The girls’ imitation skills have really improved this week.  John taught Zoe to give him a little “Raise the Roof” which she loves to do, and Sophia has picked it up, too.  Sophia surprised me one night when I brought Cheerios in to Zoe and she made the little “O” shape w/ her thumb and pointer.  She’s also been copying me when reading their sign books:  she can do “cheese” and “ice cream” and “drink.”  I hope she’ll actually want those things some time soon.  She was also really funny one lunchtime this weekend when we made up a bunch of different verses to “If You’re Happy and You Know it.”  She did sneezes and snores and yawns and tongue wiggles; she was so funny.  She’s also started snoring like the gorilla in “Good Night, Gorilla.”  She’s so proud of herself when she makes us laugh.

Zoe is trying to climb on everything, the drums, the little piano, the toybox, chairs.   I’m sure it will be no time before she’s figured out a way to get to the bananas on her own.  Sophia can put her foot on the top of the Pack ‘N Play to try to get in or out (what will we do when she can get out on her own?)

Jane (PT) brought a hula hoop last week, so the girls can hold on to one side while we walk behind them holding on to the other side.  It seems to work really well, and they like it.  Zoe isn’t able to adjust to squeezing through small places with it, but she’ll get there.

I’ve tried taking them both outside on my own a few times to walk along the mall in front of our house.  (I told them today I was the old woman from the nursery rhyme who had so many children she didn’t know what to do).   It can be pretty challenging since Sophia goes so much faster and wants to scoot on her leg (and doesn’t notice puddles), while Zoe smells the flowers and plays with the toys in her pushcart.  Sophia also tries to “help” Zoe by pushing the cart faster for her, which of course makes her fall.   One afternoon this weekend, she went back and forth scooting behind neighbor kids on their scooters; it was sort of sad, like she was the kid trying to keep up, but I think she had a lot of fun.  Zoe just wanted to visit the horse head on the neighbor’s porch; her Grandpa would be proud.

I realized that according to our gross motor book, Sophia is exactly at the average age for kids w/ Down Syndrome learning to “walk” (taking 15 steps independently):  26 months.  I’m very proud of her as we were told she had especially low tone even for kids with Down Syndrome.  She still orients primarily from a sitting position, but she can certainly walk when she wants to.  I am hopeful that the more she stands, the better her reflux will get.  She’s taken to standing at the oven and dancing to her music from our under-the-cabinet CD player.  She acts as though she is on a little stage performing.  She can also bring garbage into the garbage can and bring her coat back to the closet.  If she shuts the drawer with the garbage can and garbage is still sticking out, she’ll open it up again and put it all the way in.  We are supposed to work on that more with Zoe, so she has to sequence things.

This weekend they went for their second ever trip alone w/me.  We went to the graduation party for my parents’ flower girl’s son (as Siobhàn would say, our “special family”).  I only had to stop once to wipe Sophia’s nose after a huge sneeze and give Zoe some crackers to pacify her.  Zoe had fun walking to make her sandals squeak, and Sophia predictably wanted to tickle everyone.  Their Great Aunt Mary Lou was impressed that they are learning to sign and said her life would have been a lot easier if she had taught her kids sign language instead of how to talk!

My teaching seems to be backfiring.  I work with Sophia on setting down books instead of throwing them, and then suddenly, Zoe will start throwing books.  Or, if I redirect Sophia away from the gate she bangs on or the cupboards, Zoe goes right over to join in.  One day, Grandma was trying to keep Sophia from chewing on her dirty shoe, so Zoe started chewing on hers (and Sophia had to try to help her get her foot up to her mouth).

Thankfully, we made it through this sunny week without either one of them getting sunburned.  I was worried that they might get little marks on their faces because I have the hardest time trying to put sunscreen there when they are running away and twisting around.

I’ve started bathing both of them together at night; it works much better in the big tub than it did in the little one.  Sophia, however, seems to think that she is responsible for bathing Zoe and spends most of the time dumping water on her.  I decided she wasn’t trying to be mean, she just sees us dumping water and thinks she should, too.  We are working on not dumping over Zoe’s head and not hitting her with the pitcher.  Poor Siobhàn got dumped on though, while she was trying to help.

Siobhàn has officially started her first summer nanny job; she’ll be with us twice a week now, and Margaret is still able to come once a week with her summer job (and of course, Grandma still comes a couple days as well).  The girls are thrilled to spend more time with Siobhàn again.  They recently got to go to her Science Fair before school ended; met her at  the Como Amusement Park (and rode on the choo choo train); and now get to spend two full days a week with her.

They caught a little bug last week and were really sneezing and blowing their noses for a few days, but they seem to be on the mend now.  I was hoping we were out of the woods given that summer was here, but I guess there is always stuff going around.  Papa got it too and said it must mean that he kisses them more than I do (I think it just means that he lets Zoe eat from his fruit instead of cutting it with a knife).