Thursday, April 29, 2010

B-A-T-H Spells

Daddy: Boys! It's time to get ready for a B-A-T-H!
Calvin, do you know what B-A-T-H spells?

Calvin: Spells Angel!

Daddy: Really? B-A-T-H spells angel?

Calvin: Yes, Daddy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A One Boy Opera in There

I just have to say, I have no idea how Calvin is napping through Charlie singing at the top of his lungs in the boys room. He is singing about "Jefe" his stuffed dog. Quite the vibrato.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound

So this morning I drove 45 minutes to a lovely little town in which I promptly got completely lost. Thanks to my cell phone and father-in-law whose knowledge of the county is vast, I was able to arrive just in time to get completely lost on the hospital campus. A bit of wandering and the help of a kind receptionist in what turned out to be the wrong office, and finally, I was at my destination.

What for? I was to have a Nuchal Translucency ultrasound, which is simply an ultrasound with the specific aim to measure the thickness of fluid at the back of the fetuses neck (and by thickness I mean the distance between the baby's neck skin and body structure--in between the two is a pocket of fluid). The thicker that pocket of fluid, the higher the chance the baby has a chromosomal condition--like Down Syndrome. The scan is a part of a comprehensive screening process which includes the scan measurement, plus the results of two different blood tests done at specific times. All the info, including age of the mother, is entered into a mathematical formula that then generates a "risk" for certain chromosomal conditions. A FAR from perfect science, but one way to gather a bit of information without intruding upon the fetuses personal space--so to speak--with a definitive test like an Amniocentesis.

Anyway, this is how it went:

First, I will say seeing baby (who, by the way, Calvin insists is a girl) was just what I needed after a tearful evening last night. It's been a little rough lately: I still feel nauseous (flu-like really) every afternoon and evening (since FEBRUARY!); we've some big decisions to make about simplifying our lives further to make space (physically, mentally, emotionally) for another family member; plus, just being a mom to one 2 year old who is feeling oh so emotional lately (and oh so not sleeping at night!), and one four year old who is 2 in development and feeling the same (but luckily, he is sleeping like a log). All considered, I've been, well, a little scared about welcoming another child into the fold. So it was uplifting to see our little one on the screen, waving it's arms and rolling over and over in there. It reminded me of just how much I want to meet this little person.

The results:

The NT measurement was 1.5mm, so no concern there (2.5mm and below is considered normal, and above 2.5mm would be considered a risk factor), and the nasal bone was obvious (which is not an official part of the screening process, but just another factor on the plus side of things being, you know, "normal"). Of course it is just a screening test, and honestly, Charlie looked absolutely "normal" during the u/s we had at 20 weeks with him. Still, as we supposedly have a higher risk of having a second child with Down Syndrome (some theory about "sticky chromosomes", though our geneticist was not all too sure about that), we feel good to know what we can in advance as our birth plans might be changed by the info we gather (as in the location in which we choose to birth).

The ultrasound tech was great, and we had a nice chat about the awesomeness of Down Syndrome during the exam. :) She asked me "how severely Charlie is affected," which is a common question I get. I told her he is very much your average child with Down Syndrome, but that "average" is much higher functioning than I ever would have guessed before we began to walk down this road. Anyway, she took some extra images for me, and we listened to the heart beat--155bpm. Raymond couldn't make it, but I have a couple great photos to share with him, including one of the baby with both arms up by it's cheek as if resting, and another "full body shot" in 4D with it's little legs crossed at the ankles. You can see it's knobby little knees. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Thing He Says

This morning Calvin reminded me of another cute thing he says.

First thing in the morning, or in the afternoon when he wakes from his nap, he will simply state, "Talvin all done."

You know, 'cause he is all done sleeping. I think I shall start moaning, "Mommy NOT all done!" in the mornings when the alarm goes off.

Oh, and that wasn't a typo. He pronounces his name with a "T" in front.

And you know, it is funny how when you here a word pronounced the same way time and time again you will eventually default to that pronunciation. These days, I often find myself saying something like, "Talvin, are you ready for some wunch?"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things that Calvin says

I received this handout from Calvin's Children's Center teacher the other day about milestones for children age 2. Just a standard handout for parents.

I must say, I NEVER worry about Calvin's development. If our motto for Charlie is "he will get there," then how much more for Calvin who does everything at triple speed and more.

Well, the handout had a speech and language section that says "By now your child will be learning some words, and may even be able to say 50 to 100, and put two word together in a sentence." Now, I never have counted the number of words my kids know, except for Charlie in the very beginning, though it is a question the folks like our doctors are interested to know, but Calvin knows 50 to 100 words easy, multiplied 7 times. And certainly his sentences and sentiments are longer than two words together. This area, along with drawing, are where he excels I think. And what I think is really fun is we get this amazing glimpse into the workings of his little personality at this early age.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to record some of the things Calvin says:

So, he IS two, and one of the most heard sentiments is, "Hey, that's mine!"

Calvin is quite social and connected with his little community, and all day long he asks me "What's ______ doing?" He asks this about Daddy, Charlie, Mommy, Himself, Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Papa Moose, Uncle Russ, Uncle Ryan, Auntie Renee, he asks about the neighbors, his friends at school, the cats next door, the horses we saw last week, you name it. He even will ask about inanimate objects, which to my nerdy child development interests indicates that he does not yet totally make the distinction between living beings and the inanimate. (Hmmm... Very interesting... (as she strokes imaginary goatee)

Another phrase is "What's that?" If only I had a nickle for every time I hear that one.

Lately he has decided he is a "Hampsom Prince," and I agree!

He is sure to let me know that "Mommy's 'teeth' (tea) is hot!"

Now, we are not always successful in coaxing him to do certain chores, but have found if you refer to him as a big dinosaur and ask him if he can pick up his toys with his big dinosaur muscles, he will answer with a resounding, "Yes I Can!" And, he may remind you that in fact he is a "Big Giant Dinosaur! Roar!"

He has begun to insert peoples names into his sentences when addressing them, like saying "What's this animal, Betsy?"

When he falls but is okay, he'll just let you know, "Whoops. I'm okay!"

When he falls and is not okay, he'll let you know, "Owie. Kiss right here. Calvin big hug, too."

He says "please" and "thank you, mommy" at the dinner table. He says "excuse me" when he needs to get by.

There is of course no end to his discourse, but the above are some the the sweeter things I hear him say lately and think, "I should share that." His language explosion seems to be a help for Charlie, too. First, they have begun to have back and forth conversations with each other, which is amazing to witness. Also, many words or phrases Calvin says, Charlie will try out too. I always say language with toddlers is a bit like playing charades, especially in a home that allows liberal use of sign language as well, and really, it couldn't be more fun (except for the times it is frustrating of course.). Anyway, there you go.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This Baby

Many have asked if this new little baby is planned or a surprise.

A hard question to answer, really.

Planned? Not totally--it's a long story, though. (A story with personal insight which I do plan to share... just, later.)

A surprise? Well, with our track record, I don't think we can really be surprised any longer when we get pregnant.

So, perhaps you would say we are startled, but certainly not surprised. And any way you cut it, we are very glad!

Thank you for all the well wishes this week beautiful community!

(And, thank you Renee and Russ for the Lime Popsicles!!!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Well, Now that the Family Knows...

I can spill the beans.

We are... Going to have a BABY! In NOVEMBER!

Well, if that isn't scary--I mean exciting--then I don't know what is.

Seriously, we are very excited, and the more I see the boys getting along and playing like old friends, the more glad I am that we get the opportunity to form a precious new relationship with another amazing person within our family.

We a little nervous about being outnumbered, though. Honestly, with two boys who are developmentally age 2, we already are!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Speech and Language Update

Had a phone call from Charlie's Speech Therapist a couple days ago. At Charlie's IEP in January she had decided it may be a good idea to do some formal evaluations with him to direct her further course of therapy.

It a took a while to get done as Charlie was ill, then the ST was ill, then he was, and so on. Finally, with everyone feeling fine she was able to conduct the testing. She said Charlie was very cooperative, and seemed to have a good time. It was the Preschool Speech and Language Scale, I believe, or some other test with a combination of some or all of those words.

We talked a lot about how he responded, what he was able to do, and what was still beyond his ability. Her findings were not really a surprise, but interesting to know:

Charlie is testing at about 2 years of age across the board for expressive and receptive language. This means his speech and language development is coming along in a completely normal developmental pattern, just extra slowly. This is really great news as it means there is nothing special that needs to be done for him. Even without therapy he would continue to develop, but the hope is that with continued therapy we can bring the process up to a higher gear.

Charlie and Calvin do have a lot of the same sort of conversation. Though, really, Calvin seems ahead, or is pulling ahead very quickly. So, I guess I would have placed Charlie at a bit below age 2, or Calvin a bit above. It is interesting to see Calvin zip through the stages that for Charlie hardly seem like stages, but more like spaces he occupies. For a mom so intrigued by development, Calvin gives me the brief overview of a developmental process, and Charlie gives me the step-by-step breakdown of the stages between stages. Anyway, just something that I find kind of cool about our family.

Back to our conversation, there is one area of great concern, not measured by the scales used, but obvious to all, and that is articulation. Charlie is extremely difficult to understand. This is because of a couple of Down Syndrome related things, and is not at all a surprise. One is low muscle tone, not to be confused with muscle weakness. His muscles tend to just be more relaxed which can make speech sound a little lazy. Another reason is a smaller mouth. Maybe you have noticed children with Down Syndrome who tend to have their little tongues sticking out a lot. This is not due to having a big tongue, but to having a smaller mouth. Combine that with relaxed facial muscles, and you've got a tongue that just kind of hangs out toward the front of the mouth, making speech less clear.

These issues, the ST explained, are things she will address with him as he grows closer to 4 years in Speech/Language development, because if you drill exercises and demands for making sounds properly too early, a preschool age child can just get kind of shut-down and burnt out on speaking--at least in therapy I would suppose!

Anyway, that is our little update of interesting developmental tid-bits.
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