Email us


Feeding Tips for Preemies

Bringing Your Preemie Home

Tips for Buying & Making Preemie Clothes

Tips on Preemie Development

Baby Showers for Preemies

How to Help Parents of Preemies


Recommended Books on Preemies


Anastasia's first year (2005)

Eating & Reflux (year 2, 2006)

Back to Sleep! (2007)

And Zane, Too (2008)

Allergies & Getting Big (2009)

Starting School (2010)

It's All Good (2011)

search Miracle Baby









April 2009


April 2, 2009

Zane has suddenly decided he needs to eat every three hours at night. Couple this with a Monday night where I had such bad insomnia I didn't sleep at all, and I'm one tired mommy.

I try to feed the boy as much as he'll eat during the day, but so far, he still wants food at night. Part of the problem may be that during the day, he's easily distracted by the antics of his sister. He also seems to only want solids--to heck with his bottle.

And how he loves his solids. He eats anything I give him, but his favorite is oatmeal. I keep making bigger and bigger bowls of oatmeal, and he always finishes them. He begins each bowl with plenty of "mmm"s and if I stop feeding him for a minute to do something else (like tend to Anastasia), when I come back to him all the oatmeal is missing from his bib and face. That's quite a talent, because he doesn't use his hands to eat the stray food. He licks it off, managing to get down to the hem of his bib!

The kiddos in their jammies.


April 4, 2009

I need to start this post by saying I'm beyond exhausted. I've had lots of insomnia, and feel ill I'm so tired. So if I type something that reads odd...well, you'll understand, won't you?

Zane's rash just wasn't getting better, and he seemed to have developed patches of eczema all over his body, so yesterday, we took him to the pediatrician. Our regular doctor was on vacation, so we saw another doc who sometimes fills in for her.

This doctor is pretty sensitive to mom guilt :D  The first thing he said was he was glad I brought Zane in now, and not after the problem was worse. The he told me Zane was just as likely to develop this problem if I was breastfeeding. The man understands moms! 

Anyway, he did verify Zane has eczema, and he suggested several things. First, he put Zane on a round of antibiotics, thinking that because Zane's been scratching himself he might very well have in infection that's making the eczema worse. Then he wants Zane to have a special kind of formula (Nutramigen) for babies who are allergic to milk protein. The only solid food Zane's allowed to eat is rice cereal.

He also suggested a daily bath, using Dove bar soap at the end, and only where needed. Then I'm supposed to slather him with Vaseline (which I already knew works better than any expensive lotion).

He also suggested I take photos of Zane now, and every week for a few weeks. This way, the doctors can easily see any changes in his skin.

I took some this morning, but I notice his skin is much better than it was yesterday. Perhaps this is due to the Nutramigen formula, but it could be coincidental, since his skin flares up, then gets better, flares up, and gets better.



The doctor gave me a sample can of the Nutramigen formula. When I went out to buy some today, I nearly passed out! A small can is $25. I can't seem to find a store brand version. Owie! Zane will use at least four of those cans a week. Perhaps, after 10 days of antibiotics and another week of the Nutramigen and rice cereal, we won't see an improvement in his skin. If not, then I can put him back on his old (cheaper!) formula. If there is an improvement, however, then I'm supposed to add back one food a week and see if his skin changes.

Not all eczema is caused by a food allergy, but we want to try to rule food out before we put him on something like Cortizone cream.

In the meantime, poor Zane misses his favorite food: Oatmeal. He eats the rice cereal I give him, but not even half so eagerly, and he often leaves some behind in the bowl.

By the way, the doctor's scale said Zane is 20 1/2 lbs. When I undressed him, the nurse said, "Wow! He's a big boy!" And at first the doctor was surprised Zane only was eating formula, rice cereal, oatmeal, and a few vegetables; just looking at Zane, the doc thought he was older than he actually is :)

The kitty made friends with Zane this morning, much to Zane's delight. (Yes, he is a huge cat.)

On the way to the pediatrician's office, Miss A. suddenly shouted, "Look, Mommy! The cows are real!" We often drive by cows and sheep in fields along the road, but apparently she'd never realized they were real before. (When you're driving by grazing animals they don't often appear to be moving...) So funny!

The Miss continues to impress me with her artwork:

Miss A. drew this dinosaur today.


April 7, 2009

Within a couple of days of starting antibiotics and the new formula, we've seen a dramatic change in Zane's cheeks. I don't know if you can fully appreciate it, since I never seemed to get a photo showing his face rash looking as bad as it was, but here's what Zane looks like this morning:

I'm inclined to think this turn around is due to the antibiotic. I think he had a bad infection, and we just didn't know it. His cheeks, ears, and neck no longer have a rash, and the grumpy attitude he'd had for a week or so is now gone.

His eczema is a little less red, but is still all over his body. I find myself doubtful this has anything to do with his formula, since the eczema didn't appear until last month and we've been using the same formula for longer than that. But we'll see.


Dressed up for the theatre.

On Sunday, my mom and I took Anastasia to a matinee of a live performance of the musical Annie. Ahead of time, I gave her a rough idea of what it would be like (I was concerned she'd be afraid of the applause and the loud noise of the orchestra), so by the time she got all dressed up to go, she was beyond excited. When we arrived at the theatre, she kept saying, "We're at the theater! We're at the theater!"

I took her backstage to meet some people I know who are in the show (because I wasn't sure she'd make it through the entire performance), then we examined the lobby, then found our seats. Mom and I had a good laugh when Anastasia sat in her seat; she's so petite, it folded up with her inside it. (She mostly sat on my lap through the entire performance.)

I took her down to see the orchestra pit, and we identified a bunch of instruments together. Then the show began. She did extremely well through the first act. She talked softly a few times, but when I reminded her to be quiet, she was. By the end of Act One, she was ready to get up and move around, so my mom bought her a cookie in the lobby and I tried to get her to jump and move around as much as possible.

When we took our seats a little early, Miss A. stood in the wide aisle and danced for anyone who was paying attention. Then she said, "Mommy, are they going to make more music now?"

During the second act, Anastasia was feeling a lot more comfortable with the experience and during every song she either clapped in rhythm (or her version of rhythm!) or conducted the music. She applauded loudly and shouted "Yea!" at the end of songs.

At the end of the show, she ran up to the girl playing Annie and gave her a big hug. She also talked to some of the other cast members, and mauled the sweet dog playing Sandy. Even though she was glassy-eyed, she wandered through the lobby, seeing if there was any detail she'd missed about the theater. When we finally walked outside, she fell down on the grass and just laid there, and when we were unlocking our front door, she laid down on our concrete porch, as if she'd go to sleep there.

The next day, she called Annie on her toy phone and kept saying, "We need to go see Annie! We need to go to the theater!" I'm afraid if we took her again, I couldn't keep her from jumping up onto the stage and performing!


April 10, 2009

On this beautiful Good Friday, Anastasia and I colored eggs. I'm not even sure where she ever heard about decorating eggs, but she had it in her head you use a paintbrush. Even so, she enjoyed this experience, and we used it to talk about Good Friday, Easter, and--of course!--color mixing :D


See the dark circles under her eyes? She's going through another of her "I don't want to sleep" phases.

Zane slept through the egg dyeing fun, but he's still looking pretty well. A slight, slight rash is back on his cheeks and chin, even though his diet hasn't changed. His eczema continues to look less and less menacing.


April 12, 2009

Happy Easter, everyone! We spent a quiet day at home, and Anastasia had a fabulous time hunting eggs, trying "Easter egg sandwiches" (well, she took one bite, at least), and eating chocolate. She also explained to us the real meaning behind Easter, and at bedtime thanked God for sending Jesus to wash away our sins.


I also took documentary photos of Zane's skin today. If you compare to last week, he does look better, although he still has eczema.





April 13, 2009

Here is an example of the sort of hands on homeschooling we like to do. Since it was drizzly today, I took the kids outside in appropriate rain gear. I let Anastasia play in the mud puddles for a bit, then we went on a snail hunt. Wouldn't you know it, the minute I wanted some snails, we had a hard time finding any! (Normally my yard is full of them.) This gave us an opportunity to talk about where snails like to live.

Finally, underneath our home made composter (just an old garbage can with holes poked in it for circulation), we found two. I picked them both up and put them in a Mason jar I'd placed a little water in. Then I let Anastasia pick a couple of primrose leaves, explaining that snails love to eat them, and she dropped them inside the jar, too.

A half hour of observation then occupied Anastasia, as we watched the snails come out from their shells and slowly crawl up the side of the jar. Miss A. thought we should let the "baby" snail (the smaller of the two) out, so I removed the lid and it crawled around on the jar's rim. I encouraged her to touch the rough shell, but she didn't like that idea.

I asked if she wanted to bring the snails (in their jar) into the house for a while, and she did. So she watched me pick up the small snail and put it back inside the jar, noticing how it hid its eyes in its stalks out of fear.

Then we came inside and read Are You a Snail? by Judy Allen. This gave us lots of additional information about the life of a snail. (I highly recommend all the "Backyard Books;" they provide lots of great information in a young kid friendly way. Miss A. loves them! In fact, after we read about snails, she wanted to read about all the other critters in the accompanying books, too.)

So much fun!

Anastasia "reading" to herself a few days ago.


April 13 (part II)

I just asked Miss A. what her favorite part of the snail project was and she said, "The snail poop!"


April 19, 2009

Today, lots of little tid-bits I've been meaning to share:

  • Miss A. likes to have a little Ranch and a little catsup in separate blobs on her plate. She dips virtually every food into the Ranch and hen the catsup. Recently she came up with her own name for this dip: "Ranchup."


  • I've done my best to strike fear in Anastasia's heart about streets and cars. But somehow she sums up my teachings this way: "If I go into the street a car will squash me like a bug and then I will go to jail."


  • Someday, Zane will love watching The Three Stooges, because any sort of physical comedy sends him into giggle fits. When Anastasia is tired (and therefore clumsy), he'll laugh himself silly watching her trip and fall. And if she chokes on a drink - well, you've never seen a baby have harder belly laughs.


  • Miss A. can now dress herself in simple pants, tops, and dresses. She can sometimes put her own socks on, too.


  • Recently, I auditioned for a local musical theatre production. When I told Anastasia I'd be gone that night so I could sing on a stage, she asked me not to go because she'd miss me. I let her know that when I came home, I'd check on her. Of course she was asleep by then. The next morning when I walked into her room she was pleasantly shocked: "Mommy! You're back!" Apparently, she thought I was going away for a long time...


  • Several days back, Miss A. asked (out of sincere curiosity): "Mommy, what do you do before you go to bed? Do you brush your teeth and do your sticker chart?"


  • Zane's eczema began getting worse before he was finished with his antibiotic. Nothing in his diet or environment had changed. Now that he's off the antibiotic, I only kept him on the expensive formula long enough to finish a can we still had. Now, as he goes back on his usual formula, I'm watching his skin closely. He's still only eating rice cereal, and I will begin oatmeal again this coming week. He has a pediatrician appointment tomorrow, so we'll see what our regular doctor thinks.


  • The other day Miss A. wanted me to weigh her. While I was at it, I weighed Zane, too. With clothes on, Anastasia is 31 lbs. and 4 oz. and Zane (also with clothes on) is 20 lbs. 8 oz. on our scale.




April 21, 2009

This Sunday, we spent a lot of time outside and Zane developed what appeared to be hives on his face and chest. (Not good! Hives on the chest usually equals breathing problems.) We already had a pediatrician appointment for Monday, and since Zane didn't appear to be wheezy, I took a photo and printed it out to show the doctor.

Fortunately, she said it wasn't hives. It was "just" an extension of his eczema, brought on by being hot. She said I could try using soy formula to see if it helped; sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. She said I might also try a hypo-allergenic laundry detergent and dryer sheet (which I planned to do, anyway). She talked about keeping Zane cooler, too...which is tough to do because he gets hot really easily.

Other than that, she felt we were doing everything we could to get rid of the eczema. So she gave us a prescription for a cortisone cream. (It's the same thing as Cortizone-10.) Plus, a prescription for an antibiotic cream (to use if his skin gets crusty, to help prevent the need for oral antibiotics.)

To be super cautious, I'm only to use the cortisone cream three or four days at a time on his face, and up to two weeks at a time on his body.

I used a little Cortizone-10 on his face last night, and already his face looks so much better.

This was also Zane's regular sixth month checkup. He is in the 50% percentile for his height and the 90% for his weight :D


April 21 (part II)

I just got back from taking Anastasia to the dentist. We've read books and talked a lot about what to expect - because last year all she did was cry during her appointment. This year, she seemed excited to go. And she wanted to walk, not ride in the stroller. (Surprisingly, she only asked to stop and rest once!)

But when they called us out of the waiting room, she refused to move. Fortunately, our dentist and his employees were patient and kind. After about a minute, I got Anastasia to follow me by saying that in the back room there was a wall of photos of other little kids who've visited the dentist recently. "Don't you want to see?"

Once in the exam room, she wouldn't sit in the chair, so I sat there first and put Zane on one leg. Then I lifted her up onto my other leg. She was extremely wary, but she warmed up fairly quickly. She allowed the hygienist to use her electric cleaning tool on all the fronts of her teeth, then let the dentist check for cavities. She even let the hygienist put fluoride on her teeth. She was thrilled to earn a pink princess toothbrush, a sticker, and a small rubber ball. Plus, her photo was added to the wall of kids who don't have cavities.

In the end she said, "I like going to the dentist!"

And the dentist would laugh if he heard what she said upon arriving at home: "I've been a very good girl, Mommy. I think I deserve some green beans for a treat!"


April 23, 2009

Last night Zane's first little tooth popped up!

You can barely see his first tooth in this photo. (Look at the bottom center of his mouth.)


April 26, 2009

Last weekend, we bought the kids a swing set. We've been keeping our eyes peeled for a good deal for at least a year, and we finally found something we thought was affordable (with our tax return money), attractive, and well suited to the kids. However, my hubby didn't have time to work on putting it together until this Saturday.

Anastasia waited patiently.

Then, on Saturday evening, when she was finally able to play on the swing set, she'd swing for a bit, then kiss her daddy and say "Oh thank you, Daddy! Thank you, thank you!" Then she'd slide and come kiss and thank me. And on and on. It was pretty darn sweet.

The swing set is so good for her. There's a "rock wall" to climb, monkey bars, a big kid and baby swing, a slide, and a glider. She really needs the practice of using all these things. Right now, she's pretty shaky climbing up the wall, but she's already getting better.

I tried to get photos, but I was mostly carrying Zane, so I only got a few.


Zane, in the baby swing for the first time. He wasn't too sure about it! By contrast the photo on the right is Anastasia during her first swing ride (at over a year old, mind you!).

Miss A. calls the fort portion of the swing set her house. Last night, she "baked us some cookies" in her kitchen.

A few cute Anastasia-isms:

Recently, Miss A. has taken to creating make believe words. Her reasoning? "Mommy, you have more words than I do."

Last night, a friend of mine visited and Anastasia took right to her. (They'd only met once before.) When it was bed time, Miss A. asked (in a whisper), "Can K. take care of me?" (Meaning, could she put her to bed for the night.)

Sometimes Anastasia purposefully wakes Zane up from naps. The other day she did this, and I told her to go have a time out. "Think about what Jesus told us," I said, "'Do to others and you'd have them do to you.'" She dutifully sat in her corner and recited the Bible verse four or five times, then called out, "Okay, Mommy! I've thought about it!"


April 29, 2009

Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking.

Yesterday, Zane spent most of the day fussing and crying. I worried he might be getting sick. I wondered if he was just sleepy and going through a growth spurt. I thought maybe something in his diet was upsetting his tummy. Then, in the evening, my hubby suggested he might be having pain from teething. Oh! Yeah! So I gave Zane some Tylenol and a cold teether and viola! He got happy. You'd think I'd have this mom of a baby thing down a little better by now.

Zane also ate his way through the day - every two hours he wanted a bottle. Today he seems to be back on his usual 3 to 3 1/ hour schedule.

Happily, he's been really, truly sleeping through the night, waking up around 6:30 or 7 AM. And he's sleeping in his own room, in his crib. I am glad of this, since I sleep more soundly when he's not beside me in his co-sleeper, but it's also bittersweet. Unless God has some real surprises in store for me (!), I'll never again have a sweet baby sleeping at my side.

We're also having potty issues around here. Without getting into the gory details only a mommy could stomach, a few days ago I could see the poop in Zane's bottom...and it wasn't going anywhere. Now I have a lot of experience with constipated babies, so I tried all the usual things: a warm bath, lots of veggies (he's not eating fruit yet), a bit of apple juice, and exercise. Since he was crying in pain, I pulled out my trusty box of glycerin suppositories, but it said it was only good for children 2 to 3. So I called our pediatrician's office.

The nurse suggested I take his temperature rectally (but we didn't care about the actual temp...Trust me, this is much better than using your pinkie, which is what I did - doctor's orders! - when Anastasia was an infant), cut a suppository in half and give it to him, then feed him some prune juice. (I would have tried the prune juice earlier, if I'd had it on hand.) By the end of the day, he was no longer crying in pain, and things were back to normal.

But his sister? That's another story. She's still taking Miralax and therefore isn't constipated, but I must admit I'm getting really frustrated about potty training. Although I've been laid back and low key about it, she's now absolutely refusing to use the potty. I'll notice she's about to have a BM, suggest in an upbeat way she go sit on the potty, and she'll say no. So, friendly as can be, I take her hand and say how much less messy it is if you go on the potty. And Anastasia starts crying and generally freaking out.

I'm so tired of big girl poopy diapers. Changing them is all the worse because she often gets hysterical when I wipe her bottom. She's always tended to tense up during wiping, and now she's says she's sure it's going to hurt. It doesn't matter that when I finish, she says, "Hey! It didn't hurt!" She's still sure next time it will. You'd think this would make sitting on the potty more desirable, but apparently not.

Strong will. I have no doubt it can serve a child (and adult) well, but being the mother of a strong willed child is not for the weak!


April 30, 2009

I know many of you who read this blog have children of your own. So I apologize. And know you'll understand. Cuz your kids are cute, but mine are the cutest! :D  It's so nice to see Zane's face more clearly!

"Look at that face, just look at it! Look at that fabulous face of yours!"

You might be able to see in these photos that Zane now has two teeth (bottom center). He must be working on more, too, because he's not been feeling very well (despite his sunny grins in these photos). He even woke up last night and wanted a bottle, which is something he hasn't done in a while.

In the meantime, Jennifer, who reads this blog, suggested that for potty training I bribe Miss A. with something she adores. So yesterday I told her if she went poop on the potty, I'd buy her a new book. Her interest instantly piqued. She wanted to know which book, so I told her "Any book you want." She repeatedly sat on the toilet saying, "I think I'd better try to go poop."

But then, when the moment finally came this afternoon, she went in her diaper. When I thought she might be going and suggested sitting on the potty so she could get a new book, she said, "No. It's too messy."


Despite my frustration with Miss A. not using the potty, she's such a dear girl. She knows Zane is in pain (due to teething) and does her best to comfort him. And he just thinks she's the coolest thing ever. Although I know bickering will surely ensue between them at a later date, I'm hopeful their love for each other will outshine those difficulties.

And what do you think of this swine flu stuff? Anastasia still doesn't have the immunity of a "regular kid." Simple colds turned into walking pneumonia and bronchitis for her this winter. What would happen to her if she got the swine flu? I know some authorities are saying the media is hyping this, but really...I don't think I can bring myself to take her to library time tomorrow...