Sisters

When I got pregnant with Lydia, I knew I didn’t want to find if we were having a boy or a girl until delivery. I liked finding out during the ultrasound with our other kids, but I wanted to wait this time. And it was a wonderful experience! The moment the doctor held her up and announced we had a girl was amazing. It was unlike any of my other deliveries.

I said, throughout the pregnancy, that I didn’t have a preference. We had a girl and we had boys and truly I would have been happy either way. But. I was so, SO thrilled to have another girl. I’ve hoped since Kalena was born that someday she’d have a sister. And now she does.

IMG_4970

Perfection.

school tidbits

I know we’re not even a week into school over here, but I have Thoughts. So that’s what you get today, aren’t you EXCITED?!

  • Okay, deciding to bus Kalena has been the BEST EVER. I’m seriously so glad we did this. Not having to go anywhere is excellent. Plus it means only Kalena has to be ready to go anywhere by a certain time. I can see her bus stop from our front door, so usually Will and I just watch from the front porch until we see her get on the bus. I’d been walking down to the stop in the afternoons to make sure she got off at the right spot, but yesterday her bus was early and she got home about the time I was putting my shoes on. Whoops!
  • Kalena lost her only pair of tennis shoes. She wore them to school on the first day and when I asked her to find them yesterday (because it was a PE day) they were gone. Brian and I scoured the house last night looking for them and turned up NADA. They’re just gone. Poof. She needed new shoes anyway because those were getting too small, but I’m seriously annoyed that I had to go buy some because she LOST hers. And seriously, WHERE ARE THEY?! (This is going to bug me forever.)
  • I knew that I would miss Kalena’s help during the day with the babies. I had not realized how much I would miss having her here for Will to talk to. Because HOLY COW that kid never stops talking! All day long he talks at me! I’ve gotten into a bad habit of just responding “mmhmm” to everything. Or sometimes he ends with something like, “You say ‘yes’ mama” and then I do without even knowing what I’m saying yes to. It’s terrible and I know I should be listening better but OH MY GOSH JUST STOP TALKING FOR 2 SECONDS.
  • The school sent home a list of “approved” snack foods and it is so weird to me. First of all, they don’t care what kids bring in their lunches, but they have specified foods (including brand!) that are okayed for daily snack. And I guess this is because snacks are eaten in the classroom? So they’re trying to avoid allergy problems? (I assume there’s an allergy-safe table in the cafeteria or something.) Also, they’ve differentiated between “daily snack” food and “special occasion” food which I TOTALLY get except that the way they’re split up does not seem logical to me. For instance, some foods included in the “daily snack” section: Marshmallow mateys cereal. Handi-snack pudding. Cocoa Roos cereal. Jello cups. Capri Sun juices. Hot chocolate. And some foods that are considered “special occasion” foods: Clif Bar fruit ropes. Pretzels. Animal crackers. What is going on here?!
  • Kalena takes her lunch to school which is super easy for me since PB&J is all she ever wants to eat anyway. Now I don’t have to feel bad about it. Also, I don’t have to deal with daily arguments about whether we’ll be having PB&J or mac & cheese (Will’s favorite.)
  • As much as the schedule sucked, I’m glad last year was only half days. Kalena is CLEARLY exhausted by the end of the day. Not that it’s changed her wake up time at all.

There. Aren’t you glad you stuck around for all those deep thoughts?

Will at home

Will won’t be 5 until December, which means he’s too young to start kindergarten this year. We considered preschool, but decided not to put him in one for a variety of reasons. (My sanity being a big one. All the drop off/pick up nap-ruining shenanigans of last year are not something I’d particularly like to repeat.) I’ll be working with him at home on preschool type stuff. He is all for this arrangement, although there’s a vast difference in what he wants to learn and what I think we ought to work on. For instance, I suggested letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and writing his name. He countered with learning about space and dinosaurs. And really, I’m not against learning about those things! It’s just, those aren’t exactly on the “kindergarten readiness” list. So! We’ll see what all gets learned this year.

Some other Will tidbits for you:

He TOTALLY regressed with the finger sucking after the Tide Pod incident. It was like he thought we couldn’t see him doing it, since HE couldn’t see anything. The habit was such a process to break, so I’m super NOT excited to do it all again. Right now we’re trying out having him wear a finger splint to remind him not to suck. Works great! Except then he takes it off. *sad trombone* (Also, this is happening right as Lydia is finding and sucking on her fingers and thumb and it’s made me VERY insistent on her taking a pacifier instead of letting her suck on her fingers. Because I already don’t want to deal with this with Will, let alone again in 4 years with Lydia. And I’m sure getting rid of a pacifier is no fun either, but I’m not currently living that hell.)

Speaking of the Tide Pod incident, he definitely learned his lesson. Yesterday I was doing some laundry and he wanted to help, so I offered to let him put a Tide Pod in the washer. I might as well have told him to stick his hand into a bucket of venomous spiders the way he backed up. He helped pour in liquid detergent instead.

This kid makes me laugh all the time. Here are some of our recent conversations:

Yesterday immediately after we put her on the bus he said, “I miss Kalena.” (We hadn’t even walked all the way back to the house yet. And you can see the bus stop from our front porch.)

 

Today I was eating popcorn and I got up to do something and when I sat back down I got out my phone to check my e-mail.

Will: Don’t forget your popcorn, mama!

Me: Okay bud, I won’t.

Will: (pause) It’s right beside you.

You know, in case I forgot.

 

A while back we had a tooth fairy fail. Kalena lost a tooth and we did not put any money under her pillow. (WHOOPS.) So the next morning I grabbed a couple quarters and gave it to her and told her that the tooth fairy put it in my room by accident. Then later that day she and Will were speculating why the tooth fairy might have done such a thing.

Kalena: Maybe I should put a sign on my door. Maybe the tooth fairy didn’t know what room the tooth was in and that’s why she put it in the wrong room!

Will: Or probably it’s because tooth fairies aren’t real!

(Kalena assured him that YES THEY ARE.)

 

He finally gets himself dressed these days, but is INSISTENT on wearing his clothes backward. He puts on his pants backward “so he can have pockets” he tells us. (The front pockets aren’t good enough I guess.) But who knows why he puts his shirts on backward. It’s definitely intentional. They’re backward 90% of the time.

 

He still loves dinosaurs, crocodiles, and reptiles of all kinds. He’s a huge lego fan (especially the Chima stuff.) He’s dirty most of the time.

will

 

He’s my guy :)

Day 1

Kalena starts first grade today, and somehow that seems SO much older than kindergarten. Maybe it’s that she’ll be gone from 8 to 4, or maybe it’s that I packed her a lunch, or maybe it’s watching her get on a school bus instead of dropping her off, but whatever the reason, today seemed very official.

Kalena is thrilled by it all. On Tuesday we picked up her school supplies (we purchased through the school when we registered her) and got them organized. We also got to meet her teacher and see her classroom. (She has her own desk! No more tables!) And we bought her a school shirt- she picked a hoodie, pink of course. (She wants to wear it already. High today in the 80s. Sooooo…no.)

Here she is, ready to go!

DSCN7853

She has nothing in her backpack, but she still wanted to carry her lunchbox. The novelty will wear off soon, I’m sure. Also, she insisted on taking hand sanitizer so she could use it before eating. (That’s what’s hanging from the lunchbox handle.) I’m torn between thinking this is a great idea and worrying that we’re making her into a germaphobe. (Mostly I think great idea.)

 

DSCN7855

 

Getting on the bus! We live close enough to the school that we have to pay to bus her, but according to my calculations we’ll spend less to bus her than to drive back and forth to her school twice a day. Plus, not having to load and unload 4 kids multiple times a day will save my sanity. And we can see her bus stop from our front door!

 

Anyway, here’s to a great year!

Maxed out

Jim Gaffigan does a hilarious bit about having 4 kids. (You can watch it here. It’s worth watching.) But my favorite part goes like this:

“You want to know what it’s like to have 4 kids? Just imagine you’re drowning. And then somebody hands you a baby.”

Oh, MAN has that been true for me. I feel like I’m busy all day every day but I don’t get anything done. I am managing, just barely and with much help from Brian, to keep us all in clean clothes and fed every day. (These kids and their incessant need to eat. Three meals a day they want! What’s with that?!) But my hobbies? My side projects? Haaaaaa. I wanted to get the kids’ baby books finished this summer (except Lydia’s, obviously.) I worked on them…not at all. I’ve written here before about the cross stitch birth announcements I do for each kid. Well. I’m STILL working on Daniel’s. And Brian and I had this conversation a few weeks ago:

Me (showing him a pattern I like): What do you think about this? For Lydia’s birth announcement stitchery?

Brian: (Long pause) It’s fine.

Me: Do you not like it? I could pick something else.

Brian: No, no, no, I do. It’s good. It’ll be a really nice gift for you to give her. (Pause) When she graduates from high school.

And at the rate I’m going that’s about right. When I do get a spare minute there are always dishes to be done, or stuff to be cleaned, or there’s something pressing I need to work on. I am forcing myself to carve out time for blogging, but there are just not enough hours in the day for all the things I’d like to be working on.

When I first wrote about the challenges of 4 kids this young (particularly Daniel & Lydia seeming so close in age) my sister informed me that it would suck. For 18 months at least. She’s knows what she’s talking about too- her 2nd and 3rd are only 13 months apart. And I fully expect that she’s right. I do see a light at the end of this tunnel, because next year not only does Will start kindergarten, Daniel will be in the district preschool program. (At age 3 kids leave Early Intervention and are eligible for services through the school district.) So in a year I’ll suddenly have 3 kids in school programs instead of 1. Lydia will be 18 months old.

But right now? Right now I’m maxed out.

 

 

Baby blessing!

Way back at the beginning of June (the 8th to be exact) we blessed Lydia. It was the first time we’ve blessed a baby without family around, so trying to get a family picture after the fact was a leeeetle interesting. I mean, it’s always fun times trying to get all the kids in a good picture:

DSCN7701

 

DSCN7703

But on this occasion we also wanted a picture with me, Brian, and Lydia. Well, ideally me, Brian, and ALL the kids, but HA. No way was that happening. So we let Kalena play photographer for a couple of pictures. Mostly we got blurry or not smiling, but she did manage one good one!

DSCN7709

Even if Lydia is a little…tilty.

This was also the day Lydia started rolling over (back to front. Front to back started a few days later.) so definitely a big day for her!

IMG_4442

She was adorably pleased about it all.

 

 

 

It’s a big responsibility

We got Apple TV for Christmas (an Apple TV? That seems wrong since it’s not actually a TV. ANYWAY.) We set it up when we moved in here and have been using it to watch TV after our ridiculously busy days of unpacking and getting settled. It’s been good, except I discovered quickly that the Apple TV remote would mess with my Macbook if it was on. It would start up iTunes, or a movie player, or adjust my volume, or turn my sound on and off. Obviously that’s annoying, so I finally googled this evening to see if I could get it to stop. Seems like it’s a common problem and I quickly found a solution in an Apple forum. I started through the steps listed until I got to one where I needed to enter my administrative password. Then this conversation happened:

Me: Uh, Brian? This is asking for my system password. I don’t know it.

Brian: You don’t know the password to your computer?

Me: No. I’ve never needed it before. I don’t even remember setting one up. *Hands him computer*

Brian: Seriously? You’ve never needed it? You’ve never installed anything in the 4 years you’ve owned this?

Me: Uh, no?

Brian, muttering while he does who knows what to my computer: Here I was, thinking of upgrading you. Thought you liked this computer. Thought you could be a responsible Mac owner. I should get you a Windows 8 Netbook.

Me: Come on, that’s just mean!

Probably nobody thinks that’s as funny as I did, but I laughed so hard. Windows Netbook as punishment for not being a “responsible Mac owner.”

(I started this post waaaaay back in January when we first moved in. And yes, whatever we did fixed the problem, so I can watch TV without messing with my computer settings.)

Daniel update

Every 6 months I have a meeting about Daniel’s IFSP, how he’s done on his goals, what new goals we want to set, and how often we think he needs to see each of his therapists. That meeting was last week and, long story short, Daniel is doing GREAT. He’d met almost all the goals we’d set at the previous meeting (we’re still working on the food throwing issue, but that’s more of a behavioral thing than a motor skills thing) and at the moment there is nothing that stands out as Thing He Should Be Doing But Isn’t. Obviously he’s still delayed, but progress is being made on all fronts at a good rate. Here’s the latest on his progress:

He is now a full time walker! Aspen Grove was a big final push here because he wore shoes all week (something he doesn’t do much when we’re just at home.) Plus it gave him lots of opportunity for walking longer distances and walking on uneven terrain (again, something he doesn’t get when we’re in our house.) So WOO!

He signs about 25 words these days. I’m going to try to come up with them all here for my own record, so just skip down if you aren’t interested in which words. He signs: milk, more, eat, book, bath, car, out, water, done, baby, daddy, play, toy, Elmo (he signs an E), cheese, banana, nap/bed, please, poop, thirsty, up, prayer, and diaper. (I’ll probably come up with more as soon as I publish this, but that’s the majority of them.)

He mimics signs pretty well and tries to say the word with a few of them. (He’s pretty good at the “b” sound, so book and bath always get a “word” with them.) He’ll also say “YAY!” and “hi da” to Brian. He has no name for me and pretty much refuses to sign “mama.” Brian is definitely the favorite. He can point pretty well these days and will often accompany a point with “dat!” when he wants something.

He is getting better at fine motor stuff too: putting the shapes in the right place in a shape sorter, using a pen/pencil/crayon to scribble, pointing with one finger out and the others in a fist, stacking a few blocks on top of each other.

He loves to play “where’s Daniel?” and if you sing him ANYTHING (even made up nonsense) he will wait for you to finish and then applaud and yell “Yaaay!” So, if you’re in need of a self esteem boost, come on over.

He had a sleep study done a couple months ago. Did I write about that? I don’t think I did. Anyway, we went to see an ENT to check on his ear tubes (out, no need for new ones right now) and see about his tonsils (which are big) and then ENT recommended a sleep study before considering a tonsillectomy. Also, apparently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all kids with Down syndrome have a sleep study done before the age of 4. (Sleep breathing issues are common with Ds.) So: sleep study.

Side note, here’s a little amusing story from the ENT visit. We had a conversation at the end of the visit that went something like this:

ENT: How’s his speech?

Me: oh, he doesn’t say any words, but he’s getting speech therapy through Early Intervention.

ENT: So…does he have any other diagnosis?

Me: Ummm, no he’s a pretty healthy guy. We saw a geneticist after he was born and things look fine.

ENT: Oh, so you’ve seen a geneticist?

Me: (Thinking, “Obviously. Don’t they always have you see a geneticist if your kid has Down syndrome?”) Yeah, at Children’s in Denver right after he was born.

ENT: Well he’s got a low palate, so that could be partially obstructing his airway when he sleeps

Me: Right, probably because of the low muscle tone.

ENT (as we’re about to leave): So…he doesn’t have Down syndrome, or anything, does he?

Me: Well, YEAH he has Down syndrome.

Then I laughed because he’d been trying to figure out if Daniel had Down syndrome and I’d been answering all these questions assuming he KNEW Daniel had Down syndrome and was asking about things IN ADDITION TO. Read the file dude. Anyway. *I* was amused.

But back to the sleep study. Brian stayed with him overnight at the clinic where Daniel got to sleep all wired up and looking like tiny Santa. See?

IMG_4378

Results came back fine. His sleep is good quality and since he didn’t have any episodes of apnea there’s no reason to take his tonsils out right now.

He had his 2 year well visit (back in March, slacker blogger here) and he weighed in at 23 lbs 9 oz (10%) and was 33 3/4 inches tall (45%.) He and Will are close enough to the same height that they can wear a lot of the same clothes. Since this visit we’ve also seen a pediatric ophthalmologist and got the same recommendation as his last visit (which was in GJ): he’s slightly farsighted, but it’s mild and he’s still young enough that trying to keep him in glasses would be more of an effort than it’s worth. So! Recheck at age 3.

He loves baby Lydia, but is not very good with “gentle” yet. He wants very much to be allowed to touch her, but his version of that is usually hitting her in the face. Sometimes with a toy. He is also a big fan of taking her pacifier out, sometimes to suck on, sometimes to try to shove it back into her mouth. The other day he walked over to her in the bouncer, smacked her in the face with a toy and then when I picked her up he laughed maniacally and climbed into the bouncer himself. So he’s adjusting to the big brother roll pretty well :)

IMG_4473

He continues to be a mostly happy little dude. He’s not always happy, of course, but he is just So! Exuberant! when he is happy. His emotions are all pretty unfiltered though, so when he’s mad we KNOW. It’s fortunate for us his temperament is generally good. And of course, he’s always making new friends.

DSCN7852

 

 

Sleep. With babies it’s always about sleep

I’m fairly sure it’s impossible to have a baby without doing at least a little blogging about sleep. When Lydia was a month (or so) she was sleeping GREAT. She’d go to sleep for the night around 8, wake up between 2 and 4 to eat and then go back to sleep until 6 or so. There were even a couple glorious nights where she woke briefly around 10 pm to eat and then slept until 5 am. This was fabulous. I could count on several hours of uninterrupted sleep a night and only 1 wake up. Sadly, it didn’t last. For the last few weeks she’s been on an every 2 hours schedule. She goes to bed between 7 and 8, then generally nurses around 10, 12, 2, 4, and is up for the day at 6. This is considerably more tiring than the 1 wake up a night, as you might imagine.

I knew we’d been spoiled by Daniel and his wonderful sleep habits, so when Lydia was sleeping so well so young I thought we’d really lucked out with another good sleeper. I have no idea how to make this better, for a couple reasons. First of all, she doesn’t want to be swaddled for sleep any more. There’s been much middle of the night thrashing around from Lydia because she doesn’t want to be swaddled. So don’t swaddle her, right? Right, except if she isn’t swaddled she repeatedly takes her pacifier out of her mouth and then cries because she wants it. And as adept as she is at getting the thing OUT of her mouth, she is terrible at getting it back IN her mouth. So she doesn’t sleep well swaddled, but she sleeps worse not swaddled. It’s good times.

Anyway. I know all kids sleep through the night eventually. (I’ve seen it happen with each of our kids!) But in the meantime, I. Am. Tired.

IMG_4533

 

Skeptical baby is skeptical of sleep.

Aspen Grove

This month should be the perfect time to get back into blogging because hey! We just got back from vacation! We had our annual family reunion this year at Aspen Grove, a family camp in Utah. Normally I favor Arwen’s terminology of calling any trip with children a “family trip” and only trips without kids are “vacations” but this trip was definitely more of a vacation even with all the kids. (We had 52 people from my dad’s family attend, 24 of those people are under age 10.) We actually went to Aspen Grove twice when I was a kid and I remember it being fun, but until coming back as a parent I didn’t realize just how set up for families and kids this place is. For starters, in the dining hall (all meals are cafeteria style) there’s a high chair at every table and a tray under each highchair to catch dropped food. There’s a “kids food” section with a child friendly version of dinner entrees, plus stuff to make PB&J at any meal, and even a selection of baby food. You can ask for a pitcher of milk or juice to take back to your room. (You’re also welcome to take food back to your room for anyone who isn’t feeling well.) The kids are split into age groups and have activities from 9-12 and 1:30 to 4:30 every day. This includes babies! Well, okay, babies don’t have any activities, but you can drop them off in the baby room and the counselors call or text you if they need you. So: kids busy all day without me, no cooking or clean up (but without restaurant hassle!), and we stayed in houses clearly designed for families (separate rooms for kids!) AND because everything is at camp, no loading everyone up and driving anywhere! Definitely vacation.

Unfortunately for me this trip made it clear just how much of a mama’s girl Lydia is. She hated the infant room and I felt bad leaving her there when she was crying (although they would have kept her if I wanted.) so I spent more time with the baby than I had planned. All our other kids LOVED going to their groups though. Especially Daniel who basically thought it was the best thing ever. Lots of other 2 year olds cried when getting dropped off, Daniel couldn’t have been happier.

Anyway, while all the kids were busy we also got to do lots of fun things. Brian rocked the high ropes course, we had fun in a pottery class, he made an awesome wood pen, I glazed some ceramics, there was ping pong and foosball and badminton and paintball and all kinds of good stuff. Aaaaand I’d planned on posting pictures of all that but apparently wordpress is in a bad mood today because I can’t upload anything. So! I’ll save them for another post.