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Anastasia's first year (2005)

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Back to Sleep! (2007)

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Allergies & Getting Big (2009)

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August 2009


August 4, 2009

Just a few quick notes:

* For a while, I've wondered if Zane has a slight allergy to wheat. When I gave him whole wheat teething crackers (which he won't chew on, incidentally), the skin around his mouth turned bright red. A few days ago, I gave him whole wheat cereal for the first time, and everywhere the cereal touched his skin was bright red. This wasn't accompanied by any other symptoms, thankfully, but I may hold off on giving him more whole wheat products.

* Does anyone have suggestions on foods to offer Zane? He'll eat small pieces of graham cracker and Gerber graduate puffs, but he refuses or chokes on tiny slivers of apple or vegetables. What are some good foods to encourage him to chew? And does anyone have tips of getting him to finger feed? He has no interest in feeding himself still.

* Several nights ago, when I was putting Miss A. to bed, she claimed she couldn't sleep. So I said, "Then just lay here quietly with your eyes closed." She replied, "But, Mommy! I can't do that! I might fall asleep!"

* Last weekend, Anastasia's good friend Mr. E. came to town and had a birthday party. Afterward, Miss A. said, "I wish I got to see [Mr. E.] more often. I love him so!"

Miss A., hitting her first piņata at Mr. E.'s birthday party.

* A few days ago, Zane turned to his daddy and said, "Good job, Daddy!" When Miss A. eats more than usual, we tell her "good job," so I suspect Zane was impressed by how much his daddy was eating :D


August 5, 2009

I had to share this quick video of Zane scooting. He can really move fast when he wants to!


August 10, 2009

Anastasia came to see me in Into the Woods this weekend. One of her favorite moments was meeting Sleeping Beauty and Snow White after the show. Amazingly, she sat through the three hour show with no problem at all.

Trying on her auntie's high heels after the show.

Looking lovely.

Zane is sitting up more now. When in his high chair, he no longer wants to lean back, which makes eating messier.

Zane has a bit of a foot and shoe fetish. (I guess this is natural since he mostly sees feet!) Here he is trying on his sissy's Mary Janes.

Playing with his auntie and showing me the cat's toy.


August 12, 2009

Today is Anastasia's 4th birthday. Like every other parent, I can't believe how quickly time has passed. It seems not very long ago at all that our little 1 lb. 13 oz. miracle was born.

Every year at this time, I can't help but think of how the doctors pushed us to abort Miss A. when my water broke at 20 weeks. Because they were certain she'd be handicapped - if she lived. As if a handicapped child doesn't make a contribution to society. As if life is that cheap. As it turned out, they didn't know as much as they thought they did, anyway. As those of you who come here regularly know, Anastasia is a bright, healthy child.

(With all this talk about socialized medicine in America, I can't help but wonder this: If government health care had been in place in 2005, would I have received any medical care at all when I refused the doctors' plan of abortion?)

Today we played it pretty low key. We gave Miss A. her presents from us (some clothes and a Pat-Pat Rocket she hasn't put down since opening). We finger painted, took a walk, gardened together. and now she's watching Little Einsteins :) We'll have a party with family on Saturday.

The kids, yesterday. Doesn't the miss look so grown up?

As I mentioned in my last post, Miss A. saw me in a musical last weekend. She was so excited, she was exhausted by the time she arrived at the theatre, but she still sat through the entire, three hour show and behaved herself quite well. When I came on stage, she said, "There's Mommy!" She was also fascinated with the paper leaves that fell from the ceiling in the middle of the show. When it was all over, she took a strut around the stage and looked quite at home there.

Now, a few tid-bits:

* Anastasia hates to see or hear Zane cry. In the mornings, while he fusses because he's bored and lonely, but isn't giving his "I'm hungry" cry, I let him stay in his crib while I snooze a little. But Miss A. has taken to getting out of bed, going into his room, talking to him, giving him a toy, telling him to be good, and then climbing back into her own bed. It's sweet as can be. We're just working on teaching her not to put stuffed toys in his crib (because it's a SIDS hazard).

* Miss A.'s resistance to naps has actually grown. Now she will literally hold her eyes open with her fingers and say, "But I can't shut my eyes!" The other day, when she climbed out of bed at naptime and I made her climb back in, she said, sobbing, "Mommy! You're breaking my heart!"

* A few days back, Anastasia put on her butterfly wings (which are really all worn out) and said: "I'm a butterfly! What joy! What utter joy!"

* Zane sits up to play frequently now, and within the day of deciding sitting was a good thing, began getting himself in a sitting position :)

* Zane continues to refuse to self feed, and I've had trouble progressing him into more mature foods. I bought him some spaghetti baby food that had tiny pieces of pasta in it and he choked repeatedly, then refused to eat more. I gave him some tiny pieces of banana today, and he ate a few, but gave me dirty looks :)  I'm afraid my children just need to be pushed along the developmental path!


August 17, 2009

We're all recovering from my sister and some of her family visiting from out of state, plus a delightful Curious George birthday party with much of our family. I was proud of Anastasia for being so thankful throughout her party. She thanked everyone for her gifts, thanked me repeatedly for her balloons and decorations, and when I asked her which she liked better, her Winnie the Pooh cake (from last year) or her Curious George cake, she said "I like both, Mommy!"

Given how hard a time I had with last year's Winnie the Pooh cake, I choose a simpler design this year!


When you have a Curious George birthday party, ya just gotta show off your Curious George undies! The masks were a big hit, too. All the kids wore them for about half the party - until it was time to eat.


She loved the toy bulldozer gift and the princess outfit gift she received equally well! The piņata was the first for a Miss A. party. When we went to Wal-Mart to pick up last-minute party supplies she said, "Maybe I could have a piņata? Just a little one?" I'd already bought this Curious George piņata, so I was pleased. I bought the kind for little kids - with strings hanging from the bottom. The kids take turns pulling them until one string pops the piņata open. Anastasia really wanted to get the string that popped Curious George open; whenever her string didn't work she frowned and said, "Oh dear!" In the end, none of the strings worked, and my hubby had to beat the thing open :)


Zane wore his party hat without complaint, and had a great time just checking everything out. The day after the party, I noticed he now has four teeth. His two top center teeth popped out, complimenting the two bottom ones he's had for a while.


Left: Anastasia with one of her gifts: a doll with a matching outfit. This doll opens and closes her eyes - which unexpectedly freaked out Miss A. It took her a while to warm to the doll, but by the end of the day she'd named it Marabelle. Right: In her new complete princess outfit.

I had extra cake batter, so I made cupcakes and asked Miss A. to decorate them as a take-home gift for her young cousins. She was thrilled to make something for them and couldn't wait to give them their Curious George party favors.


The day before the party, Zane had his first bath in the "bigger baby" tub. This is something I bought for Miss A. when she was sitting up (after one year of age), but wasn't too steady. Zane was so excited, he shook all over. A bathtub with toys!


August 18, 2009

My adrenaline rush is finally gone.

Around 9:30 this morning, I fed Zane, gave him a bath, and put him down for a nap. About a half hour later, he woke up cranky. I could see hives on his face and neck and he was pulling his hair and scratching madly.

I left a message for the nurse on call (to see if there was anything I could do to help the itching) and undressed him while I waited for a call back. I could literally see the hives spreading all over his body, and soon his ears were greatly swollen. The nurse, after hearing my description, told me to bring him into the pediatrician's office.

I called my hubby to tell him to leave work and come get us, and while we waiting those ten minutes (tops), Zane's breathing became slightly labored. I called the nurse back. As long as he wasn't wheezing, she wanted him in the pediatrician's office. If he began wheezing, she wanted him in the ER.

Zane got a wee bit better once we were on the road. The pediatrician gave him some Benadryl and told me to continue using it as needed. He said the hives were probably either due to a virus (which seems unlikely since he hasn't been sick), or a food allergy (I fed him yogurt he's had before - but in a flavor that was new to him - plus some Gerber banana and peach granola puree, which he's had before), or it was "just" his immune system misbehaving for an unknown reason.

I asked if we should test him for food allergies, and the doc said he believed food allergy tests for infants weren't all that accurate. Instead, he said to wait it out. If the hives don't go away by Thursday, we'll call our regular doc. In the meantime, the doctor on call told us to avoid the food I fed him this morning for at least two weeks.

Poor little Zane. He finally fell asleep in my arms - something he hasn't done since he was a newborn.

Here are two photos of him when we got home, after the Benadryl. He still looked a little red, but most of the hives and swelling were gone.:

I took this happier picture of Zane last night. He's wearing jammies his sister wore in March of 2008. (That's Miss A. in the left hand side photo.)


Zane also rode in the red wagon for the first time yesterday. He's been longing to do this for a while, but he clung onto the sides the entire time I pulled them around the neighborhood.


August 20, 2009

Zane woke up yesterday and all his hives and redness were gone. According to the pediatrician we saw, that means the hives were probably due to a food allergy.

So, with trepidation, I fed the babe only formula and plain rice cereal yesterday. He wasn't pleased, so today I'm back to his regular foods - although I will avoid yogurt (especially the apple flavor) and granola puree for a while. Interestingly, I just read in a magazine that 40% of babies with moderate to severe eczema have food allergies :(

In other news, Anastasia and I started using the Kindergarten version of Hooked on Phonics today. I never imagined I'd use the program; it's pretty pricey and there's nothing in the kit you can't make at home. However, one of my friends used it with her four year old and had her reading within a half hour. So when I found it at a greatly reduced price (because the CD ROM is old enough not to work with XP or Vista), I thought Anastasia should have it. My dad was kind enough to purchase the kindergarten through 2nd grade version for both kids for their birthday presents. (And Anastasia doesn't know how to use a computer, so the lack of a CD ROM is no loss for us. Computer savvy can come later; in general, kids get too much screen time already.)

This version starts with letters and phonics; Miss A. already knows both, but we're reviewing, since it's been a while since we've talked them. She still gets confused by some of the lower case letters (it's so hard to find toys with lower case letters, even though we really ought to learn them first, since most letters we encounter are lower case), especially p and q. But I think in a day or two we'll be able to move on.

So far, she's really excited. I got her to go to sleep last night by saying, "When you wake up, I'll start teaching you how to read." She woke up really early this morning :)  Then she was a little annoyed we were "just" doing phonics. She wanted to READ. But once I explained that she needed to know her phonics really well, and then she could read words, she got down to work.

The manufacturer suggests working 10 to 15 minutes a day, but she keeps asking to "learn to read," so we've done about four 10 to 15 minutes segments so far today. Now I have her watching The Letter Factory and The Talking Word Factory to help her get even more solid with her phonics.

As I set her up with these DVDs, she said, "And once I learn to read, then I'll be all grown up! And then I can be a writer, and a sea diver, and an astronaut. I can be all those things!"

(And a mother, too, methinks. She's very big on mothering Zane. Just a few minutes ago, she took some empty CD cases away from him saying, "No, Zane, no! You might open one and close it on your finger and then your finger would come off!")


August 25, 2009

Zane had a tough time last week. First, it was the hives. Then it was terrible teething all week long. Neither Tylenol, Motrin, teething tablets, teethers, nor wet cloths seemed to help him. Actually, cold chewables like teethers did help, but he wouldn't hold them himself, and I couldn't spend all day keeping them in his mouth. So we suffered through as best we could. The end result was two new teeth.

I also discovered that Zane is now only about 6 lbs. lighter than Anastasia. He is at least 25 lbs. (he wasn't cooperating when we weighed him) and Anastasia is 31 lbs. and 13 oz.

He's a big boy, but he's starting to carry his weight a bit more. He'll stand in his crib, for example, if you help him up. He also sat in a shopping cart for the first time this week. He liked it, but he clung to the sides as if he was afraid he'd fall out. In fact, when we tried to remove him from the cart, his grip is so strong, the cart came with him :)

Anastasia is enjoying getting back into school work. We'd done some work over the summer, but now we're more in "school mode."

Today we built a pretend volcano and made it erupt with a little baking soda and vinegar. We'd watched volcano's exploding on YouTube, and she was a little concerned about conducting this experiment!

It's funny, but I remember that when Miss A. turned three, her personality changed suddenly and she began having temper tantrums. Now that she's just-four, her personality has changed suddenly again. She's more "even," and has a richer fantasy life. For example, the other day at nap time she turned on her bedroom light and opened the door. When I walked in to turn off the light and tell her to lay down, she began sobbing. Real tears.

Miss A.: "But Mommy! My baby needs her medicine!"

Me: "Well, honey, you can give it to her after nap time. I'm sure she'll be fine until then."

Miss A.: "But she's really upset! I'll try to comfort her until then!"

And she proceeded to rock her baby doll and pat it on the back.

A few days ago, my mother found a large, fancy porcelain doll at a garage sale. When she gave it to Anastasia, Miss A.'s jaw dropped and she whispered: "It's Babette!" (For those who haven't read the original Raggedy Ann stories, Babette, the fancy French doll, is Raggedy Ann's friend.)

Another little funny about Miss A.: Several days back, Anastasia broke one of my nail files. My mother moved it and Anastasia tried desperately to get it back - but grandma blocked her every move. With an exasperated expression, Miss A. reminded herself: "God is always with me!"

Miss A. recently drew this picture of a bird.


August 28, 2009

Anastasia is already a director.

A few days back she wanted to "put on a play." She cast herself as the leading lady (Little Red Riding Hood) and told me to be the wolf. When our play was over, she said, "Let's do it again! Only this time, Mommy, make the wolf seem nicer."

Zane played in the sandbox for the first time the other day. He loved it, but didn't really play with the sand. There were too many cool toys to check out. Miss A. supervised.


Zane has now officially outgrown all his baby clothes. No more 24 month items for him! He only fits in 2T now.


August 31, 2009

Zane is being willful. I'm trying to encourage him to feed himself - just a little! The other day, when I knew he was hungry, I set his bottle of formula on his highchair tray. He'd pick it up...then hand it to me. After a few times of doing this, he was getting pretty grumpy about it.


Then yesterday, after he'd had some food, I offered him finger food. I placed a bit on his tray, then gently told him to pick it up. He did so, with a beautiful pincer grasp. Then I asked to put it in his mouth. He didn't, so I guided his hand to his mouth. As soon as the food reached his lips, he pushed my hand away, and eyeing me closely, dropped the food on the floor. Then threw a bit of a temper tantrum. We did this repeatedly before I took all the food away. Afterward, he did not look like this:

And speaking of developmental things, Anastasia is now sleeping through the night without Pull Ups!

Right now, the Miss is interested in all things space, and says she wants to be an "astronaut AND a sea diver AND a writer" and sometimes also a doctor. Anyway, the space fascination is leading to some fun homeschooling projects. Here is the Miss making an astronaut from a toilet paper tube :)


August 31 (part II)

Anastasia and I just had a grand time during Zane's nap. We launched rockets!


You should have heard the joyful squeals!

For this science experiment, I had Miss A. color a piece of construction paper and she glued in around a toilet paper roll. I cut out a 3.5 inch construction paper circle, clipped a line halfway through it, and glued it to look like a pyramid. I then hot glued the pyramid atop the toilet paper roll.

Then I showed Anastasia what Alka Seltzer does in water. (It bubbles and foams.) Next we went outside and filled a film canister (it has to be the kind with a  lid that tucks inside the canister; currently, cheap Fuji film canisters work great). I broke an Alka Seltzer tab in two and let Anastasia plop it into the canister. I quickly put the top on the canister and stuck the rocket on top of it. After a few seconds, the canister pops and the rocket takes off. As I told Miss A., the Alka Selter bubbles and builds up gas inside the canister. Eventually, the canister can't contain the gas any longer, and pops open.

We must have launched our first rocket six or more times before the canister lid popped through the damp construction paper pyramid top. Because it was so much fun, we went right back inside and made another rocket. This time, I made the pyramid top from two layers of construction paper and the plastic from a Ziplock bag. It lasted for the next dozen times we tried the experiment and now Anastasia is letting it dry so she can keep it in her room :)

Then she drew this picture of her rocket, flying in space, surrounded by moons and stars. "The stars," she says, "are round, like God makes them."

The kids also took their first bath together today. It was Anastasia's idea, but after a while she said: "Okay, he can get out now."