Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mommy report: Words, words, and more words

Braska has taken off with her speech in the last month. She's been mimicking, for the last few months, everything that's said, in person, on TV, in the store, etc. But now she's using the words, identifying what she wants, "labeling" as the ST calls it. We were all excited when she first looked at the TV when there was a cat food commercial and said, "Cat! Meow!" Then in the next 4 days there were another 6 words used, and we just kept looking at each other like, "Holy Cow?!?" We started keeping a list, so we wouldn't forget, and so we could reinforce them. It got to where we were adding new words, sometime 2 or 3, every day. I'm just plain blown away by this, let me tell you. She's cracking us up with the mimicking still, and we really have to watch what we say or what's on the TV, since she doesn't so much have an "appropriate" filter. She just says it if she hears it.

She's come a long way, also, in completing her words clearly. Nose is now nose, not just "no." Sheep has the SH and a clear P on the end. Bottle is plainly two syllables with the appropriate sounds in both. We're to the stage that when she will allow those outside our house to hear her, they can actually understand her. That's pretty fun, I must say.

Her teacher at school has said that she's just talking up a storm at school the last few weeks. She was all shy the first few, so I'm pleased that she's getting comfortable enough to chat with them. Some uses are more inconsistent than others, but all of these on the list have been shown properly more than a few times. Here's what she's got so far... unfortunately, we've not been successful getting much good video yet, as she's not so cooperative at performing, but she uses them as she needs them.
  • Cat: Especially when she sees them on TV or a movie. And she yells this one!
  • Drum: She requests her water drums when she gets in the bath, and she has an ice cream tub that she uses for a drum as well.
  • Bubbles: This has recently been a request from the PT, as Braska found them in her bag and wanted some bubble action. She also identifies them when asked.
  • Nose, Ear, Hair: She prefers to identify these on bodies not her own.
  • Picture: This is what she calls the camera. She says it when she grabs the camera if it's been left within reach and when she looks up to see it pointed at her.
  • Movie: This is said, generally with animation, as soon as she gets in her carseat in my car. There's a DVD screen that she uses on longer trips. She seems to think they are all long enough.
  • Bottle: Every time Kinlee gets a bottle (when we're away from home for a feeding), Braska has to get in on the action, come grab the end of the bottle and identify what she has found. She has a tendency to want to take it out of Kinlee's mouth, but we're working on that part. One step at a time!
  • Car: One of her puzzles has a car piece, so it gets identified when she plays with it. She will answer, "What is this?" for that piece too. And sometimes when she's looking outside at the front door she'll say car when one goes by. Oh, and of course, when we go to the garage to leave, she lets me know where we're supposed to go.
  • Puppy: She doesn't seem to like the word "dog" so it's always "puppy" instead.
  • Sweet: This is her word for a hug lately. She'll lean in and cuddle for a second and say "Ohhhhh, sweet." I think we must have said this and not realized it. She also does this to Kinlee in the morning when she comes to say hi.
  • Nice: When she pets Kinlee's head, she says, "Niiiiiiice." We have told her repeatedly to "be nice" so I guess that's where she got it.
  • Bless you: When someone sneezes, including herself, she greets with this. So funny to hear.
  • Wash: This is used whenever she's done with eating, or if I wipe her hands when getting into/out of the shopping cart or something.
  • Bouncy: She loves this one, and it's all for Daddy. They have a knee-bouncing good time in the evening, and she hardly lets him sit down after work before she starts insisting, over and over and over... "Bouncy!!!"
  • Poop: This one shocked me, but when I get her out of bed in the morning, if she has messed her diaper, *most* of the time she will tell me "Poop." It's not 100%, but it's been pretty consistent.
  • Bib, Tray: When it goes on before eating, and when it comes off...she labels them each both times.
  • Door: Any door, she goes to it, knocks, and says, "Door."
  • TV: This is what she says sometimes when she gets in the car, instead of "movie," and she hands me the remote in the morning after breakfast and says, "TV!" (sometimes TB) as she knows it is time for Sesame Street.
  • Makeup: This is what we call her Aquaphor that we use on her face (also arms and legs, but then it's "lotion" which, I's confusing). Anytime she sees the container come out, she yells "makeup!" and occasionally it sounds like "nakeup" for some reason.
  • Bath: If we forget to close the bathroom door, she stands at the side of the tub, knocks on it, and says, "Bath" over and over until someone removes her or complies with her request.
  • Diaper: Everytime we change her, we ask, and she answers. And if she gets into the diaper bag and empties it, she labels each one as well.
  • Brush: A comb or brush gets called a brush. And she will take it and attempt to comb/brush whatever hair is near. She usually tries to do her own RIGHT after I've done pigtails or something nice and neat.
  • Shoes/socks: These are favorites of hers. She taps on them and labels them as we put them on her or if they are left on the floor. And if we put them both in front of her and ask her to give us one or the other, she will get it right. I love that!
  • Hat: This one almost always is both a sign and spoken at the same time. And it usually comes up when Daddy shows up with one on.
  • Pat pat: This one is for Kinlee. She will lay her hand on K's belly and then lift just her fingers and pat, telling us what she's doing. I think it's quite interesting that she doesn't lift her whole hand.
  • Glasses: She occasionally will just touch her glasses and label them. Or when she's around Grandma or others with glasses, she'll label them and grab, but she's better about not taking them off of the person. She also says "glasses on" when we put hers on in the morning.
  • Mommy: She has taken to patting me on the arm and saying it, just the last few days. She doesn't use it to request my presence yet, like from her crib or anything.

A few other fun things that we do every day are her ABCs, when I say each and she repeats them all. She's now able to give the following letter on about 6 of them. We also work on numbers 1-10 (10 is her fave), and she will do 2 and 3 when given 1 to start with. And she now has a few animals that she knows sounds for: Cow, Sheep, Cat, Bear, and Horse. She can say the word and then answer, "What's a ____ say?" with the right sound. Bear is our favorite, because she says "raaooor" with a very bored and un-scary tone....a very mild bear, for sure.

We are very pleased that she's doing so well. As most of you know, every kid is different, including kids with DS. Every kids has strengths and areas that they struggle with more. Braska's strength is her speech/communication, whereas gross motor (walking, standing) is her area of great struggle. No matter how that changes or evolves, we'll still celebrate all the accomplishments and continue to work on areas that need more help.

I hope to have video to share of some of this soon!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Catch-up: Playing at Jack's

On Friday, we went to Jack's house to play. Sometimes it is just me and him, but this time there was another friend named Anthony. We all have that "extra" something special in our jeans, as Mommy says. But maybe that's not how you spell it. Anyway, we always have fun, even though we don't get to play as much as we want to because our moms are busy. There were some other friends we hoped would come, but they didn't get to.

I even let Kinlee come this time. She was pretty good and didn't get in my way too much.

Jack knows how to walk all by himself, and it is hard to keep up with him, but I try! His mommy gave me some of those cool strings of beads, and I just LOVE them!

Here's Jack smiling with Mommy. They're both pretty silly, I think!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's time to Think Spring!

Mommy and I have been working on a new look for my stories page today. And it's one of my favorites ever! I love the bright colors and there's even a bee! I like to say, "Bee!!!"

Doesn't it just make you ready for sunshine and flowers??

(The layout uses elements from the Think Spring kit from Scraps by Andrea. Thanks!)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

World DS Day and a party

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. Happy DS Day!

We went to a party today at the new DS office. They moved so they invited everyone to come see it.

Jack and his mommy were there too, so we hung out for a while. Daddy says these pictures look like we're watching tennis. I've never seen tennis, but I thought you might get it.

And we snuck in a little smooch too!

We made pictures of our hands that they are gonna put on the walls at the new office.

We even used the same color so they would match. Mine is not nearly as neat as his is, but that's ok.

Here's a better picture of mine. I didn't hold my hand still like I was supposed to. Oops!

I hope you all had a good DS day too!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bubbles and balls

Last week, Daddy and Mommy cleaned out their cars one day when it was really warm outside. While they worked, I played with my color balls. I just LOVE them! Great gift, Papaw!!

Yesterday, my PT came to see me. I worked really hard at making my legs stronger. She made me bend over from standing up and pick things up on the floor. It was so hard! And then I climbed all the way up the stairs from Daddy's room downstairs!! Everyone was really excited! Since I did so good, I got to play bubbles. They are my favorite!
(Mommy note: Anyone want to guess what my favorite part of this pic is? Think fine motor... Isn't it funny that our Mommy brains work this way!!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Catch-up: Buddies and Braids

Last week on Monday, Daddy came home from work with a present for me! A coloring book and colors! We practiced coloring for a while before he had to go back for a special work meeting.

Since Daddy had a meeting, Mommy and I went to eat dinner with Jack and his family and some of his friends. It was fun! Jack thought there was alot of talking, I think.

I found a new thing I like alot... Mommy says it's called mashed taters and country gravy. I ate alot of bites of it!

Mommy did a new trick with my hair last week, too. She said it was french or something.

"What do you think?"

"Huh? Really? Gee, thanks!"

We went to see the guy that gave me my Steps. He was checking to see if they still fit ok. And they do, for a couple more months, he said. I waited for him like a big girl, but I kept looking to see if he was coming soon.

When Daddy got home that night, I told him and KiKi all about it.

On Thursday night, Grammy, Papa, Auntie Julia, and Uncle Ryan came by. I sat with Auntie Ju and watched some TV.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mommy report: Exciting night!

Pardon the interruption into your regular evening, but we have something to share!!

Daddy gets the credit for this one. He had her in the bed for cuddles and snuggles, and in a matter of 15 minutes, she's got it down pat!!! She's going around now saying, "Name! Braska! (Ba-ka)"

I'm always hesitant to "brag" on her too much, for fear of offending or something to those who struggle... as that's a real thing in the world of delays...but I am so proud of this girl! More speech news soon, but I just had to throw this up and cheer for my girl!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Long Sunday Dinner

Sunday we went to Papaw's church so the nice people there could see Kinlee. We dressed up nice since it was a special day. First I had a bath and put on my robe. I have had it since I was a tiny baby and I think I'm gonna let Kinlee have it soon. (Mommy note: This robe is 0-9 months!)

Kinlee wore a cute Pooh dress and fancy shoes too.

I wore a new outfit from my friend Miss Trish.

After church, we went to a place to eat. But we just sat on some seats by the door for a looooooong time with no food. It was almost all of us from Daddy's family, and all of us grandkids were there. We were pretty good even though we waited a long time. Finally we got to sit at a table. My uncles and Daddy helped me color my paper.

I ate some of Mommy's food because she had some mashed taters and gravy. It was good, so I ate a bunch of little bites. Everyone said, "Yay Braska!" That's my favorite part.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Catch-up: Pigtails photo shoot

Last week Mommy put pigtails in my hair one day and we decided to take some pictures. It was fun at first, but then...not so much.

Here's how it went...


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Catch-up: Family birthday dinner

On Sunday, it was time for a birthday party for three people at once. It was for Papaw John, Auntie Janice, and Miss Cheryl. They all have birthdays this month, so we went to Grandma and Papaw's house for pizza that Grandma C made. Yummy!!

I played with Shaylin. She shared her toys with me, and I got into my hiding place for movies. I just love getting them all out!

Shay got this neat kitchen for Christmas, and I'm big enough to play with it now since I can stand up.

The baby cousins were there too, and they just got to be cuddled by everyone all night. Baby Xander is bigger than Kinlee already! (There's more pictures of the babies on Kinlee's blog, if you want to see them.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Catch-up: My first nightgown

Last week, it was really nice, warm weather a couple days. We opened up the windows and let the nice wind in the house. Since I didn't need to wear my really warm p-jammies, Mommy let me wear a Blues Clues nightgown that my friend gave me last year. It's like a dress that you can sleep in! Usually I don't get to wear them because I don't like to keep my blanket on at night and it's cold in our house when we sleep. But since it was nice, I got to try it out and I just kept it on because I liked it so much!

My PT showed me, when she came to visit the day before this, how to stand up at the door and see outside to the street.

Since the wind was blowing in nice, I stood there for a long time. (Mommy note: I just think this picture is too sweet...not sure why, but I love it.)

When Mommy wasn't looking, I decided to try to see what the screen felt like on my tongue. I think she caught me, though. She said I shouldn't do it because it was dirty, but I thought it was pretty fun anyway. I like weird stuff on my tongue--as long as it's not food, ya know!

I practiced my walking in my gown too. It's nice not to step on my pants like I usually do!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Catch-up:Shopping with Sophie

Last week on Tuesday, my friend Sophie from where we used to live came to town because she had to see some doctors. Can you believe those doctors put some tubes IN her ears? Isn't that crazy? Anyway, after she was done, we met up at the mall. I love going to the mall or to the store or anywhere at all. And now that Kinlee's here, we have a new stroller and I get to sit in the front!

I tried to give Sophie a fist bump, but she was still tired a little.

While Sophie was getting some shoes, I checked out the neat store.

We got some lunch, and I took a nap in my stroller. Glad I got to see Sophie though!