Sunday, June 13, 2010

School's Out For Summer!

Well even though I only had to go back to teaching for 3 days at the end of the school year, I'm still so excited to have 9 more weeks to spend with Zoya until I go back to work full time in the fall.  Shawn rearranged his work schedule so he could be home with Zoya for the three days I went back.  I missed her so much while I had to be at work, but knew it was only 3 days! In the fall, however, it will be a lot harder I'm sure. 

We decided that our best option for child care when we will both be working full time will be to have somoene come to our house and take care of Zoya.  We don't want to throw too much change at her, so this way her caretaker will change but her familiar environment will remain the same.  Shawn is on a four week rotating schedule so some weeks we will only need somoene for 15 hours, and the most we will ever need is 30 hours.  Zoya has been napping for about 2 hours and 45 minutes every day, so that takes a little guilt away too (knowing she will be sleeping for almost 3 hours of the time I am gone....hopefully!). So I registered on to try and find a caregiver, after asking a million people and  coming up empty. I got pretty terrified when I saw some of the profiles. Here are some samples,
"I am really good with dogs, I have also watched kids before." Seriously?
"I had my first child at 15 and I now have 9 children." Ummm that doesn't qualify you
"I have 3 dogs and 'some' cats." Cat lady???
So on Zoya's birthday we were on our way to go shopping and I said a quick prayer in the car asking God to lead me in the right direction or to send a great caregiver our way since I was pretty freaked out about the caregivers that I found on the sitter site. While shopping, I literally ran my cart into Zoya's new caretaker! This woman is amazing and I don't know why I never thought to ask her. She has a daughter with DS who is starting kindergarten in the fall (at the school I teach at) and so she will not have any children at home during the school day and actually said she wants to take care of Zoya and feels blessed to be able to do so! God is good!

Soooooo school's out for summer and we have tons of "things" to do, but not any huge plans.  Zoya has OT/PT/Speech each for one hour a week.  We also volunteer for an adaptive sailing program which is every Friday all day long during the summer, and Mondays we are hoping to have some play dates and visits with a play group of moms and kids from the school I teach at. We have a list of summer things we can't wait to do. Swimming, long walks, going to the beach, learning to love ice cream, blowing bubbles, helping Daddy cut the lawn with the new toy lawnmower, picnics with lots of juicy watermelon, cookouts, strolling in the red wagon, bird watching, catching fireflies, meeting new friends, writing our names in sidewalk chalk, and so much more!

Swimming. Check! (Although we still have to try out a big pool!)

Look at her beautiful long eyelashes!

She thought it was pretty funny when Mya jumped in. These two are becoming best friends!

She was watching Mya run in circles.

She's definitely not graceful!

Playing with Mya!

Ruffle Butt!

So stinkin' cute!

She is cracking up because Mya runs really fast right up to her and then runs away.

Look at this sweet innocent face! How could you not love her?

The attitude shot! Actually she is telling me "all done" playing outside.

Isn't this "kini" from her Grandpa and Grandma P. so cute? We had to accessorize!

Zoya has been learning so much and growing up so fast!! I can hardly believe it. Here she is sitting at the table (in her booster seat) feeding herself her lunch! During her OT sessions we've started working on stabbing food and moving the fork to her mouth and getting the piece off the fork into her mouth! Much harder than it actually seems! Zoya is doing great and prefers to be independent and feed herself rather than us feeding her! Way to go big girl!

Trying to "catch" a piece!

Zoya looking at Mya thinking, "You're gonna get in trouble!"

Zoya recently learned how to drink from a straw cup thanks to her tough OT! She had been on a bottle since we got home and we had been working with her with one of those rubbermaid squeezy sport straw cups. They are really good for teaching sucking from a straw as you can squeeze the bottle just a little so she gets some drink and eventually she learned to suck without needing us to squeeze (similar to the honey bear cup but cheaper). She would drink from the straw cup for a few sips, but still preferred the bottle mostly.  At her last OT session, her OT didn't give her a choice and only gave her the straw cup and Zoya cried and had a fit the entire time. After the OT left, Zoya gave us NO problems with drinking from a straw! We found these great Playtex no spill straw cups and Zoya is little miss independent now drinking all by herself!  These specific straw cups are great because they don't spill no matter what! You can tip them upside down, shake them, anything...and they still won't spill!  We decided to skip right over sippy cups because that requires her to tip her head back and kids with DS have a hard time doing that with their necks. These straw cups allow her to drink without tipping her head back! Straws also have more of a long term use, as we use them into adulthood, so this seemed more practical for her. We are working with an open cup as well.
Oh, and I tried pigtails today! Her hair is still a bit short for it, but I think she looks like a pixie!

Shawn and I were just discussing how fast Zoya is flying through stages! She is learning so much so quickly and we just want to teach her every second of the day since she is taking it all in so fast! Even when we're not actively trying to teach her something, she is learning! Her sign language is coming along wonderfully! She learned to sign, "bath." Every night our routine is the same. Dinner, play, bath, sleep.  She knows her routine and loves it and will sign telling us what is supposed to come next! Each night on the way upstairs I tell her "time to take a bath stinky girl" and I sign bath. Although we never actively taught Zoya (by moving her hands into correct position) the sign for "bath," she learned it and she showed us in the funniest way! Her Uncle Bub was visiting and while Zoya was pooping in her diaper one morning he said, "You're a stinky girl" (just like I say each night) and she signed, "BATH." We started cracking up! She also learned the sign for "dog" and she will pat her leg whenever we say "dog" or "Mya." Her new favorite sign is "sleep" and she signs it before nap time and bed time and whenever else she is tired! She is so close to walking and she REALLY wants to walk! She uses push toys and walks behind them but hasn't taken any steps on her own yet. We're waiting with excitement, but also realize we will probably lose 5 pounds from chasing her around when she starts walking! Nap time has been consistently better and she is back to napping (for now anyways) for about 2 and a half hours in her crib! One thing I think really helped, besides me rocking her in my baby  carrier for several weeks, was getting the room darkening curtains. We are just so proud of our sassy little diva and really are amazed with how fast she is learning!


  1. Oh My - I love the graceful picture! She lives up to her name "sassy little diva" with the "kini" and shades - Way Too Hollywood!!! Just absolutely Love to see her SMILE!!!

  2. Linda A. and I take Makayla and Kevin to the Barber Center for family swim most Thursday nights. It's $3 for her and free for you since she can't swim alone. The water is very warm, and the floor can be raised to accommodate Zoya's height.
    Love all the pictures and updates, can't wait for sailing to start.
    Sue M.

  3. Love the pigtails and hearing about how well your girl is doing! :) I never even thought about sippy cup vs straw cup! You're a genius! Of course we come here for the adorable pictures of Zoya ;), but we appreciate all of your wisdom, too!

    So glad you're "free" for the summer!


  4. Happy Summer to all three of you!

    I can only imagine how this little gal keeps you guys smiling thru the days.

    I have to say that my favorite pic of this post is her giggling so intensely sitting there in the grass.

    There is a light in her eyes now sparkle with such delight.

    Thanks for the new pics and new post.

    May you all have the best summer ever.

    Teri in VA

  5. Oh my goodness! Could she be any cuter in her bathing suit?! Thank-you for sharing all the adorable pictures. Also, so glad to hear she's doing so well.


    Zoya and Mya together in the pool, playing together, just priceless! they are really like little sisters..:)
    TO see Zoya on all the pics,
    reading your posts, how she has grown already out- and inwarldy, how her precious personality is "shining" thru, amazes and touches me again deeply. Rejoicing with you!!
    And how wonderful you have found someone, who will come to your house, taking care for Zoya, while you are at work!
    Be blessed Christina

  7. I love the summer pics...I miss seeing the real Zoya in the flesh! Hope to see you outside soon, neighbors! Love, Liz

  8. I feel so lucky to have met your "sassy little diva" yesterday! She is precious and so amazingly well behaved for her age! You guys are the most perfect parents that a girl could ever ask for!