L is 8 months old. I can hardly believe it. We've experienced a lot of firsts over this 2/3 of a year, so I wanted to post a little update on her (by "little update" I, of course, mean BRAG).
Let's talk about those milestones.
At 13 days old, L rolled from belly to back for the first time. She did this for a few months, then took a break from it. I don't know if this is because her size outgrew her strength, or if she was focusing on building other skills, but I'm not concerned as she is back to rolling like a mad woman now. She began rolling from back to belly at 5.5 months. I think she could've done this a little earlier if I had worked on it with her sooner. She mastered it after I guided her through the motions a few times a day for a few days. This leads me to a point, don't assume your child can't do something. If given the opportunity, they will often times surprise you. Watching her roll from back to belly on her own was a kind of slap in the face. "All this talk about not letting society limit me, mom, and here you are doing it!" Anyway, she sure showed me. Gush. She is awesome.
Onward with the physical accomplishments. The little bean is sitting up all by herself. I took her to a music and dance therapy class for children with special needs on Friday and she sat for almost the whole hour without a hitch. She was clapping and waving her arms, playing with shakers and castanets (yes, the class was very cute and she loved it). I sat behind her just in case, but she only needed my help back up a few times. She is also TRYING to crawl. She is not quite strong enough, but the girl has drive. She pushes up as high as she can on her arms during tummy time and tries her hardest to bring her knees under her to assume the quadruped position. Her arms wobble... She grunts... She strains... She yells out. If I close my eyes and listen, I could be made to believe there is a 250 lb body builder lifting a car in my living room floor. I think she will do it soon enough.
As far as physical therapy goes, right now we are focusing on building strength for crawling and getting in and out of the seated position by herself so she doesn't need me there to catch her if she falls out of the position.
So. Speech. For a while, she would make different consonant and vowel sounds and this throaty growl noise. I think the throaty sound may be common with Down syndrome. I don't know for certain so don't quote me on it, but I'm assuming that she makes the noise because it is easier for her to do than using the muscles it takes to make other vocal sounds. Regardless, she would do all these neat vocal tricks but not babble. I knew she COULD babble, but she just didn't. I told her developmental therapist I'd like to work on babbling, and naturally she started doing it almost immediately after. I think this was around 6 months old? I don't remember exactly. What I do remember is when she first did it. We were laying in my bed, and she had been making noises, cooing, and saying random one syllable sounds like always. I placed my finger on her chin and moved her jaw up and down, over and over. She looked a little confused at first, but then she started making an 'ahhh' sound. Because I was moving her jaw, it was coming out as "mamamababamama". You get the point. I guess she liked this new skill because she hasn't stopped since. She's got the babbling thing down pretty good now.
She also says "Hi!" and waves, and sometimes even puts the two together. And here is something. Since she was very small, maybe 3 or 4 months old, she has said "mom". Sometimes, I think she even knows what it means. She uses it when she gets frustrated. For example, when she starts getting tired of tummy time she will start fussing a little bit. She will fuss more, then louder, then finally she will shout out "mom!". I am in trouble.
Another thing we are working on is sign language. Because speech can be delayed in children with Down syndrome and children can learn to communicate with their hands earlier, it can be a helpful tool for your child to be able to express their needs to you through basic sign language. My plan is to introduce a few at a time, but focus on one specifically until she learns to use it consistently. Right now, we are focusing on the sign for the word "more", but we will be moving on soon because I think she is pretty consistent in using it. We also watch the Baby Signing Time dvds occasionally, but I feel like this is more a tool for me to learn signs at this point.
She loves music. She can't get enough of the guitar. She loves to play patty cake (pat-a-cake?) and clap her hands, roll them up, and throw them in the pan, and it melts my heart into a puddle when she does the motions. To my supreme delight, she also loves to give kisses and hugs and snuggles, she sleeps through the night, and she is just the sweetest little thing I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. And yes, like any parent, I do have worries and I do get frustrated, and we do have off days where she is fussy. There are blow out diapers and she spits up in my hair from time to time, but I really can't get enough of her. I mean, just look at how cute she is!