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January 2008

January 2, 2008

I just put Miss A. down for her nap - and for the first time, she asked to pray. So I prayed with her. She rested her little head on my shoulder until I was done, and then  said,  "A-ben!"

Anastasia had an exciting weekend. We went shopping (twice!) for my birthday. She's not used to being in stores or malls (even the nearly empty ones we chose in order to keep her away from germs), but she did just awesome. We reminded her a few times to "look with your eyes" - and she, trying to be helpful, told me once or twice, "Mommy, eyes!" By the end of our shopping trip, she was resting her head on the (sanitized) shopping cart handle and was saying, "Night-night. All done."

Miss A.'s language skills continue to grow. I can't possibly keep track of her vocabulary any more. She's finally (I think) learning to name the color red, and is working on some of the (for her) more difficult shapes. And when she's not sure if she's identifying something correctly, she'll say (for example), "Rectangle maybe." (She does this a lot with Dr. Seuss characters. "Horse maybe," she says, pointing to a weird Seuss creature.)

And here's a funny for you: A friend gave us a bag of white chocolate packaged in a bag with a snowman on the front. The manufacturer called the treats "snowman droppings." My hubby must have read this to Anastasia because - for well over a week now - she's been saying, "Mo' Frosty poo poo, pease!"

I've never been much on celebrating New Year's, but I do often stop and consider the "big picture" of the past year. This January, I find myself stunned by all the progress Miss A. has made. This time last year, Anastasia had just learned to crawl (at 16 months of age). A few months later (at 20 months) she started to walk. I distinctly remember that when we went camping in July of '07, Anastasia was still quite wobbly on her feet. She definitely wasn't running. Or going up and down stairs. And she only said a few words here and there. I was also still waking up in the middle of the night to give her a bottle. (Boy, am I glad those days are over!)

And as 2008 opens, I'm excited to see where Miss A. will take us. I hope she'll be potty trained before her 3rd birthday (in August). I hope I will no longer be giving her any bottles. And I look forward to starting a pre-school curriculum with her at home. Mostly, I can't wait to not be sequestered! Once this RSV season is over, Anastasia and I can get OUT into the world!

P.S. We just weighed and measured Anastasia and she's 33 inches tall and 25 lbs 14 oz.



January 4, 2008

Just for fun, I stacked all the books I read to Anastasia in a pile yesterday. At the end of the day, she'd brought me the following books to read (and I read them all at least twice):

First Words

My ABC Bible/My ABC Prayers (which Miss A. simply calls "Pray")

Baby Animals

My Shapes (Miss A. shortens it to "Shapes")

Little One's Bible Promises

Baby Says Peekaboo ("Boo")

The Tale of Peter Rabbit ("Rabbit")

Little Red Riding Hood ("Hood")

The Three Bears ("Bears")

The Rescuers ("Mice," which is what the leading characters are)

The Ugly Duckling

Little Cottontail (also "Rabbit")

The Saggy Baggy Elephant

Hansel and Gretel ("Step mommy")

I Love You When

The Little Red Hen

Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

The Kitten Book ("kitties")

Jack and the Beanstalk ("Jack." Part of the "Read a Tale" series)

The Mitten ("Niki," after the little boy in the book)

I'm Really Sorry

Everyone Poops ("Poops")

The Gingerbread Man ("Gingerbread Man")

Time to Say Goodnight


Yeah. She's a bookworm.

I've been thinking a lot about potty training. Miss A. had another incident in the bathtub. She's always so upset about it, and it's clear she doesn't have control over her movements yet. I know it doesn't help that her Miralax often gives her loose stools. I adjust the dose every day, trying to get it just right. Some days I do better than others. She shows no interest in going pee in the potty yet. I try to remember that she's behaving more like a just-turned-two-year-old; in other words, I still need to correct her age for prematurity in some cases. Although I do know some two year olds are potty trained, most are not.

I also really want to get her off her one remaining bottle (which I give her about an hour after she goes to bed). For one thing, I don't want a three year old who is still on a bottle (!), and now Anastasia sometimes asks for a bottle first thing in the morning or after a nap. (I tell her she can have her cup instead, because she's a big girl.)

I see these two things as the "biggies" for 2008. The first will come with time. "Anastasia time," is what we call it in our household :)  The second...well, I'm not sure how to proceed. I'm less worried about calories now, but I do like that the Pediasure gives her some extra vitamins. But mostly I worry about Miss A.'s fluid intake. She gets about 16 oz. total these days. Not much. If I remove an 8 oz. bottle, will she make up for it? She hasn't in the past. So how do I deal with that?


January 6, 2008

Last night, we had our first "it's gonna stick" snowfall. Last year, Miss A. liked looking at the snow through the window, but she really didn't want to get out in it. (She was still going through some mild sensory issues; remember how much she hated grass, too?) Anyway, last night we were watching Peter Rabbit (which I highly recommend; this movie is done so beautifully and Anastasia just adores it), when I noticed it was snowing. I turned off the movie and said "Look, Anastasia!" We ran to the window and a huge smile came over Anastasia's face. "Frosty!" she said, pointing to the snow. We watched the snow fall for a minute, then I had Miss A. grab her shoes and I stuffed her into her coat. When we got outside, she said, "Show Daddy!" We fetched her daddy and then she was all smiles.

This morning, thinking we'd find even more snow up in the hills, we drove about a half hour from town. Surprisingly, there really wasn't much more snow there, but we got out and played a while. Anastasia fell a couple of times (it doesn't help that her boots are a wee bit big), and I said, "Up-see-daisy!" Thereafter, when she fell or thought she might fall she said, "Oh Daisy!"


She drug her daddy around in the snow (literally; check out the video, where you'll also hear Anastasia talking a little bit), and cry heartily when we bundled her back into the truck.

Oh, and FYI, I did try to put gloves on Miss A., but she's very sure she never wants gloves or mittens on her hands...and I just couldn't get them on her!

Anastasia is very into tutus, feather fans, boas, and all those other girlie things.

Playing with her dollhouse...using it more as a barn.

Miss A. loves her red sparkly shoes. 

January 10, 2008

Yesterday, Anastasia used her potty chair again! Because she's had three bowel movements in the bathtub (...boy is she gonna love reading this when she's a teenager...), I've told her repeatedly that if she thinks she needs to go while in the tub, she should say, "Potty, Mommy" or "Poo-poo, Mommy." So last night she said, "Potty poo-poo, Mommy."

I picked her up and sat her on the potty chair and we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, the deed was done. "Show Daddy!" she said over and over. So after I got her dressed, we sought out Daddy and Daddy came in and oohed and awed over her poo-poo. (You know you're the parent of a toddler when...!) Miss A. was very proud.

Today was a stellar day, too, because Anastasia saw her first real rainbow. She's seen many in books, and has occasionally looked out the window saying, "Wane-bow?" Today we were on a walk. The sun was out and it was drizzling. And there, right in front of us, was a big, bright rainbow. When I was finally able to get Anastasia to notice it, she was all smiles and called out "wane-bow!" several times.


January 12, 2008

Once again, while in the bath, I suspected Miss A. needed to use the potty. I asked her, she said "yes," and I plopped her down onto her seat. And in less than a minute, she went. We seem to be making progress!

In other news, Anastasia is starting to recognize letters by shape. She was playing with a wooden puzzle that's just the letters in her first name, and suddenly pointed to one and said "S!" I asked her about the other letters, and she identified them correctly, too - although one time she called an "A" and "H."

She's also pretty big on "reading" to herself right now. In fact, there are one or two books she won't let us read to her; apparently, she likes her version of the story better. She'll babble along, using a few recognizable words, then come to the end of the book. As if I were reading to her, she says, "Agin?" then answers, "Okay." There are also a few books where she says certain phrases correctly. For example, in Sally Wants to Help, she'll "read" (on the correct pages) phrases like "Help! Help!" "Mommy...do" ("Mommy has work to do"), "Help Mommy" etc.

She's only just now getting into the "I want to do it myself" phase, though. (Or, in Anastasia's words: "Ah-self!")

Miss A. loves to walk around the house in Mommy's slip-ons. This outfit is also the first set of clothes she's picked out for herself. I was browsing through some sale items in a store, and she saw this Piglet sweat set. "Pease!" she cried.

It's been difficult not to notice that Miss A. is like her mommy...She loves books and letters, but could care less about numbers. I've tried reading books to her about basic counting and numbers, and I've tried counting real life things out to her, but she just seemed bored by it all. Then I found Winnie the Pooh's 123s. Miss A. loves Pooh and his friends (sometimes at night I hear her saying things like "Oh Tigger!" in her sleep), so she was enchanted with this DVD. Not only does she ask to watch it constantly, but within two days of first watching it, she started counting! I was putting olives on her fingers (they are one of her favorite foods) and as I stuck the first one in place, I said, "One..." With each subsequent olive, Anastasia said, "Two...three...four!"

So now I feel like I can relax a little. My daughter can learn numbers if she chooses to! :D

Miss A. saw her physical therapist a couple of days ago. And for the first time, Anastasia could tell us verbally that she didn't want to work. "No. All done," she said over and over, walking away and finding toys to fiddle with. The PT feels Miss A. could use some "strength training;" I'm supposed to encourage her to drag or lift heavish things. Yet the same day the PT said this, Anastasia drug a full bag of potatoes all over the house. The PT also wondered if Miss A. ever uses a pincer grasp. I admitted I've never noticed. So, if I see that she prefers not to do it, I'll probably introduce some Montessori "games" that encourage it.

January 14, 2008

For your viewing pleasure, my earnest little musician singing "Row, Row" (otherwise known as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"), "Donald" ("Old MacDonald"), "Dumpsey" ("Humpty Dumpty"), and her own version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

January 16, 2008

I didn't even mention Anastasia's last cold because it was so minor and over with so quickly. It was her second one this winter - but so far, we've managed to keep Miss A. very healthy. She hasn't had but a few minor colds since she came home from the NICU.

Then this morning when I walked into her room, Miss A. and all her bedding were covered in vomit.

About an hour earlier, I'd heard her cough twice. Something about the cough made me sit up in bed and look at the baby monitor's video. Anastasia was sitting up in bed, then lay back down and was silent. I figured all was well.

But apparently not. Throughout the morning, she gagged several times, vomiting up clear fluid. But she's had no other symptoms. Our pediatrician's nurse says this isn't uncommon. So, I have Miss A. sipping on Pedialite (boy, did the first sip of that garner a bizarre expression!). She's also munched on a few Cheerios. So far, no more vomiting.

January 18, 2008

Even though Anastasia didn't eat much on the 16th (and she drank almost nothing), she acted perfectly healthy. I decided to offer her a full bottle at night, as usual. She kept it down just fine, and has been eating and drinking normally ever since. :)  

January 19, 2008

I don't know what's going on with Miss A. Yesterday, she ate no dinner and drank nothing all day long, so shortly before bedtime, I encouraged her to drink some juice. She did - then promptly threw up.  She said her tummy hurt (although I'm not entirely sure she knows what that means), so I sent her to bed and checked on her frequently. I told her that if she threw up again, or if she felt she needed me, she should call, and I would come.

Instead of giving her a bottle of Pediasure last night, I offered her a bottle of Pedialite. She took one sip and refused to drink more. So an hour and a half later, I offered her a bottle of (half and half) Gatoraid and flat 7-Up, according to the triage nurses' recommendation. Miss A. refused that, too. I was afraid to offer a bottle of Pediasure, and decided she was better off getting some sleep.

Then, in the wee hours, I heard Anastasia calling for me. She begged for "cuddles" and every time I thought she was asleep and tried to lay her back down, she begged for more "cuddles." I ended up rocking and holding her the rest of the night. When she awoke, she said her tummy hurt, so I offered her some Gatoraid and flat 7-Up. (Before you ask, she won't suck on Pedialite popsicles, either.)  I plopped her in front of a movie, since she typically drinks a lot while watching a DVD. She drank some, then said she wanted chicken. I made her an entire chicken patty and put some Ranch on it. She ate it all - plus some Goldfish crackers - and has kept it down so far.

I'm really pushing fluids. I literally have to hover over Anastasia with a cup and say, "Take a sip, and then you can do X, Y, or Z." Yesterday she did not get a minimum amount of fluid; according to the triage nurse, that should be 1 oz. for every hour during the day. She said I should use a dropper if Anastasia wouldn't drink willingly. Boy, does that brings back bad memories of trying to get Miss A. to drink milk when she first came home from the hospital!

Last night, we fretted and fretted about her fluid intake. We have visions of taking her to the pediatric ward (right near the NICU) to be given fluids intravenously. Ack! At heart, we are still parents of a preemie! Which reminds us to do the thing that got us through the whole NICU experience: Pray and put our daughter in God's hands (where she really is, anyway).

January 21, 2008

The good news is, aside from being more fatigued than usual, Anastasia seems to be back to her old self. The bad news is, I picked up what she had...and I must be old, because I handled it much worse. I'll just say I have a violent stomach bug and leave the rest to your imagination. Thank goodness my hubby was home yesterday to care for Miss A. I don't think I could have done it on my own! Thankfully, today I'm better...but now it appears the hubby is catching the bug, too.

I did want to quickly pass on a couple of fun things about Anastasia, though.

  • For the past several days, Miss A.'s taken to saying: "Okay. Fine. That'll work." Her daddy says this sometimes, and I guess she decided it was a good phrase. She will ask, for example, if I'll draw Frosty. (Yeah, she's still crazy over that snowman.) But it will be the hundredth time she's asked, so I'll reply, "How about I draw a  kitty?" And she'll say, "Okay. Fine. That'll work."


  • Her daddy was wearing a shirt with writing on it yesterday. Anastasia pointed to the letters in one word, saying each phonically. So now we're starting to point out simple words, sounding them out slowly.


  • 99% of the time, I let Anastasia choose which books we're going to read together. These days, she'll often bring one of her Bibles over (yes, she has more than one...) and say "G'liath?" ("Goliath") or "Esther?" These are her two favorite stories.


  • Tonight we were delighted when, during a family prayer, Miss A. started adding her own words. Some words were babble, but we also heard: "Bless Daddy..."

January 24, 2008

Other than being really tired, I think we're all well now.

What a nasty bug that was!

I'm constantly exploring new ways to entertain and educate Miss A., which is especially important because we're cooped up inside so often due to RSV. (I think I have the only child in the world who starts clapping and laughing when we drive into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Shopping is a major - and exciting - event for Anastasia.)

I think it's also especially important for parents of preemies to take matters into their own hands and incorporate play activities that are good for development into their daily routine.

I promised to share some of our activities, knowing that some of you are in a position similar to ours...but I haven't been very good about that. So today, I want to mention a few things.

Anastasia's grandma bought her a princess outfit for Christmas. She really wanted nothing to do with at the time, but yesterday, she decided the hat was fabulous. She has a puppet who wears a princess hat, and Miss A. was pleased to find she could wear a princess hat, too. She never took the hat off yesterday, except for naps and eating.

Aside from free play and reading, we do a lot of art activities. We started with scrap paper and fat crayons, and have moved on to coloring books, fat markers (I keep the caps on, and Miss A. has to ask for a particular color before I'll hand it to her), watercolor paints, paint with water books, playdough, and stamps (I place the stampers on the ink pads, then hand them, ready to go, to Anastasia). This is all really inexpensive, too, since I buy everything at The Dollar Tree. (Even if you buy these supplies elsewhere, most are inexpensive and will last quite a while). I just make sure everything is non-toxic and preferably will wash off clothes).

I also found large tubs of foam stickers at The Dollar Tree, which are a favorite source of play. I partially peel off the backings, and Anastasia finishes the peeling, then places them on paper. For this purpose, I also gather all manner of stickers that come with the junk mail.

Lots of good learning comes from art projects. Fine motor skills are addressed, and we talk about colors, shapes - even sharing and not being wasteful. (Miss A. prefers it when I color with her, and sometimes she wants to use whatever color I'm using. I remind her to share and that she'll get to use the color next. I also encourage her to always finish whatever project she's working on. Partially colored coloring book pages are wasteful, I explain.) She's always very proud of her art projects and says, "Show Daddy!"

Sorting buttons.

Another thing we do is sorting. I had a bunch of buttons laying around (I knew I kept them for a good reason!), so I chose a few larger types that would be easy to handle. Then I lay out five small bowls and tell Anastasia we were going to sort the buttons by color. I help her when necessary, but she quickly caught on to this "game." She usually wants to repeat it several times before moving on to something else. This activity has so many variations, too. You could sort buttons by color, size, shape (buttons aren't necessarily round!)...even texture. Then you can count them. ("How many blue buttons are there? How many shiny buttons?") As the child becomes more adept you can have them use tongs for the sorting; later, she can use tweezers. This is great for fine motor skills and concentration, not to mention learning colors, shapes, sizes, etc.

And once you get it into your head that even small children can "help" around the house, chores become an endless way for kids to have fun, learn a lot, and feel useful. For example, Miss A. helps me sort the laundry into darks and lights. She doesn't need very much help with this. Then she helps me carry laundry to the washer. (I don't use a basket; I just hold it in my arms.) I even pick her up and let her throw a few things into the washer. She takes great pride in this and says, "Big helper!" and "Helping Mommy!"

Once the laundry is dry, I sit her on our bed next to a big pile of clothes and ask her to get all the socks out, or all of her daddy's shirts, or all her clothes. She does this perfectly. I'm teaching her to match socks now.

She also loves to help me dust, wipe her little table down, or clean the windows. I just give her a clean, dry paper towel. She's becoming interested in using window cleaner, so I'll probably buy some of those ready-to-use window wipes soon. So what if there are streaks on the window? She'll feel great about herself, and will be learning, too.


January 27, 2008

We live in an area where, if we get two inches of snow, everything shuts down. Well, today it hasn't stopped snowing at all - and Anastasia is in heaven. When she saw the snow this morning, she said, "Oh! Make Frosty!" I told her, however, that she couldn't go outside without putting mittens on. At first, she made it very clear that wasn't going to happen. "'Side? Snow?" she kept asking, and "Only if you wear your mittens," I'd reply. Finally, after a few tears, she said, "I try." So I slipped her mittens on and outside we went.

"I like white snow!" Miss A. said over and over again. I taught her to eat snow (which she proclaimed was "tasty!") and I showed her how her boots made shoeprints in the snow. We even made a small snowman.

After about an hour, I brought her back inside to get warmed up. As I took off her mittens, I said, "Wearing mittens isn't so bad, is it?" And she said, "Mittens hands warm." I think we'll no longer be struggling to get her hands in mittens!


 January 28, 2008

My daughter is obsessed with eating snow. Really.

Today, as we walked around the neighborhood, all she wanted to do was grab snow and eat it. This became problematic, since our snow is in the melting phase and has been trampled on quite a bit. I tried to explain about "dirty snow," but Anastasia didn't care. Dirty or clean, she wanted to eat it!

I guess now would be a great time to introduce snow cones...A good way to extra fluids down her! The only trouble is, they require using a blender, and loud noises and "strange" gadgets scare Miss A. to tears.

That has been going on for over a year now. We kept thinking she'd grow out of it, but no luck so far. We try to warn her when a loud noise is coming (the disposal, the hand vac, her daddy blowing his nose...) but it still makes her tremble and cry. It helps if one of us is holding her in a separate room, but often she'll still cower. Poor dear.

I'm thankful, at least, that my hubby got a Roomba for Christmas. Not only do we tell Miss A. that it's a "robot" (never use the word vacuum around Anastasia!), but it's really quiet. It doesn't scare Miss A. at all. In fact, she likes watching "daddy's robot." (It also does a fantastic job and keeps me from ever having to vacuum again! Everyone needs one of these babies.)

In other news, Anastasia is using quite a few four word sentences now. She's also starting to use the word "I." For example, when we visited her cousins recently, she took something off a table that she wasn't supposed to touch. When I explained that it was a "no-no," she explained right back:   "I show boys!" (meaning her cousins). Today, I had occasion to tell Anastasia to take her boot out of her mouth (!), and she muttered, "I not chew boots."

She's also trying to count everything, and can count from 10 to 15 perfectly.


January 30, 2008

We are still enjoying snow here, which makes for a less grumpy Anastasia. We go out twice a day - once after breakfast, and once after lunch. We walk around the neighborhood, play in our own yard, eat snow, and splash in puddles.

Today, I also tried two new activities with Anastasia. I filled the kitchen sink with warm water and dish soap, then pulled up the stepping stool. I showed Miss A. the bubbles, a plastic bowl and cup, a small doll, and two sponges. She was timid at first, but I told her it was very much like playing in the bathtub. Then I showed her how to wash her doll. Eventually, she became enthusiastic and bathed the doll, washed the dishes, and (her favorite) wiped down the counter with the sponge. "Help Mommy!" she proclaimed.


It was slightly messy. (She lacks the skill to hold one object and pour water over it with another object while holding both over the sink.) But I just stood by with an extra sponge...which made Anastasia think she and I were working together. :)   When the water started getting cool, she began (on her own initiative) to take bowl-fulls of water from the right hand side of the sink and pour them down the left hand side.

She loved playing at the sink so much, she didn't want to stop. I will do one thing different next time, however. With soap on her hands, Miss A. rubbed one of her eyes. While she didn't cry, her eye was clearly irritated. So next time, I'll use tear-free shampoo to create the bubbles.

For a while, I've also been thinking about spooning. Typically, this is done with two bowls, a bunch of beans (or sometimes rice), and a measuring spoon. But I don't have the cup-style measuring spoons, and I was afraid Miss A. would put beans or rice in her mouth...and possibly choke. So today I just gathered some things I already had: two cereal bowls, a large tablespoon, and some Kashi puff cereal. Anastasia has never eaten Kashi, so I didn't think she would try to eat it. (But even if she did, at least it wouldn't be a choking hazard.)

I set up everything on her little table, then showed her what to do: "Put all of the stuff in this full bowl into the empty bowl - using the spoon." She was eager to give it a go. It was messy at first. (But she got to use her pincer grasp to pick up stray cereal from the floor.) Yet after a few tries, she was spooning the cereal into the empty bowl pretty easily. Then I turned my back for a moment and she tasted the cereal and decided it was yummy. I was able to convince her she could eat the cereal once she'd spooned it all into the second bowl, but next time, I think I'll try a different type of food. Maybe uncooked oats, which would be less appetizing.