Balls, Balls, and More Balls

The girls are both loving balls of all kinds these days. We’ve been working with Sophia for a long time to get her to roll things back and forth to practice “turn taking” to help with communication. She is just now having lots of fun with it. One day John had her in the kitchen with a few balls from the ball pit, and she had the greatest time swatting them back and forth with him, spinning around on the kitchen floor trying to get them. She can use both hands and her feet. I even noticed her swat one she caught out of the corner of her eye. She laughs hesitantly when John “accidentally” hits her with one of the balls. Besides the pit balls, one of her other favorites is a hard plastic ball filled with water because it makes the most noise rolling across the hardwood floor! She also loves the big blow up globe we have and can use both arms to throw it.

Zoe has so much fun grabbing the different balls and putting them into her mouth. John thought she was only able to pick them up because her hands are always so slobbery, but she could still do it right after a bath; I think it is those delicate little fingers! She can also hold onto the globe, and loves it when you play peek-a-boo behind it.

Coincidentally, their OT, Margie, brought an exercise ball for them this week. Sophia is supposed to sit on it (she looks like my co-workers who have decided to use a ball instead of an office chair), and Zoe is supposed to lay on it while we roll her and she has to maintain her balance.

They are both starting to get really funny. Zoe has the greatest looks. We think she is going to have a pretty dry sense of humor. One of her funniest expressions makes us think she’s asking: “You can’t be serious that I’m really stuck in this crazy family for good? Wasn’t there supposed to be a free trial period?” She loves to squeal and giggle. Just tonight she was laughing every time John showed her his passport photo. We don’t know if she recognized him w/o a beard (and 15 years younger), or if she just likes faces that much.

Sophia has started trying to play silly games with Zoe. She’ll play peek-a-boo with her when I’m holding her in my lap while feeding Zoe in her high chair. She ducks under the high chair tray and pops back up with a big smile. I thought that was pretty good transference. We do it with her while she’s the one in the chair, but she figured out how to be the one ducking, all on her own. She was also doing it today when she was in her tray-less high chair right next to Zoe. I stepped a way for a second and when I looked back, she was ducking under Zoe’s tray. She was also trying to get Zoe to play peek with a little stuffed ring that we sometimes play with. She put it in front of her own face first and then put it in front of Zoe. Zoe doesn’t quite get the fun of it without the speaking, so she just stares at Sophia quizzically. The other morning, Sophia was waving at her sister, but the thing with waving is that I don’t know if she was trying to get her to go “bye-bye” or if she was saying “hello.” She waves bye-bye more frequently, but who really knows! Today, I had her shoes and socks on, getting ready to go to Auntie Karen’s jewelry party, and she was looking out the window waving (I think she was probably trying to tell me she wanted to go “bye-bye.”

So far Sophia seems to be developing her own sign language instead of mimicking the signs we show her. One morning she started pointing toward the kitchen and bobbing her head to let me know she wanted music. When she hears me ask Zoe if she wants “water” or “to eat” or “cereal,” Sophia will make that little spitting noise she makes when we try to give her water, and she spits it back out.

She’s also understanding more words.  I noticed her put her little mesh fruit bag in her mouth when I asked her if she wanted to “chew” her banana.  I was also excited that she learned to give me a “kiss,” but after a few of her open mouth, slobbery versions, I wasn’t so sure.  (Maybe puckered lips can be an IIIEP goal?)

The girls had their first snowsuit adventure this weekend. It was nice and sunny and a balmy 35 degrees, so I thought they really should have a chance to get out to swing. It was pretty chilly, but they didn’t mind at all. Sophia was bouncing up and down in her stroller the whole way (even though her little froggy hat kept coming down over her eyes), and Zoe was squealing (a happy squeal) for most of the walk. Grandma found a $3 thrift store snowsuit for Sophia with snap on booties and snap on mittens, so that works really well. It isn’t as cute as her froggy hand-me-down that Zoe gets to wear, but it is very functional so we won’t end up with frostbitten appendages. Zoe of course has the built in mittens, too, and I forgot about that and sat her in front of some toys while I went to put Sophia in her stroller. Poor thing, couldn’t pick anything up or most importantly, get anything into her mouth!

The other big adventure this weekend was the beginning of Zoe’s gradual move into the nursery.  John put her crib together this week, and Zoe took her first nap in her new room this afternoon.  I think for now most of her naps will still have to be in our room, since we rock Sophia to sleep for her nap and start her bed time routine so early.  But, I promised John we could start having the girls share a room over Thanksgiving weekend (she’ll be 8 1/2 months, so I suppose it is about time for Papa to be able to read in bed again).  Hopefully, the 4-day weekend will give me a chance to recover from the inevitable sleepless nights that will come.  Zoe is such a light sleeper that all of Sophia’s hollering during the night will surely wake her.  I’ll also need to go back to turning the alarm off of the pump since that wakes Zoe even when she hears it on the monitor in our room. I don’t think we’ll be able to get their schedules aligned, so we’ll just have to hope we don’t wake the other.  I would imagine they’ll get used to each other’s noises at some point, but I’m sure it will be awhile in coming.  I suppose I should have left Sophia’s monitor on when she was waking up throughout the night, instead of sleeping out in in the alcove (and sheltering Zoe from the noise), but I thought maybe there would be fewer awakenings by the time they moved in together.  Maybe all they need to sleep peacefully is to know their sister is right nearby.  I have to admit I was really excited to see both cribs in their little room.  It looks so cozy and fun to have a little buddy to share your room.  I’m sure we’ll be reporting on our progress…