No Small Changes » Blog

Masthead header

Dempsey the fighter

It was difficult for us to come up with girl names that we both liked.  The name Dempsey came to us both and we just knew it was perfect for the little girl that would soon be joining our family.  We first saw it when we were watching Rocky Balboa the movie.  Rocky was wearing a t-shirt in one scene that said Dempsey on it.  It immediately reminded me that my grandfather on my Dad’s side was name ‘Jack D’ after the famous heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey(which is the same reference in Rocky).  We just knew this little girl was going to be a fighter and she has lived up to her namesake.  She has the strongest will and although at 2.5 years old she can hardly speak a word, she doesn’t let that stop her from getting what she wants and needs. 

This fiery personality definitely has its challenges.  From day one something has been off.  We went through at least 5 different formulas trying to find one that she could digest easily.  We finally settled on a type of soy formula, that when warm, smelled of potatoes and so she earned the nickname “spuds” and it stands with all its variations today(spudly, spudis, spuddy).

Unlike Max, who developed typically and then regressed around 15 months, Dempsey never hit any of her first year milestones.  She crawled late and the she did this crazy thing where she would walk around on her knees for months.  She finally began full-on walking around 19-20 months.

As of a April 2013 this is where she stands developmentally:

Cannot sit still at all.

Cries and whines constantly for a myriad of reasons

Can speak 9 words that I know she knows the meaning of…car, bye, it’s-okay, no, hi, ball, apple, circle, square

Is beginning to mimic a lot of words and sounds, but not associating meaning or context with them

She is singing familiar melodies(sunbeam, popcorn popping, abc song, adele’s rolling in the deep ha!)

She understands maybe 1/3 of what I say to her…hard to know.  She recognizes a handful of phrases for sure( time for bed, where’s your blankie, where’s your cup, c’mon let’s go, let’s get in the car)

She has a very difficult time maintaining eye-contact. It’s very uncomfortable for her.

Responds to her name 2 out of 10 times she is called. Most likely is responding more to the negative tone of voice.

Does not acknowledge other children around her.

Likes to do some pretend play with toys, stuffed animals.

Goes into a rage at the drop of a hat. If you don’t get her a drink fast enough, or take a toy from her, or don’t do something she wants she starts head-butting, banging her head on whatever is closest(wall, chairs, bed, hitting it with her toys) she throws whatever is in her hands, which is usually an assortment of small toys.  She screams, kicks and flails on the floor and refuses to be soothed.

Because of her limited communication it is difficult to know what is defiance/typical two-year old behavior and what has become a coping behavior out of frustration because she cannot be understood.

She cannot mimic gestures when prompted, however I have seen her try in a dancy sort of way try to do actions to songs.

She cannot point/gesture to tell me what she wants to have/do/eat

Cannot nod or shake head

She does not read my facial expressions/body language–she only responds to my tone.  She cannot distinguish when I am upset with her or with Max

To get what she needs she yells, pushes me in the direction she wants me to go, has me pick her up and then moves her body the way she wants me to walk, makes me present choices and then rejects them and when she is quiet, I know that means yes.

Has to have milk/water warmed and in a sippy cup still. Refuses to drink from a regular cup(even though I have caught her trying it out a couple times, so I know she is capable), and throws a tantrums  until she is exhausted and until we are all exhausted until she gets what she wants.

Very, very selective with food. Taste, texture, and temperature are all major factors. Right now her preferred foods are: Tator tots, yogurt, applesauce, potato chips, chocolate veggie muffins, occasional waffle, chex with coconut milk.  Her diet concerns me the most, because her system seems so sensitive to so many things. I have found that almond milk and bananas wreak havoc on her system, so they are banned. She refuses to get anything new even close to her lips.  Her diet lacks protein, veggies, and nutrients.  I can’t even get her to eat some sweets.  I believe there is definitely more going on in her gut and brain than just her making picky choices.

Despite all of this she has managed to grow like gangbusters! She is almost as a tall as Max. All of her vitals are good and she adds so much personality to our family. We couldn’t imagine it without her!