Saturday, December 10, 2011

Updates! Updates!

On Wednesday Lexi had her 3rd esophageal dilation. It was scheduled for 2pm, which I hate because that means she goes all day long without eating. On top of that, the procedure was after her nap time (1pm) so not only was she starving, but exhausted as well. Regardless of that, she did so well. The only really hard part is that they admitted us to the exact same room she's had 3 times and she immediately cried when we walked into it. They have a little play room down the hall which saves us every time and we spent the majority of our time in there while waiting for the procedure which started 30 minutes late.

Since this was our 3rd time I've learned small tricks that have helped maintain a certain level of comfort for Lexi. We brought the portable dvd player with several Elmo dvds (Elmo is the man...I can't imagine life without him). We waited until right before the procedure to change her into the gown. We had them put the hospital bracelet on her foot (she HATES having stuff on her arms). They did vital signs while she watched Elmo. I requested they put the IV in her foot instead of her hand so when she woke up she wouldn't freak out every time she looked at her arm or tried to rub her eyes. And paci, paci and more paci. We've weaned her from sleeping with it and I have no problem using it for soothing with all these medical procedures until we are done with them. I like to joke that I am addicted to HER paci because I use it when I need a fast way to calm her down.

The procedure went quickly and we were called back to recovery about 40 minutes later when she was waking up from the anesthesia. To my delight they had listened to me and inserted the IV into her foot. Let me tell you, this made ALL the difference. Because she didn't see anything on her hands or arms she was able to comfortably snuggle up against me and sleep off some of the anesthesia for about 30 minutes. Usually all the gauze, IV and hospital bracelet make it too uncomfortable to rest her head on and she just freaks out every single time she looks at her arm. Every. Single. Time. We didn't even need to use the dancing monkey they have at the hospital that usually distracts her from looking at her arm. I know how pathetic this sounds and I really wish I had a video that captured the drama that ensued each time she caught a glimpse of her wrist. Tragedy.

Her oxygen sats were a little low because she was sleeping and they didn't want to release us until she could maintain a 93% for 15 minutes. She was hovering in the high 80's for awhile. Once she woke up her sats went up and we were able to good home. But the best news is that this was most likely the last dilation. They were able to dilate to 15mm. Although that is still below normal, it's probably enough for her to eat normal food. We will re-evaluate if she is still having issues after her tonsillectomy.

Speaking of tonsillectomies, we decided to see the ENT that placed her ear tubes because he performs partial tonsillectomies that have a quicker recovery, and less pain, but are still just as effective if the reason for removal is simply size related. Needless to say that sounded awesome to us and we've changed our plans and are going with him. The procedure will most likely take place at the end of this month, or early next month. Most kids her age recover in about 3 days. 3 DAYS! While another less than 10% of kids take about a week. Just compare that to the recovery of a full tonsillectomy that can take up to 4 weeks to recover from. The risk of bleeding is also 4x less in a partial. Jackpot!

Now, onto more fun subjects... like my birthday. I am turning 30 on Monday. I'm feeling super spoiled because my parents will be out here for my birthday. They live several states away so I haven't shared my birthday with them for 6 years. Then the following week the hubs is taking me to an all inclusive couples resort in Cancun. Both grandparents with be watching Lexi so she's going to have a blast and we'll get to rest easy knowing she's having a blast. She probably won't even realize we're gone.

So those are some significant updates. I will post more once we're back from our trip and once The Chubs goes through her final procedure. Then we can hit feeding therapy hard and maybe, just maybe, I can finally think about ordering something for her off of the kids menu. Sounds like heaven to me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The scoop on the scope


Well only 3 months have passed by since I last blogged. Um... yeah. I don't even know why I feel like blogging is such a chore. Well, maybe I do. And you might be able to relate to my lack of time or energy once I explain it all. I'll also insert a few random pictures of Lexi to make things more interesting.

Lexi dropped off of the 3rd percentile again back in September. It was pretty upsetting considering all the work we'd done to get her there. The GI decided to order another scope. She had one done around 9 months old and nothing was found at the time (under our previous GI, whom I hated), so he felt like something was being missed. He was oh so right. I'm thankful he pushed for this because if this scope had not happened we would still be in the dark.



Lexi was scoped in mid-October. She suffered a mild complication because the scope that should've fit down her esophagus was too big and caused trauma and bleeding. This was scary but even more, it was critical because this is how they realized she has an esophageal stricture.


I had no idea what this meant at the time. I had heard the word thrown around but wasn't totally sure what it meant. Basically, it means that there is a narrowing of her esophagus around her esophageal sphincter. Normally a child her age has an opening of about 18mm. Lexi's was 5mm. That was kind of an "aha" moment for us. No wonder she physically can't eat more than a puree consistency. IT DOESN'T FIT. 2 years of vomiting and gagging and weight loss and the pieces are starting to fall into place.
The first step was to find out what was causing the stricture. It could be congenital or it could've been formed due to scar tissue from reflux. The GI said it didn't look like there was scar tissue around the stricture so he is leaning more toward congenital. About 10% of congenital strictures will have some sort of cartilage around it causing the narrowing so Lexi needed to have an MRI to rule that out. If she had cartilage surrounding the stricture she would need to have surgery.

I was freaked out at this possibility. It would've taken weeks to recover and she would probably need to be fed via tube for a while. This sounded like a huge step backward considering how far we worked to avoid that. I know it would simply be for healing purposes but since she's been orally defensive in the past, it could be a huge set back.

Thankfully the MRI showed everything was clear and we could proceed with a much less invasive procedure called an esophageal dilatation. It's where the insert a small balloon into the esophagus to stretch it. Lexi has had 2 of these so far. Every time he esophagus stretches though, it always goes back a little. For instance the first time it was stretched they got it to 10mm. By the time we went back for the 2nd procedure it had gone back to 8.5mm. This last time they got it to 12mm, which means it will probably be between 10 and 11 next time we go in. Her 3rd dilatation is Wednesday the 7th. We anticipate she'll need at least one more after that.

Another thing they found is that her tonsils are enormous. On a rating scale of 1-4 (4 being the largest) hers are about a 4. They are practically touching. And what are the issues related to large tonsils? Oh... failure to thrive, poor weight gain, gagging, puking etc. Bingo! Another piece of the puzzle slides into place. Not only is my poor girl gagging in the back of her mouth from her giant size tonsils but she is also gagging from the food build up in her throat due to her stricture. I wouldn't want to eat either if I had her problems.

This month is a medically busy one. We have the remainder of her dilatations, and a tonsillectomy to look forward to. Every time her esophagus is dilated she is really pukey and gagging for about a week as she adjusts to the new sensation in her throat and learns how to swallow again. And the recovery for the tonsillectomy is going to be incredibly painful for everyone. I plan on keeping her in the hospital as long as they'll let me. I have a feeling that getting fluids and calories in her, let alone the pain meds will be quite the challenge. But when this is over? Should be a home run. At least that's what I've been told. We'll have to get to the other side to see if this IS in fact a home run. I'm hopeful but cautiously skeptical at the same time. For now, feeding therapy is on hold. There is no point trying to get her to eat a hot dog right now when her esophagus is barely the size of a pea. And tonsils that touch? I can only imagine how comfortable THAT must be.

So there ya go. Lots of stuff going on. In addition I had strep while Lexi had bronchitis. Then we all got the stomach flu the week of Thanksgiving. We're definitely hoping for a brighter new year. We're thankful for all the answers we've gotten and that we're on the path to recovery. We couldn't have gotten this far without our dedicated doctors and lots of prayer! Thank you all.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

SMILE

Lexi has developed a signature camera smile. Without fail, when we ask her to smile for a photo, this is what we get:





She'll need to work on this a little if she decides to become Miss America, but otherwise we love it just the way it is!







Saturday, July 23, 2011

Begging for bed

Last night we ran some errands and ended up having dinner at a delicious Asian restaurant that happens to be one of our favorites. I knew this meant we would probably get The Chubs into bed late. Usually she does ok if it's just a little later than her usual 7:30 bed time. Last night we didn't get home until after 7:30 and by the time we'd completed the bulk of her bed time routine, it was nearly 8:15. Stephen took over like he usually does and read to her, rocked her and sang to her ( I love hearing it over the monitor, so sweet). But tonight Lexi did not sign "book" over and over again, she had something else on her mind.

Apparently while this whole routine was going on, Lexi pushed up on Stephen's chest, signed "night, night" and whined and reached for her crib basically to say "Well, it's been fun, but PUT ME TO BED ALREADY!"

She also apparently smiled as soon as he laid her in the crib and within a few minutes was completely out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Outside Bug (and other updates)

Oh dear, well I'm not even going to apologize for not blogging for so long because seriously, I would be apologizing every post from now until eternity since I don't know how much I'm going to be able to post this summer.

How are we? We're doing just fine. I guess this is why I haven't blogged a ton because although things move along and change, there really isn't anything super exciting going on. We've been enjoying our summer, playing in the water, taking walks to the park, watching airplanes, skinning knees, playing with new friends, getting into average toddler mischief and getting scarily close to the terrible 2's with every waking moment.

I guess here are a few things worth mentioning:

  • 3 weeks after Lexi's tube surgery one of her tubes got clogged and she got ANOTHER ear infection. Instead of taking oral antibiotics we can now administer ear drops instead. Sounds simple right? Well, not really since Lexi screams bloody murder everytime we hold her down and ATTEMPT to get the drops in. Emphasis on the attempt because I'm not positive that I've ever gotten them far enough in her ear amidst the thrashing side to side and batting my hands away violently. We'll find out tomorrow at her follow up.
  • Lexi cut two canines and is working on her third plus a molar. Life has been interesting. My long, hard teether does not do well cutting teeth. There are moments of pure bliss when she's happy, sweet and cuddly, but there are also many many looming terrible 2 tantrums that I know are related to the pain she's experiencing.
  • Speech therapy and tubes have helped immensely. Since her tubes Lexi has been so much more vocal and now makes animal noises and is trying to finally say more words, or at least attempt it. Today she was saying "Apple" and has been starting to try to say "Dog" and a few other words. I'm sure the fact that she can finally hear much better makes a big difference, and her speech therapist is pretty stinkin awesome too.
  • As if our feeding issues weren't challenging already, lately Lexi loves to throw anything and everything off her highchair tray. She's been doing this for awhile but not to this degree. EVERYTHING goes onto the floor. Now to paint a picture, she is still eating mostly purees with oil. Take about 4 oz of something like sweet potatoes, add 1 tablespoon of oil and then hurl it across your wall. Then take some blueberry puree with the same amount of oil and splatter it over the floor and now you have somewhat of a picture of what our kitchen looks like after almost every meal.
  • Lexi's obsessed with going outside. So much so that if she can't go outside "RIGHT NOW" even if there's a thunderstorm or it's 100 degrees, she throws a fit. Yesterday we ended up feeding her on the deck in the shade when it was about 97 degrees outside simply because she would not eat unless she could go outside. I wish I could show how vigorously she signs "outside" and then the whine that accompanies it every time she has the urge.
And that's about all. We leave for a 10 day trip to the Northwest for my cousin's wedding in early August. We're looking forward to seeing family and getting away. We have a 3 night stay on the Oregon coast that we're really excited about. We also get to head back up to the Seattle area where I grew up near the end of the trip to stay with my parents and see some old friends. Should be a fun time! Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jazzercising

I have admittedly been a very bad blogger lately. I'm forcing myself to write because this blog serves more than the purpose of keeping family and friends up to date on Lexi, but it also is the equivalent to the calendar my mom used to jot things down on whenever we did something new. I've never been good with planners or calendars and have found this blog to be a great way to log everyday life with The Chubs. The problem is that when I go for a whole month without writing anything I start getting stressed that I've missed writing down a lot of important information. And as kids get older they become more independent but at the same time they are more work (in some ways) and I've found myself preoccupied with her most of the time with very little free time to sit down and blog. The days where she was taking 3-4 naps a day are long gone and sometimes her 1 nap is much shorter than I would like it to be.

So, enough explaining myself, I should probably get to the part where I catch up on all I've missed writing.

Here are some updates:
  • I'm not sure if I already wrote something about this, but Lexi has had a chronic double ear infection since at least March, but probably more like February or January because I was a typical FTM that didn't know her cues. She's had trapped fluid in her ear this entire time that won't drain on it's own even after several courses of antibiotics and it's effecting her hearing quite a bit which explains a lot of the speech delay going on. She's doing awesome with her sign language so we know that cognitively she is right on track if not advanced. The ENT guesses she has about 30-40% hearing loss due to the fluid. Because of this she is having tubes placed tomorrow. We're hoping that will help a lot.
  • She is now seeing a speech therapist who also is strongly thinking once her tubes are in that we'll see a huge change there. Especially since she was beginning to form words before all of this happened.
  • She is an excellent walker. She's been doing really well for awhile now. I no longer have to watch her at all. She can cruise around the house without me worrying about her taking a header into something. It's really given me a lot more freedom and she's so much happier now. She's starting to do better at following me in public places and listening to instruction but she does get pretty distracted by her surroundings!
  • Lexi is so much more affectionate now than she's ever been. She loves to give me kisses and hugs. My non-cuddler is now all about it. She even lets me rock her in the rocking chair before I put her down. Something she used to never let me do. I feel like her sensory issues are improving a lot.
  • She is now an avid jazzerciser. The video below says it all. We went to breakfast on Sunday morning and she walked down the sidewalk past a Jazzercising class where she decided she'd like to join in. Sound is a must on this one. And yes, she is very much ...white.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

1.5

Is it really possible that my baby is already a year and a half old? I'm having a hard time accepting this, but at the same time I have to admit that this age is the most fun yet and it seems that with every day that passes I am enjoying The Chubs more and more (and I really didn't think that was possible!).

Lexi is starting to catch up fast. For 9 months she literally did nothing but sit with her hands in front not touching anything. She didn't even have protective reflexes because her spd was so bad (she didn't want her hands to touch the floor, or anything for that matter). Now that she has been in therapy I have really seen her flourish. She had a lot of skills to catch up on that she lost time with those first 9 months, but as each month passes she's started to finally possess the traits of a normal, healthy and developing 18 month old. To say I am proud of her is an understatement.

I don't think I've mentioned this yet but about a week or two after she started walking she started to crawl. I worked with her everyday for 8 months on this skill so I am so thrilled. Now she can crawl to an object, pull up and walk wherever she wants. This is a normal skill for most kids but for her to feel comfortable on her hands and knees crawling around is a huge deal for us. I really didn't know if she would ever crawl.

She isn't a huge talker (although her favorite words are "Duck", "Baby" and "Mama" and she loves making the "hoo hoo" noise for the owl in her room), she is big on signing and can put 3 signs together to make a sentence. I counted her sign repertoire and it is over 90 and counting. It has been a lifesaver since her verbal is lagging. A speech therapist is going to be working with her soon and I know this will help her take her signing ability and translate it to verbal communication, but for now I'm just thrilled to be able to communicate with her. I'm sure it has eliminated a lot of tantrums and for that I'm grateful.

Her observation skills are astounding to me. She will pick something out in a crowd and sign it before I have even seen it. Sometimes I have to look closely to see what she's referring to but I always end up finding it. The Hubs took her past the frozen food section the other day and she signed "fish". She must have seen a fish picture (or maybe even the word) on the packaging. Today I was wearing an American Eagle fleece with that tiny little embroidered eagle on the top left (which to me doesn't even really look like one) and she pointed and signed "bird". The hubs ran a marathon this weekend and she kept signing "dog". I couldn't see one anywhere until finally off in the distance I saw an owner with their dog. I would've never spotted it on my own. She loves signing and pointing to anything in a book that she recognizes.

My favorite thing is her dancing. She'll ask for "more music please" and then when I turn it on she dances around the room bopping and swaying to it. As soon as the song stops she asks for it again. This can drag on forever but it's so stinking cute that I can't help but keep playing more songs for her.

She is a hair terror. She likes to pull hair and it's not a good habit to develop especially since she will go for anyone and everyone's hair and yank super hard, giggling the whole time. On a playdate a few weeks ago she just kept walking around pulling all the kids hair. I had "that child". I recently purchased a doll with long brown hair for her so that we can practice being gentle. So far she just wants to pick up the doll by her hair and fling her across the room. I think we need to work a little harder in this area.

Lexi is so much more of a snuggler now than she was as a baby. Therapy has really helped in this area. Now she'll walk over to me and give me hugs and kisses. It melts my heart. I still remember when she would fuss or cry when I tried to hold her or rock her. She has come so far since then and actually craves the physical touch now. I finally get to cuddle my little girl and it's wonderful!

No matter how much I try to describe my little girl, it can't even begin to capture the little person she is. I love her more than life and I am so proud to be her mama.

Happy 1.5 years Bug!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Puke: I'm so done with you

It's no secret that vomit has been a part of everyday life since The Chubs was born. I mean, the title of my blog is "Spit Happens" which kind of explains things right out.

When the Chubs was an infant, she would spit up an average of 20 times with each feeding (and we wondered why she wasn't gaining much weight...). Then there were the occasional projectile pukes which were not only inconvenient but downright scary for a first time mom. Especially when the puke went through the nostrils.

Once the mouthfuls of spit up decreased and then stopped, the full fledged vomits began. Up until 10 months old when Lexi was still just drinking milk/formula, they weren't a huge deal. Trust me, I still was not thrilled to be cleaning up puddles of milk puke but at least the smell wasn't as potent and it certainly didn't stain too badly.

Although solid food intake was a huge milestone for us considering our battle with terrible reflux and oral aversion, it also introduced us to much more disgusting vomits. Many kids stop puking or spitting up once solids are introduced. Unfortunately, due to a history of reflux, terrible gag reflex and continued oral sensitivities, the puke did not stop. It is becoming increasingly less common, but it is still very much a part of our lives. I could never begin to count how many times I have cleaned up puke. It is definitely in the hundreds.

Before having Lexi I was a pukephobe. I hated anything having to due with anyone's puke. I couldn't even listen to a family member puke without freaking out. It was one of my major fears. After a pregnancy filled with morning sickness from start to finish (including an hour AFTER delivering The Chubs), I started to not fear it quite as much. Afterall, I had probably puked well over 500 times during pregnancy and it was no biggie. Now I think it was preparing me for having a reflux kiddo.

Today at lunch for no real rhyme or reason, Lexi gagged on something. It could've been something as minor as a tiny lump in her food, or that the spoon went back too far in her mouth. But as soon as this child gags, she starts puking and doesn't stop until her stomach is completely empty. Considering she had a sizeable lunch it was EVERYWHERE. Usually cleaning up after her for lunch is already a daunting task. She likes to play in her food as most toddlers do and fling bowls across the kitchen floor. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to fully clean up after her meal on a puke-free day. But when puke is added to the picture it adds a solid 15 minutes onto my clean up time because it gets in every crack and crevice of her highchair, all over her clothes and all over the floor. That means a new load of laundry, a mop job on the floor and a completely thorough cleaning of her high chair pad and chair.

Can I just say I feel like I deserve to be past this stage by now? Everyone expects an infant to spit up once in awhile. Occasionally the stomach flu hits and you have a day or two of puke that you have to deal with. But seriously, she is 1.5 years old now and I feel I should have a break from this weekly puke business. Many people say kids get over their reflux once they start walking. I have yet to see this change. Part of the problem is that most kids don't outgrow their reflux until they hit 9 to 10 kilos which for many kids is around 1 year of age. Since Lexi is a tiny one, she's not there yet. I'm hoping once she gets there we will be done with this. Although the puke doesn't disgust me nearly as much as it used to, it's still not pleasant to clean.

Puke, I'm so done with you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Reflections

Dear Lexi,

Having you as my daughter has been the most amazing gift I could have ever received. You were not an after thought, or a mistake. You were deeply wanted and anticipated for years. I used to sit and think about what our child might look like, what little personality they would possess, who they would most take after, and so on. You came into our world and knocked our socks off in every single area. Never in my life would I have dreamed that my daughter would be as amazing as you.

I still remember that day in the hospital when everyone was rushing around preparing for your arrival. The warming lamp snapped on over your bed, and I felt the most anticipation I have ever felt in my life. You were coming and you would be there very soon. I couldn't wait to hold you and finally answer so many questions in my head about who you would be. Then you arrived and as they placed you on my belly, I looked down into your blue eyes staring right back at me and instantly I fell in love. Nothing could ever be so amazingly perfect.

It's hard to fully explain how much you have changed me for the better, and how much you continue to teach me on a daily basis. We have been through so many ups and downs together and have formed a bond that is unmatched. The love I have for you could never be described with words.

Although our journey together has had it's share of obstacles, I am so proud of you for continually overcoming them. Nothing has come easily for you from the day you entered this world, and to see you press onward and meet every single challenge in your own time has me bursting with pride.

When you smile at me, or snuggle against my chest, I want to freeze time. Soon, I know you will be graduating high school, going to college and eventually marry some guy that hopefully measures up to your daddy. Until then, I will hold you close to me and savor these sweet moments we have together, knowing there are many more to come.

I love you very much Bug,
Mom

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's official!

We officially have a walker. My post earlier was a bit premature. I should've waited until the end of the day for her to surprise me. After her nap she took 96 steps in a row and didn't stop after that. She's still a little unstable but I think today we can say Lexi is a walker! I'm so proud of my girl. It was no easy feat getting to this place.

Woohoo!

Today Lexi walked from the middle of our playroom out to the banister in the hallway without any assistance. It was probably 10 feet and about 15-20 steps. She's still battling some confidence issues but she can totally do it. The therapist gave me some techniques on how to get her to walk without holding onto our hand. At this point when we hold her hand and she walks she is putting hardly any weight or pressure on our hand. I knew she had the skills and ability to walk on her own but just needed something to push her to try it on her own. Today with some tips from her therapist she did it! I'm hopeful that soon she will be doing it 100% on her own once she has the courage. I cannot wait to having a walking baby! She's been pushing around her walker for 3 months now. It's TIME!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Steps!!!

Today while I was holding Lexi's hand as she walked I let go briefly and she took a couple of steps on her own! Then she came crashing into my arms. She did this several times throughout the day. It has been a long time coming. I don't know that she will be fully walking on her own really soon because she still has some balance issues but I was beyond thrilled. We are ordering her special arch supports because one of her legs is slightly weaker than the other and she likes to put most of her weight on her left foot. Hopefully with that addition and a little more practice we'll have a walker soon. I'm hoping by 18 months she'll be doing it all on her own. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Answer: Yes, it would.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lexi's top faves

Every once in awhile I'm asked by other moms to be, or friends and family that are attending baby showers to give them some ideas of items that have worked really well for us that I would recommend. In the past I've drawn a complete blank. This has prompted me to start a list of things that I've found have been invaluable on this journey. Keep in mind that some of these items worked well because my child has some special issues that most kids her age do not share. Also, I fully recognize that what makes each kid unique is that they will not like all the same things. They will not play with all the same toys or enjoy the same activities. That's why much to my dismay, they did not hand me a manual when I left the hospital and took Lexi home with me. Without further ado, I give you, Lexi's top faves, in no particular order:

1) The weighted blanket: This is a must for kids with sensory issues. When Lexi was done with the swaddle there was a good 4 months she would not take naps that were longer than 30 minutes long because she could not get comfortable. She was done with the swaddle but needed that feeling of security. This was perfect, because she could still move around but have the weight on top of her to make her feel secure. I purchased mine from a lady on etsy.


2) Radio Flyer Pack and Go Canopy Wagon: We have an annual pass to the zoo and this is perfect for those trips. The canopy provides shade from the sun and protection from rain. It also comes with a storage backpack that has an insulated pouch to store perishable food and keep beverages cold.
3) Munchkin suction bowls: Because of Lexi's initial fear of food her therapists suggested letting her play in her food. You can imagine that having bowls full of food flying everywhere doesn't really sit well with me. These are great because she still has her food in front of her to touch and experiment with but they seal to her tray so they are less likely to shoot off and onto the floor. Granted, they do still come unsealed with a strong grip, but usually I just keep an eye on them and reseal when necessary. They at least can't be unintentionally bumped off the tray and fortunately Lexi isn't a very aggressive child in her high chair.
4) Nuk Learner Sippy Cup with Silicone Spout: Lexi is not an aggressive drinker and doesn't like to work too hard to get fluid. She also favors softer spouts, so I found this to be the perfect cup for her. I just used a knife to cut the spout hole larger so it was easy for her to draw fluid from and there is no valve to deal with. The handles are removable, and we have already done away with them. I like the lid on the top to protect the spout and I like that it doesn't hold a lot of fluid because she isn't a big drinker. It's also easier for her to hold since it holds smaller volumes.
5) Garanimal Shoes: I'm not a big fan of Wal-Mart, but I like their shoes. They have good soles and a decent arch support and since little feet tend to lose shoes fairly easily, a price tag of $10 isn't bad at all. Lexi's physical therapist suggested that due to her low tone, that it would be best for her to learn to walk with shoes on and that she needed support for her arches. We were originally thinking we would need to pay for inserts but to our surprise, the arches in these shoes were perfect. Inserts would've been $40, so thanks to Wal-Mart we saved a ton of money and will be purchasing all our shoes there for the foreseeable future.

6) Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank: This toy is great for fine motor development. Lexi loves the music too. This was another therapist inspired buy.
7) Target Door Mirror: Seems so simply right? A $5.99 door mirror from Target is probably one of Lexi's all time favorite things. We have two of them in her playroom. For sensory kids, mirrors are awesome for motor planning. One of her favorite things is to watch herself dance in the mirror. It's also helped enormously with her sign language development.
8) Kidco Food Mill: This thing is pretty awesome. If you have a child that is still eating puree consistencies and you want to feed them on the go, you can take this thing anywhere. It is manually operated and requires no batteries or electricity. It will puree and blend any type of food you put in but it's especially good with fruits and veggies. We mainly use it for bananas. The consistency is probably for kids that can tolerate more texture since it won't puree it to a super smooth consistency, but it's also a great step after stage 2 purees to introduce texture before moving onto more gritty textures like mashed potatoes or other blended table foods.
9) Munchkin Inflatable Duck Bathtub: This thing is portable and deflates to a very nice travel size. This is a great transitional tub when you have a new sitter who no longer wants to use an infant tub but isn't super steady sitting on their own. I like the small size so it's quick to fill and easy to drain. The beak makes a quaking noise and it has a white hot spot in the tub so you know when it's too hot for baby. This was the tub that got Lexi comfortable with bath time.
10) Munchkin Bath Toys: Lexi loves playing with these in the bath tub. They also squirt water, but what I've found them most helpful for is for teething. She never put objects in her mouth until she was close to 14 months old. When she did, it was these toys. They are soft and rubbery and the hot pink one on the bottom left is her favorite to bite on because it's the perfect size for little mouths. It has nice thin fins so she doesn't have to open her mouth big to get it in there and when she bites down it's soft enough for her to not be alarming but also enough resistance to feel good.
11) Baby Signing Time Videos: These videos are awesome. In fact Lexi constantly points to the tv and signs "baby" (which is what she refers to as these videos) because she almost always wants to watch them. They teach so many great signs for kids to use to communicate with. The songs are cute and well written and they show lots of kids and toddlers using the signs which Lexi loves. She's really blossomed since we started using sign language. She can now tell me when she's in pain, hungry, wants something (to read a book, use a certain toy, take a bath etc), and we've been able to teach her to sign "please" to ask for things nicely and sign "thank you" for things. It's been wonderful since her speech is a little delayed. She also loves pointing out animals at the zoo and using the signs she knows for them. If she sees something when we're out and about she usually will point and sign to it which is also fun. I know it doesn't completely bridge the gap of communication but it sure helps.

12) Fisher Price Activity Walker: Lexi ADORES her walker. This one is awesome because it moves fairly easily so once they get the hang of stepping there isn't a lot of resistance to hold them back. It's pretty bare bones but it works great and it's really inexpensive! I also like that she can kneel at it and play with the toys on it, although she does get bored with them fairly quickly. She's much more interested in pushing it.


And that's about it. I'm sure as she gets older these will change dramatically, but these are the top on the list for now!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where have I been?

I finally retired my 5 year old piece of turd flip phone this week. It even had an antenna my friends. An antenna that was crooked, might I add. The end button was not functional anymore, or barely functional making it challenging to turn off on airplane voyages and to end calls. It also was never a very pretty phone from the get-go. I remember picking it out in the store and not really liking it then. I just needed something that was cheap and didn't cost much that fit in my "new every 2" Verizon plan.

So now I have a Droid X which really is way more than I bargained for. Do I really need to be alerted every time someone Facebooks, emails, texts, Google chats, or farts in my general direction? Probably not, but nevertheless, I am. I'm sure if I was more tech savvy I could figure out how to turn some of them off but laziness + apathy win. My social butterfly husband has found out how to actually add MORE alerts to the mix. I'm still trying to figure out why you would want that, but that's just how he rolls.

Now that I have this fancy new phone, blogging has become more challenging because I no longer have much of a need to use my computer. I can browse the internet, and pretty much check anything on any social networking site I could possibly dream of via my new phone. The only problem is that if I want to type large paragraphs, that's where the smart phone errs on the dumber side. It likes to start guessing what you're typing before you've finished typing it and since you're using a touch screen it's easy to accidentally select it's "guess" instead of what you were really trying to type all along. Because poor spelling drives me crazy this is unacceptable to me and I would never want to try to type an entire blog post on this phone. Let me rephrase. I would at this point of time, not feel comfortable doing so considering my rookie skills. Maybe sometime in the future I would consider it.

Today as I opened my laptop it looked huge, like some ancient piece of technology I hadn't seen for..... days. I can tell I'm becoming one of those "phone" people. You know, the ones that are always using their phones for something. The people I always used to hate and thought were totally snobby and rude. I didn't know why they couldn't just detach themselves for two seconds from their precious phone to join the rest of the world. But now that I see how distracting these dang things are I realize why so many Americans have ADD. The first few nights we had our phones Stephen and I were just sitting next to each other on the couch playing on our phones for hours. It was just ridiculous.

Anyway, I better go... I have 20 notifications I need to attend to.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My DIY Project

The Hubs was in Germany this week. It has become a more frequent occurrence in the last year for him to need to travel for work. Neither of us are huge fans of this, but we try to make the best of it. In the past, my mom has been able to come visit to help me with The Chubs but because of the short notice of this last trip, I was forced to go it alone. As some of you know, I am an artist. Mainly of the graphic variety (read: computer geek), however, I do dabble in other medias as well. One of my favorite things to do is try to revamp rooms in our home on a very tight budget.

We have a room in our home that rarely gets used and was mainly just collecting dust that we decided would become The Chub's play room. This was my project while The Hubs was gone:

The theme of the room was centered around owls for a few different reasons. One being that I love owls. The second being that Lexi makes this owl hooting noise that is absolutely hysterical. And the third being that my father used to sing me a song when I was little called The Wise Old Owl, which was also the song my Grandma used to sing him. It is framed in the room. on the opposite wall. I drew the mural on the wall by hand and then used those sample cans from lowes to paint it in. They are only a few bucks a piece. I already had some cheapie paint brushes left over from when I did the mural on Lexi's nursery wall.


Toys are stored in the leather ottoman. This was an ottoman we already had in our basement that never got used. I thought it would be put to better use up here. It's soft so I know little heads won't be banged on the corners and the top is easy to lift. The most expensive thing in this room was the tv stand which was $70 from Target. I actually assembled it myself. I was quite proud. It took me 2 hours though. KIND OF PATHETIC.You may have noticed the pockets against the mural wall. They were wall pockets from office depot. They were advertised at about $5.95 a piece on the office depot website. When I got to the store they were priced at $10/piece. I wasn't super thrilled about that but I was pressed for time after waiting in line for over 10 min. and had a grumpy child in my arm so I didn't have time to hassle the lady at the counter. I'm still confused about the whole pricing issue. Next time I will order them from the site if I choose to get more. I purchased fabric, made a pattern and covered them using a hot glue gun and mounted them to the wall. They will hold books and were placed at a level where The Chubs can drop books in herself once she's walking on her own. I had extra fabric so I made these:


... two extra throw pillows. These were sewn by hand because I do not have a sewing machine. The ribbon on the argyle pillow was just hot glued on because I'm classy like that.

The tissue puffs were probably one of my favorites because they were super easy and super cheap. Literally they took about 5 minutes once I knew what I was doing. The tissue cost about $2, then I just had to buy some craft wiring, I put a small nail in on each side of the window, wrapped the wire around each nail, and then hung the tissue puffs on a string from the wire. It just added some extra color and texture to the room and Lexi loves to look and point at them.


And finally, the opposing wall to the mural wall, the "inspiration" to the whole theme of the room, is where I have the lyrics of "The Wise Old Owl" song framed. I couldn't get a good close up picture of the frame because there was too much of a glare. I used a brown paint pen to letter "The Wise Old Owl". Here are the lyrics to the song:

There's a wise old owl in the tree, in the tree,
And he sits quite still all the day.
His big round eyes peer at you and me,
In a most surprising way.

When all the world goes to sleep at night,
And there isn't a single ray of light,
Mr. Owl wakes up,
Spreads his wings for a flight,
WHO WHO says the owl in the tree.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will I ever fit in?

When I was single at my church in college, it was a smaller church filled with younger married couples. I felt left out of the group because I was not yet married. Once I got married, we were among the only ones without kids. Little did I know it would be years before we would be in that club. Many of you know our struggles with infertility that followed. I never fit in with the couples that would plan when they would conceive by the month they wanted to deliver in. Or all peed on a stick together and celebrated their planned pregnancies. I couldn't relate to these people, and still can't because I don't know what it's like to be able to have that kind of predictability in life.

Once we got pregnant, I couldn't have those types of conversations with woman who were pregnant with me. I couldn't share the stories of how I missed one birth control pill and "oops!" it just happened. I was a little embarrassed to talk about our IUI experience because really, how many people even know what that is, or have to take those measures in their 20's. And once you get into that conversation you open up a whole can of worms worth of questions.

Once I became a mom the same thing happened. I would hear people complaining about motherhood, or griping in general and not that I didn't have my own personal frustrations, trust me, but sometimes I would really want to give them a good old fashion reality check.

Then, all the medical stuff with Lexi happened and I'd get comments about how "oh, yeah well she'll eat when she's hungry" and other babbling word vomit that just fills the void when awkward silence is the alternative. Or other comments like "You are so lucky you have an immobile child! My child is into EVERYTHING! Enjoy it!" I don't really need to go into all the reasons these comments are irritating since if you've read my blog you already now since I've covered it.

But I've come to the point where I feel like I just don't fit in anywhere. There are women who are dying to have their second child at any given point, even from the moment their first leaves the womb. I am not one of those women, especially after the first year I have just gone through. However, after knowing my fertility history I would be thrilled if I was pregnant tomorrow. Does that make sense? Of course not! It is a complete contradiction. And that is why I don't know where I fit in.

Their are women who are made to be mothers and look completely natural at it. Their child has no issues, they nurse like pros, their children have no developmental delays and they get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I do not fall under any of those categories, therefore I feel like I can not relate to them, and honestly I envy what they have and am somewhat intimidated by them. There has always been some group that I want to be a part of but can't. And currently this is the club I feel like I cannot join.

So I suppose I have a choice. And I suppose I have always had this choice. Have these "clubs" ever excluded me? No. I have chosen to exclude myself. I can choose to continue to shy away out of my own insecurities or choose to jump in and overcome them. The question is... do I have it in me? We shall see.

Friday, February 18, 2011

15 Months and some answered prayers

I don't usually blog on Lexi's monthly anniversaries. It may just be because up until 9-10 months she really wasn't making a lot of progress and it was almost a little painful to realize how far behind we were. After that she was making strides but we were still far far behind lots of kids her age and to come up with a joyful list of all the exciting things she was doing was about the farthest thing from my mind. I always felt like those lists for for parents of healthy normal kids. I would do them few and far between just out of obligation because I didn't want to forget some of the things she did down the line and then regret it.

On this particular anniversary, I feel like I actually WANT to be writing down her milestones and for once, I looked forward to posting this.

In early January, I wrote down a list. It was kind of a wish list of things I hoped The Chubs would accomplish by the time she was 15 months old. She was doing none of these things at the time so I felt like it was kind of far fetched but nonetheless, I wrote it down and prayed to God that he would answer the following prayers of mine and she would reach the following milestones by 15 months. This is exactly what I wrote:

"At 15 months, my prayer is that Lexi would:

Be eating some table food without gagging, whether on her own or with my assistance
Be drinking consistently from something other than her bottle, on her own or with my assistance
Crawling
Saying a few words other than mama dada and baba
Have much less oral defensiveness and not battling refusal nearly as much
Taking one good nap each day"

Let me reiterate that she was doing none of these things at the time. Let me also expand on all of these requests:

1) Be eating some table food without gagging

Lexi is eating mashed banana, blended cooked sweet potatoes, taking bites of veggie straws, rice crackers, mashed avocado (although she doesn't dig the taste), baked and blended squash, and other prepared table foods without any gagging. Although I still need to feed them to her she has made major steps in her texture acceptance and management.

2) Be drinking consistently from something other than her bottle

I've already blogged about this before, but Lexi takes all of her milk during the day through her sippy along with some juice by sippy as well. When I wrote this, she was not drinking from her sippy AT ALL, or anything else other than her bottle.

3) Crawling

Although Lexi is not crawling, she can crawl on her knees while scooting her push toy. She can also walk around the house independently with her push toy and cruise around furniture. She may never crawl, but I would say the fact that she is taking steps and walking with her push toy, that she is already exceeding my expectations.

4) Saying a few words other than mama dada and baba

Lexi can say:

Book ("Boooo")
Ball ("Bahhh")
Baby ("BehBeh")
Bath ("Baaa")
Duck ("Duu")

She also says "pppp" for "Clap", but we know what she means so I suppose it counts! :)

She can also sign:
More
All Done
Milk
Dog
Car
Bus
Hat
Shoes
Airplane
Eat
Wash Hands
Sleep
Brush Teeth
Please
Thank You
Bike
Fan

And probably more but I can't think of them all right now. She learns more everyday.

5) Have much less oral defensiveness and not battling refusal nearly as much

She now lets us (and enjoys) brush her teeth every day a couple times a day. She puts toys in her mouth (finally) and chews on things. She even does minimal self feeding with biscuits and crackers. I never thought I'd see the day!

6) Taking one good nap each day

Recently her afternoon naps have been about 2- 2.5 hours long which has been wonderful considering she would only nap 30 minutes at a time from about 7 months until 14 months old. As long as she poops before her nap we usually can count on a wonderful long nap and I am beyond thankful for it!

Needless to say I am beyond grateful and so thankful to God for answering my prayers. I really thought it was a stretch when I initially wrote this list, but it just goes to show you that nothing is impossible for Him!!

Happy 15 months Chub Muffin!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Going dental and mental

Today was Lexi's first dental check up. Yes, it is recommended that your child see the dentist by their first birthday, but honestly, I wouldn't have taken her in unless I actually had a concern.

One of The Chub's front teeth came in looking like it had a small chip in it on the surface of the tooth. I wasn't really that concerned since it came in like that but over the last few months it's gotten a little discolored within the chipped area and I really just wanted to make sure it wasn't turning into a cavity or some other sort of issue that required attention or was causing her discomfort since she already has some oral aversion issues.

I was extremely nervous for the appointment because she absolutely hates anything around or near her mouth, and has extreme stranger anxiety. She even sometimes cries when I hand her off to The Hubs at night when he gets home from work. She is truly a mama's girl.

I specifically chose Dr. B after thoroughly reading through a dozen pediatric dentist websites in the area and seeing that Dr. B encouraged families to be a part of the overall dental experience and that he had experience working with special needs kids. Not that the chubs would be categorized in the special needs area, but because of her SPD (Sensory Placement Disorder) she does require some extra consideration when it comes to handling her oral region. Dr. B lived up to all my expections. He was warm, friendly and compassionate. His staff was very courteous and left the decisions entirely up to us. They asked us up front if we wanted her teeth cleaned. There was no pressure in any way to clean them or not to clean them. I told them that we really just wanted them to take a look at her teeth, especially her front tooth and make sure everything looked ok. They were perfectly happy to accommodate us.

Dr. B worked quickly and efficiently and although within the 10 seconds he took to look her over and smear flouride on her teeth, she worked herself up and threw up all over the seat, we were expecting no less. Let's face it, we know our girl and we have designated puke towels we bring to appointments like this. And really it was only one heave - so not terrible. She even got to pick a little prize at the end which ended up being a pencil because it was the only thing that wasn't a choking hazard.

The verdict was that it is just a malformation of the tooth that could've even been formed in utero. It's a chipping of the enamel and is not a cavity although we are going to continue to watch it to make sure it does not turn into one because it is more susceptible since the enamel is chipped in that area. He said it's nothing to be concerned about at this point. We'll continue to brush her teeth like we have and keep an eye on it. It shouldn't be causing any discomfort, although she could be more sensitive to hot or cold on that tooth. It's hard to say for sure. The rest of her teeth look good. She has 8 teeth now with a few more bumps he noticed (oh joy!). So overall it was a positive appointment, and I can stop worrying about it for the time being. We'll be going back in in about 2 months just to monitor the tooth and make sure it's not getting worse. One more thing to check off my list of things to do!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My little vegan

It's becoming increasingly evident that my daughter is in fact a vegan. She even borderlines a raw vegan because she only will eat foods at room temperature. I'm not quite clear on her spiritual or moral convictions concerning this life choice, but what I do know is that as time goes on, it is becoming an indisputable fact.

As an infant The Chubs was seemingly intolerant to dairy. When I tried introducing pureed meat to her, I think I saw her laughing at me, or maybe she was trying to perfectly time a projectile vomit all over my shirt. Either way, neither of these food groups went down in a successful manner. Since her first birthday I have tried to reintroduce some dairy into her diet. I think her system can tolerate small amounts but I really don't think she digs the taste of any sort of dairy. Either that, or as suspected, she is not a fan of animal products - and really when you say it like that it doesn't sound too appetizing I suppose.

Perhaps when she cries and points at our cats as they walk around the house she is in fact trying to say "Save the kitties, don't eat meat!", or when she shakes her head in disgust over a spoon full of yogurt she's saying "Don't milk the innocent! A cow goes moo!!!", or maybe it's a self image thing and all these months of referring to her as "The Chubs" has finally gotten to her. No matter what it is, though, we support her decisions and although we don't understand all of them, we will respectfully cater to her wishes for the time being and as long as she continues to tolerate large amounts of safflower oil in her fruits and veggies, we'll call it good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free preview

Today I took The Chubs to a free session of Kinder.musik. It was recommended to me by a trusted friend and seemed like a great idea. Lexi absolutely loves music. Every time she hears music she starts bopping up and down or rocking side to side. I've been wanting to get out and do something fun with The Chubs that doesn't involve therapy and give her exposure to other kids her age and give me the chance to meet other moms. I didn't really know much about it. I just knew they did activities that involved the kids and moms together and incorporated music into these activities. Then about 20 minutes before I was about to leave I watched this preview video:


All of a sudden I was worried that I was going to burst out laughing in the middle of the class because let's face it -it looks like a bunch of home school moms (seriously nothing wrong with homeschooling- really - just describing a type that sews their own skirts and wears burkenstock sandles with hair that goes to their butts*) doing tribal dances and chanting that take this class really seriously. Or another type that is stuck in the 80's wearing denim vests or jackets with spandex/stirrup pants. Not my thing.

So I was a little apprehensive before going to the class. The Hubs was planning on joining me so I was fearful that it would turn into the church syndrome... you know the one where you aren't supposed to laugh but because you can't it makes it even more funny and you just keep spurring each other on? What if they made us do interpretive dancing under a parachute or something? I just didn't think I could handle that kind of awkwardness.

So we get there and there are like 5 other little cute babies and their moms and a totally normal looking lady smiling at us. I already sighed in relief because she didn't smell of hemp and greeted us with a "hi" instead of "nomaste" (which really would be fine if this was a baby yoga class).

The rest of the class was just plain cute and I think The Chubs thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nothing like the video (Thank God...seriously). We're still contemplating if it's worth the $150 for 6 sessions but it's good to have at least trialed it and now know what goes on at one.

** There is nothing wrong with sewing your own skirts, wearing burkenstocks or having butt length hair, although it violates several fashion codes. I however, do not relate to these women, and that is mainly the point I'm trying to make. I would not fit in, in a setting like this. Please do not send me hate mail!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Things I wish I could've told myself before I had a baby...

These are particularly applicable to having The Chubs and to my experience as a mother to a child with special needs:

Definitely wake a sleeping baby if said baby will not ever show hunger cues or eat enough to thrive during the day.

Always dispose of a poopy diaper immediately or else the poop may end up in a tiny curious hand.

Let them get messy at meal time no matter what a hassle it is to clean up. It is so much more important for them to feel comfortable with food than to have a clean tray and an empty washer at the end of the meal.

Don't sweat over poor napping. If that's all they need, so be it. As long as they are content in their crib to just play and rest, it's a win-win.

A messy house comes with the territory of motherhood. There will be other lifestages to have perfectly kept house.

Every baby develops at their own pace. The important thing is to value each child for who they are and what they have accomplished. Savor every moment, every stage, and don't look at others for guidance on what your child should or shouldn't be doing.

Trust your instincts. If you think something is off, have it looked into. Everytime I have trusted my gut on something I have been thankful I followed through. Other times I dismissed something I have regretted it in the long run.

There is a difference between worrying about something and being proactive about it. Take a negative emotion and turn it into a positive outcome.

Patience is essential in parenthood. Anyone that lacks it will not make it out with their sanity.

Do not stress out about the things you cannot control. Not only will you become an unhappy person, but it will make your child unhappy as well.

You can read every book on the planet and still none of them will be able to tell you what your child needs. Only you can be the expert on your own child.

Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse. If you are frustrated or unhappy about something, let them know. It's better to work it out quickly instead of bottling it up and then exploding later.

When you have a child with special needs:

Nothing is achieved quickly or without effort. Keep pressing onward with diligence and devoting yourself to your child and eventually you, and they, will get there. Do not give up and do not get lazy.

Regression is a part of the process. There will be times you will be sailing by and making huge strides only to find yourself moments later, taking several leaps backward. Do not be discouraged. For every leap backward there will be 2 leaps forward.

Get out of the house and make time to just enjoy your child and be reminded of all the things you love about them. Do not get into the pattern of trapping yourself inside and shutting yourself off from the world.

Make time for yourself. Do not feel guilty if you need time away to rejuvenate so you can be the best you can be for your child.

Counting calories will not make your child eat more. Not counting them will not make them eat less. It is good to be aware of their eating habits so you can report to their doctors regarding their progress but do not become obsessed or let it rule your life.

Listen to the advice of others, but know that unless they have walked in your shoes, they can't fully understand the circumstances.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

As "Normal" As it Gets

Part of the slew of testing that all of The Chubs' doctors wanted her to get was genetic testing. It was basically just to rule out any underlying issues why she's small, has been slower to grow, and has had trouble hitting milestones. Granted, her OT and I both already knew the answer to those questions was related to her sensory stuff, but to satisfy the doctors we went through with it.

It started with a renal ultrasound and some x-rays. Then we did an EKG and echo of her heart. All of these things checked out completely normal. The lady at the hospital even rolled her eyes when she looked at the charts. "Genetics is fishing for answers again, huh?". I just nodded and kind of laughed. You could tell she was a little irritated with the department at Children's. "Well they are not going to find answers here!". I wanted to kiss her, but that would be weird.

Then the final thing that I had been dragging my feet about for ages was the blood test. I knew The Chubs would flip out and she did. She puked like 5 times during the blood draw and the nurse was in absolute disgust claiming she had "never seen a child do that before". I suppose she was new because seriously? Kids puke from crying all the time. I mean it's not like EVERY kid does, but a lot of kids, if they get worked up enough, they'll gag or vomit. Anyway, that's beside the point. We made it through (barely) and she even got a toy at the end that she was pretty excited about. It was Christmas time so every patient was getting a toy. Kind of fun.

The results said they would take about 2-4 weeks. About 6 weeks later in typical medical fashion, we finally got a note in the mail (so nice of them to call and ease our minds!), saying that all results were normal. So basically for being a part of THIS family, she's as normal as it gets. It was a huge relief just to know there isn't anything else that could be causing issues. Now if we can tackle this sensory stuff we'll be all set!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Big Steps

For 14 months I have had an immobile child. I know many people would go on and on about how lucky I am and how once they start moving, they never stop and blah blah blah. But seriously, I don't think many people stop to think about the inconvenience of having a child that can not move from one point to another for that long. Especially a child who is extremely social and won't let me out of her sight! It's frustrating for both of us because she wants to be wherever I am, but sometimes when I need to get things done, she just can't be. She also gets frustrated when she sees the cats and can't go after them. It's to the point where a lot of times I have to shove a cat in the basement or let them outside before she comes down to play because I don't want her to flip out and throw a tantrum because she can't go after the cat. I'm pretty sure she just hates everything about the crawling position. She has the strength to crawl, she is good at rocking on her hands and knees and weight shifting her arms, but at the end of the day she doesn't like that she is closer to the ground, when everyone else is up high. I have diligently been doing crawling exercises with her for months now. She is much better in that position than she used to be (read: she doesn't throw a tantrum and thrash around when I put her on all fours) but she is still not a fan. I don't know that she ever will be.

So when she started taking steps with her walker the other day, I was ecstatic. Even if the walker gets used for awhile before the actual walking begins, that is enough for me. The fact that she could start cruising around the house with a walker makes me feel like the end of this immobility will be here soon. It would not completely surprise me if she skipped over crawling and went straight to walking (much to her therapist's dismay). Of course I want her to crawl before she walks. It's good for building up the strength in her arms and teaching kids how to get in and out of positions. HOWEVER, you can't force a child to crawl. If you could, trust me, she would have been crawling months ago. So even if this ends up meaning all of my effort to get her to crawl was in vain, I am just thankful that my child may finally be able to get around ON HER OWN! I do have to say though, my arms are getting pretty buff from all this kid lugging. It's a pretty awesome work out to have an immobile child for over a year, but I'm ready for flabby arms. Bring on the walking!

Friday, February 4, 2011

FAKER!

Lately The Chubs has been really working on her fake cry. Her face looks so pathetic and she musters up a long drawn out whine that is shortly followed by a glance in our direction to see if we're watching. Even today in her crib, she's working on it. I can see the pathetic expression on her face and the effort she is putting into the whine but after each short outburst, her face returns to normal, and then she begins again a few seconds later after a much needed break. No tears, no sniffing, just a long dramatic "ahhhhhhhhhhh" with a few inflections here and there with a scrunched up pouty face. I have to admire her persistence.

She's been using this technique quite a bit lately. Sometimes she can get herself so into the part where she starts to form real tears, but she doesn't yet have the stamina to keep a consistent fuss going. There are usually several breaks in between her outbursts because faking it is hard work!

Even now as I type this, she's finally passed out from sheer exhaustion. She gave it her all, but was defeated. And although she is quite passionate, I don't think she should consider a career in acting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sippy and Drippy

The good news here is that we are almost 100% sippy cup these days. Today The Chubs had 3 out of 4 "bottles" from her sippy cup. Tomorrow I plan on transitioning to all sippy cup and getting rid of that ridiculous haberman bottle. Not only has she been doing great with the sippy for her bottles, she has also consistently been drinking several ozs of juice from them a day, during meal times. Remember my miracle blanket burning party? Well I intend to have a haberman burning as well (even though neither time will actual flames be involved - it's more of a freeing mental state).

In less fun news, we had a pipe burst in our basement today. It completely flooded one of the bedrooms down there that is considered the "poker room" or "man cave". We heard water rushing and when The Hubs went down to check on it, there was a few inches of water on the floor. We'll be spending the rest of the night soaking up the floor and ringing out towels. I can't wait. Thankfully we didn't have much in there, so there wasn't a lot of damage. It's mainly just a pain in the butt. I suppose this could've been anticipated since our temps have been hovering in the negative teens the last several days. And thankfully, my husband, being the handy guy he is, was able to fix the pipe, but had to tear out a lot of the drywall. All of that will need to be repaired at some point. You don't realize the value of running water until you have to clean up after a toddler without it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where did it go?

Today while playing with The Chubs, I noticed she was bearing down and grunting, and her face was turning red, so I figured she was working on something, which often happens in the late afternoon. After letting her sort things out below, I smelled a poopy diaper so I figured I'd just change her right there on the floor.

I checked her diaper and sure enough there was a pile of goopy poop. Sorry for the detailed description but it is important that you know the consistency for the rest of the story.

So I cleaned her little bum up, still keeping the dirty diaper under her, and then pulled it out like I normally do to wrap it up. When I pulled it out I realized there was no longer a glob of poop in it. I looked around her frantically to make sure it wasn't smeared on the carpet, or hadn't gotten on me somehow, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I actually looked up at Lexi and saw her holding the glob in her hand and mushing it around with her fingers while staring intently at it. I don't know how I missed it, or how I failed to see her grab it, but I took action immediately by wiping her hands vigorously, and then taking her to the sink to wash them. I'm just so glad that it didn't disappear into her mouth.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm hijacking this from another blog that I read because it is beautifully written. Although the road to motherhood and the journey thereafter have been difficult, I thank God for the precious gift that he has given me in Lexi. I can only hope that one day in the future He will be gracious enough to entrust another little heart into our care, but if he doesn't, I am thankful for the experience of motherhood, and the chance to love and care for our precious miracle.

"There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books, but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again. Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.

I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life. I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love. I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain. I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body, I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall. I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs. I listen. And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immerse power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes. I have learned to appreciate life.Yes, I will be a wonderful mother." - Unknown

Monday, January 10, 2011

Slow but good progress

I am over the moon lately because I feel like The Chub's oral defensiveness is starting to improve quite a bit. I feel like she is finally to a point where she isn't as scared or apprehensive about new things coming near her mouth, which makes life easier on all of us. Although texture continues to be an issue when she eats, it is becoming less of an issue for her to merely HAVE texture in her mouth. Before she would not let anything texturized into her mouth no matter what it was. She is now starting to accept:

Teething biscuits (sometimes will even hold them in her hand and chew on them without my assistance)
Washcloths (chewing and sucking on)
Texturized Spoons & other texturized utensils
Cheetos & Veggie Straws (Licking and taking small bites)
Lollipops

When I bring something close to her mouth, she tends to be open to the idea of exploring it. Her exploration isn't without some sort of trepidation, but I wouldn't expect her to jump in feet first with anything. Everything we've accomplished has taken lots of exposure and repeated tries to get to where we are.

I think she's getting bored of her bottle, but I haven't successfully transitioned her to any sort of cup. Liquids are not her favorite thing, so I think it will just take a lot of persistence and more exposure to get her comfortable to drink out of a new object and do it on her own. We're in the awkward place where she's kind of done with the bottle, but there isn't another alternative quite yet so we just have to push through.

On another note, although self feeding sounds freeing in theory, I'm terrified about it. I don't know that I trust her to eat or drink enough on her own, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!

She's doing much better on her hands and knees now. She rocks on her own and seems to enjoy it for a period of time. She's doing well with weight shifting from arm to arm. We still need to use a thin cushion under her hands, because she's not quite ready to put her hands flat on the ground, but in a week or so, I'll pull the cushion and go from there. We started with two cushions, so we're getting there. At first she wasn't able to get back up on her knees from the one cushion, but can do that now, so I think she just needs time to build the muscles more. She's also improving quite a bit pulling herself up from sit to stand.

And since I haven't posted a picture of her in awhile, I figured one was in order:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

13 Months 2 Days

No, this is not the age my daughter is right now (she's 13 months and 17 days to be exact). It is the age that I was told to look out for. That my daughter's blue eyes could possibly turn brown over night on that exact day. Yes, I did say overnight.

Who would say such a thing you ask? Oh just some random lady working at the American Girl store. I'm sure she has her doctorate and is an expert on baby eye color. My mom and I popped in there about a month ago just for fun. I loved the books when I was a little girl and they have expanded their collections so much I thought it would be fun to browse and see what was available and dream about when The Chubs is old enough to start playing with them. We were in the baby doll section looking for a doll that had brown hair and blue eyes. Not because we wanted to get it for Lexi, she's not old enough to truly appreciate a doll that expensive, but just for fun. The sales associate in that particular area asked if she could help with something and my mom, being the oversharer that she is (love you mom! :)) mentioned that we were looking to see if they had any babies with brown hair and blue eyes. The saleswoman said they didn't and wanted to know why we were particular about it. I just mentioned that my daughter had that combination and it would be fun to find a doll with the same features. Then our conversation went a little like this:

Saleswoman: How old is your daughter?

Me: She just turned 1 year

Saleswoman: Well, you know her eyes can still change.

Me: Really? I thought most eye colors were set at around 8 months and green eyes are the only color that change after that.

Saleswoman: No. That was what I was told too, but at exactly 13 months and 2 days both of my children's eyes changed from blue to brown.

Me: Wow? Really? You mean overnight? Or was it gradual?

Saleswoman: It was overnight. They went to bed with blue eyes and woke up with brown! So just watch out.

Me: Um, ok? That is so weird that they changed over night. You would think it would be a little more gradual.

Saleswoman: Yes, it was weird.

Awkward silence

Saleswoman: So, just watch out for that day!

Me: Um, well thanks for your help.

So thank goodness we made it past the 13 month, 2 day mark. Looks like she's keeping her blue eyes for good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, Fresh Start

I can't tell you how happy I was to say goodbye to 2010. To most people that would sound really terrible because it was the first year of my baby's life, but to those of you who regularly read my blog, you can understand where I'm coming from. I'm just so ready for a fresh start, and things are looking really promising.

I haven't posted much lately but for the last few months The Chubs has been doing so well with her eating. She's been eating much more each day than she needs to which is a huge victory in itself, but what is even more exciting is that we are down to 4 bottles a day and 3 solid meals. I really never thought I'd see the day (or at least wouldn't see it until she was 5... ok maybe 2). My sweet daughter is now sleeping 7pm-7am, with a bottle every 4 hours during the day, and solid meals in between each bottle. I can't even tell you how much this has transformed my life.

Flash back to August I was feeding her every 3 hours round the clock like a newborn. She was about 9 months old and was still not accepting solids. I had to wake her through the entire night to feed her or she wouldn't get enough calories. Even with all of these feedings she still wasn't eating enough. She averaged about 17 oz a day. It was HORRIFIC. I was so depressed, cried everyday, was sleep deprived and felt hopeless, especially when she puked up everything I just fed her on a regular basis. Thinking back to that time, I really don't know how I survived. It was so hard to know she was not feeling well and not knowing what the problem was. Her reflux medication didn't seem to be doing anything and I was still pumping and supplementing with soy formula because I knew she was intolerant to dairy.

What made the huge turn around? Well, I finally realized that for whatever reason, my breast milk and the soy formula were not gentle enough on her system. Everyone thinks that breast milk is the perfect food, and really it is. But there were things I was consuming that were transferring to my milk that were taking a toll on her little system. And instead of doing weeks of trialing foods and seeing what it was she was sensitive too while she continued to lose weight, I made the hard decision to stop pumping and give her a completely hypoallergenic formula that you can only purchase directly through the company or through a pharmacy with Doctor's permission, called Elecare. Within 3 weeks, I had a new baby. And even though these measly 14 oz cans cost almost $50 a piece (and last only a few days), it was completely worth it (and thank God for craigslist).

We still struggled to get her intake up with her formula and solids but as the months went on and the healing process continued she started to gain weight, and take more interest in eating. She actually started to seem like she had an appetite. It's been a slow process getting her over her oral aversion, but slowly her defensiveness is starting to dissipate. She now allows us to brush her teeth with a wash cloth, dispense medicine via dropper, use a vibrating teether among many other things I never thought I'd see her do.

I realize how pathetic these achievements sound. Any normal baby would have absolutely no problem with these things and would be chewing and mouthing anything in sight, but I can't help but thank God over and over again that our little orally defensive sensory refluxer is now eating like a champ and allowing us to put more and more types of things in her mouth. We're still having major issues with texture and gagging but we're making progress.

I know that things will only continue to improve. I can see that as she feels better and is finally getting the nutrition she needs that she is starting to explore the world much more. She was completely shut off from everything for the first 9 months of her life. She felt so horrible that she wouldn't explore anything. She wouldn't even touch toys. I always felt bad doing anything around the house because all she would do is sit there. So now when I see her playing with toys, rocking back and forth on her hands and knees and wanting to learn about everything around her, it makes me smile. She had a very late start so we are suffering a lot of delays because of it, but she has learned so much in such a small time frame and even if it doesn't mean she walks until she's 2 or 3, I can rest assured knowing she feels better and is getting the calories she needs.

Yes, 2011 is going to be our year. I can feel it!