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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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January 2009

January 2, 2009

Zane's discovered his thumb!

On the 31st, we took Zane in for his two month checkup. He's in the 50th percentile (dead average) for his height...and in the 90th percentile for his weight! (I think his height may catch up; he's already wearing 6 month size hats and socks.) He also got his first shots, and Miss A. gave him lots of kisses to make him feel better.

He also...drum roll, please!...slept through the night last night! We'd had a busy time the day before, and he didn't wake up for food until 7am. May such nights soon become the usual routine!

Miss A. is doing very well. Her behavior has mostly been excellent. As usual, she is full of interesting things to say:

As I changed Zane's diaper: "Wow! What a cute baby we have!"

After the nurse asked how she was doing: "I'm well."

As she helped me do laundry: "Zane can't wait to do laundry!"

Two days ago she also (of her own initiative) thoroughly explained to us why Jesus died on the cross...then told us he would come back some day. (I didn't even know I'd discussed the latter with her!)

Miss A. on Christmas day, delicately eating a piece of Jesus' birthday cake.


January 7, 2009

Zane just keeps eating and eating! I thought he was about to sleep through the night on a regular basis, but suddenly he's back to eating twice each night. I'm so exhausted! I don't know how I managed when Anastasia was a baby. I got up with her much more frequently (no less than every three hours and for many months...and I timed it from the beginning of each of her long feeds). I guess I was more able to follow the "sleep when the baby sleeps" rule in those days.

Zane continues to be a thumb sucker; in fact, he seems to prefer his thumb to his pacifier. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, a thumb is always handy. It can't get lost and it doesn't fall out of his mouth constantly. On the other hand, when he's too old for the habit, a pacifier can be taken away so he can quit cold turkey.

Zane is starting to look more and more like his daddy, too. I commented on this the other day, and Anastasia replied, "Yes, he looks just like Daddy. Except Daddy doesn't have his thumb in his mouth."

Miss A. is doing well, but she continues to eat poorly at times. This have as much to do with her age as it has to do with issues relating to her prematurity. This morning, for example, she wouldn't even eat one bite of breakfast, even though I gave her what she asked for. We were scheduled for a playdate, but the rule has always been that we don't go on playdates unless she eats at least some breakfast. Well, today she decided to make this a battle. She wouldn't eat, so I canceled the playdate.

I am concerned that we are handling this all wrong. Ultimately, she will always win food battles, and I worry this could lead to eating disorders down the line. Anorexia, experts say, is mostly a matter of wanting control. Girls (and sometimes boys) stop eating because...well, they can. So we're trying something new: We put food in front of her. She can eat it or not. If she won't eat it, she can leave the table when she likes, but the food will go before her at the next meal. (And the next and the next and the next, if necessary.) And no snacks if she doesn't eat at mealtime.

She won't starve. Really. (When you have a child whose had trouble gaining weight from the very beginning, you have to remind yourself of this frequently!)

Happily, my hubby bought me a Sit and Stand double stroller for Christmas. Normally, we wouldn't spend that much on each other, but I told him I needed a way to get out of the house. (I don't drive.) What I love about this stroller is it works like a typical double stroller, or you can remove the back seat (where the older child sits) and there's a little bench the child can sit or stand on. The bench is perfect for days when the child wants to get in and out of the stroller (like at the park or the zoo). It handles great, too.

We took it for a walk yesterday, and Miss A. adores it. So do I! Now we can finally go to the park, the store, the library...whatever...again. We've pretty much been stuck at home since I discovered I was pregnant with Zane and my doctor agreed I should "take it easy" and not walk all over the place. It feels great to get out and it makes it much easier for Anastasia to socialize with other kids.


January 12, 2009

A few quick updates:

  • Zane is now 15 lbs. 12 oz.! And he's teething, poor little guy. He's pretty mellow about it, except sometimes near the end of the day. He doesn't have enough control to get something to his mouth to chew on it, so Tylenol is a big help.

  • I took Anastasia and Zane to the library for story-time this Friday. It was the first time Miss A. had been there since last spring. She was so excited! She sat rapt as the librarian read a lift-the-flap book. Other children kept reaching up and lifting the flaps, but Miss A. did as the librarian asked and didn't touch. Then she had fun coloring, then playing with the other children for a little while. She came close to throwing a temper tantrum when it was time to leave, but when I reminded her we could go to the library every week now, she calmed right down.

  • We're trying potty training again with Miss A. I have her in her padded Gerber pants, plus plastic Gerber pants. So far, no success, but all we can do is try :)

  • This weekend, I was thrilled to discover Target has a store brand version of Enfamil Gentlease formula! It's only $14.99, instead of $24.99, so it provides significant savings. Zane is still finishing up an old can of Gentlease, so I haven't tried it yet, but if his tummy can handle it, I'll be delighted!


January 13, 2009

Yesterday, Anastasia was helping me fold laundry in my bedroom. I gave her the task of matching socks, and she was hard at work doing this when  I left the room to put clean clothes in her dresser. When I returned, Miss A. said, "Was that Grandma?"

"What?" I said. "Was what Grandma?"

"Was that Grandma talking?" she said.

"When? Just now? Or another time?"

"Just a minute ago."

Knowing Grandma was nowhere around, I said, "Noooo. " Then, beginning to worry, "What did you think Grandma said?"

"She asked what I was doing."

Did Miss A. have schizophrenia? Was something paranormal going on?...Was someone outside the window speaking to her? (Notice how the least likely stuff came to my mind first!)

Since it was dark outside, and I couldn't see anyone outside the window, I asked, "Where did it sound like the voice was coming from?"

"From the baby monitor," Miss A. said.

And I laughed heartily.

When I'd walked into her room, I saw she'd taken her clean jammies and put them on her stuffed animals and laid them all over the floor. So I'd said (to no one in particular), "Anastasia, what were you doing??"

Miss A. heard this through the baby monitor, and apparently the monitor made me sound like Grandma, not Mommy.



Another little funny:

Today, after a playdate, I was in a rush to make lunch. I laid Zane down on a little baby exercise mat in the living room and walked into the kitchen. Normally, I wouldn't lay him there without being in the same room with him, but I thought he'd be okay for just a moment.

Well, the next moment I heard Miss A. say, "I wanted Zane to do tummy time."


I rushed into the living room and discovered Zane, indeed, doing tummy time. (And lifting his head, which is something he never does when I give him tummy time.)

"Anastasia! What did you do to your brother??"

"I rolled him over."

Actually, she must have rolled him over several times to get him where he was.

And Zane never complained...


January 14, 2009

Yesterday, I intended to take Anastasia to her potty chair every hour. I kept forgetting, though. And just before dinner, as I was giving Zane a bottle, I asked her if she needed to go. She said she did, so I told her to run into the bathroom, pull down her pants, and sit on her potty chair. When she came back moments later, saying she'd gone pee in the potty, I was skeptical. Every time she'd sat on the potty chair in the past she'd said she'd gone...and she never actually had.

So I finished up Zane's bottle, then checked the bathroom. Lo! She had gone! We did the happy dance together, and Anastasia picked out a sticker to put on her potty chart. She was thrilled to have gone, and thrilled to know she could pull down her own pants. (I've been telling her for a long, long time that she could pull them up and down, but she never believed me and refused to try.)

Suddenly, all she wanted to do was go potty. She had one accident in her pants, and then it was time for bed, so I put her in a diaper, explaining that when she got really good at going potty during the day, she could wear panties at night, too.

Well, today she spent all morning in the bathroom, trying to go. She likes the independence of being able to sit on the potty whenever she wants to ("I can do it all by myself!" she keeps saying), so I pretty much left her alone. I was in the kitchen when she walked in and said, "Look at me, Mommy!"

That phrase always causes my heart to leap. Sure enough, I turned around, and the above photo is what I saw.

Apparently distracted while using the potty, Anastasia got on her stepping stool and took my lipstick off the counter. And put it all over her face and hands. And the bathroom walls. And the countertop.

The walls came clean pretty easily. The counter appears to be stained. And even after scrubbing, here's what Miss A.'s face looks like:

The lipstick was kiss-proof.

The good news is, she'd also gone pee in her potty chair. (And helped herself to two stickers for her potty chart.)


January 16, 2009

Despite the lipstick incident, the 14th was a stellar day. Anastasia successfully used the potty four times (!), and many of her accidents happened because she didn't quite get to the potty in time.  A huge breakthrough!

However, everything changed yesterday. At first it appeared Miss A. just lost interest in using the potty chair. But by the end of the day it was clear she was using the potty as a way to wield power. She'd go to the bathroom, grumbling about it the whole time, then stand next to the potty (fully clothed) and wet her pants - with a twinkle in her eye.

Having Anastasia use the potty, like having her eat, is a battle I can never win. So I tried to let it slide off my back. I did casually suggest she might have to go back to wearing diapers...but she seemed to like the idea. Sigh.

Today isn't going much better. Not a single success since the 14th! I guess the good news is Anastasia is now more aware of her bodily functions than she was before.

I don't think we need to worry about this "little" guy's eating habits!


January 20, 2009

Potty training is going better. Miss A. has about two successes a day, and her accidents aren't defiant; they are mostly because she's busy playing and either forgets to go to the potty or puts it off until it's too late. She's excited by her successes, but not infrequently she won't tell me if she's gone in her pants. (I think that's because she doesn't want to take time away from playing in order to get cleaned up.) The next step, I've decided, is to buy some chocolate (her favorite thing!) and use it as incentive. Every time she goes on the potty, she'll get a little.

Another new thing in her development: She's learned (or finally has the strength) to open doors. Not the front door - yet - but she enjoys opening and shutting the bathroom door. So far, she hasn't tried to do this in the middle of the night. (We close her door when she's sleeping, to keep her room warmer.)

Miss A. is also on the brink of reading. Yesterday, with her grandma, she figured out "at," "bat," "cat," "fat," and "hat." She had that twinkle in her eye, so I'm sure she's eager to read more!

Although I've locked up my makeup, I think I need to remove pretty much everything from the bathroom. I had some perfume sitting on the counter, way in the back, and a few days back Anastasia asked me to clean up her mess. "I've been into something I wasn't supposed to get into," she said. She'd dumped an entire bottle of perfume on the floor and in the toilet.

Zane, on the other hand, has been the opposite of "overly" active. Yesterday he slept for four and a half hours straight, in the middle of the day. He never does that! He always wants to eat every two to two and a half hours, and his naps are always short. It began to worry me some, so I picked him up and changed his diaper. He awoke and was ravenous. This morning, he woke up at the usual time, and I put him in his playpen so I could take Miss A. to the potty. But by the time I got back to him, he was fast asleep. It's now 9:30 AM and he hasn't eaten since 4 AM.

Not that I'm worried he'll waste away. Hopefully, he's not sick, he's just going through a growth spurt.

And now for a couple Anastasia-isms:

  • "Mommy, where's the yellow coat?" (It took me a while to realize she was referring to a yellow jacket - you know, the really mean bee-like critters - we found in the house the day before.)

  • "You look beautiful, Mommy!" (Said as I walked out in a frumpy flannel nightgown she'd never seen before.)


January 22, 2009

Recently, a friend of mine wrote that her four year old daughter is obsessed with getting married. Feeling a little superior, I thought, "What has she been exposing her daughter to? Anastasia doesn't even think about getting married." Well, as is always the case when I feel a little superior about my parenting skills, God humbles me.

This morning, out of the blue, we had the following conversation:

Miss A.: "I'm going to marry you, Mommy."

Me: "Oh, honey, girls only marry boys. And besides, I'm already married to Daddy. You can only be married to one person."

Miss A.: "Well, where is my husband, then?"

Me: "Weeeellll...I don't know. We just have to pray God will send you a wonderful man who loves you and God."

Miss A.: "Will you pray for him now?"

So we did. Later, she asked me what her husband's name was.

So, Tanya, I repent. I am not a better parent than you! :D

Anastasia's imagination continues to grow. Yesterday, I rearranged her room and she was so excited about it, she "tried out" her bed (which was in a different place) by laying in it. While she did this, I moved to another room, but soon Miss A. followed me. "I don't want to sleep in my room," she said. "A monster might go in there."

I was shocked! "What?" I said, "What did you say?"

She repeated herself, and added: "A monster might go in there and smack me!"

Me: "Who told you that?"

Miss A.: "Oh...Grandma."

Me: "Which Grandma?"

Miss A.: "Oh....Grandma...Grandma H...."

So I called Grandma H. She was as surprised as I. She talked to Miss A. and told her there's no such thing as monsters. Miss A. argued with her a little, but as she did so, I saw that twinkle in her eye...

She'd made the whole thing up. And later she asked, "What's a monster?"

Other tid-bits:

  • Miss A., after I told her she could not play with a rather fragile toy belonging to her brother: "Mommy, I want to pray for you. Jesus, please help Mommy to not speak to me like that..."

  • Miss A., when she wants to attempt to find my hidden makeup: "I need to go potty. I need privacy, please."

  • The other day I was on the phone, wading my way through one of those maddening automated systems that asks you to speak a number to get to the correct person. I replied, "One." And suddenly Anastasia jumped up and said, "What, Mommy? What??" She thought I was counting to ten to make her behave.


January 24, 2009

Miss A.'s potty skills got worse and worse until she wasn't using the chair at all. Then yesterday I asked her if she'd prefer to go on Mommy's potty. Her response was enthusiastic. So I took her shopping for one of those seats that fits over the regular, adult-sized toilet. Of course she picked the pink princess seat.

So armed with a pink potty seat and a bag of M&Ms, we started all over with potty training.

And now I can hardly get Miss A. off the toilet. (You think I'm joking, but I assure you I'm not!)

She adores sitting on her padded seat. She lives to use toilet paper (even when she doesn't "go"). And flushing the toilet is her new favorite past time. In fact, I've had to hide the toilet paper from her, so she has to ask for it if she's really gone. And I'm trying to teach her to flush only when she's actually "used" the toilet.

She's still having accidents, but so far she's much more interested in using the potty.

Sometimes it's just easier when you're naked.

In the meantime, dear little Zane kept popping out of his swaddler...literally. I'd hear a "pop!" in the middle of the night and look over to see the Velcro straps of his swaddler laying asunder. Then Zane would stretch and squeal...and have the most difficult time going back to sleep.

So I decided it was time to sacrifice some of my sleep in order to give Zane better sleeping habits. Last night, he went to bed without his swaddler. It did take long time for him to get to sleep (and I had to hold his pacifier in his mouth until he drifted off...another habit to break), but once he was asleep, he stayed that way until it was time for his usual bottle. Then, again, he had a hard time getting back to sleep, but I'm thankful he didn't wake up repeatedly because he wasn't swaddled.

The negative part is that he flails around without the swaddler, and in the morning his face was all cut up (even though I'd just filed his nails).

I tried putting baby mittens on him, but they just fell off, and he no longer has any clothes with those wonderful, fold down mittens attached to the sleeves. So I put socks on his hands. All day long, he was unhappy about this. (He loves sucking his thumb.) But at least until his face heals, I'm keeping socks on his hands, day and night.

It was a tough day for him and the end of a tough week. He's been a bit feverish - I think from teething. And while his eating is just as frequent, he's been eating a little less. Even so, he weighed 16 lbs. 10 oz. this afternoon.

Oh, and even though I've always said Anastasia looks just like her daddy, and even though I've lately said Zane looks more like his father than he looks like me, I ran across these photos and had to admit both children must have my genes in them somewhere!

Me (the baby) with my sisters. I look just like Zane!


Here I am, preschool age. I see a bit of Anastasia in me!

P.S. Even though I hadn't yet admitted it here, I'd been worrying a wee bit about Zane's development. It seemed he was falling behind. I wondered if I was just anxious due to Anastasia's prematurity and developmental delays, or if there was really a problem. I've been a bit thrown off by how few pediatrician appointments Zane's had (Anastasia had at least one a month), so I wasn't sure if I should call our doctor or not. Then today I realized Zane isn't four months old, as I'd been thinking. He's three months old. Gee, that explains it...


January 29, 2009

Her NICU experience aside, and despite the fact that she had walking pneumonia last year, Miss A. feels the most sick she ever has: Fever and chills, weakness, runny nose, coughing, and a little vomiting. Poor girl. I was up with her four times last night, and twice with Zane. I think he's coming down with it now :(

But I've been meaning to type about a couple of things, so I thought I'd better do it now before sleep deprivation makes me forget it all.

Ever since Miss A. first saw Zane naked, she's been very curious about the difference between boys and girls. It's been a confusing thing for her. She recently saw a photo of herself as a baby in the baby bathtub and said, "That was me when I was a baby. I used to have the same bottom as Zane." And just the other day she saw a girlfriend get her diaper changed and said, "Hey! She has a bottom like me!" So I got her a copy of The Story of Me. This terrific little book gives preschool-age appropriate sex ed from a Christian perspective, and Anastasia loves it. It seems to have cleared up a lot of her concerns.

Anastasia is extremely articulate for her age, and has recently taken to repeating words or phrases that are new to her. For example, the other day I said, "speaking of which..." and she spent the entire day using that phrase as often as she could.

She is quite a character, our girl Anastasia. Here's a conversation we had just a few days ago:

Me: Who's your best friend, Anastasia?

Miss A.: Zane!

Me: Aw, that's sweet!

Miss A.: And Jeff.

Me (confused because we don't know anyone named Jeff, nor is there anyone with that name in her books or DVDs): Who is Jeff?

Miss A.: Jeff is my son.

Me: Your son? Where did you see him?

Miss A.: In heaven, with Jesus and God.

Me: When was that? When did you see him?

Miss A.: Because I almost died.

Me: You almost died, so you were in heaven?

Miss A.: Yep!



January 30, 2009

Zane ran a fever of over 100 degrees last night, and has been wakeful at night and sleepy during the day, not eating his usual amount. But it's Anastasia who worries us. She just doesn't handle illness like other kids. Due to her prematurity, most days she eats and drinks a minimal amount. When she's sick, she barely eats at all, and drinks even less.

Today, Miss A.'s pants are falling off; she's already lost weight. I gave her M&Ms for breakfast because it was all she'd eat. And then she only ate five. She's had nothing else all day.

Her eyes are sunken and have dark circles under them. I've tried every imaginable drink, from water and juice to Coke and 7-up to chocolate milk. She takes a few tiny sips, and is done.

Please pray for Miss A. She needs to get over this thing quickly, or I'm afraid she'll end up in the hospital, getting fluids through an IV.