on our bookshelf

 Nava loves her books. I finally remembered to take some pictures of her favorites before she has moved on (for the blog baby book). Since she was 10-11 months old she has had a strong bedtime book habit that she is an active participant in (we read her books before that of course but that's when she really got into it). I love seeing her turn the pages with the story, whip open flaps, scratch the fuzzy part on the kitty, and slaps the book closed when the last page is read. Our bedtime routine books are heavy on baby pictures.

And if she's enjoying her reading most babies pictured get a big wet kiss planted on their two dimensional faces. I've been trying to repeat the other key words her books repeat (kitty, teddy, doll, monkey, kiss, smile) in the interests of vocab building and also work on her getting to point to things. A couple of times now when I've asked her where doll/kitty/horse is she kisses them for me-so we are on the same wavelength at least!

I think I mentioned this before but it bears repeating as its still true:  Hands down Nava's favorite are the Peekaboo books from DK publishers. I love that I can let her go for the flaps without worry about them ripping off. And the pictures are nice and big.

 We got the Bedtime Peekaboo from a dollar bin at a consignment store in Oregon. It sports tape holding it together but we love it just the same.

Funny thing about the Peekaboo books though-she loves opening all the flaps except the one on the last page (which is always where all the toys from previous pages are shown all together). She'd rather finish the book than open the last flap--in all 3 books!

When we get a new book she takes much longer to want to turn pages and studies the picture very closely (so close you wonder if the glasses are of any use actually). Once she's had a good look, I'm expected to pick up the pace back to our normal reading speed though. ;)


Playroom update

Well, our beautiful playroom is gone. Disappeared from the earth.
tis no more

Because it moved downstairs

This being Lao-the land of finding an easier way- we solved the extreme heat problem of having an upstairs playroom (tropical country, un-air-conditioned part of house) by moving it downstairs. The tradeoff? We no longer have a very beautiful, very large table for Thanksgiving dinner (fits, like, say 16 or so). But the table can be resurected in about 30 mins with the help of 6 able bodied people so Thanksgiving should still be doable (don't ask).

In the meantime, Nava is one lucky girl.

perfect for monkey time

the inclusion of the mirror was all daddy, it pains me to admit. more wall decor is in the works.

this sweet desk was my birthday present for her. getting ahead of myself I know but it is too cute. and tiny.

could being in the line of sight of a cooking mommy possibly motivate her to come on her own? we'll see...
Oh. And that was our Sunday pretty much.

more fun with food

It's been a while (hours? days?) since I shared a foodie pics...
Ok. Maybe not really.
But in celebration of having a working RSS feed again (thanks for the comments ladies!)here's some Monday morning cuteness for you:

First up: Frozen Papaya Spears. 


love to share

good to the last glob
the clean up

Next: Chicken and Rice (Thai fast food)

Verdict: Oh YES!

a mess-tacular


there's a limit?

**No Nava here, Just technical difficulties. Mo'Nava soon**

I've spent the morning getting my geek on as I just realized Navagating has not been working for subscribers for a month. Doh! All 19 18 (I guess it's bad form to count yourself?) of you precious folks have been missing your Nava fix. So sad.
So apparently I'd reached my feed limit. No one ever told me there was a limit. And since, let's be honest here, I'm not the most regular or prolific of bloggers,I would never think I'd hit it. But I did.
As of right now it seems to be working in some ways-the feed posts to Facebook again-yay! But it still doesn't come through in my Google Reader. If anyone (anyone there?) successfully saw this post in a reader-could you kindly click through and let me know?

Kopjailailai der. 



There have been developments around our house.

from: http://www.malcolmdix.com/

Nava has gone through teething waves multiple times. I think around 6-7 months was the first, then another this past Feb-March (10-11 months old). But no teeth were forthcoming. Teething without teeth. It's a thing. It's not a cool thing though. This is not altogether unexpected; it's a Down syndrome "feature". The teething kicked into high gear again since we returned from the US. She'd even started sucking her lips and biting them, even managed to give herself quite a nice fat purple bruised bottom lip - one that lasted for days and made it look like she'd just been eating a blueberry. And she was getting increasingly cranky. I was starting to think the worst. That maybe she would be 2 years old  without teeth, we'd need to have an x-ray to confirm she had any...::ugh::. I was even looking into herbal supplements that are supposed to help. Quiet desperation I tell you.

And then my beautiful sleeper of a child (really, almost all the time) woke 2x last Thursday night chomping her thumb in pain. I thought, "This is IT!" and merrily went off to find the magic potion Grandpa smuggled in his suitcase months ago just for this purpose.

magic potion

The next morning, Nanny Noi immeadiately caught a flash of white that wasn't there before and I braced myself to try to get a look. It was the classic first baby tooth position (which surprised me as I'd given up hoping for that one and expected we just gonna go straight for molars, something I'd heard happens with delayed teeth). No, there was no tooth out yet but it was definitely about to make its grand entrance. 

The two off us were off for a long weekend in Bangkok (more on that later), so I muttered about the effing timing but packed the Magic Potion and we took off. Slowly, ever so slowly, progress was being made. Not that I could *see* mind you. Getting a finger in her mouth is not dissimilar to trying to have little feel around in a sprung bear trap. Girlfriend says NO! The Magic Potion wasn't even much use as application was impossible. So I had to settle on indirect indicators (development speak). Drinking water from a glass produced a distinct tink tink - so there's gotta be something hard in there right?

Now, now would be a great time to post a picture of Nava's beautiful new mouth...

...if I had any.

But that's not Nava. Cause there is no way on earth I can get a picture of it. Nava would no longer hold still and allow me to use my thumb to pull lower lip down like so than... It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.

So, dear readers, you will just have to take my word for it. And some day, one day, you might get to see it for yourself in her actual mouth rather than settle for a stand in. 

But I would not be betting on it being very soon. My guess is by then, the picture will look more like  



happy swim

What would we do without pools here?

It was a happy weekend though we missed Daddy. We hung with our mommy friends and our little friends at the pool Sunday. We decided the only thing that would be better is if the coffee machine was moved poolside as well...

We continue to practice our jumping in moves too ;)

See her body posture in the 2nd pic? That's her when you reach out for her when she doesn't want to be picked up. To a T.

hand motions

First she knew UP!, then Kiss Kiss came along pretty quick. Then nothing much for a while. People had been trying to teach her to clap since around 6 months or so (why? I dunno, it's not even on the 'typical' chart til later...) which resulted in Nava demanding others clap For Her. And I mean demand. Pity the poor parent who came home and just wanted to cuddle and maybe tickle a little...

Nava ended up getting clapping down somewhere over Hawaii on our way to the US in April. We were doing it as an inflight game. She knew it in Lao and English simultaneously. Oh how I'd love to be able to see exactly how brains learn, much less bilingually, much less with different chromosome line ups...

We then moved on to Bye Bye and Tuu. Tuu? Tuu is the word in Lao for the traditional hand gesture of hello, thanks, respect. In Thai, it's a Wai. You place your palms (fingers up and together) together in front of your chest or face (depending on the respect level indicated, higher = better). Not an elbows out Indian style thing though.

We've been at these for a month. Progress? Nava claps when you say Bye Bye ;) Very cute and shows she knows we're trying to teach her something but she doesn't yet clearly discriminate between the two things. So we keep on.

Sometime in the last week (or two?), Nava's nanny Noi started doing High Five. Check it out:

Learning is non linear. Must remember that. Now if we could get going on signing...

comfort in my community

Life as an expat with a child with special needs is not ideal. Especially in Laos, where people have to cross the border to mend of broken bone, much less seek help for a developmental disability. And we still strugle with the question of "going home" to the US (in quotes cause I have no US home, and it surely as hell is a misnomer for Soutchai!). We don't have support groups here (hello, Bangkok) and I've just registered a url for down syndrome in Laos to at least ensure googling it gets something besides a message board of lao teenagers calling each other Lao Down Syndrome as a hilaious put down. :(

But enough with the negatives. We (meaning our family) enjoys some pretty amazing positives here. Extended family, affordable childcare, quality retail healthcare in Bangkok, and lots of other 'perks'. This weekend though, it really hit home one of the biggest perks we have:
                         a community of friends that have circled us with love, care, and acceptance.

I know other moms grapple with the issue of fitting in in 'typical' baby groups, uncomfortable silences around pregnant girlfriends, stares, the need to stay on safe conversation topics...

Us? Baby group and playdates were a done deal before the baby arrived and Nava's extra chromosome is a non-issue. I've never felt unable to relate as we discuss diapers, feeding, boobs, toys... Nava lags behind her peers in some ways, leads in others. I keep hoping she'll pick up some crawling tips or even just the desire to get mobile, while at the same time her fabulous eating habits make those dealing with picky eaters turn a jealous green. Normal. Just normal. Lovely.

And even outside of mommy group, acceptance is there, to be taken for granted. In a local pub this weekend a pregnant girlfriend and I got into a discussion about Nava's development, what T21 can mean, how its a new world these days for our kids. Another girlfriend and I got to talking about inclusive education (she's a teacher), conservative special interest groups, and how parents will always do all they possibly can for their kids. She let me vent about giving Nava supplements and making decisions when there's never enough information, no research budget for our kids, and controversy over the very idea of 'treatment'.

There's been some new coverage recently about the new prenatal testing that will be out soon (it will allow down syndrome pregnancies to be identified and aborted early) and it sparked another conversation about how we (broadly western society) have some deeply self-contradictory beliefs about life, the quality of it, illness, treatment.

I love that I am a part of my community of parents, of girlfriends. I've never had to feel like I'm on the outside of the party looking in like some new parents of special needs kids . I haven't lost friendships or had to feel the exquisite pain I think parents must face when they see their kids quietly uninvited to parties, or leftout of activities. To be honest, I expect at some point in the future of Nava's childhood,  I will have to go through that. For now I'm just grateful that the exceptional community we have here means I don't have to yet. I still need a few years to build up some thick skin for that (not to mention, the ability to hold my tongue).

Acceptance feels good.


a good day

I've got a bigger post in the works about creating and getting serious about our DIY therapy program but I'm late to a party so it will have to be finished tomorrow.

I just couldn't wait to share what a great evening we had. Nava was so ON. She woke up early, only took 2 micro naps, it was killer hot and sticky all day and when the cousins brought her home from the corner shop around 5:30 we were all worried about keeping her awake through dinner.

But she had a surprise for us. She just kept wanting to play. Up at the Site this week, I noticed she seemed to 'get' rolling a soccer ball back and forth with Nanny Noi's son and thought to try it out again. She LOVED playing with rolling balls and started yelling as we three together cheered her on. She kept it up for 10 minutes and it was so much fun to see her really enjoying herself. Then we practiced a few of the moves we've been focusing on and she showed she knows what to do and it noticably closer to doing it than last week. It was such a great way to end the day and a sweet reward for all three of us - her DIY therapy team.


She felt she deserved some applause on the pot too...

a vocal foodie and her daddy

This week we went to the damn dam to visit Daddy who has a very busy month. It was a working trip for me too so Nanny Noi and her son came along (school is out!). Nava got one pool trip out of it but otherwise the weather didn't really cooperate. We'll be back down on the Site at the end of the month for almost 2 weeks for my work so here's hoping we make more of it then.

Nava was particularly enjoying a chunk of day old bread with a schmear of almond butter for breakfast. And these days the more she enjoys the more squawking confident verbalizing there is:

Nava and her Daddy have such a rapport. He was the first to figure out how to make her have a laughing fit (bounce her laying on the bed at 3 months) and he continues to lead development of the funny bone. Sometimes I think his teasing gets to much but I have to admit, generally she loves it.

Look Daddy! I'm having bread!

Really??! You'd take my bread!?

Not without a fight!


Mom! What just happened?!?

I dunno, maybe I don't want it anymore...

aw, who can resist this monkey?


close call?

So, Nava's fine.In fact her spots started fading the very next day. I have no idea what that was about. I'd already announced it to our baby gang and such and felt alternately bad for scaring unnecessarily and then bad for wanting to take her out to socialize.
In the end socializing won. I didn't let her get to close to anyone and I told a mum of a young boy as "full disclosure disclaimer" (she didn't let him play with her slinky, fairnuff)
Then she developed a very red rashy thing on her lil bum which looked nothing like the scary rash. I'm pretty sure that one was cheap diaper related however.

So, here's to no more rashing or fevering for any reason. Nava-did you hear me?!



I feel I brought this on her. On Wednesday, I mentioned to a fellow mommy grouper that the group seemed to have lucked out and that one case of chicken pox hadn't spread to anyone else.

The next morning I took off Nava's PJs and found her covered in red spots. Ayayayayayaaaah. Whompwhomp.

We trudged of to the Doc who says not chicken pox, not measles. It's something else that they've seen a kid with recently but is so far unnamed.

can you see?

spots on me?

So here's hoping its over quick. 24 hours after the spot appeared they hadn't seemed to have grown or spread and Nava seemed unfazed (tho maybe only operating at 80% of normal).


kissies from Noi make it better

houston, we have swing

Daddy worked very hard over his long weekend. Good Daddy. 


Grandma in the house

Nava's closest cousin- Ai.
Last week was a big week for family here. Nava's Auntie immigrated to America! How funny is it that Sout isn't the first in the family? So Nava's grandparents came to the capitol to send her off and catch up with Nava a little. Unfortunately Nava is no longer that baby that goes to everybody. She is getting more choosy about who she will accept and has begun playing/being shy. All normal developments, but it did kind of bum Grandma out. We tried to make it up to her by taking some photos together that we can send down to her--Grandma likes her photos! Just like a certain relative on the other side of the family...

A rare Grandma grin

Grandma, she said Smile!

I think Grandma was a little jealous of Grandpa's success here

Can I get back in the paddling pool now, Mom?
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