Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Does Sitting-Up = Spitting-Up?

Ever since Brennan starting sitting up last week - he's been spitting up.......alot. Is he using different stomach muscles that are causing his food to come up and out of his stomach? Or does he suddenly have really bad reflux? Honestly, he spits up almost every time he sits (which makes me feel really bad about even having him sit as I'd imagine the spitting up is pretty uncomfortable). His physical therapist will be here tomorrow morning, so I'll start by asking her if she's seen this happen with new sitters. Brennan also has his 12 month well-visit soon, so I'll talk to his pediatrician about it then (if not before). And, of course, if any of you have any input - it would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


After having just written about Brennan working on sitting, Brennan decided he was ready to start sitting all by himself! All it took was a singing and dancing Elmo to give him the motivation he needed. We've had the Elmo since Jenna was a baby. He sings "E-L-M-O" and does the corresponding arm motions/letters to the music from the Village People's "Y-M-C-A." What baby would not be entranced by that?! With Elmo singing and dancing in front of him - Brennan sat for at least five minutes, where before that he hadn't sat for longer than a few seconds. I was SO impressed! We're leaving for New Hampshire today and I think Elmo might just be coming with us. As annoying as that little red monster can be, if it helps keep Brennan motivated, I'll listen to his high pitched voice all day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


At almost 11 months old, Brennan is working on learning to sit independently. Typical kids learn to sit between 5 and 9 months and kids with Down syndrome learn to sit between 6 and 18 months. When Brennan was first born, I thought seeing his delays would be really hard - especially seeing kids his age doing things that he isn't doing. Much to my surprise, it isn't. I obviously notice the differences, but Brennan is on his own schedule and always will be. So, I will do my best to help him reach his next milestone, while focusing solely on him and not what others his age, even other kids his age with Down syndrome, are doing. I also try to keep things in perspective.....I mean, 10 years from now, will it really matter if he learned to sit when he was 6 months or 18 months? If he learned to walk at 12 months or 30 months? Nope. I don't think so. One thing I've learned as a parent is that time passes entirely too quickly - so, I'm going to savor every minute of Brennan being a baby.
There may be times in the future where his delays will make me sad, especially if Brennan seems frustrated or upset by not being able to do things he wants to do. But, he hasn't shown signs of frustration yet and continues to be very tolerant of his physical therapy exercises. So, when will he sit, crawl, walk? Only time will tell and we will be so proud of and happy for him when he does.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Mom's Birthday

Today is my Mom's Birthday. Six months before Brennan was born, my Mom moved from Ohio to Boston to be near me and my family. She lived in the same town in Ohio for 32 years. It seemed as if she knew everyone in town. In Ohio, she had many friends and a very busy social life. She gave that all up to be near us. At the time she moved here, we had no idea that Brennan would be coming into this world with "a little something extra." I believe that my Mom was meant to be here specifically for his arrival. She was with me every day of the first months after his birth. She sat with me in the hospital when I was recovering from my c-section, accompanying me to see Brennan in the NICU. She drove me to and from the hospital to see him after I was released, and spent countless hours at my house with us after he came home. I honestly don't know how I would have made it through that time without her. My Mom was always happy about Brennan's arrival into our family. She welcomed him with a heart full of love, just as she had her other six grandchildren. Brennan seemed to sense this from the beginning. He gave his first smiles to my Mom and smiled at her consistently for at least two weeks before I got my first smile from him. He still lights up when he hears her voice or sees her coming into the room. I am so grateful to have my Mom living near me. She is such an important part of my family's daily life and is an amazing mother, grandmother and friend. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spring Fever

Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees in Boston. It felt like Spring....almost. Even a 60 degree day couldn't melt the feet of snow we've had this winter. The kids were happy to be able to play outside without the many layers that are usually required. Tanner asked if he could put on his short and go to the beach, but settled for playing in our backyard.

As has been the case this winter, Brennan played it safe and stayed inside. He's only been sick once this winter and I'm hoping to keep it that way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mr. Everything

That's my husband.....Mr. Everything. He honestly knows how to do, is interested in and/or knows something about everything. During the spring, summer and fall, he takes the kids lobstering, fishing, camping, frog-catching, kite-flying, bike riding, rollerblading, out on the boat, to the beach, and to the playground...most often doing two or more of these things with them each day. In the winter, he takes them skiing, skating and sledding. He loves sports and teaches the kids the ins and outs of baseball, football, hockey, etc. This year, he coached Jenna's t-ball team in the spring and soccer team in the fall. He also just love, love, loves to be with our kids. He honestly doesn't go anywhere on the weekends without at least one of them, even if he's just running errands.
Very soon after Brennan was born - I told Eric how lucky Brennan was to have him as a Dad. I know that Eric will love taking Brennan along on his various adventures, as he does now with Jenna, Tanner and Parker. I think it will be especially important for Brennan to have hobbies and interests that he can share with his family and friends. And, with Mr. Everything as his Dad, he will have endless opportunities to learn sports and find hobbies that he enjoys.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Occupational Therapy

As I had mentioned before, Brennan currently sees a Physical Therapist once a week. The Early Intervention program that Brennan is part of has fairly rigid guidelines they follow regarding at what age various services or therapies are added. For the first few months, I felt comfortable with the fact that he was only getting physical therapy. Considering his very, very low tone - it made sense that he should focus on being able to hold his little head upright before starting to work on anything else. When he was about six months old and had good head and neck control, I started requesting additional services. In my opinion, the more help he can get through therapy, the better. Each time I requested a new service, Brennan's coordinator would very politely explain that he was simply too young. After much persistence, I was able to get Brennan to see a speech therapist - the catch being that I would have to take him to her office (instead of her coming to our house as most therapists do) since she is a contractor and not a Early Intervention employee. So, when he was 7 months old - he started seeing a speech therapist. I now feel that he may be ready to add another therapy, with Occupational Therapy being the logical next step. So, today Brennan had an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist. She played with Brennan for a while, gave me a few suggestions of things to work on with him, and said she was very encouraged by her observations of his abilities. However, in the end, she concurred with the coordinator that he isn't ready to have an OT assigned to him. She said an OT really can't work with him until he has good trunk control and is able to sit independently. It left me feeling frustrated and confused. Should I trust what they say and wait a couple (or more) months to start OT, or should I start pursuing therapies outside of our early intervention program? Will he be adversely affected by not having additional therapies? It's so hard to know the "right" thing to do. I want to give him every opportunity to learn new skills, but also want him to be able to be a baby and not totally overwhelmed with therapies....especially if they may not really benefit him at this point. Ugh! What's a Mom to do?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter in New England

We're spending most weekends this winter up in New Hampshire. At 37 years old, I am just learning to ski and have taken my first few lessons. Jenna and Tanner ski with Eric almost every weekend and, at 6 and 4 years old, are probably already better skiers than I'll ever be. But, that's beside the point. What I keep wondering is - will Brennan be able to join in this family activity?

On Saturday, I took Jenna skiing by myself for the first time. As we entered the lodge in the morning, there were differently-abled people EVERYWHERE! People with one leg, with one arm, in wheelchairs, without sight. Jenna quickly noticed. I've been trying to teach her about differences. I've emphasized that people shouldn't be judged or limited based on what is perceived as different about them. This moment in the lodge was a great example of that. We were surrounded by a group of people who were probably told they wouldn't be able to do alot of things due to their differences. But, here they were on a snowy winter morning getting ready for a day of skiing. I felt so proud it brought tears to my eyes. I wonder if I would have felt the same way before I had Brennan? Part of me thinks I would have felt sad or sorry for this group of people and their differences. Or maybe I wouldn't have paid much attention at all.

As Jenna and I were getting ready to go, I did spot a girl with Down syndrome putting on her winter gear and ski boots. If Jenna hadn't been with me, I definitely would have stayed and followed her outside to watch her ski - but an anxious 6 year old tugging at my jacket made that impossible.
So, will Brennan be able to ski? Only time will tell - but we will give him every opportunity to learn if he's willing.