Monday, February 23, 2015

Pumpkins at Four Months

We just recently had Leora's fourth month appointment. Both Kent and I are astounded at how quickly she's grown, she's now over 25 inches long which puts her in the 89 percentile for height, she weighs just over 12 pounds which makes her a bit of a beanpole since that puts her at the 26 percentile for weight. The doctor is sure it was a recent bout of illness where she had trouble keeping her food down that had her weight so low.
We are also amazed with how quickly she learns things! Perhaps it's because things have been different with having Eli, but it seems as if she learns new skills literally overnight. We've had so many therapies that I try and watch for the signs that tell me that she's at the brink of learning a new skill. Rolling over for instance is a huge milestone, but I seem to miss them all, because the next thing you know she's swinging her hips over and popped onto her tummy much to her dismay! She is so very deliberate in reaching for toys to stick in her mouth. at times i can see that focused concentration, furrowed brow as she sucks in her lower lip, determined to grab the ice cream cone i have in my hands. I love her independence and that I can place her in the bouncer and she will happily playing on her own so long as you chatter with her on and off and she can watch us busy with our work.
First selfie on my phone!

She still is fairly cautious of Elias, she quickly becomes silent when he comes near and if his pats are gentle she'll watch him with a wary expression. If his patting becomes a little firmer she'll begin to whimper as if to give us warning, "He's too close for my comfort right now!" As for Keila she always smiles warmly until the loving is much too suffocating and then hollers in protest. Isaac is always there to help when I can't give her the desired attention, he can pick her up or hold her in his lap while he plays and she likes the security that big brother offers. They will be such an interesting crowd as they get older.

We just began solids the other day and she was thrilled to try it out, ever so pleased with her big-girl self! She's had oatmeal and carrots and is unsure of the taste but happy to make a go of it every meal.
She's grown so very much, it happens all too quickly. How we love our sweetie little pumpkin pie!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine Weekend Happenings

Isaac and Kent attended the rock and mineral show in Tucson Arizona for this Valentine's Day. It was a dream come true for Isaac as he was in his element! He was very happy with the rocks that he took home and even help to pick out a small surprise for Keila.
Kent went there looking for a gift for me and really wanted to get this jade necklace but it costed entirely too much, especially given that Eli loves ripping things off my neck so I got this texted to me instead! ;)
Keila I had some girl time and which included doing our nails, watching frozen, eating all her favorite foods, and she even got to sleep in my big bed! Things apparently would've been a little more fun if the two youngest weren't around so she's considering going next year with The boys.
Eli attended his very first birthday party! Normally he hasn't responded positively to these events. Even his very own party has him staring at all the people, overstimulated by all the action he doesn't even touch his own cake. I was a little worried, but excited as well for this social learning opportunity. We watched the Signing Time episode on birthdays, reviewd the signs and told him his friend Martin from preschool invited him to a party, did he want to go? It was a clear "Yah!" To my total surprise he took a moment to observe and then jumped right in to play. He clapped enthusiastically when we sang the birthday song and nothing stopped him from devouring a cupcake either! He was clearly exhausted after the event though.
The bounce house was the most overwhelming, but once he was out of there, I could barely get him to pause long enough for a few pictures.
The joy of being the youngest is that you have many hand-me-downs. Keila never had as many dresses is Liora and it's always a treat picking out what she will wear for the next Sunday. I tried to capture some of the dresses and her on one of her sick days but she wasn't very cooperative. She kept her smile hidden until Kent came home and he managed a few happier shots of her, all decked out in her finery.
Gotta love these kiddos! They're the best Valentine I could ask for!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"More Bao Bao!"

Sometime parenthood sucks! - just saying. Other times its brings an otherworldly joy .... I know those are totally opposite statements but I just had that experience the last 3 weeks. It was one crazy roller coaster with me both screaming from joy and frustration. If this seems like a sarcastic post, it's my attempt on putting humor on circumstances that had me in tears at times. Laughter or tears people, you pick!

It all started (cue the music, image gets fuzzy - here goes the backstory!) with Isaac getting Influenza A. I glued a bowl by his side as he woofed up recognizable contents of his stomach throughout the day until only clear water came. I tried to quarantine him but with three other children that was like keeping ants away from sugar! Seriously, what is the fascination of seeing someone's stomach contents?! Not time for 'can you guess what that blob is" - that's a game much safer played with clouds. My joke for sanity at this time, "hey, way less cooking! - for everyone!"
Pictures are from this morning, with most of us much healthier. My growing man obsessed as ever with Legos.

Around this same time Eli began to discover the joys of freeing himself from anything except what he was born with during nap time. Duct taping diapers (now known as a 'black belt) and pinning pjs was our first attempt of many to address the issue but this kid could put Houdini in his place! (Positive note, we now know hes overcome a texture issue he had before!) With all possible bodily fluids floating around I took to sanitizing the house, bedding and toys, including wiping down doorknobs.

Keila got it two days later but she seemed to recover quickly except for a residual cough. I breathed a sign of relief too quickly and thought we were out of the land mine. Four days later Kent was hit, what's worse is it developed into walking pneumonia. With fevers running high, we had all sorts of strange night walking and nightmares to deal with - from crying and screaming in the middle of the night to Keila wandering out to say I needed to stop the chains from growing over our house. I was running low on sleep since Leora was still feeding but I stubbornly held on to a positive note since she and I and Eli had remained unscathed. I sanitized once again (do know how filthy board books can be?!?). Put it this way, things are bad when you're consulting a CDC website to try and contain disease!
These two were such hams this morning! I love Keila's expression, Eli's kisses can be a little mushy at times!
Then came Eli's turn and of course it was over the weekend. With Down Syndrome there are additional worries due to their anatomy when they get sick. Their 'tubing' if you will, is narrower, making it almost like a capillary tube that when placed near fluid 'sucks it up' all on its own. Ear infections are guaranteed and with his aspiration (tendency to breath liquids into lungs) pneumonia was a high risk. We went into urgent care which was packed to the brim! Five hours later the little man was happily in bed dosed with a pediatric version of Tamiflu from a pharmacy 15 miles from home. There's a shortage of it and we made visits to over four 24 hr pharmacies to find it.
The combination of sleeplessness, nonstop cleaning and children who could not be comforted, I was seriously depleted. Post partum depression always hits me the hardest after the three month mark and it all perfectly coincided to create a day of non stop tears. Just after that horrid day, I was trying to coerce Eli into taking his medication. All our wrestling attempts to get it down earned me several kicks in the chest and in danger of developing mastitis along with a perma smell of bubble gum in my clothes and hair. Since so much with him is a battle of wills, I told him he could have his bread for breakfast after he took his medicine.

In our family we often use words in Chinese, simply because many are easier to pronounce for young children and bread is known as 'bao bao'. Forty some odd minutes later, lots of yelling and hitting (on his part) and plenty of tears (on my part) our whole family heard him yell,"more bao bao" clear as a bell. It is the first clear vocalization we have EVER heard from him and we were elated. Very frustrated that his communication brought only laughter, cheers and tears (once again from me) he finally gave in to ungracefully taking his meds.

Previous to this you could see him working to form words with his mouth but was always unable to produce the breathe needed to make the sound. It really was such a triumph that he stringed three sounds together so distinctly (and a testament to his motivating anger) that had me filled with such joy. All those hours of working on sounds and lip and tongue movements were not wasted - not ever! I was so pleased to be his mother at that moment.
I'm still sleepless. Thankfully eli only has a double ear infection, though his difficluty breathing had me checking his lungs often. Leora sick and everyone's coughing drives me nuts but somehow the weight of it all is lessen by that one moment of triumph. Things are better especially since Kent makes sure I get in some exercise each day to help with the depression. I find myself literally and figuratively running away for a time but eventually the rhythm of it all has me running back, happy and grateful for a place I call home where we are learning and growing together. Parenthood is hard but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. Besides, where will I get my material for all the stories I'll tell my grand kids!

The following video of a child with DS singing is amazing and helps to explain why these people have such a hard time learning to talk. Their determination amazes me.

Motherhood s the hardest job ever and I've only tasted a tiny part. Dont ever let anyone tell you otherwise. it works at you physically, emotionally, spiritually ... every way possible. Someday though if I'm ever asked what my greatest accomplishment is, it will be to say I'm a mother!