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May 2007


May 2, 2007

I'm feeling lousy today. Apparently, I may have an infection at the site of my prenatal chicken pox vaccination. I'm seeing a doctor today, so I'll update you on that later.

In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about the fact that when we first brought Anastasia home from the NICU, so many medical people seemed to think they'd soon be diagnosing her with cerebral palsy. The county nurse, who used to come to the house to check on Miss A. regularly, confessed to me last year that she was certain Anastasia had CP. Anastasia's old physical therapist said the same thing. And at least one other nurse shared similar thoughts with me.

How blessed we are! When I think back to all the things the doctors seemed so sure would go wrong with Miss A., I want to flaunt Anastasia in front of them and point out how great she's doing. It's upsetting to know that many women (some of whom I've spoken with) have aborted their children after doctors gave them all the horror stories of what happens to early PROM babies.

I've talked about that before, so I won't go into it again. But it's disheartening that any doctor would repeatedly suggest abortion when the parents have already made it clear that they aren't heading down that path...

...Miss A. is very interested in riding her rocking horse just now. She's always really liked it, but now that she knows how to rock it by herself, she can spend about 20 minutes at a time on it. It's still my job to push the button on the horse's ear, which makes the horse whinny and shake it's head. If I neglect that job, I hear about it!

She is so pleased with her horse!

Anastasia continues to "hide" her words most of the time. This afternoon, her daddy asked her repeatedly if she could say "Anastasia." Finally, she looked him in the eye and shouted: "BUTTON!"


May 4, 2007

Well, the doc took one look at my arm and said dismissively, "It's just a reaction."

Mind you, my whole arm (down to my fingertips) ached so bad I had trouble sleeping. I have a four inch round red spot on my arm with about four mosquito-bite-looking bumps. When I saw the doctor, it was also very hot, which is what made the nurse I spoke to think it was infected.

So I took some over the counter medication, and now I'm feeling better. The hotness is gone, and the persistent itchiness is waning. I wonder if I get to go through this again with the second shot?

I weighed Anastasia yesterday as part of her monthly weigh-in for the feeding clinic. She'd actually lost about 5 oz.     Unfortunately, the RN I usually speak with is on vacation, so I won't get to talk to anyone about this until Monday.

This morning, I thought I was being clever. I grabbed some graham crackers and put dollops of YoBaby yogurt on them, thinking this was a sneaky way to get Miss A. some extra calcium and calories. (Remember, although she loves yogurt, she'll no longer eat it. She won't let me feed it to her, and she won't feed it to herself with a spoon or her hands.) Anastasia liked the taste, but she hated the fact that it was so...well, messy.

I know, I know. "Toddler" and "messy" seem to go hand in hand, but Anastasia resists anything that's "too messy." This includes yogurt and avocado, the foods that used to be standbys for putting weight on her bones. Anyway, she ate some, which is better than nothing.

Eating meatballs...one of the few messier things Miss A. will consume.

Yesterday, Anastasia was excited when a new board book came in the mail. She "read" it to herself, then demanded I read it over and over again. Hours passed, and she thrust the book in my face and whined. (Which is her way of saying, "Read this, please.") I told her I would, but I wanted her to move to a location that was more comfortable for me to sit. She refused. I put my hand out, "Come on, honey. Come over here, and then I'll read to you." Finally, Miss A. got up on her hands and knees and I thought she was going to comply. But instead, she scooted herself backward, scowling at me.

"I guess I won't be reading this to you right now," I said. And off I went to make dinner.

Today Anastasia received a gift in the mail: the cutest little ride-on ladybug, from one of cousins. Anastasia adores it, but she's not sure she really wants to ride it. Instead, she pushes it along the ground like a small hand-held car...or sometimes she uses it as a push toy.

How she prefers to play with the ladybug...at least for now.


By the way, she's walking more and more each day!


May 5, 2007

Last night we had Chinese food, and with every bite, Miss A. said: "Mmmmmm!" She still didn't eat a whole lot, but at least we found some new foods she likes.


May 7, 2007

This morning I spoke with our RN at the feeding clinic. She says Anastasia's weight is okay...not "bad" and not "good." In other words, like it's always been.

I asked her what Anastasia's minimum amount of milk/Pediasure should be. I am so desperate to sleep through the night and cut her nighttime feedings! Unfortunately, Miss A. is getting less than is recommended. I try to make up for this by giving her lots of cheese, so perhaps she's getting a minimum amount, but...sigh...

Then we talked about Anastasia's constipation issues. I've been giving Anastasia the Little Tummies stuff more than once a week, and sometimes even so I have to give her Fleet. Only rarely does she have a bowl movement on her own. The RN promised to talk to the doctor and get back to me as soon as possible. I hate to put Anastasia on medication, but she can't go on like this. It's even occurred to me that she may be holding back BMs because she expects them to be painful! (Because 9 times out of 10, they are.)

How much fiber Anastasia is getting also came up. I explained that it's been difficult lately because she won't eat all those foods I used to add wheat bran to. (Because she won't let me feed her, won't use a utensil herself, and hates to eat with her hands because the foods are messy.)

This made the RN wonder if we should check Miss A. for sensory issues. Even though I'm skeptical this is a problem for Anastasia, I don't want to deprive her of anything that might help, so we'll probably be seeing a specialist soon. (All this stuff is so inter-linked. If she isn't constipated all the time, she's much more likely to eat. But if she has sensory issues that prevent her from eating certain high-fiber foods, then she's likely to stay constipated.)

I've been reading up a bit on sensory issues, and it seems how they are defined varies a great deal. Here's one website that offers some insight in understandable language.

Nothing screams out to me that this is Anastasia's problem. Too, my mom-in-law is quick to point out that my husband hated getting dirty as a child. Like Anastasia, he avoided dirt and mud, and anything sticky or slimy.

On a somewhat related note, I thought about taking Anastasia to the grocery store with me this weekend, but decided against it when my hubby told me he'd just run into an acquaintance (an adult) who has RSV. So we were cautious and took her to Wal-Mart instead. Here, my husband could hold her (keeping her from touching things like germy shopping carts). She loved it!

When we got home, all the grocery bags were on the floor; Miss A. took one look at them and said: "Mmmmmm!" (Her way of saying "yummy!") She then found a bag with chips in it, and tried very hard to open it. For a child who doesn't eat much, she has a real fascination with food.

Oh, and by the way, I have Anastasia eating avacado again! I just serve it a little firm and chop it into bite sized pieces. I don't know why I didn't think to give it to her that way before, but she seemed very happy to be eating it again.


May 8, 2007

Wow, I received a lot of emails after yesterday's post! Thank you for being concerned, and for trying to help us out. I'm going to try to answer a lot of your questions and concerns in this post.

But first, I want to tell you about Anastasia's physical therapy session yesterday. It was unlike any we'd had because...well, we didn't really do any physical therapy. Our PT was delighted with Anastasia's progress, and basically told me to give her as many opportunities to walk on a variety of surfaces as possible. She said I can also start trying to get her to step over things (like a garden hose on the lawn), and could even try stairs. She says going up is usually mastered before going down.

My husband was excited by all this, and took Anastasia up a step or two last night. "See, she can do it!" he beamed. (She did it with help, of course.)

The PT and I also talked about feeding issues. You may recall that I brought this up with her at our last session. Well this time, she brought us the spoon she prefers kids to use, and she's letting us borrow one of those funny bowls that makes scooping easier. We did a lot of pretend play with these, with Anastasia feeding her dolls and me, and with me pretending to feed myself, the dolls, and Anastasia. We did the same thing with a handled cup. The PT suggested I put just one sip's worth of water inside it, then offer it to Miss A. to drink on her own, without the lid on top. (I'd been filling it with water and giving the cup to her with the top on.)

But we both agree that Anastasia clearly knows how to use the cup and spoon; it's really just a matter of her choosing to use them when she's eating.

While we were on the subject, I mentioned that the feeding clinic RN was wondering if Anastasia might have sensory issues. The PT readily admitted she has a limited view of Anastasia, but said she didn't "see that" in Miss A. She often works with the feeding clinic, and asked me to keep her in the loop about what was determined.

In the end, the PT said she wasn't quite ready to discharge Anastasia as a patient, but that she felt her job was probably over. In two weeks, she'll drop by to see how Miss A. is doing, and then a month later will check in again. Assuming all is well, Anastasia will no longer get physical therapy! Wow.

As a little aside, today when I took Anastasia to the store, she was pointing and saying "Da-UN!" ("What is it?") so fast I couldn't answer her. Then she'd squeal with delight and clap her hands. She likes getting out! She also spotted a pair of red glitter shoes (similar to these sequined shoes) and had a definite case of "I want!"s. She reached both hands for the shoes and squealed and squealed. (That's my girl!)


Okay, now on to your questions.

How much does Anastasia weigh?  21 lbs. 4 oz.

What is Anastasia's fluid intake?  Anastasia drinks about 12 oz. of Pediasure per day (all at night, while half asleep). In addition, she drinks about 1 to a 1 1/2 cups of apple or grape juice per day (from a cup with a straw), perhaps 2-3 oz. of Dannimals (a yogurt drink, taken from a regular cup that I hold for her), and at most about 2 oz. of water (usually, from a regular cup that I hold for her).

What foods does she like? Maybe readers can suggest others.   Anastasia loves: avocados, green beans, peas, corn, chips (corn, potato, and vegetable), goldfish crackers, graham crackers, Gerber cereal bars, bread and butter, Eggos with butter, cheese, chicken, fish sticks, French fries, and meatballs. These are the main part of her diet. She also drinks Dannimals, which is a yogurt drink and counts as a food. She used to love YoBaby yogurt, applesauce, and canned peaches and pears, but no longer wants to eat them because they are messy to feed to herself. I've tried giving her cut fresh fruit, but she either hates touching it or isn't delighted by its flavor.

Could Anastasia have a diary intolerance?  I suppose she could; you might recall that when she first came home, I had to cut all diary from my diet because my breast milk appeared to be giving her terrible stomach pains. However, she tolerated formula (which was low lactose, with partially digested milk protein) and later Pediasure and whole milk just fine. She doesn't have stomach complaints, and on days when she has less dairy, she isn't more apt to have a BM.

Preemies (especially extreme preemies) generally do have trouble with constipation. As far as I know, nobody really knows why, but two thoughts are commonly mentioned. One is that the baby is born so early, her body just isn't ready to digest food well. The other is that preemies commonly get milk, formula, or Pediasure that's packed with nutrients and extra calories; this tends to lead to constipation.

This, combined with the fact that Miss A. gets a minimal amount of fluids, is likely the cause of her constipation. Still, it doesn't hurt to look at diary, too.


May 9, 2007

Yesterday Anastasia walked around outside for the first time. At first, she didn't want to walk at all. I'll just sit here and pull on the grass, was what she seemed to be thinking.

Then she crawled a little bit on the grass; she's only done that once before. Finally, she got up and started walking. And she didn't want to stop!

She "chased" our outdoor cat back and forth across the yard, then decided she wanted to walk on the cement...but she didn't want me to hold her hand while she did it. So I decided it was time to go inside :)

She had a grand old time finding treasures, too: flowers, leaves, sticks. It was so much fun to watch!

Here's a video. My favorite part is when she starts laughing happily as she walks toward me.

It was a gorgeous, warm day, so I decided to put Miss A. in a dress. Most of the winter, I've had her in pants because they were easier for Anastasia to crawl in. She seemed awfully pleased to be in a dress again. She played with the hem, squealed, and checked out the design carefully.

As she walked around, I couldn't help but count our blessings. I belong to several online groups filled with parents of preemies. In one of these groups, the moms recently had a conversation about how frustrated they are that medical professionals all seem to think their extreme preemies will be caught up by age two or three. They have a lot of fears and worries about their children's progress.

I almost feel guilty when they talk like this, because Anastasia is doing so very well. I so understand their feelings; in Anastasia's first year (and even a little beyond) I wondered how her development would progress. I tried to ignore the knowing looks some people gave when they saw that by her first birthday Anastasia wasn't even sitting up on her own.

Doctors, nurses, and therapists seemed to think Anastasia's road would be difficult. Yet when our feeding clinic RN mentioned sensory issues the other day, one of my first thoughts was: "It's as if they expect her to have more problems than she actually has."

It makes me wonder what the statistics really reveal. Certainly, it's not right to include stats from older preemies alongside stats from extreme preemies like Anastasia. And yet, it's fairly recent that very many extreme preemies live...and my guess is they are better off today than they were even ten years ago.

Most statistics are about the death rate of extreme preemies. I don't know that I've ever seen any accurate, modern statistics about their development.

Is it really true that most extreme preemies catch up developmentally by age two or three? Or is Anastasia a miracle even in her development, and most extreme preemies continue to struggle developmentally for many years?


May 10, 2007

Just minutes ago, Anastasia was sitting in my lap winding down for her nap, when suddenly she bit me. Hard. It left a mark. I gave her a stern look and said "No!," shaking my head. She's never bitten before, so I wanted to impress upon her that it was not acceptable.

Anastasia got a shocked look on her face...then she started crying. Not mad tears or "I want my way" tears, but sad tears. I think she was trying to give me a kiss.

It absolutely broke my heart.

I loved on her a bit, then her daddy put her down for a nap. She wouldn't wave "goodnight" or blow kisses to either of us...something she always does.  :(

It's been a rough day for her. This morning, within the space of 15 or 20 minutes, she had three temper tantrums. Later in the day, she had several near-tantrums.

I've been reading to her a lot, which helps a great deal. We also went for a long walk. And I gave her chocolate graham crackers for a snack.

Poor dear; she's very tired. She must be growing.

By the way, judging from your emails, it seems a lot of people think my last post was lamenting Anastasia's slow developmental progress. Actually, my intention was not that at all.

Except in fleeting minutes, I don't worry about Anastasia's progress. I know she's doing amazingly well considering she was born so early, and I'm thankful she really has no major problem areas. (Even her eating, while not good, isn't bad enough to warrant serious intervention.)

What I was trying to say yesterday is this: Anastasia is developing fabulously...but remember, not all extreme preemies do this well. In fact, I wonder if the majority of extreme preemies do this well.


May 11, 2007

I'm short on time today, so just a few quick things:

* Anastasia is starting to match things in books. I'll ask something like: "Can you show me the elephant?" and she'll point to the correct animal. Or, if we're looking at one of those books that has a sidebar of things to look for in a super-easy "hidden picture," on her own initiative she'll often point at the thing in the sidebar, and then at the same thing in the picture itself.

* Miss A. is also making some nice animal sounds: cow, snake, owl, elephant, sometimes a dog, and a pig. I was trying to teach her to say "oink" for a pig, but her daddy taught her to snort through her nose. At first, she had trouble doing this, but now that she's figured it out, it's her favorite noise to make. In fact, I wonder if snorting is becoming to animal noises what "button" is to words. Yesterday while we were in the yard, she saw a dog. She pointed and (very loudly!) began making snorting pig noises. Today on our walk she did the same thing to another dog, and to a cat. (And yes, I am correcting her!)

* Several days ago, while I was preparing a meal, I suddenly realized Anastasia seemed very quiet. I turned around, and there she was, standing with a Dannimals container in her hand, liquefied yogurt spread from her head to her toe. (I wish I'd thought to grab my camera!) Dannimals was also all over the linoleum and the carpet, in a nice little trail. I have no idea when or how she got a hold of the Dannimals container!

* I've started giving Anastasia her snacks at her little toddler table. She really loves it.

* Anastasia loves remotes of all kinds. We have one light in our house that's controlled by a remote...and Miss A. loves using it. I took some video this morning, but trust me, her reaction was quite subdued compared to usual, due to the presence of the camera.

* Two days ago, the feeding clinic RN called to tell me the doctor prescribed Anastasia a laxative called Miralax. (I was disappointed I didn't get to talk to the doctor about this choice, but considering that the clinic sees a lot of kids with feeding and constipation issues, I'm willing to trust his choice.) The RN assured me that if it's not used "too long" it's not habit forming. She also said it's one of the milder things they can use, and is less likely to cause side effects than most other products.

Okay, fine. But when I got the (enormous!) jar from the pharmacy and read the instructions, I was instantly skeptical. I'm supposed to mix the powdery drug with 4 oz. of water, and Anastasia is supposed to consume all 4 oz.!

My first thought was: "If I could get her to drink 4 oz. of water, she probably wouldn't be constipated!" So I'm a little frustrated.

I called our pharmacist and asked if I could put the stuff in Pediasure, but he advised against it, just because he wasn't sure if there was something in Pediasure that might not "mix" well with Miralax. So I asked if I could put it in Anastasia's juice, noting that it takes her all day to drink even 4 oz. of juice. He said that sipping on it throughout the day would not work; the drug would loose its effectiveness.

So I have another call in to the feeding clinic to see if they have a better idea on just how I can get Miss A. to take the stuff. In the meantime, I bought a new container of prune juice, to see if I could get Anastasia interested in it again.

Also, I found an online group that seems to believe Miralax is evil. I haven't really figured out why yet, though.


May 15, 2007

Mother's Day was all about getting Anastasia together with her youngest cousins. We were all very excited. Remember, Anastasia hasn't been around other kids, except for a handful of fleeting moments.

Anastasia met the baby first (only three months old), and right off the bat, she kissed her twice, without anyone suggesting she should. She then took one finger and gently prodded the baby's chubby cheeks. Then she smiled and smiled.

She enjoyed watching the boys (all under seven years), too. She was all eyes for the oldest, especially.

Miss A. also went down a slide and rode a tricycle for the first time. And while Anastasia has been "blowing kisses" by blowing air through her mouth for quite some time, she suddenly started adding the hand movement, too.

She was wide-eyed all day, and most of the time had that serious, staring look she gets when she's around new people and new things. She slept very well that night! All those things other toddlers take for granted are brand new and exciting for Miss A.

In other news, Miss A. is now taking Miralax for constipation. After doing research, I found little to no basis for the negative claims some make against the drug; in fact, Miralax is soon to be an over-the-counter medication for kids. I put it in Anastasia's juice at the end of the day, when she tends to drink the most in one sitting. She's not getting a full dose, so we'll see how she does. On Mother's Day, on the way home, she spent 45 minutes grunting and crying, trying to have a BM. Fortunately, though, once we got home, she went without any help. So maybe the Miralax is helping.

I'm also giving Anastasia PlumSmart juice during the first half of the day. This has been suggested to me by many parents of preemies. Miss A. doesn't seem to like it any better than prune juice, but it does have added fiber. During the second half of the day, I've been giving her orange juice. This has more calories than apple of grape juice, and I like the fact that it's fortified with calcium. (On a good day, Anastasia gets the minimum amount of calcium she's supposed to consume.)

So, we'll see how it goes.


May 16, 2007

I can't believe I forgot to mention one of Anastasia's firsts from this weekend. She's started singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." I don't understand the words, but I sure recognize the notes. As soon as she realizes I'm listening, though, she stops. (Her daddy is like that, too.)

The past several days have been challenging. Miss A. is very, very grumpy. I know most of that is just because she's just tuckered out. She's been waking early in the morning and after her nap, loosing up to two hours of sleep. I've ordered some blackout curtains for the nursery, and I'm so hoping they help her sleep better.

Yesterday at dinner, my husband asked: "Were you grumpy with mommy today?" Anastasia got a sheepish look on her face, then shook her head "yes" repeatedly. (That type of honestly is refreshing!)

She's also beginning to defy me a little. For example, yesterday, as I was putting laundry away in her room, she started pulling clean blankets from the bottom of her dresser and throwing them across the room. I told her "no," then tried to distract her with a toy. Several times. Finally, I was done putting clothes away, so I moved into the kitchen with her to start dinner. After a while, Anastasia wandered off into her room again. I kept my ears open for her while I tried to cook. Then she shut her bedroom door. I opened it only moments later and discovered Anastasia sitting in front of her dresser, throwing blankets on the floor again. The little sneak!

I had to abandon making a "real" dinner, because Miss A. kept getting into things. We settled for frozen chicken nuggets instead.

Today, I took Anastasia on quite an outing. We walked down to main street, in hopes of finding her some decent sandals. If we had time, I also planned to take her to the library for the first time. Well, the shoe store was closed when I got there, so we hopped into a used book store while we waited for it to open. They have a large cat in residence, and Anastasia spotted it right away. She pointed to it and started snorting like a pig.

"No, honey," I said. "That's the sound a pig makes. Kitties say 'meow.'" But Anastasia continued to snort, long after the cat slinked away (I think it thought she was hissing at him). The clerk glanced over at us with a raised eyebrow. I smiled and shrugged. "She's really into making pig noises right now."

Noticing I was looking at children's books, the clerk said: "Isn't she a little young for books?" I couldn't believe it! I told him Miss A. loves her books, that I read to her at least an hour a day, and that I've been reading to her since she came home from the hospital. The clerk nodded, then went about his business. Hmmm...Did I come on too strong???

After going to the shoe store (and having no luck finding good sandals for Anastasia), we went to the library. Anastasia loved seeing books everywhere, but she got a little frustrated that she was strapped into a stroller and couldn't take the books off the shelves. (Next time, I'll look at the library catalog online ahead of time, then quickly take the books I want off the shelf as soon as we get there. That way Miss A. won't have to wait while I browse the shelves.)

Our library is small, with a tiny children's section...and not many books are for toddlers. But I did find a few books to read to Anastasia. I took her out of her stroller, sat her on my lap, and we read them over and over and over.

Then Anastasia spotted the bears. The children's section has wooden puzzles and blocks...and a large bin of teddy bears. I really wasn't ready to let her play with them (oh the germs!), which didn't make her very happy. So I decided it was time to go home.

All in all, it was an eventful day, and Miss A. had a grand time.


May 17, 2007

Before I put Anastasia down for her nap yesterday, I turned off the air conditioner in her room. She slept three hours! (That may be her longest nap ever.) Better yet, when she awoke, she was my sweet little girl again!

She will have to get used to the AC, though. In the summer, her room will be an oven without it.

Anastasia has now had two BMs without the use of Fleet. I don't know if it's the Miralax alone (she's getting about half the dose prescribed to her, because she just won't drink it all), or if it's the combination of the perscription and the PlumSmart juice. She's still only going every four days or so, which isn't good. And she still acts like the BM hurts. But the poops are nice and soft...They haven't been that way in well over a year! (My advanced apologies to a future, teenage Anastasia for talking about this stuff online.)


May 18, 2007

Today's post: Two pregnancy-related things, a toddler book recommendation, and some pics.

1: My adhesion is killing me! For a while, stretching made it much better, but now - especially during certain times of the month - it's extremely painful. I also notice that sometimes my outer C-section scar looks inflamed. (It's not hot, though.) I'll be talking to my OB about this next month, but in the meantime, has anyone else experienced this?

2: The June 2007 issue of Parents has a good little filler about BV and PROM. This is the first time I've ever seen something like this in a magazine, and I'm so glad the word is getting out. I'm convinced that my PROM (resulting in Anastasia's early birth) was due to a BV infection. Here's what the magazine says:

"A recent study from Glostrup University Hospital, in Denmark, found that pregnant women in their second trimester with bacterial vaginosis (BV) are more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby and suffer from chorioamnionitis, an infection of the placental tissues and amniotic fluid. And that's scary, considering that roughly 10 to 30 percent of women have BV. Parents advisor Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., gives you the facts.

What are the symptoms of BV? You might notice a thin, foul-smelling discharge. However, some women have no symptoms at all.

How can I avoid getting it? Don't use douches, scented soaps, or hygiene sprays. They upset the healthy levels of bacteria in the vagina.

Will I be screened for BV? Not unless you're experiencing symptoms or have a history of preterm labor or premature rupture of the membranes that hold amniotic fluid. Fortunately, BV is easily treated with antibiotics." (p. 77)

3: Recently, I bought a board book called Feed Matisse's Fish for Anastasia. It's filled with reproductions of famous paintings with touch-and-feel elements added. For example, in Diego Rivera's "The Flower Carrier," part of the basket is burlap, and in Frida Kahlo's "Self-Portrait," the shawl's fringe is real. Anastasia loves this book! It's one of her favorites, and she'll have me read it over and over and over again. It's fascinating to see her taste assert itself, too. (She doesn't care for Chagall.) And her attention to detail is impressive. Without it being pointed out, she noticed that George Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" is composed of tiny dots. There are several books in this "Touch the Art" series; I think I'll have to make sure Miss A. gets them!


May 19, 2007

Anastasia is starting to use pull toys; here's the video evidence. Some time back, I bought her a simple little dog that "barks" (actually, it just "pops") as you pull it. I took it out of the toy box yesterday and showed Miss A. how to use it. Too cute! She spent the rest of the afternoon pulling it around.

I also bumped into the only toy I have from my childhood: a musical donkey with missing eyes, mostly-gone fur, stains, and a repeatedly stitched-up neck. It still plays music when you wind it up, but it no longer moves its neck in time to the tune. Still, Anastasia thought it was terrific, and spent a lot of time loving on it.


May 21, 2007

This weekend, we introduced Anastasia to her sandbox. Given that she'd absolutely hated the sandbox our Early Intervention coordinator brought over (actually, it was a kitty litter box filled with some sort of grain), I figured it would take a few tries to get Anastasia interested.

I held Anastasia while my husband filled the sandbox with sand. She watched with interest. Then I took some sand in my hand and played with it. I encouraged her to touch it. She shook her head "no" repeatedly. Her daddy grabbed some sand, opened her palm, and put it there. From her expression, it was clear she wasn't too keen on the texture, but she didn't freak out, either.

So he plopped her in the sandbox and started showing her how to make sandcastles. She was tentative at first. Even whined a bit. But soon she was playing intently . By the end of the play session, she was actually smiling, laughing, and enjoying herself.


Not so sure...

Lovin' it!

P.S. My dad is coming from out of state for a visit this week, so I won't be blogging again until Thursday or Friday.


May 25, 2007

My dad left this morning, and both Miss A. and I are pooped! It didn't surprise me that the visit was a bit overwhelming for my poor little shut-in, but I was surprised at how unused to busyness I've become. Actually, we weren't all that busy...but certainly busier than we're used to.

We had a really great visit, although it seems Anastasia is starting a shy phase. She was actually doing the stereotypical "I'll hide behind Mommy's leg" thing, especially with my dad. I guess she's really not used to being around men (except for her daddy). I never thought about it until this week, but all her doctors, therapists, and whatnot are women.

She did warm up a bit to her grandpa, though. She let him read to her...first, with him sitting on the couch while she stood nearby, then later sitting next to him on the couch. Then he taught her how to "give five." And despite her shyness, she still blew him kisses.

I'm also happy to report that Anastasia is developing an interest in chores. Shortly before my dad arrived, Miss A. smeared mystery goop on our front window. I wiped it off, but then discovered the window had only one clean spot...so I had to clean the rest, too. Anastasia kept trying to help by grabbing my glass cleaner and paper towels, so I gave her a clean, dry paper towel, and she did a great job wiping down the window :)  (Later in the week, when someone spilled some coffee, she helped me clean it off the floor.)

Still, while I made dinner, Anastasia had a lot of fun creating a mess:

The morning after my dad arrived, we walked Anastasia to the playground. Except for letting her sit in the (well sanitized) toddler swing a few months back, Anastasia has never played there before. We are working hard at not being so germ-conscious these days, so I decided it was time for Miss A. to try the public slide. She loved it, but when I tried to get her to walk on the grass, she'd have none of it.

Still, for the most part, she enjoyed herself. Later that day, we took her to another park. It's a lovely place, and Miss A. seemed to appreciate it's beauty.

The following day, we took Miss. A. into a few antique stores. She was a perfect angel! I was so proud of her.

My dad also got a big kick from seeing how Anastasia loves on her kitty:

The following day, we took Miss A. to see the ducks and geese. Her eyes lit up, and she really enjoyed herself. She was fascinated with the goose feather grandpa found for her. But she was so very, very tired.

We spent the rest of the day at home, and Miss A. took a three hour nap (which is very long for her!).

Today, she's still tired, so I promised her we'd mostly stay home for a couple of days. Here she was this morning, fondly looking at a photo of her grandpa:


May 29, 2007

Today, Anastasia had her Early Intervention re-evaluation. The physical therapist, our coordinator, and I were marveling at how far Anastasia has come. When we first started with EI, Anastasia could barely hold herself up on her arms while laying on her tummy. When the EI physical therapist first saw her (late this fall), Anastasia couldn't come in and out of a sitting position!

We also talked about where we want to see Anastasia moving in the coming months. We'd (okay, I'd!) like her off her night bottle feeding. We need her to start using more words. And we want her gross motor skills to continue progressing; the PT told me to encourage Anastasia to walk up and down steps and walk on as much uneven ground as possible

Then Anastasia had a nap. When it was over, I took her outside to play.

The Rainmaker?! (Playing with her watering can.)

As if she wanted to prove something to the PT, Anastasia absolutely insisted on walking across our carport, which is entirely made up of old, uneven concrete and is currently covered with various air hoses (for tools). She didn't want to hold my hand, but I told her she wasn't allowed to walk there unless she held my hand. Begrudgingly, she gave in.

She walked across the entire carport, carefully maneuvering over the hoses. Then she headed down the driveway and onto the sidewalk. She walked past three houses in one direction, then back to our house and past two houses in the other direction. (She would have gone further, but I encouraged her path to stay close to the house. I also put the fear of God in her about the street...or at least, I tried to.) She walked as fast as her little legs would carry her, squealing with excitement. A few times we stopped to look at flowers, or a baby, or a little kid coming home from school. Three little boys (about seven years old, I'd say) stopped to talk to her. She was big eyed and silent. But when they left, she waved furiously at them.

Then I took her to the backyard to play some more, but after a few minutes, she walked through the carport again, then up our front step. I encouraged her to take this step up several times, and she did so happily. Then we took another walk on the sidewalk.

She was so excited...and I was extremely impressed. She didn't falter once! And when I told her: "Watch out! This part is tricky!" (we have old, cracked, and broken-down sidewalks), she'd pause, and then step more carefully.

It was delightful to see!


May 31, 2007

Turns out, walking on the sidewalk is now a daily thing.  Anastasia is quite confident on the pavement now; she walks very fast...although she stops along the way to pick dandelions or look at cats.

Perhaps she's become a little too confident. Yesterday, while distracted by something in somebody's yard, she tripped and scraped her knee. (I'm still holding her hand when she's on the pavement - otherwise, she might have been more seriously hurt.) She didn't cry; she just picked herself up and started walking more carefully.

This is not the first of her boo-boos. A few days ago, she was playing with her ride-on ladybug toy...except that she was pushing it, not riding on it...and it got out from under her. She banged her lip. It bled and she cried and cried. But the bleeding stopped very quickly. Now she has a little bruise just below her lip on the outside and inside of her mouth. She also has a few scratches from tumbles here and there. She is truly a toddler now!

Yesterday, I took Miss A. to the park and we happened to bump into a friend and her 10 month old son. Anastasia was entirely taken by him. (She'd never seen him before.) The look of wonder and joy on her face when she's around other kids is a beautiful sight to see. Then she pinched the baby - gently! - as if she was trying to see if he was real. Fortunately, the little boy laughed at this.

His mommy put him in the one toddler swing in town, and Anastasia watched for a while. Then some other mommies with babies much smaller than Anastasia came along and put their daughters in the "big kid" swings. Actually, they are the type that areA open in the front, but have a strap in the back to keep toddlers from falling backwards. Inspired by this, I sat Anastasia in this style swing and - very carefully - swung her. She clung to the swing chain for dear life at first, but then began laughing. She did really well until she pointed at something. She would have done a face plant on the ground if I hadn't been there to catch her. Still, it's something for us to work on.

Miss A. even started walking backwards today, while pushing her little train.

And she's shown her first sign of being ready for potty training! When she's in the bathroom with me, she insists on having a sheet of toilet tissue...which she promptly wipes herself with (although her clothes are still on). And when I change her diaper, she likes to have a baby wipe to wipe herself with, too.

As for me, I'm absolutely exhausted. And have been for a long while now. Over Memorial Day weekend, I felt ill I was so tired. My husband tried to let me sleep as much as possible (which is easier said than done, since I'm so used to waking up in the middle of the night and relatively early in the morning), so that by Tuesday, I was feeling a bit better. But now I feel lousy again. I actually feel a lot like I did when I had mono.

I have a checkup tomorrow, so I'll be sure to have the doctor check my iron levels, thyroid, etc., but I suspect I'm so exhausted because I've slept through the night about four times since Anastasia was born. I am very thankful I no longer get up every three hours to pump (as I did when she was in the NICU), and that I no longer get up every three hours to feed a baby who won't suck...and then have to go pump afterwards (as I did for months after Anastasia came home), but...well...I'm still TIRED.