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May 2009


May 6, 2009

Zane has finally decided he likes the outdoors...a lot!

The swine flu is keeping us out of public. I didn't take the kids to the library last week, and now I'm wondering how we'll handle grocery shopping. I guess I get to go by myself while my hubby stays in the truck with the kids. The swine flu is in our area now, and both hubby and I feel it would be a serious thing, indeed, if Anastasia caught it.

We'd planned on going to the zoo this month. We've been promising it to Anastasia since last summer. But I think we'll have to wait until this flu thing passes. We trust in God fully, but at the same time, if she caught it because we didn't take precautions, we'd never forgive ourselves.

Playing in the rain yesterday.

We wouldn't want Zane to catch it, either. He's only 6 months old. But he's such a hearty boy, we worry less.  ("Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6)

Zane's  just about outgrown all the clothes we have for him, so little by little, I'm trying to buy him some. Yesterday, my mother said she was going shopping, and would pick up something for him if she found a good sale. She asked what size he was wearing. "Better make it 18 months," I said. 18 month clothes on a 6 month old baby! While I tighten the elastic, adjustable band on Anastasia's pants to the smallest position (and they still fall down!), I laugh at how God has given us two children who are such opposites in so many ways.


May 6 (part II)

She did it! It only took two stickers, a $5 toy, and a new book (oh and me begging: "Do it because you love me") and Anastasia finally pooped on the potty! She seemed surprised it wasn't messy or a big deal, and says she's going to poop there from now on. I'm willing to bride further until she decides pooping in her diaper/panties is icky...


May 11, 2009

We haven't had a repeat of the potty success, but the Miss hasn't pooped in her pants yet, either. (A little more Miralax is perhaps in order.) Grandparents and friends have praised her success, of course, but Miss A. remains quiet when they do. I don't think she really wants to poop on the potty again, but she hasn't verbalized that.

Speaking of verbalizing, does anyone have suggestions for helping a a 3 year old learn to not balk talk? I asked my mom, mom-in-law, and grammy-in-law about that on Mother's Day and they all confessed their children never back talked at Anastasia's age.

I think the back talking goes along with being strong willed. (And whenever I despair that I have a strong willed child, I remember that without that strong will, I don't think Anastasia would have made it out of the NICU. God gave her a strong will for a reason!) Some of you may recall I gave Miss A. "balk talk medicine" (apple cider vinegar) once. That worked really worked well for a while, and I still say things like, "Do I need to get out the balk talk medicine?" But as time goes on, she's more defiant with her mouth.

Zane continues to be huge and charming. He's also proving to be a lot like his daddy. He'll sit and watch his hands open and close for a half hour. (Both my hubby and dad-in-law say that's because he's mechanical.) He adores mechanic gadgets; in fact, if I want to give him a thrill, I vacuum. Not only does he watch intently, but he's like a puppy: His whole body wiggles with excitement.

My hubby lowered Zane's crib the other day (his mobile was within too easy reach) and I carried Zane into the room halfway through the procedure. Zane laughed repeatedly and watch with rapt interest. Last night, Zane turned over on his side in his crib, trying to press a certain button on one of his crib toys. It clearly took a lot of concentration, but when he succeeded and the toy turned on, he turned to me and grinned. A gadget man, like his father.

Zane's only sitting up for moments at a time still, but he wants so badly to move! A few nights ago, I walked into his bedroom to check on him before I went to bed; Zane was sound asleep, but his legs were crawling like mad. (So he's mobile in his dreams, I guess!)

Other than the back talking, Anastasia is doing well. Truly, these are the "wide-eyed wonder years." She constantly asks "why?" (which gets old quickly, as any parent will tell you, but which is a fabulous learning thing, too), and is so close to reading. She can write several letters now, including the first two in her name. (Poor child, it will be forever before she can spell her entire name!)

A reader asked me what our typical day is like these days. It goes something like this: I wake up whenever Zane starts fussing a great deal. Sometimes this is as late at 7 AM or so. Sometimes I feed him right away, and sometimes he wants to wait. If I have time, I read the Bible and catch up on email while he plays quietly beside me. Once the Miss wakes up (which is sometimes around the same time, and sometimes as late as 8 AM), I let her play while I drink my tea. Then we read her Bible and have breakfast. The rest of the morning is typically spent doing school work and playing with the kids. We also do laundry and small chores together.

My hubby comes home at lunch and we all eat together and visit a little. Then it's nap time. Anastasia no longer sleeps at nap time, but she does stay in bed and play quietly; it makes a real difference in the rest of our day. Zane does actually sleep at nap time, and I hustle to work (writing web content) during this time. After an hour, I feed Zane (he eats every 2 1/2 to 3 hours). Depending on Anastasia's level of cooperation, I either set her up with something to do (Playdough, puzzles, etc.) or I set her in front of a DVD while I finish my work for another hour. Then I play with the kids some more and prepare dinner.

We eat dinner together and if I'm lucky, hubby plays with Anastasia until it's time to brush her teeth, do her sticker chart, and put her to bed - usually at 6:30 PM. Yes, she goes to bed early. But she really needs the sleep! (I've tried putting her to bed later, but she always wakes up early in the morning - even with blackout curtains.) Besides, this gives me some time with the hubby, because Zane usually falls asleep around the same time I put Anastasia to bed. (In fact, my biggest pet peeve right now is when hubby isn't home at bedtime, because inevitably while I put the Miss to bed, Zane cries the entire time because he wants mommy to help put him to bed. If hubby's home, he can put one child to sleep while I take care of the other one.)

Zane eats one last time at around 8PM, and hubby and I go to bed shortly after. (We require a lot of sleep.) Thankfully, Zane is now regularly sleeping through the night.


May 12, 2009

If you've been reading this website for a while, you probably know Anastasia is a stubborn girl. She illustrated this yesterday by having three BMs. In her diaper. (Normally, we're lucky to get her to poop once a day, so I think she was avoiding the potty. Told ya' she didn't want to poop on the potty again.)

I've come to the conclusion that if I can't bribe her with chocolate, books, and praise, I can't bribe her with anything. She's just going to have to decide on her own that the potty is better than diapers. (Please, Lord, let this be before she's 7!)


May 14, 2009

Anastasia's used the potty (for pee) twice since my last post, and poor Zane is drinking prune juice every day to facilitate using his diaper. I love the ages my children are right now, but I'll be glad when they both can take care of their own potty business. :D

I've been feeding Zane lots of vegetables (and some pear) to help him, too. It doesn't seem to help much, but I'll tell you, that boy will eat anything. There are some vegetables (like peas) that make him grimace - but he always eats them, anyway. And beside him, Anastasia frowns and refuses to eat tater tots even though they are made of the same thing as her beloved French fries.

Miss A's been a little vocabulary sponge lately. Words are the most important thing in her life (she talks from the moment she wakes up until the moment she falls asleep at night), and she's made it her mission to have as many words as her mommy. We've been reading tons of Beatrix Potter lately, which introduces lots of words she isn't used to hearing. So now she's running around saying things like "I implore you, Mommy!"

Zane isn't quite ready for The Tale of Tom Kitten, but he has other things to discover. For example, a few days ago while we were outside, for the first time he noticed the trees blowing in the wind. His whole body wiggled, he laughed, and refused to take his eyes off the leaves.


May 14 (part II)

I'm not getting my hopes up too high, but...So far today, Anastasia has used the potty three times. Perhaps - perhaps - there is hope! Here's how it happened:

I got a brochure and some coupons in the mail from Huggies and they suggested a website they've created all about potty training. At this point, I'm open to all suggestions, so I took a peek and began watching one of the videos. Miss A. came along and watched, too. We viewed several of the videos, which all feature "real" kids failing and then succeeding at potty training.

Then suddenly she asked to use the potty. Taking a cue from one of the parents in the video (who made a paper train and let her child hang up a car every time he had a potty success, then took him to ride Thomas the Train when the train was completely hung on the wall), I told Miss A. if she used the potty successfully every day for a week, we'd take her to Chuck E. Cheese. Her eyes lit up, and she agreed. So I made a special potty chart with a picture of the Cheese-mouse himself prominently displayed. She's peed on the potty two more times since then.

Of course, my hubby said, "Should we really use Chuck E. Cheese as an incentive when the swine flu is in our area?" He asked Miss A. if she'd wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese as her reward, or if she'd rather pick herself out a new outfit. Without hesitation, she replied, "I prefer Chuck E. Cheese, Daddy." :D  So when (see, I'm thinking positively!) we go, we'll bring lots of sanitizer!

Again, I don't want to leap to the conclusion this will work, but if it does, it makes sense. After all, the way we got Miss A. to quit throwing temper tantrums was to videotape her doing it. Videos have a powerful impact on her.


May 14 (part III)

Anastasia did the best she's ever done at potty training today. She used the potty successfully five times and her diaper stayed 100% dry! I'm crossing my fingers, toes, legs, and arms that she does well tomorrow, too.


May 15, 2009

Today wasn't quite as sparkling a success, but Miss A. still did extremely well. Five times she peed in her diaper (always, I think, because she didn't want to bother going to the bathroom). However, she had four successes on the toilet, too. I'm still encouraged!


May 16, 2009

Anastasia still can't pedal a trike, but she sure wants to!

Dare I say we're on the road to being potty trained? Finally? After all the struggles and so few successes?

Today Anastasia peed in the toilet six times. Before nap time, I told her to knock on the door if she needed to go potty, and I'd help her to the bathroom. (Remember, she doesn't sleep during nap time and she can't open her door by herself.) Toward the end of her "nap" she got very quiet. Turns out she pooped in her diaper. I said, "Anastasia, why didn't you knock on the door so I could help you go to the bathroom?" She replied, "I didn't want to disturb myself."

Her second accident was another poop, and her third just a pee. Clearly she doesn't like the idea of pooping on the potty. Ah well, one thing at a time!

She's growing proud of herself, though. Today, one of my hubby's friends was over and after Miss A. used the potty she said to me, "Mommy, can you tell Uncle C. I went potty?" I replied, "Why don't you tell him?" "No," she said. "But you can tell him."

Miss A. likes the idea of playing in the sprinkler, but she mostly stays just out of reach of the water.

Uncle C. just brought his wife and new baby home from the hospital. Yesterday, we saw the babe for the first time. Anastasia was so excited, and when she saw the newborn, her eyes lit up and she stroked his head gently. Now tells me that someday "God will send me a man and I will marry him and have babies."

Oh, and speaking of childhood wonder, yesterday Miss A. came running up to me shouting, "Mommy! I think I found some turtles!" Knowing this was unlikely, I asked her to show them to me. It turned out they were mushrooms. She was disappointed.

Later that day, she picked a dandelion that had gone to seed and blew on it twice. Nothing happened. So she tossed it on the ground and stomped it with her foot.

Zane's been enjoying the wonders of tasting food, and my hubby likes to let Zane smell food he's not supposed to eat yet. For example, he let Zane sniff his (very garlicky) pizza, and poor Zane's eyelids fluttered and he threw back his head. On the other hand, when hubby lets Zane smell his coffee, Zane opens his mouth and tries to eat the coffee cup.

We've also finally found a toy Zane really likes. It's his sister's toy house. I've written about this fabulous toy before; it was a gift, and was never been able to find a source for it. But today I did! It's called the Discovery House. The thing is terrific for fine motor skills. It has all sorts of buttons and pulls and slides - and Zane digs it! He can slide the shutters on the window open and closed, and he presses some of the buttons. If the house is out of his reach, he tries to crawl to it. But since he can't crawl, he just gets mad until sometimes brings the toy to him.

We've had some warm days lately, and while both kids adore being outdoors, the warmth really exacerbates Zane's eczema. It takes no time at all for his skin to blotch up, even when he's wearing a cool pair of loose rompers. So today I stripped him down to his diaper. He loved this, but his habit is to scratch himself, so I had to make sure his nails were freshly cut. I gave him a cool bath once we came inside, and now he's sleeping in his bouncy slept, wearing only a diaper.


May 18, 2009

Anastasia just keeps getting better at potty training. Yesterday she had no accidents! (Still no poop, though, either.)

In other news, Miss A. used her wading pool for the first time this year. The first year she had one, she was afraid of it, and barely used it. Last year, the pool was too cold, so she used it perhaps once or twice. This year, we're covering it, and it's much warmer.

Yesterday, however, she started out fearful. The wading pool has a little slide - a very little slide. She wouldn't go down it unless I held her hand. She wouldn't sit on the bottom of the pool unless I held both her hands. (The water only came up to her chest when she sat down.) She said she was afraid of getting water up her nose, but the truth is, she's fearful and super-cautious when she's trying a new gross motor skill. This is pretty common among people with ataxia. (Even though I stress that her ataxia is extremely mild.)

So I pressed her a little. She wanted to get out of the pool almost instantly, but I insisted she go down the slide at least once more. After arguing with me for a bit, she did as I asked, and then she kept saying "Let's do it again!" Even though I was still holding her hand, she was loving the pool, and only came out after I insisted. (Which I only did because she was turning blue...The girl has almost no fat on her body). I hope that over the course of the summer she'll get more and more comfortable in the water, so that next summer she can take swimming lessons.


May 20, 2009

Potty training is still going well. Anastasia earned a trip to Chuck E. Cheese this weekend :) She's beginning to argue a bit when I suggest she use the potty, but she always ends up doing it, anyway. And she still won't poop on the potty. (Which seems so odd, since before this big breakthrough, she'd pooped more than she'd peed on the potty.)

Watching other children fail and then succeed at potty training over at The Potty Project really made a huge difference, and I imagine we'll have to revisit those videos once or twice before potty training is over with.

Tonight, I'm buying Miss A. some Pull Ups. (I asked her whether she wanted to use panties or Pull Ups, and ever being the child to take baby steps, she wanted Pull Ups.) I'll see if I can find the kind that get cold when you have an accident in them. This coming week we'll work on using the potty every time - even for poop, and even when it means interrupting Little Einsteins on DVD.

I can't tell you how encouraged I am, though. I was despairing I'd have a seven year old who was still in diapers. One hears horror stories about such things.

On the eating front, my hubby and I have completely gone against our pact to play it cool. Every parenting book on the market suggests shrugging when kids won't eat, then keeping the food in the fridge and serving it at the next meal...and the next, and the next, and the next, if necessary, making certain not to allow snacks until the meal is eaten. But what about kids who have eating issues and are terribly thin? My hubby, in particular, has trouble with this.

I actually think if we followed these guidelines, Anastasia would be okay. But in the heat of the moment, it's difficult to follow through.

One thing I have decided, however: I will no longer feed the feed Miss A. When Anastasia saw me spoon feed Zane for the first time, she asked me to spoon feed her, too. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it was one of those days where she'd barely eaten anything. Knowing she was tired (and when she's tired, she barely eats), I did it. But now it's become an every-meal thing. So I've laid down the law. She can feed herself or go hungry. Again, it's tough for my hubby not to step in and feed her. He perpetually thinks she's slowly starving herself.

I wonder what the feeding clinic folks would tell us.


May 24, 2009

Today was the big day. Anastasia earned a trip to Chuck E. Cheese by using the potty every day. (The deal was she had to use it at least once every day, but she ended up using it at least four times a day...and some days she never had an accident.)


Anastasia loves this ride and without hesitation wheels herself up to the top.

She was excited - and therefore tired before we ever got there. But we practically had the place to ourselves, and she was extremely well behaved. She even tried to go potty in the restroom there, and wasn't freaked out that I had to hold her so she wouldn't fall in :)   Her favorite part was the "real" Chuck E. Cheese (i.e. a robot). She kept walking over to him and talking to him, and when an employee in a mouse suit came out, I'm not certain she knew the difference between him and the robot.

She was delighted to win a little necklace and plastic spider, and when it was time to leave, she walked over to the robot mouse and tried to give the spider to him as a gift. As we walked back to our vehicle, she said several times, "I think Chuck E. Cheese loves me."

Zane was a little overwhelmed by it all, but I had him in his umbrella stroller much of the time, and as long as I kept him moving, he was happy.

We all had such a good time, I told Miss A. if she goes on the potty (both poop and pee) every time for a week, we can come back.

Yea for Chuck E. Cheese!


The horses were another favorite. She kept making the big white horse jump.


Anastasia talking to the Chuck E. Cheese robot and hugging the man in the mouse suit.

Zane, ever patient.

And now a few photos from the past several days:


Miss A.'s first adult-size ice cream cone. She's used to plain cones and refused to eat this waffle sugar cone.


Zane, playing with Daddy's robot dog.

Oh and yesterday I weighed the kids (clothes on) just for fun. Anastasia is 31 lbs. 15 oz. and Zane is only about 10 lbs. lighter at 22 lbs. 11 oz.!


May 26, 2009

A few quickies:

Apparently Anastasia did recognize a difference between the robot Chuck E. Cheese and the person in the mouse suit. Here's a conversation we had with her:

Miss A.: "That Chuck E. Cheese was pretend."

Me: "Which Chuck E. Cheese, love bug?"

Miss A.: "The one who hugged me. That Chuck E. Cheese wasn't real. He couldn't talk."

Hubby: "No honey, it was the one who talked that wasn't real. That was a robot. The one who hugged you was a person."

Me (giving hubby a dirty look): "The one who talked was a robot. The one who hugged you was real."

So now she's been talking about how the one she loved the most was "pretend" -  just a robot.


The other day, out of the blue, Miss A. commented on her good friend Mr. E. who visited recently from another state: "He doesn't talk so much as I do."


The kids are now only one diaper size apart. Miss A. wears a size 5 at night, and Zane wears a 4.


Now that Zane is ready for a Johnny jumper, he's too big for one! The one we used with Anastasia (the type that hangs from a doorway) is rated for up to 25 lbs., which he nearly is. It's old, and hubby doesn't trust it because Zane is so big. So I thought I'd look into the type that sits on the floor...but none are rated for more than 25 lbs. (They're expensive, so I wouldn't want to buy one that will last only a month or so!)


May 29, 2009

We just went to battle over food. I'm not sure who won.

Tonight, Miss A. refused to eat more than a few nibbles of the pasta I made her. We threatened that she'd have to go straight to bed if she didn't eat. Then she started back talking.

Time out. More back talk. A tiny amount of "back talk medicine" (apple cider vinegar). Still refused to eat. Began throwing a temper tantrum. Sent her to her bed to calm down. She almost fell asleep there in less than a minute. Got her up and cuddled with her, explaining why what she did (not eating, back talking, throwing a temper tantrum) was not good. Prayed with her about it. Then asked her what I could feed her.

She ate two slices of bread and butter, a good number of black olives, and some grapes. However, she was not allowed to go play outside afterward.

Now she's in bed, and I'm exhausted.

She began the day too early. In fact, we had a "do-over morning." She began the day by crying and whining, so we went to a quiet corner and started the day over as a happy day. It worked until dinner time.

Miss A. also made huge progress in her wading pool. You'll remember that when we bought it, she was afraid to even walk in it without someone holding her hand. Now, having been in the pool a total of perhaps four or five times, she's sliding down the slide on her own. And today, for the first time, she sat on the bottom of the pool. She also put her face down into the water, and later held onto the side of the pool and kicked her legs behind her. She also asked for goggles and a kick board. :)


Left: Finally sitting on the bottom of her wading pool! Right: A picture of our cat Miss A. drew on her Doodle-Pro.

Our sun-shiney boy.


May 30, 2009

It's been a momentous day! First, Anastasia pooped on potty (then peed on the floor). She was in the wading pool, and suddenly asked to get out. I was afraid she'd already pooped, but she hadn't, so I carried her inside. She protested a little, but sat on the potty. I read her a little bit of a book, and soon the deed was done and she exclaimed: "It wasn't even messy!"

A few hours later she was wandering around in the kitchen wearing only her bathing suit and I heard the sound of water running. Miss A. peered down at her bathing suit and said, "Is there a little hole down there?" Then she apologized for peeing on the floor.

The other big event for the day is Zane's first words! Actually, yesterday I heard him say "mama," but he wasn't saying it to me, so I figured it was just a random sound. (However, I exclaimed, "Did you just say 'mama?'" And Anastasia quickly replied,  "No! He said 'Anastasia!'" She really wants him to say her name first!)

Then today at dinner, Zane said - clear as could be - "Daddy, daddy, daddy!" Then "Dada" and "Mama." He's on his way to being a big boy!

And speaking of being a big boy, have I mentioned that already (at 7 months old!) Zane is a complete gadget guy? Anything on wheel fascinated him, too. In fact, yesterday he was laying on the floor playing and rolled about a foot so he could be next to Anastasia's Inchworm. He got both hands on its wheels and after a while he started crying. I think he was frustrated because he couldn't make them turn. (They ratchet around when you bounce on the toy.) I've always believed typical (or stereotypical, if you like) male and female characteristics are mostly something we're born with, and I've always been careful not to steer either child toward what might be considered gender specific toys. But I never imagined a 7 month old child would already show preferences toward things with wheels!

Zane still isn't sitting up much. I think he just has no interest. I once saw him sit for about a full minute, but usually he almost instantly rolls over onto his stomach.

Oh, and Anastasia is jumping! As long as she's holding onto something (like the edge of the playpen) she can jump perfectly!


May 31, 2009

He can't even sit up on his own yet, truly, but he's talking! This morning, I asked Zane if he would say "mama." He grinned, paused half a minute, then said it. Later, he turned to hubby and looked him in the eye and said, "Hi, dada." He's brilliant!