Friday, December 25, 2009
Aside from the fact that we are celebrating Jesus's birth this time of year, I have a much more personal reason to give thanks to Him this time of year. As I've mentioned before, exactly 4 years ago Jon and I were lost, or at least we felt that way. 3 months pregnant, armed with the news that our child was not "perfect," we were looking for somewhere to turn. We were in Atlanta for Christmas, announcing the news that we were expecting, hiding our tears and fears that there was something different about our child that others and perhaps even ourselves in some ways would find it hard to accept. We knew right away that we would have this child no matter what, and we knew that we would love this child completely and give her everything she needed. But yet we were sad, looking for a place to turn. I would have loved at the time to have talked to someone like myself, a mom who has been there are raised a child with Down syndrome who had a million and one positive things to say - but I would not meet other parents until after Lilly was born. I would have loved a book like "Gifts" and "Gifts II" which tell a hundred stories of real families living real lives, influenced by their wonderful gift of a child with Down syndrome. Yet those books would not be published for a couple more years. All the prior guides that I had used in my pregnancy that told me what not to eat, when to go to the doctor, etc, like the What to Expect book, were pretty bare when it came to "what to think about having a child with special needs."
We were in Atlanta. We were feeling sorry for ourselves, and wanting our baby to know she was loved, but unsure of what the next step was for us. How were we supposed to survive the next 6 months of pregnancy knowing that our child might be different? I was so protective of my child but I wondered and feared for her future - how others would react, what her life would be like. It was Christmas 4 years ago, dealing with these emotions, looking for inspiration. And then it pretty much smacked me on the head.
It was Christmas. We were celebrating a mom giving birth to her special son. God came to her months before and told her something was different about her child, but to not be afraid. Her child might not be a "typical" child but he would save the world. Despite her fears, she was to stay strong. Her husband got a similar message, to stay by her and their family, and support them. Christmas Eve mass 4 years ago had a homily dedicated to Joseph. About what he was thinking and feeling, how he knew to support his new wife and their child, and to have faith that it would all be ok. I sobbed through the entire message.
I understood these parents, their fears and their love for their child. I understood Mary, young and pregnant and unsure of the future her new family would face. She was ready for the challenge, and suddenly so was I. She gave me the faith and courage that this would turn out just fine. While our baby was not God, it was a precious gift from God - children with Down syndrome are not accidents or mistakes. Lilly was entrusted to our care because God knew we were a perfect match - not only because we would be good parents to her, but that she would teach us so much as well.
4 years ago, I was uncertain but suddenly had faith that it would all turn out ok. And it did; my beautiful 3 year old is sleeping peacefully with her red snowman nightgown in her white big girl bed, and I am anxiously awaiting her to wake up (and Jon to get home from work this morning) so that we can run downstairs and see what Santa left for her. She certainly has been a good girl, and she's so excited about Christmas this year. We did a trial run with presents last night, as Jon's parents sent her lots of gifts that she loved tearing the wrapping paper off and appreciating each thing that was inside. And we baked cookies for Santa and I had her leave two cookies and three carrots and a cup of milk out for him underneath the chimney. And she promply ran off with both the cookies and ate one of the carrots and drank most of his milk before posing for a picture with Santa's snacks. My daughter is indeed perfect, and we are ever so grateful things turned out the way they did. She is a Christmas gift, our little miracle. So for so many reasons - "Baby Jesus, Thank You."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We planned a trip to Disney World.
Obviously. Because when we found out that our daughter would be born with a chromosome abnormality, we took a babymoon to Disney World. And when we found out she'd get her tonsils taken out at 13 months of age, we took her to Disney World. And when we moved to New Zealand, we went to Disneyland on the way out and Disney World on the way back. So to subside the guilt and anxiety over her upcoming procedure, we *had* to take her to the happiest place on earth. :)
But we just went to Disney World for a week in June - which was such a wonderful trip - so we wanted to do it differently. In June, we hit every character meal, every ride, every thing we could do to make it a magical trip for Lilly. With a week, we were able to relax, hit the pool each day, and really immerse ourselves in the Disney magic. And honestly, while I love Disney World, thinking about doing it that way again just 6 months later did not sound that exciting. So we decided to think outside the box.
How about a Disney Cruise? we decided. We had never been on a cruise, and I've heard so many wonderful things about Disney Cruises from my cousin Suzanne. In researching, I found that there were great deals for mid-December. We booked a 3 night cruise, and I was so excited that I mentioned it to my whole family. And suddenly, one by one... they all booked it too! So then we had me, Jon, Lilly, Jon's twin brother & his wife and their son, and my three sisters and their spouses and kids. 15 of us going on a Disney Cruise! And to top it off, we booked an additional 3 nights at the new Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary with Jon's brother's family. I couldn't wait to see Walt Disney Resort's holiday decorations!
We just got back a few days ago... did we have a good time or was a big family vacation too much for us to handle? And would we get seasick on our first cruise? You'll have to wait and see...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I hear things like this all the time. All The Time. In many cases such as my new hairstylist, the person is somewhat of a stranger and doesn't know about Lilly - it is just a statement many women say (and believe, I guess) because they have fears of the "higher risks" of a pregnancy in your late thirties. On one hand, I get that fertility goes down as a woman ages, so I understand wanting to have kids while you still can. But really, I don't think that's what many women are talking about.
What's more surprising to me are the people that say this fully knowing our situation. Who see Lilly playing, singing, dancing, and still think it's a good comment to make that they wouldn't "risk" having a child in their late thirties or older. Really? Even if you believed that, there are some things you just don't say to someone because it is rude.
Don't get me wrong - there are a variety of higher risks of pregnancies in the late thirties and forties and I'm not trivializing these - but it seems as though the "risk" that most people are referring to is Down syndrome. That is the one that is all over the "What to Expect" books and the "first and second trimester ultrasound screenings" for pregnancy. It is so common to talk about - and try to "rule out" a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome, that before I went in for my first ultrasound at 3 months of pregnancy - at the age of 24 - I had it on my mind. Because all the stupid baby message boards talked about ultrasounds and ruling out Down syndrome and the chance of a "bad" test result which would lead to an amnio which "of course" would turn out ok. Yet I was the odd seed that went into that first ultrasound, before even knowing anything about my ladybug, feeling strongly that I did not want any genetic testing because I would love my child regardless, and it would just make me worry the entire pregnancy if the results came out positive for Down syndrome.
I am the exception. But thank God, I was also the lucky one in 700 that was blessed with a child with Down syndrome, because we chose to have and love our baby girl regardless of her chromosomes. And now we see that it is such a small part of who she is.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm in denial. Because I look at my child and see a perfect little girl. I see me in her, and Jon, and a little of my mom and my Grandma Lillian for whom she is named after, and I see her cousins in her, and half of her is total princess as well. (I even see a little Julie Andrews in her lately.) :) But I wonder - what the heck is going on when I am living life each day with such a fun, sweet, cheeky, smart, beautiful little girl? Why is the abortion rate for kids with DS 90%, when I feel like we won the lottery, not that we got hit by lightening like other couples seem to feel. I wonder if I am in denial - because is there something going on that I can't see? Is our life horrible and I just didn't get the memo? Is Lilly so challenging but I just don't realize because I'm a (relatively) new parent?
Absolutely no. Lilly is delightful and a joy because that's who she is. I mean, I have to think that because I'm her mommy, but the fact that her teachers, her family, her friends, and everyone she meets seems to think she's amazing just justifies that I'm not delusional. She really is a great little kid.
And I do recognize that there are differences about Lilly - it takes her longer to learn certain things - but not all things, and usually she's just a few months behind the "typically developing" curve. She does have a heart defect that we will fix in January through a catheterization surgery which will put a tiny device to close a little hole. And while I completely acknowledge that it's a big deal, I put Lilly in God's hands and pray that he will take good care of our little girl.
The ways that Lilly is "different" that are likely attributed to Down syndrome, do not make her less than a wonderful person - but they do make me love her even more, and they make her a more special person. I see every accomplishment of Lilly's as being amazing, whether it is a new skill (like putting on her coat all by herself) or a new word that she says (or reads! She can now sight read a handful of words, including Daddy!) or whether it is memorizing the words and choreography to "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and acts/sings the entire song out with her daddy. I hate to be "gushy" or "sentimental" but I am just in so much awe of everything she does, and the hard work and effort that goes along with it.
So I don't know. I don't know if there is something wrong with me that I don't see the "bad" in my child the way so many strangers with no association to Down syndrome feel. But I do know that everyone who meets Lilly falls in love with her. I know that children and adults with Down syndrome are incredible for overcoming so many things - from medical issues to working hard in school and graduating high school - and these amazing people couldn't do it without supportive people in their lives.
So it just kind of seems like there is this runaway train of negativity, led by outdated stereotypes and genetic counselors and ob's who have no real knowledge of what life is really like for a family with a child with Down syndrome, which seems to make people believe that it really would be a "worst case scenario" to end up in our shoes.
I know a child with special needs is not what a parent asks for when they get pregnant. There are tough things that go along with it. But for anyone who's read my blog on a regular basis, you see that we are just normal people living a normal life. A resident husband who works a million hours a week but who loves his wife and child with all his heart. A lawyer wife who also works full time who is a constant advocate for her child with special needs but who is also very concerned with making sure that her daughter learns how to bake, and that they get the right princess dress for Halloween. A beautiful 3 year old girl who has flown more than the average adult and who has traveled all over the world, and lived in New Zealand for a third of her life. Proud parents, and a little girl with the funniest sense of humor and feet that are like speedy gonzales when she's running around the house - faster than I can chase her! Parents who will give their girl the best that life can offer, and will be proud of her successes no matter what they are - the bar is not set too high nor too low for this little girl; in fact, there is no bar but a fairy wand which Lilly holds and gracefully twirls with mommy and then wacks daddy upside the head with it. She is a child who makes friends easily, who catches on to new things at preschool, who is so proud of herself when she accomplishes anything, and who does a victory dance & shouts "hooway!" in the middle of the grocery store aisle when I let her pick out cookie mix. This is a little girl whose favorite songs to sing are Michael Jackson's "I'll be there" and "It's a Small World" and "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt." She is a little girl with powerful hugs which embrace my entire heart.
Not that our lives are perfect. But my biggest complaint is Jon's busy schedule (although I 100% support his career, but I'm just saying); and I'm sure his biggest complaint is that I'm a backseat driver. And if we had anything remotely negative to say about Lilly, I'd think Jon would say it was the time she peed on his shoe - while he was wearing it - on purpose, because she was fairly potty trained so she should have known better; and for me I'd say I wish she didn't always want to type on my laptop. Our family complaints have nothing to do with Down syndrome, and we are blessed that there is so much love between the three of us (especially when Lilly hugs both of us and sings at the top of her lungs the "I love you, you love me" Barney song). And for the record, Lilly's complaints about her parents are that her daddy washes her hair, which annoys her, and that I won't let her wear makeup more often. It's a tough life for her, I know.
I wish in the midst of the fear of being an "older mom" and its associated risks, a woman and her doctor could take a little peek into our world, Lilly's World, and see how amazing our lives really are.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Just want to share all the wonderful things she can do:
Lilly can go potty all by herself - in fact, she prefers no help. She pulls down her pants, goes, flushes, washes her hands all on her own. No more diapers or pullups for this little girl! (During the day, at least.)
Lilly can also drink out of an open cup, get her own water from the fridge, and she can eat with chopsticks!
Lilly is learning to dress herself. She can put on her own jacket (the preschool upside down flip way), put on her own socks, and she loves putting on and wearing headbands and hats.
Lilly is also talking so much, and I love hearing her sing. She and I also have our first "inside joke" - I'd share it but it's inside - but she came up with it herself. She has a wonderful sense of humor. Also she has just come up with a "sign" for "cheeky" and has started signing sentences.
Lilly is also pre-reading. She is recognizing the words "sesame street" "hannah montana" and "mcdonalds" among others.
I also like to call Lilly my "backseat garmin" - she has a good sense of direction, and when we're in the car, she always tells me "go dat way" or "go da oder way" and points. She knows if you go right on a certain street, you end up at her school, and which road goes down to her neighborhood. She yells out if I don't go the way she wants when we drive around town.
I am so proud of my girl. She is a quick learner and seems to be a sponge when it comes to taking in new things.
Monday, November 2, 2009
2006, Lilly was a baby chick.
2007, Lilly was a neurosurgeon (and Jon & I were her residents).
2008, Halloween wasn't really celebrated in New Zealand (no trick or treating!) so Lilly was Cinderella (we got the costume from our Disneyland trip). Lilly's twin boyfriends came over for a party and wore their Thomas the Train shirts and boots.
This year, Lilly dressed up as the Holiday edition of Belle from Beauty and the Beast. The dress was so super gorgeous (and multi-purpose - she's going to wear it on our December trip to Disney World/Disney Cruise).
We carved an Elmo pumpkin, which Lilly LOVED. She even liked eating the pumpking seeds that I baked - half the batch was salt and the other half was cinnamon sugar.
On Saturday (Halloween), we only went to a few houses for trick or treating. After the first house, Lilly opened up her M&M's that she just got and started eating them, which kind of took away the incentive to do too much more trick or treating. Then after another house or two, Lilly started singing "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day." Jon and I looked at each other confused and then we felt the rain drops. :)
Then we handed out candy for awhile at the house. Our subdivision must get most of the trick or treating population in Charlottesville - it was busy until we turned the lights out at 9 pm! Lilly loved opening the door and distributing candy. Although, she tried to give one piece of candy that was half eaten (by her). She also liked going outside and walking halfway down the driveway, and then coming back to the door like she was a trick or treater, and she got lots of candy from us that way! Overall it was a low key but good Halloween. :)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Here's Lilly at our neighborhood block party watching & dancing to the band - she is such a groupie!
Lilly going to school on a rainy day!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
After the nap, we went to Epcot. We got there just in enough time to visit the Voices of Liberty - a beautiful a capella group in the USA pavillion. However... it was on the complete opposite end of the park from the entrance. We put Lilly in the stroller and RAN as fast as we could (in 100 degree heat), and arrived for the last half of the concert. Then we backtracked to Norway, for our princess dinner. Another wonderful character meal experience; the princesses go out of their way to make every child feel so special, and the food was great (it's a cold buffet of salads, fruit, meats, etc for appetizers, and then you order your individual entree). Lilly ate her share of cantaloupe at this meal, and I think she ate a lot of cold peas from the salad bar as well. They brought out a cupcake to celebrate her birthday (as they had been doing at most meals this week, since it was her birthday the Saturday after our trip), and our wonderful server surprised Lilly with a princess autograph book, so she could get the princesses' signatures.
After dinner, we went to England and found Winnie the Pooh & friends at the back of a little store; Lilly got to give them big hugs (and it was perfect timing since the next morning we were eating with them, so it got her excited). Then we started walking towards the front of the park, and went on "the big ball" aka Spaceship Earth. Then we found a character greeting area where the lines weren't too long, and Lilly got to give huge hugs to Mickey Mouse & all his friends. What a wonderful ending to another wonderful day!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
When I was pregnant, when she was born, when she turned 1 - why did no one tell me how amazing she would be? Each step along the way, I learned for myself, and I had faith in her, and each time she exceeded my expectations. When I was pregnant and everything we knew about Down syndrome - which wasn't much at all - was presented in a negative light - Lilly danced in my belly, doing the funniest moves, making me laugh out loud during boring meetings at work. When she was born, and she needed to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks - she gave me funny little smiles, she looked at me with such love that we were instantly bonded and I'd do anything for her. During her first year, when I was told by strangers how limited her future would be - her babysitter asked if I'd rather Lilly be a lawyer like her mommy or a brain surgeon like her daddy - and I suddenly realized not to limit her options, she can accomplish whatever she wants. I wondered if Lilly would have friends as she grew up, and if her new school in New Zealand would be accepting - and she turned out to be one of the most popular kids. I wondered if she would have difficulty learning, and yesterday out of nowhere she counted to 10 by herself, and can sing along to the ABC's. I didn't know if raising a child with quote "special needs" would be depressing, and now I've never laughed so much in my life. I wondered if it would strain our marriage; instead she inspires so much love within our family. I wondered if she'd do the same things as other kids, and for the past year she has memorized songs and dance routines based on popular movies (I literally can't keep up with the dance moves!). Today after school, she starts her first dance class - Jazzy Bugs at Little Gym.
Lilly is certainly no exception to the rule, as we've discovered in meeting other friends with Down syndrome. These kids are motivated, bright, beautiful, and charismatic. I don't worry for my daughter like I thought I'd need to; I know there is so much potential inside her and I love finding ways to inspire her. The one area that she will need help, though, is in breaking stereotypes, and raising awareness, that there are no limits in what she can achieve. I watch her do this every day just by existing. A homeless guy on the Downtown mall gets a huge wave and dance, as he plays his guitar for money. A business man at the airport stops for a minute to blow a kiss back to my little sweetie, who has taken his mind off whatever business deal he's worried about. A teacher who has never worked with a child with Down syndrome gets inspired by all that my girl can learn. And randomly, daily, people come up to me to tell me how beautiful my little princess is - which of course, I know. I am the luckiest person in the scenario, because I get to live with my role model and watch her grow and thrive and flourish.
On Saturday October 17th, we will be walking in the Northern Virginia Buddy Walk, which supports and raises awareness for Down syndrome. This is so important to us. Our future, Lilly's future, is in the hands of people who may not realize how amazing she is, and will be. I want the world to know how incredible a gift I've been given, and it starts with simple efforts like a Buddy Walk. Positive Down syndrome awareness is so important. When I was pregnant, the National Down Syndrome Society sent us their "welcome parents" packet. For the first time during my pregnancy, information was presented to me in a positive light, with current data and beautiful pictures of children and adults with Down syndrome. We were ready to accept this "challenge" which instead has become such a wonderful opportunity.
If you would like to support us walking in the Buddy Walk, you are more than welcome to do so financially by going to our webpage https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=315089&supId=266944115. But more important than money, I would love for you to continue the awareness - spread the word that Down syndrome is not something to be sad about or want to avoid. I would not change a thing about my little princess, and I thank God so much for sending her to us. I can't imagine it any other way. I want Lilly to grow up feeling accepted by society, and to be able to follow her dreams no matter what they are, and that starts with simple awareness and inclusiveness. It is amazing what a child like Lilly can accomplish when we give her every opportunity to succeed.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
New Zealand was good and bad. Luckily, the bad was first so looking back, our memories are mostly positive. The first few months were cold and rainy and we weren't settled in yet - just starting to meet people but not a lot of friends. And I feel like for almost the first six months, we were still buying things that we needed for the house and for Lilly, so it was still a period of transition, and an expensive one at that. But we gradually met some friends, and getting used to the lifestyle. We figured out the layout of Auckland, and we began traveling a lot outside of the city. I loved getting in the car (or plane) and leaving Auckland; there was something symbolic to me about fleeing - probably that I still wanted to head straight back to the US at times. But we survived, and in the last few months had a great time. Lilly became the most popular girl in her preschool class, Jon and I found a group of friends who we loved, and then... we moved back home.
Since we've been back, we've been overwhelmed with things like the huge size of Target stores, the big portions at Atlanta Bread Company, and the wide variety of "stuff" you can buy anywhere. I was shocked, when we went to buy a new potty for Lilly, that there are about 20 different models we could choose from. Plus more online. And things like electronics and clothes, are so cheap! Cars are so big! Roads are so wide! Seriously, these are the things that are shocking Jon and I, and making us feel incredibly overwhelmed, wide-eyed, and culture shocked.
And our house... which we hadn't seen in 12 months... I think we had forgotten what it's like to live in America, and what our house was like, and how much stuff we had, and how comfortable it all is, etc, etc. Our experience in NZ was pretty much having the bare minimum, partially because we were there for a short time, and partly because everything was so expensive, but also because there is less "stuff" generally, and it doesn't seem like people are buying things just to have them. Not so, here in America, where a store like Bed Bath and Beyond can convince a person they need wicker baskets for storing toys, and certain shaped bowls just for eating fruit. We are definitely grateful for all we have here in the US, but some of it does seem excessive - we probably own over a dozen pillows, and they are all fairly new and in good shape. And don't get me started on TV... besides the fact that there are a gazillion channels (and we just have regular cable!), and that there is *always something interesting to watch, we are super-impressed by DVR, because we can now always watch anything we want. It is (from a sheltered Kiwi girl's perspective) mind blowing. Ya'll don't understand because you haven't been away from it; but trust me. I won't even get into my newfound fascination with frozen dinners. :)
My point on it all? I'm not sure. New Zealand was nice, we had a good experience overall. Being back in the US is really nice, and feels so much more like home, although we're now getting used to life here all over again. One thing I've noticed that might be symbolic: in New Zealand, I wore jeans every day. On Sundays, I'd occasionally wear a dress or nice pants to church; but most days I was in jeans. Here? I've barely worn jeans at all. I'm wearing dresses, skirts, shorts, accessories, jewelry... I think that, even when I really liked New Zealand, I didn't feel comfortable there - I was an outsider, with a strange accent, and even though everyone was totally friendly, I was trying to blend in, to hide a bit. Back here, I'm ready to stand out; I have much more confidence. Either way, it's nice to be home. But I still miss my friends in New Zealand.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
In lieu of adorable pictures, I thought I'd just give you a few "snapshots" of what we've been up to. *Edited to add that I just uploaded some pics from a couple weeks ago.*
- My cousin Christopher's wedding, June 27th. Of course it was great catching up with family, and I always love a good wedding, but the highlight of the weekend was Lilly's reaction to everything. She had the BEST time! It started with the ceremony - we were lucky that Lilly just got back from Disney World. She was totally in "princess" mode, and since brides are obviously princesses in their dresses, as soon as I whispered we were watching "Princess Lisa" get married, she sat quietly through the entire ceremony. Of course she had to wave a little to the princess and her prince while they were exchanging vows (she was so used to waving to Cinderella from the week before!). And then the wedding reception... she had the best time ever dancing and boogying. She swayed and twirled to the slow songs, and danced hard to the fast songs, learning new moves along the way. At 11:30 pm, we literally had to drag her from the dance floor.
- Lilly's adjustment to moving back: Lilly is back at Malcolm Cole daycare, and she loves her teachers and friends. She's totally used to the house again, and she loves her new big girl room (princess themed, obviously) with a big girl bed. The only side effect to her adjustmend is the same thing that happened when we moved to NZ, or when we do major traveling: Lilly has become a picky eater, to control part of her environment. It's not so bad, as she is eating something in every food group (for example, she likes chicken nuggets, cheese, yogurt, peas, raw carrots, bread, cantaloupe, grapes, etc); but she randomly doesn't like a certain favorite food one day, and yet at other times she'll want to experiment.
- Little Gym. Her new favorite place to hang out on the weekends. She loves the songs and the equipment and the activities. It's amazing to see her back here, a year+ later, when the last time she was there she couldn't even walk yet, and now she's running. Her very first class, she volunteered to walk the balance beam in a demonstration, and she did great. Last week, we celebrated her boyfriend Jack's birthday there, and at one point they were holding hands walking around a circle together - super adorableness. :)
- CHEEEEEESE! We have a little ham on our hands! Her new hit trick is putting her arm around us and saying "Cheese!" like she's posing for a camera. Doesn't matter if there is a camera involved or not, but it is a little helpful if we are actually taking her picture.
- Fridays After 5. The free Charlottesville concert at the Pavillion behind my work. We've gone the past 3 weeks, and she loves standing down in the front and dancing hard. She's such a little groupie. Funny thing is that the rest of the weekend she is recognized everywhere we go!
- 3 versus 2. While Lilly has never had a "bad" age, 3 is such a fun age so far. She is more grown up, understands so much, and seems to have more common sense. She humors me by sitting with me each night before bed so we can watch parts of Full House together, and at my request copies the cute "Michelle" parts. And then I humor her by watching a few minutes of America's Got Talent. Sometimes we watch a few minutes of America's Funniest Home Videos, which she seems bored with until people get hit with balls or bats - then she laughs hysterically. Also, she's more easy going in getting dressed, brushing her hair, etc. She's saying a lot more too (yesterday she said "Go away" to me!).
- Smartie pants! We are complete slackers lately in "teaching" her things like letters and numbers and colors, etc, but she is a sponge and picks things up naturally. Today, I realized she can read/word recognition "Sesame Street" and "Fall." Actually, fall is kind of random because there was a book about seasons at the doctor's office, and she was looking at it herself, and on one page there was "Fall" with a bunch of leaves underneath and a man raking them. And Lilly looked at the page, saw the word fall, and said "Ohh!" and put her hand over her mouth, like she does if someone falls down. There was nothing in the picture to make her think the guy was falling besides the word (b/c it actually looked like he was just standing there). So clearly, she's a genius. :) And, when we count to 10 or sing ABC's she totally says/sings it with us. She's starting to learn her shapes, although she clearly prefers circles (which she calls "round").
- Good night! Like I said before, Lilly is now sleeping in a big girl bed. She was ok with it, although the first few nights she got up and wandered around. Since she can easily open any door, we got her a gate for her room. When she wakes up in the morning, she opens her door but can't get past the gate. So she stands there and shouts "Hello!" It's actually a great morning alarm for me. If I don't get her right away, she shuts the door and starts reading books. After she's finished, she opens the door again and shouts "Mama!" This time she means business, and I go get her. She is SO cute at night when we put her to bed. First we read her a book or two, and then she lies down and we tell her a story. We've been working on memory/cognitive skills, so I either tell her what happened to her that day or a story from her past, or retell a storyline from Sesame Street/High School Musical. Sometimes we go over what we'll do tomorrow, or when she'll see family members soon. I think it's very important because since she's at school all day and we don't have much time with her, it opens the door of communication with us, and is such a special time. Sometimes she anticipates what's coming next, and tells me (like when Big Bird sits on Elmo's tricyle, she goes "bam" and claps her hands together because, of course, he breaks it). Anyways, we then turn on her music and she's pretty relaxed and goes right to sleep. It is definitely my favorite part of the day with her.
Monday, June 29, 2009
... our plans for the next day were ruined. Not ruined, actually, but we had to switch gears.
Lilly charming Prince Charming...
Lilly loved Cinderella except she was a little shy up close in person.
But she was totally impressed by the stepsisters!