Both girls seemed to spend a lot of time this week developing their activist skills: basically yelling at us (Sophia’s speech teacher calls it “protesting,” which seems like a nicer term). Zoe’s protest is a loud grunt which is primarily associated with sleepiness and not wanting to be laid down into her bassinet, but it can also mean “I’m hungry!” or “You need to stand up with me; you know I don’t like to sit down.” I guess it is better than a cry, but it is a little odd to hear this little peanut grunting so adamantly.

Sophia protests when she doesn’t like the book we are reading or the song we are singing (especially when “The One Shoe Blues” plays from her CD, apparently Papa used a funny voice singing it one day). She also protests if we can’t figure out what she is trying to get our hands to do by grabbing our thumbs or pinkies. Lately, she’s taken to yelling at her toys to do what they are supposed to do. Poor Blue gets yelled at the most (although somehow she got him to work on her own a couple times today; we could be in trouble when she figures that out regularly!). Luckily, she can get her Bert & Ernie head to go by herself. Things will be so different when they can actually tell us what they want (or don’t want).

Sophia spent a lot of time standing this week. She can pull herself up multiple times in her Pack ‘N Play, and is almost there with the couch. She has started to climb up on the sofa cushion and occasionally throws a little bear walk in her tripod crawl. She likes to crawl over to take her sister’s toys away. It is always much more interesting when someone else is playing with it. She has also learned to put the little balls into her giraffe head (she mastered “out” early on, but we’ve been working on “in” for quite awhile now).

The girls had their eye appointments on Tuesday. Thankfully, they didn’t take the full 4 hours they had scheduled us for! They were both really good considering they had to eat there and missed their naps. The best news is that both of their eyes are fine. Zoe’s were great; he didn’t have any concerns about her development (tracking, eye-contact, etc.). He could already tell that Sophia is near-sighted (they actually hope kids her age are far-sighted) and has an astigmatism. I guess one day we’ll be trying to get her to keep glasses on her bridge-less nose. He said we didn’t need to bring her back for a year or two, however, since they are not bad enough to correct at this point. He also said that her retinal wall looked good. Apparently, kids with Down Syndrome often have an abnormality there. Unlike many of the other things we need to look out for with Sophia, if she is born with a good retinal wall, it stays that way!

The girls had a busy weekend and were really good sports through it all. Saturday afternoon they got to play with Hillary while her mom and dad were at the hospital checking to see if her baby sister was arriving. Hillary got to practice wiping a baby’s butt, sharing with little ones who don’t understand sharing, and being quiet during nap time (which seems to be all the time at our house).

On Sunday, we broke our cardinal rule of doing only one thing a day and went out during both of Sophia’s pre-meal, no-nap windows. Zoe is still pretty good when we are out during nap time, but when she gets home, it is hard for her to sleep well after getting over-tired. In the morning we finally got to see Aisling and Siobhàn’s new house (and Siobhàn’s upstairs where the girls might someday get to have a sleep over if Siobhàn still loves them when she’s a teenager). In the afternoon, we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the Alec Soth and Lee Friedlander exhibits (two of John’s favorite photographers). The girls also got to hear live jazz music, so it was quite a cultural experience for them. They were really good; maybe we can actually start having more adventures out in the real world…

Sophia also had a fabulous weekend with her eating. She has now taken multiple regular bites in a row. She is also feeding herself. We have this Nuk brush we bought for oral exercises, and she never really liked it. Now that she can put it in her mouth by herself, she likes it a lot better. It works well to dip it into the baby food because the food stays on the little plastic bristles better than it does on a spoon. She still gets a lot on her face (and around the house when she throws it after every bite). I think her throwing it is more about her inability to release it than her desire to throw it, but who knows for sure. I try to get it before she can throw it, without interfering with her independence, but I’m not very successful at it (especially when I’m nursing Zoe at the same time). And the best thing was she didn’t spit any of it up so we are really feeling like we are making some progress. Some day soon we’ll all be able to have a little picnic where everyone can feed themselves!