13 month milestones

The other day Ethan turned 13 months and after I taped all the pictures from months 1-12 into his book, I realized..there is no more room in the baby book! I would like to remember how old he was when he did certain things, so I thought this blog amongst other places, I’m sure-would be a good place to record those.

13 Months-on the day exactly-Ethan mimics me looking at his teeth and grabs MY teeth and mouth-repeatedly!
Around this age, Ethan was able to pick up baby puffs and put them in his mouth (aka self-feed)

Ethan has been feeding himself with the pincer grasp this month.

Ethan has been feeding himself with the pincer grasp this month.

Ethan started rocking up on his knees regularly..should be crawling even faster soon!

Ethan started rocking up on his knees regularly..should be crawling even faster soon!

Ethan reached out and grabbed the spoon this month, feeding himself with a spoon! (Not consistent or perfect, but progress!)

Ethan reached out and grabbed the spoon this month, feeding himself with a spoon! (Not consistent or perfect, but progress!)

Ethan's Uncle Chris got him an old keyboard since Ethan loves getting on ours!

Ethan’s Uncle Chris got him an old keyboard since Ethan loves getting on ours!

Ethan enjoys going after the air vents (we have floor vents) and going after power cords.

He likes to “play” the air filter on the wall like it is a harp! He still loves playing piano.

He can do a belly crawl at the moment and is working on pulling up on things.

He started going to a new sitter this month and is really enjoying it! (the crawl position picture is from her house. See how happy he looks? 🙂 )

No matter what the pace your child takes, it is so enjoyable to see them make progress! I love seeing how happy Ethan is about his accomplishments and his independence (as you can see from the spoon picture!)

I did say I would update the blog on how things go at the pediatric dentist as well as share about his Theratogs experience. I will do that as soon as those things happen! Still waiting…

Dental Care for Kids with Down Syndrome

Showing off his two new bottom

Showing off his two new bottom

http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Publications/services/Dental_Services/Oral_Health_and_Down_Syndrome.pdf

The above link is a PDF file to a brochure for Dental care for kids (from disabilities and Oral Care Ireland.) I just googled because I was concerned about some grey spots. Something interesting I found on my short google search research was that enamel irregularities can be caused by severe illnesses or prolonged fevers. If that is the case for Ethan’s grey spots, then I have an idea where that came from!

http://www.ndss.org/Resources/Health-Care/Associated-Conditions/Dental-Issues-Down-Syndrome/

This link above has a good article (The National Down Syndrome Society) on dental issues in people with Down Syndrome. It also includes suggestions.

We are taking Ethan to a pediatric dentist soon. I wanted to take him soon since there are more severe issues at times with kids with Down Syndrome, but the little grey spots moved that little phone call up on my priority list! He has VERY sharp bottom teeth so you wouldn’t want Ethan to bite you! 😉

I will post more when I find out more info from my more knowledgeable dental hygiene and dental assistant friends and family and will update on what the first dental experience was like! Speaking of which, I finally scheduled my own dental appointment for the first time since before I was married. I know, that is horrible. I think we realize at some point that we are taking care of our kids and not doing so many of those things for ourselves…eating healthy, resting, reading, etc…only so much time to go around, but surely I can do better than one dental cleaning in 3-4 years..?

Hello part-time Daddy Daycare and new Sitter!

Ethan's daddy loving on him before the Buddy Walk

Ethan’s daddy loving on him before the Buddy Walk

Tomorrow will mark the end of an era…Ethan’s last day with his Daddy or Mommy keeping him everyday. (It has been all Daddy, every weekday all day since Ethan got out of the hospital in April.) It is also the start of two great things, though..an awesome new sitter for Ethan on Ryan’s (“Daddy’s”) workdays AND our family of three will get to actually be together for ENTIRE days soon!

For those who don’t know us, we have adjusted from the following childcare schedules: Ethan trading between Mommy and Daddy any given day of the week. (My husband is an RN who works 3 12-hour shifts..some were on weekend days, most on weekdays when Ethan was a newborn.) I did this by working part-time with a counseling agency until we needed me to go back to work full-time. It was a very hard adjustment for me..Ethan was up on the waiting list soon for developmental daycare, and off he went for half-days every weekday. (His Daddy or I could pick him up each weekday in early afternoon, usually.) Ethan did not go to school very long before he got sick with the flu and was hospitalized for quite awhile.

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Ryan had already swapped to weekend option (working Saturdays and Sundays) in preparation for starting his masters in nursing (so we thought!) Instead of going to school (as Ryan missed the GRE exam while Ethan was in very critical condition), Ryan instead worked weekends so he could be “Mr. Mom” as my family likes to call it (check it out, funny movie you dads out there!) The main reason for this post is I want to brag on my husband, Ethan’s Daddy, again. I did it on Father’s Day elsewhere on the Internet and in person, but he deserves some major pats on the back and brownie points here..

Ryan has selflessly dealt with so many things to help our son recover and to not be exposed to daycare germs again in this time in which his immune system is somewhat suppressed (and lets face it, largely for our peace of mind because of what happened!) We don't keep him in a bubble, but Ethan so needed this time to recuperate and be close with a parent. (Mommy had to work full-time and Daddy had the option of being at home with Ethan..which is so wonderful seeing as Ethan has had so much time separated from us by either being chemically paralyzed and unable to interact with us. He had also been away from us at night and mealtimes because we couldn’t spend the night with Ethan in NICU and were not allowed to eat meals in the NICU. He has a strong attachment to us, but I would get concerned about that since Ethan has had so many separations here and there despite our very best efforts to always be by his side at home and in the hospital. (more attached to the link for those who want to know more about taking care of the hospitalized child and parent)

Here are just some of the things Ryan has done for Ethan and our family in his time as a FULL-TIME “Mr. Mom” (Keep in mind he is STILL going to be with Ethan 2-3 days each week. What a MAN, right? What an awesome husband and Daddy we have here! Here we go with the list..I so appreciate this about you, babe…

1)changing those poopy diapers and cleaning up throw up (even after you just cleaned up the dog’s…)
2)Rocking Ethan to sleep to get a nap so he will be rested for his therapies..

Falling asleep on Daddy

Falling asleep on Daddy

Ryan holding Ethan for the first time in over 5 weeks

3) Enduring Ethan’s crankiness because you had to keep him AWAKE for his therapies when they are close together.
4) Grocery shopping with a baby who is too heavy and mature to hang out in a car seat at the store, but isn’t quite stable enough to leave to his own balance while sitting up in the grocery cart cover.
5) COOKING. Yes, ladies, he did. All the time. I will share more of the load now, but I was getting my baby time in! It’s been a rough adjustment…
6) Going to the following appointments…OT, SPEECH, and PT appointments in the home several times a week, supervising and relaying information to me each night. Taking Ethan to cardiology follow-up. Taking Ethan to his well-child check-up. Taking Ethan for helmet fittings as well as Theratog fittings. (I’ll post about that later those who are interested!)
Ethan feeling icky after his 1year old shots and Daddy cuddling him to lift his little spirits. Ethan feeling icky after his 1year old shots and Daddy cuddling him to lift his little spirits.

7) Attempting to have a social life when his “weekends” had to be on weekDAYS when others are usually working or in school..toting a less than 1 year old to meet up with his online gaming ministry friends that he doesn’t see often or maybe ever.
8) Bouncing Ethan on his knee when his guy friends were over until Mommy got home. 🙂
9) Laundry, laundry, and more laundry…
10) He even made my lunch several times before work.

I know Ryan has gotten attached to being at home with Ethan all the time, but we are so, so thankful to have found a person to watch Ethan so on Ryan’s days off, he can be with Ethan! We can’t have Ethan go to developmental daycare only some days of the week (especially random ones), so this is a wonderful option for us! the therapists have agreed to go to our sitter’s home on the days Ryan is working so it is looking up!

Another great thing about this change is we get an ENTIRE DAY TOGETHER..AS A FAMILY!…on more than one occasion in a month! (We haven’t had this at all unless someone was sick or on 4th of July, basically!) What a deal! That seems like such a simple thing that we always expected, but it hasn’t happened that way in quite some time. It is something I think people take for granted and we do NOT anymore! We can’t wait!

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From 2 lines to 2 am feedings

I am hearing about a different friend or acquaintance every week who is pregnant, many who are first time moms. My little one just a little over a year old, so while I do not claim to be an expert by ANY means, I’d like to share some tips, thoughts, and products I discovered through pregnancy and being a brand-new mom! Everyone shares something different, so maybe some of these things you didn’t know about! I’ll go in chronological order, from the earliest stages of pregnancy to holding your newborn!

THERE ARE TWO LINES..I’M PREGNANT! Ready or not, here he (or she) comes, so here are some things to look for and look forward to…

1) “Morning sickness” is NOT just in the morning for many women! For this wonderful symptom. I highly recommend “Preggie Pops” or “B Natal” lollipops. You can buy them at Babies R US for sure, but a quick google search will show many other sources I’m sure.

2) Exercise during pregnancy-be careful to not overdo or under-do it based on your doctor’s suggestions. I had to modify Zumba dance moves as I got further into the pregnancy.

3) Read “First Time Mom” by Dr. Kevin Leman (Christian family counselor..he also has good marriage books). This is something you will want to read before you have your baby and again afterward, say at age one! For practical medical, feeding, and general baby knowledge, I liked What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and What to Expect in the First Year.

Ethan around 16 weeks I believe..ultrasound done to check on some pain i was having. Everything was fine but I got another sneak peak at my boy!

Ethan around 16 weeks I believe..ultrasound done to check on some pain i was having. Everything was fine but I got another sneak peak at my boy!

3) For those with gestational diabetes…..Tips on yummy foods–I found where all the sugar free treats are! TCBY has a strawberry and sometimes other flavored sugar-free yogurt. Those self-serve yogurt bars also usually have some sugar free yogurt (usually vanilla). If you are okay with a little caffeine later in pregnancy (You research it and ask your doc, because I sure am not one!), Crystal Light has caffeine as well as NON caffeinated drink mixes. It may give you diarrhea a little though depending on how much you drink and how sensitive your tummy is. 😉 It also has Vitamin B release in some drink mixes. Snack Packs come in sugar free chocolate pudding. My best treat while on my diet was to get a sugar free chocolate pudding and mix in some natural peanut butter. MMM best think I had for quite awhile!

4) Be watchful of your belly during pregnancy of what is called a diastatis. You will be able to tell best when you lie down flat on your back, then try to get up off the bed. If there is a new little split down your torso about in line with your belly button, you have what I have read 1/3 of pregnant women get. The muscles are moving out of the way for the baby! Unfortunately, this lucky 1/3rd of women will have to do some exercises to repair it, as it weakens the ab muscles and can cause back problems later if left unrepaired. I believe there are preventive exercises you can do during pregnancy. You can research this and/or talk to a doctor/physical therapist about it. I didn’t prevent it, thus my reason for sharing the knowledge with you. Some women get this during the pushing phase of labor, by the way.

5) Things to get done before baby comes (stuff for YOURSELF! Think about things that are far away, take time and noise to get done (nailing pictures in the walls with a sleeping baby may or may not work out..is it worth the risk?) Hanging out with friends, going on a “baby moon” with whatever your budget will allow, clothes that are a little bigger than your pre-pregnancy size (because shopping will NEVER be the same, even if you somehow actually find time to shop haha!), and clean your car out. I wanted the new baby to come home in a clean car..and now it looks like a locker/trash can again..oh well, he started out right at least! Maybe I’ll do spring cleaning. 😉

6) Maternity clothes–borrow from friends or buy second-hand (consignment for babies specifically have maternity clothes normally, second hand stores sometimes carry maternity clothes-some of my cutest maternity clothes were from general second-hand stores. Look online for options to register for a pre-sale consignment event (like Rhea Lana) for “expectant moms”, but remember to keep in mind baby showers you might be having. Target and Walmart should have some maternity panties, and yes, you will probably want some if you value comfort. Be prepared to buy new shoes if your feet swell. Just budget for some extra clothes when coming up with your “baby moon” destination. 😉

This is from a generic second-hand store. One of my faves.

This is from a generic second-hand store. One of my faves.

This dress is knee length, and I got it secondhand at a Rhea Lana sale (it was GAP brand.)

This dress is knee length, and I got it secondhand at a Rhea Lana sale (it was GAP brand.)

7) Do NOT de-tag any clothes unless you intend for your baby to wear them in the first few days of life. Also, you may want to wait to hear your baby’s estimated weight toward the end of the pregnancy.

8) Sometimes what you read about Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor) vs. the real thing can be misleading. I went in to the hospital twice because I had strong contractions that became closer that did NOT go away with walking, not walking, water, and rest for an entire day and sometimes more. Probably the most and only very helpful indicator I was told by a doctor is, “If you struggle to breath through the pain its so bad, that is probably real labor.” Even knowing that, however, I still only went to the doctor because I thought I had a very painful UTI that was-you guessed it-my baby on the way! I was dilated to 6cm already! When concerned, call your doc!

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Awaiting Ethan anxiously!

Awaiting Ethan anxiously!

8) You will want to invest in some LARGE underwear that doesn’t even really make contact with you much..if you know what I mean. Also, I saw how to make homemade “Padscicles” on Pinterest. The Hospital will give you these, but if you want more, look those up!

9) If you will be pumping breast milk, you can get a hands-free bra. (Someone gave me one while Ethan was in the hospital, and let me tell you, it was SO helpful! You can read, type, eat (Gotta eat to keep that milk going, haha!) As far as the pump itself goes, some consignment shops have them and while sharing tubing might be kind of unsanitary, you could use the electric pump part itself; after all, that is the pricey part! You can buy tubing and other gear separately, at Target or other related stores. IF you have a friend who is not currently pumping but has one, you could talk to the friend about borrowing.

10) Speaking of breastfeeding/pumping, I have NEVER been SO HUNGRY in my life as much as when I was pumping! I would eat a peanut butter sandwich in the middle of the dang night after pumping! Even being super tired, your body will need a LOT of calories to keep the milk supply up. Breastfeeding does, however, help you drop weight pretty quickly! It contracts your uterus back down, which you can learn more about from the above mentioned books! On topic, however, is a book I liked about breastfeeding (which I sadly couldn’t utilize much 😦 was The Complete Book of Breastfeeding.

AFTER BABY COMES
11) Let others do CHORES for you rather than have them watch the baby for you if they offer to help around the house (unless you want a nap.) Your baby’s biggest need is food and bonding with you, Mommy! Wait until your kid is 2 years old and wild, then farm them out to grandma for long periods of time! (Just kidding, mostly :D) But seriously, God designed breastfeeding in part because the babies need closeness to their mothers in their early months!

1 week old

1 week old

12) That being said, do not be afraid to go on a date with your husband ( or if you are a single mom, don’t be afraid to at some point allow yourself some time to yourself out of the house when you start feeling a little crazy.)

13) Baby shoes are very hard to predict sizing..also, many baby shoes are pointless. They are cute, but I would settle for just a few pairs for pictures and special occasions until they are learning to walk. Just my opinion, but I only have a boy so ;).

14) Do not fall prey to fighting over who has had less sleep or who has helped more…just don’t. Your marriage will be better for it. Remember to have the servant’s heart but also try to give yourself breaks.

15) Do something for yourself, Momma. Moms are usually not so good (nor are women in general) about letting themselves just do something for themselves. I am working on this myself. It’s hard.

16) Give your husband (if you’re married) a kiss when you get home as well as your baby.

17) Sing or listen to music to de-stress when your baby is crying a lot.

18) Get out of the house, even if its a stroll. It will help you not go insane when its an especially long day.

I use an extra spice rack to organize his baby food.

I use an extra spice rack to organize his baby food.

18 tips for 18 years..then they are adults and its all easy from there, right? haha If you have a kid with special needs, this site has lots of tips for that, but please contact me if you get a prenatal diagnosis or you find out at any time your kiddo has special needs and I will help you out in any way I can! Also leave comments, any mommas or daddies, with advice because I’m new at this momma thing, too!