Quailday: 18 months and counting….

It’s August and time is passing too quickly these days to properly keep up in our cyber and real worlds! We still have photos & tales to share from 2 of our 3 family vacations this summer, a whole host of new developmental milestones, general prettiness and wackiness of daily life, emapthies for our friends who are struggling right now and opinions galore about society and its goings-on. Not to mention a celebration of a year of happy blogging having come and gone already!

For now though; we’ll forego orderliness and the desire to be clever and just start updating.

This spunky gal turned 18 months in August. The Quail is so much still our sweet baby and yet has her little arms outstretched to big-girldom barreling after her sister.  On 8/7/10 she got her third molar in- the top right one. On 8/12/10 Jodie managed to position her into a free-stand and with the helpful distraction of her classmates she didn’t even notice or balk until 5 seconds into it she looked around and realized no one was supporting her and down she went headfirst. The next two times she was a  bit more graceful in making a choice to plop down bum-first. On 8/15/10 she managed to pull up to standing on her new awesome Plan Toy Walker  from Momma’s lap. We love this one compared to the others we have because it allows you to adjust the tension in the wheels so it is a little less likely to peel out from under her when she shifts her weight on it. The night before this big event she had been sitting by me on the couch at our new friend’s house and had tried to use my hair to haul herself up for a kiss.  Then yesterday on 9/29/10 we were out for a swim in our lil yellow pull and she about gave me a heart-attack as she plopped down on all fours in the water, crawled over to the side and hoisted herself up to standing on the side of the pool with the assistance of only Poseidon to keep her safe. I do have a blurry photo of this progression which I’ll post later. I had a half second of debate on whether to capture the moment or launch myself at the pool to prevent any untimely aspiration. Even with all of us cheering her on she managed to remain stable until she decided to plunk back down in the water. It truly is amazing to watch her development unfold itself in it’s own time. She’s getting there and we’re so pleased.

The chat-a-thon continues. I think the best way to explain the difference from a month or so ago is that when you show her something and tell her its name she tries to repeat it back to you. We thought the signing would come easier than the speaking with the oral-motor strength and motor planning issues but it is still unclear as to which she’ll take too when you show her both. Two weeks ago in speech therapy we got out some crackers and repeatedly showed her the sign while saying the word. The intensive repetition seems to be what enables it to stick. By the end of the session she was attempting the sign but even better attempting the word.

She moves into the Toddler room this upcoming month as well and we’ve been having her go visit to transition in. Snack-time for the toddlers includes a lesson in manners. You say please and thank-you when it’s your turn. So last week in speech we worked on this and she got it so quickly! You could hear the quiet little “lease”, but she prefers the sign. So now we have our third sentence (after Hi Da-da! and Night bird), “Eat please!” But she signs it, and if you don’t give her the treat quickly enough she’ll proceed to sign the please portion of the sentence with increasing pleading in her eyes and harder thumping on her chest till you hand over the goods. If anyone has ever looked earnest in signing it would be the Quail. “Thank you” though she prefers to speak.

On 8/22/09 at tubby time she told her first joke. She and her sister were in the tubby, she looked at me, looked down at the water and then looked back up at me and signed drink (which is putting her thumb to her mouth like she is sucking it for us) and then started laughing. For us she’s right in time with her sister’s first joke. One night when Zuzu was about 18 months old I was in bed not feeling well and she had come up and asked me if my nose was running. When I said yes, she said, “You better go catch it!”, laughed heartily and ran off. Apparently the sense of humor is genetic.

Quailday: Will work for Puffs..

 and maybe- just for grins…and kitty cats…and cheers…and toys…and hugs and kisses. But don’t put those Puffs away just yet…

But she did it! She crawled from kitchen to tubby- get this- without a food incentive- just my big ole grin- or maybe it was because she wanted to pet Chula Cat and I was brushing her a few feet away. This is a huge, happy, grinning ear-to-ear, we’re more alike than different moment in our nest. Zuzu’s early crawling memories for me center around after dinner when we would put her on the ground and she would scramble down the hall so excited for tubby time, which eventually evolved into a sprint and most recently a streak.

Wednesday morning I saw her get up from belly to sitting. Maybe knowing she can get out of it she’s more interested in getting in it. It definitely seems like she has gone from she can crawl to she is interested in crawling. She started out sitting in the kitchen and with our big, loud hollers of “Come on! It’s tubby time! You can do it!” She would get down, grinning crawl a few feet then get back up in sitting and grin at us, then a few seconds later repeat. When she got within a few feet of where Chula and I were sitting you could totally see her thinking it through. She would realize she could reach out and almost touch me laying down, but in the process of backing up into sitting would then find herself further back then she thought she was. So she’d flop down and try again for a few pulls then back up and measure the distance with her arm. After about the 3rd or 4th try, she would then put one arm out and grin at me to take her little hand, then reach the other out and look at me like I was a sled dog. So stinkin cute! She did it again thursday night as well.

Also thursday when our dear Jodie (EI) came to visit we were all sitting in the living room criss-cross- applesauce and the Quail reached both hands out and chortled at me to take them. I did and she pulled herself up to standing! She then went down and repeated the performance a few more times. It gave me a huge grin because it was just 3 weeks or so ago that I had tried to get her to pull up to stand and she refused so profusely I briefly wondered if she was regressing and just couldn’t. She definately has a stubborn streak that will serve her well as an adult. But for now “adult-driven” activities- well she’s not so keen on it. Kathy has let us know that this is a problem- thus the idea of brushing. She thinks that it is a function of the Quail feeling uncomfortable when she can’t control her bodies movement in space and that is what is triggering her resistance. I can see that- but what I grapple with is whether that’s a good survival instinct or reflex, versus an aversion or problem that needs to be overcome. I’ve always admired Zuzu’s determination and confidence and I’ve worked hard to train my own eye and mind to see it that way. I have a hard time then backing up and saying that because the Quail has a disability it’s not determination and confidence- it’s a problem and hard-wiring that needs to be overrode. I don’t doubt that the medical explanation for the behavior might be the same in both girls. I’m fairly certain I have some stronger sensory modulation issues then an average or typical person. I’m just not ok trying to override it in her right now. I have a much more long and drawn out thought about this issue-but never the time to fully articulate and process it. So for now- this will have to suffice.

She has just gotten soooooo strong lately.  In brute force and will. We may have to change her nickname to something more fierce then her delicate little quail image. I’ll need to find a pretty bird that embodies her strength, joy and fierceness all rolled into a charming increasingly chatty little package!

We’ve also had our Kathy give a program plan update on her Sara Rosenfeld Johnson plan. We got it in the beginning of May and there were a few weeks there that I thought we might not finish it up by our next visit in October. But it looks like we are well on the way. With all the chompin and chattin in the Quail’s repotoire these days we have flown into her next straw and will probably move up to the 3rd one shortly. We’re also moving onto the red chewy tube but not quite ready to let go of the Zvibe yet. Last time we tried the chewy tube she cried at the first suggestion that she bite it. This time we heard a good crunch right off. We are still working and sort of hovering in the same spot with the syringe feeding though. It looks like maybe Momma and Daddy are to blame for this regression though. We read the directions wrong and were angling the food a little too sharply down in the pocket and may have created a jaw jut in compensation.

We’re also going to start with a new OT for fine motor therapy next week. Kathy has been marvelous navigating us through the feeding world and will continue to check in with us on those issues but it’s time to focus on fine motor and our schedules no longer match up for the fall. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the Quail to warm up to a new friend. Wish her luck- and I do mean the new OT!

Quailday: Yawn! Stretch! Nigh-nigh…

Our Quail’s a little tired today. We’ve started waking her up in the morning before I go to work. She’s given up her morning nap and is at just one midday 2 hour nap. So there is some definite sleep adjustment going on in our nest. Our student who works with her and her teachers have commented that she seems tired. We may have to go back to just letting her sleep in the mornings. On the weekends she’ll sleep till about 7:30-8am. Which is great for Momma! She’s the opposite of  Zuzu who is more likely to be the first one up. So likely in fact she’s taken it upon herself to turn on the their bedroom light first thing and then come let me know the baby is awake. But the morning time is nice for me to get to spend a little bit of time with her and Zuzu now that I’ve stopped pumping and nursing. Not a lot mind you, I’m still catching up on my sleep- but some. It’s been this early morning quiet when Zuzu is off assembling her bumble-bee self or deciding on breakfast or trying to get a grown-up to put on Dora or Kai-Lan or Max & Ruby for “just 1 episode…pleeeeeaaasseee!”

Well it’s this early morning wake up that we’ve used to practice going from laying down up to sit. As far as I had seen she still needed some assist to get her going. But today- breakthrough- both Mattie our student and Lovey reported her going from laying down up to sit. Lovey didn’t get to see the process- just the end result but Mattie witnessed it! Yay!

Then tonight when I took her in a little earlier to try to get her a little extra sleep- well we started our night-night rounds of telling the flowers and animals and numbers on the wall night-night. We had a brief period a month or so ago of her screaming when she realized we were putting her down to bed and her bottle wasn’t in her mouth. It was brief- literally from the air-lift over her crib to the settling on the mattress- but it was loud and disruptive. Lovey added this into the routine in hopes of it triggering a light that the bottle was coming and she didn’t have to get upset once she recognized the routine. Tonight we started in the usual order, Nigh-nigh flowers, nigh-nigh Giraffe…and then, she did it- on her own she said, “Nigh-bird!” Apparantly she wanted to speed things along. Good girl!

There was also a quiet little “Big sistah” sounding grumble from the crib this early morning. She’ll learn soon enough not to encourage Zuzu until she’s fully awake and armed!

Zuzuday- apron strings

Our big girl has made one more BIG step towards independence. It started after our trip back to see the Grandparents. Born out of fatigue as all good things are.

I’ll just say it- we’re co-sleepers at heart. In our house someone always lays down with Zuzu. For a while it was timed to music, or a set number of stories. The coyote chew was put in play to retrieve your arm from under her. There’s a been a variety of versions. In our bed, in her bed, but always with a grown-up laying down with her. It didn’t start out this way- or I should say the intentions didn’t. We made a nursery. We hauled our butts to Ikea and got a shiny new crib with a matching bumper/quilt/mobile and soft art-work collection. We filled the room with soft colors, music, animals and blankies. We made it a fun place to be, and then night-night would come and we would head back to Momma-Daddy’s room. Around 18 months I had set last call for nursing. Then at 20 months we moved her going to bed routine to be one that alternated Momma and Daddy and took place on her bed. For the first few weeks she would wake up and cry and one of us would go in for the quiet rescue. Eventually she figured out life was much simpler if she would just get up and come back to her rightful spot- between Momma & Daddy- and cut out all the middle-of-the-night negotiations. I remember so clearly the first morning Lovey and I both woke to find her between us and neither of us had been the one to bring her in. Well the time came for the Quail to burst forth and I couldn’t quite bring myself to “lay down the law” so to speak. The first night home from the hospital Zuzu sad with puppy-dog eyes watching me with her sister and when I laid TQ down in the co-sleeper she dubbed the room Momma-Quail’s room. Well it broke my heart- mostly because she was being so sweet and understanding about it. So- I did what all tired mothers do (if they’re honest) I said- “Oh-no honey- come lay down with us!” And she was back.

I think because she always had slept with us she was a fairly reasonable bed-sharer. She laid fairly still and didn’t frequently move us out of the way. Well- no- she didn’t move me out of the way. It wasn’t uncommon to find Lovey huddled down about 2 feet below his pillow by morning and her having taken over his side of the bed. The Quail on the other hand- in her co-sleeper, in a swaddle, in all her hypotonic glory could wriggle herself down to the bottom and turn sideways. Middle of the bed was just never a safe option for her. When we would try weekend naps altogether it turned into a giggle fest and no one slept.

So we returned from Grandma & Grandpas this summer and I was finally just too tired to do the routine. So I explained to the girls that we would read books in the living room- 3 to be exact, of their choosing and then they would get to go lay down in their beds with a kiss and a tuck-tuck-tuck! I managed to say it with enough animation and excitement that no one was the wiser throughout the stories and the first tuck and tuck. By the third tuck Zuzu gathered what was up and was a little less than pleased. I explained that she was welcome to come snuggle like she used to if she “happened” to wake up during the night. I’m fairly certain she used my turned back as the cover to set her alarm for 12:30am because for the next few weeks she has come to us like clockwork. I also used the fact that she had been dry all night for the last month as incentive that it was a privilage to get to sleep in her own bed with big-girl underpants instead of a night-night pull-up. She had been asking for weeks if she could wear underwear to bed like Momma and Daddy do- so this  lucked us into a perfect compromise- you sleep in your own bed (or at least start out there) and you get to wear the big-girl underpants! Big girl things and the priviliage of getting them is often the distinction she questions before doing something. “Is this for big girls or for babies  Momma?”

There are still a few tears- hers and mine. I know it’s good for her to have some independence and to be able to go to bed without coddling. I know she can- she does it at school everyday. But I appreciate the sentiment. I was never one to sleep with my bedroom door closed. Growing up it was comforting to hear my family moving around inside the house. We’ve had a handful of nights that she has slept all the way through without us. Those make me the saddest- it’s a sign she’s growing up. But with that comes wisdom and mini-me plotting. Each night as Lovey and I do our own family rustling and readying for the next day Zuzu comes in turn to each of us with a question, “I thought you went to bed! You need to turn off the computer and go to bed! When are you going to go lay down?”

 I smile, tell her I love her with a little chuckle and that it will be soon. Some nights this suffices, others it is the beginning of the “If you give a child a drink of water at bedtime” routine. I’ll enjoy the last days of The Cuddlers while I can.

*And on a side note- along those lines of her road to independence- she can open and close her own car door now and she can work the buckle on her car seat- scary roads ahead as we are now faced with the need for a clear understanding of the law and safety rather than simple child-like compliance with her seatcart (as she calls it!), but oh such a big girl!

Quailday: more momma, more…

Finally the illusive more made it’s comeback on Sunday! We’ve also heard crib, attempts at diaper and on monday morning (8/2): Momom! We were sitting on the floor in her room and I was eating cereal- she wanted the cereal like nobody’s business- I’m not sure if it was an attempt at saying more or momma or a combo- either way I’ll take it! M sounds are hard to come by so I’m particularly pleased to have heard her say it so loudly and distinctly- whatever it was!

 She also started signing book this weekend right before bed, and after her jammies were on- which is when we most consistently read, and then again monday morning when I got her out of her crib. I’ll say this- we’re a loud family- it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. So the times that I can hear what she is saying is most often in the early quiet morning before her sister has realized she is awake or at the end of the day when Zuzu is otherwise engaged.  Today during OT we were looking at an animal book and when we got to the dog I said, “Say Dog!” expecting her to sign it- instead she said it! Then tonight when I was changing her diaper- I said- “Say Diaper!” and she did! She definately seems to be in the mode of being willing to try saying words!

So the updated list for my records:

She says:



Daddy (8/2)





Momma (this one was said one time a loooong time ago and hasn’t resurfaced yet- m’s are hard) (8/2- it’s back!)

bird (8/2- she has musical birdies on her crib that she can turn on and off- this morning when I sat by her crib before taking her out she said bird and turned it on!)




Big Sister

Kiss pig (8/13/10)

She signs:




book (signed it on 8/1)

momma (signed it on 8/1)

all done (signed it on 8/2 in fury when the cereal we were sharing was all gone)

Sunday night was her first big girl meal. I was thrilled for her! We chopped up a dolphin (it was chicken I promise, no dolphin’s harmed here), sweet potato and sweetcorn and put it out in front of her. We learned fairly quickly that since these don’t dissolve we had better only put out a few bites and wait for her to sign eat or more before offering more on her plate. She was so happy to eat, her pincer grasp so good- even with the slippery sweet potato and Sara Rosenfeld Johnson will be so pleased- she just chomped, chomped and chomped- just like a big girl! We’ll be getting an update shortly on our program.

My other big discovery- is a happy quadraped position for all of us! I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out but If I’m laying down and holding her so we are belly to belly- I can position her in quadraped and she will stay up in it for up to 10 minutes before dropping her head down to rest! And I think it’s helping for the last 3 days when I go to get her in the crib in the morning she turns over and gets fully up to the quadraped position and then is soooooo close to pushing up to sit- I typically inch her arm closer to her and inch her leg under her so that she is getting a minimal assist from quad to sit- when her bum hits the mattress I cheer and cheer and her little face lights up just so bright! Way to fly lil bird!

Gratitude Journal

1. a chatty baby

2. a chatty 3 year old

3. Smitten Kitchen’s artichoke-olive crostini

4. a baby eating the artichoke-olive crostini

5. bedtime

6. movies with Lovey after bedtime

7. a well polished packing list

8. a baby shower

9. babies to shower

10. therapeutic progress

11. quadraped on mommy with a laughing baby

12. up! down!

13. our itty-cat

14. a fairly clean house

15. left-over chicken

16. www and the blogs that connect us

17. the nightly, ” Hey mommy, when are you and daddy going to go lay down to sleep?” (the plotting begins…)

18. the baby squirrelling away pretties and what-nots (she pivots away from us with a look  of mischievious delight on her face when she realizes she has something that isn’t hers)

19. big-girl car-seats

20. big-girls holding hands in the car seats

21. seat-cars and keep-safings