Monday, September 21, 2009

The M Word

So we're all playing in the loft. I can't remember the circumstances, but Gamble said something like, “Uh oh, you better hope Daddie doesn't say the M word.”

What's the M word?”

Oh, you know... M?”

We looked at him quizzically.

M... Muh?”

Still drawing a blank.”

You know, what Daddie says. Muther...?”

We'd twigged, but too late. “Muther-fuh...?”

Enough!” We said in unison. Disaster and borderline venial sin averted.

Mommie Check

Those who are around us a lot know this, but those that don't see us often need to know.

Every fifteen minutes or so, Random needs to do a Mommie check.

That is, she needs reassurance about every fifteen minutes that Mommie is still there and loves her. If they're in separate rooms, you'll hear Random hollering, “Mommie! Ah yoo? Mommie! Ah yoo?

This can happen even if they're in the same room. She'll just go over, sigh “Mommie,” and hug Nicole's leg. Or she'll climb into Mommie's lap and hug her.

Mommie's girl, indeed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gamble's First Game

Gamble had his first soccer game today, and I couldn't have been more proud of him.

You know me. I'm not a sports guy. I never watch them on TV, and if I do go see a game, I'm not usually, you know, into it like that. I don't paint my face or my body, and I don't bet.

But someday, however, I may. Watching Gamble play his first game of soccer brought that out in me. He's had two practices, and I'm not even sure he knows all the rules, but yesterday he ran himself sweaty, up and down that field like everyone else.

He got some good kicks in, and he managed to get the ball down the field. A couple years younger than most of the kids on his team, he's the smallest, and he has to work harder to run the same distance, but he did so relentlessly and without complaint.

He even got to put on the goalie shirt and block a few goals. He didn't shy away from the ball as someone kicked it towards him, and maintained very good focus. Pretty awesome for a kid who only a few days prior was doing the soccer equivalent of sitting out in right field, facing the wrong way, eating dirt.

Gamble K. Davis, soccer player. Kevin P. Davis, proud soccer dad.

Coming Out of Her Shell

An update from the Mommie:

Yay! My baby has come so far and in such a short period of time.

For those that don't know, we were very concerned about R's development. So, around this time last year, the State's Early Intervention program came to evaluate her to see where she fit on their development curve. We were hesitant at first but with all of the brain development issues during pregnancy and then after, we finally came around to the idea that we needed to do this. Anyway, they came out and found that she qualified for services but just barely. In order to qualify, you have to have a 30% deficiency in three areas, and she barely met this requirement.

Anyway, they thought she needed four different services and based on her needs, they would come to the house for two hours a week of services. Well, the cost to do such a thing was prohibitive, so instead, we chose to put her in daycare 3 days a week, for 10 hours a day. She started on a Friday and started walking that weekend! At 19 months, she was more than behind but with one day of daycare, she was already spreading her wings. Wow! Who could have asked for better confirmation that we made the right choice than that?

We kept her in daycare until June and took her out for the summer so she could work on socialization and have a "break" with her brother. We had a fantastic summer, as you could probably tell from the pictures. As a follow-up though, the State came back this week to re-evaluate her and they were just floored with her progress. While she is still having problems with her feet, her other development is right on track if not a little ahead. Hooray! We kind of knew this but wanted to get their opinion, as sometimes parents can be biased and frankly, we are comparing her to where she was and don't really have a handle on what her peers are doing.

So, just this week, we have had several things change.
1) Random no longer says "help you", she says "help me", ahuge cognitive leap
2) She is also starting to say things like "I love you too" as opposed to "love you". She is now getting that construction of responses.
3) When she is pleased with something, she will say "perfect". While we think this is cute, it is so not in line with our Type A personalities, so it makes me laugh. :)
4) She has also started putting together puzzles. While not as good at them as Gamble, I am confident that she is ahead of the curve when it comes to her peers on this one. Here is what the puzzle(s) looks like, not easy. One is the alphabet and the other is numbers. I am using it for both teaching how to do puzzles but how to recognize her numbers and letters.
5) I am just so proud. I just sat down with her and started writing letters and numbers on her Doodle Pro ( and she did phenomenally. I mean, really. On the alphabet, she recognized about 10 of the 26 letters and we haven't really done that before. And with her numbers, she recognized almost all from 1-10 and therefore recognized the numbers themselves from 10-20 but was just introduced what it meant. She caught on pretty quickly but I suspect that, unlike Gamble, she will need to review it a couple more times before she gets it. We then worked on 20-30 and that was particularly helpful because she was confusing 2's for 5's. The number 25 was "perfect" for explaining that one. :)

Needless to say, Random is coming along better than we could have all imagined. She has known all of her body parts for about ten months now, including her heart and other things that aren't visible. She can almost count to 20 by herself, she knows and has known all of her colors (including black, brown, grey and white) and she knows most of her shapes. I would give her an A plus for knowing and doing all of this. Go baby!

Random is coming along in her speech very nicely. The clarity in her words is one of the areas that puts her ahead of the curve. She is very clear with most of what she says and is becoming very descriptive if we don't understand her right away. Occasionally, she will moan a little instead of talking but once reminded to use her words, she is eager to do so.

Random is still a people-pleaser. She is very eager and happy to do what is asked. Sometimes she doesn't go right away but if given the choice to do it herself, she is a happy camper. She is turning into a little Howard Hughes though. She loves to wash her hands in the bathroom and "Nannum do it." She loves to play with water but more importantly, she loves the independence to do it herself.

We are starting her in ballet next week. She just loves music and dancing and let me tell you, the girl has rhythm and she can shrug her shoulders to the music like I never could. I am excited to see how she does!

Most of all, Random is still very sweet, huggable and funny. She is still very much attached to me and will choose me over almost anything else. This frustrates the boys but I will enjoy it as long as I can. :) She starts school next week, so I am sure that her development will grow significantly more in the coming weeks and well, she will have her time away from Mommie.

Well, there is my update! Hope you have enjoyed!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gamble and Daddie v. the Wilderness

I took Gamble camping. We went to the Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids, IA (about 6 hours away), and we stayed at their 805 River Cabin residence.

805 River is described as very basic. No running water. No electricity. No windows. It's a wooden cabin with a loft. Screened in windows and shutters to keep out the wood wasps. When it's quiet and still, and dawn is breaking, you can hear them chewing. The sound goes "Bzzzz... Scritch, scritch, scritch... bzzzz... scritch scritch scritch." I wouldn't have thought you could actually hear them chewing.

There is an outhouse. A cold water shower fed with a rainwater tank on top. A fire pit. Possibly our favorite, though, was a pond out back stocked with fish. It was Gamble at the most patient I've ever seen him. For two hours, Gamble fished. He caught three fish with no help whatsoever (other than to take the fish off the line). It was all he wanted to do.

We also got to attend a star party. It's so dark out there that the Conservancy has a star field, a field away from any lights from which you can see maximum stars. We got a lecture on astronomy, and I brought my green laser, with which you can point into the sky, and was able to point stuff out to Gamble. Some of the other stargazers helped us see binary stars, nebulae, globular clusters, and planets. We also saw shooting stars and satellites.

We got to cook dinner over a fire. We roasted corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cooked baked beans in the can. Gamble really enjoyed putting the hot dogs on a fork and cooking his own over the fire. That, and s'mores.

Gamble and I played cards in the loft of the cabin until well after midnight. We even discovered a dead mouse in the cabin!

Oh the adventures we had! I recommend this cabin for anyone who wants to get away. Really, really far away. See us at our picture site for pics.

New Communication Patterns

So Random is really coming along. Her speech capabilities went from not great last year to off-the-charts this year.

So many little things have come and gone, most notably, "Hepyoo." Yesterday she called out "Hep! Me!" I was so surprised by this that it didn't really register. Nicole had to point it out to me.

So I wanted to capture some of these things before they were gone forever. Time has a way of moving fast and memory fades.

The thing we hear out of her most frequently is probably the most annoying. For some reason, she continually tells us, "I can't!" whenever we ask her to do something that she doesn't want to do. It can be quite maddening.

She cannot grasp "wait" just yet. But if you tell her "five more minutes," she'll be patient. In fact, she's been using it as a negotiating tactic, combined with her other new trick above.

"Random, it's time for bed."

"Noooo! I can't! I can't!"

"Random, it's really time to go."

"Fi mo mimits?" At least that's how she asks. Cutest thing evar. Except maybe the last thing.

Whenever she wants to do something again, she asks to do it "one more time." Except her clarity is not that good. It comes out "uh mo time?" She's just mostly happy and cute all the time.