Last but not least, here is Munchkin's update! :)
Munchkin has down syndrome, like Sunshine, but unlike her sister she has "just" down syndrome with no other medical or neurological issues. Munchkin is about as different from Sunshine as two children could be. We've really been excited to see how good Munchkin is for Sunshine, though. Munchkin does not see Sunshine as being any different from the other kids and she plays with her like she would anyone else - whether Sunshine wants to or not! Munchkin adores Sunshine . . . and Sunshine is learning to like Munchkin (LOL). We are excited that the girls have each other to grow up with. For anyone who has one child with down syndrome, I would encourage you to consider adding a sibling with DS as well. Having a friend for a lifetime is such a huge blessing.
I should note before I go much further that Munchkin has figured out that the camera is going to flash at her, so she prepares by squinting right when the flash goes off - meaning we have lots of pictures with very weird expressions or squinted eyes.
So, this is not her most attractive batch of pictures - though there are a few good ones to share.
Munchkin turned 2 in September (once I get the pictures off of my camera I'll share them but I can't find the cord). She learned to walk about 6 weeks before her 2nd birthday and boy was she proud! We've been amazed at how steady she already is on her feet. She is already showing better balance and confidence than Sunshine does. Munchkin's muscle tone is not as low as Sunshine's and that helps a lot. Also, Munchkin has a natural go-get-'em sort of personality which means that she plows on through and figures things out rather than being cautious like Sunshine. Munchkin has no trouble going over thresholds in doorways, stepping on or around toys on the floor, etc. She loves to climb things and is always looking for something to be on top of.
Munchkin is determined to do everything that anyone else does and she will NOT be left behind. She has quite a feisty spirit and she makes sure you know what she wants and that you'd better do it NOW.
Munchkin is enamored with movies that have singing and dancing or motions like the Cedarmont Kids or The Wiggles. She thinks the TV should be on all the time, just in case she should want to glance at it while playing. We disagree. Munchkin feels that our one-video-per-day rule is much too restricting. She's submitting a complaint to upper management. I'll let you know how that one works out.
We feel a bit better about the movie obsession because Munchkin also has a book obsession. She LOVES books and will often sit and look at them on her own, pointing to the pictures and babbling about what she sees. One work she has definitely mastered is "book" but she says it "book-eh" so it sounds very french LOL. That determination I mentioned above comes into play too. If she wants to be read to she gets her book and takes it to one of the big people (parents or brothers) and holds it near them saying "book-eh, book-eh, book-eh" and does not take no for an answer. She'll just keep asking until they cave. If she does finally accept that her chosen person is not going to read, she just goes on to the next person she can find and starts the process over again.
Munchkin is still kind of limited in what she eats. She likes bland foods like vegetables and plain oatmeal. She also would prefer that everything be pureed rather than having to chew it. It's still hard for her when food has chunks or lumps in it. We are introducing new things to her diet but she's really not impressed. She would rather stick to the basics. She still drinks from a bottle, though we're working on introducing the cup. The problem with the cup is that Munchkin is NOT! INTERESTED! AT! ALL! and would rather be thirsty than drink out of such an abomination. We are pretty sure that it's pure stubbornness at this point rather than a lack of ability. The cup showdown is coming. Get your tickets because it will be a battle to remember!
We love hearing Munchkin's cute little voice and it's fun to hear her babble to herself. She is saying about 10 words and uses about 5 signs in addition to that. Like Sunshine, Munchkin also has non-verbal communication down to a science so we definitely understand what she wants even if she can't say or sign the proper words.
In addition to walking, Munchkin has also started dancing. She used to dance while sitting, though, so that's not completely new. I love watching her "expressive dance" now though. She likes to wave her arms and spin around in wide circles while we sing or she listens to music. We feel certain that there are a lot of dance parties in her future and that she will love "Just Dance" .
We are loving watching Munchkin grow and change. She is such a blessing and we continue to be in awe that we get to parent this beautiful, funny, sassy little girl. She has so much to offer the world and we can't wait to see what her future will hold!