Friday, August 31, 2012

MacKenzie at almost three


Yes, Mommy hasn't written about you in awhile, but trust that it is because she is so completely overwhelmed by your abilities and growth that it has been challenging to decide what to write about. Seriously. You are amazing!

As far as basics go, you sleep great (8:30-7:30, couple hour nap plus quiet play time, can lay you down anywhere and flex if need be), you eat great (love chicken, pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, grapes, most fruit, and hands down peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), you are friendly to most people you meet, and you play and learn so well!

Let's get into some good details...

Your vocabulary, both spoken and signed, is extensive. We try to go to the library once a week or so to pick out a new signing time for you to watch and learn from. You love to learn new signs and for Mommy and Daddy to practice them with you. You have become better at your finger dexterity and are more able to fine tune signing which is great because some of the signs require some pretty specific details. As far as speaking to us, you catch on to all of our little phrases and sayings very quickly. Sometimes we don't even realize that we say something frequently until we hear you say it and think to ourselves, "Hmmmm, I guess I do say that a lot". Lately you have been telling Mommy, "It's ok, Mommy, it's just a ____ (book, toy, piece of something)" if it is broken or not working right and will usually follow up with "We can fix it later". You also like to throw in there that your "Dada" can fix it later. You are obsessed with labeling things as "dirty", food that has dropped on the floor or anything that has dropped on the floor for that matter, things that are outside, and you will speculate that you will get dirty if you go play in sand or dirt. I asked you recently if you wanted to play in some of the dirt in the construction near our house and you said "No, I would probably get my boots dirty". I think it is incredible to watch and observe how you can put things together like that. I try to tell you that it is ok for boots to get dirty or for flip flops to get wet, but you are very specific in how you like things and we cannot convince you otherwise. You also like to say "Oooo-weee, that's smelly". You will say it when we change your sister's diaper, when we take off your shoes, or when you (or anyone else) toots. Daddy and I really like when we are making plans with you and you will try to work in your own plans, you will say something along the lines of "And after nap we can watch Signing Time, ok Mama, that sounds good?" You are already working on being a master negotiator. You are very polite to people and frequently tell them "Hello, How are you" at the store and will put out your hand to wave bye and say "See you next time" at different places we go. And Daddy has you well trained to tell me "Wow Mama, this looks great, thanks for the yummy breakfast/lunch/dinner" when we sit down at the table. The last one particularly warms my heart!

You are still book obsessed, but from what I understand that is just natural being a descendant of your Mommy and your KiKi! You love to read books and will sit for long books too. We can ask you questions about the pictures or basic things about the story and this week you opened a book and retold the story to Keegan as she sat next to you. When we go to the library, Mommy tries to pick out one book that will teach you something (animals, about a holiday, different places) to help you absorb as much as possible. You really love books about dinosaurs and dragons so I always try to look for at least one of those. Recently you have started paying more attention to the expressions on characters faces and will tell us if they look sad or happy or if they are "bad". We aren't sure what "bad" means or where you picked up on it. You will also furrow your brow during the climatic parts of books as if you are trying to figure out where the story is going to end up. We also work while reading on your letters and letter sounds (just practice, you know them all perfectly) and we are starting to work on sounding out words with you. You usually sound out all the letters and then say "That spells cat!", even when it doesn't, but it is a good start. 

You love animals and play with your stuffed animals (especially small ones like beanie babies) more than all of your other toys. I told Daddy that I thought you might be "subletting" space in your room because you pulled out all of your boots (rain, ugg-your favorite, and cowgirl) and had put one beanie baby animal in each boot to keep them safe. You will tell us that all animals are cute and exclaim "Awwwww he is so little" while cupping your hands together. I think you even feel this way about bugs, snakes, and other less appealing animals! Speaking of putting things in boots, you rather enjoy wearing boots in general and just yesterday discovered that they are a handy place to store things even when wearing them. You reached in and grabbed Daddy's contact drops and said, "Here Dada you need these." One of your favorite games is to play nap time. You will pull out the play mats, blankets, and pillows in the living room, arrange a bed for you and Keegan, and lay down quietly. After a few minutes you will pop up and say "Good morning, I had good sleepies." You will then play something else for a few minutes and repeat the process. You are so funny!

You love to play outside, which has been difficult lately because our neighbors have a very aggressive dog who has been known to get in our backyard, but hopefully the weather will cool off soon for us to go to the park more. We have also enjoyed the summer with many friends and have enjoyed playing at other people's houses, our house, and at the park or pool sometimes. You are so timid at the park and the pool and I hope that you don't hold yourself back too much as you go through life. I want you to be as confident in your physical abilities as you are in your mental abilities so you don't miss out on opportunities to do fun things like Mommy did as a kid...but maybe that is too much pressure on you and I should just let you be, you!!!

Some of your favorites:
- Color- purple
- Disney princess- Rapunzel (you like that she has yellow hair, that she reads, and that she climbs)
- Other character- Minnie Mouse (maybe a Minnie party in your future!!!)
- Best Friend- rotates between Elsha Yeley, Avery and Alli Faulkner, Mr. Charlie, and Tow-Mater
- Cookie maker- Dee

That last one is a sore subject for Mommy which requires some explaining. We bought some cookies from Potbelly Sandwiches to share with you girls. As you were enjoying your cookie I asked who made better cookies, Potbelly or Mommy. You grinned, cocked your head to the side, and exclaimed DEE! That was not an option... :) I think sometimes you think to yourself, how can I mess with these people today. Especially since you have decided that you aren't a little girl, you are an alien who is here to observe us. 

MacKenzie, you truly overwhelm us and others with your brilliance. I am constantly looking at shocked faces when I tell them you aren't even three yet. You simply take the cake when it comes to being smart, and aware, and sociable, and polite. Daddy and I are so honored to raise you and look forward to millions upon millions of moments ahead. We love you very much!

Mommy and Daddy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Definitely Thriving...

Matt and I really enjoy the little trips between College Station and Houston. We drove it frequently when we were in college to visit my family and do so frequently now to visit his family. The trip is a short and easy drive and we don't feel like it is a waste of a drive for a day trip or occasionally even a come and go trip. Often we will stop and get an Iced tea from McAllister's or Chick-Fil-A or a special drink from Sonic to make the trip seem even more special. Almost always we use the trip to talk and reconnect. This past weekend we drove up to see Matt's parents and to celebrate his Mom's birthday. The girls love all of their grandparents and enjoy going to Dee and Doc's house emmensely.

On the way back, Matt and I were discussing how we felt about Baby Raptor. I think I started with the question of was he concerned about anything or worried about anything. After talking for awhile we both realized that we were in a very, very good place. Our biggest concern about Baby Raptor is not about the fact that Raptor has Down syndrome. Our biggest concern about Baby Raptor is if we will be good enough parents to raise him or her the way he or she deserves. As we both enthusiastically nodded that this is what we were most scared and worried about and concern furrowed my brow, a smile also broke out across my face. Of course we were worried about being good enough parents! We worry about that with MacKenzie and Keegan all the time! That is part of what being a parent is...worrying about being good enough for your kids! We could totally handle this concern. We fret daily about challenging MacKenzie enough because she is so smart and we want her to be challenged simply for the fact that she loves learning. Keegan is starting to show that intelligence as well and so we add those concerns to our worries for Mac. Both girls are also tremendously caring and sensitive in their own ways so we want them to be in tune to that, but to also be able to be strong and resilient when faced with issues. We worry that we may not provide the best examples for them every day and strive to do better. We worry about adversity they will face and if we have properly equipped them to choose what is right. So it is natural for us to worry about being good enough parents...that is just what we do. So as far as Raptor's chromosomal enhancement goes, we are not doing ok, or good, but great!

All that being said, it is helpful that we are trying to be less Type A about things and to take things as they come. I was trying to look to far forward and was getting overwhelmed with what I needed to plan for and be prepared for. It has been good for me to take a step back and look at things one week at a time, especially because from here on out between myself and Keegan I have appointments once a week at minimum. So I just look to the next appointment and what our focus is for that appointment. It has been nice to, in my mind, slow down the pace of this pregnancy. Instead of counting down constantly how many weeks until, I have been just relishing in things as the week comes. I have been enjoying each kick more and more. I have been focusing on what is happening developmentally and what I can do right now to make things good or take care of tasks. Next week I meet with Dr. Tam Tam, my Maternal Fetal Specialist, for a Level 2 ultrasound/growth check. Because Raptor was already lingering on the lower end of right on target for growth, I am interested to see how he or she is measuring four weeks later. Some babies with Down syndrome do start slowing down their growth right now and as MacKenzie and Keegan measured very much ahead for most of their ultrasounds it should be informative to see where Raptor lies. In the meantime I will enjoy being kicked in the side and having my ribs dug into and worrying about how to better serve my families needs.