Friday, May 29, 2009

Week Recap: Potty, Feeding, Sewing, Playing, Crawling, Remodeling

So, I haven't had a whole lotta typing time lately. Three kids in the house, little napping going on,and too many projects. So here's a run down of the week while the two littles are sleeping. First duo nap all week.

1. Potty Learning: Sean has done fairly well with this at home, but only if a) he wears just a shirt and undies and b) poop does not need to go in the potty.

If I put shorts on over the undies, he forgets that he is diaper free and has an accident. If I put him in a pull-up, he forgets that he can pull it down to potty and just goes on the go. So we use pull-ups while out of the house and sometimes have luck taking potty breaks out in public. We also slip a pull-up on for nap/bedtime, but I don't think he needs it then because he is usually dry.

He does not get that he needs to sit to poop. He runs to the potty, stands there, tooting away thinking the poop is going to jump from his rear to the potty. If I run in and sit him down, he lasts a few seconds before getting up to stand in front of the potty again. So, yes, we've been scooping poop off the floor. Or he does it in the pull up. We need to keep working on this, obviously.

Also, with MUCH excitement, Aidan taught Sean how to pee on the fence in the backyard today. Sean is officially ready for keg parties now.

2. Feeding: Sean had a follow up appt with his ENT this week, regarding his tube surgery. Tubes look great and Dr said he wants us to come in every 6 months to keep an eye on them. He feels confident that they won't fall out. I brought up Sean's feeding issues and reflux and asked if we should see a GI/get a swallow study done. Dr E was all over this, he said Sean absolutely needs to get checked out. He gave us a script for Prevacid and booked a feeding study in Wichita. From there, they will refer us for a swallow study and anything else.


We are too bring him there hungry, with foods he eats and foods he has trouble with (um, that would be everything!) They will watch how he eats and make determinations. I AM SO FREAKING GLAD! I want answers! I need to know if the current approach his school is using is the right approach for him. I need second opinions. I NEED ANSWERS.

3.Sewing/Knitting: I have been loving learning to knit and am totally ready to jump into a project. My friend/knit mentor is going to help me get started on my first diaper soaker soon. Hopefully next week. In the meantime, I've been knitting little swatches to practice knit/purl.

My friend Ellie came over yesterday and talked me thru a sewing project I've had sitting in a drawer. I converted a shirt and fabric into a playdress for Ella. It wasn't too complicated and I think I can make one again on my own fairly easily (providing, of course, that said child allows.)

4. Playing: Wednesday was the start of our summer playgroup. We love getting together with my momma friends and their kiddos. I really look forward to Wednesdays in the summer. Week 2 of baseball was a bit of a bummer. Aidan's got rained out and Sean was less than co-operative for his due to a lack of nap. Gotta work on that. Tonight we get to meet up with local families that have kiddos with Ds for a family playdate. Sean starts summer school on Monday, so I hope he enjoys seeing his school friends again.

5. Crawling: Eleanor is just so into crawling! Her current obsession is crawling up the stairs. She doesn't know how to go down them, so this is not so fun for me. The boys find it hysterical and love to crawl up with her. Must make a video.

6. Remodeling: Doug has spent what little free time he's had this week on the electrical work in the bathroom and drywall repair. He had to move the connection wires for the sink light fixture to accommodate the new mirror and also moved the switch plate and a wall outlet up higher so that it wouldn't be in the area where he is going to put up beadboard. Our plan was that I would be able to paint this weekend and then he can use evenings next week to install the beadboard/chair rail. Then we'd do the floor the weekend after this and get the sink installed so he could finish up with the baseboard. Not sure if our timeline is going to work out because he has some freelance work to do this weekend too. Oh well, eventually we will get it done!

So, I hope everyone is enjoying the warm days and having fun in the sun. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Well, that went by fast!

Why is it that a 3 day weekend sounds like a nice chunk of time to get things done in, but whips by so fast?

We enjoyed our time with Nana, she enjoyed time with this little one.

Aidan made this.

Doug and I started on this.

And Sean worked on gaining this.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Vacation, Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of summer break for the boys. Wow, are they used to being kept busy! I had my hands full keeping them occupied nicely.

They started the day wanting to play school and got out the worksheets their teachers sent home. They played outside a few times, we got out the big bubble wands for awhile. We filled the bird feeder again. Got them showered and dressed and had lunch with daddy.

Sean had about a 50% success rate with the potty. They played Captain Underpants for a bit.

We danced to Youtube videos. We read books. They watched Scooby Doo and let Ella take a nap. More playing outside while I made dinner. Ella fell asleep in her highchair after eating Goldfish.

We watched the bird feeder bandit and a few birds got to eat also.

Finally daddy got home after working late and we got to have our dinner. I left Doug in charge of kitchen clean up while I went to clean out our van. OMG, that really needs to happen more than once every 9 months! It took forever to get all the playground rocks from the school year out.

Today we are eagerly awaiting Nana's arrival. She is spending the weekend with us to help with the kids while Doug and I get going on the bathroom remodel! Yay!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let's Play Ball!

Back-to-back nights of baseball practice as we begin our first baseball season.

Sean is playing with the three year old group, at our request because they meet fewer times and play shorter games. I think it is going to be a great fit for him and hopefully he will catch on to the principal of the game. Interesting coincidence, the coach's wife worked at the daycare Sean went to when he was 2! She remembered him as soon as she saw him, so we didn't have to go into the "he has Down syndrome" explanation. The kids in this age group all had a lot of parent help, so I don't think Sean's disability is going to be an issue. He had such a blast, he loves to hit the ball and run.

We just need to work on running to the bases and leaving the bat behind. :)

Aidan is playing with the 6-7 year old group and it is coach-pitched. I was busy chasing Sean and entertaining Ella so I didn't get to watch much of the game. Doug said Aidan did great and hit the ball every chance to bat. He even caught a few balls!

We were worried that he didn't have enough experience to play at this level, since he'd never played before, but he is right in the middle. He was nervous about going, but really had fun and can't wait to play again.

Yay for baseball!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My 300th Blog Post!

Wow! 300 posts and still plugging away! I'm glad I've stuck with blogging and that I've been so lucky to have readers and comments to encourage me along. So often I find myself thinking, "I should blog about..." or "Ooo! I need to get a video of this for the blog!" Aidan has it in his head that it's called "Mommy's Log" and says positive and negative things about it. Sometimes he will say, "Mom, take a picture of this for your log!" other times, "Don't put that on your log!" and sadly I also hear, "All you ever want to do is work on your log!"

This has been a great outlet for me, a place to keep track of what we have done and a place to reach out to others and learn from their experiences. I wholeheartedly suck at scrap booking in the traditional manner, and I haven't been the greatest at baby book records either. Hopefully 10 years from now, the kids will appreciate the blog archives as much as a scrapbook.

So those notes aside.... what have we been up to this weekend and what lies ahead next week?

We enjoyed gorgeous weather and fun with lots of friends and family this weekend.

Friday evening, Doug took Aidan and our niece Mackenzie swimming at the Y, while I stayed home with to late nap-taking kiddos. Aidan apparently gulped down too much pool water and after being spun around in his ring floaty by his cousin, he threw up in the pool. Oof! The lifeguard cleared the pool and shut it down to clean it out. Luckily it was close to closing time anyway.

Saturday, we had planned on hosting the monthly Young Families Supper Club dinner at the church. Around 2 pm, we found out the church had a graduation party booked and we couldn't meet there. Yikes! So we kicked in gear: got the house cleaned up, de-cluttered toys, stuffed piles in closets ;) and called our guests to tell them the dinner would be at our house instead. It all came together and we had a great time relaxing with everyone at home while all the kids ran wild through the house and yard. Fifteen adults and fifteen kids- the most we've ever had at our house!

Sunday, we went to church, made a trip to WalMart/Target and later the Hardware Store. We went for a walk in the evening, and wound down afterwards with a movie at home.

This week is the last week of school. Tuesday night we have Sean's first tball practice at 6 and then I have La Leche League at 7. Wednesday morning is the awards presentation at Aidan's school, then his first tball practice in the evening. And Saturday evening we have planned a double date night with friends to go out for sushi to celebrate our 9th Wedding Anniversary. We are also planning to start demo on the downstairs bathroom reno.

Summer break, here we come!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Preschool Recognition Day

On Friday, Sean's preschool had their end of the year celebration. The kids put on a little concert, receive scrapbooks that the teachers work on all year (these are ADORABLE, truly amazing that the teachers get these done) and then the kids moving on the Kindergarten get graduation certificates.

The kids sang several songs and I am so glad that Sean was happy to participate this year. Last year, as soon as he saw us he got very upset that he couldn't run up to us, so he just sat and pouted the whole show. This year he saw us and waved, then did his best to keep up with the class. He really did a great job and it certainly made sense to us what all these new signs/hand motions have been! :)

Ella was super tired when we got there, so she conked out for her morning nap right away. I held a hot, sleepy baby while Doug took over camera duties. Gramma Janice came to see the show, too, that was a nice surprise for Sean.

Sean signing a part in the super cute song, "Button Factory"

Grand Finale!

Sean receiving his scrapbook for his teacher, Miss Ronda.

Sean hugging his best buddy, Andre.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Choo! Choo! All aboard the Potty Train!

Well, we are giving it another try! Sean has taken an interest in using the potty again. This time, he has actually had some success, so we are super excited and optimistic.

I have done soooo much reading up on potty learning, potty training your child with Down syndrome, and about other families that have gone through this stage of life. I even went to two presentations on potty learning- one by our local Parents-as-Teachers group and the other at our DSSW meeting. I should have a PhD in Potty Learning by now! Somehow, I feel that like everything else, it isn't going to matter what I know- it's about what Sean knows and how Sean feels. It's his body and he's the boss.

When Aidan hit around 3, I wanted to try potty training with him. I had done a bit of reading and thought he showed signs that he was ready. He showed us that he wasn't interested in using a potty chair, or sitting on the adult potty with a child seat. He wanted to pee standing up like Daddy. When he was tall enough to do it, he had great success quickly and went to undies full time within a month. Our challenge with him was #2. The boy refused to sit on the potty. He was scared, he'd say. He figured out how to withhold poop until he was home, then he'd strip off his clothes, put on a pull up and poop. He did that for a long time. I mean, a loooooong time. Like as in he was almost 5 before a bout with a tummy flu and leaky poops finally convinced him that he couldn't use pull ups anymore. We were extremely frustrated with him and tried many times and many ways to get him to stop using the pull ups.

What we learned from the experience is that we needed to trust him. Trust the process. Trust that he would get it on his own and eventually move forward. I really hope that this history with Aidan is going to help us as we go through the learning experience with Sean.

Back in August, we got a Baby Bijorn potty seat for Sean, it's size and sturdy design looked like a better fit for Sean. While he enjoyed sitting on it, he hasn't ever used it for it's intended purposes. In December, I bought a dozen cloth potty training pants to use with Sean. I thought we'd give it a go over the school break. Day one went so poorly, I decided to put it on the shelf again.

As summer approaches, I have again been giving it thought. Wondering if lots of nakie time and potty access all day would help. I started my reading up again, wondering if we should try the timed potty break approach once more.

Out of the blue, last week Sean decided to start trying to use the potty. He is attempting to pee at the potty, standing up. The first day he tried, he peed in there three times all on his own. So far this week he has had several days where he has succeed in peeing in the potty one or two times a day. He's tried sitting on the potty with the kid seat a few times to catch a poop in the potty, but we haven't had luck with that yet. He has even gone in the potty at school a couple times this week! It's been magical!

The pride he has in himself for accomplishing this little success is just wonderful. He beams with joy and has high fives for everyone! We are all so proud of him and I am trying to contain my excitement and give him time to keep working on it himself, without pushing him. I take a deep breath, because I know the trip may be long and I need to just appreciate the journey.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Signing & Your Child with Down Syndrome

Last Saturday, I attended the monthly DSSW meeting and enjoyed listening to the presentation on using sign language with our children that have Down syndrome. The speakers were Speech Language Pathologist, Jennifer Kordonowy, and Ashley Golick, a graduate student in SLP.

The topics they covered were: what is total communication, why should we use sign language with our kids, what are the main benefits of signing to hearing children, how to get started, and tips for success.

One thing that really caught my attention when they discussed total communication, was a diagram that showed the many ways we, as typical adults, communicate.

We talk face to face
We talk over the phone
We use gestures to relay messages
We email
We text
We mail letters
We leave sticky notes for each other

They said, "Imagine if I told you that you could only use one of those means to communicate and you were not allowed to use any other. Say I said, 'okay, from now on anything you want to communicate to anyone has to be done via texting.' How long could you stand to communicate only through texting before you got frustrated? How do you think our speech delayed children feel when we say 'Use your words! I can't give you what you want unless you use your words!'"

I don't know about you, but that would drive me batty! It just makes sense to try to offer our kids as many means to express themselves as we can.

The five main benefits to signing with our kids that they covered are:
1. Signs help children develop verbal speech.
2. Signs empower children to initiate conversation.
3. Signs reduce frustration.
4. Signs provide a strong foundation for early literacy.
5. Signs stimulate intellectual development.

They suggested starting when your child is at least 6-8 months old, but noted that it is helpful at any age. First signs should be signs that are functional in your child's daily life. Always say the word while you sign. Give your child time to learn, repetition is the key to success. They made the point that what is important is to give the child the input of the signs more so than worrying about the child's output. Just as it takes time for a child to learn how to stand and walk, requiring thousands of attempts at pulling to stand, balancing, shifting weight, etc. it takes just as many times of seeing and hearing signs and words to communicate back to us.

While most of the information presented wasn't new to me, since we started signing with Sean when he was 10 months old, I felt it was a good reinforcement of what I had learned in our experiences. I remember how I felt when we started signing to Sean, I wondered, "will this work? Will he understand and be able to do this?" We started with the signs for milk, eat and more. We had a hard time remembering to use them every time we said one of those words at first, so I would say our consistency was pretty variable. At times I'd get frustrated and think. "this is silly. He isn't going to do it." Finally, at 17 months old, Sean signed back to us.

Once he figured out how powerful his ability to communicate was, he rapidly started adding signs to his vocabulary. We learned along with him, teaching him signs that he was interested in and signs that we found helpful. We built a bridge between us, giving him a voice beyond pointing and yelling. As he grew older, we've watched him add the spoken words to his signs. Some of his words are unclear to us, so he made up signs to help us understand him. It always amazes me how clever he is when he creates his own signs, the details he picks up on and uses.

At age 4 1/2, he is using many means of communicating. Some verbal, some signed, sometimes he points to picture cards we have, sometimes he just says, "Come on!" and grabs a hand and pulls you to what he wants. He still cries in frustration when we don't understand what he wants. He still does some pointing and lots of babbling. But using sign language has been a great tool for him. I can't imagine not having it as part of our language with him these past few years.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Fun to Play at the YMCA

The awesome bosses at Doug's office (wink wink, Grampa Larry!) just added a new company benefit: family membership to the YMCA. Woot! Woot! I think this is a benefit that we will all get a lot of enjoyment from. So far we've been there three times to swim. The t-ball program I signed the boys up for is also through the Y, so we get a discount on fees for it, thanks to the membership.

I plan on adding swim lessons for all three kids to our schedule too. The boys are big fans of water play, but haven't had any lessons yet. They love using the floaties to start being more independent in the water. Sean was jumping from the edge of the pool and paddling his way to Doug! Ella also seemed to have fun in the water, so she and I will do the Mommy & Me class.

Of course, I am also hoping to take advantage of the childcare there and start going to some sort of fitness class. Right now, I don't know when that is going to be possible because Ella is super attached to me. If I am in the same room as her at home, even when Doug is holding her, she cries for me. When I leave her in one room to go get something from another, she crawls after me, crying the most pitiful "Don't leave me, Mama!" cry. She isn't do very well with strangers right now, so it could be awhile before she is comfortable with me leaving her with a stranger to work out for an hour.

This gives us a great new activity to share as a family and a healthier past time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Super Kids Day!

Last Friday, Aidan's school had their field day event, they call it Super Kids Day. I was suppose to take Sean and Ella to Sean's field trip to the zoo but the weather was bad so I decided we'd stay in town and see Aidan instead. Aidan was really surprised and happy to see us there, I hadn't told him that we might go. I was the only parent there to cheer on their kid, in spite of the fact that all the parents were invited to come. It was a bit chilly, so I kept Ella bundled up in her infant car seat, and she slept most of the time we were there. Sean cruised around in the jogging stroller, I had to keep him confined so that he wouldn't try to compete as well!

They had tons of fun challenges for the kids to try. The kids were paired off in teams of two and matched with a 3rd grader, who led them to each activity and helped show them how to play it. I took a few photos of Aidan playing so we could show Daddy what he did. Aidan had such a fun time, I was so glad I got to be there to see him.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Scream, You Scream....

we all scream for ice cream! Especially SEAN! Woo hoo! Friday night we went out for cones after Aidan's kindergarten program (which was awesome! He did a great job!) and Sean swiped my cone from me. He went to town on it! So we shot a little video of the boys enjoying cones and being silly on our porch.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Little Babywearer

A couple days ago, I needed to run the vacuum while Doug was at work. Ella is not a fan of the vacuum, so I put her on my back in my Mei Tai to keep her calm. Sean got super jealous and kept trying to climb on as well, saying "horse! horse!" I explained that I couldn't do "horse" with two kiddos so he needed to wait.

When I was done, I took Ella off and put the MT down. Sean grabbed the MT and started trying to put it on. He asked me to "Help Peas." So I said, "Hmm ok let's see if you can carry a baby, too." Luckily, Ella had her little dollie right there.

What a good uncle he is already! :)