Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rosalie is Signing "More"!!

I am so proud of my little girl!  Rosie is about 6.5 months old right now and has been signing "more" for about a week now!  At first, I wasn't sure if she was really signing, but her speech therapist and occupational therapist assured me that she was indeed asking for more food!  It's never too early to start signing and I'm so glad that the occupational therapist encouraged us to start when Rosie was 4 months old.

A common misconception about signing is that it will delay oral language development.  This is not true!  As kiddos become more able to articulate, they replace their signs with spoken words.  I am very excited about Rosalie starting to use and understand sign language.  Since her ability to communicate verbally is going to be delayed, knowing sign language is going to allow her to express her wants and needs.  This is going to make for a much less fussy baby, and much happier parents. 

I would encourage all parents to teach their babies sign language!  To get you started, here are some of the signs that we started doing with Rosalie when she was about 4 months old:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Live in the Moment

Since it takes Rosalie longer to reach her developmental milestones, it is easy to forget that time is passing by... and quickly.  Each day, I enjoy her cuddles, her smiles, and her little chuckles.  I love having her with me always.  I am so lucky to be her mommy.

There is no better partner in crime than my Rosie.  We go on all sorts of mommy-daughter adventures:  shopping, sightseeing, hiking, etc.  During the day, aside from her naps, we are constantly engaged with each other.  If we're out and about, I am carrying her, talking to her, pointing things out to her, teaching her.  If we are home, I am feeding her, changing her diaper, snuggling her, working on her therapy, teaching her sign language, reading to her, bathing her.  I love every second, but it can get exhausting.

I get tired and have moments, like tonight, when I get discouraged.  I see all the things that babies her age and younger are doing, and she is just not there.  At her doctor's appointment last week, it felt like I answered no to more of the developmental questions than yes.  Is she self feeding yet?  No.  Raking small objects?  No.  Sitting on her own?  No.  Rolling over?  Only from back to belly.  Each "no" got harder and harder to admit to.

After that appointment, I started fixating on everything that Rosalie couldn't do instead of all the things that she can do.  It felt like she would never hold her own bottle, never sit up on her own, never crawl, never bounce in her jumper, never use sign language, never say, "Mama" or "Dada".  It felt useless to be signing "more" before every bite of her pears.  Useless to be practicing her rolling.  Useless to be trying to get her to stand on what I affectionately call her "wet noodle legs".

(Sheesh!  Now that I'm back to my normal self, that all sounds horrible!  Give that baby a break!!  I can be so melodramatic!)

Tonight, what brought me back was watching a sweet video of a 10 month old little girl with Down syndrome saying "Mama".  You can watch the video here.  While watching this video, I was reminded in a beautiful way that Rosalie will do all of these things, and more, when she is ready.  She has already done so much!  A few months ago, I thought she would never roll back to belly, never hold her head up, never turn the pages to a book, never eat solid food, never smile, never laugh, never reach out and grab her feet and legs, never bring things to her mouth, etc.  Guess what?  She's doing all of those things now.

Aren't I happy about all of these achievements?  Absolutely!  I am positively bursting with pride.  But the one downside to her finally reaching her milestones is that I am forced to realize that my baby is not going to be a baby forever.  She's growing everyday.  Someday, in the future, she will not want to be with her mommy 24/7.  She will grow wings.  She will fly.

(I know what you're thinking.  "Wow, there is no way to please this woman.  Rosie is darned if she does and darned if she doesn't.  Poor baby!")

The take away message here is to live in the moment.  Instead of wishing for the future and all of the exciting things it will bring, enjoy the present.  Soon, the present will become the past and you will be wishing that the future had not come so fast.

**Disclaimer:  There are probably several typos because I wrote this entire post on my phone and in bed half asleep!**

Here is a video clip of Rosalie turning the pages in her book!

Here are some pictures of Rosalie doing things that, at one point, it felt like she would never do:
Sitting with support.
Holding her head up.
Grabbing her leg/foot.
Eating solid food.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rosie the Riveter

You may not know who Rosie the Riveter is, but my bet is that you will recognize this iconic ad:

During World War II, this ad inspired women by telling them that they too could help the war effort in a very important way.  Many men were in the military, leaving vacancies in factories producing ammunition and war supplies.  Thanks in part to this ad, the number of women filling these vacancies increased drastically.  Rosie the Riveter became a symbol for feminism and good old fashioned girl power.  In short, a repressed group of individuals was able to show the country and world how capable, useful, and important they were!

What better role model could there be for our little Rosalie, and all individuals with Down syndrome?  This is why Caleb and I decided that for her very first Halloween, Rosalie should go as Rosie the Riveter.

Our hope is that this picture of little Rosalie will help to remind the world that individuals with Down syndrome, and other disabilities, can be contributing and productive members of society.  The sooner everyone stops underestimating what this repressed group of individuals has to offer, the sooner we can watch them blossom!

They can do it!