Is it just me or can anyone else not believe that Sweet Pea is a year and a half old today! It seems like just a month or two ago that she was a newborn blob and now she is into everything, crawling everywhere and just a roaming disaster girl! Oh how I love her!!!! I was going through old photos today and I was amazed at her transformation! There were even some photos that I wasn't sure it was her or not because she has changed so much.
These past couple months have been amazing with Sweet Pea. She really is learning something new every day. I know that this explosion of new skills will eventually plateau, but boy am I enjoying every day of it while it lasts! The joy that emanates from her when she does something new is beyond words and her Mommy and Daddy are so very proud of every single accomplishment because we know how hard she has been working to achieve them! We love you Sweet Pea!!!!!
Gross Motor Milestones:
Crawling: Sweet Pea's crawling has definitely taken off. It's far from textbook, but she no longer uses her army crawl to get anywhere, it's all hands and knees...or in her case, hands, knee and foot. She uses her right foot to push off and then slides her left leg/knee forward and under her bum. It's an interesting technique, but it works to get her from point A to B to C to D. I love that she decides to go from one room to any other room whenever she feels like it. It's such huge progress!!!! It was just 2 months ago that we had to coax her into moving rooms and we were the only motivation that would make her do it. Now, we can be in one room and she will leave us to go play in another!
Standing: This is another area that has seen huge gains. She pulls to stand on just about anything that she can grab onto...my legs, couches, tables, etc. She is trying to do it against walls, but isn't quite there yet. We definitely need to work on the endurance with her, but I have a few ideas of things to try (thanks to Pat Winders Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome book) and will keep you all posted.
Cruising: For those that don't know, cruising is basically walking while holding on to furniture. We didn't really plan to start working on this milestone, Sweet Pea just started to do it. She only does it a tiny bit, but since she is doing it without any coaxing from me, I'm beyond thrilled! On Sunday she stood up at the couch, cruised the 12 inches to my legs and then cruised another 12 inches from my legs to the coffee table where the computer was. It was slow going, but she did it! One foot after the other and eventually she got to the computer keyboard which, unfortunately, I had to reward her and let her play with for a few seconds (this is a very dangerous thing as Sweet Pea finds keyboard combinations that we often don't know how to undo). Since she started to do this on her own I guess I will add it to the list of skills to work on.
Climbing: We live in a one story home with just one 6 inch step separating a room. Sweet Pea mastered that step all on her own. We have tried stairs on a play structure at a local park and I think they will work okay, not great because they are hard on the knees, but it is better than nothing. At home we used the couch to practice climbing and as you saw in this post, she has almost mastered it. She still doesn't always go far enough forward before trying to sit, but we will continue to work on that with her. She has also learned how to climb down! She doesn't always do it, but a couple different times I can tell her to come down and she will go from sitting down to her belly and scoot backwards off the couch! This little girl really picks things up quickly...when she wants to!
Walking: We have a stroller that we have weighed down and she is using that to take one or two steps. I am not focusing on this until we get a little better at the standing and cruising, but thought I would include it so we have a starting point.
Language: I don't want to sound like a broken record, but language is another area that she has really been growing quickly in. While her vocal expressive language isn't doing a lot (only new sound that I can think of is "va"), her signing is making some good strides. Just yesterday she started to do "more" with her fingers instead of just clapping. Sometimes it takes a little prompting, but it is so cute to see her do it because she looks at her hands and you can see the wheels turning in her head as she does it. And the smile that she gives when she does it and we are so proud of her...well that smile just melts my heart! We are also working on getting her "dog" sign to be down on her thigh instead of on her belly. She is getting better, but I think it will take a little longer as the practice sessions are much shorter for dog. The signs that she knows now are: more, all done, eat, please, thank you, bye, dog, book, and she is starting to do baby, up and open. She can identify her head and can get her mouth about half the time. In terms of receptive language, she continues to amaze us by what she understands. It's always amazing to see her comprehend something that we say and actually do what we say. Doesn't always happen since she can be stubborn, but that is okay.
Eating: This continues to be a challenging area for us as it seems to be for many parents. Sweet Pea REALLY wants to be eating what we are eating, but her chewing and swallowing aren't up to par yet. We have found that ground meat is definitely the easiest for her to manage so we can get enough quantity into her before she is too tired or bored. Noodles, breads, pancakes, waffles, chips...basically anything carbohydrate related...are huge successes. Soy yogurt is a fairly consistent hit. Bananas are hit or miss and we need to find more fruit that she will eat. Baby food is rarely successful for us, but daycare has pretty good luck so we can at least sneak in her fruit and veggies at daycare. We have recently brought back in cream cheese, pudding and cottage cheese in small quantities and those are working well so far. The biggest issue that we are afraid of is an increase in her reflux.
Weight: 22lbs 2.5oz
Height: 30.5 inches
Therapy: We are certainly in a transitional period in regards to her therapies. She started the center based therapy classes last week and will be attending them Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Speech will remain on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as we don't have any choices for that. We have cut PT and OT to once a week for the next couple of weeks and for right now, PT will be Tuesday afternoon and OT will be Thursday morning. We aren't ready to make a decision on asking for her services to be reduced to once a week for both PT and OT since we don't know how the center based therapy is going to work out yet.
Toys: The seahorse is still her favorite, but she also loves a book that has buttons that play sounds. It's a Thomas the Tank Engine book, but I think I will need to get a few more of these as she absolutely loves it!
Sweat Pea-isms: Her latest adorable trait is her little cackle that she does instead of a full laugh. She doesn't always do it, but it's becoming more common. I do love her regular laugh though so I hope that it doesn't disappear, but the cackle is pretty funny.
Sleep: Knock on wood...this area has improved again. She has started to sleep through the night again and will often not even wake up for her twilight feedings. Daddy and Mommy are very, VERY, happy about this change and we hope that it continues! Mommy will take Sweet Pea for a sleep study in a couple of weeks to try to get an explanation for how restless she is when she sleeps. Let's hope it isn't anything to worry about.
Overall Health: She has had a cold or allergies or something since Labor Day weekend. She wakes up extremely congested and does not clear up completely throughout the day. She has even been coughing up phlegm (TMI...sorry) the past few days which is just lovely. Hopefully she will get over this soon. Daddy thinks it is from our mountain trip over Labor Day, but I think it is just coincidence and refuse to blame the gorgeous mountains for these many weeks of aggravation. The heat wave that we had this week (105 when the average temperature for this time of year is 76) gave Sweet Pea heat rash, but it is dissipating as the temperature drops. She isn't letting anything slow her down though!