Friday, January 28, 2011

Success Comes in All Shades

I've mentioned several times on this blog that Antalya is deathly afraid of doctors. That fear stems from the bigger fear of anyone or anything touching her that is not one of the accepted every day activities that she is used to. I have been working with her a lot lately to try and overcome this. And I am happy to say we are making progess!

Just this week she has made some giant steps. She will now let me look at her ears with a doctor play set and even listen to her heart. We've been working towards this for a year now. It may not seem like such a huge thing - but trust is HUGE!

And an even bigger success was this...
Only once during the painting/drying process did I have to remind her that, 'no, your fingers aren't sick, and no, we are not going to the doctor'. I was so happy when she woke up this morning, looked at her fingers and said, "pretty"!

Success for Victoria these days usually means avoiding any cuts or serious falls. She had a big run in with a chair this week. I'm grateful she came out of it with just a swollen eye.
But, swollen eye, or not, she completely melts my heart!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Dance Class

I signed Antalya up for a Jump and Dance class at our local art center. Today was the first session. She was really hesitant to go, because to her, anytime it's just me and her leaving the house she thinks we are headed to the doctor. She was happy when, even after all my insisting that we were not going to the doctor, we went somewhere that didn't at all resemble a doctor's office.

We had to wait several minutes while all the children arrived and filled out their questionnaire. Antalya stayed very busy running up and down the halls and pushing the buttons for the elevator. When it was finally time to go inside she did an amazing job of sitting next to the wall with all the other children and waiting. But as soon, as they asked all the children to stand up, the craziness began (sorry, but no pictures were allowed in the studio).

Antalya LOVES watching herself in the mirror. To have suddenly found herself in room with so many mirrors was more than she could resist. I let her do her own thing for awhile which included a really cool, funky moon-walk type thing on all fours, running, jumping, screaming at herself in the mirror, etc. But after about 5 minutes of this I realised that if I let her do what she wanted instead of listening to the teacher and following instructions, that the next 10 weeks that's exactly what she would do. So to Antalya's dismay, I insisted that she calm down and listen, and follow instructions. I carried her out of the room kicking and screaming several times.

By the end of the 45 minute lesson I was completely worn out and Antalya was just mad that she couldn't do what she wanted to do. What would you have done? Should I have just let her completely disrupt what the teachers were trying to do with the other children?

The thing that bothers me the worst is feeling all the other parent's eyes on me, and almost hearing them say to themselves, "I'm so glad that's not my child." I hate it because I love Antalya so much. I love how her having Down syndrome has changed me and changed our family. I wouldn't trade her for all the world. And so, I it really bothers me when she acts in a way that would make other people think what a difficult thing it would be to have a child with Down syndrome. Does that make any sense? I just want her to show the world that Down syndrome is a beautiful thing, and that she is more like all her peers than she is different.

Having just said that, I realise it's not fair for me to put such expectations on her. She's only four! So what is the answer? What do I do in a year from now when she is absolutely too big for me to carry out of room if she throws a tantrum. I know a lot of children with DS are smaller than average, but not my Antalya. She is just as tall as most of her peers, and easily weighs more than 45 lbs. Do I just let her do what she wants to do? I don't know what the answer is. So for now, I will just continue to try to do the right thing, making more than my fair share of mistakes along the way, and giving thanks every night that Antalya's love for me is so unconditional.

And hopefully when this 10-week dance course is finished I can say that I was glad we did it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Sisters Are Great, Reason #752

Victoria was sitting on my lap. Antalya was supposed to be eating her breakfast, but instead was pestering Victoria.

ME: "Antalya, go eat your egg, please."
ANTALYA: nothing
ME: "Antalya, go eat your egg, please."
ANTALYA: turns her head, places her finger on my lips and says, "No. Listen to me." (the 'listen to me' wasn't completely clear, but I knew that was what she was attempting to say).
Then she turned to Victoria and says, "Baby.....babblebabblebabble.....muppets?"
She then waits for a response, and when Victoria doesn't give one, she answers for her, "Ya." "OK."
Turning back to me, "Mommy, baby...muppets!"
ME: "Oh, Victoria wants to watch muppets?"

Monday, January 17, 2011

18 Months

Victoria has turned 18 months.

It's hard to believe that she is the little baby that not so long along I was holding in my arms for the first time.

She keeps me on my toes. Constantly!

If I turn my head for more than a couple minutes, I'm guaranteed a big mess to clean up.

This morning it was my favorite lipstick.


She doesn't sit still for a moment.

Not even when she is eating.


We gave up on the booster seat when she finally decided she would rather starve than have a safety restraint on her at the table.

She loves to climb.

In fact, there is rarely a day that she doesn't have a bump or bruise on her head.


She is fearless. If she falls, she hops right back up to attempt the same death defying feat once more.

She loves following along with new ideas Antalya comes up.


It's take her awhile, but she finally has hair.


She loves putting anything and everything in it.

This includes mousse, yogurt, lotion, soup, spaghetti, shampoo, etc.

She loves High School Musical almost as much as her sister.

She hates wearing clothes and a diaper.

She keeps me smiling and laughing every day.

She is blessing and a joy to have in our family.

I love you, My LIttle TriTri!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cooking It Up!

My girls love being in the kitchen with me. In fact, I would say that is where we spend most of the day. Usually at least a few times a week we bake something. Baking with kids is great, because they don't have to be near anything too hot. We pull all the ingredients out onto the table, put the bowl on the table, and then take turns dumping ingredients and stirring.

I'm finding more and more, that Antalya is a lot more willing to eat something if she has helped with the preparation and knows what's in it. I can't always let her help me out when I'm cooking on the stove, but occasionally when Victoria is asleep I let her drag a chair over and help me cook dinner. She always does a great job helping, and an even better job of eating the dinner once it's ready.

Yesterday was one of those opportunities. She did a great job chopping mushrooms, stirring, and adding the ingredients I told her to.

In the end, we had a delicious chicken curry that everyone enjoyed! Hope you enjoy it too!

Easy Chicken Curry
1 clove of garlic
2 onions
mushrooms (or other vegetables)
1 T curry powder/paste (use more or less to taste)
1 apple
1 T sweet mango chutney
1 can chopped tomatoes
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed

Chop the garlic, onions and mushrooms and fry gently in a large pan until soft.
Then add the chicken and curry powder/paste and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add the diced up apple, chutney and chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for 1-2 hours.
Serve over rice.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's the Little Things, and Other Ramblings

Hello 2011!

We're still alive and kicking.

Some of us kicking stronger than the rest.

This has been the winter of, as the English say, feeling poorly. Antalya is finally doing better with her second round of antibiotics, Victoria is proving to have an immune system of steel (or maybe it's just all the clementines and the fact that she is only one in the house that gets a full nights sleep), and as for Jason and I, we are feeling like a double decker bus went off route and ran over us in bed. But we're getting through it.

We've been slowing easing our way into the new year. Jason hit the books working on a paper a couple days ago, and Antalya will go back to school on Monday. The girls and I have been having lots of fun this week, and it's been nice that the snow has been replaced with rain - lots of rain which make for lots of puddle jumping. To make the rain more fun, Victoria now has her very first pair of Wellies (rainboots).

With the New Year also came a renewed determination on my part to spend at least five minutes a day with Antalya working on speech and reading. It's amazing that in just five minutes of one-on-one I feel like we do more than she gets in a 45 minute group speech session. With just being consistent for one week, I'm already seeing improvements. We are using the See and Learn program that was developed by Down Syndrome International. You can download the material and print it off at home for free. This week Antalya, after spending a couple days reading "where is..." sentences asked me on evening, "Where is Daddy?" (it didn't sound exactly like that, but it was pretty close). It was a monumental moment because it was the first question she has ever asked. I was jumping with joy.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for the whole week, she blew me away with her reading yesterday. We have been working on "noun, is, verb" sentences. For example, "baby is sleeping", "dog is eating", etc. She does really good reading the noun and the verb, but always skips over the "is". But yesterday she was reading the full phrase without any help. My mama heart wanted to jump right out of my chest it was so happy!

And Victoria has been amazing me as well. She has learned how to pull her chair from the table to the kitchen sink. And this week, she has been spending several hours every day with her cups, bowls, and spoons and the sink. She loves to fill all the bowls with water, line them up along the counter, and then put a spoon in each one. Antlaya took this short video of her the other day:

Antalya has added a new level of energy to her High School Musical rock out sessions lately. It always makes me smile to see her enjoying herself so throughly. She's starting dance classes in two weeks, I'm excited to what new moves she will pick up.
**Sorry for the poor video quality. If you're wondering what Victoria is doing, she is practicing the sign we made up for yoghurt - we do that a lot (make up signs for words that I don't know the correct sign for).

All these things, and so many other little things that keep my heart beaming each day, are adding up to a perfect start for a new year that is sure to be filled with my many adventures, challenges, joys, and sorrows. 2011 will be another year of changes for us. Changes that I'm not even sure about. In six months time we will be packing our suitcases and saying goodbye to our English home and beginning a new adventure somewhere. And when I say, 'somewhere', I mean to say, 'we have absolutely no idea where we will be or what we will be doing when this new year comes to close. The unknown used to really bother me, but I've learned to find excitement in the fact that when something is unknown, it means anything is possible!

Here's to 2011...the year of possibilities!