1. Trader Joes Salted popped potato chips

2. an almost 5 year old declaring, “I hear my heart saying I need to go potty.”

3. park dates that make everyone smile

4. library time with the kiddos

5. Trader Joe’s Gyoza and sauce!

6. Lemon Artichoke Israeli Couscous

7. a flock of hens clucking around you

8. the bittersweetness of a new haircut on your child

9. the world’s fastest OB appt- and the fact that it is fast because there is nothing wrong

10. only gaining 1/2 lb in 4 weeks

11. Lovey coming to trade cars when he makes a leaking discovery on the driveway

12. warm snuggly bodies in the night

13. cake

14. no one crying

15. everyone crying with you

16. good friends

17. this baby craving Handi Indian food weekly

18. last minute dinner plans that get me out of cleaning my house

19. being Halloweened out

20. the 2 year old thinking she is supposed to hand out her candy

21. invitations

fave-O-lit friday

Nature — the Gentlest Mother is,
Impatient of no Child —
The feeblest — or the waywardest —
Her Admonition mild —

In Forest — and the Hill —
By Traveller — be heard —
Restraining Rampant Squirrel —
Or too impetuous Bird —

How fair Her Conversation —
A Summer Afternoon —
Her Household — Her Assembly —
And when the Sun go down —

Her Voice among the Aisles
Incite the timid prayer
Of the minutest Cricket —
The most unworthy Flower —

When all the Children sleep —
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light Her lamps —
Then bending from the Sky —

With infinite Affection —
And infiniter Care —
Her Golden finger on Her lip —
Wills Silence — Everywhere —

corner view: dream

My dream right now is both big and small. Both ordinary and extraordinary. For the present and the future.  I am currently feathering my nest in happy anticipation of a new little bird joining us next spring. Lovey and I made the decision earlier this summer to grow our family and we are currently tickled pink with anticipation and expectation. I’m well into my second trimester now and happily keeping my food down, which is a welcome change from previous gestations. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to do this again.

My dream right now is a subliminal message I keep running through my head and heart that all will be well and easy. That we’ve faced the challenges that previous pregnancies have given us and shown ourselves worthy of one more chance. One more little bundle of joy and hope and goodness and light. A gift this pregnancy is. When I’m resting my mind is full of dreams of my three girls running and playing together, laughing and hugging. One more little pal to fill our hearts and home with the love and connection we already know.

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or poetic in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine

31 for 21: The End…

… of October brings an end to Down syndrome Awareness month and our participation in 31 for 21 for the third year. If you followed along; hopefully, you were able to glean a bit of normalcy or ordinariness that glistens in the corners of our extraordinary lives. I know that normal or ordinary is a relative term. That some may have followed along this month still quietly shaking their heads to themselves and offering up a prayer of gratitude for their own lovely lives. I recognize there are families out there that have much more medically complex lives. What’s routine for them, is not what other families face on a daily basis. I admire and feel a great love for these families. For their pure and true love and ability to live in and celebrate the present. It’s funny when people think about someone else’s life they often feel compelled to comment that they “just couldn’t do it” or “wouldn’t know what to do in that situation” or “it must just be so hard”. The reality of it is that it’s hard work to raise any child. You do it because they are your child- whether they grew early on in or under your heart. You really shouldn’t try to imagine yourself in that other family’s shoes. If that became your reality; it would be your shoes, not theirs. It just wouldn’t feel the same. I think one of the biggest dichotomies between having a child who is labeled as having special needs and having a child that is labeled as typical is how we picture the future. For some reason, when we stare down into the face of our tiny bundle one of two things seem to happen. For the “typical” child, we picture a grown up version of them- maybe a better version of whichever parent they resemble and all of the amazing things that may be a part of their future. Once that child bears the heavy label of Down syndrome, we tend to not see our child anymore. The picture we conjure is of a random adult that we may have passed in the mall, who bagged our groceries or some other stranger who is foreign to us. Part of that is not our fault, you have to look for role models to be able to visualize the future, and in the special needs world they don’t come quickly or easily. Society’s view of a person who has special needs is not necessarily a gracious or accurate one. Whereas other superhero role models are rocked in quick images on the television on a daily basis; doctors want the parents to be prepared for what might happen, what is not typical, what is deemed difficult. What you won’t easily find in the books you had been gathering to prepare yourself. I understand why they do it. But I wish there was also some way to routinely acknowledge that in the case of Down syndrome, so many other wonderful little ordinaries have not just been stolen from you. That whether in the end your child is indeed more alike than different; that they will know you, they will do ordinary and extraordinary things. They will bring a great love into your life and bless you with the strong heart of a parent who knows their child and will go to the ends of the earth to help them be all they can be. Just like they would even if their little was only given a mere 46. And now we return to our regular programming.

31 for 21: Day 31

So for the last two years in the lovely month of October I posted 21 things I love about the Quail. I’ve updated it with this year’s information in blue!

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. Her hair is as long and strawberry blonde as her sister’s baby locks!

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.The sisters share the same laugh. And when she sees one of us coming, her hands go up to her mouth in mock surprise and she hollars at the top of lungs. AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! And then 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. She remains a Daddy’s girl. But mention Dora the Explorer, Barney the Dinasaur or Rachel of Signing Times in our house and she stops what she is doing, furiously signs TV and goes running for her little chair in the living room. The mad escape mid-diaper change remains one of her high giggles of the day. Daddy is slowly working on schooling her in the need to stay put till she is re-robed.

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.I swear she is the loudest non-verbal kid I’ve met. She’s more likely to go attempt to get what she has been waiting for rather than wait for one of us to get it. She’ll sign what she needs as well. 

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. The open mouthers are fading as she perfects her smooch along with the kissing sound that accompanies it. She’s more of a hugger these days. If anyone cries, it’s her duty to sign “sad”, then urgently go hug them so they feel better. She leans down to peer into their face, reaches out to touch their cheek and then dives in for a big ole hug. Which really translates to Zuzu getting hugged alot in time-out. She also doesn’t bite anymore. Of course if you make her mad, she’s not above slapping you, pinching or pulling your hair.

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. She’s a busy girl. Leave her alone for a few seconds and you’ll find her helping herself to cereal, crackers, wipes, kleenex…pretty much anything she can unfurl. This year we have often found her up on her sister’s bed giggling away.

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. Now she sits the babies on her lap, picks up a book and “reads” to them. Her other favorite is to grap a bag or purse, throw it over her shoulder, stuff a baby into a toy stroller, wave and take off to another room.

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. Food- she’s consistent- she has a prune/apple/kefir smoothie and cheerios at breakfast, whatever they offer at school lunch and a green baby veggie/kefir smoothie at dinner. Most other foods, well Zuzu has schooled her in what toddler’s eat and she isn’t creating any  new openings. The big hurray this year though was that she now can eat toddler solid foods- bring on the pizza and nuggets- last year at this time she didn’t have the oral motor strength to chomp them!

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. The naughties have started. She doesn’t glare, she quickly goes into her patented head-tilt-down, bottom lip pushed out to bird perch sad face. A quick firm no typically still does the job. Next year at this time I’m sure it won’t as we’ve had a handful of out-and-out refusals where she stomps her foot and either kicks over what you are asking her to pick up or just a firm plop down and arm crossing.

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

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.Happily this remains! When you pick her up to carry her to bed, she lays her little head down on your shoulder in a contented way. If you’re lucky she’ll pat your back along the way. She loves going to bed.

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. Now she signs potty with a waving B sign or by grabbing her diaper and runs off to her little potty. She pees and poops in the potty, flushes the big potty when you empty hers in, puts her old diaper in the trash and knows she gets a sticker for her chart! She’s started officially potty-training at school and is one of the top 3 kids in her class in terms of progress. We laughed out loud when a couple weeks into joining the pre-school 2 year old room she started offering up her own “downward dog” for getting her bummie wiped after going potty. The last time we had seen that move was from her sister 2 years ago in Ms. Chrystal’s class. Girlfriend has got a couple dozen stickers a couple of weeks into the training!

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! She loves to laugh and now she’s fairly certain she’s the funniest joker around.

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.  Her signing vocabulary is pretty good, her expressive speech-not so much. Right now she’s working hard on individual letter sounds though and can read the important parts of “Moo, Baa, La,La,La” just like her sister did. Don’t be fooled though, her receptive language and cognitive functioning is spot on. At 31 months, she has the tests the same as a 30 month old cognitively and a 32 month old socially and emotionally. In the last week we’ve discovered Kaufman cards though and how to teach her speech approximations rather than asking her to say the entire word. It’s like we’re finally speaking her language as she claps and cheers as she tries to pronouce the approximation. I’m not entirely sure if she’s cheering for herself or for us for finally speaking sense to her!

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. Still a big fan of anything Dora and now Barney. She still prefers books though, she’ll listen to anything, but loves, “Moo, Baa, La, La, La, Blankie, Binky and Barnyard Dance”.

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! Still open and still anxiety provoking as she takes to trying to stand on her head. The good news is her little ticker will keep on ticking without intervention for now. What a blessing.

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. I do love the way she smells like sunscreen and sand when she comes home from school, it’s just so dang normal.

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….The stisters still enjoy a tubby together and still raise quite a ruckus.

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. Now she’ll hollar and come find you. She will hollar Daddy for him and Ada for her sister. I take what I can get. Ask her to sign or say Momma and she shows off her understanding of the word NO!

20. The community that she has brought us along into with her. We are so blessed to be a part of this “family”. I still consider the community she binds us to one of the biggest blessings of her gift.

21. Her, just her.I heart her. Still her- magical her!