Hello Dolly

001sozo001.jpgWe had Concordia friends in town this week (Annie, Jack, Annaleise (4 on Monday), & Amelia (almost 3) and Andy & Eric (11 mo.), so we had a quick baby shower for Hillary’s (3 1/2) new little sister. Sophia had lots of kids to hug and adults to hold her, so she had a really good time. In the end, she got to play on the restaurant floor for a few minutes because she just couldn’t handle not crawling any longer. It was pretty gross to see how dirty her heels were when we got home! I guess we are a little inconsistent; we brought the special high chair cover to protect her from the “restaurant germs” but then let her play on the floor, ick!
Hillary’s big sister gift was a Sophia doll with a real MIC-KEY button sewn into it (thanks to Grandma’s sewing and John’s drilling). She also has the whole tube feeding kit, so she can really tube feed a baby now. We had a hard time explaining to her why Zoe had to be covered up while she ate, but Sophia didn’t. (John’s explanation: “hiding the hooters” didn’t help her much).

The girls got their own first doll this week: “Baby Stella” (which just happened to be my Grandma’s name, without the “baby” of course). Sophia is much more interested in her pig puppet than feeding and changing a doll. One of her IEP goals is to begin imaginary play, and even though that is a ways off, we thought we’d try to get her used to having Stella around. She has a little magnetic bottle, so maybe she’ll get more interested in feeding/eating, too.

Sophia & Zoe got mail from their Auntie Karen this week, and Sophia must have spent 20 minutes chewing on the card. She had to flip in around and over and chew on all sides. She ripped the envelope right away, so we had to take it before she ate it (since Grandma found a little piece of undigested paper in her spit up the other morning). Every time John would ask her if he could see it or if she would share, she spun around so her back was facing him. We are supposed to be teaching her how to release things instead of throwing them, but it’s hard when she dodges you!

Sophia’s big accomplishment this week was that she stood up from her stool by just holding on to our thumbs! Our PT book says this is the only way she should learn to pull up, so she has to use the right muscles to stand. When she first started sitting on the stool, we were a long way from being able to pull up to stand, but she did it this weekend with hardly any effort! She was so proud of herself! She is also learning to anticipate things. When we sing “I’ve Got a Little Piece of Tin” she knows that after we sing “honk, honk, honk, honk, honk, honk,” it is time for “beep, beep” on her nose, and she starts smiling when she realizes it is coming (usually big enough to see that top tooth too). I think she also understands more than we realize. When we were doing the photo shoot for Siobhàn’s birthday, I told her to “give Zoe a kiss,” and she leaned right over to Zoe’s face!

Zoe is really learning to self-soothe with her thumb, now. It’s kind of loud and wakes me up at night, but she often seems to prefer it to her pacifier. If it helps her sleep through the night, that is great, I can live with the noise. She also really likes to bear weight on her legs when you hold her; sometimes I think she might be doing it to tell us to stand up (or that she has gas). She’s another one that would much prefer to walk around than rock quietly in a chair. She also rolled to her tummy (accidentally) for the first time this week.Grandma’s friends Jan and Tim from Denver stopped by to see the girls on Friday. Unfortunately, Zoe was sleeping, so Sophia got to open all of the gifts. Sophia had lots of fun crawling and spinning for her new friends. Mukwa felt the need to get in between Tim and Sophia, so Sophia couldn’t crawl all the way over to him. She can be so protective. When the girls cry, she rushes over to them, or to get one of us, but then isn’t so sure she wants to hang around to listen to it.

I forgot to write last week about the young woman with Down Syndrome we met at Jamie’s graduation party. We saw her right away when we got there, and I assumed she was part of the family. When I asked her how she knew Jamie, though, she told me she knew her from gym class at school. It really made me feel good to see her included in the festivities. Her mom was very sweet too, reliving all of those early days with us. I had to laugh about how you start talking about Down Syndrome with someone. Whenever I see someone w/ DS I want to say “My daughter has DS too!” but I realize that would be pretty weird. Here, I just introduced all of us to Laura, and her mom asked with that knowing look: “Does Sophia have Down Syndrome?” Then she asked Laura: “Do you know anyone else with Down Syndrome?” Laura named someone else, and then her Mom asked: “Do you have Down Syndrome, too?” and she smiled and said “yes.” She said she’d be graduating next year, and her Mom said she’d likely be planning her party all year long (which makes me cry just to repeat)! She said the mainstreaming went pretty well, except for middle school. She also said the teachers seemed to like anyone who works hard and tries their best, so they had no complaints about Laura being in their classes. It feels like we have such a bond w/ other parents when we see them. I sort of brush off the support groups, feeling like we have such great friends and family already. But, it really is good to talk to someone who has been through it and can give you hope and understanding. I still remember the weird feeling I had when my mechanic’s baby’s in utero tests showed a likelihood of Down Syndrome; it was like I was hoping he would have the chance to experience the beauty of a baby like Sophia. In the end, it turned out that their baby did not have the extra chromosome, but it sure made an impression on me.