Saturday, January 31, 2009

You know what else is cool?

When a person looks at a child and realizes, at that moment, that they love them and desire more than anything to provide the nurturing parent that child deserves.

It's not that anyone complained about what I wrote yesterday, but I have several friends who have had their lives blessed by adoption and I wanted to acknowledge that family is not all about how one looks.

It's about being there when there are other things you could be doing. It's about giving hugs and kind words when needed. It's about fighting for one another like no one else would or could. It's about respect and admitting when you're wrong. It's about telling the truth when it needs to be told. It's about learning and growing, together.

That's family.


And in case you didn't know, there's a waiting list in the U.S. to adopt kids with Ds. There are also opportunities to adopt internationally or support families who are, such as the Garcias and the Shafers.

Friday, January 30, 2009

By the way...

I just spoke with the daycare director. Playette will stay in the same classroom (for now at least), but her primary careperson will change.

The lady just didn't get that she was offending me. I kept correcting her and she refused to simply remember my child's name.


She said she had trouble remembering things.

Not watching my child you won't.

Plus she doesn't know one sign. Not one.

She told me she knew "more" and then signed "hurt."

Rest assured that the daycare will be placing an order for Signing Time next month.

I'll continue to keep you posted.

Flashback Friday: "Who's that?"

That title right there is a quote. BD said it when he saw this photo:

That's me!

He didn't realize how much Playette favors me. I don't think anyone really does because I don't look like I did when I was a baby. Actually, I never look the same. People usually recognize me by the company I keep and not by my face.

I think that's my Christening gown peeking through, so my deduction is that I was about three months old or so. I still have that gown, by the way. I meant to at least put Playette in it to take photos, but I never did so before she outgrew it.

I tried to find a photo that shows just how much we look alike as babies so that you can compare. Here are a couple of options I ran across that show Playette at about the same age:

This is a good one, but it's a side view.

Different day, from the front.

I think this is so cool. Genetics are just amazing.

For all that think everyone with Ds "looks alike"? Take heed. It's not true. People with Ds have an extra chromosome, but their genetic material comes from their parents. Playette looks like her family. She is an individual, uniquely and wonderfully made.[/soapbox]

Cancel your calls to Maury. I am the mama.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The results are in!

According to the nurse, she's "normal."

(How that happened with us as parents, I'll never know.)

(Ba dum dum, ching)

But, seriously, the report said that she had a normal sleep/awake blah blah blah. The nurse was rushing off the phone (what's UP with that?!) and kept saying it all fast each time I asked her to repeat herself. They can't fax the report itself, but we can pick it up the next time we're there.

I'll take that with a side of *exhale* thankyouverymuch.

EEG Recap

This was a very, very difficult experiment. Not painful, just difficult.

First, there was keeping Playette awake. As soon as she got in the car for the ride to the hospital, she was ready to pass out. I did my best to keep her entertained, while also trying my best to get a few pages of Choosing Naia in. Not the best plan as one time I looked up and her eyes were closed. NOOOOOO!! WAKE UP!

Poor baby. She was so done. 5 hours of sleep just wasn't enough.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:30 and waited to get admitted. This was news to us because no one had bothered to fill us in on this detail. And could we let her start falling asleep now or not? No one knew.

By the time we got upstairs to "the room" it was just after 9. I got in the bed with Playette and tried to rock and shimmy with her until she fell asleep. She was so not having that. It was a new place. It was daytime. Who's that lady? Why's daddy sitting in that chair? Play with me. Oh, I'm so tired.

Yeah, like that.

Thankfully, after about 20 minutes, she was out. Whew.

Then, there was the next hurdle of getting all of the electrodes on. Ugh. The tech moved fast, but not fast enough for me. I just knew this would all be for naught because Playette was going to wake up. Techie was just, well, not gentle in her movements. There were a couple of scares, but we made it and got started at about 9:45.

The test is supposed to take 20 minutes. If all goes perfectly. It didn't. Though it was far from the worst nightmare I had imagined.

Playette slapped at the wires, moved around, etc.

Techie wanted me to do things, but she couldn't explain what she wanted and then would get mad at me for not reading her mind. Ugh. Seriously, Techie?

I'm still waiting on a call back regarding the results. I'll post as soon as I know.

In the meantime, here's some photos. I wanted to get one while she was sleeping, but I was busy trying to keep her from ripping off the stupid electrodes while Techie was giving me conflicting half-information.


First waking up.

Check me out.

Side View

Get these things off of me.

Ahhh, that's better.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

They said high winds, not high waters!

She may be a petite lil thang, but there are moments like these when you can't deny that she's growing.

Time for new pants, Playette!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MLK Weekend in LA

In front of Ripley's. She tilts her head to the side a lot now. It's like she knows she's cute.

In front of Mann's Chinese Theatre. No idea what provoked those toothy cheesy grins.

Head Tilt: Part Deux

Yayyyy! I love it when it's 80+ degrees in January!

Contemplating a life in the spotlight.

Lounging in the oversized beanbag chair. We so need one of these at our house.


We're leaving shortly to take Playette to get a non-sedated EEG.

There's this thing she does that has always bothered me. She stiffens for a couple of seconds. I used to think it was because she was excited. Or sleepy. And then I realized that it may actually be totally random. And then I started worrying about seizures. Doctors would tell me that it was just her neurological system getting the kinks out because she was a baby and was new and all that.

But, nah. Not enough data for me.

So I've been fighting for a long time now to get her an appointment with a Neurologist so that I can either be put at ease or they can develop a plan of action.

We still don't have the appointment, but we did get an EEG out of the effort. Once the results are reviewed, the Ped will see if we need to take the next step.

Why they are being stingy with this appointment is particular, I have no idea.

So, the way it works with the non-sedated EEG is that you are supposed to deprive the parents child of sleep. Playette could only sleep between midnight and 5 am last night. The hospital where we're getting this done is 30 minutes away so we both have to go in order to be sure that she doesn't fall asleep in the car. The idea is that she's super tired by 8:30 so that they can get the electrodes on and get an accurate reading.

Screw the dentist, I'm really not looking forward to this.

More later...

Monday, January 26, 2009


80%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Sign o' the Times

I broke my clicker finger.

Well, it's not literally broken, but it hurts enough that I've had it taped and/or bandaged up all day long. I think maybe I sprained it? Or can you get carpal tunnel in one finger?

Am I supposed to go to the doctor for this kind of thing?

You don't realize how much you use the index finger of your dominant hand until it's gone.

Taking away the mouse clicker of an Internet addict = TORTURE

This post took way too long to type. You don't even know.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

That Running Thing

So I did 1.5 miles with the Friendly Neighborhood PT. I made it. She said we can do it again next week which means that I will most likely spend the next 6 days freaking out about it. For those that know me, you totally know I'm not kidding. I see you nodding your head, Cristina (affectionately known in our house as CRG, Crazy Running Girl - yes, we like acronyms).

FNPT did guess that I was 35 lbs lighter than I really am though, so I think I'll keep her.

Wait. That was probably one of her "run whisperer" tricks, huh? Tell me that I look like I'm already at my freakin' goal weight to inspire me? I'm so on to her.

Gotta go. Playette just lit up the room...and not in a festive holiday-type way. More like an "I can't breathe! Gah! What is that?" kinda way.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Catching Up, etc.

I know I've been quiet the last couple of days. Not too, too much going on here. Work is the same (ugh) and I did get more than a little irritated while simply making the appointment for Playette's IFSP (foreshadowing much? - it'll be the first week of March), but really? Nothing too Earth-shattering.

Tonight will be a quiet one. BD made a fire already and he'll settle in to watch BSG while Playette and I...well, don't.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to meet up with our friendly family PT (Playette and I both go to her now) to go "run." I tried to tell her that my body doesn't do that, but apparently she's up for a challenge? I don't know...I think that other people think I must really be exaggerating at my lack of physical ability in that area, but I usually set them straight after about 2.7 seconds. It's horrible. Really, it is. So I told her that I'd meet up with her, if only to set her straight. Plus, you never know. Maybe she is some super run whisperer or something and then I end up wanting to do marathons or something crazy like that. I don't even like to drive 26.2 miles, so yeah. We'll see.

Miss J is coming tomorrow night. We'll probably go to the movies.

On Sunday, maybe we'll finish teaching Playette how to walk. And then go grocery shopping.


For your weekend reading pleasure:

The Girl with Stars in her Eyes - An article about a girl with Ds and her family who live in Denver. What a great place for services, it seems! Can we get a place like that without all the snow, please? Thankyouverymuch.


His Best Role Yet - A recent interview with John C. McGinley, an actor best known from Scrubs who has a son, Max, with Ds.


A friend told me yesterday that she saw a family receive a postnatal dx of Ds on one of those reality birthing shows, but she couldn't remember which channel or show. We did some research and it was most likely Birth Day on Discovery Health.

I used to watch those types of shows allll the time before Playette was born, but afterward, I felt cheated somehow. And bitter. Because I never, in all those years of watching, saw a baby with Ds. I used to want so badly to be on A Baby Story one day. I remember being jealous when the aforementioned friend gave birth 8 years ago at a hospital where they were filming Birth Day.

Anyway, so I guess it does happen after all. Or at least it does now. I can't imagine what it's like to catch that all on film. Looking back, I think it might have been great and accurate and realistic if we would have been filmed during the first year of Playette's life. I wouldn't have thought so at the time, but looking would have been real, y'know? It was what it was. I went through all the stages of grief. It wasn't until I started this blog that I feel I reached Acceptance. And some days? I even wonder about that.

Hey, it's a journey.

Back to the show. I check and checked and I don't see it listed to come back on any time soon. When it does show up in the listings though, I'll be sure and post it here in case anyone's interested. If you happen to see it listed before I do, please let me know. The episode is called "Unexpected Outcomes."

There's another show, that I just missed seeing this week, called Deliver Me: Home Edition. In the "Waiting and Wondering" episode, they are supposed to show a family dealing with a prenatal dx.

Interesting stuff, I think. I'm really looking forward to catching these, though I'm sure that the Birth Day episode may be harder to watch than I'm realizing at this moment. I heard it's very raw. Shoot, I was in tears reading Lisa's blog!

I hope the Birth Day family knows that we welcome them into our community with open arms.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Once upon a time, a few months ago, while I was peacefully sleeping, I felt something.

It was a rumble.

It woke me up, or so I thought.

The bed shook and I remember thinking my greatest fear was coming to pass.

A tsunami.

Living near the water has me paranoid.

In my head, I quickly planned out how I would wake BD by screaming while running to grab Playette from her crib. Next, I wondered which window would take me to the highest point of the house.

Rumble Rumble
Shake Shake

And then I calmed down.

Because I figured it was probably something more realistic like a monster under my bed.

Or the end of the world.

Or I was just plain losing my mind.


Yeah, I thought I was losing it.

I went back to sleep...eventually.

In the morning, I asked BD if he felt it and he looked at me like I was crazy. I said someone or something was shaking the bed. And that I had narrowed it down to being a tsunami or a monster or Armageddon.

Never once did it cross my mind that we live in California now and there are things called earthquakes here.

No, seriously. It never came to me.

Until the other night.

I was sitting in the bed, watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager on TiVo the news and the bed began to shake.



This time I yelled downstairs to BD.

"Did you feel that?!"

"Feel what?"


"I heard you up there banging around, but I didn't feel anything."


So up the steps he came. Already shaking his head at me. This time I wasn't backing down.

"Please look under the bed," I asked. "But be careful. Something may be under there."

"I see an empty water bottle," was the reply.

(Jerk. Ignore the bottle. It's a decoy. Why don't men get that?)

Again, he mentions that he heard banging, but I assured him that I was up there in the bed wide awake and wondering if Ricky's dad was going to show up at the batting cages studying world events. Then he said something that sounded like "blah blah blah earthquake. Upstairs shakes more than downstairs blah blah blah."

I heard earthquake.

"Please, please go check it out. Look it up on the computer when you go back downstairs to play XBox with your friends. Oh, and also see if you can find out why that car was swerving all over the 405 on Sunday. Thanks!"

So here's proof that I'm not crazy. This time.

And I still don't know what that car was doing on the 405. Hint, hint.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things I Loved

I've been home today, resting and recovering from a long weekend. I was also supposed to have an appointment with my doctor, but that was postponed at the last minute. With that in mind, I've spent a considerable portion of my day following the Inauguration events.

In the effort to acknowledge the occasion in a personal way, here are some favorite items/moments:

  • Seeing so many different people, from all over the world, assembled in my hometown for their own personal reasons.

  • Witnessing the emotions that were being expressed by so many in that crowd...with the occasional single tear.

  • Aretha's hat.

  • Thousands of flags waving on the National Mall.

  • The "Welcome, Malia and Sasha!" banner. And their adorable outfits.

  • Malia's digital camera. Screw, AP. She's making her own memories.

  • Dr. Biden's boots.

  • The last 30 seconds of the Benediction.

  • I've seen a lot of parades, but never one that took place in the dark.

  • This photo:

So, regardless of how you voted, I hope you, too, were able to find something to appreciate about this day. The historical significance of President Obama's inauguration cannot be questioned and it means a lot to a lot of people. In some cases, more than most of us will ever know.

Playette, Drama Queen

We spent the weekend in LA. Playette was finally honored being the thespian she is. This ceremony was long overdue.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chomper Update

Months Old: 19

Tooth Count: 0

Yes, still. Time to make an appointment with the dentist.

I'm so not looking forward to that day.


Looking for my previous thoughts on this topic? Click here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Adventures in Daycare: Part II

Not long after I posted yesterday, I received an email from the center director. Do you think she reads my blog? Hee! That would be great, wouldn't it?

Her words are in italics.

9:31 AM

I understand that the drop off this morning was a little overwhelming. We discussed the challenges and have made the decision to have each pre-tod room open in their own classroom for a couple of weeks to give the children a chance to settle in. I watched the monitor for about 30 minutes this morning after I came in and she is happy and exploring the room. Breakfast was very smooth – she is fascinated with the cart that the food comes in on – had to check it out several times.

If there is anything you want to discuss, just let me know. I have her classroom up on the monitor now and she is busy on the floor playing with the puzzles.

9:51 AM

Thank you, [Director]. It is reassuring to know that [Playette] seems to be adjusting well. I’m sure that she’ll be very excited to play in the water today, get outside, and maybe even venture to climb the steps. Those are all activities that she enjoys.

The monitors sound like they are earning their keep! It’s nice to receive an email letting me know what my child is doing right at that moment. I know it can’t be done all the time, but today it’s made a difference for the better for me.

Please let [That Dingbat Lady] know that it upsets me greatly that she continues to call [Playette] by the wrong name. I know it’s a relatively small thing, but it does matter to me. I have corrected her several times since yesterday afternoon.

Thanks again.

9:52 AM

I will absolutely make sure she corrects herself. I do realize how upsetting that is to you - it would upset me as a parent as well. Thank you for being so patient with us.


Today's drop-off went well. She'll only be there for a few hours since there was a Ped appointment this morning and she has Aqua Therapy this afternoon. I received word from another parent that when she dropped her child off late yesterday morning that Playette was enjoying herself. So that's good.


I'll give it some time. I promise.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Day Jitters

Actually, I feel more like I'm about to hurl.

I just dropped Playette off for her first day in the "Pre-Toddler" room at daycare. It's been a long time coming. First, I delayed the move because of her limited mobility. Then, the daycare did because they were planning to open a spanking new room. So we waited, and waited, and waited. Until today.

I just left my baby in utter chaos and with a woman, her new primary caregiver, who refuses to call her anything but "Maya" for some reason.

Yes, I keep correcting her.

And, yes, it makes me more and more angry each time.

This last time? Her response was, "Well, that's an unusual name."

Me: "We like it. Now move out of my way so I can take my baby home with me and remove her from this chaotic environment and away from your psycho a$$."

Think good thoughts.
Think good thoughts.
Think good thoughts.
Think good thoughts.
Think good thoughts.
Think good thoughts.
Think good thoughts.


I've been thinking about this word quite a bit lately. It shows up in every area of my life. Raising Playette, marriage, work, socializing, spirituality, taking care of myself seems that I'm always trying to achieve some sort of balance.

Right now though, I'm thinking about balance as it relates to Playette. I wonder, as I learn who reads this blog, if I convey appropriately what our life is like. I feel responsible for showing an accurate picture. Playette doesn't always smile like she does in the photos. We're not always going places and doing exciting things. We're not always bogged down with medical issues. I guess I don't want anyone to come away feeling like our lives are any simpler or more complicated than they are. I feel I owe it to all the families who don't have a blog because one day one of you may come across one of them and...gah, it's hard to explain.

Ok, lemme see, so we have appointments we go to, right? But some of them are by choice and others of them are just exactly the same as what any typically developing child would have. I found when I didn't tell people all the things we do throughout the days, then they couldn't understand fully why I wasn't as consistent with email or phone calls. Sometimes with full disclosure I wonder if I'm confirming people's fears about Ds. That it's all-consuming and physically taxing and expensive and only really special people can handle it.

Ha! Not hardly. If you're thinking that, lemme tell you, speaking for myself...NO.

If no one ever told you or ever says it again...NO.

I am not special. I am not super-human.

I am a parent. I do the same as I would like to think any of you would do for your child.

If your typically developing child broke their arm, you wouldn't want to be seen as a martyr for taking them to the doctor and getting a cast put on. Because that's what was needed, y'know? You do what you need to do when you need to do it.

And if you felt that same child could benefit from a reading tutor, you would do it, right?

Sure you would.

And what if that very same child wanted to take swim lessons? If you could manage it logistically and financially, there's a good chance you would do it, right?

All things considered, you would probably try.

These things would all help your child physically, intellectually, socially, etc.

It's the same that we do, really.

If Playette needs an appointment to see a specialist, we go. If insurance will cover something that sounds beneficial, like Aqua Therapy, you can bet we're doing it.

It's not about filling up an 18-month-old's schedule, really. We don't have to do that. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think we could do without some of it, but then where do you cut? At home in the evenings and on weekends, we practice things we learn in PT and ST, which is hugely beneficial. We read books that were recommended in the PAT Program, which we enjoy. Trust me, I would cut the services provided by the school district if I thought it wouldn't hurt my child in the long run. It's not that she can't do without what they provide, it's just that denying services opens up a whole can of worms that would most likely take more time to deal with than just sucking it up and letting the OT and PT come to daycare.

And the medical appointments.

Well, we're very fortunate in that Playette is quite healthy. But about every 6 months, stuff comes up. Usually all at once. Which can feel overwhelming at the time, but it's totally do-able. Sometimes I just get irritated that other kids don't have to go to the Audiologist every 6 months. Or get their blood taken every 3 months for the Endocrinologist. Or see the ENT to so that he can check and see how her tonsils and adenoids look. All of that is what I like to call "preventive maintenance." If you have a kid with Ds, there's a list of stuff that needs to be done, regardless of anything.

Since I didn't share a lot about Playette's first year and this blog began at the "more than one" point, I'm realizing that there are some things that maybe people don't know. When I was asked recently about her health, this was my response:

In the beginning, we were so unsure about a lot of things. One of them being her heart. We had many trips to the Cardiologist, just to be proactive, but nothing ever came of it. Since moving here, we've been told that she didn't need to be seen for 2-3 years. I really liked the doctor (imagine that, for once) so I'll make sure we go again before we leave here in the fall of 2010.

When I was pregnant, the one thing we knew before she was born was that "something" was going on with her heart. On my first u/s they could see an echogenic focus, but on the level 2, there was nothing. We were just told to make sure we got an Echo done at birth, but that more than likely it was nothing. We've since learned that whatever was going on apparently healed itself in utero. [BD] can explain it much better than I can though. He took over the heart stuff because he understood the lingo better than I did (pressure drops? I totally failed Fluids in college.)

We have respiratory issues from time to time (coughing), but nothing ever serious. She takes meds via a nebulizer as needed. I think she's had one ear infection.

All that to say, I want to try hard here neither to perpetuate any stereotypes, nor present an unrealistically fantastical existence. It's not an easy thing to do, but I hope you'll bear with me. We have a good life and I hope that any readers, when given the opportunity to relate to any individual with special needs or their family, take something positive with them, that maybe they've learned here or elsewhere, into that experience, knowing that we're all unique and we all have our own struggles and joys - just like anyone.

In this house, ours just happen to sometimes be related to something called Trisomy 21.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Your Baby Can Read: Day 15

Well, there's not too much to say about this yet. We've been watching the DVD every day, minus 1. For the first week, she was watching it twice a day since there was no daycare. Last week, it was just once during the week and maybe twice on the weekends. We haven't been using the flashcards as much as we should, for sure. We need to step that up.

Sure, it's driving me nuts to have to hear it over and over and over again, but not as much as I thought it would. How's that for a positive spin?

It all feels a little Clockwork Orange-y to me. Well, at at least a more timid version from a scene in Lost.

"The Eensy Weeny Spider" though? Hm. Could they not get the rights to the words "itsy" and "bitsy"?

All that to say, no reading yet. She is doing something she didn't do before though. Two of the introductory phrases are "arms up" and "arms down." She does that now, so yay! Maybe she was ready, maybe it was the DVD. All I know is that I never taught her that.

To those that requested an update, thank you. I kept meaning to type something up about this topic and then when I came to post I couldn't remember what it was!

Happy BD, BD!

Today is BD's birthday. I mentioned earlier that we went out on Saturday night for a group dinner, but I still wanted to do something on the actual day too.

I knew he wouldn't remember, but over a year ago, he came home from work and was all, "I had the BEST cheesecake ever today. This lady blah blah blah. I got her card blah blah blah." I nodded, probably mad that he didn't bring me any, and made a mental note.

What's interesting about that exchange is that he doesn't really like sweets. Weird, I know. So for him to go on and on about some cheesecake that he couldn't be bothered to share really told me that it must be something special.

Honestly, I had to practically bribe him to eat some of our wedding cake.

Even though we've moved, I have kept up with that little business card. "One day," I'd think.

So a couple of weeks ago I went looking for it and then took it to work so I could check out the website. OMG. I was drooling. Even if you don't live in my area, look here. C'mon. Everybody's doing it. It'll make you feel good good good.

Or maybe you won't feel good cause she's not where you are? Oops. I promise, though, if you come visit? Cheesecake's on me.

Anyway, I ordered two dozen Mini Tease Bites in Turtle, Teresa's Dreamation (Reece's!), Plain, and Plain with strawberries, with the plan to surprise BD during the day in the place where he and his classmates study.

It all went off without a hitch until...


And then, get this, he leans over and tells me, "I knew the whole time. I knew you were doing this. I saw it on your calendar."

WHA?! He got me for about 5 seconds, but no way. No way at all he knew. I called his bluff and he confessed.

The precious little babies.

Little cuties. (They did not last long. *sniff*)

Yes, I make my husband pose with snacks.

Scissor Happy: A Story in Pictures

I told you it was coming.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I've Been Wondering...

Lately I've been thinking that maybe some folks chose to make their New Year's Resolution to "read less blogs" and I didn't make the cut.

I just saw this "holiday" on another blog I read and said to myself, "Aha! Here's my chance."

Sooo, if you're out there, please comment on this post. Even if it's not the same day that I wrote this, I'd love to know that you're reading. Commenting all the time isn't necessary of course and I promise I won't beg for you to show yourself too often.

But today I am.

Pretty please?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Parents as Teachers

We had a pretty nice weekend. BD's birthday is tomorrow, so we did some celebrating last night at one of his favorite restaurants. Thank goodness the food is good, 'cause that drive is no joke. Over an hour for a meal? Yeah, it has to be good.


Today, we woke up to a beautiful morning. Seriously. It was a high of like 70, which is amazing here. Playette had an appointment at 10 so we were up and out pretty quickly. Since we ended up being a little early, we drove down to the water's edge and checked out the view for a few minutes.

The appointment we had was with the Parents as Teachers program. Have you heard of it? Here in our area, we access it through this organization called Parents' Place. PP is fabulous. They have all types of classes and events and I'm sure plenty of things I don't even know about yet. Last year this time, before I started my 9-5 job, I was going to PP at least weekly. There was a core group of moms and kids up to the age of 1 that met once a week. We'd have an hour of discussion and networking for the parents and then an hour of structured play for the kids. We sang songs and stuff. I never thought I'd be that kind of mom. To my surprise, I totally loved it. I even miss it a lot. I also took Playette to Infant Massage once when she was little-little and then, more recently, I took the morning off and took her to a class called Tots in Motion. The military has some type of arrangement with PP that makes almost everything free to us. You know I like free. Along with "snacks" it's my favorite word.

So, when I went back to working outside of the home, I was told by my core group facilitator that I should check out the PAT Program. I didn't listen. I thought it sounded like more work and that's the last thing I needed. And it also sounded like they thought I needed to take a parenting class. Total turnoff. Then, about 6 or 7 months later, someone else suggested it. Good grief. I investigated, thinking I was going to have to bomb somebody out.

Turns out it's nothing like I thought. Per their literature, PAT "is designed to offer developmental information and support to all parents of infants and young children. The goal of the program is to help parents give their child the best possible start in life."

That's actually not too unlike the purpose of Early Intervention, which is something Playette's participated in since she was 1 month old. The Parent Educator is not a therapist though and may be limited in exposure to kids with Ds. Regardless, ours is great and she's always providing us with ideas of how to play with Playette, stimulate her learning, progress with milestones, local resources, events, etc. She even brings us books. Love that!

She came to our house the first few sessions, but today was the second time we met her at PP. Playette really enjoys having her run of the place and there are tons of toys everywhere.

The music plays while she pretty much does whatever she wants.

She's been letting go a lot more lately and just started standing independently (without having to pull up) yesterday. WOOHOO!

Playing ball with Daddy.

It really is a great activity for us to do as a family. We've been participating once a month for a while now and I always look forward to it. It's worth checking out in your own area if you're interested.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fresh Off the Shelf

Have you ever used Amazon Marketplace to sell books? If so, do/did you like it? Do you have an alternative that you'd like to recommend?

I have come to the understanding that my career and pursuits are no longer what they used to be. And I know I'm done going to school. That goal is met.

I've collected a LOT of heavy (expensive) books along the way that are still relevant. I'd rather not move these books again in 2010, if possible, so selling sounds like a good way to go.

I got 98% of the way through the Marketplace registration and then punked out. I just felt like I must be missing something and I didn't want to make a mistake...especially since they would have our credit card number and we've got enough issues in that department these days.


I welcome any feedback or advice!

Another Season

I finished reading a book while were on vacation. It's interesting how that came about, really. Of course with me everything has a story.

In reading another blog recently, the mama was talking about how the daddy just didn't seem to react the same as she did/has to their son's Ds diagnosis. That's simplifying things greatly, but if you read the same blogs I read, it may sound familiar.

When I read her words, I could completely relate. And when I commented on that post, I was talking to myself as much as I was to her.

BD and I handle/relate to Playette's dx completely differently. We each play a role, as I've mentioned before. Perhaps some think we balance each other out well, though I happen to covet his emotional stability and on-top-of-it-ness.

The way he sees things (which can be perceived by me as not seeing things) is just different than the way that I do. I remember when Playette was born and we were worried about what was going on with her heart, along with just learning that she had Ds. There are many details that I don't recall (though I wish I could), but one thing that is clear in my mind to this day is the way BD said, "I don't care if she's not like other kids. I just want her to be ok."

And that pretty much sums it up. At least from my perspective. I don't know what he holds to himself, but from what I see, he takes it all in stride. He laughs, plays, lives with her without worrying about the same kinds of things that I do. While she's our baby girl and we both love her dearly, I honestly feel like BD doesn't see Ds and its effects on us and other people the way I do.

All that to say that sometimes I wish he did. From time to time, I want him to feel what I feel so that I know I'm not in this alone emotionally.

So what did I do? I bought him a book.

Enter Another Season.

If there's anything that BD likes, it's football. No, wait, he loves football. And when I saw that famed NFL and college coach Gene Stallings had written a book about his experiences with his son John Mark Stallings, who happened to have Ds, I thought I had hit the motherload.

This book, this would be our ticket to same-pagedom.

Yeah, that didn't quite work. He read some of it, but mostly it sat. So, eventually, I picked it up. I'd read a few pages at a time, always leaving it where I found it, thinking that BD would pick it up and be a little further along the next time I sought out my place holder.

I wasn't going to force it. Really, what would be the point. So I told myself that during our trip, I would finish that book.

It's pretty straight-forward, really, and a pretty quick read. It tells of a young, growing family and how they dealt with a surprise diagnosis at a time (Johnny was born in 1962) where many, many people chose to institutionalize their children with disabilities. During the first couple of years of his life, they feared that each day would be his last due to his heart defect. In many ways, the Stallings' were blazing the trail for families like ours. Gene had a high-pressure job and the family moved several few times in the effort to take advantage of various career-building opportunities. They spoke of family dynamics, education, friendships, and more. I enjoyed reading about the impact that Johnny had not only on his family, but also his community. He was friends with people whose names I recognized. I felt like I would have liked Johnny. I surely respected the family.

Here's a story that was done about the family several years ago. The book is pretty much an expansion of this.

It's not that I want every book I read from here on out to be about Ds, but I do like seeing the different perspectives.

And you know what, whenever I had a question about a football reference, BD was right there to answer it for me.

Basically, he's not me. He's not supposed to be. But he gives me the support that I need and I appreciate that. I need to remind myself of that more often. We're both new to all of this and we'll grow together.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cabo: The rest and then I'm finished, I promise. For real this time.

I really do have other things I want to talk about, but I've put them on hold until I finish this. I'll make it quick. I'm already tired of writing about so I can only imagine how you all must feel.


I decided that all I wanted for Christmas was a cabana. If you've seen the photos, then you know I was successful at scoping one out. I got down to the pool at about 6:30 am to secure the spot. I scoped out the sunrise while BD and Playette were in the room sleeping. When they came down, we all went to breakfast. At the right place this time.

The rest of the day was spent lounging, eating, drinking, reading, and swimming. Playette was loving the water once she got comfortable. She absolutely was refusing to nap at normal times, but of course she passed out right when they were doing the whole gift-giving thing with ZiplineSanta.

That night was the best one, I think. We had dinner in the Japanese restaurant, followed by the "Brazilian Party." There were drums and dancing and balloons waving all around. It was a great time. Every night should be like that. I totally want to have my own Brazilian Party now.

The two days that followed were spent in a very similar manner except for the fact that that Friday night was Karaoke. I did my usual rendition of a classic, complete with I'm melting like hot candle wax pantomime. There are no photos of that for a reason.

Saturday was our last day and I was determined to stay. BD was having none of that. Actually, he said, "Sure, you can stay. You and Lea."


So, at 10:30 that morning, we went back up to the room, finished packing, and caught a cab to the airport. As soon as the door was closed and we started moving, I looked at BD and said something to the effect of, "I think the tire's about to come off."

Then a little while later..."I think the whole side of the van is about to come off."

And then, about 5 minutes from the airport...BAM! FLAPFLAPFLAPFLAP

Yeah, the tire exploded.

All I could think about was how on The Amazing Race, whenever someone has crappy cab luck, people always race by all, "Sucks to be them," and then they have to wait for a replacement cab, but they get no time credit because they didn't use diesel fuel and then got Philiminated and the Pit Stop. Or something.

The driver spoke no English, but he was attempting to feebly reassure us that someone was coming to save us from the dusty side of the dessert road. Whenever a cab that was headed in the other direction would try to rescue us stop, he would wave them off.

Dude! Seriously?!

But I didn't speak enough Spanish to be able to persuade them to stay, so we sat. And sat. And sat.

Finally, someone came *trumpets of rescue blaring* and we were taken to the airport. Where we sat for 723 a few hours.

Again, Playette zonked out during takeoff (I still think that's weird and she may be part robot) and remained a model infant traveler until we got on the 45 minute flight that would bring us the rest of the way home. When she was the exact opposite of that.

I can't say that I could blame her. After traveling all day, I was done too.

And now we're home.

Read all that and still have no idea what I'm talking about?

Part I
Part II

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cabo: Part II

Good grief! Four days already without a post?! Where does the time go?

When you’ve got folks waiting on a “To Be Continued” that’s just not polite, y’know?

So, without further ado, here’s Part II of the vacation recap:

Day 1: We arrived at the hotel later in the evening and got settled in the room before taking a walk down to the pool. Ahhhh, que linda! There was a snack bar in that area, so we grabbed a table and a plate and ocean-watched a little. Not long after, we started to think that some actual dinner was a good idea and headed to the dining room. After a long day of travel, we turned in early.

Day 2: We woke up a little refreshed (biggest, and almost only, complaint of the trip for me: the beds - really uncomfortable) and headed to breakfast in the dining room. This would be our latest start of the trip. There weren’t many people there and we naively were excited to get a great table by the window. Later we found out that there were so few folks because the place to eat breakfast was down by the pool with the ocean view. Noted.

Since there wasn’t much room around the pool and I was drawn to the ocean, we headed to the beach. All of the chairs were taken, but we didn’t care. We laid out our towels and relaxed. Playette ate sand, I read. Then, BD took her for a walk to the water’s edge and I rested, grateful for a few quiet moments. When they returned, I went to check out the water. It was cold when I put my feet in, but after a few minutes it started to feel good to me. There were other people swimming in the small lagoon and I decided to join them. It took about 10 minutes to build up the courage due to the temperature. Once I did it though…I was happy. It was very refreshing.

Day 3: We took the bus into Cabo San Lucas, proper. It was a fun ride with locals, tourists, and long-term vacationers. It was a great opportunity to learn a lot. Because we were so busy chatting, we didn’t check out where we were going. That would bite us in the butt later.

Once off the bus, we started walking. It was HOT! There was a mall and there were vendors everywhere. We decided to take a water taxi to the arch which turned out to be a really good idea. We got a mini-tour and got to feel the breeze. We were dropped off at the beach, with the plan of having lunch at a recommended restaurant. The heat was getting to us though, so we plopped ourselves in some lounge chairs (minimum to sit: $20 per person) and ordered a couple of drinks (2-for-1). The vendors came by, oh, about every 30 seconds, working hard to sell us our names on pieces of rice, blankets, plates, tattoos, massages, etc. BD speaks no Spanish. I mean, NO SPANISH, and even he was all, “No, gracias.”

Trust me, this was huge.

Because I’m “brilliant” and poo-poo’d my husband’s suggestion, we had no bathing suits. The water was calling me though, so I stripped Playette down to the diaper, decided that my sports bra looked enough like a bathing suit top, took off my shirt, and rolled up my pant legs. After all that, Playette was not quite as patient with cold water as I had been the day before, so we went back to the lounge chairs.

More sitting, reading, sleeping, eating, and drinking.

We fed Playette guacamole for lunch, which she loved. We totally felt like POY (Parents of the Year).

BD wanted to buy some rum and we had learned that a place called La Europa was the spot for that. Apparently? Right next to WalMart. Really? WalMart in Cabo? Ok then.

Somehow, we had succeeded in spending $40 on the beach, so we packed up and started walking. To WalMart. That we had never seen because we were too busy chatting on the bus to be bothered to look around.

So we walked. And we walked. And we walked. Until we noticed that WalMart was not reachable by foot. We could see it. But we couldn’t get there.

Hm. Now what? Hey, what about those little buses over there?

Next: run across the street, cross the construction zone, cross another street and wait. The bus pulls up to the side of the road (Bus stop? Who needs a bus stop?) a few minutes later. This bus was NOT like the last one we rode. It was small and had seats that lined the sides. And it was decorated. I gave the driver a dollar and he seemed satisfied. After all, we could see the shopping center.

We did our shopping at La Europa, marveling at the Americanization of it all. When it came time to catch a cab back, we were once again confronted with the taxi mafia. The price was outrageous, but we made it back to the hotel safe and sound.

Dinner that night was at one of the hotel’s two restaurants. Eh.

Stay tuned for Part III. My typing fingers are tired.

Also, in case you’re tired of waiting, here are the photos.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Before I forget...

Good grief, have I been preoccupied lately. In a good way though. I just haven't been sitting down and making blogging a priority, but it's ok. It happens. I've actually been, like, outside lately and everything. It's amazing, y'all.

We took a walk today as a family. Over the sand dunes and down the recreation trail until we got to the big cross that faces the ocean. I was taking it all in, thinking to myself that one day we won't live here anymore and I'll miss it so we better enjoy it while we can.

BD was saying it was cold and he was ready to go.


Anyway, that reminded me of a time not that long ago when were were standing in the sand, gazing at the horizon, and no one was rushing me to leave.

And then I remembered that I still hadn't really posted about our trip.

So now I will. I may have to break it up a little since I tend to be long-winded. [Who, me?]

We left early on a Monday morning. It was dark and cold and I knew we'd have a long layover at LAX. Not long enough to leave, unfortunately, so my plan was to make sure that we spent those 5 hours as comfortable as possible. As a frequent traveler, I know the benefit of just asking politely. Kindness can get you everywhere in an airport. Well, not everywhere, but you know.

Fast forward to us in the Board Room. Free food and drinks. Very comfy. After watching The Amazing Race (TAR) since day one, I got right to looking for alternate flight options. I saw one that would allow us to leave a few hours earlier and set my sights on it.

Problem #1: This was just after the massive snow storms had shut down Seattle and Portland.

Problem #2: We were on Alaska Airlines. Hub: Seattle. Our plane was coming from: Portland.

There were people who were spending their 2nd and 3rd days in that very Board Room. Those were the people taking advantage of the free alcohol at 8am.

Anyway, so I really, really, really wanted that earlier flight, but the way things were going, it wasn't looking good. For a while, I thought our original flight was going to be canceled. Then I thought the earlier flight was canceled. I looked outside, saw the dark, cold, rainy day in LA and felt deflated. This was not what I had in mind when I woke up that morning.

After about an hour, I noticed that the earlier flight had arrived. I guess it wasn't canceled after all. The one we were ticketed on was still a mystery. I asked again if we'd be able to change flights and was told that there were seats, but we couldn't fly without our luggage on an international flight. Oh. So where was our bag? No one knew. And the baggage handlers weren't answering the phone.

The deflated feeling started to come back but then....da da da dummmm...the guy behind the counter asked me what the bag looked like. He was going to go find it for us.

WHA? Really?

I was so glad at that moment that we only packed on suitcase. And it was big. And green. Hopefully, making it easy to locate in a sea of smaller black bags.

It was a straight TAR moment. I could imagine the tense music playing as I stood at the counter waiting. They would cut to the clock, then to me, then to the supervisor asking where the counter guy was, then to me explaining how he was going out of his way to help us, cut to the guy sweating in a sea of luggage, cut to clock, then to the departure gate...and then the phone rang. He found our bag! WOOHOO! Suck it, bad weather, we were going to Mexico!

It would be a while longer before we left, but I was convinced that we would actually leave so I relaxed some. Granted, something else could have gone wrong, but I was feeling optimistic.

The Customer Service Saint refused to leave until our bag was checked and loaded. We thanked him profusely and even tried to tip him. Cause that there? Is tip worthy in my book. Not fixing my Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (mmmm), but going out of your way to find my family's suitcase so that we can leave the country for the holidays.

Of course Customer Service Saint wouldn't take anything but a smile and a handshake. And then he disappeared into the crowd of people. Just like in the movies. Except the waiting areas in the movies don't smell like "sick", do they? Ok, so maybe not just like in the movies. But pretty close. And the stinky part wasn't Customer Service Saint's fault. He smelled like mangoes and calla lilies, IIRC.

Sooo, after waiting on the plane for a while [we won't be waiting for the missing passengers, yes we will, no we won't, KIDDING, we totally will], we finally took off. And Playette passed out. Like, cold. As in, one moment she was jabbering away and then the nose of the plane went up and she was done like someone took the batteries out of her back.

We landed without incident, got into the country, eventually found our bag, unsuccessfully negotiated a reasonable cab fare, and made our way to the hotel.

In Part II, I'll tell you how we spent our days and nights and share some stories behind the photos (previously posted on FB).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Do you smell it?

No, not that.

Change. It's coming.

So many things are lining up, telling me that it's time.

Not as big of a change as some folks, sure.

But I'm taking baby steps over here.

First, a glance to verify that I still know what needs to be done.

Then, a phone call to set up the appointment.

Now, we wait.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!