Sunday, May 30, 2010

Piper can count!

Okay, not really, but she does have the one-for-you-one-for-me bit down.  Pat.

While eating ice cream, if I take two bites in a row without giving her one, she flips. out. 

I get yelled at.  She flings herself backward.  She flashes me that look of “how DARE you???”.

Justin and Rachel took us to Little Man Ice Cream last week, just for fun.  And to celebrate Rachel passing her CPA test (wahoooo!). 

How cute is this little place?


Yup, that’s a two-story milk can.



We had so much fun!  Good ice cream, fun atmosphere, pretty flowers…

Don’t let the clouds fool you, however.  We picked the hottest day of the year so far to go.  The car thermometer said over 90.  Piper was not a fan.  Poor kid- you can see how red she was getting (not a sunburn, I promise- just warm!!).P5280373


I felt really bad- Justin and Rachel have been waiting to take Piper, and ended up taking Miss Grumpsalot instead. 

Oh well, I guess that gives us an excuse to try again another day.  Heaven forbid we may need to take another trip down for ice cream.  Darn.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Who's gonna come with us?

So what are YOU doing July 16-18???

Piper and I are off to the National Down Syndrome Convention in Orlando with our friends Magan and Sawyer!  You wanna come with us?

I think we may have convinced someone into joining us- how about you, too?

Who's going?  Anyone planning on it? 

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on from this week, but I need to finish some work tonight instead (sigh...).  Hope you all have a delightful loooong weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bones to pick

Yesterday was a weird day.  Just a weird day.

We went to a story time at the library this week.  I was really excited to give it a whirl; we weren’t allowed to go to anything like that over the winter during sick season, and then Piper was sick, so it’s really the first time we’ve gotten the chance.  I’ve wanted to do it for a long time; I thought Piper would like to do something a little different, and I was excited to meet some other moms, too. 

We got there and there were only three other kids in the room.  A few others showed up after we started, but it was pretty lackluster.  The “teacher”/library led everyone, very somberly, in a few songs, read a story, sang another couple songs, another story, a few songs, made everyone walk in a circle (which she made a point to tell me that I could walk Piper around since she couldn’t walk herself- gee, ya think???), and then pulled out a box of books for the kids to read for about 5 minutes.  We were done and out of the room within 25 minutes total

I was kind of let down.  Piper gets read to all the time, and sung to (much to her disdain, I’m sure) a lot.  It was horribly segmented and choppy, not very engaging, terribly rushed, and just plain awkward.  But the part that go me was that the librarian made sure to bring me information about the importance of early literacy in infants, and told me why I should care.  I wonder if she could tell that Piper had Ds and “knew” that I wasn’t doing appropriate activities with her because of it.  She also mentioned during the class all of these reasons why it’s important to encourage kids to cross midline, looking at me the whole time…

Here’s my beef- I know that I look younger than I am.  I always have.  It’s a trait that I get from both parents, really, and one that’s a curse for the first part of your life and a blessing the second part.

But since having Piper, my frustrations are on a whole. new. level.

I have a whole diatribe that was going to delve into, but I’ll shorten it to this:  I wish I had a tattoo on my forehead that says “I’m not 16.  I was married for 7 years when Piper was born.  I have my bachelor’s degree for crying out loud.  And yes, I know what it means to have a child with Down syndrome.”  And frankly, I may actually pursue the option of the permanent placement on the center of my being if I didn’t need so many words.  No one would be able to read it anyway.  And besides, I have bangs.  And I’m not willing to look goofy for the sake of my sarcastic response to frustrating people.

So I think we’ll look into some other story times around for this summer.  I still think it would be fun, but I don’t need unsolicited advice on my parenting styles.

Anyway, after we left there, I was going to go to Burlington Coat Factory (which I’ve never liked going to, but they do have good prices on bottles, cups, spoons, that sort of thing, for babies) to find some new straw cups (I actually found some that work for Piper!!!).  Piper was ticked off, and wouldn’t calm down.  I think she had passed the point of no return for no sleep, and she was DONE.  So, after a little bit of not going to sleep, I thought I would nurse her and see if she’d fall asleep then.

So we walk over to the dressing rooms, which are dead-center in the middle of the store, and really quite open, so I could feed her.  I asked for a room, and the attendant lady told me that I could use the bathroom instead.


Where exactly do you expect me to do that?  Sitting on a toilet???  I was appalled.  I sat dumbfounded for a minute and told her that, no, I wouldn’t be doing that.  She then pointed at a little bench, outside the fitting rooms, that she’d “let” me use instead.  I didn’t have a hider, and Piper was screaming by this point, so I sat.  And fed the baby.  In the middle of the (thankfully relatively quiet) store.

If I had thought about it before I let Piper start, I would have gone and picked up a pair of 6XL men’s pants and ask to try them on. 

The whole exchange still just gets me.  I couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t let us use one of their empty and unused rooms.  Whatever.

Piper finally fell asleep, and I actually managed to get the whole way home before she woke up again.  At least the grumps were gone by that time.

I assure you, I was not smiling this big when we got home.

…and how can you not smile at that???

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shoe Shopper

It’s hot today.


We’ve only gotten over 80° about two or three days so far this year, so the 90° forecast for today and tomorrow is bordering on torture. 

The heat, though, made me realize that it’d be nice to have some sandals for Piper for these nasty hot days so that she doesn’t have to wear socks and shoes when we go out. 

Besides, it does give me an excuse to buy (ahem, another) pair of shoes.

Since we can’t find any in her size that are built for her level of use here in town, we resorted to online shopping.  Piper got to help pick them out.

Credit card in hand, she was perusing her options. 

This pair did not suit.P1050666

She found another pair that was okay, but didn’t particularly tickle her fancy.P1050661

And then she found them.  It was love at first sight.

She was very excited.

Until she discovered the down-side to online shopping.

The shipping times.

Here response?P1050696

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A love affair in the making

Piper and George

3 days old163

2 1/2 weeks old208

5 weeks old344

Fast asleep…  12 months old


Yup.  Undoubtedly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finger lickin’ good

Once Piper started eating solid foods, and started taking more and more at each meal, I started wondering what the appropriate serving sizes should be for her.  I couldn’t expect her to eat the full meal plan for a 12 month old because she’s not the size of a 12 month old.

So, because of that, I asked our EI if we could talk to a nutritionist to get some more information.  It took some time to get it scheduled, and after a little while, I noticed that Piper was falling off her curve that she had been on before.  So, to prevent any hounding I figured I was doomed to get at her 12 month checkup, I decided it was even more imperative to get the nutritional support started.

The nutritionist was able to come out the day before Piper’s checkup, which worked out perfectly.  As suspected, she was concerned with Piper’s (lack of) size.  Her solution, of course, is to add “as much bang per bite” as possible.  In other words, adding calories and fats to the food she’s already eating to give her enough to grow “better”.

The problem we have, however, is that Piper’s gallbladder was removed in February.  That means that fats are harder for her to digest.  If she gets too much in a day, her stomach bothers her (to the point she whimpers in her sleep and is almost inconsolable) and it messes with her insides.  So adding fats are not going to work (which, to the sadness of the nutritionist, includes Pediasure). 

Long story short, the doctors aren’t worried about her weight gain, so we just get to try things out and see how it goes.

We’re already off whole milk to 2%, and that seems to be helping a lot.  If I put her on 2% instead, she can handle some extra yogurt and cheese throughout the day, too.  We’re trying to get high protein, low(er) fat food in her instead.

So, I’ve finally gotten brave enough to let Piper eat some meaty things.  I haven’t been confident enough in her chewing and swallowing abilities to do much yet, but she really does hold her own quite well. 

We let her have a Chick-fil-a nugget the other day.  She looked at us in disdain, like she was saying “WHERE has this been all my life???”

She loves the chicken.  LOVES it.

So we’ve let her have lunch meat, turkey, and other kinds of chicken (ham she does NOT like).  She gets super excited when she figures out that’s what it is.  The only problem we have is making sure that she swallows BEFORE she gets the next handful in.  Sometimes she gets a little too excited, and forgets about that all-important step.

The absolute BEST part about this?

Piper has, for the past few days, eaten ALL of her lunch and dinner.  By herself.  We haven’t used any of the purees we have in he freezer.  She still gets her breakfast by spoon (cereal and yogurt are a little… advanced…), but I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to actually eat at the same time as she is. 

Even if she can’t quite see on to the table…

Note to self: always make sure we have the porta-chair in the right care before you go to the restaurant.  Fine motor skills are much more difficult to perfect when you’re working above your shoulders…

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do you remember these things?

Again I say--

Creativity can be dangerous.

Do you remember Jell-o Beans?  They were big about the last year that Jell-o sold the egg molds, golly, probably 12 or 15 years ago now.  P1050461

They’re a pain in the pattooty to get out, but they were kinda fun.

This generation, however, they are for Piper’s fine motor practice.  The cells are just the right size for a puffy and teeny tiny fingers to get them out.P1050464


I can put half a dozen puffs in different holes (so she has to look for them), and it’ll keep her entertained for quite a while.

Sometimes she’s willing to play the “game” nicely.  Other times, however, her patience is significantly less than it usually is.

Lack of patience often leads to solutions.  She figured out a better way to remove puffs from holes.P1050465

We won’t call it “laziness”, we’ll call it creative problem solving. 


Sunday, May 23, 2010

For the Dogs

We’ve gotten creative.

Poor Piper.

“Creative” usually ends in kind of, well, interesting results.

We do “creative” at our house.  I bet I can count on one hand the number of items that are used in our house the “appropriate” way (for example- did you know that a grapefruit spoon works as a very good, and very productive, seed and de-ribber of peppers?).

And because my daughter is vertically challenged, “creative” has become a necessity.

Today’s invention?



That’s a dog dinner dish.

A very nice dog dinner dish.

That the dogs are NOT allowed to touch.

I’m keeping puffs in one bowl (because we were told she needs snacks readily available these days, and let’s face it, food is the ultimate motivator), and a toy on the other side.  And it even has a cool drawer (that’s meant for dog food storage, of course) that we can keep toys in.P1050613

It doesn’t tip.  It’s the perfect height.  It’s wide enough for her to cruise back and forth on.  And she’s already getting up on her own. 

And since we (literally) have nothing else in our house that’s the right size for her to pull up on, it’ll have to do.

Dog dinner dish or not.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Heptad of Happiness

Our week in review.  All the stuff that wasn’t fully blog-worthy, but made me laugh nonetheless…

Sunday we went to the Lab Rescue race, right?  The funniest thing of the whole day (which, when you’re surrounded by hundreds of goofy dogs and their equally (or exceedingly) goofy owners is saying something) was one family.  Surrounded by 75+ pound dogs were two scrawny shitzu mixes.  In a baby stroller.  Seriously.  Seriously???

Monday my friend Alison and I went to the lakes over by our house and took Piper, and her two little boys, for a walk around and then a picnic lunch at the playground.  It’s only a couple miles down the road, and sadly, it was the first time we’ve been (but I won’t admit that…).  Both the babies fell asleep in the strollers on the way around, but Piper woke up pretty much as soon as we stopped.  A little bit later, when Noah woke up, Piper got excited.  Really excited.  She loves Noah, and really loves Jacob, Noah’s excellent big brother.  We let the babies play together for a few minutes when I started signing “baby” to Piper.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  That may be a difficult concept to grasp…P1050580

For Tuesday?  Suffice it to say I love watching the expressions on cashiers faces when you explain to them that yes, you are, indeed, looking for 3 month sizes for your one-year-old child.  They think you’re crazy until you try them on, and they see for themselves that you are, in fact, not crazy.  At least not about that.

Wednesday night I made Luke go to the store with me to try and get some new finger foods for Piper.  I’d really like it if she would feed herself more, but I haven’t really given her the opportunity to try a whole meal because we’ve been so consumed (no pun intended) with the calories.  I thought maybe she’d like canned peas- they’d be just the right size, and a little mushy, too.  Boy, was I wrong!  Peas?  Still a no-go.  Period.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Thankyouverymuch.  The handy (again, no pun intended) part is that they roll right out of her mouth.  No work needed!

Piper’s sleep schedule is completely. out. of. whack.  Completely.  And it’s driving me nuts.  Anyway, she woke up a few times Thursday in the middle of the night.  I’d go in to her room (as she was screaming), and find her face down, pointing the other direction from where we laid her down.  My conclusion?  She’s trying to get into sitting by herself.  In her sleep.  Apparently that’s how a little girl learns.  Whatever.  So long as she figures it out, and doesn’t suffocate herself in the meantime, I guess it’ll do.

I spent the entirety of a 45 minute car ride (while Luke was driving, I assure you) on Friday trying to get on video the funny faces (and sounds) Piper makes when she’s being silly.  And she’ll actually sign “silly” while she’s doing it.  Goofy kid.  Of course, any time I got the camera on, she’d stop because she was too interested in it (despite the fact that she always sees the camera).  Instead of her funny face, this is what I got.  Is it a bad sign that her stubbornness is already starting to show???

Piper helped vacuum the house on Saturday morning.  By “help”, I mean chasing me around the house in pursuit of the cord as I try to keep it away from her.  Yeah.  Vacuuming is so fun. 

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Droopy Drawers

I was going to let Piper wear some shorts this week, now that it’s getting warm, but I couldn’t.  The entire wardrobe of clothes I bought last fall for this summer does. not. fit.

The tags to Carter’s and Gymboree’s clothes clearly state that their size 3-6 month clothes begin at 12 1/2 pounds.  Therefore, Piper’s 3 month clothes should be very snug, if not outgrown, now that she’s a little over 12 1/2 pounds.  And those 3-6 month clothes should, at the very least, be fake-able. 

I wonder if I could sue for false advertisement.

Could you please explain to my why I just spent my whole day before last (and many days before that) completing an exhaustive search of every store in town that I could think of for 3 month denim shorts???

Apparently three month olds don’t need denim shorts, because they sure as heck don’t make them.  Anywhere.

Except for Carter’s.  I love having their outlet relatively close, because sometimes they’re the only option.

Miraculously, they did have several pair of non-cotton gym shorts in 3 month sizes.  I was so excited.  And they were even on clearance.  She got brown, khaki, denim, and pink (surprise). 

I was so excited that she had to wear a pair today.

My reward for my steadfasted shopping experience?

Shorts that are still way too big.  And no, the elastic is not stretched.  This is just the extra fabric.

Her knees?  No where to be found.

Her bottom?  Also, no where to be found.

My sanity?  Well, the only thing keeping that within reach is the prospect that her 3-6 month shorts, the many pair of 3-6 month shorts that were purchased last year, should fit fine for next summer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Growin’ and Strollin’

Piper, being my 24 1/2” 12-month-old, is having a lot of problems finding age-appropriate toys that are also size appropriate.

Luke’s grandpa got Piper this little grocery cart walker for her birthday.  Lo-and-behold, it’s actually not astronomically huge. 

I’m sure that her balance would be a little better if the handle was down more, but it works.  Well.  AND she loves it!!!  She’ll walk if she can feel one of my hands on her (she doesn’t have the confidence to do it herself), and will go all the way down one of our hallways. 

I think these little jammies make her look like a Who.  What do you think?


So, if you remember, at Piper’s 12-month well-child visit last week, we could answer “yes” to all the developmental questions asked by our pediatrician.

All, that is, except one.

We have been working, tirelessly, on getting Piper to move from laying down to sitting F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  And to no avail.

She’ll pull to stand.

She’ll move from sitting to laying.

For heaven’s sake, she’ll go from laying to standing.

But sitting to standing?


To back up a few steps, Piper was a preemie.  Because of this, she gets “credit” for her prematurity.  So, now that Piper’s 12 months old, we look at her as a 10 month old.  It puts her a little higher on the growth chart, which helps her tremendously.  They like to stop adjusting as soon as possible, and most preemies catch up well on growth fairly quickly.  They’ll allow the adjustment until her second birthday, so we still have some time there, but she’s definitely not caught up.  It also means that all of her milestones are based on her adjusted age as well.  A lot of the things Piper is doing are 12-month skills, so, although they are still adjusting for her size, her doctors are starting to “wean” herself off adjusting in developmental areas.

Anyway, because she was a preemie, she also has some tonal issues that we fight regularly.  Continually.  All.  The.  Time.  She likes to be straight, because when babies spend more time in the fetal position before they’re born, they learn to curl.  If they never had to curl, they use their muscles to extend instead.  Piper was pretty small when she was born, and more the size of a 29- to 31-weeker instead of the 32-weeker that she was.  And, on top of that, I had a lot more amniotic fluid than I should have because of her duodenal atresia, so she had even more space to move around in without having to curl. 

All this to say, Piper doesn’t like to bend, and it’s keeping her from moving into a sitting position on her own.

My question is this—To any of you parents with a preemie, did you have these issues?  If so, how did you combat it?  How did you little ones actually learn to sit?  We’re moving on from the “correct” way to do it, because I think it’s more important to grant her that independence than to focus on the “approved” way of getting there.  I don’t care how she gets there, we just want her to get there.  Any suggestions???

Okay, just ‘cause, I can’t resist this picture of her pulling to stand on Duncan.  I’m sure he’s glad his hair isn’t any longer.  And so am I- I pull enough hair out of her mouth after these experiments as it is...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I love family because…

…you can get credit for doing things by association.

My sister-in-law is case in point.

She runs.  Actually runs.  Does races kind of runs. 

Me?  Well, let’s just say that if you ever see me running, look behind for what’s chasing me.  And save me, because I’m bound to stop any second.

Anyway, Rachel ran the Lab Rescue race this weekend.  Justin and Rachel invited us to watch, because they thought Piper would have fun watching all the dogs. 

So we packed up all three kids (two four-legged ones and one two-legged one) on Sunday morning.  It was the first time they all shared a vehicle together.  I was praying that Duncan wouldn’t get nervous and jump over the seat to sit on Piper’s lap.

Piper, however, was ecstatic about her new view.  She laughed and waved and wiggled most the way there.  Until she fell asleep.P1050484

After we got to the park, with Piper unscathed, we found my brother.  She was very excited to see her uncle!P1050488

We watched the dogs play in the park for a little bit, but heard that there was a litter of black lab puppies that were up for adoption on the other side of the park.  No worries, Mom- we were not shopping for a new brother or sister for Piper (or Bel!!!).  BUT, we did have to go see.  I mean, really- how can you pass up holding a puppy???

Then we headed over to the playground.  We (meaning Piper) swung… P1050543

…and learned how to rock on the spring horse.  She figured out how to rock, and had a lot of fun.  Even though she was significantly smaller than the intended user.P1050493

We even got a couple pictures as a family (which never happens…)P1050499



…ignore the fact that poor Maggie, our black lab, is mysteriously absent from any of these pictures…  Not sure how that happened…  Poor, neglected Maggie.

We ended the day playing with the pretty yellow flowers.P1050521 


We are so unbelievably, over-the-top, bursting with excitement, ready for summer.  Piper is going to have so much fun at the parks this year, since she didn’t get to participate at all last year.  And they’re building dog parks in most of our local parks now, so the dogs are going to have fun, too.  AND we got the okay to take Piper swimming last week at the doctor.  So many fun things to do now that the weather is finally starting to get nice. 




Sunday, May 16, 2010

Birthday Pictures (Finally!!!)

Geez laweez, I can’t believe it’s been over a week since we had Piper’s birthday party.  I had full intentions of getting pictures up a lot sooner than now, but I’ve had problems sifting through and finding my favorites!  So, here we go!

Piper’s party was ladybug themed.  Here’s the invitation that we sent out.  I love the print center at Costco- they have a blank template in their cards/invitations that you can use, so I just created a document in Publisher and sent it over there.  I printed out address labels, and the invites were done!  The only problem was that the selection of stamps at the Post Office left something to be desired.  I had a choice between Purple Hearts and ugly fish.  So Piper got the ugly fish…   print invite for blog 

Everything we had was red and black.  And polka dotted. 

Piper even had herself a red and black polka dotted dress, which my mom made her.  Of course she needed black patent leather shoes to match.

Red and black licorice, and red and black jelly beans served as our “appetizers”.P1050358 

Red table cloths with red and black polka dotted ribbon accents.P5080007You can see the visors we had for the little kids.  They’re those little foam visors you can get at the craft store, and I painted black polka dots on them.  The little springs on the backs turned in to some of Piper’s favorite toys; I had to keep the extra hats we didn’t end up needing, just for the springs…

We set up big tents at the park for shade.  As big a pain as they are to set up, they sure worked nicely!  Add some hanging baskets and balloons, and we were ready for our spring party!P5080026

I set up a “bubble and ball station” off to the side for all the kids to play with.  MAN, was THAT fun.  I had about 15 big bubble wands that we set out, along with a huge package of different types of wands, and a bubble blower (thanks to LC and Jace for telling us which one to buy!!!).  Add the 22 kids, and every once in a while you could look up and see the whole side of the park covered in bubbles.  It kept all the little ones entertained for a long time!



We took up our barbeque, and my parents brought theirs up, too, so we could cook all the burgers and dogs as quickly as possible.  Dad and Luke, and my brother, too, I think, all had a hand in the cooking portion of the afternoon.  Thanks, guys!P5080012

Luke even got a “costume”, especially for him.  I don’t think he was very excited, but I think it was cute…P5080018


Moving on…

I wrapped red and black silverware in red and black polka dotted napkins and tied them with red and black ribbon.  At this point in the preparations, I started asking myself if I was really buying that quantity of black stuff for my child’s, my little girl’s, first birthday.  And I did it anyway…  P1050548

We also rewrapped little bottles of water and made new labels for the day.P1050547 

Most of the food we had was run-of-the-mill barbeque stuff, but these were my favorite.  I, unfortunately, didn’t have any pictures of ours, so you’ll have to settle for what they kind of looked like:crackers

For dessert, we had red (okay, pink) cupcakes with red and black (ie chocolate) sprinkles on the top.  And cherries, of course.  We also had ice cream cones, just for fun. P5080084

Piper had a fancy plate that matched her dress.  Almost a little too well…   IMG_3516 

I guess all that’s left were the favors.  All the little kids got one of these baskets with a painted bottle of bubbles, a slinky (since that’s one of Piper’s all-time favorite toys), and a ladybug book:  P1050552

…and the big kids got one of these:P1050550

Yoyos, Pop Rocks (I think Luke was hoping that there’d be some left over for him; he never gets these…), a magnifying glass (you’ll see why here in a minute), and a package of those capsules that you put into water and a foam bug pops out.  I took them out of the packaging, put them in a wedding favor bag, added red ribbon and a tag.  

And check these out!  Mom made one for each of the kids who came.  Could there be any cuter sucker holders???


And, of course, we had to have favors for the adults, too.  I got the little boxes from the wedding aisle at Hobby Lobby, and made the little tags to match.  Fill ‘em up with Hot Tamales, and voila!P1050075

Those are little wedding bottles of bubbles on the side.  But I forgot to put them out, so I’m guessing you’ll be seeing them for a different event in the future…

I also made chocolate suckers:P1050404


The absolutely best part, though?  Remember this???  Well, I couldn’t tell you what they were for that night, because I was afraid that none of our little kid friends would make it to the party.  I had a sneaky suspicion that we may have scared off some unsuspecting parents.

Yup, we gave away live ladybugs as party favors, too.  P1050274

I found favor buckets, which I painted red and black polka dots on.  Then covered the tops (tightly) with tulle and a rubber band.  The kids were so excited to see the bugs!  I think that most got taken home, although I’m sure that some got let out in the park, which was just fine!

What a great way to celebrate our little girl!  Thanks to everyone who came to help us celebrate!