Gratitude Journal: 21 things we love about the Quail

My Cherubim Putti

So last year in the lovely month of October I posted 21 things I love about the Quail. I’ve thought about starting from scratch with an entirely new list but decided to go back to last years and update it to see what’s changed!

1. that bobbin of hair at the top of her head Her strawberry blond locks have caught up in length to that sweet bobbin. I expect by this time next year she’ll have had a day playing beauty shop. But for now her version of Kate Gosselin’s do will have to do.

2. the way her eyes crinkle up when she grins ear to ear Now there is audio that goes along with the grin- I love her little heh-heh-heh. And I love how it matches and twines in with her sister’s giggles.

3. the way her eyes stay trained to Lovey waiting for him to notice her. She’s still a big fan of Lovey, but these days Dora gives him a run for his money. And as much as she craves his attention. She also craves a speedy get-a-way in the middle of diaper and outfit changes.

4. the way she gets our attention by saying, “Uh!” when she has waited far too long. It’s more of a pterodactyl impression these days.

5. the way she grabs our face with two hands and pulls it to her to taste our noses. Awwwww, that makes me sad, the face grabbing is no more. Now she dives in for an open-mouthed, full-on, wet, gloopy kiss. Those are the good ones. When she burrows in to a limb beware though, those little teeth are sharp and prone to clamping on. 

6. the way we leave her in one spot, go to get something, come back 30 seconds later and she is somewhere else. Now she follows you. Unless you are with her, then she scurries away with whatever she can grab on the quick to claim as her own with it tucked into her little arm crease and a giggle and grin as she leaves you in the dust.

7. the way she nuzzles her bunny lovey to her face. She still nuzzles her warm fuzzy friends and blankets. She also feeds, hugs and coos to her baby dolls.

8. the way her eyes light up when you bring out the cereal bowl. Again with the pteradactyl impression here. Patience may be a virtue, it ain’t hers. She does continue to love food though. Her first real table food (read: not baby puree) was curried potato salad. She is more than willing to try almost anything you give her….except water and broccoli. She will attempt to rip her own tongue out of her mouth to get the broccoli back out when she realizes she has been duped. And I can’t blame her with the water- if you had Thick-it added to your water you’d be grossed out too. It’s also not lost on me the irony that the kid who will eat everything won’t eat broccoli, but her sister- who will hardly eat anything not already designated personally into her toddler 4 food group pyramid scheme of cheese food, nugget, sugar or whole-milk yogurt loves her little trees “all day” as she so sweetly puts it.

9. the way her eyes stay trained to yours when you look at her. Both in her glee to see you and in her measured estimation of your level of anger. If she thinks she’s in trouble she locks eyes waiting to hear the reprimand. And before you feel too sorry for this little rascal, I can assure you the reprimands are few and far between for her. She’s clear on the no-nos which at this stage include no biting and no full-on clean swipes of your dinner from your tray to the floor.

10. the way she lets you know by screaming when she’s had enough “affection” from her big sister. Um, no change here.

11. the way she nuzzles into your neck when you hold her up on your shoulder. Now she lays her little head down on your shoulder and offers up a little pat on your back.

12. the way she lifts her legs when you pull out a diaper to change her. Now she says diaper and all done when you are finished.

13. the way she laughs (heh-heh-heh) when you press your face into her belly and give her a raspberry. The big change is you don’t have to physically touch her to elicit a giggle anymore. A sound, a look, a joke, your laughter any silly attention from Zuzu and she’s cracking up!

14. the way she lifts her little arms up overhead when she wants you to pick her up. That was really the first sign. The most frequent these days are drink, up, book and please. I’m fairly certain those cover her world at present.

15. the way she concentrates so fully on the television when Baby Einstein comes on. She likes some Baby Einstein- mostly the Baby Wordsworth, some Signing Times and any Dora. Otherwise she’s a book girl these days. The TV can be on and she’ll crawl across the room to pull  a pile of books down from any shelf, chair, bench,  or coffee table in eyesight. You may think you only want to read Blankie a couple of times but this girl would prefer you keep up the recitation.

16. the way you can feel her heart beat as you kiss the soft fontenalle on her head. Still open and still sweet. The more mobile she gets though the more anxious I am to have that close!

17. the sweet baby, milky, yeasty way she smells. Um, the poopy, curdled milk, dirt from the playground smell is a little less appealing. But you know- when it’s your kid it’s still all good.

18. the way she splish-splashes in the tubby. Hmmmm….not so cute now that it goes everywhere and the usual activity involves repeatedly throwing wet toys out of the tubby. I’m proud of her skill and persistance but still….

19. the way she hollars a reminder to come get her if everyone has congegrated in a room that she isn’t in. Unless she’s over tired or over hungry she’ll come find you.

20. the community that she has brought us along into with her. We are so blessed to be a part of this “family”.

21. her, just her. I heart her.

Quailday: The Toddler Diaries


As I mentioned last week one of my biggest smiles of the day comes every afternoon when I get a tiny peek into the Quail’s day. For posterity’s sake, I’m going to start keeping a collection of her days as told to me by the Quail’s beloved Miss Mattie, Miss Jodie, Miss Ashleigh and all our other favorite teachers. I hope it makes everyone who loves her smile as wide as it makes me! The picture shown here is the Quail with her EI, Jodie working on some squishy skills.

From September school days:

9/7/10: “She was so great today!  She came out on the playground with everyone and was so preoccupied with playing that she didn’t care if I was there or not at all.  Once we came inside, she just played on the green carpet with everyone and was crawling around and babbling with everybody.  She was much less shy today than last week.  After that, it was time for their snack and it was about time for her milk so I sat her down in a toddler seat at the table and she drank milk and thickener out of her cup with everyone.  After milk, they were getting food-food and I wasn’t sure what she eating now.  Ms. Patti said she usually gets baby food at around 12 so Miss Ashleigh went to grab her a couple saltine crackers so she could eat with the big kids.  While she was gone a couple kids at her table got their food.  She was getting impatient and stood straight up out of her chair.  I don’t think she even realized she was standing.  She was up without any help for a good 20 seconds and then put her hands down on the table for support, but stayed up for a couple minutes while Miss Ashleigh got her crackers.  She also signed “eat” and “please” to get them.  I’m not sure that she even really needs me with her anymore, she’s getting much more confident and comfortable with it. ”  

After requesting further clarification on the standing since it was the first time noted by anyone:

“She lowered her feet down and just stood right up.  The back of her legs were up against the chair, but other than that she was standing on her own until she put her hands down on the table.  I didn’t even know she could do that.  I’ve seen her try to pull herself up from sitting on the ground, but never lower herself down from something. ”

And then the next week:

9/15/10: “She is so motivated to stand!  When I first got there, I was going to bring her right over to the toddler room.  Instead she grabbed onto my fingers and (legs tucked to the side) stood right up with me pulling a bit.  Unfortunately, she lost her grip on my fingers and fell backwards.  She was a little annoyed with me for that, but quickly forgot about it.  Next, she crawled over to the red toy bucket and tried to pull herself up to stand (again with her legs perfectly placed).  Even though she never quite got it, she kept trying.  After about five tries I helped boost her up and she picked the baby toy out of the bucket and gave it hugs and kisses.  Then I got her shoes out to go outside with the toddlers and I said, “Quail, Can I see your foot so I can put your shoe on?”  and she lifted her foot hi in the air for me.  We went next door and spent about 5 minutes outside and then about another 15 in the toddler room.  She played with block with them and I tried to work on some two-step commands with her “Quail, put the block down.  Quail, stack the block.”  She was pretty distracted though.  She also said “baby” in reaction to another toddler playing with a baby doll next to her.  She did pretty good in there, but still looks over for support when she gets overwhelmed.  Then, we cam back to Ms.Patti’s room.  I tried to work on her wheelbarrow excersize, but she wasn’t feeling it today.  We did some crawling over my leg instead.”

And then a few days later:

9/20/10: “She pulled herself up to standing without any help today! When I first got there, she crawled over to me to say hi, then she crawled over to the red toy bucket and just pulled herself up like she’s done it 100 times.  She tried again a minute later and didn’t quite get it, but she was close.  Then we went out to the playground with the toddlers and she went on the swings and down the slide (with a little help) and got to say hi to Zuzu on the other side of the fence. We spent about 20 minutes outside with them and then came back to Ms. Patti’s room.  I had her sit up on the block and we read a book twice.  She signed “book” when I asked her to say book.  Then I worked on having her reach for puzzle pieces and tried to get her to put them in the puzzle.  She was more interested in hitting them together though.  I also tried to work on two-step commands with the cups.  “Put the cup down. Stack the cup” She stacked one cup on top of another once, but wouldn’t put the first block down when asked.  Then, I had her sitting up on the big ball and moved her from side to side and front to back.  She did really well with this and didn’t need that much support from me.  Next, I had her crawl over my leg for puffs.  She did this about 5 times and signed “please” for puffs.  Then, I tried the wheelbarrow with her with help from Ms. Patti distracting her with puffs.  She stayed up for about 15 seconds 3 times.

Mommaday: Buddy Walk

Buddy Walk snuck up on this year and we were happy to be able to go at the last minute after being fairly certain we weren’t going to be able to attend either of our local ones. Fortunately our Family Connections friend Kim, who also happened to be the top fundraiser this year was extremely persistent and convinced us to sneak it into our schedule. She even managed to get the Quail on the T-shirt as a participant as well. Here are a few shots from the beautiful day. It makes my heart swell to see all of the folks gather and celebrate. I still am a bit intimidated by the event though and haven’t managed to organize the Quail’s own team yet. I’m not quite so sure what makes me feel shy about asking people to join us. When I see everyone else’s entourage I inevitably wish I had been braver. One of these years. In the meantime…

Gratitude Journal: Gratitude for services

Not so very long ago, it was much harder to raise your child that has special needs in your home. I’m thankful every day that our little family was created in the here and now. Here are just a few of the things we are thankful for.

1. Early Intervention

2. Our pediatrician

3. Our pediatric cardiologist

4. Our pediatric surgeon

5. Our Children’s Hospital

6. Our children’s hospital that will do the Quail’s OHS if it ends up being needed

7. Our OT and PT

8. Our feeding specialist

9. Our geneticist

10. Our Down syndrome Family Alliance

11. Our Family Connection

12. Our preschool

13. Our speech therapist

14. The Babycenter Down syndrome boards

15. Downsed International

16. Advocates like Dave Hingsberger that make me think

17. Friends like Pudge & Zippy that tickle our funny bones

18. Places like The Waisman Center that educated me and do so much to further our understanding of disability

18. Friends like Down syndrome New Mama  & Einstein Syndrome who help us get to know each other and understand our little ones.

19. Photographers like ConnyBethany that help make it even easier to see the beauty in what for some is difficult.

20. Publications from Woodbine House that help a new mom & dad know exactly what to do when, to help their little one with a little extra, know every last little thing they should!

21.  American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

22. The Arc

 23. Disability Studies, Temple U 

24.  BLOOM

25. DownSyndrome

26. Down syndrome: Health Issues

27.  Down Syndrome for New Parents

28. National Association for Down syndrome

29. Buddy Walk

30.  Special Olympics

31.  R-Word,

32.  The National Down syndrome Congress

33.  National Down Syndrome Society

34.  NDSS National Policy Center

35.  Patricia Bauer

36.  Oz Squad

37.  Reece’s Rainbow

38.  The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis

39. The T21 Traveling Afghan Project

40.  Jennifer Graf Gronenberg , Kathryn Lynard Soper , Gifts and the other Holland officienados who will help you get there

41. Down Syndrome Pregnancy support and resources

42. And all  the amazing bloggers that share our daily lives and experiences. Check the sidebar here for just a few. Yes, really those aren’t anywhere near all of them that are out there. As you visit them, note their sidebars and all the others that have graced us with just a little of their time, energy, wisdom and charm so that we know that nowadays- we aren’t alone. We’re in this together. It takes a village, and I’m grateful for mine.