Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I wasn't sure what I wanted to write today. So, here goes.
It's not about actually calling someone with a disability a retard - who even does that? It's about someone just saying "don't be such a retard" or "that's retarded", etc. Not even thinking that someone might overhear or that their kids are picking up on that language and using it.
It's about using the word "retard" or "retarded" when what you really mean is that you made a poor choice, something is strange, it was a dumb mistake...surely we're all bright enough to choose a more appropriate word from our vocabularies.
And, yes Mr. President, it's about not comparing your poor bowling score to the athletic achievements of a Special Olympian. You frankly don't deserve to stand in their company.
Before Kira arrived, I did it, too. I know I made reference to the short bus or someone being "special" and I am deeply ashamed. I don't think it's hypocritical, though, to say "I made a mistake and I'm changing that right now."
So, please, for Kira, take the pledge - spread the word to end the word.
Monday, March 30, 2009
2. I'm enjoying touching base with the quieter/less likely to chat on the phone halves of couple friends. (Hey Sran and Teri!)
3. Thanks to facebook I found out that while I was busy getting married and birthin' babies, my friend Bonnie was learning how to do this. How cool is that!?! And she was already pretty cool to begin with!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
#1 - Chapstick Naturals are $1.99 and you get a $2 RR when you buy one.
#2 - Softsoap Bodywash is $3.99 and you get a Register Reward for a free bodywash when you buy one. There is also a $1/1 Softsoap Bodywash coupon in today's paper. At least for now, this particular deal is "rolling". That means that you buy your first bodywash and get a coupon for a free bodywash. When you "buy" your free bodywash another free bodywash coupon is printing. This is a glitch that may or may not get fixed during the week. ETA: www.hotcouponworld.com - shows that the rolling is over.
I had another RR to start with, but if I was a first-timer here's what I would do:
Buy the Chapstick Naturals spend $2 and get a $2 RR. Use that RR and the $1/1 Softsoap coupon and buy the Softsoap bodywash - your oop (out of pocket) will be .99 + tax and you'll get the coupon for the free bodywash. Then you can just keep "rolling" your free bodywash.
ETA: to use the $1/1 Softsoap coupon and the RR you'll need two products (because the RR is a manufacturer's coupon as is the Softsoap coupon) - so you could buy the Softsoap and one of the 5/$1 pencils in this week's ad.
Even if they fix the glitch, for $3 oop you'll have 1 Chapstick Naturals and 2 Softsoap bodywashes. Not bad for $3. If you continue receiving Free Bodywash RR's, you're only limited by stores, stock, and how much gumption you have.
The $2 Chapstick RR will NOT roll. So, if you use it to buy another chapstick, you won't get another $2 RR. Also, you'll only receive 1 $2 RR per transaction. So, if you buy two Chapsticks at one time, you'll still only get one $2 RR.
Clear as mud? I know some of you coupon, so just wanted to post this in case you missed it! If you're wanting to get started couponing and have any questions, please ask! I LOVE turning people into couponers.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Like when you get to watch your sweet boy excitedly peering over the counter, hopping from foot to foot, doing a little skippy-jumpy-spinning dance, rubbing his hands together in gleeful anticipation of the bigger-than-his-head-triple-scoop-all-the-way-banana-split being prepared just for him. And then when he proclaims it the "bestest ice cream in the whole world!".
Priceless and all that.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
She's been playing "...'ide and boo" like peek-a-boo forever, but this is the first time it actually looked like a formal game of hide-n-seek. I'm sure glad I figured out we were playing it! Who knows how long she would have stayed in there.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
My darling sister showed up to give me a couple of hours respite from the parenting. (I love you, Sarah.) She saw Kira's hair for the first time and said, "Now she's got the do to go with the 'tude." I totally agree!
So, yeah, that's it really.
P.S. Buttface muppet did have me laughing out loud, though.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
She said: I think I still haven't made peace with the fact that he has Down syndrome. I don't know if I ever will. There are other parents in the Ds community - lots of you who read this - who say they wouldn't change that about their child. And I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.
The first month or so that Kira was here, I said to my husband, "I wish someone would tell me when I'll quit thinking DownsyndromeDownsyndromeDownsyndrome every time I look at her." If another mom asked me that question today, I wouldn't have an answer for her. It's there every.single.time I look at my beautiful girl. I think it a million times a day.
I think, though, that I'm ok with that. Down syndrome is as much of who she is as are her gorgeous eyes, her strawberry blonde hair (so much like mine when I was her age), and her Daddy's cheekbones. Down syndrome is intrinsic to every cell in her body.
Do I wish she wouldn't have cognitive delays? Yes
Am I terrified for her future? Yes
Do I wish that she was knocking out milestones left and right, just like her brother did? Of course
Do I mourn what could have been? Absolutely and often when I least expect it. It hits me like a punch in the stomach.
Would I change the fact that she has Down syndrome? No
My girl is:
Empathetic beyond her years
Quick to forgive
Happy - and over-the-moon when someone else is happy
A daredevil - much to her mother's dismay
Who would she be without Down syndrome? I have no idea. But, I know that this kid, this one that I have right now, is perfect.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Just wanted to let you know that my family loves Product X. If possible, could we please be added to your mailing list? Thanks!
It takes about 15 seconds and I usually receive coupons from the company within a couple of weeks - sometimes even for free items. It's a great way to get coupons for organic/natural products. So, figure 10 minutes to make a quick list of 5-10 products and email the companies. Even if all 10 companies only send you one $1/1 coupon - it's still $10 for your 10 minutes of work.
If you're organized, jot down the date you contacted the company. Most of the time they don't have actual mailing lists and they'll tell you that in their reply. Your contact info is usually purged from their system in three months. So, you can contact them again in three months and receive another round of coupons. (I'm not that organized, though!)
Kickin' it up a notch - Once you get the coupons in the mail, don't run right out and use them - unless you need whatever it is right then. Wait until the product goes on sale, or is part of a larger promotion.
For example, you receive a coupon for Free Bodywash X. You can run out and get your free bodywash or you can wait and see if that particular bodywash will eventually earn an Extra Care Buck at CVS or a Register Reward at Walgreens. If you use it then, you'll have your free bodywash AND "money" to spend at that store. The product is going to be free up until the expire date on the coupon - it's up to you when to use it. Just be sure to use it before it expires!
Monday, March 16, 2009
She called me today to brag that her Kroger was adding a gas station. She just wanted to let me know that she was totally pumped.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
What exact age did you start speech?
And how did you teach the straw/cup?
We had an evaluation with our speech path when Kira was 2 months old. Kira and I had a rough start to breastfeeding. I wanted a speech path to make sure that Kira's latching on looked ok. (I didn't want Kira to have to "re-learn" how to hold her mouth, etc.) When I called ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) to set things up initially, I requested the eval. Luckily, Patricia (our speech pathologist) was able to make room for Kira pretty quickly. We started seeing her regularly less than two months later. I don't know how soon speech services would have begun if I hadn't made that initial request.
Using a straw:
We started our son using a straw really, crazy early - like around 2-3 months. Sucking a straw is very similar to breastfeeding. My mom is a l&d nurse and suggested starting it early - using expressed breast milk in a cup. He was able to do it immediately. I hadn't even thought of doing it with Kira (so many other things on my mind at that time), until Patricia suggested it. Kira was right at 5 months, I think.
To get Kira started, I first put the straw in a cup of breast milk and held my finger over the end of it to create a vacuum. Then I put the straw in Kira's mouth and let the milk dribble in. We did that a few times, so she'd get the idea. Then I put the straw in the milk and let her try. I honestly can't remember how long it took her to figure it out, but I'm thinking she caught on that first day.
ETA - just thought of this - when we started we cut the straws really short (like about 1/3 of the straw), so that Kira wouldn't have to work too hard to get the reward of the drink. She didn't use a full size straw until a few months later.
Using a cup:
Kira's first few speech therapy visits were all about drinking and eating. Initially, we supported Kira's jaw when she drank from the cup. I'm sorry, but I can't remember exactly how Patricia had us do that. I think I held my thumb and pointer finger in a "U" shape and supported Kira just under her jaw - you'd want to double check that with a pro, though. We helped with the jaw support until Kira regularly drank without letting liquid dribble back out.
We also made sure that the cup rested on Kira's lip, not on her tongue. If she stuck her tongue out in anticipation for the cup - I'd wait until she had retracted it before I let her drink.
Using a spoon:
I'm thankful that we had Patricia around when we started Kira on solids. I know 5 months is early to start, but Kira was practically yanking food out of our mouths at that point. When you start spoon-feeding a baby, you usually do that whole scoopy spoon movement - where you put the spoon in and then lift it up, sliding it against their lip as you pull it out. Patricia told us not to do that (and man was that hard to re-learn after feeding Jackson).
Patricia had us put the spoon straight into Kira's mouth - like perpendicular to her mouth. Then Kira would do the work to get the food off of the spoon. Patricia also recommended not using the spoon to wipe food off of Kira's face (you know when you scrape, scrape, scrape then feed that whole extra spoonful to your kid). She wanted to make sure that Kira knew exactly what her mouth was supposed to do when presented with a spoon.
Speech up to about 12 months:
So, until Kira was about 1, speech therapy was mainly about eating and mouth exercises. Patricia had us do a "palate swipe" - kind of a massage for Kira's palate. The purpose of it was to help Kira's palate come down a little in her mouth, so that her speech would sound more typical later on. If you have "regular" muscle tone, when your mouth is relaxed your tongue kind of sticks to your palate and slightly pulls on it. Babies with low tone, however, will typically have their tongues resting at the bottom of their mouths.
We also did an exercise where we would put our pinkie finger where Kira's jawbones meet and let her bite, bite, bite. This was to help with strength and mouth posture (I think).
There may have been a couple of others - I'll go back through Kira's paperwork (if I can find it) and check.
Speech after 12 months:
Once Kira started regularly babbling and saying a few words, we started the sound card system. I think it's something that the group our therapist works with started. More info here.
The sound card system uses pictures and signs to cue sounds. Each of the 21 initial consonant sounds has a name, picture, and a sign/visual cue. We used the cards for several months. Now, we just use the cues.
So, for example, the "h" sound (like in "hello") - the name of the sound is "tired dog", the picture is of a dog, and the cue is holding your hand in front of your mouth like you're feeling the air coming out as you make the sound.
If Kira is trying to say a word and I want to isolate the sound, I use the cue while saying the initial (or ending) sound. I usually repeat the sound, word, and cue a couple of times. Then, I'll use the actual sign for whatever word I'm saying.
For example, the word dog. I'd say "d" (use cue) - "d" (use cue) - "dog" (then pat my leg - the sign we use for dog).
For us, speech therapy was initially about prepping Kira's mouth for speech. Now, we've moved on to actually producing speech. I'll post more later about the sounds she's mastered, what we're working on, and so on.
I'm happy to answer any questions, so y'all feel free to ask!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
What's New/Progress: Put on shorts yesterday, beginning 2 word phrases, puts trash in trash can independently.
- taking on/taking off simple clothing with minimum assistance
- open/close zippers with assistance
- string beads (3)
- imitates drawing a circle and horizontal line
Recommendations: continue strategies
I think it was a good visit. Last month, Laurie recommended tying a small piece of ribbon in a loop to the zipper pull of a small change purse. Kira can hook her finger through the loop to open and close the zipper, until she builds up enough hand strength to grasp the pull itself. She's doing pretty well with this task. We have to place her hands in the correct spot, but she's doing a good job with the pulling.
The switching hands concept is also something we are working on with the stringing beads. Kira understands to put the wooden needle in the hole and pushes it all the way through. We're working on the next steps of switching the bead to the other hand , then grasping the needle and pulling it the rest of the way through, and finally, pulling the bead on down the thread.
"Showing empathy to brother" - On this one, I have to say how lucky Jackson is to have Kira for a sister. He'll get upset with me and go storming off mad and crying. Kira will go to him and pat his back. She'll say "urt?" (hurt) or "ad?" (sad). She'll give him great big hugs and try to cheer him up. Every now and then, he'll be sitting in time-out because of something he's done to her. And she'll be sitting right there next him, consoling him. All is forgiven in about 2 seconds.
The trash can mention is one of those things that I appreciate Kira doing, that I never took the time to notice when Jackson started doing it. I realized the other day that she's gone from throwing random things into the trash can to actually throwing trash in it. I think one of the positive things of parenting a child with Ds is getting to appreciate those small accomplishments and to recognize how those seemingly tiny things add up to really big deal things, like the hope for independent, successful living later on.
Laurie also mentioned a really cool idea that she saw at a daycare the other day. We're past the baby food stage, but maybe someone else can use this tip. At the daycare, they were using this type of baby food container:
to make blocks with. They would glue little toys inside and then glue the lids on. What a great, thrifty idea for see-through blocks! All I ever thought to do with those was to re-use them for cheerios, etc. in the diaper bag.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Blogs I love:
It was hard to just pick 7! Thanks again, Lisa!
Kira saw her Service Coordinator today. Here's the report:
What's New/Progress: Kira is starting to imitate words on request. She is saying many single words along with a sign.
Goals/Outcomes: overall developmental progress
Routines (summary, observation, assessment, plan): Kira said "eat bites" and "read books". She is starting to work on putting her pants on. Putting on her brother's pants today. She said "bye birds" after looking at birds outside.
Recommendations: Continue to encourage 2 word spoken phrases - her language progress is wonderful. See Help at Home sheets for new ideas.
Visited with mom about recent family activities.
I did not have high hopes for today's visit when it started. Kira sat on the couch all sulled up (is that just a Texas expression?). I have never seen that look on her face. Wendy (her coordinator) would try to initiate play by handing Kira things. Kira stacked each thing up away from Wendy, as far as she could get away from her. I swear she was hiding her books and toys so that Wendy wouldn't touch them.
Amazingly she cheered up - the rest of the visit was wonderful! She is just starting to speak around other people. Until now, she would only talk to Derek, Jackson, and I. She would NEVER repeat things when I asked her to, around anybody else. Well, today, she was a little showgirl. I about fell out of my chair when she repeated "bye birds." She's never said those two words together, and she has never repeated something a non-family member said.
She's been trying to put pants on recently. She can get one leg in. Well today, she got a pair of brother's shorts and sat right down and put both legs in. She was on our ottoman, so I stood her up and she reached down and pulled up the front of the shorts. Little toot was showing off!
Wendy gave us a stack of activity sheet type things that discuss the various developmental milestones she'll be tested on when she turns 3. I'm excited to go through them. I'll post anything that looks interesting.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I was out buying a gift for a birthday party on Sat and Joann's had a bunch of stickers on clearance. I found a cute set of farm-themed stickers with 2 of each sticker for .97. Jackson and I used index cards and in about 5 minutes had our memory game.
We've played several times. Kira's not quite ready for the actual memory game, so we've been using it for sorting activities, colors, and of course, two-handed play putting it in/taking it out of the ziploc bag.
I think it's great because I can throw the ziploc in my bag and have a quick activity for waiting rooms, restaurants, etc. And if a piece gets lost or ruined, no biggie, it only cost a buck!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
A little couponing intro: We're a family of 4, plus one 22-lb cat. I budget $250 a month for all of our food, hba, paper goods, diapers/wipes, and cat supplies. We eat primarily organic, whole foods - I always mention that when I discuss our budget/my couponing. There is a misconception out there that people who use coupons only feed their families crap - and that's just not the case for us.
Anyway, here's my Walgreens' haul so far this week:
3 jumbo packages of Huggies Pull-ups - $10 each
I used 3 $2/1 manu coupons
I also used the $1/1 coupon that's in a Walgreens' coloring book. (Walgreens allows "stacking" - using one manufacturer and one store coupon on one item.) - the coupon took $1 off of each package of pull-ups
After tax, my total was $22.68 and I received a $10 RR (register reward - a coupon good for my next order.)
Irish Spring Body Wash $4.49
Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste $2.49
Gillete Fusion Gamer Razor $8.99
Russell Stover Candy Egg .39 (I thought the razor was .50 less - so I really didn't need to get this.)
I used the previous $10 RR, a $1/1 manu q on the Crest, a $4/1 manu q on the razor for a grand total of $1.36. I received a coupon for a free Irish Spring Body Wash, a $4 RR for the razor, and a $1 RR for the toothpaste.
Later, I'll go back out and do the following:
3 Huggies Pull-ups
Irish Spring Body Wash
2 small fillers - probably more candy for the easter baskets (the RR are technically manufacturer coupons. Since I already have coupons for all of the items, I have to have "fillers" - items that the RR can attach themselves to.)
I'll use the free coupon, the $4 RR, the $1 RR, 3 $2/1 Huggies Pull-ups, and the coloring book coupon.
My total should be $18.12 and I'll receive another $10 RR
something small to get me just over $10
After my coupons and RR, I'll pay a few cents (whatever tax I owe) and I'll have another $4 RR and $1 RR to save for next week's deals.
I'll submit my receipts for the Huggies for a .75 per package rebate - and end up getting $4.68 back.
So - to summarize - for just under $43, I'll have:
6 jumbo packs of Pull-ups
2 Irish Spring body washes
2 Fusion Gamer razors
2 Crest Pro-Health toothpastes
Candy to start easter baskets with (or more likely, to guiltily sneak myself when the kids aren't looking.)
$5 in RR to use later and another $4.68 in the mail in a couple of weeks. (I don't like to calculate my savings backwards. Any RR left over or rebates expected just count towards my next deal.)
I love coupons!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Kam and Teri are dear friends of mine from way, way back. Kam is what would happen if Martha Stewart and Katie Brown could breed. Teri is an amazing, professional chef. Attending an event in their home is seriously like stepping into the pages of a magazine spread. Good food, Good friends, Good wine (or mimosas!) - just lovely, always!
AND, their son Vin is freakin' adorable! AND he just started crawling - GO VIN!
(I'll hopefully have pictures from the party on my own blog soon.)
There are so many great couponing blogs out there, that I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel. I plan on periodically posting couponing info and really great deals like this one. However, if anyone ever wants more info on couponing in general or any specific deals - just leave a comment and I'll get back to you.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I started following Ds blogs when Kira was around 6-7 months. I think I found Ella first, followed by Kaia dancing. Ruby reminds me so much of my daughter at that age. Finn's mom reminds me so much of myself at the beginning of our journey, only much, much braver. Georgia's mom amazes me with her candor and wit - I think our kids are about the same distance apart, only the dynamics are reversed. The Special K's and Bubba, Chicky, and Nika make me wonder if my kids might have a sibling waiting for them in a faraway land.
I am so incredibly thankful for all of the amazing moms who've helped us, without even realizing it. Hopefully, we'll help someone else out in the next weeks, months, years...
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
We're working on more two word combos, more spoken language, adjectives and pronouns. I think our girl is pretty amazing. When we see other families with kiddos who have Ds, they want to know who our speech path is, what we've done, etc.
Here are the things I think we're doing to help:
- I breastfed her until she was 25 months - I think this was great exercise for her mouth. I didn't think it would be possible the first couple of weeks she was here - it was a hard fought victory (more on that later).
- We did start speech therapy early. For the first 6 months of therapy, we did lots of mouth exercises, stretches, etc. Since then, our therapy has been mainly maintenance - since we only see Patricia once a month.
- We have never used a sippy cup. Kira started using regular straws and drinking from a cup at around 5-6 months.
- Sign language. We used sign language with Jackson, too. I'm so thankful that we did. It was one less thing to have to be intimidated by, when our world was rocked by Kira's diagnosis.
- We read constantly.
- I never shut up.
Having said all of that, I also think that Kira's plain old everyday chromosomes set her up to be a communicator. Jackson was speaking in complete, completely understandable sentences by 18 months. By 18 months he referred to the clock on the oven as the "hot clock". Brownies were "candy bread" and my mom's dressing was "chicken cake". He has a way with words. Kira's therapist calls him "hyper-verbal." He turned two right as we were beginning all of Kira's therapies, so I actually have professionals who witnessed him at that age! I think Kira's development pretty much mirrors Jackson's - just with the addition of her extra genetic material.
oops...she's up from her nap. more later
Jackson is at the point where he really only needs one or two naps a week. Kira thinks she's at that point, too, but she's wrong.
We had Jackson's 4th birthday party this weekend. We had about 50 people in our tiny house. It was so much fun - I'll post pics as soon as I get some! We actually didn't take any, so I'm relying on the partygoers.
Last week was crazy trying to get ready for the party. The kids watched WAY too much TV. This week we've declared a no TV week, except for a couple of family movie nights. I'm really proud of us for doing this. I think we use it as a babysitter way too much. Kira keeps pointing to the TV and saying "atch?". Her brother is trying to figure out a way to trick me into turning it on.
Jackson: "Mom, you have two choices."
Jackson: "We can watch TV or we can be bored."
Me: "I choose bored."
Jackson: "That's not the right choice."
Anyway, without the TV, I've been fully present Mom. And that. is. exhausting. For all of us. I think that's why they actually both went down for a nap. (And did I mention that they're both asleep at the same time!?!)