So I’ve been wanting to write a post to let everyone know how Liliana’s doing right now on a day to day basis.  Her development inside the bubble of the feedings is excellent.  She is struggling with her allergies.  She is also having to fight off/share with her brother at the same time.

Liliana loves Nick Jr.  I don’t think there are any shows she dislikes.  Today, she was watching Little Bill and little Bill started crying so Liliana says, “Bill is sad.”  She also now knows everyone in the house and their names.  She knows that Daddy is also called “Sean”.  Her favorite letter to say is “H”, but her favorite letter is “L”.   Her favorite number is “five.”  Mercy and I think that the next step is to place her into a more social environment.  She likes to have me draw circles with her, and will press markers into my hands so I help her draw better circles.

She can also repeat almost all of the letters of the alphabet as you say them.  She also recognizes interesting words like “Lion” or “dinosaur” and will make claws with her hands and roar (Rawr).  One of her favorite animals is a hippo.  She recognizes animals in the weirdest places. The company I work for, ING Direct USA, has a lion in its symbol (shared with parent company ING Groep), and she said “LION!” and went rawwr.  Mercy and I stared where Liliana pointed, and then we did find that there was a super small lion on my sweatshirt.  I could barely recognize it, but it looked clear as day to her.  She can also recognize owls, no matter what shape or form they take.  Somehow the common image of the big eyes and round heads just say “Owl” to her.

Her favorite games are pretend games.  She likes to play mommy with her babies.  Once, she has grabbed all three of her baby dolls and tried to carry them around while making grunting noises to express how difficult it was.  She likes to zoom around with toy cars, and make little bath toys go zoom (because they’re on skiis).  When she sits down to read books with grandma, it is Liliana doing the “reading” and grandma doing the listening.  She often seems to grasp complex concepts, and she can’t express them or put them into words, but she understands them.

Things I worry about developmentally are things like not being able to socialize with others.  The TV isn’t an interactive experience, despite how Dora and Kai Lan are laid out to emulate interaction.  We are hoping to get Liliana into a day care program for 10 hours a week.  Our neighbor across the street drives a Rover transport bus and might even be the one who can take her to day care . We’re scared about it, of course, but Liliana’s occupational therapist actually works part-time at the day care as a co-director as well.

Her challenge with feeding right now seems to come down to primarily a battle against mucus.  Her nose is running almost constantly.  She ends up swallowing a lot of it at night.  The effect is that she gags often and it is often not related to the feedings at all.  If I imagine the physics of her stomach, it becomes obvious what happens as her stomach fills.  The heaviest liquid (formula) separates from the rest of the already present substance (mucus) and moves to the bottom of the stomach.  Next, as the stomach fills, the mucus moves up and up and up until it starts to push up into her esophagus.  That’s what begins the coughing and such.  We’ve discovered this recently, especially when we lower the farrell bags, that a clear liquid comes out.  We found, when we drained that clear liquid, that it was a very stringy thick liquid: mucus.

So Damien is a MONSTER.  He likes to do everything his sister is doing.  Luckily, he’s just started to learn to like what he likes, but still sometimes likes to just bother Liliana.  The real problem is that when Liliana needs to focus on her oral skills, Damien is right there trying to eat food too.  Liliana does cute stuff with him though.  She has fed him by putting food in her mouth.  She also has given him her water when she was done with it.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, she has also pushed him, and kicked him.

Anyway, this is for all of you grandparents, great-grandparents, friends and family.  That’s Liliana’s world.  She’s a wonderful smile, has a beautiful laugh, an unimaginable imagination, and loves the first letter of her name.  And she loves her mommy and daddy.