Monday, August 25, 2008

Some more stuff Zoe likes/an excuse to post more cute pictures!

Zoe likes hanging with her 1P36 buddies Shelby (almost 3 1/2 yo) and Matthew (2yo). We went to Matthew's house for a delicious dinner last Saturday. Being with other families who know exactly what we are going through is so helpful. This was the first time we saw Matthew out of hospital, so it was great to see him in his own home and looking so well. Shelby has been very sick recently, so it was also great to see her looking healthy. I had to fix the red eye, so unfortunately you can not see Shelby's beautiful blue eyes. It is amazing how much Zoe and Shelby look alike! We got Zoe's high pigtail idea from Shelby's mom- it works well for our kids that still rub their heads back and forth so that regular pigtails quickly fall out.

Zoe also likes eating (most of the time). At her 18month check up this past week, we found out that Zoe has gained another 20 oz these past six weeks. Zoe's current weight is 8.1kg or 17lbs 13oz! Way to go Zoe!

Zoe loves her ball that she got from her cousin Lucy last Christmas. When Zoe first got this corner chair, the ball was one of the first toys she played with in the chair. Daddy was so happy that Zoe could finally play ball at 11months old that he got a little misty eyed (daddy is such a suck). Zoe especially loves it when the ball whacks her in the face (crazy girl!)

Another thing that Zoe really loves is vestibular stimulation. Any time Zoe can be bounced, thrown in the air, patted very firmly, or swung she is happy. We use the hammock to give Zoe some stimulation time. Initially, Zoe was unsure of the hammock and would cry, but now she really loves it. Vestibular stimulation is supposed to be good for her cognitive and neuromuscular development. Zoe thinks, "Who cares, it just feels good!"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Signing mommy, daddy and Zoe

We have had some great gains in the communication department in the last few days. Zoe imitated signing "mommy" about a month ago and has done it occasionally since. Two days ago she did "Daddy" for the first time, and just yesterday she looked right at me, put her hand to her head and signed "Daddy" very deliberately. Needless to say I was thrilled. Genevieve has told Zoe that all she ever needs do is that sign and I will do anything for her, and I think she might just be right. And then tonight, about 20 minutes ago, she did the sign we have made for Zoe (it is basically the sign for "mine", repeated twice- or that's how we do it anyway. She does it however she can) repeatedly as we were getting her ready for bed. We got some video of it- of course when we took out the camera she stopped doing it as clearly but it is there.

That brings Zoe's total number of signs to seven. In the order learned they are- milk, eat, all done, mommy, more, daddy and Zoe. Mommy, daddy and Zoe she only imitates so far- the others she will initiate herself, though sometimes not at the right times. We also think she can say no by shaking her head.

Exciting stuff!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More stuff Zoe likes


This is Zoe's turtle. It was a Christmas present from Grandma. It is small enough Zoe can pick it up with both hands. It also has a friction motion mechanism that moves him and occasionally makes nice popping sounds, in addition to the rattling of the beads in his shell.

Orange Slinky

We bought this off Sharon, Zoe's visual intravention specialist. She had a stash of them she was carrying around in her trunk. Needless to say, a slinky's a wonderful toy. We love it!

Tim Horton's bag (and other assorted trash)

We were out at the mall one day buying something, and we stopped at Tim Horton's for some provisions. We tossed the donuts in their nice crinkley bags next to Zoe in her stroller while we got settled. Turns out she loves the bags (the donuts she can take or leave). She smushed them and hugged them and laughed and laughed and laughed. She just loves playing with the bags. She also likes plastic fruit containers, boxes, plastic bags, chip bags- all sorts of fun.

Stuff Zoe likes

I've decided to start posting pictures of stuff Zoe likes. Hopefully one day, maybe , Zoe will be able to look at this blog and enjoy seeing "what she used to like when she was little". So will Genevieve and I, when we get super old and start to forget all this important stuff. So here goes. The spacing is a bit messed up- for whatever reason the website won't let me fix it the way I'd like to. Oh well.

Bird- Zoe's first love.

Bird was given to Zoe by her first Early Childhood Interventionist, Jessie. He is very simple- he rocks back and forward and jingles as he does so. It was very nice of Jessie to give him to Zoe- they don't make simple toys like this much these days and they can be very hard to find. Bird was the first toy Zoe actually played with- before she started interacting with him we weren't sure if Zoe would be able to play at all. When she started reaching for him and batting him around we were of course thrilled, so bird is understandably pretty important to us. Incidentally, Bird is a penguin, a fact we didn't really clue into for several months or else he may have ended up with an entirely different name.
Zoe's flowers

These are Zoe's flowers. It was one of the first and one of the very few toys we actually bought for Zoe. It chimes different notes or plays a song ("If you're happy and you know it") when you push the flowers. The blue one is sort of broken. Initially she needed a lot of hand over hand help to push them- now she pushes them no problem, grabs it by the stems and throws it all over the place.

Zoe's Mardi Gras beads

Genevieve and I we originally got these on a trip to New Orleans (we picked up them up off the ground, if you must know- there was no flashing involved. Not on our part anyway). For awhile we used them as Christmas tree ornaments. When Zoe arrived they became hers. She likes to use them on the bus and subway on the way to daycare. They were and are great for promoting her hand-eye coordination.

Dollar store pom pom.

Zoe loves to play with this while she is doing her sitting exercises. We have to watch to make sure she doesn't eat the plastic strings however. Yum!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Great Outdoors

Zoe laughing at mommy singing/signing the good night song while getting ready for a nap in the tent.

Zoe helping daddy play cards while camping.

Zoe has always been sensitive to being outside. Typically, Zoe will cry and arch when she is out in the sunlight. We have learned to keep her in the shade, use sunglasses and a hat, time outside to be when she is well rested, etc. We are pushing Zoe more and more to cope with outside and some days she does great (others days are still really hard and we end up staying inside all day feeling like hermits).
We went camping last week and we were unsure about how Zoe would cope with being outside all day. She did great. We quickly learned that as long as we hung around the campsite and took it easy, Zoe was able to cope well. We attempted a hike with Zoe in the backpack, but that was just too much. So, we took it easy and had a great time camping. I wish we could have made it to the beach, but it was just too much for Zoe this trip.
We had made it to the beach near our home once this summer when my brother Tom, his wife, and their four children were visiting. Zoe did great with being at the beach most of the day. After a while, she did get over stimulated so we put her in her car seat and covered it with a blanket. That did the trick and we were able to stay to enjoy the beach.
So, we are learning how to help Zoe cope with being outside. Outside is not much fun if she is upset or over stimulated. We are glad that Zoe is now able to enjoy being outside at times. I think as she has gotten older, she has been tolerating outside more. Zoe used to scream when we would put her in her stroller (the stimulation was just too much), but now she laughs and enjoys it (most of the time).

Communication Update

Zoe signing "more"
Zoe is signing her fourth sign!!!! Zoe has used the sign "more" a few times now. Like her other signs, it is subtle so we have to watch closely.
Speech Therapy update
I had posted previously that speech services were pending. Zoe has now started services. Zoe was evaluated a month or so ago and we were told things that were no surprise- Zoe is not showing preverbal skills. They were very positive and had a nice manner with Zoe. They praised Gavin and I for all of the things we are already doing with her (reading her books, using one word to describe things, encouraging eye contact, etc).
We saw the speech therapist again yesterday and she was surprised at how much Zoe's eye contact has changed in just the past month. Also, she was happy to hear about Zoe using signs. She gave us some recommendations (most of the things we are already doing). Two new things we are going to try with Zoe is making her request help. We have been working on this for some time with Zoe, but in a differnt way. If Zoe is reaching for a toy and starting to get frustrated, I will say to Zoe, "Zoe, look at mommy and tell her what you need." Now, Zoe will look at me which I take to me "Help me!" Also, we will give Zoe a choice between two toys and we make Zoe make eye contact with us instead of just reaching for the toy she wants.
One thing the speech therapist pointed out that I had not noticed is that Zoe does not ask for help without us prompting her. It is good that she is asking for food and milk now, but she never reaches up to indicate that she wants to be picked up and she does not ask for help. So, we are going to work on requesting with songs first and then move to toys. So far, Zoe is doing pretty well. We had already worked on her requesting the next song by making eye contact. Now, we want her to make eye contact and sign "more." It is a bonus if she is actually vocalizing too.
The other thing we will work on is using a push button that can be programed with one phrase or word at a time. For now, we will stick with the help theme and teach Zoe to use it when she needs help with a toy. We are using her chair seat for now because that is the only time she will have enough coordination to use the button properly. The therapist said it will take a very long time to train Zoe to use the button and not to get discouraged. The point of using the button is to teach Zoe to request help and also later we can add more buttons or move on to picture boards. Augmentative communication tools here we come!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Zoe Standing Video

Zoe standing, with a little help from Genevieve. This is her favourite new exercise- she actually likes this one and doesn't yell at us (too much) while she is doing it. Sometimes she will reach up and touch our faces, particularily Gavin's- she likes the roughness of his beard. She is all about beards, actually; she loves touching faces in general and particularily anyone with facial hair. The music is, of course, Bob Marley and the Wailer's "Get Up, Stand Up."