toys, she has a Leap Frog cell phone.
She really loves this and we pretend to call Grandma! Olivia has become a great mimic! 

This was the first time I showed Olivia her sensory box.  It is a 3 gallon bin filled with rice and kidney beans. I have stuck a few beach toys into the box.  Olivia screamed!!!!  She was very upset by this!  The next day, I took it into the kitchen. When Daddy showed an interest in reaching into the box, then so did Olivia. But not for long.  (This is all SPD work.  Olivia is tactile defensive we think. But we know that she has always been very cautious around new things and toys)  We need to try this box again today and see if it goes better. Then we need to try it everyday that follows.   We very much need to get a sandbox this summer!  (Spring actually!)  Just a small plastic one with a cover for starters we think)

Olivia is getting more sturdy and steady on her feet. We bought this exercise bar with mirror as a birthday gift for Olivia. It was money well spent!  Now a days, Olivia spends much time standing, dancing and hopping in front of the mirror.  She is shifting her weight now, and bending her knees. She is not yet moving from side to side to do any cruising.  But we are encouraged that she is doing so much better with weight on her legs.  A year ago, we could not get her to accept any weight at all on her legs. This has been Olivia's biggest challenge.  Hypotonia or low muscle tone can really slow down reaching those major milestones.  I hope she will be walking by 2 years old. But I think that 2 1/2 is more realistic.    In my most hopeful scenario, she is walking by July 4. But she will walk when she walks, and that is fine with me!  It has to be!

Olivia thinks standing in front of a mirror is great fun!

And I think she really has grown fond of the cute little girl in the mirror who always smiles back at her and also has a great sense of humor!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Standing, Dancing, Hip Hop!

Olivia is almost 21 months old. She has always had significant low muscle tone. She is working currently on strengthening her standing muscles in preparation for walking. We use motivating toys to encourage her to stand for longer periods of time. "Dancing" and "'Hopping" encourage her to shift her weight from on foot to the other and bend her knees. Here is a video of some gross motor playtime.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Short Drum Recital

This mini recital by Olivia is complete with a wave hello greeting, a short drum piece and a closing signing of all done, and she does it all in 19 seconds! Efficient!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

18 Teeth!

We now know one of the other reasons that December was such a difficult month and why our Happy Baby O was a not so Happy Baby at all for a while.  Olivia was getting her TWO YEAR OLD molars!  She now has 18 teeth.  Olivia got her two year old molars when she was 19 months old. Now remember that kids with Down syndrome tend to get their teeth late.  Apparently, Olivia did not get the memo. If our sources are correct, one would not expect the two year old molars until 24 month to 33 months.  Olivia still needs her two top eye teeth to get her full 20 teeth.  Ds moms, I think that others reading this blog would find it interesting if you commented on when your little darling got their first tooth and when their two year old molars came in.  With our little darlings with Ds, development in all areas is all over the place.  Olivia is still not walking, even though some of her Ds peers have been walking for some months. Olivia is talking (or at least she is trying to say lots of words)  a lot,  but some of her Ds peers are not.  Each of our dear children with Down syndrome are just like all human beings. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses.  

(The way we learned that Olivia has these molars is that when she was screaming bloody murder while the doctor did her ear recheck, I got a good look into her mouth.  I was amazed at what I saw, and then the doctor looked to confirm that I was correct.)

(Emily L., notice the bumble bee)
Olivia had therapy at the hospital Monday (PT and OT) and she has really taken a liking to the new therapists.   Olivia did not click with her  Early Interventions therapists. But these ladies she really likes!  Olivia was even very comfortable belly crawling all over the room exploring, and even took off down the hall.  When other children arrived and the place got chaotic and noisy, she continued to do well.  I think it is good that we go to the hospital for therapy so that she can learn to deal with getting along in a very different environment than home.  I hope that she will be ready for typical preschool by 3 years old.  Therapy at the hospital is one step to her independence from mom and dad, and starting to have Olivia's life outside of home.  Our Baby O is growing up!    Look out world! Here comes Olivia! And Olivia is very good at wearing people out !  (or so the book says!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fisher Price camera play

Networking my Blog????

Dear Ds Moms who Blog,

Can you tell me about networking my Blog?

Should I do it and Why?

And what is it anyway?

What are the advantages?

Do you do it?


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saying Banana

Olivia is attempting to say BIG words these days. She is not very good at it, but we are pleased that she is making these attempts. She likes to try to say rutabaga and banana mostly. Here is a clip of her attempting to say banana.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Driving a Car!

Olivia got this ride on toy for Christmas. At first she had no interest in it. Then she enjoyed going backward. Today she figured out how to go forward. I got a real work out! She is a bit dangerous and so needs a spotter. Notice that she has to keep the music going on the car. A girl has to have her tunes!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Rest of the December Photos

Here Olivia is with her Great Uncle George's presents during the wrapping process. 
Olivia geting into the Jingle Bell Spirit

This is one of Olivia's favorite activities.  And it is helping her make progress in moving around in an all fours crawling position. She still is mostly a belly crawler though.

Olivia telling us her tummy was bothering her.

Mommy got this awesome bike cart for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa M.  We cannot wait until it warms up and we can go biking as a family.

Olivia enjoying her Garden Chimes from the Nolans.

Just smiling.

And then not smiling.  When Olivia is sick, it is hard to get smiles out of her. When she is well, she is a very smiley happy silly little girl.

Olivia loves shoelaces! And she thinks she can tie her own shoes. It is really cute to see her diligence!

The Christmas loot!

Olivia did not like the hat, but we managed to sneak in a few photos.  This was the best photo.
But she was not about to smile.  Hats are not her favorite thing.

Again the hat. She could take the hat off of her head as quickly as we could put it on her head.

Christmas morning with her fish tank from the Nilles.  She was not feeling well.

The ball popper was the toy to bring some smiles and life out of her for a short while.

This basketball game from Uncle Jon and Aunt Chris was a big hit!  Or should I say a slam dunk!
 Olivia had no trouble knowing exactly what to do with this toy.  

And every little girl needs a kitchen and a tea set. These by Fisher Price have been very fun for Olivia.  I don't think she has any idea that this is kitchen stuff, but it is good fine motor work. Anything that keeps her hands busy and exploring is great.  She has figured out that the tea cups are cups and tries to drink from them.  I am memorizing all the cute songs from these Fisher Price toys.   

December photos

With Olivia sick in December, I will be posting some old photos.  Here is the first batch.
Olivia opening a Christmas gift.  She was not feeling well and did not enjoy opening gifts this year.

One of her favorite gifts was this red ball from Grandma and Grandpa B

Aunt Sheila got Olivia all set up for learning about the Grinch Christmas story.

Olivia likes her ball popper, but cannot walk behind it yet of course.  

Olivia LOVES her wheels from Grandma and Grandpa B. She can make it go forward and backward.  We had no idea she was ready for a riding toy.  Grandparents know best!

Olivia played with her ball popper nearly exclusively when she was sick.  Notice her cute sweater from Daddy.

There is our happy baby!

This is more recently.  Now that she is feeling better, she is back to playing with more complicated toys. In fact, she can now stack up to 4 blocks on top of each other when she wants to and is concentrating.

Olivia is having a good time exploring her duplos from Uncle Eddie and her bristle blocks from the Jordans.  This day was really cold outside and I found it comical that she was sitting on the heat vent while playing.

Olivia is loving standing and playing these days.  We also try to get her standing with her back to the sofa and playing with us to promote good posture in standing. (per PT instructions)  So far so good.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Update on Olivia

I think we are finally nearly back to a healthy Olivia.  Things started going down hill on Dec 8 when she woke LIMP and with a low grade temp.  More teeth coming in did not help the situation any. By Dec 18 we were fully into a stomach bug.  More scary limpness and purplish hands and feet came our way.  Olivia spent Christmas wrapped in swaddling afghans and lying in our arms drinking pedialyte and vomiting.  Naps were all in our arms for weeks.  Night times were better, but once she started waking up with stomach pains and nausea the nights got sleepless for mommy.  An ear infection settled into the mix, and so then an upset stomach with gas and stomach pain settled in.  Eating was down to nothing and we had to start all over again with baby food. She lost 3 lbs.  Olivia is doing well at gaining  her weight back as she is now eating eating and eating!  She is especially into fortified Rice Chex with her milk.  She is still refusing her cups, but we are keeping her hydrated via extra liquid in food.  I think that she associates getting sick to her stomach with drinking.  Olivia will finish her antibiotic in a couple of days. She is sleeping better at both nap and night.  I was afraid she would never sleep solo again. But she is going solo, most of the time. Our motto is love and patience and prayer will get her well, in addition to great medical care!  We have seen the doctor multiple times and lost track of how many phone calls to the office.

I will get a photo of Olivia up soon. She looks tall and slender now. And is taking a few supported steps!  Good thing she had been packing a few extra pounds!  Her gross motor took a few steps back developmentally during her illness, but her cognitive and language development took off dramatically!  Perhaps due to all the time spent reading and playing with us,  as she was not keen on playing by herself while sick, probably due to the fact that she barely had the energy to hold her body up by herself.  My Mom says she has never seen a child so limp and exhausted while sick with common illnesses.  Now we know that when Olivia is sick, it may take a lot more time and a lot more nurturing for her to get better.  This was her first real illness in 20 months of life.

(With having Peter have his heart scare during this time frame, we were happy to bid adieu to Dec.)

Her nap is ending......  I will get a new photo posted soon.