corner view: summer

May it be filled with:

porch reading:

splish-splashin at home, pool and oceanside…


dedicated rose-smellin time…

free time with pals…

lots of weekend birthday parties celebrating the lives of little ones…

& summer bounty from the garden (and hopefully the mind, spirit & inspiration to not let it go to waste!):

A season of fun & festivities is here! Travel around the world and see how summer is blooming:

Zuzuday: Our lil fashionista…

I probably should make this a regular category unto itself to be fair or give a full picture of this little girl’s big personality.  From early on we’ve asked Zuzu this or that when getting dressed in the morning. We thought we were teaching her about choices and avoiding tantrums and maybe somewhat out-witting her. It didn’t take many months though for her to develop clear preferences: polka-dots, stripes, dresses, skirts, pink, hats, headbands, layers, multiple patterns within an outfit, a matching backpack or bag filled with her selected favorite things for the day, tutu’s, sparkles, hearts, sandals, flip-flops, a necklace and pink-sparkly toes if she can get Momma to sit down and paint them.

We worried at first what people must think with some of the combinations she came up with. But really, I don’t think anyone doubted that she dressed herself and if they did- well she is quick to set them straight.

Not that she hasn’t taken a cue or two from Dad. He is in charge of getting her out the door in the morning. So there are prompts about what “matches” means. And she’s pretty creative in her explanations as to how they match if she feels Lovey hedging, “But see how the tiny purple flower on the bottom of the skirt matches the purple in the plaid pants that go under it and how the green plaid stripe in my pants match the green in the polka-dot on my top Daddy!”

She tells me she wants her hair braided like Shana’s, or in a pony like mine, or needs her night-night headband when she’s done with the tiara for the day. She wears the sparkliest shoes she can get away with and in winter a jacket, hat, hood, mittens and a vest if she can get to them before it’s out the door time. There’s really no point in shopping for her without her consent any more. You can do it. But odds are it will remain folded in the bottom of her drawer. Unless of course it comes alongside a matching mini-version for her sis…

Since the Quail has come along, she’s tried to sneak herself back into the newborn size onsies when we aren’t looking and come out looking more than a little like a dancer, and not the reputable kind. She’s had complete and utter meltdowns if there are bear jammies on her sister and she can’t find a matching set for herself. She’s also quick to complement me if she catches me in a skirt or any color other than black. She would very much like us to  match but is less than inclined to don the solid basic colors of black and white.

The girl’s got style and maybe some day she’ll give me a make-over.

The Girls: In our garden the Tulips** are sleeping and the Abelias* are blooming~

So….I think I might have an inklin how the average family spends their days and nights! Now I don’t want to brag, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but get this- at night…my girls…they go to sleep.

 Right around 7pm, The Quail, she does this thing- where she suddenly has had enough of us, no more good cheer, no more smiles, no- it’s fuss, fuss, “Hey someone should have known to get me a bottle two minutes ago!” fuss. We oblige; sneaking an extra ounce of milkshake in for good measure, lay her down in her practically-new- never-been-slept-in-before-by-another-child- and-no-we -didn’t-just-buy-it-in-February-2009-crib; propped just a little bit upright, for good, aspiration-prevention measure, tell her we love her, kiss her forehead, cover her feet in a snuggly blanket, start the bluebirds singing on the ceiling and walk away. That’s it- we just walk away. No crying. No fussing. No protesting. It’s crazy- she drinks her milk and then she GOES TO SLEEP! Have you ever heard of anything so crazy? And then get this- she doesn’t wake up- until between 11-12 hours later! Apparently all this time- the problem was, we were reading What to Expect- rather than letting her read the manual herself! Now this blessing in our life is new. It started upon the completion of molar number 2 making it’s full appearance. That’s toothie number 6. 5 of which have introduced themselves to her in the last 2 months poor lamb. 2 more molars to go- so I know this blessed state is only temporary. When she’s in the middle of meeting a tooth- it’s 3-5 wakings a night- and unhappy, grief wall wailing, gnawing off her fingers inspite of being dosed up on Motrin wakings. It is good to know she can do it. Kathy told her last week in feeding therapy that it was time to say good-bye to the middle of the night bottles. And so she has…for now…

And on the other side of the room, sleeps Zuzu, in her own-big-girl-bed, surrounded by snuggly blankets, animal friends, a ball or two, a half dozen assorted pillows, a few Little People, Fabulous the Baby Doll, Big and Lil Mermaid, Mo-Mo and O-Mo-Mo,  Zoey, Elmo and Abby-Kadabby, her night-night headband, her jammies of her own choosing- typically 3 sizes larger- but otherwise the same as sissies, BIG GIRL UNDERROOS, a pair of slippers, the 3 books of her choice for the night,  a little flashlight and a parent. The roos- now that’s new. She’s been asking to wear them to bed and be done with her nighttime pull-ups for a few months now. She desperately wanted to be considered big-enough to wear underwear to bed like Momma and Daddy. And really, she’s been dry at night for a few months and she’s been getting herself up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night if she has to for the last month. We, having more dollars for pullups than hours for soiled laundrymaintenance have been hesitant to embrace her big-girl status. So a deal was struck- as summer arrived, nursing was coming to an end. The pump was cancelled to quote her, neh-neh (also to quote her) was down to 2 times a day. We informed her of The New Deal 2 weeks ago. We would have one more week of 2 times a day nursing, with the understanding that the second was no longer at bedtime and Momma & Daddy would begin alternating the nighttime putting down of small ones, in the girls very-own-room. That’s right folks- no more official co-sleepers status. Well sort of- she inevitably negotiates one of us into lieing down next to her, for “just 5 minutes”, then snuggles up after lights out- and is almost certainly guaranteed an overtired parent as a companion until the end of that REM cycle. Once the spell has dissipated and the said parent wakes up covered in Little People and Sesame Street cast-offs, the military maneuvers  begin to serpentine our way out of the bed and room without waking either pip-squeak. The funniest night by far was the one when Lovey managed to maneuver out of bed without appearing to have woken them, went to the kitchen to undo the dishwasher, returned to the darkened parents room, crawled into bed only to find Zuzu already snoring again on his pillow.

Last Thursday was the official last nursing. Honestly I couldn’t decide whether to make a big deal out of it at the time for her and me or to just let it go by naturally so as not to ruffle her feathers. I compromised. I didn’t bring up the finality of it. The next day we made a HUGE production of her picking out which undies would christian the first night in bed. Pink won out of course. And put her to bed just like it was no big deal. The next morning I woke to a certain 3 year old sitting up over me, enacting her best Snoopy-vulture imitation, yet patiently waiting for me to wake up, since Daddy had told her to let Momma sleep, to let me know that she did it, she slept in her big-girl underwear just like I had! So I gave her our little memento of the occasion- a book about The Midnight Fairies that came with it’s own silver fairy necklace she could wear. She was soooooo proud! So happy- so ecstatic she ended up somehow breaking it off her own neck within the first 45 minutes of wearing it. Well- she is still only 3.

Big changes for us all this summer- I see lots of sleep on all of our horizons. And better rested parents can only mean one thing for everyone they meet- a much more pleasant encounter. Thank heavens for sleeping cherubs.

Oh, but just to be clear, do still ask if we would “like” another cup of coffee- it’ll be a while before we are that rested that we might actually say no thank you.

* It’s her middle name.

**It’s a reference. And it’s lovely there- and here.

Gratitude Journal

1. easier nights

2. shared popsicles

3. good jobs

4. a singing 3 year old

5. a chortling 1 year old

6. weekends away

7. coming home again

8. a positive outlook

9. the ability to look for and see the good in the world

10. hand-me-down clothes

11. bubble machines keeping their word and making thousands of bubbles

12. Tussie Mussies

13. Sante Salute

14. Lilly Pulitzer for 2 year olds

15. cynicism

16. trying not to be so cynical

17.a first movie & popcorn night at home mit gummies liberally sprinkled

18. my own big-girl bed

19. sleeping children (in their own big-girl beds)

20. waking up to the 3 year old snuggled back in between us

21. birthday parties galore!

Fave-o-Lit Friday: Nursery Rhymes

What Are Little Girls Made of?
What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails,
And puppy-dogs’ tails;
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
And all that’s nice;
That’s what little girls are made of.

*Except my little girl , who; although I don’t see a puppy dog tail… has taken to striking the above pose, embarking on a bit of a bottom-shaking jig while chanting, “Heinie-heinie-heinie, My bum is my heinie!”

I guess she’s right, technically. Maybe she’s just strong on the spice….

Quail Day: Cease & defluff…

Our marching orders are in. As of the Quail’s 15 month appt last week we are to cease and defluff. Contrary to the inquiries since our bird’s last showing we have not been giving her IV milkshakes. She just recently transitioned from Momma milk fully to cow milk- wholly. I’ve always been told/read that until age 2 when you transition to whole milk ( for those so lactosely inclined) that babes under two get whole milk and we decrease the fat percentage after age 2. I thought it was common understanding that the extra fat is needed for good brain and bone development. And we don’t want to skimp on either of those. But since her surgery the bird has gained 1 lb 10 oz- in a little less than a month…oops..

Frankly, I’m proud of her fluff. The girl has had multiple barriers to being able to put on and maintain good growth. After hearing the size of the opening in her intestine, I’m shocked that she didn’t ever end up with a Failure to thrive diagnosis. Between that, the heart defect and the growth expectations for a child with Down syndrome; I’m still blown away by her blossoming. Since she was able to flourish under so much adversity, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that now that weight gain can come a little easier; it’s coming a little too easy. Her pediatrician likened her 20-24 ounces a day of whole milk to the equivalent of feeding her 6-9 strips of bacon a day. To quote Cathy, “AAAACCCKKK!!!!”

I really didn’t think anyone could make bacon intake sound deadly to me. But since I can now hear her little arteries clogging up in my sleep we’ve decided to head his advice. In the meantime we’re looking for ways to increase the good fat in her daily intake without increasing meal portions too much. Currently she eats 3 meals a day- with a meal consisting of a Stage 2 food pack with DHA in it. She does also get 1 ml of fish oil daily. She has to have to have her drinks thickened, so when she isn’t slurping up Kefir, (low-fat, plain) in her straw cup, we thicken her milk with either baby oatmeal or “thick-it”; depending on how easily things are coming through on the other end. She drinks a 4 oz cup at each meal and then one at bedtime and one during the night with the one time a night she wakes up. It really doesn’t seem like a lot to me- nor do I see obvious ways to cut out calories other than skimming the fat out of the milk. She also has recently started showing little bumps on her face- so we may be switching over to a non-cow milk soon as well.

I’m sure once she gets up and running some of the fluff will naturally fly off. I know growth slows down after the first 6-9 months dramatically and calories get burned up quicker when kiddos get mobile. The same happened with Zuzu who was told at her 2 year appointment that she was at risk for obesity. I guess most kids have shed their baby fat by age 2, for Zuzu it was closer to three even though she was pretty physically active. We’ll just keep pushing the baby yoga for now.

Maybe my lil personal trainer can consider a refocus of her energy on the Quail and back off of me a bit!

corner view: noticing…


Fly around the world and see what everyone else has noticed lately:

The Girls: Pushing past Smart Cat

Everyone’s healthy! So it’s time to get fit. You know something more than just, “Hey Zuzu, Smart Cat’s on PBS right now- quick let’s do a jumping jack with him!” Zuzu has always been a bundle of energy. So for her the more active we all are, the better she does. It’s hard to find time for organized activities with her on a daily basis though. Most park going, rec-center-swimming, bouncing like a Tigger & playdates are reserved for weekends. Fortunately her little school encourages a lot of free play time- to just run, jump, slide,swing. They also take the 3 year olds that are interested to Dance Class. She’s looooooovvved that. At home we’ve started spending time with some work-out DVDs. Yoga for kids- since yoga is my go-to activity. We have a few different versions and generally the rule is if Zuz is up when I’m doing my work-out dvd on a weekday morning and she brings it up- then we’ll switch over to her YFK. But lately- she’s not so into actually doing the workout. More into critiquing my ability to follow along. Which let’s face it is not so good.

But in order to set a somewhat decent example of caring about my health & fitness level I get up and try. Zuzu lies on the couch watching and coaching, “Momma, Jillian says to lift your arms up higher!” “Momma, Jillian says not to stop moving!” I will say it’s as good a motivator as any though.

Zuzu naturally is able to get her energy out. You know when you’re 3; and good at it, you run everywhere, that is when you aren’t skipping or jumping:

And our lil personal trainer keeps an eye on everyone’s activity level. Including the baby:

Who is usually thrilled to see her sister coming for her if there is a parent nearby to intervene when the weeble’s wobbling sets in. But sometimes not so much:

Mostly they work it out though. And because of Zuzu’s high level of energy we all follow suit.