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Anastasia's first year (2005)

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Allergies & Getting Big (2009)

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October 2009


October 5, 2009

Oh dear.

Zane began cruising yesterday. I'm not sure he realized he did it, and I haven't seen him do it again, but oh yeah. Soon our lives will be a lot more exciting.

In the meantime, our miss becomes more melodramatic. A few nights ago she asked for food at bedtime - not an unusual request. She wanted goldfish or a breakfast bar, and when I said we didn't have any, she said, sobbing, "Do you think I will ever be to eat again???"


October 7, 2009

Anastasia can't wait to have her own motorcycle, but in the meantime, my hubby gives her slow rides around the backyard.

They grow up far too quickly.


October 11, 2009

Let's start with a couple of recent Anastasia-isms:

* After I said something about how tired she looked: "I won't go to sleep...Ever."

* While she watched Daddy change the oil in his motorcycle: "Look, Daddy! The motorcycle is going pee!"

Zane, while still mostly talking with his mouth shut, does sometimes practice talking in the morning while he's still in his crib (and probably thinks no one can hear him). He has an electronic hand held toy he just loves that plays music and says the "Patty Cake" rhyme. "Patty Cake" also happens to be a favorite game of his. So I wasn't too surprised when I heard him saying, early one morning, "Paddy cake, paddy cake....Paddy cake!"

Otherwise, pretty much the only things we hear him say are "Dadda" and (when he's upset) "Mama." Funny how he's reverted in his speech, similar to how Anastasia did.

Anastasia making butter by shaking cream in a jar.

Zane, long since too big for his infant car seat, now has a "big boy" car seat. Since he's only a week away from being a year old, and more than meets the weight requirement, we have him forward-facing for the first time. He has an excellent view of the road and now thinks riding in the truck is a sort of amusement park ride. He twists his hands and feet almost the entire time, and makes little happy noises when we go over big bumps or speed up a bit.

Anastasia and Zane holding hands while in their car seats.

We just received a notice that there will be no NICU reunion this year, due to worries about the Swine Flu. We were planning on skipping it this year, anyway, for the same reason. It's so rotten to, once again, be minimizing our exposure to the public due to health concerns.

Doing school work.

We're also wondering if Anastasia has some sort of seasonal problem. Last fall was when the Miss went through all those horrible temper tantrums and fatigue. We thought it was just her age - that she was going through the "terrible twos" a bit late. But now she's throwing some temper tantrums again. And back talking nearly constantly. And just having general behavioral problems. Like last year, I can see she's exhausted most of the time.

I've given up on naps for her; she never slept unless she was sick, and it was becoming a huge ordeal to keep her in bed. I do require her to do quiet things (like reading) every day. And we send her to bed early - usually about 7 pm these days. She typically wakes up between 7 and 7:30 am. But she's not sleeping well.

For some time now we've noticed that if we get up in the night to use the bathroom, her light is sometimes on. Sometimes she's sitting in bed, her eyes open, but barely awake. Sometimes, she's asleep.

Two nights ago, I had insomnia, and was in the living room when I heard the Miss A.'s door swing open and saw her light turn on. I expected to hear her walk into the bathroom...or to hear her to call my name. She did neither, so I walked into her room. She was laying in bed with her eyes closed. When I said, "What's wrong, honey?" she opened one eye and said, "I wanted you to cover me up." Indeed, her blankets were at the foot of her bed, so I covered her up and kissed her goodnight and she fell asleep quickly.

Some mornings she tells us she's had a nightmare. But she certainly has never called out to us in the night for this reason, and I'm not entirely sure she knows what a nightmare is. One night I thought I heard her call out to me for something to drink, but when I got up and walked into her room, she was sound asleep. I'm not certain whether I dreamed her calling out to me, or if she called out to me while dreaming.

But the long and short of it is, Miss A. does not sleep well, and it seems especially bad in the fall. I wonder what could cause this...?

When we asked Anastasia what she was doing with this toy rake, she said, "I'm riding it because I don't have a hobby horse."


October 17, 2009

Today is Zane's first birthday. It shocks me how quickly time has passed!

Zane didn't enjoy his birthday much. We started the day by giving him his first hair cut. He actually enjoyed trying to watch his daddy use the clippers, but when I had to hold his face still for the haircut, he got pretty mad.

Here's Zane before his first haircut:

And Zane after:

First hair cuts are, apparently, no fun.

Later, we tried to get him to open some presents, but Anastasia ended up doing all the opening:

He enjoyed the presents, but his gums were hurting, and so even they weren't all that much fun.

After dinner, we had cake. I've never seen a child not enjoying his birthday cake nearly as much as Zane did tonight:

In fact, I'd venture to say the only part of the day he really enjoyed was the balloons:

Ah well. At least Anastasia enjoyed herself. She used the mixer for the first time, while we made Zane's cake together, and enjoyed licking the batter.

And she enjoyed the presents and the cake far more than Zane did:

As the day comes to a close, I find myself remembering Anastasia's first birthday and comparing how Anastasia was doing then to how Zane is doing now. I was naive about it at the time, but Miss A. was seriously delayed. She spent her whole birthday in my lap, in her high chair, or in her bouncy seat. She couldn't sit up on her own, let alone crawl, pull up, or cruise, as Zane is doing today.

How proud I am of Anastasia and how far she's come! And what miracles both my children are :)


Anastasia on her first birthday.

Zane, Anastasia, and me on Zane's birth day.


October 18, 2009

Today was pumpkin patch day! Anastasia was a great age for this trip; she remembered going to the patch last year, so she had excited expectations. And when she saw "scary" painted monsters at the patch, she approached carefully, then said, "He's pretty good. But he's just pretend." Zane had a grand time watching his sister have fun. And this year, we sprung for the wagon ride, too.

First, the traditional "How Tall This Fall" picture.

Here's last year's shot. She doesn't appear to have grown much!


She couldn't wait to choose pumpkins for herself and her brother. She may be annoyed next year when he gets to choose his own.

Imitating the roar she imagined this monster had.

One of Anastasia's favorite memories was playing in the leaf pile last year. She was so excited to do it again yesterday.


October 21, 2009

Making cookies.

The miss is gaining weight and looking healthy! Truly, for a while there she was rail thin. She was still wearing her 3T pants, but they were the kind with many buttons on the inside, which attach to an elastic band and make it possible to make the waist much smaller. I had them tightened to the smallest size. Now, it seems like I expand the waistband every week or so.

The secret? I think it's milk.

Anastasia had seen her young cousins drinking chocolate milk and suddenly decided she liked it. (Even though we've tried giving her chocolate milk before, with no success.) Then my mom-in-law suggested giving her whole milk mixed with chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast. I remembered we'd tried that before, way back when Anastasia was at the feeding clinic and they wanted her either on Pediasure or the Instant Breakfast (which they said was almost as good as Pediasure). But Anastasia would never drink it.

Well, for the past week and a half, she's been drinking it happily - one cup per day. Yippee!

Yesterday, I weighed the kids. Zane was 26 lbs. and 6 oz., and Miss A. was 33 lbs. and 12 oz.! I don't think she's gained two pounds so quickly in a long, long time.

A little funny: The other day, Anastasia was using the potty and began sobbing. "That's [sob!] not [sniff!] right!" she said. She'd forgotten to wipe her bottom, and already had her pants back on. Trying to appease her, her daddy said, "Just wipe twice next time." Her mood changed in an instant. All was well with the world again.

Zane is teething badly still, so mostly he's just grumpy. But the other day, as I worked in the kitchen, he was playing with the Word Whammer on the fridge. He often pulls this toy off and bangs it or pushes the buttons, and that day was no exception. Except that when I turned around, I saw a battery on the floor. Then I discovered another in his hand. He had - somehow - opened up the battery compartment of the toy, unscrewing the panel with his fingers! Oh boy, and I gonna have my hands full!

And now, the not so good or funny news. Anastasia's backtalk and refusal to obey are reaching new heights. She's becoming insolent. Last week I bought some marbles and put them in a Mason jar. I told Anastasia every time she back talked, I'd take a marble away. Every day she went without back talking, I'd put marbles back. At the end of the week, if all the marbles were in the jar, she could have a reward - what would she like? She said she wanted to play with the marbles.

For the first few days, the marble jar seemed to help. However, I decided to access her behavior twice a day: at lunch and at bedtime. That way, she was more apt to earn marbles back. But now, a week later, it all seems pointless. This evening, for example, I removed five marbles in a row. Literally one after the other. Then Miss A. said, "You need to take six! Take six away! No, seven!" and so on.

And yes, we used time outs, too.

I've talked to a lot of parents about this, and none of them have suggestions. It seems most people's four year old's aren't back talkers. I really don't know what else to do, except plod on...and re-read Creative Correction.

I do notice, however, that when her behavior is at its worst, she's tired - and the daytime sky is dark.


October 24, 2009

Anastasia is doing better. Three mornings ago, I told her I'd take away one toy every time she back talked. (She'd get them back the next day.) I had to take away three toys that day, and three the yesterday. All around noon, and all in a row. I'm not entirely convinced this is merely a case of finding better motivation for her; I think she's just feeling better, even though she still appears tired.

In fact, I wonder if her recent weight gain may disappear. The miss has barely eaten the past few days.

The good news is, I haven't given her Miralax (for constipation) in two months. I know I've announced this before, but I think maybe, finally she no longer needs the stuff.

Little (big) Zane is still teething, poor guy. He's quite pathetic, laying his head on my feet when he's feeling his worst. But while my hubby said he'd been cruising when I wasn't around, Zane now does it while I'm present. And just this morning, he stood for a few seconds, unaided by person or object. He even took a few steps behind his push walker a few days ago.

Zane, who has never put objects (other than a pacifier, when he was an infant) in his mouth, now occasionally puts something in his mouth to help with teething pain. Never his teethers, of course. Here he is with his sock (fresh off his foot) in his mouth.

Zane loves to pull sissy's hair, because it always gets a big reaction. Here, Anastasia had climbed into Zane's walker, and he snuck up behind her and yanked her hair. (Yes, I'm a bad mommy. I laughed and took a picture before I rescued her.)

October 26, 2009

This weekend, Anastasia displayed what a determined, stubborn young lady she is.

I found a great deal on apples, and decided to make some applesauce. Anastasia was eager to help, so I let her operate the hand-cranking apple peeler/corer. I had two large bags of apples, and she peeled every single one, even though it was sometimes difficult. I'd see her little arm shake because she reached a tough spot in the apple and it took every bit of her strength to get the peeler to move. But she never complained. She just got a determined little look on her face.

"See, Mommy? I can do it!"

She insisted on doing more than that, too. So I let her gather all the cores and peelings into a bowl, then compost them outside.

When it came time for me to can the applesauce, she didn't want to just watch. "I can do it, Mommy!" she kept saying. Canning involves a lot of boiling water, so I wasn't eager for her to help, but eventually I let her remove the lids from some warm water (with a magnetic wand) and place them on the cans.

My canner holds four large cans at once, and it's important to put them all in at one time, put the lid on top, and start timing. But at one point, I realized I'd only prepared three cans. So, rushing, I started preparing a fourth. Anastasia was frustrated when I tried to put the lid on myself. I said, "Honey, I just need to hurry and get this done right away." She put her hands on her hips and replied, "If you can hurry, mommy, so can I!" I had to laugh out loud.

By the time I was done canning the first batch, I was ready for her to go play outside with daddy. Oh my goodness! All that stubborn determination will serve her well in life, if she channels it right, but right now it's not necessarily fun to deal with.

Speaking of which, last night it was shades of last fall. Anastasia threw an all-out temper tantrum. It truly was a war of the wills. I find it hard to believe it's coincidental that every October and November she has behavior issues...


October 28, 2009

A few gems from Miss A.:

* Anastasia was talking about using boobies to feed babies when she suddenly paused, got a puzzled expression, and said, "Mommy, I don't remember if you had boobies before Zane was in your tummy."

* As she dilly-dallied at dinner time: "It's my constitution. I don't like food."

* After I began counting to ten when she wouldn't come into the bathroom to brush her teeth, she came down the hallway, her eyes twinkling as she said, "I hear something counting - but I don't know what it is."

And Zane? Yesterday he managed to remove one of his crib toys from his crib. (Amazing! Even I have trouble removing them!)


October 30, 2009

Today was Zane's one year pediatric appointment. We almost canceled several times because we were so apprehensive about taking him into a germy doctor's office. Anastasia is in the high risk group for H1N1 (swine flu) because she has had chronic lung disease, so if she catches the flu, she's probably in for a serious hospital stay. We've been in a sort of lock-down lately, just like when we had to worry about RSV when Anastasia first came home from the hospital. We don't take the kids into stores, or to playgroup, or let them hang out around any one who is sick.


Since we don't want to expose Anastasia to H1N1, we decided not to let her get involved in trick-or-treating or harvest parities this year. So I took her to trick-or-treat at Grandma's house today. She loves her Raggedy Ann costume!

In the end, I took Zane into the office alone, and I was vigilant about germs. Our doctor's office was being careful about germs, too. The toys and magazines they usually have were gone, most people were wearing doctor's masks, hand sanitizer was everywhere, etc. Even though they normally sanitize the scale and exam table, I asked them to do it while I watched, and they complied.

The doctor is on the second floor of her office building, and normally I take the elevator because Zane is darn heavy, and I'm afraid of falling with him in my arms. As I reached the elevator, another mom with about a four year old girl approached it, too. We eyed each other, then she said cautiously, "Is the little guy sick?" "No," I replied, "are you guys sick?" "No!" She said. Then we both breathed a sigh of relief and entered the elevator.

As usual, the first thing the nurse did was measure and weigh Zane. For some reason babies always seem to hate this, and Zane clearly didn't trust the nurse, who was wearing a medical mask. So as he sat there and she weighed him, he did something I've never seen him do before: He cupped his package. His expression seemed to say, "I don't know who you are or what you want, but you're not stealing this!" Boys :)

Next, I had the usual pediatrician-parent conversations about Zane's growth (he's in the 95th percentile for his weight and the 90th for his length....pretty consistent with his growth in the past), his development, and his eating. Turns out I've been giving Zane too much milk. The doc says he shouldn't have more than about 16 oz. of whole milk a day. Oops. I'm not used to babies who gain weight well!

Then we had a long talk about the regular seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 shot. Like many parents, we've been on the fence about the latter, but as it turns out, there's none available in our area. Sometimes our clinics have it, but our pediatrician does not want us taking Anastasia into such a germ-ridden place. She said her office is trying to get it, and sometimes they get a very small quantity. There is no waiting list, so if we want it, we just have to call in from time to time. She also wants Anastasia to get her regular flu shot at her office, instead of a busy clinic.

(In fact, I tried to set that appointment up as soon as we got home. At first, the receptionist told me they were not giving flu shots in their office. When I explained the doctor just told me they were, she got off the phone and talked to our pediatrician, then came back on the phone and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand the situation." Anastasia will get her shot later in the week and our pediatrician wants her to sneak in early in the morning, to avoid germy people as much as possible.)

I also asked the doc about a pneumonia shot, since most people dying of H1N1 are actually dying of pneumonia, and since Anastasia's lungs are fragile. I was glad to learn she's already had the childhood pneumonia shot.

We also talked about Anastasia's apparent seasonal behavioral problems. The first thing the doc mentioned was seasonal allergies. She said sometimes kids don't seem to have symptoms of allergies, but they get congested just enough they have trouble sleeping. And when they don't get enough sleep, they develop behavioral problems. She suggested trying an over the counter allergy medication to see if it made a difference.

If not, she said it might be a reaction to dim light (SAD) and that melatonin might be useful. She said to call her if things don't improve with the allergy meds. (I'm so thankful she's on the same page we are about germs and visiting the doctor's office!)

In other news,  Zane is still removing his crib toys. In fact, instead of napping, he kept busying himself with getting them off...so I finally had to remove them.

Zane, very pleased with himself for dismantling his walker. (The two large yellow pieces latch on to the top.)

And now, a few sound bites from the Miss:

* To the hygienist, after a recent dentist visit: "By the way, I sure enjoyed getting my teeth cleaned!"

* While eating bacon for breakfast: "By the way, did you know Jesus can wash all the bacon grease out of me?" (I think this was inspired by a book we've been reading called My Happy Pumpkin. In it, a young boy and his father clean out and carve a pumpkin, and relate it to how Jesus cleans up our sin....And as you can see, "by the way" is one of Anastasia's favorite phrases. And so is "There you go, my darling.")