Monday, February 23, 2009

2 for Two. Or Two for 2. Whichever.

I’ve been meaning to update—Samantha’s been doing great in her bed, but she does have a tendency to wake a little earlier than we’d like. I think when she was in a crib and she woke up early, she’d get bored and fall back asleep again. Now she knows she can get out of bed. And empty out her drawers. And pull all the wipes out of the warmer. And read books. Amazing what she can do in the still-dark hours of morning, too. Naps are a little bit more difficult keeping her in bed, but she still does pretty well. Oh, we had to remove her crayons from her reach in her room when I discovered that she had been using the gate we have at her door as a blank canvas. I caught my budding artist in the act on Saturday.

On a verbal note, Sammi’s finally using 2-word sentences a bit more consistently. We’ll often hear, “elp pees” (help, please), “more aiooo” (more Caillou—she’s totally, completely, hopelessly addicted to the little bald 4-year old Canadian cartoon character), “more cookie”, “ehmo potty” (Elmo potty—she has a potty ring w/Elmo on it), “morning daddy”, “vaffle cooking” (LOL! She loves her frozen waffles for breakfast!), and the list goes on. Each day it gets a little better. Oh, and she’s unfailingly polite—yesterday she literally pushed Steve with both hands to get past him, saying “Mo-Mee!!” (Excuse me!), repeating it more urgently when he didn’t move fast enough, and laughing hysterically. *sigh* And if that wasn’t indication enough that this child is truly 2 years old, we were in Home Depot on Saturday afternoon and she was having a mini-meltdown in the shopping cart (for no particular reason, but the main word continuously coming out of her mouth, loud enough to find a dozen generally unhelpful salespeople, was “No!”), and a man shopping near us turned and said, “Two?” Yep. Totally. What gave it away? And for all of you that have told me that 3 is worse, I seriously find that hard to believe.

Settlement on our new house is on Wednesday! I can hardly control my excitement, and have been constantly looking at the photos I took there during the home inspection. I’ll even study them—increase the image size to 100% or 150% (or more!) and look at all the little details with a fine tooth comb. We had thought about having the carpets professionally cleaned and cleaning the rest of the place ourselves, but on one of my detailed photo inspections I discovered that in a corner of the kitchen, near the fridge and under the window sill, there were spots of spilled ketchup. Heck, if that’s there, who knows what might lurk in the bathrooms?? (hehe! I’m really not that prissy—I can clean if I need to.) Steve’s got a cleaning company coming in on Friday morning to give an estimate… Oh, and if anyone knows anyone who wants a hot tub, they’re welcome to it (they’d have to dismantle it and haul it themselves). We don’t want it. It needs some (probably fairly minor) repair, but we don’t want a) the liability, b) the work to maintain it and c) the increased costs in electric to run it, all for the novelty of having it that would wear off after about a month. I’d much rather use that space to make our yard bigger. The darned thing is the size of a small room.

Okay, enough for now. I’ll probably post again on Wednesday evening after we have the keys in our hands!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tales From The Toddler Bed

Nights one, two and three were pretty uneventful. Samantha was so tired that she fell right asleep in her new bed, and by the 3rd night we didn't even gate her room. We picked her up off of the floor a few times during the night, where she had apparently rolled out of bed and continued her blissful sleep halfway across the room, completely oblivious to her new location. Night four was Sunday. We put her in bed and ate Chinese food and began to watch a movie. About 1/2 hour in, we became aware of the pitter patter of little feet as Samantha came trotting out of her room, HUGE smile on her face, saying "Hi!" Steve and I just looked at each other, trying to decide if we should be stern with her, but we both started laughing and hugging her, telling her she had to go back to bed. Take two...ten minutes after she assured us that she was going to go to sleep, the little pitter patter began again, accompanied by the same cheery greeting, only this time, it was apparent that she needed a diaper change. After that, Steve cuddled her on the couch until she fell asleep, then he put her back into bed. Naps over the weekend were a bit more challenging, as Samantha seemed to think that it was playtime in her room. Lastnight, I realized that her room had to be gated. The gate didn't stop her from standing in her doorway, calling, "Hi!", but we were able to be a bit more stern with her. Tonight she only came to the door twice; the first time, I put her back in bed, and the second time, she closed her door, and I left it like that for a few minutes. When I looked in on her, she had gotten back into bed, and was sucking on her blanket (self-soothing at sleep time). I haven't heard a peep from her since, and have checked in on her to find her in the same peaceful position.

Now, I know this might read like watching paint dry for some of you, but I also know there are several of you who are considering bed transition for your toddlers in the near future, and have asked me how it's been going, so there you have it!

Aside from the cuteness of her little rebellious streak at bedtime, Samantha has been throwing some pretty major tantrums with me. Not with Steve, however. Just me. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I am with her primarily during the times that she is most tired (first thing in the morning when I've had to wake her up for school and last thing at night, when she's had just about enough). It totally makes me feel like a bad guy, but I just hope that it's a temporary phase for her. I've managed to stop her a few times from sinking her teeth into my arm, but haven't been able to avoid getting wacked by flailing arms. Time outs do kind of work for the most part, but aren't 100% effective. I just wish she would tell me what she wants instead of acting out in frustration. Welcome to the terrible twos.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just Some Pics

Just wanted to post some pics I took yesterday (click on the last image--it's soooooo much better to view it bigger!). I'll update in the next day or so with Samantha bedtime stories from her new bed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


In Real Life, we're all just a bunch of moms...different backgrounds, different interests, different, different, different. In Real Life we're also a local group of moms who have children with Down syndrome. This ties us all together in a way that "other" moms could never know or understand. In Real Life, we love our children more than anything, and acknowledge that they have taught us things about life and love and happiness and joy and determination and stubbornness that we never knew existed. And we are also the moms that air our lives out like open books on our blogs. I know many of you read some or all of our blogs, and we are truly fortunate to live close enough to each other to be able to get together from time to time. Well, this is a photo of the first time, a few weeks ago. We are, in order from left to right, Bethany of Life With Bubba, Chicky and Nika, Megan of Audrey and Stella's Playground, Amy of The Lamjav Family, Dorene (not a blogger, I don't think), me (eyes closed and all!), Pam (also not a blogger, I don't think), Michelle of Our Roads Traveled and Linda of Lila's Miracle Life. We'll definitely have to plan another get-together some time soon!

On another note, Samantha is finally herself again! She started eating again the night before last, and hasn't looked back! I'm so relieved. Thank you to all of you for your support and advice. I was so certain she was going to starve to death after not eating for nearly a week, but you all assured me that as long as she was getting her fluids she'd be fine and would start eating again when she was good and ready.

Also, we decided that we don't want to take her crib with us to the new house (it's got to be dismantled before it can be moved out of her room, then reassembled in her new room, only to have to be dismantled soon again), so we bought a new toddler bed for her from I placed the order on Sunday afternoon and it arrived last night! How's that for quick service? It arrived right after Steve left last night to his part time work as a 1 on 1 aide to a disabled man in a fitness class, and I decided that I was going to surprise him by having it assembled when he got home. I counted all of the pieces (always a good idea, especially after getting burned by IKEA a few too many times, being short-changed on the hardware!) and began to line things up. Of course those wordless instructions never seem to make sense. But I tried anyway, but didn't get past the first direction. I was so disappointed in myself! So there it all was, spread out across the living room floor, when Steve came home, tired and not feeling well, and had to put it together himself. I felt slightly vindicated, however, when he needed my help as an extra set of hands to get past the direction that had me stumped... Steve tried to give her a nap there this afternoon after school. He looked in on her twice, and caught her sitting by her bookshelf reading books, but each time, when he asked her to get back in bed and lie down, she did. She did fall off backwards once, though, when she tried to sit back and found there was nothing behind her, but no harm done. My chest swells with pride as I look in on my sleeping daughter tonight, curled up on her new bed. She didn't fall asleep right away, but she didn't make any attempt to get off of it, either.

One final thing before I close this out. Please click on the Traveling Afghan button on the right of my blog for a link to Little Miss E's blog and a wonderful idea for spreading the love, awareness and a bit of fun by perpetuating the travels of a handmade afghan through the lives and homes of people with Down syndrome.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


On Wednesday evening, Samantha began to refuse her dinner. By midnight, she was up throwing up. By Thursday, she couldn't keep anything down. Her pediatrician surmised that it may be rotavirus, and said that if she was still vomitting by that evening, we may need to take her to the emergency room for fluids. But before that, we got a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea pill, which seemed to do the trick. No more vomitting, at least for the time being. Friday, Samantha refused all fluids and food. When I got home from work, we took her to the emergency room, where, after being tortured a bit by catheters and vein-searching. The hospital confirmed that she indeed had rotavirus and that she was pretty dehydrated. We were there for about 5 hours, and were home by 12:30am. She slept through most of the fluids, while Steve and I sat and watched tv and drank delicious cups of fresh coffee the nurse made for us. Steve went for a few visits outside to have a cigarette and actually saw, separately, 3 people he knew! Two were the parents of one of the adults he works with (he works for the county part-time with adults with intellectual disabilities) and he also saw one of the guys with Down syndrome that he coached in the Special Olympics training last spring. Such a weird coincidence. Anyway, yesterday (Saturday), Samantha was doing much better. She was a little nauseous, so we gave her another Zofran and she ate a few bites of a waffle, some goldfish, some apple sauce and half a piece of toast with honey. She drank pretty well, too. Now today is another story altogether. It started off well, with her eating a whole waffle, but she refused to drink at all today, or to eat anything else. We finally managed to con her into drinking about 2 1/2 straw cups of juice (Powerade and Vitamin Water and Motts for Tots) and some apple sauce, but that was IT. Of course, I'm totally worried about her. I can't imagine having an empty tummy for so long. She's extra tired and particularly cranky, but otherwise still behaving somewhat normally. I'm really, really, really hoping for a turnaround tomorrow. Any advice? We really don't want her to end up back in the hospital. I guess not eating is okay, as long as she's hydrated and that we just have to wait out the normal course of this virus...? Poor little thing has been sick since about Christmas. She had a virus at Christmas, then a cold right afterwards, then a runny nose that wouldn't go away, then an allergy to Penicillin, now this.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Truly Amazing Artist

My cousin, Jenny, is an amazing artist. I think I blogged about her paintings of Samantha before. I just received an e-mail from her tonight to tell me that one of the paintings she did of Samantha (similar to and based on the same photo of Sammi as one she sent to me several months ago) won a $10,000 NZD prize (she lives in New Zealand) in a very important, highly acclaimed competition! She also said that the same painting was sold shortly after that (this all happened last week). An article about the painting and the award can be found at the Whakatane Beacon and the image can be seen at the top of this post. Below is the original photo on which it is based. I treasure the one that she sent to me, and I love her portraits in general--they have a very dreamy, nostalgic, otherworldly quality. You can see some of her images at Artist Insite, including one titled, "Samantha and the Bees." I am truly honored that she has used Samantha as one of her subjects.