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Anastasia's first year (2005)

Eating & Reflux (year 2, 2006)

Back to Sleep! (2007)

And Zane, Too (2008)

Allergies & Getting Big (2009)

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It's All Good (2011)

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February 2009


February 3, 2009

Miss A. is doing considerably better. She still has a runny nose and is tired, but there are no more huge, dark circles under her eyes and her eyelids no longer droop. She's eating and drinking better, too; past experience tells me it will take a few months for her to gain back the weight she lost. When poor Miss A. gets sick, she really gets sick. I think it's from those two years we couldn't allow her to go out in public (or around anyone with germs). Her immune system has some catching up to do.

Zane, on the other hand, is more ill. Yesterday I took him to the pediatrician because he had what looked like snot coming out of his eyes. Sure enough, it was snot! I guess if you get congested enough, snot comes through your tear ducts. (Who knew?) The doctor gave us some antibiotics, just to make sure the snot in his eyes didn't cause an infection.

It was strange to hear her speculate that Zane might have RSV. It didn't send panic through me, even though the doctors in the NICU put the fear of God in us about RSV. Of course, Zane has healthy lungs, and Anastasia did not.

I'm sick, too, but don't have a fever - yet. Last night, I actually got four hours sleep in one stretch, which was nice. I've been getting up around five times with Zane and up to four times with Anastasia each night. My hubby isn't very useful when the kids are sick. He feels helpless and panicky. One night, I handed him Zane so I could use the bathroom. I wasn't in there but a few seconds when Zane started crying and my husband, desperation in his voice, was calling my name.

The good news is, the kids are sweet invalids :)  Anastasia always thanks me for her medicine. She's pitiful, though, too. Last night, as she was hacking away, and said, "Mommy, please take my cough away."

Zane is a little crankier than usual, but he always has a ready smile. In fact, today I caught him laughing on video. He's been laughing for a while, but his laugh is becoming more of a belly laugh now. And his favorite thing to laugh about is a game of Peek-a-Boo. Click here to watch the video.


February 7, 2009

We're all still sick. Anastasia's fever is gone, but she still coughs (all night long) and has the sniffles. Her coughing was so bad last night (she even vomited a little because of it), I succumbed to the temptation and bought her cough medicine. Yes, I know the experts say kids under four shouldn't have cough medicine. (Because so many parents don't know how to read dosing labels, apparently, or give it the stuff to their child as a sleep aid. instead of a cough remedy.) And I know the experts say cough medicine doesn't work anyway. But we've tried everything else for her dry cough, and she's found no relief. The dose for her age is tiny. We'll see if it works.

Little Zane's fever seems to be gone, also, but he's congested still, so I let him sleep in his bouncy seat. This, at least, keeps the snot out of his eyes.

I had a slight fever the past few days, but mostly I'm just achy, exhausted, congested, and have a scratchy and swollen throat. Last night, Anastasia would cough. Then Zane. Then me. And then we'd start all over again.

My hubby has been in bed with a fever for three days now.

We'll be glad when this "plague" leaves us!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few photos:


Anastasia is turning into quite the little artist. Here she is drawing on her Doodle-Pro while Zane looks on. The drawing, she tells me, is of a blue bird. (I can actually tell!) The red scribble at the bottom is "her name."

"Little" Zane may not be four months old yet, but his six month clothes fit him just right! He's such a good-natured baby. Give him the slightest attention and he just beams with delight.


P.S. I can't believe I forgot to mention that the day we picked up Zane's antibiotics, Anastasia bolted from me in a parking lot. My friends have often chuckled at my fear of her doing that. "She's not the type!" they say. But apparently, she is. She thought it was quite funny until I gave her a swat on the bottom and lectured her all the way home. Of course, threatening to not let her shop with me again may be the biggest incentive for her not to behave herself in this matter...Trust me, I used every tactic I could think of to put the fear of God in her about cars and parking lots and streets!


February 9, 2009

We took Anastasia to the pediatrician today. I'm so glad we took her in, even though I tend to feel silly making appointments for "just a cold." (I think that's because in the early days of having Miss A. home from the NICU, I once called the pediatrician's office with a health concern and the on-call nurse told me, "At some point you have to start treating her like any other child." Yes, intellectually I know she was wrong...especially since Miss A. was still on an apnea monitor! Nonetheless...)

Anastasia's eyes are sunken and droopy and have dark circles under them. She barely slept last night because she was mostly coughing. She literally spent all day today coughing, too.

The doctor thinks the virus is turning into bronchitis. She prescribed an antibiotic and an inhaler. She almost prescribed a steroid, too. Given Miss A.'s history, she wants to be quite proactive. Does this sound familiar? It was only four months ago or so that Miss A. was treated similarly for walking pneumonia. Anyway, if Anastasia doesn't show significant improvement in the next two days, steroids will be the next step.

(For those who don't know, being a micro preemie equals underdeveloped lungs. Between that and the ventilator used to keep her alive during her early days, Anastasia's lungs are not quite healthy. This puts her at higher risk for asthma and other lung issues.)

The doc also took a brief look at Zane. I told her that of all four of us, he was doing the best. (Although he slept nearly all day today and has been sleeping through the night most nights, too.) I asked if somehow the antibiotics he's on could be doing more than protecting his eyes. "Antibiotics don't work on colds, right?" I asked.

She told me that is correct, but often there is an underlying infection we can't see. The antibiotic takes care of that, making the patient feel better...and making him or her more able to fight the virus.

Miss A. was deeply appreciative of the medication. She's a little in awe of her doctor. I could see she wanted to hug the pediatrician, but she didn't quite have the nerve. She did thank her, though. The inhaler hasn't completely taken away the coughing, but she's sleeping...whereas I'm awake because I don't want to wake up Zane and my hubby with my coughing.

Ugh! I'll be glad when we're all well again!


February 11, 2009

Anastasia is worse, not better. I was up with her every hour last night - not that there was much I could do. She can only use the inhaler every four hours. She was just miserable, coughing, coughing. And the cough is no longer dry. She's coughing gunk and is sometimes wheezy. I have a call in to the pediatrician.

In addition to being plan old sick, when Miss A. gets tired, she looses the ability to eat. She tries, bless her heart, but it's as if her body just won't cooperate. She ends up gagging and literally can't seem to swallow.

Despite my lack of sleep (I think God is giving me supernatural energy so I can take care of my family right now) I think I might be a bit better. My throat is so swollen and sore I can barely swallow, and my tongue is miserably swollen, too, but Tylenol taken regularly helps that tremendously. My hubby is past the fever stage, and Zane is just sleeping through it all. In other words, we can handle this bug. I'm not so sure about Anastasia.

As I've typed before, Miss A. is a sweet patient, chewing her antibiotic pills even though she says they taste horrible, thanking us for her medicine, and telling me regularly, "You're a good mommy, Mommy." Here are a few chuckles she's given us lately:

* From out of the blue, Anastasia said, "Mostly babies don't wear clothes when they're inside their mommy's tummy."

* After saying "Starlight, star bright:" "I wish for another baby brother who loves me."

* Yesterday, as Zane was crying for a bottle and I was busy making it, Miss A. tried to comfort him, as she always does. Suddenly, Zane started screaming. I rushed over to find Miss A. putting a doll's baby bottle in his mouth.

* Miss A.: "I'm going to burn this teddy bear!"

Me: "Why would you want to do that? Where did you hear about burning toys?" (I thought she might mention The Velveteen Rabbit.)

Miss A.: "You burned the baby Jesus!...And then he came back!"

Zane's first time in the Bumbo seat. (When Anastasia used it, we called it lavender. Now we say it's  purple!)


February 12, 2009

Thank you to everyone who's sent prayers and well wishes.

Yesterday the doctor prescribed a steroid inhaler, in addition to the albuterol inhaler and antibiotics Anastasia was already taking. The good news is her oxygen saturation numbers were better yesterday, despite the fact that she looked so much more ill and had a really gunky cough. The bad news is that in two days, Miss A. lost two pounds. Since she has virtually no "reserves," this is a big deal. Although I haven't been weighing her, I think she's lost at least five pounds total since becoming ill.

Last night we gave Anastasia a dose from both inhalers and she fell fast asleep at 6 pm. I heard her coughing, but only rarely, and she only woke once, around 3 am, asking for Tylenol. I also gave her some more albuterol. This morning, she's perkier and looks better overall. She's still got a bad cough and is barely eating. Still, I think she's at the turning point with this illness. (And thank you, God, for potato chips, because that's all I can get her to nibble on!)

Even though yesterday I was busy planning how I could take care of Miss A. and Zane if Anastasia ended up in the hospital, she was busy cracking me up. She has taken to using the most grown up vocabulary. For example, yesterday when I asked her if there was anything other than potato chips she'd like to eat, she said, "I prefer to get down [from the table] now." At another point, she was sobbing from exhaustion and she said, "Comfort me, please, Mommy" and "You can comfort me, if you like."

She made our pediatrician laugh, too. As the doctor listened to Anastasia's heart and looked at her blood oxygen numbers, Miss A. was saying, "Oh! That's much better!" She also repeatedly said, "Thank you, Doctor W." I don't think our pediatrician is used to being thanked by her youngest patients.


February 17, 2009

We seem to be nearing the end of this illness.  Anastasia is no longer using her two inhalers (although she hasn't finished her antibiotic yet) and appears to have nothing more than a little cold. I am tired and have a sore throat, but am otherwise fine. My hubby is the sickest of us all; he still gets a fever now and then, and has what I'd call the symptoms of a bad cold.


Left: Hubby and Zane. Yeah, they are related. Right: Me with the kiddos. Yes, I did Photoshop away the dark circles under my eyes.

I thought Zane was all healed up, but two nights ago, he had a terrible time sleeping. When he's like that, he lifts his legs high in the air and thumps them down as hard as he can in his little bed. (We call him Thumper.) The next day he slept a lot and was, for him, really cranky. By evening, he was screaming. I haven't seen him like that since he was a newborn and I gave him regular formula instead of the stuff with broken down milk proteins.

But after I tried comforting him a while, I placed him in his bouncy seat (his favorite place to nap) and he was asleep within a minute.

So maybe he was just exhausted.

But to be on the safe side, I opened a new can of formula (maybe the other can was bad?), am using bottled water (our water filter isn't working right now, so I'd used regular tap water), and Hubby bought some Mylicon (which I haven't used yet). This morning, he seemed happy enough, took a bottle, and is now asleep.

Miss A. is definitely happier. She's sassing a bit (something we're working on), but is generally cheerful and loving. In fact, she's so much better, I took her shopping with me the other day. She'd been longing for a nightgown ever since she saw me in my own "beautiful" flannel one, so I picked one up for her. Across the aisle was the women's lingerie section, with some sexy black bras prominently displayed. "Mommy, will you buy me a bra?" Anastasia asked. I simply said "No," and tried to change the subject. "That's okay, Mommy," she said. "I know when I grow up and get boobies you'll buy me one." All this at full volume, mind you.

"See my boo-ti-ful nightgown?"

Since Zane is just about four months old now, I offered him some rice cereal last night. He seemed excited at the idea of eating solid food (if you can call it "solid;" it's pretty darn liquidy). But it was a no go. Everything that went in came right back out his mouth :)

Zane doing tummy time.


February 18, 2009

Okay, I need potty training advice. Before Miss A. got sick, she was doing so-so with potty training. She usually succeeded once or twice a day. When she got so sick, although I encouraged her to use the potty, I put diapers on her as a backup. She was just too ill for me to nag her. Now she's back in panties, and doesn't seem to care when they get either wet or poopy.

So I'm undecided. Do I take the old-school approach and keep her in panties? Or do I follow the modern idea that when she's truly ready, it won't be this tough?

Although Zane and I have both relapsed a bit, Anastasia continues to feel better. Today it was so beautiful I couldn't resist giving in to Miss A.'s request to play outside. We bundled up a little, and I enjoyed giving Zane his first "play" time outdoors. He didn't seem to care for it much, and spent most of the time squinting in the sunshine (even though it wasn't that sunny).




February 21, 2009

Yes, I am sleep deprived. I really can't see into the future; my foggy state of mind just made me type "February 28, 2009" instead of "February 18, 2009" in my last post. Thanks to all who pointed it out; I've corrected my error :)

Thanks, too, to everyone who wrote with potty training advice. The scariest email I got was from a friend who said her nephew made the potty such a battle, he wasn't trained until age six. (Lord, please, please let that not be us!) Almost all of you suggested keeping Anastasia in panties, training pants, or perhaps Pull-Ups. A lot of moms of preemies chimed in, too, and it was their own personal stories that really hit home for me.

Every single one of them said their children were strong willed and that this attitude was especially strong during potty training. Every single one of them said it took longer "than usual" to potty train their child. And every single one of them said patience and persistence - without putting pressure on the child - is key.

This advice not only impressed me, but it really backed up what I instinctively (except on those days when I just get fed up with cleaning poopy panties!).

I think some of Miss A.'s potty training problems come from being stubborn. She doesn't want to stop playing to go potty, and will even argue with me that she doesn't have to go...then go in her pants a minute later.

And the rest, I really suspect, has to do with her prematurity.

It's difficult to talk about this credibly because Anastasia is essentially "caught up" developmentally. And while her lags are subtle, I can still see them. (She still doesn't know how to jump, for example, and can't open many doors.)

In addition, one mom of a preemie sent me an interesting article about sensory issues and potty training. Anastasia doesn't have really obvious sensory problems, but as this mother pointed out, most preemies probably have some sort of sensory issue because they were thrust into a noisy, tactical, bright world long before most infants are. Among the less obvious things a sensory problem can cause are an inability to properly understand and respond to their own thirst and hunger; as you know, Miss A. continues to drink barely enough (and would drink much less if I weren't such a nag!) and eats too little. Another item on the sensory issues list is problems with digestion. Although I'm happy to say I don't have to give Anastasia Miralax every day, she still tends to have constipation issues.

Finally, at the bottom of that list is "bowl and bladder." So in addition to potty training being related to motor skills, it is related to preemie sensory problems.

Common signs of a sensory problem related to potty training include several things I recognize in Miss A.:

* rushing to the bathroom at the last minute (when the child finally feels something) but being too late,

* frequent constipation or “pain” when having bowel movements (although this seems to be improving),

* not caring if they have a dirty/wet diaper,

* and not knowing if they've gone potty (Miss A. often says she's gone when she hasn't.)

This really validates my instincts about Anastasia's potty training issues. And it makes me realize I need to read up on sensory issues...

Therefore, I've decided to put on my patience cap. I tell her (as a friend suggested) that "three year olds use the potty." I remind her constantly to go potty, even when she doesn't want to. And I just bought more of those wonderful, slightly padded panties, plus some plastic training pants for when we go out and about.

I also bought some more M&Ms, realizing I'd run out, and remembering how much Miss A. loves chocolate :)

Zane is a big boy! The days of having Anastasia hold him are about over. His weight knocks her over!

As I've said before and will undoubtedly say again, raising Zane is so very different than raising Anastasia. He's such a big boy! His 6 - 12 month socks barely fit. His 6 - 9 month clothes are just about too small. (He's only four months old, remember!)

The other day I thought we were all well enough to go to library story time, and found myself fixated by one baby boy there. He was half Zane's size, but was already crawling and pulling up. I didn't have the nerve to ask the mother how old he was.

Oh and remember how I thought Zane was having tummy troubles? I think he was actually just fighting sleep harder than usual, and was having a bad day of teething. Although he's still a bit more cranky than usual, I think he's fine.

And because I'm too tired to think of a good segue, let me end by simply giving you a cute Anastasia story. A few days ago, when she woke up, I asked her "How are you feeling?" She replied,  "I feel better...Except I'm a little blind. I can't see in the dark!"


February 24, 2009

Out of curiosity, I weighed Zane today and he's 18 lbs. 6 oz. We've taken to affectionately calling him "The Giant," while Anastasia is "The Pixie." In fact, I've been laughing about this:


LEFT: Anastasia, age 1 year and 2 months. RIGHT: Zane, age 4 months.

Yes, I am sure about their ages and yes, that is the same outfit!

Zane is back to waking up twice each night for a bottle, and I now give him 8 oz. bottles at night. (He never seems to drink more than 6 oz. at a time during the day.) He is teething (hence the wet, drooly spot on his jammies), and two days ago (Feb. 22nd), he rolled over completely for the first time. His daddy had him doing tummy time, and he got so mad about it, he promptly rolled over.

Generally, Zane is a laid back little guy. Say his name, and he grins ear to ear. Keep him where the action is, he won't complain. But take him away from the action and he cries and cries. For example, if he's awake when I put Anastasia to bed, he'll make a fuss until I carry him into her room so he can see what's going on. He also thinks his big sis is the cat's pajamas. Usually, he is focused on her, and finds most of what she does amusing. (Baby humor is beyond me, though, since he'll laugh hard when he sees her eating...or when he sees her using her maracas like drumsticks on the kitchen table.)

Anastasia adores him, too. She literally cries if I grab a bib for him. "That's my job!" she says. She kisses him, tries to burp him, covers him with blankets (something we have to watch, or she'll cover his face), tries to put a teething ring in his mouth, and does everything she can to comfort him when he cries.

I'm truly blessed to have two such sweet children.