31 July 2009

NDSC Kicks Off!

The National Down Syndrome Congress annual convention is right here in our home town of Sacramento and Gary, Sheridan, my mom (Sheridan's Nonna), and I are attending (and my dad and step-mom will be swinging by for a session or two, as well). Along with over 2,000 people from all over the United States and many other countries!

After today's preconference workshop on speech and language development, and the opening session that kicked off the conference this evening, I have SO much to write... but quite honestly, I am exhausted and need sleep. So in-depth posts will have to wait. Sorry to be a tease about it.

Next year the convention will be in Orlando, Florida. If you haven't been to a conference, you should go. And I know that my family will try to find a way to make regular attendance of this convention a priority... it has been amazing, and we're only a few hours in!

24 July 2009


I've been reliving Sheridan's "bonk" at the speech therapy clinic today. Over and over again. All day. And it still makes me feel awful.

Sheridan was sitting on the floor, working with the speech therapist. She was writing some comments on her clipboard, and Sheridan spotted her papers. The boy loves paper.

He turned behind him and reached. And reached. And reached. And the therapist tried to keep the papers out of his reach (understandably so).

He lost his balance and SMACK! He hit the back of his head on the ground. It was so loud. And he cried so hard his cry was silent. When he finally cried out loud it was awful. My poor baby.

This morning as I packed the car up I thought to myself, "Self, you should probably bring the pillow just in case." See, Sheridan has never worked one-on-one with the therapist before, this was the first time she ever sat him on the floor and worked with him (she typically worked with me on oral motor stuff, etc.). But today I was going to insist that she work with him and we step up the efforts.

But Sheridan rarely falls back when he's sitting. Sometimes I put the pillow behind at home, just in case, and I can't even remember the last time he needed the safety net (or pillow, as it were).

But today he needed it. And clinic floor is NOT forgiving. Think concrete floor with industrial, thin carpet over it. My baby smacked his head on concrete.

He recovered pretty quickly, actually. He stopped crying after just a few minutes. The five monkeys jumping on the bed save the day once again... but I have been feeling awful about it all day. I replay it in my mind and I just can't get over how much it must have hurt him. Ugh.

I know it wasn't anybody's fault. And it's not the only time Sheridan will get hurt in his life. But it still hurt me...

20 July 2009

Cool Speech Therapy Blog

I've been hunting everywhere for good straw cups, nosey cups, etc. to help with oral motor skills, and stumbled across a blog called mommy speech therapy. Sheridan is too young for some of the content to be useful for us right now, but overall I thought this might be a really helpful blog for anyone looking for ideas on how to work on specific sounds, etc.

Heidi has written posts for specific sounds (like M, T, D, TH) and talks about language development, communication milestones, stuttering, etc. She's also written for other sites about sippy cups (a no-no) vs. straw cups, etc. (which is how I found her).

I think it's definitely worth checking out. I'm sure I'll use some of her ideas if I need some extra help working on specific sounds with Sheridan.

14 July 2009

The Perfect Afghan for Sheridan

Most of you are familiar with CJ's T21 Traveling Afghan Project... and she is sweet enough to make children an afghan of their own for very little cost. And they are gorgeous. As evidenced by Sheridan's own afghan that arrived some time ago.

First a quick, personal note to CJ: My sincere apologies that this has taken so long for me to get on the blog - life got in the way, and it shouldn't have. I am so grateful for the love and attention you gave to Sheridan.

And now for the afghan's story (and don't you worry your little head, there will be plenty of pictures)...

When I contacted CJ to order Sheridan's afghan, I told her my only rule was "no pastels." She made a few suggestions, and I went with an idea for bright, bold colors (for my bright, bold baby). It is truly spectacular, but we'll get to that in a minute :)

The box arrived one afternoon, and given that we had been working on "out" with Sheridan, I thought this was a good opportunity for him to work on taking the afghan out of the box (a skill he has mastered for quite some time now, and I think the excitement of the afghan truly helped!).

He was so excited when he saw the box.

Then he started to play with the box flaps, opening and closing them.

Then he pet the afghan. So, so gently.

And he could no longer contain his excitement.

And then began the long process of pulling the afghan out of the box (time-lapsed photos below!)... CJ does a great job of getting it into a pretty small box!

Hold it. Hold it. Stand back. I'm workin' here, Mom!

And then we taste it...

And then we chew it. Oh, that poor teething baby!

And chew it. And chew it. And chew it... Good thing CJ makes these afghans pretty indestructable!

And then we find our happy place.

And we play.

He absolutely LOVES this afghan. He sleeps with it every night, and often plays on it during the day on the living room floor.

Thank you so much, CJ, for sharing your love and talent! As you can see, it is much appreciated!

12 July 2009

Teething 101

A recent post by Bill and Ria about feeding issues reminded me that I have some feeding and teething issues I wanted to post. I'm starting with the most painful... teething.

We've all read information about how children with Ds can get teeth later than their typically-developing peers, have teeth emerge in a different order, or have some teeth that are ultimately missing. Some information is available at ds-health, the American Dental Association (although the ADA site is pretty general to all special needs), and on myriad parenting sites like iVillage.

But what I have never found is really helpful advice about teething. I mean down-and-dirty, excruciating, want-to-rip-the-teeth-out-of-your-skull teething. Clarification: I'm assuming these descriptions based on the look on Sheridan's face. These might be inaccurate, but I doubt it.

It's possible I've missed a blog post about this topic (I'm still finding new blogs every day), so don't be offended I've missed a post (and please let me know about it so I can read it!). I've seen plenty of great advice around dentist visits, good oral hygiene, etc. But nothing on teething. Maybe it's not blogworthy in general, but nowadays it definitely is in my house.

So here's the scoop, in what follows I review a handful of teething toys (based exclusively on our experience with them). But in the end, I'd LOVE to hear what has worked for you. I'm always looking for new ideas to try to help Sheridan survive...


The pros: These toys come in a vast array of shapes, colors, and sizes - and some are soft and squishy while others are hard. They are easy to handle and manipulate. Also, they tend to have lots of ridges, bumps, etc. on them for some good gnawing action. A bonus for kiddos with Ds: these bumps, ridges, nooks, and crannies provide oral stimulation that are good for feeding and speech development. Some of these teethers can be placed in the freezer, and all can be placed in the refrigerator to give some cool relief.

The cons (in Sheridan's opinion): From the freezer they are too hard and too cold (and some experts argue that you shouldn't use anything hard-frozen on baby's gums for fear of "burning" the gums - so be careful!). From the refrigerator they don't retain the coolness for very long. A few minutes in the hands of baby and good bye chill.

These are Sheridan's least favorite teethers.

2. RUBBERY CHEW TOYS (for lack of a better description)

In some ways, these fall into an "other" category (the items above are actually bath toys that squirt water). They are not designed to be teething toys, but pretty much everything becomes a teether in the hands of a teething baby.

Pros: Easy to handle and manipulate. Soft rubbery feeling when chewing.

Cons: Just not enough "back bone" to carry the demands of a teether. They'll work in a pinch (everything does!), but they really don't provide much relief.


Pros: Soft. Easy to handle and manipulate. Provide lots of different surfaces for teething.

Cons: More difficult to clean than traditional teethers (the cloth can get really grimy really quickly - and you try telling a teething baby that he has to wait for the washing machine to finish its cycle and then let it air dry!).


Now we're talkin'...

Pros: Bumps and ridges in key locations. Pliable rubber cover on the vibrating portion is easy on the gums, but still hard enough to give good resistance. And the biggie: chomping down on any of the star's three points results in a gentle but firm, constant vibration. As long as your baby is biting down, the vibration continues.

I actually tried this one myself (no pictures of that included). It's a decent vibration and I can see why it would be soothing to aching gums.

Cons: It has a non-replaceable, non-rechargeable battery - so once the battery is dead, so is the teether. Also, your baby has to be able to bite down hard enough to engage the vibration (just FYI, when Sheridan was really young and didn't have the jaw strength to do that on his own, I would just press one of the star's points to make it vibrate while he chewed on another point - it worked well).


Pros: Big handle for easy baby operation. You can insert cold or soft-frozen food items into the bag so baby can gnaw it. No choking hazard (the mesh is so fine that the resulting food baby needs to swallow is the same as pureed baby food). Washable and reusable. Multi-functional: use it for teething, use it for oral motor skills (drop in a piece of banana, ripe nectarine or peach, anything soft and baby can work on chewing skills), and use it to share food if you want (I have friends who often use this when they go out to restaurants - they drop in some of dad's spaghetti and let the kid go at it).

Cons: Can you say, "Messy" boys and girls? And how. Also, the little mesh bags can get plugged up with food particles (even after running through a few wash cycles) so you have to replace them periodically which can get expensive.


This list wouldn't be complete without this good ol' standby...

Pros: Cheap, and you likely already have one (or 20) around the house. Pliable. Easy to make (get it wet, wring out, put in the fridge) and easy to clean. Babies love it, and it seems to provide some relief for some run-of-the-mill teething pain.

Cons: Just doesn't seem to help as much when it comes to "bad teething days." I have heard that some parents use a juice-water mixture, wring the washcloth out and then put it in the freezer (it's supposed to still be pliable, but really cold) - the small amount of sugar in the juice is supposed to release endorphins that help baby feel better. I don't know, because mine came out of the freezer hard as a rock so I didn't even try.


The mother of all teethers (in my and Sheridan's opinions)...

Meet Sophie, the giraffe from France.

Pros: Constructed out of molded, all-natural rubber from the Hava tree. Painted with food paint. Flexible. Has a cute little squeeker inside. Her face, legs, neck, etc. are all the perfect size for little hands and little mouths. Phthalates and BPA free.

Cons: Haven't found any yet. At all. Sheridan LOVES Sophie. He actually smiles at Sophie when I hand her to him. Then he promptly goes to work on her face.


Yes, babies will teeth on anything within reach. Including, but not limited to: toys, blankets, the stroller tray, the highchair tray, the bumper on the crib, their cup, the spoon, their shirt, schnapps (although I'm not sure if the alcohol is for the parents, the baby, or both), mom's and dad's fingers, their own toes, their own fingers...

(and keep in mind that Sheridan is not a thumb or finger sucker)

If you have any other tried and true ideas, please share them with me. Poor Sheridan has been teething for 6 months now and not a single tooth in sight. And although we are eager to have the first teeth erupt and give him some relief, we know they'll be followed by many, many more painful teething days. Please help!

11 July 2009

Where Have I Seen This "Do" Before?

Does this hairstyle remind you of anything?


Please say it ain't so!

10 July 2009

Update: Sheridan's Heart

First, I want to thank everyone who sent us comments, well wishes, and information about their experiences. My family appreciates the support.

Second, given the technical nature of some of the following info, the post is a bit lengthy and I tried to provide pics where I could...

So, I'll get to the bottom line first, then the explaining of the various items I discussed with the cardiologist (nothing is ever black and white, right?).

Bottom line: Sheridan's heart is NOT enlarged, and his heart has not changed since the last echo in February. Hurray!

We're not out of the woods with his heart, but I was so relieved to this latest news. I think I squeezed Sheridan a little too tight when I hugged him after hearing the news.

So here is what I learned:

1. The x-ray image was likely taken at the very moment Sheridan exhaled. Remember little ones are put into a contraption that defies all things decent just to keep them in place and as still as possible. One problem: you can't make babies hold their breaths on cue for any amount of predictable time. The outcome: they breath in and out when their brains tell them to and the x-ray tech is simply not privy to that information. Thus, the x-ray tech pushed the button and Sheridan exhaled and - wallah - enlarged heart on the x-ray.

2. The echo revealed the following about his various heart defects:

The PDA and PFO are still small (again, no real change since February). The cardiologist explained he has, on a few occasions, seen a PDA repair itself after a few months and even after about one year. Key words: on a few occasions. Meaning: it's rare, not likely, and realistically it will require surgical intervention. More on that in a minute.

The VSDs...

Again, not much has changed with the VSDs. It is definitely looking like 2 relatively small holes (the February echo was the first image where the doc saw two holes separated with a bit of "heart wall" between them). One is about 1.8mm, the other around 3mm, and they are separated by a part of the wall between the two ventricles that the doc said is likely thinner than a piece of paper.

To help illustrate the rest of the conversation/information, here's the picture the doc drew for me on the exam table's paperliner (you know the long strip of stuff that looks and feels like a toilette seat cover?). Very little of the paper was left unscathed by Sheridan (he loves to pull it, wrinkle it, play peek-a-boo with it). So, I was lucky to get away with this pic (which, of course, he desperately wanted to claw at):

The two areas above that I circled in blue are the VSDs in the wall separating Sheridan's right ventricle (RV) and left ventricle (LV). The arrow shows the direction the blood is flowing through the hole (blood is flowing from his LV to RV, which in a healthy heart wouldn't happen).

The spot I circled below in orange is the paper-thin wall the doc mentioned.

So, it's possible that at birth, Sheridan had two VSDs with this "paper" wall and they just didn't see it, or it's possible that his body is generating tissue to close the one big hole and now we have two holes.

Also, the "windsock tissue" I circled in green below might be tissue that Sheridan is generating to help close the bottom VSD (or the tissue might have been there at birth).

3. The cardiologist's advice: continue our wait-and-see approach. In other words, continue on our current course of careful monitoring (he now sees Sheridan roughly every 3 months), and do no intervention right now. His advice is based on two really important factors:

First, Sheridan is eating and growing well. He is not what docs call "failure to thrive." If his heart was causing him trouble, he wouldn't eat very well and he wouldn't be chubbin' up.

Second, the pressure gradient is what it should be. Sorry, folks, I tried to find a simple definition online to link to that term, but none exist without making you read a medical journal article. So, bottom line, when a hole exists between the two ventricles it causes a certain amount of pressure. If the pressure is too great, it causes big problems for the pulmonary system. Hopefully that explanation helped?

Also, the doc mentioned that if Sheridan had a leak in his aortic valve (circled in red below), he would schedule him for surgery ASAP. But Sheridan has no such leak, thank goodness.

3. The cardiologist said that if we wanted, Sheridan could have heart surgery now. He always says, "You're my boss." He indicated that if the holes were all fixed, some of the respiratory issues might very well go away, but then again, they might not. One thing would be certain, his heart would be fixed and we wouldn't have to deal with any adverse effects (way down the line when Sheridan is older) of keeping them open to wait and see if they'll fix themselves.

He offered to take Sheridan's case to the cardiac surgeons' meeting to see what they say. But, c'mon, let's be honest... they're surgeons. Of course they will say "let's operate." These are all fixable holes with open heart surgery.

The VSDs would require open heart surgery, and the other holes would be fixed at the same time. However, if the VSDs close on their own over time, the other holes can be repaired with a catheter (as minimally invasive as heart surgery will ever get).

4. As good as all this news sounds, the key concern I brought up with the doc is this: I know that, by definition, the presence of these congenital heart defects - and the longer they remain open - means that Sheridan will likely face heart issues when gets older.

So, it's a balancing act. How long do we wait to see if the holes close, knowing that the longer we wait the more likely the holes will have long-term health implications? What is the threshold at which we say, "okay, it's time to close 'em up."

The cardiologist agreed that it is a balancing act, but said that Sheridan's holes are so small right now (and, again, not causing him any problems), that we're safe waiting for now. Close monitoring will help us determine when the balance has shifted in the favor of surgery.

5. The cardiologist noted, given everything I laid out above, that all of his heart defects taken together cannot explain the respiratory issues. In other words, if we were to take the heart issues off the table, Sheridan would likely still have the same respiratory issues. Of course, he ran down a list of reasons why this might be (e.g., people with Ds have shorter airways because the center of their faces are pushed back a bit).

So, all in all, Gary and I talked it over. It was actually a very short conversation because we thought our course of action was clear... we plan to monitor everything carefully and wait and see if our little big man can work on his own do-it-yourself repairs.

Now if we could just get information about his lungs from the pulmonologist... it never ends. :)

08 July 2009

Sheridan's Heart

A few weeks ago Sheridan had a few days where his breathing was very labored and he was wheezing. He has always been very healthy, and Gary and I were certain (as was his pediatrician) that this was due to allergies (e.g., he didn't have a fever, his nose was running clear). We treated him for asthmatic symptoms (he does not actually have asthma) to help him breathe better. At that time, Sheridan was referred to a pulmonologist.

The pulmonologist ordered a chest x-ray to make sure everything was clear, and asked us to monitor his resting (i.e., sleeping) respiratory rate every day over the next month. Also, he prescribed a breathing treatment (Xopinex) so that if Sheridan had another "episode" of wheezing, we could use it to open his airways. We never needed it.

So off to the x-ray place we go. At 7:30am to make sure we don't have to wait in some hellacious long line in the middle of the day. Besides, Sheridan is always bright and cheery in the early morning so I figured that would work in our favor.

They put my baby in what looked like a torture device (click here to see an example of the device in use), and told me to hold his arms up over his head. I thought for sure Sheridan was going to lose it. And he did, but just a little bit. Even the x-ray tech was impressed with how he handled it (and I knew Sheridan had done a great job when, on our way out, the front-desk staff asked when we were going to go in for the x-ray - they hadn't heard the typical screams that come out of that room apparently).


It is never a good sign when a doctor calls you about a test. Ever. They only call when something is "concerning" (a.k.a. potentially bad news). Otherwise they just send you a letter in the mail saying your test was normal.

Turns out the x-ray showed that Sheridan's heart is enlarged ("mildly" enlarged was the word used), and his upper-right lobe of his lung is plugged up with mucus (so it is essentially collapsed and not working well).

So, for his lungs, he was put on the breathing treatment 3 times a day for 7 days. The first set of directions were given was "4 puffs" of the breathing treatment (it's medicine placed in a nebulizer and you put a mask up to the child's face so s/he can breathe in the misted meds). The infant mask is made to look like a dinosaur. Cute, right? Not according to Sheridan. He screamed his flippin' head off. It took two people to give him the breathing treatments. One to hold him down and one to hold the mask. Then the pulmonologist clarifies that I received the wrong instructions...

Each breathing treatment should be 10-15 minutes long.

Say what now? They clearly have never had to give a breathing treatment that long to a terrified, screaming child. Ok. So, maybe they have (that is their job afterall). But I felt so bad for Sheridan - I was nearly in tears when I gave him four puffs because it freaked him out so bad. And now I have to torture him for up to 15 minutes?!

But I sucked it up, started singing, let him see the dino right before turning on the machine, and just did it. The first time he fussed for about a minute, and then he calmed down and spent the next 14 mintues looking into my eyes calmly as I sang to him. What a good boy. And he's never fussed since. When we sit to do a treatment, he just opens his mouth and leans forward slightly to help us hold the mask in place. What a sweetheart.

Also, we have to do chest percussions after each treatment. Today is the seventh day and tomorrow or Friday I will take him in for another x-ray (the hope is that the breathing treatment - which helps open his lungs - and the percussions - which should help manually breakup the mucus - will have done their job and his lung will be clear). I hope so...

For his heart, we go the cardiologist on Thursday for an echocardiogram. His heart is most concerning to me...

Sheridan was born with 3-4 small holes in his heart: a small patent foramen ovale (or PFO), a small patent ductus arteriosus (or PDA), and one or two small ventricular septal defects (or VSDs). Until now, his heart has given him no trouble. Meaning, he's eating, gaining weight, etc. Everything a cardiologist wants to see - if his heart was impacting him negatively, Sheridan wouldn't be doing those things very well. Also, as of his last echo in February, his heart showed no signs of enlargement (and enlargement can potentially lead to lots of issues down the line).

Now all of a sudden it's enlarged??? I'm hoping the x-ray is not accurate (the cardiologist said it is a good tool for diagnosing heart enlargement, but it is not nearly as precise as an echo). If it is, I'm sure we'll still do the "wait and see" game - so far each of the holes has gotten smaller since birth. Which is why I don't understand how his heart can be enlarged now.

In the meantime, what information I have is this: there is no telling what caused his lung to clog up (it is common for children with Down syndrome to have a hard time expelling anything from their lungs - low tone just makes their coughs less effective - so if Sheridan's allergies settled into his lungs, he might just not have gotten everything out). That might be what caused the wheezing. Or, if his heart is enlarged, it can cause the respiratory issues (the wheezing and working harder to breathe, not the clogged lung).

I'm just eager for Thursday's appointment.

So, for now, I hold my sweet, sweet son while he patiently does his breathing treatment and hope that his heart is ok.

06 July 2009

Whew... That's the Last Time I Take a Break!

This little (ok, long) break from blogging has taught me a lesson... Say no to long breaks. So much has happened that it's been hard for me to prioritize and organize what I wanted to post, in what order, etc. (Okay, so I'm a total Type A personality if you haven't figured that out.)

Although I have a couple of posts that I want to give special attention, I do want to provide a few updates here (and then I can get this monkey off my back!):

1. Sheridan spent the last month going through an assessment for music therapy. Remember, this boy LOVES music! Each week something different happens:

Week 1 - they just ask me a bunch of questions and look to see what Sheridan "does" (I guess how he acts, what skills he has, temperament, etc.) with no music. Um, didn't they get the memo that the boy loves music? Needs music? Let's get the show on the road here, people! I am thrilled the therapist is a young man - so glad to have a guy in the mix! - and he's a bit punk-rock, so he makes me feel young again :)

Ok, so I was very cooperative and answered all the therapist's questions. He brought an intern with him, a woman who just completed her degree in music therapy (I believe she said at University of Utah) - she shadows all of the therapists for a day and then chooses which children she wants to "take on" (meaning she will attend all of those kids' sessions for a few months). So, of course, after I've been a good parent and answered all of the necessary questions, I ask if it's ok to show them an example of how I've been using music to help Sheridan's speech/physical/occupational therapies. The therapist grinned and said he was willing to break the rules for Sheridan (there is some silly rule that NO music is allowed for the first two weeks of the assessment - I understand why, but I just couldn't help myself).

So I busted out with our rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider. It's really cute if I do say so myself. And the therapist-intern combo were excited to see how Sheridan responds to music. And, yes, I know the therapy is for Sheridan, but I'm allowed to enjoy it, too, right?!

Week 2 - the therapist plays with Sheridan without music. But at the end, he broke out a couple of maracas and said he would break the rules again. Sheridan's eyes got so big! He'd never seen a maraca that large before! He's used to his little Kindermusic chikita :)

Week 3 - I was in Atlanta and my mom stayed with Sheridan. Finally... a session with music. But I missed it :( The therapist brought a guitar and apparently Sheridan went nuts. He loved it. He even tried to move closer to the therapist. Sheridan reached out and touched the guitar, and even put his hand over the therapist's hand to help him strum. So sweet.

Week 4 - they write a report and argue a case for why ongoing therapy is needed. Then they wait for approval (gulp!).

Tomorrow marks Sheridan's first, on-going, official music therapy session! And the intern has requested that Sheridan be one of the children she sees each week. Of course, I knew she wouldn't be able to resist him ;-) So, Sheridan will essentially have two music therapists (during the same appointment) for a few months.

I'm so grateful music therapy was approved given the financial state of our regional center - and the CA budget in general. Why vulnerable populations tend to take the biggest cuts is just ridiculous to me. But that's another post/vent.

2. Sheridan is now working on sitting on a stool. He looks like such a little man. You'll notice the pillow behind him, but he has never fallen backwards (he has, however, fallen forward when he gets super excited and leans to get a toy). My little man, growing up.

3. A few years back I worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Although I'm not longer "at" CDC, I am still leading a number of projects for them (for example, I'm currently leading the evaluation of their national autism campaign). I recently traveled to Atlanta for a couple of days (reason #1 for the long pause on my blog) for a meeting related to a project, and took the time to reach out to those people responsible for the agency's Down syndrome website. It is just plain awful.

When Sheridan was born in August 2008 there was NO site. So, at least they have a site up and running? Not good enough for me. It is your standard physical characteristics, co-morbidities, incidence rates, "a person with Down syndrome will likely have an ok life" kind of website. Ugh. Too many of those already exist and are SO depressing to parents with a new diagnosis. They need the website to reflect life with Ds (and that does, of course, include the co-morbidities, etc., but as we all know it is so much more than that). Also, I think (and so do some other parents) that some of the content borders on offensive (I won't go into details here).

So, if all goes according to plan, I might be volunteering to give them feedback - and more importantly, organize other parents' feedback - related to the site. If this happens, I will post something about it because I would LOVE to get your feedback so we can help them build a more useful site. Let's face it, the majority of people going to that site will be parents with a new (or potential) diagnosis. CDC needs to do better by them (but let me be clear... they didn't do a "bad" job on purpose, it's just the standard type of content they produce without any real input from key stakeholders who will use the info).

Soapbox is put away on this one... for now. I'll keep you posted if this moves forward.

4. My mom bought Sheridan his first pool... I've never seen such a small pool, but it's perfect for a little guy. Just enough room for him and his beach ball. He loves it. Although he still prefers to splash in the bath rather than in the pool. I guess it's more fun to splash mom and dad than it is to splash the grass.

5. Sheridan will be 11 months soon (on the 18th), which means we've already turned our attention to celebrating his first birthday. I don't even know how we got here so quickly. And in addition to being amazed at his upcoming toddlerhood, I'm stressing about the silliest things. Like his birthday cake. He's never had wheat. He's never had eggs. He's never had sugar. He has pretty much never had any of the ingeredients necessary to make a regular cake. So, I'm thinking of cancelling his small, personal cake and making one for him (I'm thinking a banana cake with blueberries in the middle). I probably shouldn't stress so much about the miniscule amount of cake that will actually enter his mouth, but I just want to make sure it's a familiar taste to him, that it is safe, and that he can actually manage to eat it (he's just starting to gum small lumps in certain foods).

6. Sheridan is teething something awful. Again. Still no end in sight. Poor little guy.

7. Sheridan took his first bath in the bathtub. But Gary felt he was still a little too small for the bath seat (and he still needs a bit of support sitting in water), so we're back to the sink again. But I think he'll move up to the big leagues soon.

8. Sheridan has developed quite the little strong will. I was telling his physical therapist about it when she came back from vacation, and explained that Gary and I joke about how Sheridan inhereted my/Gary's stubbornness (whose he inhereted depends on which one of us you ask!). PT smiled and said, "We call that self determination. It's an important milestone." Ahhhhh, yes. The good ol' self-determination milestone. She and I just laughed. I hadn't thought of it that way. So now Gary and I joke about each other's "self determination" and wonder what, on earth, Sheridan's self determination will look like at 2 years old if he's only 10 months now. Fun!

9. Sheridan is giggling like crazy lately. He's had a cute little belly laugh for some time now, but now it comes out all the time. I don't think anything could make me happier than to hear that boy laugh. On 4th of July he would just bust out into giggles when he looked at me. Maybe I'm funny looking, but I like to think he just thinks his mom is silly and he loves me so much he can't contain himself. That's my interpretation and I'm sticking to it.