Sophia & Zoe’s Excellent Adventures

It was another busy week for the girls. Sophia went back to school on Monday and played in her favorite pool of balls again. I guess she threw her mini rice cake (who wouldn’t?) and cried once when she was right next to John (he doesn’t know if he bumped her or she was confused). Anyway, it was a successful and tiring day for her. Zoe did well again with her special Grandma time. She spent a lot of time sitting up. She really can sit unsupported now. We do usually put something behind her in case she does topple, but she generally doesn’t need it. That morning I had her sitting up and realized Sophia was off to the dog dishes, so I ran off to get her. All of a sudden, I heard a thump and a second later a wail. Poor Zoe had toppled backwards. I can’t say that she’s done it again, though!

Tuesday, Sophia had an appointment with a pediatric surgeon to check on her breast bone. We’d noticed that it sort of stuck out at the bottom and seemed to be protruding more. Our first pediatrician said it was normal, but our other one said, “You have access to all of these U of M docs, why don’t you just have him look at it; that is his specialty?” So, we did. I think he is our 7th specialist at that clinic! After we got around to the real reason for our visit (somehow, he mistakenly thought he’d done her G-tube surgery and we were in for a check on that–which he said was great), he just glanced at her chest and said she does have pectus carinatum (pigeon chest). It is a result of how the bone healed with the wires after being cut for open heart surgery. He says it is simply cosmetic, and in fact, her lungs will have more room because of it. He wants to see her in two years to see how it is progressing, so he can give us more of a prediction. He says we’ll likely want to have her wear a brace when she’s 9 or 10 to push the bone back in. The good news is that there is no surgery necessary. We realized how lucky we are that Sophia doesn’t just hate doctors by now. She “high-fived” the receptionist and gave the first couple of docs her two armed wave. When there were 5 docs (most in white coats), she got a little shyer, but was still content. Zoe was also fabulous. I didn’t even think of it until a nurse stopped in and commented how great they were–I guess they could easily have been fussing and out of sorts, but they were just fine. We also had Sophia’s stomach Ph tested; it was normal. We’ve been watching it ever since it tested acidic one day (but I think it was probably because she’d spit up her Prilosec that morning). For several months, we’d been refilling her Prilosec every two weeks in case the suspension was weaker at the end of the month. Now that our new insurance year started and they wanted to charge us a separate co-pay for each 1/2 month, we decided to try the full month supply again. Luckily, her stomach was fine at the end of that bottle.

Wednesday the girls both had OT (Margie does a joint 1 1/2 hour session with them, which is fabulous). Sophia also got her first Synegis shot of the season. (The one to hopefully prevent RSV). At her weight, she needs two shots, and she was apparently not very happy about it. (Poor Papa and Grandma had to be the ones with her). I’m the one she should be mad at since I lobbied for a second year of it. It is typically just for the first season for premies, heart babies and babies with chronic lung disease, but some do get a second season. I also thought Zoe should get it so she doesn’t infect her sister, but they weren’t persuaded about that at all (I imagine when the price goes down it will be a shot every kid gets, like Rotovirus and flu shots).

Thursday Sophia’s ECSE teacher came (she’ll also see Zoe, but on a limited basis). In fact, when Jennifer was trying to talk to Zoe, Sophia stuck her head right in between them to let everyone know she is “my teacher.” She was also very affectionate that day and gave Jennifer a big hug, not as a ploy to get her cute glasses or to stop having to work, but a genuine one. Jennifer thought we should try teaching Sophia a way to greet Zoe especially (and others too) that doesn’t involve her face–putting a thumb in her eye, squeezing her neck, biting her forehead, etc. She loves faces so much that she either wants to hug everyone or do something to their face: she grabs at poor Mukwa’s nose and scares other little kids (the poor boy at ECFE who ran to his mom, sending Simon to the back of the couch, and leaving Hillary to complain: “She’s HUGGING me!”). She was even kissing the little boys in her “Teeth are not for Biting” book this morning! Zoe’s used to it, but I imagine there will be a day when she’d like some personal space. We are trying to figure out a good greeting that isn’t too hokey. I suppose we could try a secret handshake or knocking elbows or something… I think we are supposed to have her do it consistently with us too, but I’m not ready to give up the around the neck hugs. (I could do without the scratching, pinching, and biting, but for now that goes with it).

We also spent some time working on the concept of “stop.” All of her teachers use this song “And we _____ , and we _______, and we __________, and we stop ” We fill in the blank with “dance,” or “rock” or “shake” or “swing”‘; just about anything. She seems to be anticipating the stop–especially in the swing or when I shake her off over her tub.

Jennifer also said that we could say Sophia is READING! She looks at a picture of a tiger in a book and growls. It is so funny; neither John nor I nor Grandma taught her that. We always say that it is a bear that growls. Maybe Siobhàn or Kathelyn (our nanny) did it? I guess a mom at ECFE was trying to get her little guy to growl like a tiger, and he wouldn’t do it, but Sophia who was right behind her let out a big growl. John thought it must be coincidence, but Jennifer said we should take those things as real (no harm in believing she can do things, I guess). So perhaps she really was intentionally using the plastic keys to try to open her bedroom door? I guess she must have been intentionally playing with the zipper on her pjs when I sang “Zip-e-do-dah” to her (I do often sing that when I’m zipping them up). She must have also been pointing to her MIC-KEY button when I told her I needed to button her shirt.

When Jennifer was here, our replacement mirror arrived. Sophia had this little mirror from Siobhàn’s Grandma that she loved so much it wore out. I broke down and bought another so Zoe could have the fun of it too. It has a cute little song: “I look in the mirror, and who do I see? I see sweet little, wonderful me!” We all decided we’d have that song in our head all day long, but I guess if a song is going to be stuck in your head, it is better to have a self-affirming song than the “Cat’s come back, I thought he was a goner…” that Siobhàn and I usually have in our heads. One of the little tails is a lion that roars, and Jennifer thinks Sophia’s growl sounds a lot like that (maybe she kept it in her head all this time?)

Friday was our Halloween photo shoot for Grandma’s Halloween cards. We thought it was hard last year to get Mukwa and Sophia to be looking at the same time; Sophia and Zoe were a much bigger challenge. We may have to resort to photo shopping heads in for our Christmas photos. Grandma’s funny Sophia moments this week were when she stood up next to the book case and could reach the 3rd shelf (I just emptied the 2nd!) and gave Grandma the biggest, proudest smile. She’s also developed a little game when she races off in her tripod crawl, gets to the edge of the stone floor (where Mukwa’s dishes are waiting) and looks back to see if Grandma is watching her. Once she makes eye contact, she gets a big smile on her face and races off faster than ever.

This weekend we spent every minute outside that we possibly could. The girls just love swinging; it is a surefire way to get them both giggling (especially if they think they are going to run into your head). We have these two little baby swings at a park about 3 blocks from us, so that is really convenient. We are going to have to be sure we have great winter gear for them so they can get out to their swings even when it is colder. When we got to “their swings” on Friday, there was another little boy swinging. So, the girls had to take turns. In order to get them in and out of the Bjorn and stroller and into the swing, I ended up having to switch them around. Sophia got to ride home in the Bjorn; her first time in a long time. Zoe got to ride in the stroller all sitting up straight like a big girl. It was the first time she actually seemed to enjoy being in the stroller. We must have looked a little odd, as a man yelled at us from the other side of Franklin Avenue: “One more pet or baby and you’re in trouble!”

On Saturday, during our second trip to swing, we could see that someone else was there again, so we headed a few more blocks down to the school where they have a little “tot lot.” All five of their baby swings were empty, so the girls got lots of swinging time in. Sophia was using her “more” sign (two thumbs touching) to tell me she liked it (I think; I don’t think she really needed to be telling me to swing her more). We are trying to work on getting her to ask for things; but it is a hard transition when she really hasn’t been able to, so we are used to just doing things. The walk is so calming for Zoe, you can just lay her straight down in her crib when we get home, and she is out like a light.

On our morning walks, Sophia seems to think she is the neighborhood wake up call. She sings out as we stroll down the mall, waves both of her arms, practices waving her hands forward and backward, claps her hands, bounces up and down, it is very funny to watch. I can’t see what kind of faces she gives to people we pass, but they all seem to be laughing as they go by. She also loves when we go down Franklin past the store windows where she can see her reflection. Both of the girls are really patient when I run into people to chat with; they are never yelling at me to hurry up, they just stare at the new faces and take it all in.

Sophia’s also been practicing with her hands in the bath tub. You’ll see her waving, clapping, and then splashing (repeat). It is so funny to just watch her practicing what she can do. Sometimes it is clapping her hands and then her legs; other times it is making different expressions with her face. What a fascinating learning time. The other thing she loves to do in the tub is to hang her head over the edge and watch the water drip onto the floor (or down the vent). The minute you rinse her hair she leans over the edge. I try to put a towel down or her dirty clothes or something so the floor doesn’t get wet and slippery, and she just throws it across the room. I don’t dare put her in the big tub yet, so I think we’re in for some wet floors for awhile.

She’s also discovered the fun of opening and closing doors. She loves to shut the one in the bathroom while she’s in the tub. Her favorite door to open is her bedroom door (so she can get out and bang the plastic we have over the second-floor railing). If it is at all unlatched, she can get it open. She can also get the hall closet open that doesn’t have a knob (I think gates are the next step there).

After telling a co-worker we hadn’t been sick since before I was pregnant with Sophia, I knew I’d jinxed it. I have a little bug (too many late nights and night awakenings, I guess). It’s not bad for me (just that I seem to cough right when one of them is settling down), I just really hope they don’t get sick. I read that a cold is contagious for 5 days, so I think I’m past that window, and hopefully we are in the clear, but who knows. Sophia did cough a couple times today, but I think it was more of her newly discovered imitation skills, not a true cough ;-).