9/30/11

New Tricks for Bunny

I call this Bunny's "Are you an idiot?" look.   His hands are kind of cut off in this picture but his first trick is that he claps.  It's so cute!  I like to sing "If you're happy and you know it" and clap his hands for him.  He smiles EVERY time.  He randomly claps throughout the day but he also does it purposefully if I coax him.  His therapist was so impressed yesterday.

Poor Bunny is getting in both his eye teeth.  The Pediatrician swears he can't be and won't but I have heard that children with Down Syndrome can get teeth in any order and I think me and soon to be vampire baby will prove her wrong.  Anyway, he can also grab his feet now.  Up until now he just folded his hands when he put his feet up but now he does the "grab and roll". 

He has been talking up a storm!  It used to be I never knew if he was awake or asleep in the car because he was so quiet.  Not anymore!  He babbles and squeels!  I love his little voice.

"I can do this trick and this trick and this trick....."

It's so fun to see Bunny making progress.  I'll try to get the clapping on video because it is way cute.

Famous Quotes

Baby was looking over my shoulder while I was blog reading and when a baby appeared on my monitor she yelled

"Look!  That is Bunny when he exploded out of your tummy in the hospital!"

Can you imagine how the scene plays out in her vivid little imagination?

9/29/11

It's Started

Caught in the act.  Buddy is starting to steal toys from Bunny.  In fact, Baby and I have nicknamed one toy "The Jealous Toy" because the boys totally fight over it.

In this picture it looks like they are "sharing" it but do not be fooled.  Buddy pulled it away from Bunny soon after I snapped the picture.  Little stinker!

**As a side note:  Look at Bunny's good reaching!  We are working on that :)

My Life in Pictures

His "Ladykiller" smile.  It melts me

Scaling Back the Commitments

Yesterday I had a great day.  I was in a good mood.  I felt energized.  I did not go Kate Gosselin on my kids.

I realized today that the reason was because I had no "must dos" or playdates or appointments or anything on the schedule.  I just got to hang out with my kids.  I got to work with both the boys AND enjoy them.  That's not to say that everything went perfectly all day.  It is never going to but I was better prepared to handle the "Not so Norman Rockwell" times because I was not stressed out.

I've been thinking for a few weeks that I need to "do less".  There are things I cannot cut out like Bunny's therapy or doctor's appointments.  What I can do is make sure that on those days I do not schedule anything else.  And make sure I have commitment free days in between. 

This is actually hard for me because I like to be on the go.  I like to have things to do every day.  A full calendar makes me happy.  BUT  it also makes me crazy.  When I am at home I can sneak in some baby stretches and clean some dishes here and there.  I can also do this:

"Baking" is Baby's new favorite thing to do.  It's our special time together and I think it's really important seeing as she is now my middle child.  She has been getting up early every morning to make Daddy's lunch for him too.  I think that is so cute and I think it is also her way of sneaking in some one on one time with him. 

So for now we are going to lay low.  I'm going to "underschedule".  I think we all benefit.

9/23/11

My Life in Pictures

I splurged on some sanity savors. Piggy boy loves his new mesh food teether

My Polar Opposites

I talk a lot about Bunny and his Hypotonia (low muscle tone) but what I haven't mentioned to many is that Buddy has Hypertonia.  My boy is very stiff.  His legs are affected mostly but his arms are on the stiff side as well.

I was blissfully unaware for the first few months.  I honestly just thought that a) he was strong and b) it was the contrast between the boys.  When Bunny's social worker and Development expert came for his evaluation they brought Buddy's stiffness to my attention.  They gave me a few exercises for him and told me to "keep an eye on him".  I thought "So what he is stiff" and did the exercises faithfully but didn't let it concern me too much.

At the boys 4 month old appointment I mentioned it to my pediatrician and she casually said "Well, I can give you a referral to a great neurologist if you want me to".  Again, it didn't click.  I was driving home when I realized that meant brain.  When a supervisor for Luca's program came to the house and was poking and prodding Buddy I asked her "Why neurologist?"  She looked like she did not want to say anything but finally said "To see if he has Cerebral Palsy"

My head felt like it was about to explode.  Surely God would not allow this?  I love Bunny to death and would not trade him for the world but when he was born I didn't think I could handle twins and a special needs child.  Now I possibly had two?  I warned my family that if he did indeed have it I was going to fall off the deep end.  That was more than I could emotionally handle.  Then I googled...I had to know.

The only thing Daddy and I could see that was the same is that his legs tend come together at the bottom.  But they don't cross over.  I also could not find a cause.  Cerebral Palsy is caused by a brain injury.  He was not deprived oxygen in delivery...he got great Apgars.  He has not had a traumatic fall.  I also read that it is an injury not a condition.  So the extent of the injury does not get worse.  And that is where I found peace.  Because if he was just a little stiff then we could work on that.

At this point both the doctor and a physical therapist friend have said they don't think it is CP.  He really just has hypertonia.  The doctor offered to give me the referral for peace of mind but I don't believe he has it in my heart (and I am doom and gloom girl).  I have decided we have enough going on without also enrolling him in Early Start even though I've been told he would qualify.  I have exercises I also do with him and we have exiled the johnny jump up from the house.  He is not supposed to be in any "equipment" that he stands in.

I do baby massage for both boys and hopefully will be starting the yoga soon.  I think the yoga will really benefit my Buddy.


I find it ironic that one baby is floppy and the other is super inflexible.  My little opposite bunnies.  Sometimes I wonder what in the world I did all the time when the girls were babies?

9/22/11

Bunny Bear at 6 Months

I feel like Bunny has made so much progress in the last month.  Physically he is stronger and personality wise he is really starting to come alive.  I feel like socially he is behind Buddy by a month or two but he gets there.  For instance,  for a few months now Buddy has made grunting or squealing noises when he is not receiving all the attention.  Just this week, Bunny started doing it too. 

A few weeks ago I went to a kids consignment store and bought a bunch of new toys for tummy time as well as a boppy (hate the thing for breastfeeding.  Got rid of mine before the boys).  The boppy really lifts him on his tummy and makes him work on his head control.  It also makes it impossible for him to roll over to his back. I ALWAYS place him on his tummy on the ground and only give him a break if he is grumpy.  He has really gotten used to it and doesn't mind it so much anymore.  He has also improved the stability in his neck muscles.  I don't feel like I have to warn everyone to hold his neck anymore when I hand him off.


His infant teacher told us today that he is doing so great on his tummy that it's time to focus on a crawling position to strengthen his shoulder and arm muscles.  He's graduated!

A fun development for me is that I can tell he knows who I am now.  For the first few months it made me sad because I felt like besides the fact that I fed him I offered no more comfort to him than any other Joe off the street.  Now I can feel his pretty blue eyes on me as I move around the room.  He has just started with stranger anxiety too.  He pulled out his world famous pouty (I have to try to get a picture because it really is the cutest) for the dr last week and turned his red rimmed eyes to me for comfort.  This morning, a trainee came with his teacher.  She sat right down and started talking to him.  Out came the pouty again and mommy had to calm him down.  It is an occurrence that I have taken for granted with my other kids and  it felt so weird to not have that connection with him.



He is still my easiest baby.  He only cries when he is hungry or when Buddy has taken a swipe at him.  I will say however, that if he is crying and hungry he is not easily distracted.  Buddy can be tricked into forgetting for a minute or too but not Bunny.  When he has reached his point there is no going back.

The hand hold above is his favorite position.  Boogie says he is praying.  I'm sure he is praying for his mommy's sanity.

In the next few weeks I hope to start baby yoga with him and Buddy.  I found this book:  Yoga for the Special Child and I haven't finished it yet but it's on my list of things to incorporate.  I think both boys will benefit greatly.  I also hope to have a crawling track made.  I have wanted one for months but Daddy is working so much we just haven't had the time.  Other than that we are working on assisted sitting and the crawling pose.  It's a lot of work and things to remember!!  He is 100% worth it!!

9/21/11

My Life in Pictures

You can see where he got his nickname...Froggy Boy

Moments of Joy

Today Daddy got home from work at 1:30pm.  This NEVER happens.  The trend has been that he gets home after the kids are in bed. 

I actually got to go pick Boogie up from school by myself.  Park the car and walk into the school.  I was waiting for her when she walked out.  The look on her face was priceless.  We held hands and walked to the car.  I got to hear about her day with no interruptions and we even did a quick errand on the way home.

I savor these moments!!

9/20/11

I Don't Has to

Yesterday Baby Bear had her four year check up.  Baby knew she was getting a shot (I like to prepare my kids as opposed to tricking them.  The element of surprise is NOT our friend) so she was a little wary of the whole visit.  She wanted to be right next to me when the dr walked in.  The dr asked her to draw a picture of the family and she would only draw me, Boogie and herself.  Then she scooted right back next to me.

For some reason this alarmed the dr and she starting in on the questioning.  "Who is in the family?  Why didn't she want to draw daddy or the boys?"  She kept giving me the "What is going on at home" look. 

Now rewind for a second to last Thursday.  That was the boys well visit.  Baby was being a stinker and trying to hang on me when the Dr was talking.  The Dr started saying things like "Are you mad that mommy spends so much time with the boys?"  Baby just looked at her blankly.  Now she was saying "Is it annoying that mommy always has to be with the babies?"  She was getting more blank looks.

The questions irritated me.  These are my 3rd and 4th babies.  Does she think I am clueless about sibling rivalry?  I have changed 20 post-potty-training poopy pull ups that say otherwise.  If she had asked Boogie about the babies then she would have gotten an earful.  And I KNOW that.  Because I KNOW my children.  I am not a clueless mom who is wondering why 6 months ago Baby started acting up.  It was actually once she started her afternoon preschool.  The girl is exhausted.

As far as the babies?  She is a sweet sister for about 10 minutes a day and tries her best in her 4 year old way to help when I need it.  Otherwise, she doesn't really notice them unless they are in her way.  She is a very independent child and does not need my full attention in the way that Boogie does so she is not "mad at mommy" about the babies.  Incidentally, on the way home she told me that she "did not feel like drawing short hair"

And look:



Once she felt like it she drew a very sweet pictures of her brothers.  Bunny is on the left with his faux hawk.  This picture is going in the memory box for sure!

I'm sure I will give her many reasons to enroll in therapy but clearly....having the boys was not one of them.


**The title is a family joke.  When I was a little girl and I didn't want to do something I would say "I don't has to".  We like to use the phrase as much as it is relevant around here.

My Life in Pictures

Teething

9/19/11

Buddy Bear at 6 Months


When I dreamed of having a boy I thought for sure he would have lots of dark wavy hair and he would be nice and chubby with big round eyes.  Basically he would be the male version of my girls.  (Or look like Baby as a baby since she looked like a boy!)

This guy looks nothing like I imagined but he is, in my opinion, the most beautiful baby.  He has barely any hair and is lean and mean.  His eyes are big but that's hard to tell through his crazy long dark lashes.

Personality wise he is a lot more fun at 6 months than he was at 2-4 months.  He used to scream alot.  He would scream until he was purple.  It freaked me out.  He wasn't bad for me but then I was his contant milk supply and he was trying to grow!  I always had to take him with me to the store because daddy did NOT want me to leave him with him. 



Now he is a happy boy who LOVES attention.  This boy will grunt and yell at you until you notice him and then he will flash his "Harrison (Ford)" crooked smile as a reward.  He is a major flirt.  He is not overly cuddly but he is not against it.  He will give kisses but only to his brother.  That melts my heart in a way I cannot explain.  I have tried to get him to give me a kiss but he ignores me.  Yet if I say "Give Bunny kisses" he crawls over and kisses him on the cheek.  Then tries to claw out his eye....

He is still a momma's boy and prefers me above all.  Baby was like that too.  It makes it hard to get alone time but since Baby was that way I know it won't last so I chose to savor.



Physically he is very strong.  Because of all the tummy time and lack of baby equipment he started scooting early and now gets into everything.  I get nothing done when he is awake.  I can't imagine what it will be like when he is walking.  Lord help me.

We have just scratched the surface of differences between boys and girls.  I'm sure I will be amazed at the energy and noise level in the next few months. Already it's funny to us that he loves to be scared and loves growls and loud noises.  The girls would have been in tears.

I cannot WAIT to see who this little munchkin becomes. I am so glad he is mine.

Famous Quotes

Last week we got a notice that Boogie's class had been exposed to lice.  Yuck. 


I washed her hair with tea tree shampoo and braided it for school.  I told her not to hug any of her friends.

She said, "But mom I have so much love in my body and I need to get it out!"

My sweet girl

9/18/11

My Life in Pictures

6 months has been an eternity and has gone by in the blink of an eye at the same time.

Baby Bear's Party


This girl has been waiting for her Hello Kitty party for a very long year.  It wasn't huge and it wasn't fancy but she was one happy girl.


Grandma went a little crazy with the Hello Kitty paraphernalia.  It's a Grandma's duty.


She also bought us a larger than life pinata. Our kids have never had a pinata before because Boogie's birthdays are in the winter and require indoor parties and Baby has always been too little. Mommy was excited about the pinata. Maybe not excited about filling this larger than life one....  Couldn't you just eat that munchkin up????


I stayed up until the wee hours making those paper flower things. I wanted my baby to feel special and celebrated!! (The girls made me leave them up for weeks!)

After many nights of research I found a picture of the Hello Kitty cake without the Startipped frosting and decided I could handle a basic frost.  Baking and especially decorating is not my forte.  Not even close!  But these turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!  Thank goodness for Google!  My sister and I both decorated one.  She is a type A.  Guess which cake is hers?
 
Present opening is very serious business.

I love that little girls need to help each other unwrap.  The older girls brought Baby the presents and they had those presents unwrapped in record time!

A present from auntie. The wig was the favorite present of the day. Baby is quite obsessed with Tangled and has been dying for a wig.

Perhaps if we had had a pinata before now my kids would know how to hit one!


It was a fairly hot day but we managed to have fun. By the time it was cake time a wind had picked up making it impossible to light candles. Plus I had to buy the fancy cute candles that have an itty bitty wick. Oops!


When everyone left Baby ran in with a sad face and said "It's not my party anymore!" I love my girl!!

Even in it's simplicity this party took an army!  So thankful that I have such a helpful family.  I have found that parties and entertaining in general are just not my gift but for my special people I can put my big girl pants on and give it my best.  Especially when I have the support of others.  With all of our gifts combined we manage quite nicely.  And that is the wonderful thing about family.

Ignorance is Bliss

Aww look..the good old days.  The days when I got to put Buddy in the johnny-jump-up for a few minutes everyday when I made dinner. 

It is truly amazing how much new knowledge you obtain about baby equipment when you have developmental specialists in your house weekly and when you spend hours a week on the forums for children with special needs and when you are obsessed with reading books about how to help your baby who is going to need lots of extra help.


This equipment which I happily rotated throughout the day with my girls is now off limits.  My Dr tells me it's fine and that the specialists are just being hyper vigilant but she doesn't know me very well.  Once I have the knowledge I cannot ignore.


I am like this with many things.  For instance, I am now the proud owner of a baby bottle warmer.  But I breastfeed and rarely use bottles.  I make my own baby food and freeze it.  Then it needs to be warmed to give to my picky bun buns.  They poo poo at cold food.  (Cold pureed butternut squash?  I hardly blame them)  The problem is that I read that microwaves kill the good nutrients in food in one of my books.  SO even if I am not 100% convinced I have decided I would rather not risk it.  For me sure.  But not for Buddy or Bunny.  They need their nutrients!  So I defrost the cubes on the counter then transfer it to bottles then warm it for them.  So much extra work and dishes!

I do this a lot with food too.  I get Dr Mercola's email in my inbox everyday and about once a week I read about something that I should be avoiding and cross it off the list of things that are allowed in my pantry.  You will not find a spec of soy in my house because he has convinced me it is the devil in disguise. People ask if I have sugar and I say no but I have stevia or raw honey?  We don't want to set ourselves up for diabetes right?  (Just ignore the ice cream and cookies.  I'm sure those are fine)


The bottom line is this.  Once I have been convinced I just can't forget.  Yes it would be easier to let the boys excersaucerise, or bumbocise or jump in the jumper.  Buddy would not be crawling and getting into everything yet.  It is not convenient for me to avoid the microwave for their food.  Especially when they are screaming.  It is more expensive to buy the grass fed beef.  I just feel like a little inconvenience on my part is worth it.  And if it is just hogwash and I am making extra work for myself well..... my intentions were good.

9/8/11

Settling In

It's two weeks in to our new school/preschool schedule and I finally think we are getting the hang of it.  Boogie is LOVING first grade.  Everyday when I ask her how her day was she responds with "Great!".  That is a pleasant change from last year's "Bad" or "Terrible". The fact that she is doing great and I know she's happy makes dropping her off everyday that much easier.

Baby also loves preschool and although it is not exactly convenient for her to have an afternoon preschool we are making it work.  She has been extra cranky and whiny this week and I am hoping it's just exhaustion from preschool.  The fact that she has been falling asleep about 5 minutes after she goes to bed makes me think I'm right.

I have to admit that the break when both are in school is nice.  I am not twiddling my thumbs and watching soaps by any means but at least I don't have to answer to mom 100 times in the 3 short hours.  I am becomming quite the student of efficiancy and multitasking.  I cram as much baking/cooking/phone calls/chores into those few short hours as the boys will allow. 

When we all get home again I am rested and more patient.  I even keep my cool during "homework time" which is saying a lot.  Today I worked extra hard an rewarded myself with a little "afternoon pick me up" at Starbucks.

The babesters waiting for breakfast.  Multitasking at its finest


I think the biggest lesson I am learning right now is how to be flexible.  In the morning I make a plan for the things I want to get done and a tentative schedule of when things will happen but the babies like to change it up on me constantly.  I just readjust things in my mind and keep on going.  It is crazy frustrating at times but I'm trying to let things go.

I am also struggling a bit with details.  I feel like I have a million balls in the air at all times.  On Tuesday when I picked Baby up from preschool the teacher kindly reminded me she needed to bring her special tote everyday.  *sigh*  That same day I opened Boogie's homework packet (that I had proudly signed the night before.  I remembered!) to find we forgot 2 spelling words and she had wrote 2 words in pen and I hadn't even noticed!  FAIL! 

My biggest fear is being thought of as a flake.  Everyone knows I have twins and I "have my hands full" (as people really like to remind me) but I still want the same standards to be expected of me.  I do appreciate the grace but I just don't want to be "that mom".  More procedures have been put in place to make sure homework is perfect and totes are remembered.  I'm sure there will be something new next week but I can only try my hardest.

The most important thing is that I am really enjoying my kids right now.  Watching them enter new seasons and grow as little people is so much fun.  I try to savor every moment with them as much as I can in all the craziness.  I know someday their little faces won't light up when they see me at pickup and I won't be the person that gets the biggest smiles and the deepest belly laughs.  I have to enjoy every moment.

Famous Quotes

Baby Bear:  "Here mom I made you a present."

I open an envelope that contains a notepad with scribbles on it

Baby Bear:  "It says Baby Bear is the queen"

9/1/11

Baby is a School Girl

The day has FINALLY come.  Baby started preschool today.  She has asked me when school starts since we visited the school last May.  Every darn day....

She was SO excited.  She was telling the boys on the way there "Now I know you will miss me but I will be at school".  This girl had no separation anxiety like my Boogie tends to have.

I was pretty bummed to find out it was just her and another little boy today.  I almost cried when I left her because she had been so excited about making friends and there was just one boy.  Apparently, one little girl is on vacation and some other kids will be starting next week.



Bunny had a therapist coming to the house today and she made me 2 minutes late to pick Baby up and when I pulled up and saw her with her lunchbox, preschool canvas bag and her preschool crown I did tear up.  She just looked so sweet and like such a big girl.

Apparently, her and the boy got along great and Baby didn't even mention not having a bunch of friends.  I worried for nothing.  I will be happy when more kids join next week though.

Could I have found a bigger lunch bag for her???