Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eye Doctor

Today was Claire's annual eye check.  These are fast becoming my favorite appointments!  The doctor looked her over and gave her a great report.  There is no sign of nystagnus.  She is still far sighted, but doesn't need glasses as this time.  The doctor said to watch for her eyes crossing, as that can happen when you are far sighted, but that there is no sign of that at this time.

While we were there I had the doctor take a quick peek in Bridget's eyes.  When she was born she had two red spots in one eye.  I was told they were broken blood vessels from being born and that they would heal and go away.  One of the spots did disappear, but almost six months later the other one is still there.  He said that the spot in her eye could be a couple of things.  The first option is a nevus, which is a freckle or mole in the eye. The doctor said that if this is what it is, it may not become pigmented until later.  The second option is a hemangioma, which is a collection of blood vessels.  If it's a hemangioma, it may just break up and go away on it's own, and they usually don't do any treatment unless it starts changing or interfering with her vision.  The doctor wasn't concerned so for now we will just watch her.

This picture shows the spot that healed and went away, but the spot she has now didn't show up in these pictures.  I'm not sure if it's gotten bigger/darker, or if it just didn't show up because it's on the inside of her eye.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My child is a biter

You know those little slips the preschools and daycare centers send home?  The papers that say your child had a good day, or got a scraped knee.  Some parents get slips saying their child has been bitten by another child.  I imagine you are upset and sad.  I know I would be.

I am the parent on the other side of those slips.  The one whose child is doing the biting, and I'm upset, sad and frustrated too.  For both of our kids.

We have been dealing with Claire's biting for around eight months now, but really, it seems like forever.

Claire bites for a variety of reasons.  When she is really frustrated and mad, it's easy to see a bite coming.  While it's still not okay, I understand these bites.  She has something to say and she doesn't have the words to communicate effectively.  Sometimes she bites out of jealousy.  Bridget is particularly vulnerable while she's nursing.  Sometimes I have no idea why she bites.  She'll be playing with or kissing on Bridget, and somehow they turn into bites.

Some of the issues at daycare are toy issues (which I think are standard toddler squabbles) and others are space issues.  Claire doesn't like to be crowded, and will put her hands up, push at the others kids and say no.  Unfortunately, a lot of the kids in the day care room right now are 18 months and younger.  Even though Claire is communicating with them, they aren't listening.  And when they don't listen, she bites.  We are changing daycare centers in a little over a week and I'm praying the change will help.  Claire will be one of the youngest kids there, and I hope that the older kids will be more receptive when she does communicate with them.

Something needs to change because when Claire bites, she bites HARD.  She's broken the skin before, and bruises are common.  Right now Bridget has a scrape down the bridge of her nose, a full set of teeth marks on her thigh and I have a bruise on my shoulder.  This needs to stop, but I'm really at a loss as to what to try next.

We've tried so many things already.  Time out.  Extra chewing on her chewy tube.  Vibrating teethers. Telling her how much biting hurts.  Ignoring small bites and redirecting.  Books about biting.  Praise for correct behavior when there is no sign of biting.

I refuse to bite her back.  She already has some self-harming behaviors.  Head banging is the behavior of choice right now, but she will bite herself.  And even if she wasn't self-harming, I still have issues with biting a child.

I'm frustrated.  I can't leave the girls alone for even a second because Claire will hurt Bridget.  I know that kids are forgiving when they are young, but there will come a time when Claire's friends won't forgive her for biting them, and this needs to stop long before then.  I just don't know what else to try.

Friday, August 17, 2012

County Fair

We live in a small town.  A town were many people, ourselves included, farm and ranch.  It isn't just a job, but a way of life.  And because our little town is agriculturally based, county fair is a big deal!

Since Claire is too young to be in 4H our fair week started by watching the kids rodeo.  When we first got into the grandstands Claire was not happy.  The announcer was very loud, and she burrowed into my lap.  Once the performance started she got into clapping for the kids, and seemed much happier.

Saturday morning was the fair parade.  Once again Clairey was a little overwhelmed with all the people and stayed glued to my side.  To try and get her into the action a bit more a friend and I took our shy kids and sat with them in the middle of the street.  Claire was bewildered by the flying candy at first, but by the middle of the parade would yell and clap each time a handful of candy came her way.  She was completely uninterested in picking any of it up, but she had plenty of friends share with her.

I sat crossed legged in the street with Claire on my lap for over an hour.  I didn't know if I would be able to stand up at all after that!

Terrible picture because Claire almost refused to get off my lap, but first...look how long her hair is!  And the boots.  There is nothing cuter than Clairey in boots and a skirt!

After the parade we went back to the fairgrounds to see the animals.  A friend was showing pigs so went into the pens to pet them.  It took quite a bit of convincing to get Claire to even touch one.

She thought the ribbons were much better than the pigs.  :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

you can't change the world

Today I am heartbroken and defeated.

Darren and I had one of those conversations last night that left me alternately banging my head against a wall and crying hysterically.

It all started when I asked him about the comment Wayne Brady made at the roast the other night.  I'm not a fan of roasts and didn't watch, but I knew that Darren had.

I asked him if he'd heard the joke....he had.  I asked if he was bothered by it.  Nope, because he was making fun of another comedian.

Ummm, yes, but at the expense of someone just like our daughter.

Well, what do you expect me to do about it?  You can't change the world.

First off, I expect you to care.  I expect you to be at least bothered by the comment.

And again, I was told I shouldn't worry about stuff like that because you can't change the world.

I tried changing tactics and asking him what he thought Down syndrome awareness was exactly.  (I just ordered a Ds awareness bracelet for him, at his request, so I thought this was relevant).  He said it means telling people they shouldn't have abortions.

Okaaay, but many people have abortions because of outdated, ignorant and sometimes scary stereotypes.  The exact same stereotypes that Wayne Brady based his joke on.  So, if we can change people's perceptions of what Down syndrome really is people won't immediately think an abortion is the answer.

And once again....people are cruel, you can't change the world.

But the thing is, I think I can change the world.  No, I can't do it alone, but I'm not alone.  There are so many people working towards the exact same goal.  My direct impact on the world may be small.  Whether it's one person or ten people, I've still made a difference.

But today I'm heartbroken and defeated.

I failed to find the words to explain that we can make a difference, that we can change things.  And if I couldn't explain this to Darren, my husband, someone who has a vested interest in making the world a better place for Claire, how am I supposed to make other people see that their words and actions really do make a difference?  Maybe I haven't made an impact at all.  Maybe people have stopped using the R word around me just to placate me.  Maybe everyone around me really does see Claire as the stereotypical burden and they're all glad that she's not their child.

Today I am heartbroken and defeated.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's been a while!

We're still here!  I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've posted...

We've had a busy summer, spending as much time as we can outside, visiting with friends and family.

The girls are doing good.  They are both getting big, and they can't get enough of each other.

Bridget can sit supported in her boppy.  She loves being part of the action, and hates laying down unless she's sleeping.  Unfortunately, sleeping at night is her one struggle right now.  At six weeks old she was sleeping 5 or 6 hours at night.  Now, at 5 months, she only sleeps about 2 or 3 hours before she wants to nurse again.  I know part of the problem is she's not being swaddled.  It got too hot and she outgrew the blanket I had.  I ordered a larger size in hopes that swaddling again gets us all sleeping better at night.

Claire is busy, busy, busy!  She's spent her summer playing in her new sandbox, swinging at the park, riding in her stroller and practicing kicking her ball all over the yard.  We spent lots of the time in pool, both on vacation and in the local pool.  She loves swimming and jumping in to go underwater.  Claire starts her new daycare at the beginning of September.  She's been in her current center since right around her first birthday, and this is going to be a big change for her.  She's quite attached to the staff and I know she'll miss them. She'll know a few kids at the new center, so I hope the transition will be a smooth one!