Friday, June 29, 2012

Eleven Months



SS is 11 months old today - only one more month until he is ONE ENTIRE YEAR OLD.

We are on the countdown, especially because GG, fAuntie Jen, Uncle Aaron, and Cousins M and A will be in town to celebrate along with the rest of the fam.

(The birthday party planning hath begun.)

Life before B's diagnosis and life after B's diagnosis feel very distant from one another, and yet somehow both occurred in the past month of SS's life. 

SS took his first official belly-off-the-ground crawl-steps on June 8th. He still prefers to army crawl, as he is very speedy at it, but is rocking a bit on all fours and taking a tentative step here and there before retreating to the army crawl. This past week he gets on all fours, takes one small step forward and then maneuver himself into a sitting position, which seems to please him.  Otherwise, he army-crawls to follow us all over the house, as he does not enjoy being left alone in a room.



This month SS has enjoyed some pool time. The first time I tried to take him in the pool, he immediately started crying and that was that. No swimming. This month we took him to a pool party and he sat on the edge of the pool and splashed and splashed his feet while J and I talked with friends.


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And then we tried full submersion again last weekend after SS watched BB and I swim for a while, and SS laughed and splashed through his inaugeral swim.

For about 10 days this month SS communicated mainly through blowing raspberries. SS did not regard food in his mouth as an impediment to raspberry-blowing.


Another way SS communicates is by opening and closing his hands in the air when he's sitting in his high chair, to tell us "I want" or "More", and then at the end of the meal he does the same gesture to signal us that he wants out of his high chair and to be held. (You can see how this gets a little confusing at times). 


We haven't heard any more "Da"s or other words, but SS unintelligibly babbles with the best of them.

On  June 22nd SS clapped for the first time, and has done it a few times since.

J lowered SS's crib mattress, one step closer to big(ger)-boydom.  When we put SS down for bed at night he watches us change BB into his pajamas, peeking through the crib slats over his crib bumper, like a little jailbird peeking through the bars.

SS is almost completely weaned - or my milk has almost completely dried up, it's a chicken-or-the-egg situation. Either way, I am clinging to the last vestiges of breastfeeding, nursing SS in the morning with the few ounces of milk I am still producing. I am guessing we have days left before SS completely loses interest. While I had hoped to breastfeed for a year, I am at peace with eleven months. SS drinks three full bottles of formula at mealtimes and a "snack" bottle in the afternoon, and eats finger-food solids at mealtimes as well.

SS is still in kamikaze pilot training on the changing table, flipping over and determinedly army-crawling to the edge where I catch him before he plummets down. Changing his diaper has become a full-contact sport.

Those are the Notable, Momentous Events of the past month - the Every Day Truth is that we still can't get enough of this giggly, ticklish, cuddly, smiley baby. Or kisses. There are never enough kisses.

Happy 11 months Boo Boo! Me loves mah wee naked bahby! (.....We saw Brave Tuesday night with the fam and have been unable to contain the Scottish accents ever since.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Am I Really Typing This?

On Monday my niece B was diagnosed with a tumor on the base of her skull. She is eight years old.

B had been having headaches for a few weeks. And then she started vomiting. After testing her for Valley Fever and then hoping it was allergies and trying Benadryl, her pediatrician (our pediatrician) ordered an MRI. We all hoped the MRI would show nothing and that B's headaches and vomiting would just stop. We hoped for a kid virus. We hoped for weird allergies. We hoped for a mysterious period of time where B had headaches and throw-up that we would look back at and say 'That was so weird.' We hoped the MRI would be an expensive waste of money. And we prayed.

Monday afternoon I missed a call from my sister-in-law. I felt nauseous when I saw I had missed the call - we were waiting for news. I called her right back, and she asked if I could take Tada. Yes. And then she told me. I cried while with a shaky, mommy-can't-have-a-break-down-right-now voice she told me that our pediatrician had told them to go to the hospital now.Fifteen minutes later Tada was at my house, and B was on her way to the hospital with her parents.

Since then B has shown us all how strong and fearless she is. She's had multiple MRIs, CT scans, IVs, blood draws, and medications. She describes the hospital as a place where you can watch all the movies you want and eat whatever you want (unless you're NPO for a procedure, then you get to smile dreamily about what you will eat once you're allowed). She named her IV pole. She held her breath to make the monitors go off. After 2 days in the hospital and a second opinion at another hospital, right now she is home with her family, swimming and playing and eating, a little extra-silly thanks to the steroids that are preventing her headaches. Surgery is planned to remove the tumor on Monday, July 2nd, to be followed by radiation treatment. The doctors think they know what kind of tumor it is, but won't know for sure until they examine the tumor once it is removed. Stay tuned.

Serene and I talk about how we are all still stopping periodically during the day and thinking, "A TUMOR!?!" (Usually my thinking is punctuated with swearing.)  I told a friend today that J and I are doing okay - drained, shorter fuses, at times heartbroken and crying out to God, at times punching car cushions and yelling, and at times just okay. At times the Spirit intercedes for us only with groanings too deep for words to express, as described in Romans 8:26.

Please pray for B. Pray for her parents. Pray for her doctors. 

Let's pester heaven until God is so exasperated that He gives us exactly what we want just to shut us up.
Let's make miracles happen.

Perspective

From atop the changing table

BB: "That - it won't let me fall."

J: "What? The ground?"

BB: "Yes, the ground."

J: "The ground won't let you fall?"

BB: "No, it catches me."


I giggled, but after reflecting for a moment, I realized this was a bit of unexpected wisdom from the boy who has been curled up in his bed or his rocking chair with his Bible after nap for the past week. Wisdom that our family is clinging to during this time, as we grasp at cloud wisps of hope and glance at the ground below, trusting He is there to catch us.




Last night at a family dinner BB pointed urgently to his leg and yelled, "A nipple! A nipple!"

J and I looked at each other, thinking That's not what he's saying is it?

And then again, undeniably, "A nipple!"

J went over and examined where BB was pointing on his leg.

"That's a bug bite, buddy."

Bug bites totally look like nipples.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Men in March

As Dr. A put it, you gotta love it when your best friend's kid becomes your kid's best friend.


The boys decided to cruise town in the Benz. (And by town, I mean A's parent's cul-de-sac.)

"Ugh - I wouldn't have to squint if Mom had packed my sunglasses."







And to give you a sense of scale:

"This parking spot is kinda tight - luckily the Benz is compact"


I laugh every time I look at this photo. Every time.  



Adios.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy 10 Months SS!

Matching outfits with Mama to go see the Seussical
Already 10 months old, we are now definitely on the countdown to the big ONE WHOLE YEAR OLD. Unbelievable.

Part of the reason it's unbelievable is that SS is my baby-baby - he is still army-crawling, although he has definitely perfected his technique and is fully mobile and fast now. He has just started rocking on his hands and knees a couple of times. He flipping over on his changing table like a crazy man and it's all we can do to keep him from wiggling right off the edge.  

SS is still chattering away in babbles and squawking too - he did look right at J and say "Da" on Memorial Day though, his official First Word. 

The two little teeth I have been monitoring for months finally fully erupted, and now that SS has them, he has been eating more finger-foods. Cut up pieces of avocado, apples, bananas, and sweet potatoes have all crossed his high-chair tray, as well as innumerable puffs. He is still working on the hand-eye coordination, but is improving. He desparately wants to hold the spoon while I feed him, which leads us to another new activity this month has brought:

Discipline. It sounds silly, to talk about disciplining a baby, but as I have been telling SS, "With great power comes great responsibility." With your newfound mobility and subsequent exploration comes the responsibility of not putting electrical wires in your mouth, kid. For some reason the lamp cords hold endless appeal to our babies - BB was the same way. So we have been working on "No". And the other night SS threw a full-out fit over not being able to hold the spoon while I fed him. Because he is such a happy baby, J and I had to hide our giggles when SS became demanding and grumpy over the spoon - I made sure to instruct him on "No" and not throwing fits with a straight face, but man, it was funny. SS is also starting to express more desire, for a toy or to do a certain activity, and to cry and fuss if he doesn't get it.

SS is still nursing and drinking formula, but is starting to prefer solids to formula mid-day. I am mostly nursing him in the morning, and then once or twice a day after that. Nursing is getting tougher as SS becomes more and more interested in BB - if SS hears BB's voice, he whips his head around to look for and observe his big brother. He is also very distracted by Daddy's voice.  The boys laugh together at the dinner table, and splash together in the tub. It's so sweet to see them start to play together.

SS's lungs are still sensitive due to the RSV he had in February, and a little cold is a much bigger problem for SS than it is for BB. He gets a croupy-sounding cough and we have to give him breathing treatments in the middle of the night, which are tough on everyone. SS had a cold over Memorial Day weekend and the day of BB's Birthdaysaurus party, but he recovered and is back to his happy self.

Happy 10 Months Boo Boo! You will be one year old before I know it, but I hope you are always my cuddly mama-baby.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Birthdaysaurus

We threw BB a Birthdaysaurus party on Memorial Day at our neighborhood park to celebrate THREE! with family and friends. I had started daydreaming about BB's birthday party theme about two months before his actual birthday and, completely forgetting that two months in toddler time and two months in adult time are totally different things, I started talking to BB about his birthday in March. Which then meant that from that point in March, through April, and then May, BB would announce "My bir-day is coming" and "I'm gonna have a dinosaw bir-day" multiple times a week. By the time BB's dinosaur party finally did roll around, poor BB had months of built-up anticipation to contend with.

Luckily, his party lived up to the hype.


In BB's opinion, at least. 

We emailed this invitation out - saving a tree and some dolla-dolla-bills ya'll, one of my favorite combos.


Our birthday gifts to BB were a basketball hoop and a soccer goal , which we set up at the park for the party. (We also got him a U of A hat that we gave him on his actual birthday which we realized tonight is missing - super bummed about that. It was last seen on Friday afternoon, which means it didn't even last 48 hours.) We surprised BB with the hoop and goal when his auntie walked him over to the park for the party, and he immediately went for the basketball hoop and started playing.


Since the party, BB has bee-lined outside to play basketball in the backyard, and wants us to chant "U of A! U of A!" before he will shoot a basket. He actually has a pretty good shot already!


Family photo just before the party started, with the boys in their matching dinosaur t-shirts 
(I converted SS's to a jumper with snaps because they didn't have baby sizes)

I baked BB a yellow cake (I had him pick the flavor, even though I don't think he knew what it was) from scratch, and it came out moist and delicious. And then J and I decorated the cake together, turning it into a dinosaur.



BB loved his cake and just stared at it for a while with a little smile. 

 
Everyone singing BB Happy Birthday



We gave him the first piece, and Nacky said after a while he came back to the food table and was very upset that his cake had disappeared. He must not have realized that everyone else was going to eat it too.

Post-cake
(Although he actually didn't eat a ton of cake. He preferred Auntie Seen's Dinosaur (Jello) Eggs)


In addition to the soccer and basketball activities, we also set out sidewalk chalk and bubbles, and put blankets out with a couple of baby toys for the littlest party-goers. Unfortunately SS and I both came down with a cold over the weekend - I felt well enough by Monday morning to actually enjoy BB's party, but SS was still in the throes of the cold, so he did not get to play in the little baby area. Here are some of our littlest party guests who did:


Auntie Shawna was on SS-duty and just held him during the party, until Nacky took him back to our house to nap. We are so thankful to Auntie Shawna for helping watch our kiddos in the morning while we set up for the party, and for all of her help with SS during the party, and she even stayed and helped clean up afterwards. And Nacky also came early to help with set-up, and then took over with SS back at our home while we kept partying at the park, and she even surprised me by cleaning up my kitchen while she was here. It was amazing to walk into a spotless kitchen when I was expecting quite the opposite! Do we have the best family or what?


Auntie Seen surprised BB with this dinosaur sippy cup, and a whole bowl of Dinosaur Eggs (Jello eggs), which he had loved at Easter. Although, because Uncle Matt carried the bowl up to the party, BB kept correcting everyone, saying that Matt brought the eggs.

Our main party activity was a Dinosaur Excavation.

J had painstakingly buried plastic dinosaurs in layers of Jello the night before - here's an in-progress shot:


And then at the party we explained to the kids that they were going to excavate the dinosaurs.


The kiddos all gathered around as the birthday boy prepared for the first excavation.


E joined BB on his dig.

A dinosaur!!


The kids loved this activity even more than we expected, and eventually had to be torn away from the bins of Jello, much of which was strewn across the grass.

Before SS went back to our house to nap, my friend C made sure we snapped a picture of us mamas with our babies to update the picture from last May when we were all pregnant together.



We're missing Han and her little man from this photo, but they are in our hearts and thoughts.
I'm so glad C thought to get this photo - it's so fun to see how much has changed in one year, and to daydream about the lifelong friendships that can develop between these precious little ones.

We asked party-goers to bring a book for a book exchange in lieu of a gift, so each child went home with a new book, but BB did have a few gifts to open, which we saved until the very end of the party.

Here he is opening his Dinosaur Train train set from Auntie Seen and family (after opening sweet "gifts" that cousins B and Tada made, a paper hat and another paper "craft" and some itty bitty barbells made out of toothpicks and beads)

Sniffing his Scratch-and-Sniff book from cousin Sara

Opening his Boogie Dance kit from Auntie Shawna

Ready to boogie!

BB later said that he wanted his party again, so we interpreted that as a rave review.
Birthdaysaurus success!! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Three

On Thursday our Barking Baby turned three years old.


GG came to town to celebrate BB's actual birthday, and we took BB to the splash pad at the park.



                   

BB displayed his physical prowess on the big kid rock wall.

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Three years ago J and I began our journey of parenthood when our Barking Baby was born.

 


Happy, happy birthday BB! The last three years have irrefutably been the happiest of my life, and I praise God for the blessing He gave me when he knit your little self together in my womb. I love your passion, your silliness, your determination, your orderly nature, your spunk, your love for your brother - you have charmed this Mama and I am yours forever. Barking Baby, you're the one!