Say “Cheese”!

002sozo002.jpg001sozo001.jpgI was changing Zoe’s diaper Wednesday night (her 6 week birthday) and as she commonly does, she filled the clean diaper before I could even fasten it. I laughed at her, and she smiled back! We’ve been working all week to get her to repeat it, but so far she seems to limit them primarily to post-diaper changes and burps. Perhaps these are the things that make her happiest in life right now.

The next day Zoe came with me to the end of the year celebration for our first grade reading buddies (at a St. Paul school close to work). She got to eat in a judge’s chambers and hear St. Paul librarians do a fabulous job of telling the story “Bark, George.” She also got to meet court friends and of course my reading buddy who is a real character. On our first day he wanted me to re-read “The Gingerbread Man” to see if it ended the same way the second time. It was so fun to watch him get excited over this book when he had told me he only liked books about football. My other favorite day with him was when I told him it might be our last time reading together this year because I was having a baby. He said in a shocked voice: “You gotta baby in there? You never told me you had a baby!” (He hadn’t noticed the large beach ball coming out of my stomach?) Then he asked: Whatcha gonna name it?” I told him “Zoe” and he replied disgustingly: “What kinda name is ‘Zoe’?” So I asked what he thought I should name her, and he suggested “Comma.” (Apparently punctuation is all the rage.) I said I’d have to ask my husband and that got him all worked up: “You gotta husband AND a baby?” Then he wanted to know: “He a black guy?” [no] “He got Chinese hair?” [no] “He got Mexican hair?” [no] “He baldheaded?” [no] and in his most suspicious tone: “He a white guy?” Then he had to run off to his friend to tell him with a giggle that I had a husband AND a baby. At the celebration, after he told me he’d seen me before, his first question was whether I still had a husband. I haven’t figured out why it was so shocking to him, but it was pretty funny.

I learned a good lesson in getting ready to go to the celebration–don’t feed Zoe too much! I thought I’d feed her right before we left so we could maybe make it through before she had to eat again. Well, I basically just overfed her, which then caused the projectile vomit through the nose and mouth all over both of us (and last minute outfit changes, too, of course). This happened a couple of other times too, so now I know to limit what she gets and to try not to misread her crying as hunger when it is really too early to eat again. Her vitamin also seems to make her spit up, so I’m trying to give that to her carefully too.

At the celebration, we also used our new cover up. On the recommendation of another nursing mom at the Down Syndrome conference, I ordered a cover up called a “hooter hider,” which lets me see Zoe, while still being discreet. Despite its goofy name, it worked well.

Sophia has been practicing with the new cups we ordered to help with learning to drink. She has one with a cut out for her nose, so we can see how much we’re giving her (and reduce the chances of her gagging). She also has a two-handled one with a cover and a small version of a coffee thermos both of which reduce spills but don’t require her to suck to get the liquid out. We still hold the cup for her, but she’s doing pretty well handling the liquid.

We also found out this week that her Pediasure will be covered by insurance, so our medical supply company delivered a month’s supply to the house (5 cases) and even brought them into the house; we’re really spoiled! We’ve started introducing it gradually, and it seems to be going well so far.

The first morning we could stop Sophia’s antibiotics, she woke up with the kind of diaper rash that is caused by antibiotics. So she is now taking powdered bacteria to replace the bacteria the antibiotics killed. Thankfully, the rash was gone within a day, but I was worried it was going to get bad. She’d never had one before, and I hope this doesn’t make her skin more susceptible.

We are also treating both Zoe and me for possible thrush. I’m taking the same bacteria Sophia is taking, and Zoe gets to have Nystatin swabbed in her mouth 4 times a day! Sophia took this prophylactically in the hospital whenever she had antibiotics, so unfortunately we are used to cutting down the toothette (oral swab) and covering the inside of a baby’s mouth and tongue with the odd smelling liquid. It felt weird at the pharmacy because I actually had to pay for this prescription. I’ve become so used to just running in to get Sophia’s without any money because we reached her $1000 out-of-pocket max ages ago.

Sophia started reaching for us this week. For quite awhile, she’s responded when we’ve encouraged her to lift her arms to be picked up, but now she initiates it. She also seems to be more consistently recognizing words–she now knows “Baby Zoe” and clearly knew “Grandma” today (and knows “Papa,” “Mama,” “Mukwa,” and of course, her favorite “Sophia”).

Sophia’s sleeping is going much better. I’ve stopped singing to her and now only go in if she’s been crying for a couple of minutes. Luckily, she doesn’t cry much; she mostly just hollers. It is a pleading yell which is painful to listen to, but is still better than all out crying. She’s been able to fall asleep within a half an hour most nights this week (even 10 minutes a couple of times) [of course right after I wrote this, it took her 2 1/2 hours that night, but that might have had something to do with her 102.3 temp and possible teething]. For some reason when she falls asleep quickly, she still wakes within an hour and cries and has some trouble getting back to sleep. For the most part, she is in a decent mood, just unable to sleep. We definitely should have done this sleep training before Zoe was born, but I just wanted to spend all the time I could cuddling her and had no idea it would be this tricky to unlearn. In any case, she’s better just in time for Zoe to be more awake and need more attention in the evenings. When Zoe is also trying to sleep, she seems a little disturbed by the noise from Sophia’s monitor, but hopefully it is helping her get used to tuning out the noise she’ll hear when they are sharing a room.

I’ve also started putting Sophia in her crib for a nap right after she eats. This is hard because she usually spits up at some point, but we realized that she seems to spit up no matter how carefully we hold her anyway, and the extra half hour of “venting” time with the tube attached after eating didn’t really seem to help, so she might as well get better sleep in her crib. I was reading one “sleep expert” who believes that when kids sleep while moving (rocking, swing, car seat), their sleep isn’t restorative. So, hopefully, the crib sleeping will be better than me rocking her or John bouncing her on our laps. She also can hopefully start sleeping longer there, too.

We’ve also tried weaning Sophia off of the inhaler she takes for her chronic lung disease. I haven’t noticed her breathing being any more labored, but her morning cough to get rid of the phlegm that has built up overnight seems harsher. I’ll give it a couple more days and maybe try adding one set of puffs back in. We don’t want to be making too many changes at once, or we won’t know what is causing what.

Zoe seems to be in the 6-week funk they talk about, getting a little fussy at night, but that seems to be improving, too. For the last three nights, I’ve put her in the Bjorn as soon as I put Sophia in bed, and she stays there until it is time for her to eat and go to bed. That seems to be working well. Soon, we’ll have smiling, happy, and well-rested girls!


  1. And soon, maybe not tomorrow or next week, the two of you will be rested too!
    With age it all will get easier.

  2. Cousin Kelly says:

    I second what Aisling said!!!! It all gets easier as time goes by! Absolutely loved the story about your little reading buddy! Too cute!

  3. Aisling says:

    Hi y’all,

    Great new looking site.