Two are Two!

Our little Zoe turned 2 on Friday…so they are both 2 for the next 3 weeks. If you ask her how old she is, she will tell you “two,” but she hasn’t quite mastered holding up 2 fingers yet. We had ECFE on Friday, so they sang “Happy Birthday” to her (regular and “dance” versions), and had her favorites (cantaloupe and ice cream) for snack. She woke up to a new doll house and stood looking at it with a big smile saying “Excited!” On Saturday, we drove to Pelican Rapids to celebrate their Great, Great Aunt Hazele’s 102nd birthday. The girls both did great driving nearly 7 hours in the car; they were both so tired at the end of the trip that they were deliriously happy (so much better than melting down). It’s a shame Hazele couldn’t see that Sophia could sign “aunt” or hear that Zoe could say “Aunt Hazele”, but she was still really glad to see them. Sunday, Zoe got to celebrate again with a trip to the ice cream shop on our first beautiful spring day. We actually started celebrating last weekend with a trip to Mall of America for a little cookie some rides, but after Sophia cried through the balloon ride, we decided it was time to go home. I guess the missed nap had more of an impact on her than we thought it would.

Sophia has less than a week left of her restrictions post-surgery! It will be so nice to be able to pick her up normally again. Her doctor visits have all gone well. Her cardiologist wanted us to have the surgeon look at some little red spots near her incision, but he wasn’t worried about them. They were both going to take her stitches out, but quickly realized she had no interest in anyone touching them, so they’ll just dissolve eventually. The steri-strips on her incision had all fallen off by the time we went to cardiology, and her incision seems to be healing well. The nurse we had for training recommended that we use sunscreen instead of Vitamin E to try to help disguise it (once we reach the 6 week mark).

As long as we were back at the clinic to see the surgeon, we had Sophia’s eyes checked again. They are still seeing the crossing (and I’m seeing it more, too), so I imagine we’ll have to have that corrected in the near future. We’ve also been monitoring her blood pressure, but it was good this last visit, so the earlier ones that were high were probably more related to her fear in returning to the doctor. (Luckily, our pediatrician’s office finally got a blood pressure machine, so we don’t have to find the one nursing assistant who knows how to take her blood pressure on her thigh with the cuff and stethoscope, anymore). Poor Sophia was most upset when we went back to the hospital to deliver thank you gifts; she knew right away that we were somewhere she didn’t want to be. In the end, we talked her through it and she was fine, but we didn’t stay long.

By the time I went back to work (a week and a half after we got home from the hospital), Sophia’s sleeping was much closer to back on track. After several days of no naps and waking for 3-5 hours each night, she was napping again and sleeping through the night (for the most part). We were able to move Zoe back into their room and out of the Pack ‘N Play in our room. As it turns out, it seems the trick was to stop giving Sophia any kind of medicine for pain. We’d tried to be so careful not to get “behind” on her pain or to let her overdo it, and although we certainly didn’t over medicate her by any means, by the time she was home for a week, she was clearly ready to be done with the Tylenol/Ibuprofen. We only gave her one dose of the Oxycodone at home as preventative that first night, and as it turns out, it was that that was causing her to spit up so much and causing her stomach tube to leak (because she wasn’t digesting fast enough). Luckily, we figured that out quickly, and she has been eating great ever since. It only took her a couple of days to get back up to the speed and volume she was at pre-surgery. She’s also stopped leaking overnight for the most part. We have overnight diapers, plus a diaper cover, but being fed for a good share of the night, that isn’t always enough.

Zoe was a real trooper moving from having their nursery all to her self for naps and bedtime, to sleeping in our room at all times. I think they are happy to be back together, but Sophia does often wake Zoe, which is harder on her now that she is down to one nap. I kind of miss the morning nap because it let me have more one on one time with each of them when I was home and miss less time with Zoe when I was working (her nights were shorter). However, she’s growing up and her circadian rhythm isn’t allowing her two naps anymore.

Zoe has been loving school more and more. Whenever she puts a purse on her shoulder or hat on her head and says “bye bye,” and you ask her where she is going, she says: “school.” Even if she was just there. When you ask her what she does at school, she says “wash hands” and “eat.” She went by herself one week since Sophia had only been home for a couple of days, and she was so excited to see Teacher “Jeffer.” She would have left her coat on from the previous day had I let her. She insisted on wearing a dress for “Jeffer,” and wouldn’t stop talking about her. I think we are learning not to give her much warning about who she gets to see or we hear about it non-stop!

Zoe has been really affectionate with all of us and stops Sophia for “Hug!” several times during the day. Sophia pats her on the back, and they move on. They are starting to communicate with each other with words I can’t understand (oh no!). When we signed Zoe up to be in Sophia’ preschool class for the fall, the director wrote and asked whether it was really a good idea to have sisters in the same class. I told her I thought they’d be great; they don’t really fight and are fine playing with each other, alone or with other kids. Who knows how things will be come September, but for right now, they are doing really well together. We do, however, need to work with both of them on sharing with other kids. They have their own little system of either just swapping things back and forth (since they are both in the stage where “what’s yours is mine” this works really well) or Zoe just letting Sophia take anything she wants to. We have to teach Sophia that other kids aren’t going to be so willing to trade or give things up, and we need to teach Zoe that it is okay to let another kid know that she wants to play with something or wants a turn. Should be fun!

We also need to figure out how best to address some of Sophia’s new habits (licking anything, including floors; grinding her teeth, and head butting/head banging). Yikes! These are apparently habits common in kids with Down syndrome, but we really need to figure out how to help her before they are too second nature. It seems like she needs more sensory input in her head/mouth, so we are trying to massage her head and do joint compressions in the rest of her body, but of course we haven’t eliminated the issues. She has been a lot more interested in eating; she asks regularly to sit in the high chair and likes to choose pickles from the refrigerator (or “refrigigigtor” as Zoe would say). We haven’t made much progress in the volume, but we are excited that she seems more interested at times. She’s very good at waving “bye bye” to us when she is “all done” with us, whether we are trying to feed her or read to her or anything. She’s picking up more and more signs, now the trouble I have is distinguishing which of the many signs it is that she is using. Milk and toilet look almost identical, and eat, drink, water, Grandma, aunt, Mama, phone, etc are all on her left cheek.

Zoe is saying all kinds of words these days; she can repeat most words we say and is starting to use 3 or 4 words together at times. Her favorite phrase seems to be: “Bye Bye. See ya. Coat on. Shoes on. Hat on. Boots on. Socks on.” She also wants everything to either be fast or slow–the ABC’s, ring around the rosies, running, eating, etc. Her teachers were having the girls choose between fast or slow for their welcome song and ever since, Zoe thinks that choice should apply to everything. She is also very careful to say the word “fast” as quickly as possible and draw the word “slow” out as much as she can.

Sophia’s favorite game these days is to pretend to fall asleep (for two seconds). She most enjoys having the other person lay down and snore. When you ask her to close her eyes, she can just do a long blink because she’s too excited to see what you are doing. She is hysterical when she is standing in front of a mirror trying to close her eyes to see what she looks like! I think her Papa is going to have to take her picture so she can actually see how cute she is with her little eyes all scrunched up. He’ll have to be quick to capture it, but I think his camera can handle it. Maybe next post, you’ll be able to see it too.