We had a big adventure today and went to Mall of America!  John has been suggesting this for ages, and that we could actually go is a sign that life is getting more normal.  The girls had a great time.  They had so many things to watch and people to smile at.  Sophia was looking up most of the afternoon; she reminded me of my first graders from Annandale when we took the downtown Minneapolis for the holiday show…sheer amazement.  Poor Zoe was referred to as a “he” by the only two people who used a pronoun in reference to her…I guess the lime green onesie and bright multi-colored striped pants weren’t feminine enough!  She finally has enough hair for a bow, but she takes them out to suck on them (her ECFE teacher brought me her soaking wet barrette on Wednesday because she wouldn’t leave it in).  Since John says she looks like his Uncle Cecil, I think we’ll have to be more conscious of how we dress her.

We brought two strollers to MOA, which actually worked well.  Our double stroller has been ordered, but I think if we have two people, the single strollers will be easier.  The girls were very brave and went on three rides without any crying or melt downs.  They were both a little nervous on the bus ride when they weren’t allowed to sit in our laps.  I thought it was wild for my stomach, so who knows how it felt for them.  They seemed to have a good time once it started.  They tried the carousel next, and again seemed to like it, but it was clearly a whole new experience.  Zoe kept trying to pull the hair of the woman next to her, but luckily she didn’t.  They didn’t have fun carousel music, so we’ll have to take them to Como one day soon.  We tried to take them on the Blues Clues ride next, but they weren’t tall enough, so they sent us over to the semi trucks.  They (sort of) got to steer steering wheels and honk horns, (along with the other 10 kids that were honking horns).  Then we were off to have shakes and veggie burgers (like our new book says:  “Burgers, Yummy; Boogers, Yucky”).  Sophia had a little whipped cream, and Zoe had a lot of whipped cream and some strawberry/banana shake.  We think it was probably the strawberries she reacted to with a little rash on her face.  Our pediatrician said to wait until 15 months with them since they are a high allergen, but she’d already had them in a baby food mix, so we weren’t concerned.  Let’s hope she outgrows this so she can have some of Grandma’s fresh strawberries in a few weeks.

The girls continue to treat Mukwa as part of the family.  Sophia was standing up to kiss her after she kissed her sister, then later when Zoe wanted to play with the ball Mukwa had, she patted her chest to ask for “Zoe’s turn.”  Mukwa was just as responsive as Sophia is to a request to share, so I’m sure Zoe didn’t notice anything unusual!  Zoe then helped herself to a taste of Mukwa’s rawhide, without asking for a turn.  Note to Zoe:  Raw veggies, Yummy; Raw hide, Yucky!  Sophia had another aggressive day where she does things like push Zoe’s face into the floor and pull her hair (ugh!).  I was analyzing this trying to figure out whether she was jealous or frustrated or what, when I realized she does the same sort of thing to Mukwa (who she certainly isn’t jealous of).  I think in the end our parent ed teacher is right; she is just doing these things to see what they are like, what reaction she gets; what happens, etc.  I don’t really think she is necessarily acting out.  Poor Zoe, though, is going to have a hard time trusting Sophia.  They’ll be playing and giggling and all of a sudden Sophia will pinch her face or something.  Luckily, she’s been good with her classmates.  I guess last week she was trying really hard to get a turn with a book and was patting her chest really hard and when that didn’t work, started to sign “I’m sorry.”  I actually taught her the sign for “please” as “I’m sorry” since it is easier to do and I was in the mode of thinking it didn’t matter as long as they know what it means (and the chest patting is really, “can I have a turn, please?”)  But, since her teacher rightfully assumed she was asking “Please?” I realized I should teach them the signs that others can understand.  Jennifer (Sophia’s teacher) convinced the other child to trade books and then of course Sophia didn’t want the book so badly after all.  I did feel kind of bad that she was trying so hard that she resorted to apologizing for having grabbed it…

The “I’m sorry” issue came up at Zoe’s ECFE class, too, in our lesson on sharing.  Her teacher recommended that we not have our kids just automatically say they are sorry because they don’t mean it.  Oops; ours have it as one of their first signs!  I’m not entirely sure I agree with this as all manners are really first taught as rote responses (thank you, please, etc) when the child doesn’t understand or feel anything about it.  I did find it pretty humorous though, since my friends tease me about saying “sorry” too much and here I am over-teaching my girls to do the same!

Jennifer got the fun job of being the first person to help Sophia eat after her day of starvation.  Sophia had a little applesauce at school.  I think it was good for her to see food somewhere other than her high chair.  We tried doing new things all week to try to erase all memories of the hungry day.  We made pudding one day (thinking it would stick on the spoon well), and Zoe really got the benefit of that (a good source of milk, right?)!  Another day we just played with popcorn and dried beans.   She did great feeding herself cereal this morning; she really likes to do it herself.  It must have been the starvation guilt that let me let her “feed” her foot oatmeal and then feed me oatmeal with the same spoon!

Zoe’s figured out how to sign “eat” when you ask her whether she wants to eat (which is always “yes, why do you even need to ask?”).  Grandma said she also panted to sign Mukwa.  I think “more” still means something about “food,” but she’s using it a lot, even though we aren’t exactly clear about what it means.   She’s also learned to point to herself when you ask her where Zoe is.   Her Papa also taught her where her “be-bo” (short for belly button in one of our books) is, so she has fun lifting up her bib and/or shirt to show off her “be-bo” when asked.  Those onesies stymie her, though.

They are both sleeping well lately.  I think I can officially say that Zoe is sleeping through the night.  She has ocassional awakenings, but for the most part will stay sleeping until morning (which for her can be 4:30 AM or so).  I had to laugh at her one morning, at about 5:45 AM she is pointing to Sophia’s shoes and the window, presumably wanting to go outside, while it is still dark!  Sophia seems to have developed a regular schedule of falling to sleep at 5:30PM and waking up at 4:30AM.  I think she probably needs less sleep and 11 hours is pretty good, but it isn’t really the right 11 hours.  We found that feeding her an ounce or so right before she goes down really helps her get to sleep (we’d tried this before and stopped when she had trouble spitting up, but are glad that we tried it again and wish we’d done it sooner).  Now that she seems to really have a dependable pattern, we are going to try to adjust it later.  This hasn’t worked in the past when she’s been a lot more erratic about when she fell asleep, etc., so we’ll try again.  It would be nice to have a little more non bedtime time with her in the evenings (and to get a little more sleep in the morning).  We’ll try moving her bedtime back by 15 minutes for a few nights, repeat, repeat.  I first tried Saturday night and even though I started everything 15 minutes later, she was still asleep by 5:15 instead of 5:45, so I tried again tonight, and it was 5:42 after I laid her down on the verge of sleep, so much better!  We’ll see how late she sleeps.

We had Sophia’s IEP meeting this week as well, so she’s all set for another year of service and will be starting regular speech services this week.  They both really enjoyed having all of their teachers over at once.  Sophia got to tickle toes and sit in Jennifer’s lap and draw.  Zoe got to walk around with Grandma and come back over to check on Margie (OT) regularly.

Sophia has been really focused this week on trying to get herself dressed.  She wants to put everything on/over her feet:  shoes, pants, dresses, tops, burp cloths.  The capris they’ve been wearing seem make this easier; Sophia will grab the capris I’ve just taken off of Zoe for a diaper change and try to put them on herself.  She can sit for a really long time just putting clothes on her feet.  She really loves laundry folding time when there are all kinds of choices.  Hopefully, she’ll get the hang of helping to dress herself; so far she’s just figured out how to get out of her capris before I can stand her up to pull them up.

The girls have been having a lot of fun getting outside and swinging.  They even got to walk barefoot in the grass this weekend.  They get just giddy when they know we are getting ready to go out.  I’m sure they’ll soon learn the sign for “outside” and be standing at the door begging to go.


  1. Auntie Erin says:

    Didn’t you apologize to a car door for hitting it with your head, Deb? One of your more endearing features!! Loved the pics of the girls, esp Sophia’s high kicking routine and Zoe gazing out the window. Is that them at the new zoo? Yay!