Thursday, May 29, 2008

On a roll...

Elsa is rolling again. Yesterday, she rolled over in her crib once. Today, she rolled over in her crib twice and also rolled over once while playing. She is exactly 4 months and one week. I never did mention that Elsa is starting to hold her own with Sophie. She can actually make Sophie cry!!! Sometimes, when Sophie lays her head on Elsa's chest, Elsa will grab Sophie's bow along with a fistful of hair. Maybe Sophie will stop poking Elsa in the face so much (yea right). Sophie is just so fascinated with face parts. When she wakes up in the morning and also when she lays down for naps or bedtime, she points at all my face parts and wants me to label it. She will point to my eyebrows 5 times in a row...I think that is part of her hair obsession.

This past Tuesday was Haley's last day of school...yippee for summer breaks!!! Sophie and Elsa will get to spend a lot more time with their big sissy. We will have to plan a lot of fun summer activities soon because the summers seem to go by way too quickly.

Yesterday, Sophie, Elsa, Miranda (our cousin) and I went to a park that has all kinds of farm animals. Sophie absolutely loved it. She is so fascinated with pigs. She signs pig at least 20 times a day. Maybe she just likes to point to her nose and snort...who knows what goes through that girl's head! Grandma Debbie took her there a couple weeks ago so I was trying to figure out how much Sophie actually remembered. It seemed she somewhat knew her way around. I would love to take her to a farm where she could actually pet all the animals. At this place, there were signs all over saying the animals bite so I made sure we didn't get too close.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I really think I can officially say that Sophie has moved beyond babbling and is now talking. Last week, she said eeebaa!!! That is huge!!! She strung 2 different sounds together and said it at the same time. She said it about 20 times that day but now will only occasionally say it. Then, the following day, she said baby. I didn't hear it but she said it for Grandma Debbie and Daddy. I think she said it about 3 times but I haven't heard it since. Then the following day, she said baaeeebee!!! That is a 3 syllable word. Okay, maybe it is not a real word but 3 different syllables nonetheless. Now she is saying ball (though the "ll" sound at the end isn't always clear). If you hold a ball up and ask her what it is she will say ball. Actual signing and no prompting. She is getting it!!! I am so proud of her. She is going to be talking up a storm before we know it. Woohoo!!!

By the way, we are now down to 125mg of Depakote twice a day. Her seizures are a bit stronger than before the wean and on some days she may have a few more than usual but isn't it worth it??? She was sacrificing development for a bit more seizure control. Isn't that a tough decision to make??? On one hand, I hate seeing these stronger seizures. On the other hand, I am ecstatic over her leaps and bounds on communication. Is this selfish on my part? No, I am her mother and I am only doing what I think is in her best interest (or at least...that is what I tell myself). Well, we have a neuro appointment next Tuesday, so I will update on what we are to do about this never ending seizure battle. By the way, May 10th was 2 years to the day when Sophie was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms. 2 years!!! I can remember that day like it was yesterday...ugh!!!

I just couldn't end this post on a negative note with it being such great news, so I will share a little story that filled my heart with joy today... Sophie was giving Elsa kisses today, like she always does. She loves to give her kisses and Elsa loves to get them. They entertain each other so much. Sophie will laugh in Elsa's face and Elsa will laugh right back at her. Well, after Sophie gave Elsa one of her big smooches, Sophie turned around and gave me one. Not that she has never done that before. But right at that moment, I saw the big little girl spontaneously giving me a could life get any better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Developmental milestones...

Elsa is my little developmental milestone overachiever. She is not even 4 months yet and she is doing so much. She loves following Sophie with her eyes. She is always interested in what she is doing. When Elsa is laying on her back, she will turn herself in circles to keep an eye on Sophie. She does this by pulling her legs up to her chest, rolling over to her side and then throws her head way back. By the time she has done this 4 or 5 times, she has made a complete circle. Her head control is absolutely amazing and she can push herself pretty high when on her belly. She also brings both hands to midline, clasps them together and then raises them above her head. She will grasp objects dangling above her head. When given a toy, she will bring it to her mouth. She loves to chew on toys and her hands. She is my little talker...a true Widmann!!! She loves playing with her toes and tries to bring them to her mouth. She bears weight on her legs. She smiles and laughs. She recognizes her immediate family and cries when strangers get too close.

Before Elsa, I hated the developmental milestone chart. It was always upsetting to read them. Even though Sophie continues to develop, she has always been about 10 - 14 months behind on the charts. So you can say, I have a love-hate relationship with the chart.

New signs...

Sophie is now signing "on", "take a break", and "blanket". It is such a collaborative effort and it is so exciting when you are the one that teaches her the new sign. Grandma Debbie taught her "on". I tried teaching her that one but I wasn't very effective. Grandma Debbie was able to teach it to her in a matter of hours or maybe even less than that. Sophie's ABA therapist taught her "take a break" as part of her therapy sessions. She is not quite there yet but will try very hard when verbally prompted. I am not exactly sure how she learned "blanket". It is part of her Baby Einstein - My First Signs video which she loves to watch. Occasionally, we will sit down together and I will assist her in doing the signs but I never reinforced "blanket". I think she just gets it now and picks up signs quite easily. So that is a total of 23 signs! That is pretty impressive considering she just started signing about 3 months ago.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Random pictures...

Here are pictures from random events over the past month...

Tummy time.

More tummy time.

Oh, so sweet!
(Elsa & Sophie)

Hair obsessed Sophie!
(Sophie & Elsa)

Holding hands.

(Sophie & Elsa)

Family portrait on the day of Elsa's baptism.
(Colin, Aunt Erica, Uncle Ed, Ben, Aunt Erin, Nicholas, Uncle Joe & Elsa)

(Nicholas & Elsa)

Sophie loves when her cousins drive her around in this jeep. It is one of her favorite things to do.
(Sophie & Colin)

(Uncle Ed & Sophie)

Sisters...Can't get any better than this!!!
(Elsa, Sophie & Haley)
I love my big sis!
(Haley & Elsa)

Pictures taken on Mother's Day...

Big smiles.

My mischievous little Sophie.

I love Daddy!
(Elsa & Brandon)

(Sophie & Zach)

Sophie playing with her own eyelashes.
(Sophie, Uncle Jason, Elsa & Aunt Colette)

My girls.
(Mommy, Sophie & Elsa)

(Sophie & Elsa)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Using signs...

Sophie is really starting to use the signs she has learned without being prompted. It all started with her pointing at everything she wanted. Then she learned her first sign which was "more". We had to use hand over hand to get her to do the sign. Then it went to us verbally prompting her to sign "more". Now she will sign "more" without us even prompting her. The other day, we were out shopping and Sophie started signing "more" and "drink" on her own!!! How exciting is that!!! She was actually telling me she was thirsty without visually seeing her cup. I was holding her in my arms and I was pushing Elsa in the stroller and she got my attention and did those signs. Even more exciting is that she is doing 2 signs in a row!!! She is doing all of this despite seizing all day long. That is one determined little girl!!!

Decrease in medication...

I spoke with Sophie's neurologist on the phone today. We are going to start weaning Sophie off all medications starting with Depakote. She is still having daily seizures and it does not seem the medication is helping at all. I would love to have her off all medication and see how that effects her behavior. Hopefully, she will tolerate the wean and we will not see an increase in seizures. If all works out as planned, we will then have a great baseline of her behavior and development before starting any new medications. Since it seems nothing is going to stop these seizures, the most important thing to me is Sophie's development.

Monday, May 05, 2008

More on Elsa...

Elsa is doing wonderful. She is our calm, laid back baby. It did not start out that way...she use to cry when Sophie would make her loud noises (which was very often), she startled very easily, it was hard to figure out when she was hungry or tired. She has gotten use to Sophie - licking and all!!! She is in a great routine and is sleeping for longer stretches during the night. She hardly ever cries. She entertains herself easily. She goes to sleep easily.

Elsa's accomplishments...she has rolled over from her tummy to her back a few more times, she is attempting to roll from her back to her tummy, she stares at her hands at amazement (just started doing that today), she has laughed a few times*, she is grasping objects and bringing them towards her, she is tracking objects (she actually started doing that at around 6 weeks), she has great control of her head and can even hold it up for several minutes at a time while she is on her belly, no flat spots (woohoo - you can only imagine how obsessive I was over that considering all that we went through with Sophie!!!), normal EEG (yes - Brandon and I freaked out about how much she would startle that we took her to get an EEG**), she is very talkative - especially when you talk to her, she loves to chew on her blanket and her fist (she is definitely going to be a blankie baby). Most importantly, she is just a happy and healthy little baby girl. I am trying so hard to take in every moment which is sometimes very hard to do but I occasionally remind myself to take a step back and just enjoy her. She is so very precious and has a smile that just melts my heart.

*One time Sophie laughed in her face and Elsa laughed right back at was so precious!
** The startle reflex looks very much like a tonic seizure.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign...

Sophie is learning so many new signs. Brandon and I tried to list them all out tonight but she has so many that it is hard to remember. So here goes...
  • More
  • Eat
  • Drink
  • All done
  • Up
  • Down
  • Help
  • Hug
  • Bath
  • Bubbles
  • Milk
  • Pig
  • Dog
  • Baby
  • Cry
  • Open*
  • Play*
  • Daddy*
  • Tree*
*She is still working on these. It's close to the actual sign but she does her own version of it.

In addition, she also waves hi and bye, blows kisses, and puts her hands up for so big. Her receptive language still continues to amaze me. She truly does understand everything we say to her. We are at the point where we have to spell things out so she doesn't know what we are talking about. The minute she hears the word "bath", she is dragging you off to the bathtub. Just tonight, I told Brandon that I did not give Sophie her vitamins yet. With that, she climbs off the bed and heads directly towards the cabinet in the kitchen where her vitamins are at.