Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Move Over Beatles

Ellie has a new favorite “band.”

Yesterday the note from her Pre-K teacher recounted this:

“Ellie had a great day! She led all the girls in a sing-a-long to “Do-Me-Mi” from the Sound of Music. They all loved it.”

“Do-Re-Mi,” or “Do-a-Deer,” as Ellie refers to it, is the new favorite car song. My favorite is how she even sings it replete with English accent. She even requested I sing it to her before bed the other night (usually she tells me "Mommy! Don't sing!")

I have to admit, this is one of my prouder parenting moments. My daughter is spreading the gospel of Broadway show tunes.

As she should.

Let's just not talk about how I also downloaded "Baby" from last week's episode of "Glee" (Yes, OK, fine it's a Justin Bieber song) and encouraged her to shake her little hips to "Justin Beaver" (her word, not mine). And we really won't talk about how she exclaimed "I love Justin Beaver!"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some of the Cutest Things EVER and Also: The Terrifying

Want to know how to make a six-year-old boy extremely happy?
You’re looking at it.

I mean, it's a lunch box with a cape. How cute is that? I dropped him off at school today and peeked through the window as he held up his new prized possession to a group of six year olds who seemed to be ooohing and aaaahing appropriately.

This is also cute.
I mean, seriously. I have, admittedly always been a sucker for a little sailor suit.

Aaaaaand the not so cute.
More like terrifying. This is 22 weeks and some change. That means I have roughly four months to go.
And keep in mind, black is slimming. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I look (and feel) about seven months pregnant. Serious gymnastics began this week. I felt my first kick/jolt. Erin felt it too which was fun. And for the record, that is not a gray hair streak, that's my dirty bathroom mirror (although I assure you there are plenty of gray hairs).

Oh, this is also cute. Leo is in love with the belly. He comes over to me/it several times a day to “say hi” to the babies. He makes sure to say hi twice and kiss both of them. Ellie very thoughtfully points out “this is one baby and this is another" because I explained to her about there being a "Baby A" and "Baby B."

I am feeling so much better than I was but still feel pretty green in the evenings. Dinner often consists of popcorn and cranberry juice (health nut, that’s me) simply because nothing else sounds good. I keep waiting for crazy pregnancy cravings to kick in (i.e. You know what sounds good honey? Pizza wrapped in a cheeseburger, deep fried, with a side of Pad Thai. Yeah!). So far, none of that. I actually wish I was hungrier. Not that weight gain has ever been a particular problem of mine. Ahem.

Worth a Read (Or a Re-Read)

Have you read this?

"I'm Not a Saint, Just a Parent."

Cate reminded me about it and I just reread it and yes, I'm a big ball of hormones right now but wow. It's beautiful. There are so many passages worth repeating. This might be my favorite:

On being a parent:

"Some bits are hard, some bits are easy, some bits are fun, some bits are a frightful bore. That’s true of life with Eddie [writer's son with DS], it’s also true of life with Joe ["typical" child]. But you don’t even begin to break it up into categories: it is the one endless, complex business of being a parent. You don’t gointo parenthood to make sure that the benefits outweigh the deficits: you go into it out of — brace yourself but no other word will do — love."

Check it out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Eyes Have It

I finally took Leo to his long overdue eye exam yesterday. You may recall he had surgery nearly three years ago for intermittent strabismus which in English means, “lazy eye.” This is apparently quite common in children with Down syndrome and it’s also easily correctable. Leo’s wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely noticeable and if gone untreated it would have gotten worse and started to affect his vision.

When we first started to notice the strabismus (or as we affectionately called it, “freaky eye,”) around age three, I had fears of patches or glasses which is a road that many friends “in the club” have gone down. As much as I didn’t jump at the chance to put my kid into surgery (on his eyes, no less, just the thought gives me chills) I admit being relieved by our no-nonsense doctor’s approach. A patch won’t work for Leo, he declared. He needed surgery. I was still nervous. Again, we’re talking about eyes here. I remember talking to my pediatrician about it and when I told him who our doctor was, I learned that he was pretty much the doctor for kids with Down syndrome and eye problems in our area. He sees 1,500 patients with Down syndrome alone (in addition to his “regular” population).

Back to the appointment. Leo’s eyes couldn’t look any better, said the doctor. His vision is quite good—20/30. His eyes are perfectly straight. The surgery took. We don’t have to go back for nearly two years.

He also shows no signs of cataracts which are apparently common with Down syndrome (this I did not know).

All in all, Leo did well with the exam. He was definitely afraid of the exam chair with the intimidating surrounding equipment. He did just fine though, once I sat in the chair and he took his place on my lap. And he was enthralled by all the cool gadgets they use to look at little semi-cooperative eyes (wands with spinning lights and literal bells and whistles-one was even Woody--be still Leo’s heart). I told the doctor that Leo could read and that he could certainly attempt to do the exam with the letters (you know, those classic “Es” they use in vision tests). He seemed surprised but agreed. He ended up using pictures (a house, a horse, a cup, all of which got progressively smaller) instead, but it was still Leo’s first official exam in which he was asked to identify something and he correctly did so.

Probably no shock to report that he hated getting the drops to dilate his eyes. Does anyone like those?

It’s such a relief to get those annual specialists’ appointments out of the way for another year. It feels like a huge accomplishment (partly because the wait in that office seems to be nearly a half a day although we sped through pretty quickly this time). Next up, the ENT. That one’s not going to be pretty. Leo hates that doctor. There are always tears and the need for plenty of strong arming and reinforcements. It can take three people to hold down a ticked off Leo as the otolaryngologist checks out the ears and sinuses.

And I can’t even drink.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

This weekend was the full of the usual last-minute Valentine's Day prep.
I was so proud of Leo. He sat and wrote the names of each of his classmates. He thoughtfully selected a valentine for each of them (his whole class isn't here but you get the idea). I had the idea to attach the valentines to a larger piece of paper, since I really wanted Leo to address them, but the space provided on the cards is ridiculously tiny.
We also made cookies. As you can see, Leo is more the "taster" type than the baker. He is ALL about the frosting. Oh and look, there's the crazy hair I was talking about. I know, I know, he just looks like a cool surfer dude here but trust me. It's just about time. Next week I guarantee you'll be able to braid it. While Ellie also enjoys sampling, when it comes to decorating with candy she has the focus of an air traffic controller. With those M&M's and sprinkles, she does not mess around.
The finished product, seen along with one of the cutest little chubby hands I know.

Here's hoping your day is full of even more love than usual.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I think it's safe to say I went on a slight Down syndrome research bender when Leo was born. Well I'm attempting to do some organizing around here and I'm ready to pass these books on.

These are the books I have that are up for grabs (there will probably be more coming soon):

Gross Motor Skills in Children With Down syndrome (A Guide for Parents and Professionals)

Early Communication Skills for Children with Down syndrome (A Guide for Parents and Professionals)

Fine Motor Skills in Children With Down syndrome (A Guide for Parents and Professionals)

The Down syndrome Nutrition Handbook (A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles)

Simply leave me a comment (your big chance to delurk!) or just email me and let me know where you'd like the book sent. First come, first served.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Super and the Not So Super

Cropped Superman
1. Leo now appears to be a nearly full-time Superhero. He pretty much refuses to wear anything but Superhero tops. Superman is the number one choice, Batman and Spider-Man will suffice. If I present him with something else (a dinosaur tshirt yesterday morning), his response is a polite “No thank you.” Today he wore not one but three Superhero shirts. Two Supermans followed by Batman. Clearly he got dressed on his own. Hey, he was dressed and matching. That was enough for me.

2. I don’t know what to do about Leo’s hair. See exhibit A, above. This is an old photo (from Halloween, obviously) but it's pretty close to what Leo's hair is looking like these days. I know it doesn't look that bad there but seriously, give it a week. I don't know if it's all those scrambled eggs or what but his hair sprouts in the oddest places, and fast. I swear he goes to bed one night and it's a fine length and it literally grows overnight to unreasonable, overgrown, just odd proportions (and look! He's conveniently wearing a Superman outfit in this photo!).

It’s getting too long again. We seem to be able to go about three months before it starts to look...shaggy. But as we all know, a trip to the barber for Leo means a full on meltdown. I’m in no shape to handle that right now (there is kicking and wailing and the need for serious strength to hold down my littler, um, Superhero). The last time I took him for a haircut (early November) I had to throw away his top and mine (they were both fleece) as they were SO saturated with hair. I washed them twice and put them through the dryer to no avail. Sticky, sticky hair.

And then there is the torture/trauma factor. Is it wrong to put your kid through that? Granted the haircut (which is a buzz cut because that’s all that can be safely done, there will be no scissors) takes all of ten minutes. But trust me, when someone is that unhappy, it’s a l-o-n-g ten minutes. He recovers almost instantaneously and the trauma is always followed by a hug to the stylist (and the collective awwws of the entire hair salon). But still.

And there’s this: I’m not a fan of the buzz cut. Leo has gorgeous, thick hair (not that I’m biased). A buzz cut seems like such a waste of his good looks. And, um, locks (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hot Off the Presses

Leo appeared in our town's paper this week.
The headline is "What do [Leo's school] students want to be when they grow up?

The other kids responses? "Teacher, singer, football player, cardiologist..."

Snore. Come on kids! Aim higher! Batman all the way!

This reminds me a little of the first time I was published in our local paper (I wrote an article, a little different but still the same in that MY name was in print). My mom bought ten copies of that paper. I have no idea what she was going to do with ten copies of the paper (and I'm pretty sure she didn't either) but this morning, I got it. I wanted to do the same thing.

My boy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome to Siberia

Yes, I realize they look pretty happy, even if it is Siberia in February.

I know everyone is tired of hearing about the weather (I sure am) so don’t worry, this is not a weather post. I think they are making it sound like doomsday or snowmageddon around here on CNN and the Weather Channel but I assure the relatives spread far and wide across this country that we are fine! Cold and cranky and a little tired of shoveling and scraping windshields (OK a lot tired) but otherwise, fine.

I think what’s hardest about the weather is the not knowing. Will it be a morning of scrambling, waiting for a late bus, driving Leo to school (if the bus is super late), navigating bad roads, or will it be a snow day?

Monday night a significant amount of snow was forecasted and I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, checking my phone for texts (the district sends texts via cell phone—in addition to calling and yes, emailing), what seemed, every hour on the hour. I just couldn’t sleep. Not sure what my problem was considering snow days are hardly Christmas. Sure I might get to stay home but the kids invariably wake up at 5:30 (I swear, they seem to know when it’s the weekend or a snow day and get up extra early), they tire of Nick Jr. by 10 a.m. The snow is ridiculously deep out there—we have honestly not seen grass since Christmas. I am not exaggerating when I say it is literally too deep to play in.
Yes, here you have it. It's pretty much just fall down, whine, laugh, get up (or more likely, beg Mommy to help you up) which, don’t get me wrong, is certainly entertaining enough. Until your fingers snap off from the cold.
Then again, snow angels are always fun.

This morning was a late opening. And really it was a fine morning. Leo had scrambled eggs and grapes and cheese crackers and everyone got to stay in their jammies until 9 a.m. on a school day! Imagine! Ellie got to watch a Wubzy marathon (her new obsession). Meanwhile our driveway was a sheet of ice and I was a little worried about Leo accidentally pulling me down as I walked him to the bus (I walk him there now that it’s snowy and icy). I swear that I’ve fallen in the snow/ice with each of my pregnancies at least twice and I know everyone is super padded in there but still, it makes me nervous. It ended up being fine. I shoveled as best I could and put down the dreaded salt that always ends up all over the mudroom and entire first floor (hate it) and it was much better out there.

But I’d be lying if I said I don’t kind of miss last summer’s heat wave.

Oops. Weather post.