I was thinking about this while cuddling with Aidan the other night. He needs new shoes…again. His size 8’s are too small. I had Brandon snap some pictures of his hands and feet while I was cuddling up with him. The new photos aren’t as crisp as I would like. I will try for some better ones at some point, but I was awestruck when I put the pictures of now side by side with the ones when he was first born. Talk about perspective. Feeling even more blessed and in awe of my “not-so-baby” boy.
Archive for January, 2008
Shhhh….listen closely because I don’t want Aidan to hear this. Aidan has slept *completely* through the night for 11 hour stretches for 4 nights in a row. I don’t even know what to make of this development. We actually had to go wake him for breakfast a couple of mornings.
He must be about to grow…AGAIN! I can’t imagine how much taller this child could possibly be at this age, but I think it’s happening. We usually put him down at 8 and he may linger awake for about a half hour talking to his Curious George and cuddling. We have not seen the whites of Aidan’s eyes before 7 am for the last 4 days. Brandon and I scarcely know what to make of it. Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a new pattern he was falling into? One can only hope….and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
He has seemed to have a great sense of humor from an early age and it is only getting better. We often catch him laughing at things and declaring them to be funny. He loves to run into our bedroom shrieking…”I’m gonna get you!” which is his way of telling us he wants us to come find him since we always say that phrase when we are looking for him. Then he runs to the other side of the bed and looks underneath it to see us coming around the other side and declares “I see you!” as he is catching a glimpse of our feet or us on our hands and knees. It probably sounds rather mundane to have it described in print, but trust me, it’s fun. He and Brandon were playing hide and seek recently, when I saw Aidan cover his eyes and begin counting to ten while Brandon hid under the covers of the bed. Little stinker! He counted from 1-4, then at 5 peeked through his fingers to try to see where Brandon was hiding and finished counting to 10. He then immediately went to the bed and “found” Brandon. Sometimes I am just amazed at some of his intellectual skills.
Pictures of some of his humorous antics lately.
Eating continues to get better and better. He seems to be adding new foods to his repertoire all the time. I have been giving him 1/2 slices of banana for a long time (overprotective Mom worrying about the choking hazard). He saw me eating a banana right out of the peel the other day and refused his cut up slices. He looked at me and said “Want Mama’s banana!” He handled it very well! Check it out. There sits the boy who only a little over a year ago struggled with pretty much every solid food…eating a banana like a big boy. To top it off…he made monkey noises for me!
This boy is in a lovely phase. I am one lucky woman.
Not much to say today. Mostly a picture post. Yesterday I took Aidan to Toys R Us to use a Christmas gift card. He picked out a cuddly Barney and a basketball hoop. We had a WONDERFUL time exploring the store together and he wasted no time in giving Barney some love and shooting some hoops. What do you think? At his already astounding height, is a basketball career in his future? Daddy would *LOVE* that!
Welcoming Barney to the family:
Shooting some hoops!
I am blessed beyond measure.
Random ages here…but you get the idea…this kid has beautiful eyes (completely unbiased opinion, of course!)
Good news first! We went for a follow-up eye appointment to check on Aidan’s visual acuity and eye health. He was starting to squint a little right before bedtime, and we thought it was a good idea to get him checked out. His opthamologist told us we could wait 2 years since his last check which was in October 2006, but to call if we had any concerns. Because ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) is a concern in former preemies who received any supplemental oxygen, we wanted to take the safe route. Back when Aidan was in the NICU he got a little ROP. He only got to a Stage I, Zone 3 (the mildest of classifications of ROP). Then it resolved just 2 weeks later in the NICU.
But premature babies that had any ROP should be followed by an opthamologist. They did several tests on Aidan today. And he did great! They did something similar to flashing letters on the screen like they do for adults. I told them that would probably be GREAT for Aidan since he knows all his letters. But the tech insisted that “children this age do better with shapes.” Ok, whatever. He did great. Named every shape they showed…even some I didn’t think he knew. Then dilation and a more thorough exam.
The doctor told me Aidan’s acuity was good. That he has some astigmatism, but that is mostly due to the fact that during the early years children’s eyes can grow faster in one direction than the other. In Aidan’s case his eye is growing a bit faster horizontally than vertically causing the astigmatism. He said Aidan compensates perfectly for it, and that by the end of the day his eyes are just tired. He told me that his eye tissue, retina, etc all look perfect. Awesome news!
Now for the bad news….err, frustrating news: Aidan doesn’t want to close those beautiful baby blues at night. This child is running Brandon and I through another toddler patience test. For the last 3 nights in a row, he just does not want to stay in his bed when we put him down. We are doing the exact same routine as always. Stories at 7:45 and lights out at 8:00 with soft music. Last night between 8:00 and 10:00 when he finally passed out, he must have left his bed 40 times. I am not kidding! Brandon and I took turns listening for him. We buckled and tried a “Supernanny” tactic last night. I’m not sure if it had an effect…hard to tell from one night. Hard as it was, after the first emergence from his bedroom when he was greeted with, “Time for bed, sweetie” and then an escort to his bed; every subsequent trip was greeted with an immediate appearance of one of us outside his door and then silently putting him back in bed.
I have thought about whether or not something needs to be modified, and I am coming up empty. He naps from about 12-2 and he still *really* needs his nap. Otherwise he is a crankpot. I had thought maybe he was ready to give up his nap, but he has demonstrated on the random napless day that he is not ready. We have quiet time before bed and the 15 minute story time in his bedroom with dim lighting. I am at a loss. Maybe he is just going through a phase. Ugh. I know some kids who sleep later when they go down later….not Aidan. He was up and at it at 6:30 sharp.
Advice fellow parents?
I have been reading about this family for a little over a week now. I can’t remember who sent me the link, but it is fascinating reading. Nate is husband to Tricia who has CF (cystic fibrosis). She was diagnosed at 6 months of age, I believe. Tricia was about to be placed on the list for a lung transplant when she and Nate found out they were pregnant. Tricia battled to get beautiful Gwyneth Rose to almost 25 weeks gestation. Gwyneth is doing well thus far for a 25 weeker and Tricia is slowly coming out of sedation. They had to do a tracheotomy and put Tricia on a ventilator just before Gwyneth’s delivery as Tricia’s CO2 levels were rising and it was getting difficult for her to breathe. It also became obvious that delivery was the best course of action for both Tricia and Gwyneth.
Please take a few moments to read Nate’s writing and he and Tricia’s story. Trust me…it is worth it. Their positive outlook inspires me. Since a lot of readers of my blog are also preemie parents, I know Nate appreciates messages of encouragement from those of us who have walked that path.
Go give your kids a big hug!
I can blame Brandon for this one. Aidan is definitely built like his Daddy. Tall with a very long torso. Aidan is already over 38 inches tall. If you chart that on growth charts, you will find he is above the 97th percentile. And the long torso/short legs (relatively speaking) is the luckiest thing we could have asked for in regard to his little preemie lungs. For the uninitiated, BPD (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) is a common preemie diagnosis, especially for babies who were ventilated for a more than a month. Aidan was ventilated for almost 7 weeks.
When he was discharged home, one of the first doctors we saw was a pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital. She told us we could expect to see her to monitor Aidan’s respiratory status/progress for about 4-5 years. In November of 2006, we saw her to get her OK for Aidan to have a minor surgery. Since he would need to be sedated, the pulmonologist needed to sign off on his lung function and that sedation was OK. She took the standard X-rays and listened to Aidan breathing in a variety of different ways for about 10 minutes. I thought perhaps something was wrong. When she began smiling, I didn’t even know how to process a doctor smiling listening to his lungs.
She said, “You are about to get rid of your first specialist. Aidan’s lungs look and sound wonderful. Unless something completely unforeseen happens, this will be the last time I get to see your little boy.” HOLY CRAP! Are you kidding me?!?!? Wow! Aidan was only 1 year old adjusted and we were done with the pulmonologist? She explained that his growth was so amazing for an ELBW (extremely low birth weight) baby and his torso in particular was long. She figured that us keeping him on oxygen for those first 4 months home (the winter months) had helped him grow and his lungs were recovering nicely. I almost would have asked for a second opinion except that this particular pulmonologist is very conservative. Harvard trained. She doesn’t like to take chances. When we first brought Aidan home she advised we keep him on oxygen even though he was achieving minimum oxygen saturation goals. She explained that it was still a lot of work for him to breathe. She told me, “He can either use the calories he takes in to breathe or grow. I prefer that he grow.” It was a sacrifice to do home O2 for 4 months, but oh-so-worth it.
So this brings me to the $400 part of the story. A 5 point harness child car seat is required in our state until he is at least 4 years old and 40 pounds. At that point, if you wish, you can use a booster. Aidan is not even 2 1/2. I recently noticed his shoulders were at the top harness slot height on his Britax Decathlon. Ahem….isn’t this car seat good up until 65 pounds? Yes, but I guess not for freakishly tall toddlers.
Aidan is only about 32 pounds, but in height was rapidly outgrowing his car seat. Ugh. What options did this leave me with? About 3. Total. THREE types of car seats that would work for him. The choices were:
- Radian 80–Tall enough in the torso, but very narrow. Maybe better suited for a girl with it having such narrow shoulder room. Scratch.
- Britax Regent–Wide enough and tall enough. But is didn’t look like it offered much side impact protection. Plus, once this is in the back seat, you will seriously never be able to have 3 occupants in the back seat ever again. This thing is a beast.
- Safeguard Child Seat–Tall enough and wide enough but not too wide. Lots of really amazing features. But….*GULP*…$400.
No real choice in the matter….I ordered the Safeguard. What an amazing seat. He has at least 3 more inches of torso growth left in this thing. For anyone that has ever had to use a childseat, you would appreciate all of the geez whiz features on this thing. A self adjusting harness height system that adjusts when you adjust the headrest height. No more removing the car seat and reweaving the harness straps through the appropriate hole height as your child grows. A retracting harness mechanism. Cool! And the self-ratcheting latch system makes this car seat almost impossible to install. If you are a geek for this kind of thing at all, you must go check it out.
Hubby was dumbstruck. $400. Ouch. After I had assured him that the nearly $300 Britax we bought would be Aidan’s last carseat until a booster. He kidded me and said I would need to find a way to “earn” the money for another carseat if I turn out to be wrong on this Safeguard.
I said don’t blame me. Go look in the mirror, Mr. Torso. That is most certainly YOUR freakishly tall toddler.
I did it. I finally let somebody else watch Aidan and spent my first night away from him. I think most parents are nervous about the first time they leave their child with somebody else overnight. I can say with certainty, that I was not very nervous in doing it when the time finally came….it just took me an awfully long time to do it. With Aidan being early and having many health concerns in the beginning, I definitely didn’t feel right about going away for an overnight trip. Brandon has had to do some business trips away, but, of course I was here with Aidan, so this was the first night he was without us both.
My brother and sister-in-law graciously volunteered to watch him overnight on our first night in Portland over the Christmas holiday.
I really think my husband was almost in shock. I’m sure there was part of him that wondered if we’d ever get away alone together. It didn’t take him long to get online and book a beautiful dinner, towncar, and hotel down in Portland.
So, on Sunday, the 23rd, we got Aidan settled in with my brother’s family, briefed them on everything Aidan and headed out for our overnight date. We checked into the hotel and enjoyed a bottle of wine while we got ready for a nice dinner out. We watched a movie, sipped wine, talked, and all of the sudden….RELAXED. Suddenly it hit me that I was not going to be responsible to tend to Aidan if he had a nightmare or wake up with him to get him breakfast.
It felt strangely foreign. But good. I looked at my husband as we were drinking wine and realized, “Gosh I miss him.” I miss the days when sipping wine, chatting, and getting ready for an evening out was commonplace. I miss the lack of responsibility. I think it goes without saying, that we ADORE our son and we love spending time with him.
But having a child puts your relationship a bit on the back burner. I think most responsible, loving parents do this. And most of the time I really don’t mind. But occasionally I realize that sometimes I miss who I was. To say that becoming a parent does not change who you are is foolish. It has changed a lot. Mostly for the better. And I admit that I feel a twinge of guilt even writing this post. I caught a glimpse of a wedding photograph on our dresser a couple of days ago and wondered if we will ever feel quite that way again. My sweet husband says he is sure of it. That it is just a matter of time as Aidan becomes more independent and we do get more couple time back. What I do know when I look at this picture is that I still love the man in the picture just as much. But that I need to work on loving myself as much as I did back then. I was confident in who I was. I still had my innocence in a way. Sure I was 30 and had a successful career, and had experienced a lot of life. But still innocent. Innocent to how truly heartwrenching and painful life can be. The problematic pregnancy and Aidan’s prematurity have stripped that innocence away.
I want that girl back. And I am going to get her back. It means really grasping that against all odds our 2 year old boy is happy and healthy. It means finding more opportunities to do things that fall outside the scope of being Lori the mom and Lori the wife. Getting together with friends more. And definitely finding some more opportunities to slip away for a night with my husband again. In so many ways I didn’t want our night to end. For a few precious hours, I felt the stress and worry of the last 2 years slip away.
For those of you wondering about the picture than made me melancholy. Here it is. It was a shot that we didn’t know the photographer was taking. We had just come into our reception after having been on a horse and carriage ride from our ceremony. We look desperately in love and like we don’t have a care in the world. I treasure this picture. It reminds me why I married my husband and makes me aspire to get back there.
We went to my brother and SIL’s house for Christmas. Our trip was delayed a day by a minor complication with my LASIK procedure, but I am happy to report my eyes are just fine and feel back to normal…except that I can SEE!
Aidan dearly loves spending time with his cousins and this trip was no exception. He mentions them to me at least once a day since we have been back. We had lots of great finger foods on Christmas Eve and a lot of people over at my brother’s house. The kids opened most of their gifts, but Aidan was still at the age where the paper and boxes were often more exciting than the gifts themselves.
Christmas morning was more of a hit with him enjoying Christmas goodies, really loving his stocking stuffers, and deciding Santa was cool for bringing a dumptruck and frontloader.
I imagine that next year will be a hoot since most kids really start to put the whole Christmas thing together around 3 or so. We had a wonderful time and I am very thankful for my brother’s family helping to make this a special Christmas for Aidan.