Levi's Happenings & Stats

05.04.12

45 weeks old... only 7 weeks until his birthday. Whaaat?!?

 
Another busy, busy week for us. Levi's favorite toy is definitely his green O-ball Rattle (he half-crawled over a stepstool to get it), but this week, he learned to "properly" play with several other toys as well. He was dropping play coins into his Laugh & Learn piggy bank and he figured out how to push the button to have a little panda pop up on his activity box.



He's still doing really well with transistioning to table foods. He fed himself a saltine cracker and strawberries and toast for dinner one night. He also tried a homemade yogurt smoothie and did a nice job of drinking it through a straw with the squeezable honey-bear cup. He's not a big fan of cold food or drink so it will probably take a while for him to really enjoy drinking beverages.






His sleep has been horrendous this past week, waking up as often as 5 or 6 times in one night. I'm convinced it has to be related to teething. He's been doggedly biting and chewing on everything he can get into his mouth, including bits of cat and myself. He's not nursing the way he should and to me that means he's uncomfortable. I've checked his gums but don't see any imminent signs of teeth arriving, so I hope this isn't a long, drawn-out process.

Anyway, the one night, he refused to nurse at bedtime (without biting) so I made him a bottle instead and he drank the whole thing - about 3 1/2 ounces - without one complaint. So if he's hungry (and at least a little sleepy), he seems willing to take a bottle. That's wonderful news as I'm definitely ready to start the process to wean him from breastfeeding around his birthday.

Levi also began waving responsively this week. His version is more of a salute, but it's definitely cute and he's responding appropriately to someone doing the same to him! This video is sort of on the long side (I get kind of greedy when filming milestones) - but his point is made in the first 30 seconds or so.



Yesterday, while getting Levi ready for bed, he was gnawing on yet another toy and I clearly heard, "Blah, Blah, Blah!!" Normally, I'd be upset about being mocked (lol)... but in this case, I was excited to clearly hear a consonent sound & have it repeated several times. All fingers & toes crossed that this happens more!

Speaking of bedtime, I started putting him to bed wearing size 18 month pajamas. That is truly weird. Evan is still wearing 2T/24 month clothes (at 36 1/2 inches & 27 lbs)... Levi is getting close to being only one size behind him. They're still a little big, but he no longer looks sausage-y and cramped in his clothes! Some of the 12 month stuff still fits alright, but many of the items look too short & too tight.



He's beginning to like television more. Normally, I wouldn't be thrilled about this development but in at least two ways, this is a good thing! First, the opening music to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is so catchy, he'll hold a quadruped (or at least a straight-arm pushup) for the entire song. That's close to a full minute!! We do this activity 3-4 times per day and I've definitely noticed an improvement in the frequency with which he pushes up off his elbows during his normal movements.

The second way in which this is good is that he's now willing to pay attention to the Baby Signing Times DVD's. I've been trying to put him down to watch the show once in the morning while I'm getting the big kids ready for school. He doesn't always stay put, but I see his attention span for this particular video slowly improving. I do review the signs with him in our activities during the day. Maybe in the next few weeks, I'll start to see him trying to sign some things back to me!

One more thing for today... I picked up Levi's 10 month photos today and when I got them home, I took a stroll down our photo hallway and noticed this picture of Katelyn when she was 10 months old:

Is it just me, or is someone really taking after his big sister?!?

So much going on... next week is sure to be full as well. Until then...

Length: 28.25 inches
Weight: 21 pounds
Head Circumference: 17.5 inches

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04.13.12

Levi is 42 weeks old and doing so well! This week was really uplifting for me as I noticed a lot of progress in his development.

Standing Practice at the Activity Table

Levi started crawling to me to get attention when I'm distracted with someone or something else. I was sitting next to him on Wednesday, talking to his OT and he smacked me on the leg twice to get me to look at him. On Thursday, he purposefully crawled from the hallway to the kitchen we I was getting the kids ready for school. I could see in his face that he had come looking for us and that he didnt' just accidentally wander in the same room! (especially since it takes a lot of work on his part to get anywhere)


Puttin' the smackdown on the piano - excellent for toning those shoulders!

I found a way to force motivate him to do straight-arm pushups. I really think it (in conjunction with some other exercises) is really making a difference. I seem him doing the straight-arm thing occasionally on his own. He can easily move from tummy to sitting and back down again - in a controlled manner. I'm so hoping that voluntary quadruped is right around the corner. More so because I'm excited to see what he thinks about it vs. worrying that he's behind. He's just really doing so very well; I'm thrilled for him and he makes me so proud!


This probably isn't an AAP-sanctioned sleeping position!



He's rolling over in his swing now. It's been creaking on occasion so I think it's pretty clear he's outgrown it. He still doesn't do well sleeping flat in his crib, so I finally broke down and purchased the Tucker Sling for crib mattresses. It's essentially a fitted crib sheet that goes over one end of the mattress and then has a nifty velcro-fastened arrangement on the other end. You elevate the end with the sheet on it to about 30 degrees and velcro baby in (either prone, supine or on his side). It keeps baby in place throughout the night and keeps him angled high enough to help prevent the reflux which causes Levi's apnea.


I haven't yet taken Levi for the bloodwork his pediatrician recommended. Hopefully that will be happening next week. I did ask about consulting with a pediatric endocrinologist to make sure Levi's hormones are all where they're supposed to be. We're still waiting to find out when that appointment will take place. That's the fun thing about specialists...that fabulous wait!

Levi seems to be well on his way to being a twice-per-day napper. More often that not, he's taking 2 naps totaling 3-4 hours. At night, he's sleeping between 10-11 hours.



I haven't seen a whole lot of progression in his vocalization. It's still mostly vowel sounds from what seems to be the back of the throat. However, when he gnawing on his favorite chew toys (did I just describe my baby or a dog?!? lol) his communication gets a LOT more complex. I hear all kinds of sounds in that babbling. So it seems he's certainly capable of it, just not interested in doing it at other times. I'll have to speak with his OT about this next week.

I've noticed he's started paying attention to the television on occasion. Several people I chat with online have mentioned their children having success with learning to sign by watching the Signing Times videos on a daily basis. I have the first one, which has many of the most useful signs (for this age). So since he's usually just chillin' in the livingroom while I get the kids ready for school in the morning, I figured that's a prime time to put it on for him. I know he recognizes the sign for "eat"; it would be amazing to see him pick up more signs or start signing them back to us!


Playtime with Evan


His OT gave us a cut-out cup this week. One of the sides is mostly cut out so that the adult can see where the liquid is (without being a contortionist) and the edge of the cup doesn't hit the nose of the drinker. It's also flexible so it can be fitted better to the mouth of the person drinking from it. The first time I used it, I put 3 1/2 ounces of breastmilk into it and Levi went crazy for it! He grabbed the cup and was pulling it to his face and actively trying to drink from it. He's still working on figuring out that he isn't supposed to work his jaw up and down (like he does when nursing), while he's drinking. But even if he's messy, he does a fairly good job of getting most of it down. In fact, he only missed about a 1/2 ounce from that first drink! I was SO happy to realize that someone else can finally give him milk if I'm out. Hooray!!!

Yesterday, Levi got to meet his GREAT Uncle & Aunt as well as their kids (second cousins) and their kids (second cousins, once removed - I think). They all live out of state and I haven't seen most of them for years. It was really very special. I can't wait for the next visit!

His first Easter was also this past weekend. We visited with his Grandpa and Levi got to make some new friends. He got a nice little basket with fun toys - a rubber ducky "bunny", stacking cups and even participated in an egg hunt. Well, as much as one can when your main source of transportation is riding on someone's arm! It was fabulous!


Making New Friends at Easter

Length: 28 inches (come on Levi - you're overdue for a growth spurt)
Weight: 20 pounds, 8 ounces - woah!
Head Circumference: 17.5 inches (finally a little more growth here - another yay!)

42 weeks!

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04.06.12

41 weeks! In the last week, Levi has become an expert in pushing up to a sitting position. He does it so often but it still takes me by surprise every once in a while. He's also getting better at getting back down to his belly without just completely collapsing or toppling over. It's so nice to be able to see him making decisions about what he wants to be doing and then following through on them.


Standing Practice (Falling & Landing Practice too!)




He's starting to show some interest in watching the television when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on. I don't mind that so much, but I'd really like it if he showed some interest in the Baby Signing Times DVD. I do sign to him frequently throughout the day, but although he seems to recognize the sign for "eat" and "more" (to some extent), he's certainly not doing them back to me. Other parents of kids with T21 have had a lot of luck with their kids picking up on some signs while using those videos, so we'll keep at it.

I was reading a book, Nurture Shock, which reviews a lot of research regarding some of the common parenting ideas and one of the topics covered was about early language development. It seems to be fairly common knowledge that babies who are spoken to more often throughout the course of the day do develop spoken language sooner than counterparts who don't hear as many words. However, something new, of which I was not aware - is the idea that some reasearch is showing that even more important than the number of words a baby hears is how often & quickly they are responded to (verbally and non-verbally) when the baby initiates the conversation. At least one study shows a significant increase in the quantity and complexity of babbling when the baby's mother was prompted to respond with a loving touch whenever the baby initiated some kind of babbling.

I tried this myself with Levi and subjectively, I noticed an increase in the amount of time my strong, silent baby chose to spend babbling. Typically he is very quiet, but when I responded immediately, he definitely talked more and even used a consonent sound occasionally. I'm going to keep at this approach and hopefully I'll see some progress in his language. I can't wait to hear those "bababababa" and "dadadadada" sounds!!


His skills in self-feeding are really improving:


Levi had his 9-month checkup with the pediatrician this week. We're going to see an endocrinologist so my concerns regarding his thyroid testing can hopefully be put to rest. The pediatrician assures me that his results from the bloodwork at about 4 months did not warrant treatment for hypothyroidism, but I would feel much happier hearing this from a specialist as well.

No shots for Levi at this visit, but we did discuss the MMR vaccine, which I anticipated him receiving at his next visit. She explained that they've begun providing that shot at 15 months instead in response to a parental preference, but because Levi will likely be delayed in language development at that time (heck, he already is to some degree) I would feel more comfortable waiting until he's 2 years old to administer that vaccine. I will feel much more secure that any issues related to developing symptoms related to autism would be more evident prior to that appointment. His pediatrician agreed that it would not be a problem to delay the vaccine until then.


Playing Nicely with Evan!

I reviewed his current list of supplements with her. They are as follows:
60 mg of Ginkgo Biloba (3 mg/lb) - three times per day
1/4 tsp of Nutrivene D daily antioxidant multivitamin - twice per day
3/4 tsp of Nutrivene Longvida Curcumin
1/4 tsp of Phosphatidylcholine - twice daily (just started)
320 mg of B12 - just started
9 mg of Zinc (this is in addition to the zinc in the Nutrivene D)
200 mg Folinc Acid - to be started in the next week or two

For those who aren't familiar with supplementation for individuals with T21, I'm (mostly) following a protocol designed by The Changing Minds Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the cognitive abilities of individuals with Down syndrome. Their approach is that the symptoms of cognitive delay/decline caused by T21 can be addressed through nutrition & the metabolism process. As such, using TNI (therapeutic nutritional interventions) can be a successful method of helping to protect the brain and it's processes. Clearly, nothing is guaranteed; however, so many families have experienced success in helping their child with T21 overcome their cognitive difficulties that I can't help but feel this is an important avenue of therapy for Levi as well. His pediatrician and his pediatric specialist are both aware of his supplements and although they don't necessarily expect the results we're looking for, they feel that there is no cause for concern regarding the safety of using the supplements.


Levi thoroughly enjoys when mama gets silly:


Levi has discovered he enjoys straight apple juice from an open dixie cup or even a bottle. The most I've been able to get him to drink is about an ounce. He doesn't chug it, but he's not outright refusing and so I consider that to be progress!

Levi's first Easter is this weekend and although I don't think the Easter Bunny has anything specifically for him (he'll be sharing a basket with his older brother)... he will most certainly receive some things from other family members! I've never been one for taking the kids to get their pictures with the Big Bunny after Katelyn freaked out during her first experience with that. I would like to do pictures with live bunnies and/or ducks/chicks so I think I'll put that on the agenda for next year...

I've still been trying to work on getting Levi to take a pacifier. It's hard to get him to stop sucking on his fingers long enough to play with toys or do his PT stuff, so I'm thinking if his mouth is already occupied, perhaps he'll be more willing to otherwise engage his arms & hands. So we found another kind of pacifier to try. He certainly seems to like it more than the others we've investigated, but so far, it's just another chew toy and not for 'sucking' on! *sigh*





Checkup Info
Length: 28 inches (36th percentile)
Weight: 19 pounds, 14 ounces (36th percentile)
Head Circumference: 17.25 inches (10th percentile)

Levi is certainly overdue for a growth spurt - this is another reason for the referral to the endocrinologist. The pediatrician feels there's no cause for concern yet, but this worried mama wants nothing to do with waiting until there's a problem to be resolved. I want to stay on top of any potientially-developing problem.


41 weeks

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03.30.12

40 weeks old today. It hit me that in 12 short weeks, this baby is gonna be one! (yes, my math skills are up to par!!) That means planning a party, thinking about gifts and whom to invite (and where to host). But ultimately, it means celebrating this little person's life and the joy that he brings to all of ours. How exciting!





This week was a big one for Levi... He learned a new skill, which I already posted on the main page. But it's so great, it's worth mentioning twice. He figured out how to push himself into a sitting position from lying on his tummy. I knew something big was coming because his sleep pattern started being disturbed a few days before it happened for the first time. Personally, I think he was doing it in an attempt to avoid being put into a quadruped position (by me) during therapy sessions. He is completely strong-willed and appears to plan to do everything in his own way and not how I plan for it to happen!
Happy Babies can be hard to photograph!
 (evidence of his yelling in excitement)

Our homework for the week is to practice leaning on one arm and reaching for elevated toys with the other arm. We're also doing abdominal exercises to tone the stomach muscles. Once his shoulder and abs are stronger, quadruped won't be so difficult to maintain and we should be able to move forward with gross motor skills again. In the meantime, I don't expect a whole lot will happen until that takes place. That's okay - maybe taking a break from gross motor will allow a little more focus on his cognitive development and speech.

He's been doing a whole lot of yelling in excitement lately. If the cat walks by, he'll yell at her to get her attention. He'll yell when he's happy - he'll yell when he's working hard to reposition himself. I think maybe he's enjoying the sounds of his own voice, ya know? Every now and again, I'll hear a consonent sound in all that noise, but it's not consistent. I would love to see some progress in that skill. Fingers crossed...




His eating skills are definitely improving! He's able to self-feed a few items, namely the Gerber Lil' Crunchers, the Yogurt Melts and the fruit-flavored puffs. I would give him an accuracy rating of about 65% on actually targeting a piece of food, picking it up and then getting it into his mouth. If you include food that "almost" makes it there (e.g. gets stuck to his hands and won't come off, despite being in front of the mouth or food that is next to his mouth) then the accuracy rating jumps to about 90%. It's all very exciting!

Oh yeah - and the drinking. He will swallow a tiny bit of juice if I squeeze it up the straw, but he has zero motivation to drink anything out of a container. *sigh* I'm totally at a loss on how to get him to change his mind...


This is, I suppose, where the phrase,
"you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," applies.
He'll put the straw in his mouth and then just stare at me.

Next week, he has his 9 month checkup, followed by some bloodwork to check his thyroid. I'm planning to ask for a referral to an endocrinologist if his T3 and TSH levels are both "perfect" because I want to make sure an endo is echoing the pediatrician's thoughts on leaving slightly elevated TSH levels untreated. Levi's growth has slowed dramatically since he turned 6 months old, so I'm concerned that something is going on with the thyroid. Hopefully I'm wrong and it's just a lull in the action! I also need to ask to have his zinc levels checked since I am providing a supplement for that. I want to make sure his blood levels are not showing he's getting too much zinc.

Weight: 20 pounds
Length: 28 inches - no change since 38 weeks
Head Circumference: 44 cm (17 5/16 inches) - growth of 1/16 inch from 35 weeks








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03.02.12

36 weeks.... Levi is trying SO hard to crawl. I feel bad because I want him to succeed, but I know he'll get there. It's just a matter of when. Here's the progress he's made so far; it is getting him forward a couple of inches at a time!




This week, we've been working on standing and holding on to objects. Since Levi still hates to put weight on his arms, I'm hoping this will trick him into strengthening his arm/chest/shoulder muscles so that bearing weight on the arms isn't so hard for him. I think I'll have to work on getting a picture of him practicing this.


Doing a little light reading

He finally, finally, finally accept a container with a drink in it!!! (well, a little bit). I've tried every vessel I could think of except a typical sippy cup because I don't like teaching a little one to turn a cup upside down only to have to turn around and teach them NOT to turn it over once they're using a straw cup. But I got desperate and found one of our Nuby sippy cups with a soft spout on it. He was immediately interested (visually). He started leaning into it with his mouth and was only slight put off by the fact that it contained liquid. For a moment, he seemed to be trying to figure out how to chew on it without getting anything to drink! But he did taste the apple juice/water and only spit out maybe half of what dribbled in his mouth. It's far from drinking it but previously, he absolutely refused to even have it come near his mouth. Hooray for progress!



I also introduced a table food: cubed sweet potatoes. He merely tolerated them. I think the idea of a more solid texture is still a little foreign. Will have to keep at it.

Levi loves to chew on stuff. Most notably, my finger. In a pinch, a wet washcloth will do. He also enjoys his Ark Baby "P". Thos teeth cannot be far off... Oh the joy of waiting...

Last weekend, Levi had a sleep study. I had to keep him up about 2 hours past bedtime so that he could get all wired up. He didn't enjoy it, but kept calm as long as I held him and sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star repeatedly. That took about 10 minutes, I would guess. Once he was all done up, he fell asleep easily in our super-comfy king-size bed at the hotel. Unfortunately, the technician had to sneak in around 2:30 am to add a nasal cannula. He knew that Levi wouldn't sleep as well once it was on, so he did give us a little extra time without it. He was right - Levi was very upset once it was in place and cried/screamed at me for about 30 minutes before falling back to sleep. From there, he was up about once every 45 minutes until the study ended at around 6:00 am. It was a looong night! He did mention that Levi had a few episodes of apnea, but that we wouldn't have further details until the study was scored. At this point, we're still waiting to hear just what those results are...


BEFORE the dreaded nasal cannula
I bumped up the Longvida Curcumin supplement to 1500 mg earlier in the week. He was fine with that, so I bumped it yet again to 2000 mg today. He seemed to be fine. The downside is that it can cause difficulty in falling asleep if taken too close to bedtime. I have seen a definite improvement in his vocalizations since starting this supplement, an yet another jump when I increased the dosage. I think we'll hang out at 2000 mg daily for a while as long as he tolerates it.

I also added Coconut Oil back into his diet. It is an excellent source of extra calories and good fats. There are so many potential benefits (and of course I'm too tired in this moment to list them all - I'll have to try to remember to come back and add them later). Plus it makes everything taste yummier too!

All that's left is growth and of course, the pic of the week!

Weight: 19 pounds, 10 ounces (yay! - he gained back the weight he lost last week)
Height: 27 1/2 inches
Head Circumference: 17 1/4 inches

36 weeks ~ playing with shapes
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02.17.12

34 weeks and Levi is still hiding those teeth from me! He's chewing like a madman on everything, so they've got to still be moving up.

Levi is officially eating gluten-free along with the rest of us. His GF Happy Baby Puffs arrived today and so he's fully prepared for carbohydrate fun! Prior to beginning our new diet a few days ago, he did try a puff for the first time and I was so impressed because he chewed on it, moving his tongue laterally and all, just like he's supposed to. Way to go, Levi!




Levi has also shown some interest in trying to hold the spoon to "help" when he's eating...






He's spent a lot of time practicing his gross motor skills this week. He's pivoting better than before in an effort to reach toys placed at an angle to him. He's also sitting very nicely on the stool (a 90/90 sit) when the couch is behind him and I have my hands holding his hips steady by pressing down. He can sit that way for several minutes, even while playing with a toy! He's also beginning to understand the basics of army crawling. If I place my hand behind his foot (alternating sides), he will bring his leg up under his body and then push himself forward. Once he figures out how to dig his toes into the carpet, he'll be set in that department. As for his arms, he's trying to pull himself forward with them, but in more of a dragging motion, rather than alternating pushing off his elbows, which is rather ineffective. He'll get there soon, I suspect - with a lot of practice! He's definitely a motor-oriented kid. I suspect it may take him a little longer to master sitting independently because he has no patience for it - he wants to MOVE! He's proving that just like his siblings, he will do things on his own terms, not necessarily how or when  mama thinks he should...



Speaking of moving, next week, our carpet is moving out and new carpet is moving in. Hooray! I think Levi will thoroughly enjoy having some soft new stuff to roll around on...

In other news, Levi is officially done with his infant car seat. I installed the MyRide 65 and ordered a toy bar so we have some way to keep him entertained. He looks so little in such a big car seat, but he was definitely getting too heavy for me to lug around in the carrier, so it was time to move on!

Oh - I figured out that Levi seemed a little chilly at night and was waking multiple times. So I got him a Halo Sleepsack and he's back down to only waking once at night. Yeah!

It seems he's picked up another cold as I heard some stuffiness again in the last day or two. (insert sad face here)... I am looking forward to the end of winter to see if that helps prevent the other kids from bringing all the germs into the house with them!

Next week, Levi has his 6 month review for Early Intervention. I do intend to request a therapist to address cognitive development. Not sure if this will be the OT that we're seeing once a month or if we'll add a Special Instructor into the mix. If we do add an SI, I intend to see if the one who sees Evan is available for Levi as well. She's really great!

Not a whole lot going on in the way of growth this week...that's okay, everyone needs a week off once in a while

Weight: 19 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 27.5 inches
Head Circumference: 17.25 inches (this is up a little from last week - yay!)


34 weeks and perfecting his air guitar technique!

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02.10.12

This past week was a busy one! Twice we had 3 appointments in one day. I'll start with last weekend and mention that Levi went from sleeping like a champ at night, getting up only once or not at all - to waking up 3-4 times each night. This went on for about four days in a row. I had reviewed his brothers' First Year calendars and saw that they had done the same thing at about the same time. I also noticed that 2-3 weeks later, they both sprouted teeth. So after a quick investigation, I discovered that indeed, Levi is about to get some teeth. His lower central incisors are just under the surface and his poor little gums are all inflamed. I suspect they'll be up far enough to see in his smile in about another month - my other kids were all notorious for having slow-moving teeth, even after they broke through the surface!



Levi also had an appointment for some vaccines on Tuesday and he was such a brave boy about it. They were the leftovers from his 6 month appointment. Now he just needs to go back next week for his second flu shot and I believe he's good until he turns one. (I don't think there are any vaccines to be done at the 9 month appointment, although we'll be doing another thyroid test and the 'annual' bloodwork between then and 10 months of age)


Standing is Fun!

Before we left the doctor's office that day, I did a quick measurement on their paper-covered table and was astonished to see that he'd grown a half-inch in four days - perhaps that was the other reason he'd been up so much in the last few days. That had to have been uncomfortable! I reconfirmed this measurement at home as well...

With PT this week, we really began to focus on the "long-sit". His independent sitting tends to leave him in a "ring-sit" position with his hips rotated externally. This isn't nearly as stable as having his legs out in front of him, but it's his habit and it might be a hard one to break. We have to work on increasing his hamstring flexibility to make it easier to sit with his legs straight out in front of him without having him rounding his back, which he wasn't doing in the ring-sit position. We're also working on the 90/90 sit, but that usually takes two people because he throws himself backwards frequently!

On his tummy, he's putting a lot of effort into pushing with his legs and moving his arms in an effort to move forward to get to a toy. As soon as he figures out how to push his feet against the floor, he'll be in business! Then with a little extra coordination with the arms and he'll be army crawling! I can't wait - it's soooo hard to be patient!!

In his highchair, he's really doing well with eating all the baby foods. He even got to try Cheerios for the first time. The video below shows how he did... Sadly (sort of), that will be his last experience with Cheerios as our entire family is going Gluten-Free in a few days. In starting a new therapy to address Trevor's Asperger's, we found that he has a gluten sensitivity, which is likely causing many of his symptoms. I had a thyroid panel done and it also showed a likely gluten sensitivity, so we're jumping into this new lifestyle at the end of the weekend and hoping that in 2 months or so, we'll be seeing a major difference in Trevor's behavior and my overall health. (I'd really love to not feel so sapped of energy on a regular basis). So, we'll find an acceptable substitute for Cheerios - probably the special baby puffs, which are usually made of rice. Either way, he may be moving on to more table-food items in the near future. We'll see...



Thursday, Levi saw his OT again and got some good ideas for the food, which I mentioned above. His 6 month Early Intervention review is in 2 weeks and so we may be making some changes with regards to frequency or type of therapy he receives. He's definitely become much more interactive with people and toys and so I think I need some backup on making sure we're doing the proper types of play to promote his cognitive development.

Levi also had a consultation on a sleep study. It's intermittent, but occasionally seems to have an issue with sleep disturbances, so we're going to rule out or confirm whether he has any apnea issues, obstructive or centrally. That will be near the end of the month. Of course, while we were at this appointment, he began vomiting about every 5 minutes - it seems he got hit by a stomach bug. Since his hands are always in my mouth (he does love to explore in there), I knew my turn wouldn't be far behind. As I write this, I'm hoping I'm at the tail end of my approximate 24 hours of misery. It's been a lousy day, for sure...



Looking forward to next week and seeing how much progress Levi makes with his gross motor. It sure seems to be taking off lately - that and his vocalizations. Since starting the Longvida Curcumin over a week ago, he's been talking a lot. No consonents yet (that I've heard), but I'm sure it's coming. I just increased his total dose to 750 mg today... I'll be paying attention to see if there are further changes as a result.

Weekly stats:
Weight: 19 pounds, 6 ounces
Length: 27 1/2 inches
Head Circumference: 17 1/8 inches



33 weeks

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02.03.12

32 weeks old and Levi's a busy guy! This past week, his gross motor skills are skyrocketing still. On the floor or his crawling track, if I put my hands at his feet, he pushes off, scrabbling with his arms to help him move forward (or at a minimum, moving them up and out of the way!). Previously, he didn't do anything with his arms and so he always faceplanted into the floor instead of actually going anywhere. I'm hoping maybe in the next couple of weeks well see some progression into something that's more like an army crawl!

His sitting has improved so much; he can sit on the floor with no support for at least a minute. It's better if he's being entertained, but he can look around a bit. If he leans to the side or a little to far forward, he can correct it pretty well. His weakness is leaning too far back and not being able to correct from that position. He's getting better though and I'm thinking that in maybe another 2-3 weeks, he should be able to sit for several minutes without falling over! 


What Mommy calls "Mullet Style - Business Up Top, Party on the Bottom!"

He still prefers to stand, so he's really good at that of course... He's still totally paying attention when we speak to him and watching our mouths move, but there's very little babbling. If he does talk, it's pretty much limited to vowel sounds still. I think today I may have heard a "ya" sound in there somewhere, but it wasn't clear.

He's now getting his full dose of Nutrivene D (based on weight) and 120 mg of Ginkgo Biloba per day, so we were finally ready to start adding in the Longvida Curcumin. A very informative post about this supplement: Longvida Curcumin by Andi Durkin. We just started this supplement today, so I'm excited to see if there's any obvious difference for Levi sometime in the next few weeks!

For about 2 weeks, Levi's been sitting up (between my legs) for his bath. No more baby bathtub for this guy! Also, he can now roll over in the Rock-N-Play, so it's time for that to be put out of commission as well. We gave away the infant activity gym, which was so helpful in getting Levi to reach for toys. I donated it to a family that my other son's therapist sees. They have a little one who needed some motivation and they didn't have the resources to purchase the equipment, so it made me feel good to be able to help someone else and their child.

We are trying to minimalize our toy collection. We are so very blessed to have so many generous friends and family members and to be able to spoil our kids with material possessions, but it's become overwhelming. My hubby and I can no longer stand to do all the cleaning up and there's such a quantity of things that it's really become overwhelming, even for the bigger kids. So we need to sort and declutter and as that happens, we'll hopefully be able to donate even more toys to families who can appreciate them more than us!

Levi is still sleeping pretty well in the swing. I was trying to limit it's use to daytime naps and put him in the crib at night. Initially that was working well, but the last few days, he's been waking more at night and last night, he was up every 2 hours. I think this has to do either with teeth moving around in his mouth OR that he's working on a big milestone!


cutting teeth

Speaking of teeth, I can very clearly see two white lines where his central incisors should be sprouting from his lower gums. However, those lines have been there for a long time (several months). He's gnawing on everything he can get into his mouth, but doesn't seem extremely fussy, so I'm not sure what's going on in there. I keep checking periodically to see if I can feel the edge of a tooth, but nothing yet... Evan and Trevor got their first teeth right around 34-35 weeks, so perhaps we won't have long to wait!

Officially, Levi is wearing 12 month clothes now. There is still just a couple of 9 month things he can squeeze into, but they're mostly too short and too tight. His socks are the 12-24 month Hanes socks or the 6-12 month Old Navy/Children's Place socks. Still haven't tried a pair of shoes on him yet. I suspect that will be a long time coming as we've become a barefoot family more and more with each child. Even in the middle of winter (though this has been a fairly mild winter thus far), Evan goes on errands wearing only socks. I have his shoes in the diaper bag, but because he removes them frequently, it seems easier just to bring them along and put them on right before any walking is necessary. Of course, I may eventually find myself with a kindergartener who doesn't understand why shoes are needed in public, but I digress...

Levi's eating has improved so much...He's doing a great job with opening when I sign "eat" or say "open" repeatedly. He's tried the pureed chicken and turkey mixed into fruit (e.g. chicken and apples) and really seemed to like them. We're using mostly the Stage 2 1/2 baby foods by Beechnut when I don't have homemade on hand. They're thicker than the regular purees and have some more complex flavors in some instances. I was greatly surprised by the fact that he likes the peas and carrots blend, which is mostly peas with a few soft carrot chunks in the jar.  I don't think any of the other kids ever really liked peas - especially not on the first try!

At this point in time, Levi is consuming about 3 ounces of cereal & fruit in the morning following by a nursing session before his morning nap. Then he has lunch, which is about 3 ounces of a fruit or a fruit/veggie combo. Then another nursing session before the midday nap. Then comes an afternoon snack - usually whatever was leftover (unserved) from lunch. Then there's another nursing session before his third nap of the day. After that comes dinner, which is typically 4 ounces of a meat/fruit/veggie combo of some kind and a separate fruit. There's one last nursing session before bedtime and then usually at least one overnight. I did do a weigh in before and after a nursing session the other day. He only spent about 6 minutes eating, but it seems he consumed about 6 ounces, so he's definitely efficient!

I think I've covered most everything for the week except the regular stats. Next week includes a consult for his sleep study. I'm interested to see what we find out then...

Weight: 19 pounds, 6 ounces
Length: 27 inches (finally moved up there)
Head Circumference: 17 1/8 inches... finally some new growth here as well. *just as a side note - I reviewed his older brother's records and found that he also had a 17 inch head circumference at 7 and 8 months. The pediatric specialist commented that a good head size is good news, so I found this to be exciting as his older brother is one smart cookie!!

32 weeks

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01.06.12

It's a new year and thank goodness for that! Our year ended on such a bad note, I'm thankful to have a chance to start over! Levi is 28 weeks old (roughly 6 1/2 months)...speeding on to bigger and better things every day.

This week, we finally spoke with the OT he's going to start seeing monthly and set up his first visit for next week. So excited to hopefully get some professional suggestions on address the low tone in his mouth.

Levi had quite a few firsts this week. He tried drinking out of a straw since he seems to despise the bottles so much. It went okay - he's certainly capable of getting the suction to get milk up into his mouth, but he doesn't know how to control it, so for the most part he got way too much. Also, he's trying to use his tongue in a front/back motion to "suckle" still and my understanding is that he's not supposed to be doing it that way. Again - something I need to speak with the OT about.

Finally he's getting his Nutrivene!! Hooray!! He didn't seem to like straight fruit purees (possibly because the flavor is too strong). I mixed it into his oatmeal to make the flavor a little less strong and he seems to appreciate that. As a result, I was able to mix in half of his typical Nutrivene dose into a serving of food. Also, he's getting his zinc and PolyViSol daily in the food without issue. It's good all around!

Levi had his 6 month checkup this week with the pediatrician. His weight was 17 lbs, 13 ounces on their scale (49th percentile), length was 26.25 inches (36th percentile) and head circumference was 16.75 inches (15th percentile). I know their scale is always several ounces less than mine, but I completely disagree on the measurement. I've measured him several times at home and even did my own measurement in their office and I get 26.75 inches every time. I didn't press the issue as they'll obviously measure him at his next checkup, but for my own purposes, I like to make mention of it.

I spoke with the pediatrician about beginning to use Ginko Biloba with Levi based upon research and anecdotal evidence I've read online. It seems like there's a fair number of people who feel that G.B. can be beneficial to kids with T21 because it increases blood flow to the brain, which can improve memory. Also, it's a GABA antagonist, which turns off some of the neurotransmitters that impede the cognitive function in the brain. Finally, it can make a significant difference in the amount of REM sleep experienced by people with T21. REM sleep is important for making memories, and memory-making capability is tied to learning. The pediatrician said she really didn't have any pertinent information for me, but would look into it. She did contact me two days later to state that she wasn't able to find any studies relating to this age group and the efficacy of treatment or possible side effects. I told her that I would print out some of the information and share it with her at Levi's next appointment. In the meantime, I'm planning to give the Ginkgo a try...starting slowly and looking for any complications.

Levi has been able to sit independently for a few seconds here and there throughout the week. He's done it a couple of times on my bed as well as the living room floor. My prediction is that he'll be able to sit independently by 7 1/2 months. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong, but I'm confident he's on track to achieve this!
His PT has mentioned that she sees a great difference in the quality of his posture while sitting...


sitting up for a few seconds without any help!

He's also consistently (and frequently) rolling tummy to back... I have to use the Tumzee to get any long-term tummy time out of him. We're working on increasing the strength in his shoulder girdle and arms to prep him for being on all fours. He's really making great strides there as well! I'll put his feet up against the sofa and help get him into a straight-armed position. He rocks back and forth a bit, but will often just hold the position while I sing to him. It's definitely beginning to make a difference!

Levi is still taking (on average) 4 hour-long naps during the day and sleeping about 11-12 hours per night, sometimes with no interruption - sometimes with one feeding. In the last two days, I've been cuddling him immediately when he wakes up crying from his 2nd nap. I've been able to get him to fall back asleep for an extra hour, essentially resulting in a 2 hour afternoon nap. I hope this is a trend that continues and eventually he's able to manage without my assistance in the middle! Some days, I get so frustrated with all the effort spent getting him to sleep that I'm desperate to try the "cry it out" method, but I just can't bring myself to do it. My perspective on parenting has changed so much since my first two kids were babies and all the evidence says it's potentially damaging to their neurological systems, that I'll deal with the extra work involved and give Levi more time to adapt to "my" schedule!

I think I've covered everything from this week. It's sure been busy. Levi has an appointment coming up with the geneticist. I'm excited for that and to see his assessment of Levi's progress./condition.

I guess that's it for this week. Katelyn's birthday party is tomorrow and I'm feeling unprepared and super tired already. Calling it quits for this week!


28 weeks
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12.30.11

Last post of the year ~ how exciting! Levi wraps up 2011 with his 27th week of life. He's been busy this week, trying to avoid all the nasty germs his older siblings brought into the house last week. Unfortunately, he didn't succeed. He's got some icky post-nasal drip that settles in his throat occasionally and makes him sound all gurgly. Hopefully that's as bad as it gets; his siblings & both parents got the pleasure of experiencing the stomach flu that went around for Christmas Eve/Day and the two days after. Hopefully he'll be skipping that part for the New Year.

workin' hard doin' therapy-type stuff

We've been using his bamboo braces (for his arms) almost daily for at least a few minutes at a time. He definitely doesn't like the fact that he can't bring his hands to his mouth very easily, but that's the point. If he can't chill on his elbows and snack on his hands the whole time he's on his tummy, then he's forced to work a little more! So as a result, he's now straightening his arms enough that he rolls over to his back pretty much right away each time I put him on his tummy. So now the tumzee is a must to keep him on his tummy to work on upper body strength.

The braces also come in handy when he's practicing sitting up on his own. They help a little in having him use his arms to support himself when he leans too far.

Oh yeah, Levi says... "Look what I can do!!" (pardon the video for being mostly sideways - Hubby didn't think about the viewing angle while filming)



I'm trying to make some headway in getting him to nap longer during the day. He's still only sleeping 45-60 minutes at a time during the day and typically going 2-3 hours between naps. Every once in a while, he'll take a 2 hour nap and those are the times when I realize how much of a difference it makes in allowing me to organize the day and accomplish some of the many items on our daily to-do list! He has his six month checkup next week and I'm hoping the doctor has some recommendations on what to do.

The last week, I've been feeding Levi Baby Oatmeal and mixing in some prunes to prevent constipation. He seems to like the potency of the flavor (it's more bland than just straight fruit) and he seems to enjoy eating now. The problem is that if I put more than a teaspoon or so of fruit into the mix, he ends up with that rash around his temples again. I don't know what to do! It seems unlikely (though not impossible) that he's just allergic to all fruits he's exposed to right now... Again, a topic for the doctor next week. At least in the meantime, I'm getting his daily Zinc supplement and half of his daily vitamin into him without complaint - hooray!

His first Christmas was low-key, thanks to the illness that invaded our home. As a result, his presents were limited to what he received from us and Santa. We're seeing most of the rest of our family this weekend, so it's Christmas - Part Deux. Fun, Fun!!

Having fun while learning to sit independently


He did some growing this week:
Weight: 18 pounds, 2 ounces (down a little from last week - not surprising since he's been so active and my milk supply was cut thanks to my bout with the stomach flu)
Length: 26.75 inches (~52nd percentile)
Head Circumference: 16.75 inches (unchanged from last week)


27 weeks ~ showing off his new BabyLegs & his love for his fingers!

Until next year - PEACE OUT, Cub Scout!! A Happy & Safe New Year to all!!
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12.16.11

Week 25 - skipped because we're SO close to six months of age. Better to save it up for then!



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12.09.11

I'm so sad at this moment. I wrote Levi's update for his 24th week last night and saved it as draft. Today when I came back in to add his picture and publish it, everything was gone, all the way back to about 8 weeks. There was so much information I can't replace or recall. I didn't have it written anywhere else. I have the pictures, but the milestones and the accomplishments are all lost.  *sigh*

Lesson learned: copy each new post to another program somewhere for backup. Starting now.

To Summarize what I spent so much time writing last night -

This past week, Levi has evidenced some serious progress in his gross motor skills. If I straighten his elbow joins when he's on his tummy, he'll hold them straight for a few seconds on his own. Because he's starting to do this and also able to get his elbows off the ground occasionally, he's spontaneously rolling over from tummy to back on his own more often. When he's lying on his back, he pulls his legs up in the air and tips them side to side. He's rolling back to side; hopefully soon he'll manage to get from his side to his belly too!

I built a crawling track for him this week as an early Christmas present. My post: Getting Mobile. There's a cute video and everything!

I also happened upon a product called Bamboo Brace. It's an elbow brace which provides extra stability for kids who have low muscle tone (as well as several other issues).
It could help Levi keep his arms straighter while doing tummy time and supported sitting. This could potentially help him with rolling over, sitting up, crawling and even pulling to a stand. I'm waiting to hear back from his physical therapist as to what she thinks of the product before deciding whether or not to try them.

Levi also got a crib and a bedroom this week. We moved Evan into Katelyn and Trevor's room. Initially, it didn't go so well as Evan had his toddler bed and would get up and play and climb into Trevor's bed if he woke up when they came to bed. Today, I switched him back to a crib and he didn't complain. Hooray!

Levi's been doing really well with sleeping upstairs, though I miss him at night. I knew it was getting to be time to have him sleeping on his own as he'd wake up to eat in the wee hours of the night and spend an entire hour lying in bed trying to talk to me. Typically, he would have me up at least twice - and somewhere close to a total of 90 minutes. Since taking him upstairs, he's waking up only once (or not at all) and it's only for about 30 minutes. Even though I now have to drag myself upstairs, I'm feeling more well-rested than I have been the last 2 or 3 weeks. Bonus! Hubby is now able to sleep in bed again; he had moved to the couch because Levi was such a noisy sleeper.  :-)

Last week, Levi had a consult with an OT because of my concerns regarding his choking and swallowing difficulties. It was recommended that we take him for a swallow study at Hershey. His appointment is scheduled for next week. Hopefully we'll be able to find out if he has a physiological issue or if it's just immaturity that's causing the difficulty. When he's eating, he often chokes and gags. I don't know if there's a solution or if he just needs more time.

One more thing! He's officially made the switch to 6-9 month clothes. His toes may be tiny and he may only be of "average" height (which seems kind of short to us since the other boys are both very tall), but he's filling his clothes out just right and it's kind of nice not having to wear "baggy around the body" clothes in order to have his limbs covered.  :)

I'm sure there's so much more I could write, but this is more than I ever intended to be posting tonight anyway, so I'll have to add more as I think of it. I'll come back and at least replace his missing pictures!

Stats for 24 weeks:
Weight: 18 pounds, 3 ounces
Length: 26 inches (no change from last week)
Head Circumference: 16.5 inches (no change from last week)


24 weeks
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Missing Pictures: To Be Filled In
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Levi is two months old today!! We spent the day helping his biggest brother celebrate HIS birthday ~ he turned five! He had his second PT visit yesterday and we spent some time discussing his tone, which is pretty good by Down syndrome hypotonia standards. When he's on his tummy, he can lift his head 45 degrees for a few moments and he is doing some reaching for toys. He is tracking objects horizontally and a little bit vertically. We celebrated the two month milestone with a new playmat/gym. He seems to really like it - I'll have to post a picture of him using it soon!

His stats:
Weight - 11 lbs, 7 ounces (75th percentile- adjusted age)
Height - 21.25 inches (25th percentile - adjusted age)
Head Circumference: 14.75 inches (25th percentile - adjusted age)

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Levi is 8 weeks old and weighs 10 lbs, 13 oz. I'm pretty sure that if he had a list of his favorite things, eating would be at the top of that list. Second would probably be having Mommy hold him. Third would probably be snuggling in the wrap carrier, which is just about the same as number two!

We've been doing lots of tummy-time and face-time each day and he's tracking objects pretty well and definitely doing a good job of lifting his head. I've seen him holding his head up at about a 45-degree angle for as long as 5 or 6 seconds! We're making progress, but what I'm really looking forward to seeing is a nice responsive smile for me...don't keep me waiting too long, Levi!


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I want to have a place to keep track of all Levi's milestones and growth and everything for myself and my family and friends to be able to get updates, so here it is!

As of August 14th, Levi's adjusted age was one month old. Technically, he was a full-term baby as he was born at 37 weeks and 1 day gestation, but his behavior was much like that of a premature infant until about the time he reached his due date. As such - I think that when I keep track of things like milestones and growth, it would be more fair to make "comparisons" based upon his adjusted age rather than his real age. When possible, I'll provide details for both. I also plan to add lots of video and photos here.

Levi doing tummy time and making some progress!


Growth Stats for One Month (adjusted age)
Weight: 10 lbs, 5 oz ~ between 50-75th percentile
Height: 21 inches ~ between 25-50th percentile
Head Circ: 14.5 inches ~ 25th percentile

Growth Stats for One Month (actual age)
Weight: 8 lbs, 8 oz ~ 10-25th percentile
Height: 20.25 inches ~ 10-25th percentile
Head Circ: 14 inches ~ 5-10th percentile

Newborn Stats (for Gestational age 37 1/7 weeks)
Weight: 6 lbs, 8.5 oz ~ 58th percentile
Height: 19.5 inches ~ 80th percentile
Head Circ: 13.5 inches ~ 80th percentile

Weekly Photos!


7 weeks

6 weeks

5 weeks



4 weeks
3 weeks
2 weeks


1 week

















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