Saturday, December 31, 2011

Road to Recovery

Addy is still working her way toward full recovery from whatever this nasty cold is that she's had.  Her constant sharing of all things visible and invisible has, of course, included sharing her germs so both Mommy and Daddy can now fully appreciate just how miserable she has been over the past 10 days or so.  At least Addy is getting better!  She's even perkier than she was yesterday and has been eating a whole lot better today than she has pretty much since she started getting sick.

Other than being sick, Addy's hair is finally long enough for ponytails and pigtails.  So super duper cute!

PigtailsPebblesPigtails 2

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Forward Progress

Addy is way perkier today than she has been. She's still super congested and having an extra gaggy day, but it's a definite improvement over yesterday. Whether it's the nebulizer or just the normal progression for this virus, I don't know. All I know is she's getting better.

In other exciting news, Addy was sitting on my lap tonight while I was eating a bowl of baked apples for dessert. She kept leaning over, reaching to get at my food, so eventually I took one of the apple slices and offered her a bite. She nibbled a little piece off and chewed and chewed until she finally swallowed it down, at which point she opened her mouth and leaned forward toward my hand to get another nibble. It took about 20 minutes and she had one small gag threat, but she managed to eat about half the apple slice. Yay!

The Weapons In My Battle With The Barf

I am determined to come out victorious against the hyper-sensitive gag, so I am working on acquiring some tools to assist in that endeavor. In order of likelihood that you have them in your kitchen, my arsenal so far consists of:
* Knife and cutting board: so far, not very useful. But I keep hoping there will come a day where all Addy needs is for her food to be chopped up into bite-sized pieces!
* Mesh strainer: the tool of last resort when I can't deal with trying to feed her one more gaggy bite. The goal is to not use this any more (not for this purpos at least).
* Food processor ("full size" and mini): not really my favorite tools for this stage of the game, though both are certainly useful outside the realm of baby food. By the time things have been chopped small enough, we have purée and not textured food.
* Leftover plastic baby food containers: reduce, reuse, and recycle. They're already the right size for portioning home-made (or at least home-mushed) baby food, and they go into the freezer with no worries.
* Potato ricer: it's quick, it's easy, it goes in the dishwasher and generally comes out clean, it's a good size for mushing up a toddler-sized portion of food for one meal, and it does a descent job of mushing up the food while sifting out some of the extra big offending textures. But it only makes one texture, so I'm thinking its days may be numbered. (If you've never seen one before, a potato ricer is basically a gigantic garlic press.)
* Food mill: it's so old school it's almost cool again. Almost. A pain in the neck to truly get clean some times (food gets caught in the grinding disks really easily) and really too much tool for dealing with a single meal's worth of food, it actually does the best job of achieving texture like the OT would like, and has three grind sizes to choose from. It's also a great tool for making up a big batch of baby food to put up in the freezer. It is, however, more likely than the ricer to be garage-saled in a couple of years. I just have no desire to ever make home-made apple sauce or tomato sauce again, but heavenly whipped potatoes are definitely going to be served again!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Doing Something Feels More Productive Than Just Sitting Around

Took Addy to the doctor this morning; apparently her cough is slightly concerning, but her extra-hyper extra-sensitive extra-gaggy reflex is just going to have to be lived with. On the up (?) side, we now have a nebulizer to address the slight breathing problems caused by the gunk in her chest. It does seem to be helping, but ask me again at midnight when we have to get Miss Sunshine up for one of her treatments.

Merry Christmas

Merry second Christmas, Addy! She had a mostly good Christmas--still not quite a present-opening fiend, but definitely interested in playing with her new loot once someone else has removed the pesky wrapping paper. Poor thing still has a yucky cold and is having a lot of issues with post-nasal drip that tickles her (apparently many) throw-up spots. Made for a less relaxing visit with Grandma and Grandpa Gottlieb, though I'm not sure they noticed.

Now, 3 days after Christmas, Addy's cold has moved from runny nose to yucky cough. We're still having fun with the extra yucks it's causing. Unfortunately pediatricians generally don't want to treat a cold in a youngster; just let their little immune systems do their thing and spare them the what-ever-down-side-there-is-to-sleeping-through-the-night-and-also-not-having-a-coughing-fit-that-causes-the-kid-to-throw-up-several-times-per-day. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to over medicate my kid and put her at future risk for developing asthma or ADHD or whatever else is linked to tots who take cough syrup. But I think I'll be calling the pediatrician later this morning to ask for an exception in this case.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not-so-imaginary items

Poor Addy has had a cold yesterday and today and is a complete and total snot monster. She was sitting on Miss Cindy's lap this morning, getting her shoes on, when she turned around to try to hand Miss Cindy something invisible. Only, it turned out that what she was trying to share wasn't just a figment of her imagination. It was a fist full of snot. So! Gross!

Tomorrow we get to start giving Addy some Prilosec to see if addressing the acid reflux that I'm pretty sure she has will also address her gag reflex. It was such a nightmare trying to get the prescription filled that I'm really hoping it will work miracles. (We're using an uncommon powdered formulation that is normally given to patients with an NG tube, since I'm concerned that an ODT will only exacerbate the gag reflex instead of help resolve it. But because it's super unusual, it's also on the insurance company's "Deny claim" watch list, so we had to get a pre-authorization form submitted. Like I said: "nightmare.")

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Addy has reached the "sharing" developmental milestone, where she hands us toys (or crackers). If she's in her stander, she'll hand us toys out of her basket, one by one, until she gets it all emptied out. Then she'll hand us invisible things, using the most perfect, pinkie-out, thimb-and-index-finger-pincher grasp you've ever seen. So cute!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First sentence

I've mentioned how Addy only likes to say "Mama" and "Dada" when we aren't around. She's also a big fan of being done with things (like meal time). So I've been teaching her about "gone," too (as in, "Look, Addy, you ate all your food and now it's all gone!"). Today she told her nanny "Mama?" Miss Cindy replied, "Mama's at work." Addy responded "Mama gone," and pointed upstairs where my office is. Oh, the daughter guilt is starting way earlier than I had thought it would!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Addy managed to catch Merry Cat this evening with her stander:
Addy + stander vs Merry

Eventually the cat will learn to run away when Addy points the stander in her direction!

In other Addy news, she tried a new flavor of baby food today: Sprout's Creamy Chicken and Veggies (I think that was the name of it). It smelled delicious but it had waaaaaaaaay too much texture going on there. It's actually the second one of Sprout's stage 3 foods that we've tried, and I have to say, their decision to use what seems like jerky instead of actual, tender chunks of meat is quite disappointing. It may be organic, but it's really kind of a gritty texture in the food.

Anyway, to try to make it more palatable for Addy, I poured it out on the cutting board and tried to chop up the chunky bits as much as I could with a knife. That wasn't smooth enough for the Red-Headed Wonder, so we tried adding it to some tay-tohs just to spread out the texture. Nothin' doin'. So we gave up at lunch time and put the leftovers in the fridge (she polished off a container of smooth, but somewhat gelatinous chicken and noodle dinner instead).

At dinner time, I tried putting the leftovers in the mini food processor to chop it up even more finely, but even that wasn't enough to convince Addy that we weren't trying to choke her with her dinner. The only thing left was to actually strain the stuff through a mesh strainer and try to remove all of the good, chunky stuff. She still wasn't really impressed, but at least she mostly stopped gagging. She does fine with food that's thickened with cereal and she does fine with food that has wheat germ "sprinkles" added to it and she does find with food that is both thickened and "sprinkled," but do not try to give the girl dried out meat chunks in her food. Can you really blame her?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hot (pink) pants

Addy has a new pair of therapy shorts now:
Hot (pink) pants

These ones are made out of neoprene. They help to keep her hips in alignment, while still allowing her legs to move independently. No, I didn't make these ones. (Didn't you read the part about how they're made out of neoprene?)

Monday, December 5, 2011

AFOs v1.1

We took Addy (and, more importantly, her AFOs) to Nashville today to see about revising/returning the braces so that we can make sure they're really giving her the maximum benefit possible. I was a total weanie and just let the orthotist revise them this time. We'll be back in Nashville for SB clinic in a month anyway, so we'll take more drastic action at that time if we need to. On the up side, the braces do fit much better inside Addy's shoes now and I think her heel will stay in place better after the make-over they got this afternoon. And because of the way the orthotist took care of the extra bulk around the ankles, he was able to reverse the plantar flexion (toe pointing) in the right brace. Here's hoping this lasts a while longer this time!
AFOs v1.1AFOs v1.1

Also on a super positive note, Addy ate the best lunch I've seen her eat yet: a whole container of "chicken and rice dinner" plus an entire pouch of "spinach mango pear purée" with cereal (it looks like pesto, but mostly tastes like mangos and pears; Addy loves it) and about 2 oz of milk. But no crackers. She managed to eat about 6 Ritz crackers today between breakfast, a snack in the car and a snack at the orthotist's office. So when I offered her another one for lunch she gave me this look that said "Seriously? More Ritz crackers? They're good but they aren't that good." We switched to puffs for dinner.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finished before she's even started some times

Addy has a new favorite word: done. Diaper changes are done before the clean diaper is velcroed in place. Meals are done as soon as the appetizer course (cracker) is gone, never mind the entire bowl of tay-tohs and turkey that still needs to be eaten. And books are done before they've even been opened. It was cute at first, but we're starting to question that whole "let's teach our kid to speak" thing that we've been working on :)

Speaking of meal time, Addy is continuing to make forward progress with resolving her gag reflex, though we still have quite a ways to go before I'll call it finished. The most surprising thing to me is the very strong correlation between her being just a little bit constipated and her having an extra sensitive gag reflex. It makes sense--I don't care what you're full of, if you're full, you probably don't feel like eating--but the extent of it boggles my mind. On a less poop-related note, Addy has a new-found love of graham crackers and is almost a pro at taking an entire cracker and nibbling it down to nothing using little bite-bites all by herself. Those new top chompers of hers are definitely coming in handy with that!

Finally, all of Addy's time in the stander has strengthened not only her legs but also her upper body as well. She is lightening fast at crawling around the corner of the couch so she can play hide-and-seek with us!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Butterflies flutter by

Addy's AFOs are really cute and they seemed to help with keeping her ankles stable while she works on standing. I had some trouble finding shoes to fit over the braces, so I was glad to have Addy's PT appointment this morning so the therapist could give me some pointers on what to try next. Apparently the best thing is going to be to start over. Grumble, grumble. Shoes will never fit right due to all of the bulk around the ankle and the right AFO has too much "toe pointing" to it. The therapist also recommended getting a 2-piece brace that can be used for both floor play and standing. I guess as long as we're starting over, we might as well start all the way over.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner

We've been enjoying a visit with Aunt Katie, who arrived this afternoon. Since she came today, we decided to hold off and do our Thanksgiving dinner tonight. (Yesterday was a very pleasantly lazy day of eating veggie soup made from stuff I found in the pantry/freezer, and spaghetti with meatballs, also made from stuff I found in the pantry/freezer.) But tonight we feast! Italian turkey breast roll, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pie. Mmmmmmm. Hopefully next year Addy will have enough of her gag reflex resolved to try some of the yummies!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Addy is thankful for "tens" today. She had used her jazz hands made-up sign for puffs during breakfast earlier this week, so I got out the puffs and started counting them out on her highchair tray: "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. You have 10 puffs on your tray, Addy." She replied by nodding her head yes and said, "ten." Since then, she sometimes says "ten" while she uses her puff sign. It's actually very helpful because the meaning of the sign seems to have morphed from puffs specifically to any-old finger food.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Presents and ice cream

Derek had been out of town for several days at a conference, but got back just in time for celebrating Addy's birthday. Yay! Apparently Addy missed her daddy a lot because after dinner and a Skype chat with Aunties Katie and Rachel, she snuggled up on his lap and fell asleep for the night. So ice cream and presents had to wait until today.

We did presents this morning:
Ooh, Ball! Ball! Ball!Basketball hoop

I'm hoping that now that she's getting pretty good at using her wheels, Addy will have some fun shooting hoops with her new basketball hoop and balls while she's in her stander.

We (okay, I) decided that cake might be a little more texture than Miss Sunshine could handle--she gagged on a small bite of angel food cake not that long ago--so we opted for chocolate ice cream instead. And since you only have chocolate ice cream to celebrate your first birthday once, we went ahead and had dessert first tonight at dinner. It turns out that ice cream is very very cold, and not very easy to pick up with your fingers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthday Girl!

Happy birthday, Addy!  It's hard to believe it's been a whole year already!

1st birthday

Monday, November 14, 2011

Second day of "school"

Play group went better today, but it's still not real high up on Addy's list if "Favorite Things To Do." Using her stander and wearing her butterflies (AFOs), on the other hand, seem to still be quite enjoyable.

In other Addy news, she seems to have made up her own sign for "I would like some (more) puffs, please." (I might not have the exact translation quite right.) It looks very similar to the sign for "more," but with her hands open and just her thumbs tapping together. Now I wonder what else she's been trying to say!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What's that Imelda? There's no such thing as too many shoes?

I found some shoes at Payless this morning that will kind of work with the AFO's. The selection was pretty weak--we got the smallest high-top, wide, non-masculin, toddler-sized shoes they had--so I'm going to keep my eyes out for some less institutional-looking ones that preferably have Velcro instead of laces. And in a perfect world they would actually be more like a 2T instead of a 4T.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Addy's AFOs

We went and picked up Addy's AFOs today.
Addy's AFOsAddy's AFOs (side view)

In general she needs to wear them inside of shoes, but they're too wide to fit any of the shoes she already has, so tomorrow we're going to find a pair of kid-sized, wide-width shoes.  She did get to wear them the whole way home from Nashville.  She slept most of the way home, though, so I don't really know what Addy thinks of them.
Addy's AFOs

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not sure about old dogs, but you can definitely teach Addy some new tricks

  • If you ask her "How big is Addy?" she puts both hands up over her head.  Then she grabs her hair, but she does the "So big" part just perfectly.
  • High 5.
  • If you ask her "Where is Addy?" she'll pat herself on the chest.
  • Lots of words (usually with the correct meaning): cup, cat, book, door, Mama, Dada, call, phone, car, go, bob-bob (bottle), dipe-dipe (diaper).  Mama and Dada are special words, though, because she only says them when we aren't in the room and she's looking for us.  She also says "oooh-eeee" as an exclamation.  Yes, it's even cuter than you're imagining.
  • Nodding yes and no.
  • I've been trying to do simple signs with her to help with her gag reflex.  My theory is that she has some anxiety because she isn't sure what we're trying to stuff in her mouth, she isn't ready for more food yet, she's full, etc.  I mostly use ready, eat, cup, drink, mommy, daddy, more, apple, and all done.  Which ones has she picked up on?  "All done" and occasionally "more."

Monday, November 7, 2011

First day of "school"

Addy went to her first play group this morning. It's a drop-off deal and it went about as well as I expected, though I was pleasantly surprised that I did not get a call saying "Please come collect your child. She cried so hard she barfed." I'm sure she'll like it more as she keeps going, but this time I got a very, very sad earful the whole way home.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Combination ninga and penguin

The pattern for the penguin costume included a little body suit, which I did make almost completely per the instructions. (Someone really should have actually tried the instructions before they printed them. There's no way my sewing machine was going to deal with the wrist cuffs the way they wanted.)

Flying Tiger Punch GO!

While an awesome ninja costume, it is really a poor design for an infant/toddler sized outfit because the stupid thing has hook-and-loop fastener up the back. How exactly are you supposed to change a diaper with an outfit that fastens up the back? Fortunately, we have black yoga pants and a t-shirt.

In only slightly related news, Miss Sunshine seems to finally be cutting her 3rd tooth (top right for those in charge of the office pool).

Addy's teething face

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" Update (10-30)

I spent Friday in Birmingham at a Spina Bifida conference. I learned a lot and re-learned quite a bit, but I just wish I hadn't been coming down with a sinus infection. Not the end of the world, and at least I have a big ol' binder with the presenters' slides and some articles that I can go back to later.

I finished up the penguin costume yesterday morning (no thanks to the big, freaking "Q"; I'd forgotten how much that stuff makes the universe turn fuzzy). I know I'm biased, but I have to say I think Addy's going to be the cutest penguin ever tomorrow for Halloween! Now I just have to convince her to leave the hat on and not try to eat it...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gimme an "A", gimme an "F", gimme an "O"

Addy had another set of clinic appointments at Vandy yesterday; she got great reports from all the doctors and therapists that she saw this time. We didn't end up going to the zoo like we had thought about doing--there just wasn't enough time in the morning to get a good visit with the animals and get everyone lunch and get all the diapers changed and get back across town in time for the appointments. We'll just have to do that next time.

The big thing we wanted to make sure to ask about at this clinic visit was to see if the orthopedist thought that AFOs (ankle foot orthotics, a.k.a., ankle braces) would be a good idea. We ended up with not just a prescription for the AFOs, but actually got the casts made while we were there. They should be ready in a couple of weeks--yay! They should help keep Addy's legs extra stable while she's in her stander, which will help make sure she has good posture and develops the strength in both her legs.

AND we got the big, tall wheels for the stander last night, too. Addy is still figuring them out, but she'll be a pro in no time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" Update (10-22)

Today was footies day in Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever." The pattern came with the pieces and instructions for footies for the penguin (a.k.a., duck in formal wear).

Foot pattern pieces (original)

Yesterday when I started pinning the pieces to the fabric, I realized that I couldn't find the instructions for how to actually make the footies. And since I was planning on modifying the footies so that they would sit on top of shoes instead of going all the way around shoes, I was kind of hoping to have the instructions so I could figure out where I was starting from and how to get from there to where I wanted to end up.

In a random fit of inspiration, I remembered where I had put the instructions. Away. I had put the instructions away. So I pulled them out. Then I read them. Then I scratched my head. Say what? These pieces do what? And make what? These are going to be enormous! Why is this so complicated? Ugh.

Well, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot and follow the instructions as-is (but still without the sole on the bottom of the footie). Fortunately, I had 2 things going for me: 1) I only cut out the pieces for 1 footie this time, and 2) I had bought LOTS of extra fabric. Sure enough, the footie was big, bad, and bulky and looked like it might try to eat Addy's shoe if I left it unsupervised.

Completed footie (original)

Ugh. Yuck. NOT CUTE! First off, it is, in fact, enormous. Gigantic, even. Second off, apparently the sole on the footie was a key structural element because that thing is just a big, orange, web-toed blob. Again I say: Ugh. Yuck. NOT CUTE!

Okay, I can do this. Start with the shoe. Use the shoe to come up with a dainty little slipper pattern. Then figure out how to get the penguin toes added on. Okay, but I'm not really wanting a slipper per se. I just want something that looks like an aquatic bird's foot and will fit over Addy's shoes, all while being more "bootie" than "sole-less moon boot." Here's what I came up with:

Revised pattern piece

Yup. That's it. One piece. Way easier than the 3 piece monstrous robo-footie from the original pattern. It definitely appeals to my sense of streamlined, simplicity. But did it work? Well, I happen to think so, but you can decide for yourself:

Finished footie (revised)

Standing is hard work

Addy has been using her stander every day since we got it. She's supposed to do no more than 30 minutes at a time and aim for a total of 60 throughout the day. So far we've gotten all 60 minutes in each day (we do 15-20 minute sessions for now). It seems to be quite a workout for Addy because she is definitely eating and sleeping more than she did a week ago.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First impressions

Addy loves, Loves, LOVES her stander--yay! I'm really excited and feel really hopeful that she'll be able to build up the strength in both legs (especially her left one) so she can walk independently one day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stander is here!

Addy's new stander arrived around 5 this evening. It's kind of a 2 person operation getting her strapped in at this point, so we had to wait until after I got home from hand bells to really take it for a spin. Addy seems to really like it, though her belly was still a little full from dinner so she didn't stay in it for very long this time.

Just wait 'til the big tires get here and she can wheel herself around the house. Hopefully the cats will be smart enough to steer clear of her when she does!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

That goat looks a lot bigger in person

We took Addy to a petting zoo at the botanical garden this morning.  She wasn't quite as excited as I had hoped, but she didn't totally freak out either.  We're thinking about taking her to the Nashville zoo in a couple of weeks before her next Spina Bifida clinic appointment, so we were using this morning's adventure at the petting zoo as kind of a test run for that.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Taking one out for a test drive

Addy's physical therapist brought by a loaner stander so I could learn how to get the Red-Headed Wonder strapped into hers correctly once it arrives.  It's a good thing she did, because I'm not so sure I would have done it the right way on my own!

Tuesday's the big day

The stander should be here on Tuesday--hooray!  I'm just a little excited, in case you can't tell :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dinner followed by a brief musical interlude

Addy successfully ate her whole dinner tonight with only a couple of gag threats (and no follow-through barfs). Tonights menu was 1 Ritz cracker nibbled into "little bite-bites" (with a fair bit of help), about 3 oz of applesauce mixed with apple+carrot+mango hippie food, anout 1 oz of sweet potato+chicken, and about 3 oz of formula from a sippy cup. MAJOR improvement over her eating habits from a month ago.

After dinner, Addy and I sat down at the real piano to see what she might think of that. It turns out that Addy's firm belief that all books are "touch & feel" books extends to music books.

Just a typical week at the Gottlieb house

Addy had a follow-up hearing screening yesterday--she passed with flying colors (as we knew she would).  She's been scooting around the house, causing all kinds of trouble trying to get into cabinets and finding every little bit of ick that gets caught in her play rug.  Food things continue to get better, but we're still not quite at a normal diet yet.  And we're looking forward to getting her stander soon (hopefully in the next couple of weeks or so).  If you're curious, the stander looks like the one pictured here, just sized for Addy: (link).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" Update (10-4)

One fish done, one more to go:

Not surprisingly, Addy seems to like her very shiny, somewhat Dr. Seuss-esque fish:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Food is yummy, food with texture is yucky

We are still working on Addy's food texture issues.  At the recommendation of the new OT, we have tried adding new flavors and textures to some of Miss Sunshine's favorite foods.  So far:
  • cinnamon is out (burns her skin)
  • Ritz crackers have a big thumbs up (mmmmmm, salty, buttery deliciousness)
  • cracker crumbs have a big thumbs down (even crunched up Ritz crackers are not going well; something about the texture doesn't agree with Addy)
  • brown sugar is iffy (has that sand-like cracker crumb texture that she doesn't like, but it is so sweet and delicious if it's stirred into something)
  • garlic salt is interesting and improves the taste of peas (I said "improves," not "transforms them into a little green bit of Heaven on a spoon")
  • over-cooked pasta is a surprising winner, provided Mommy monitors how many pieces Addy has put in her mouth
In other therapy-related news, Addy is just starting to do some comando crawling (using her arms to pull herself forward).  It's pretty funny to watch because she uses both arms together instead of alternating right then left; she looks like she's doing "the worm."  We're also looking forward to getting a mobile stander in the near future so that Addy can work on strengthening her legs.  Watch out world, Addy's gonna be walking before you know it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" Update (9-25)

Hat: check
Body: check (well, mostly "check".  I need to add the elastic at the bottom and the hook-n-loop at the shoulders.  But it's done enough for Addy to model it for me!)
Jump suit: nada
Footies: nada
Fish: also nada

I do it myself!!

Addy really likes to drink from Mommy's water glass...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" update (9-23)

Addy is modeling the latest progress on the "Cutest Penguin Ever" costume. Still have the jumpsuit, penguin body, footies, and fish to go, but the hat is so super cute!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"C" is for "cup" (and "cup" is for everything)

Addy has a new favorite word: cup! It means "cup", "cat", "look at me, I'm being cute", "more", "cracker", "neat, I can say 'cup'", etc.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" update (9/18)

Step 1: Pattern acquisition. Status=complete.

Step 2: Fabric acquisition. Status=complete.

Step 3: Pattern modification, layout, and cutting. Status=started, but not complete. I know which pieces I need to use, modified the one piece that needed it (let's face it: a duck bill would look just silly on a penguin), and which pieces get cut from each fabric. But nary a pin left my pin box this weekend, so this step is still mostly incomplete. I also figured out which steps in the instructions need to be done not-as-written. More on that when I get into it and actually determine how to do those steps.

Step 4: Costume fabrication. Status=not started.

Step 5: Fitting and adjustments. Status=not started.

Step 6: Accessories. Status=not started, but it is taking a surprising amount of self control to work on Step 3 and not jump ahead to this step! The fish are going to be freaking awesome!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Alpha cat

I'm sure this will be a common theme over the next several years, but Addy is getting so big! She's been scooting (still mostly backward), rolling over, and sitting like a total pro, and in the last couple of days has been getting really good at getting herself swapped between them with ease if still slightly lacking in grace and finesse. She's starting to show interest in going forward, too, so we just have to work on her bicep curls. (Not really, but the PT did show us how to encourage Addy to pull instead of push with her arms.)

Merry, our opinionated cat who was not really fond of Addy's arrival, seems to have decided that Addy is the new alpha cat in our house. It is almost impossible to keep her more then 5 feet from Addy, and she is surprisingly patient with the not-very-gentle love that Little Miss Sunshine shows her. The other 2 cats don't really seem to care one way or the other about Addy, but Merry is taking no chances and is trying to secure her place as #2 in the pride.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Real vinyl works even better

I had gotten a couple of yards of "athletic wear" vinyl last weekend when I was out at the fabric store. Aside from the lack of cute, girly prints, it seemed like a better permanent solution for the highchair cover problem. So far it's working out fabulously. The prints on the tablecloths were starting to fleck off and leave stains on both Addy and the highchair. Plus, the new cover should be durable enough to put in the washing machine if necessary.

In related news, I talked to the EI coordinator this morning and asked if we could please work with a different OT/ST, so that's in the works. I'm trying to approach the behavior aspect of the gagging as a communication problem (instead of boredom), so I'm trying to implement some baby sign language to help LMS communicate with us. I suspect this makes me a bigger crystal-gripping hippie than the first OT.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I need to channel Donald Trump

We're working on revising the plan for how to manage and minimize Addy's gagging/vomiting. I feel like it would be best if we discontinue working with this particular OT and either Mommy will get an OT degree this year or we will find someone who is a better fit with our family. This whole teaching Addy that dinner time is play time and that the goal is not to eat but to make as big a mess as possible thing has done more harm than good in my opinion, not to mention the shocking decrease in food intake, which is causing all kinds of problems in terms of both bowel maintenance and general well-being. And as scary as it is, I'm pretty sure that Addy is starting to use the whole "don't make eye-contact if they're doing things you don't like" trick on us.

In other news, Miss Sunshine seems to be cutting another tooth or 2 this week. Maybe by Halloween they'll be pushed through enough to show up in pictures!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Operation "Cutest Penguin Ever" update

Step 1: Pattern acquisition. Status=complete (link). We're starting with the duck pattern, and adjusting from there.

Step 2: Fabric acquisition. Status=complete. Battled my way through the crowd of crafting crazies who decided that a little bit of rain wasn't going to keep them at home this afternoon.

Step 3: Pattern modification, layout, and cutting. Status=not started. This is always my least favorite step...

Step 4: Costume fabrication. Status=not started.

Step 5: Fitting and adjustments. Status=not started.

Step 6: Accessories. Status=not started. What self-respecting penguin leaves home without at least a couple of fish and a Trick-or-Treat bag?

Pesky organic hippies

Addy had her first ever round of hives yesterday, followed by a second small round this morning. Both times they appeared right after experiencing food. Yesterday's rash was discovered while cleaning up the aftermath of using a spoon to explore the back of her throat, so I suspected it might be a stress-triggered reaction, but based on this morning's face-only-and-barf-free rash, I think we've narrowed down the real source: the delicious, organic, patented mix of 6 probiotics, made with real hippies yogurt seems to be giving the red-headed wonder contact dermatitis. Dislike!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Halloween costume

Addy's Halloween costume for this year is going to be Cutest Penguin Ever. (Actually, that was going to be her costume regardless of the poll results.) Now Mommy just needs to get to the fabric store in that brief window between food experiences...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cold or allergies--what's the difference really?

Addy either has a summer cold or allergies right now. Whatever it is, she's still mostly pleasant, but her nose goblins have almost balanced out all of her cuteness.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good yogurt is good

It turns out that what Addy didn't like about the yogurt on Saturday was that the fake peach flavor was yucky. Organic, whole milk, vanilla flavored yogurt, however, is quite tasty.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What vinyl table cloth?

With all of Addy's "experiences" lately, I decided we needed a highchair cover that could be scrubbed clean without the use of a washing machine.  1 vinyl table cloth and a couple of hours later and we now have a spare cover for ground zero.  (Which bring up the philosophical question: is it really a spare if it's now the primary one?)

Unfortunately, we were able to prove its cleanability this evening when Addy experienced yogurt.  (Yogurt was part of item 4 of the great "Un-Yack Addy Project."  It is now part of the "Things To Only Feed Addy If Syrup Of Ipecac Is Needed And Not Available" list.)  The seat cover proved quite durably cleanable.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The puke post

Disclaimer: This post is about puke. Not dainty little baby spit-up. No.  I'm talking about barf, vomit, up-chuck, throw-up. I will also briefly mention poop, but there's no lengthy discussion of it. It's mostly about puke. If you have any sensitivity to these perfectly natural, normal biological functions, then I suggest you move on to a different post.  Consider yourself fully warned.

Addy has always had what we called a "hair trigger gag reflex." It's actually pretty common for people who have central nervous system issues, such as the spina bifida that Addy has. It's always been kind of an annoying, but mostly livable, part of life at our house. Perhaps you'll recall the month that Addy spent wearing socks on her hands instead of her feet.

A couple of months ago, we started giving puffs and Cheerios to the Red-Headed Wonder. Usually she does fine, but sometimes she doesn't quite get the cereal mushed up enough and it hits the back of her tongue just right, causing her to gag and throw-up. I had hoped that she just needed some more practice and patience and that she would work through the sensitivity on her own.

Unfortunately, she has figured out that we take puke--and it's warning signal, the gag--pretty seriously and that when there is barf, pretty much whatever else was happening is quickly stopped in favor of a bath. So if she doesn't like the flavor of the baby food du jour, or she's tired of eating, or she doesn't care for the texture of something that's in her mouth, or she's tired of being in the nursery at church, then she makes her gag noise. And sometimes she does it with a little too much gusto.  And then she barfs.

Last week, I finally decided that it wasn't getting better on it's own (and it was, in fact, getting worse) so I called Addy's Early Intervention case manager to ask for an evaluation with an occupational therapist to see what we can do about all of the up-chuck.

The OT feels that Addy vomits because 1) she has spina bifida, 2) she has unregulated constipation, and 3) she's bored. To address these causes, we're supposed to 1) use a toothbrush to brush her lower gums, 2) feed her from the side (as in, while not facing her straight-on and by stuffing the food between her gum and her cheek), 3) not make eye-contact when she's threatening to spew, 4) aggressively manage the poop, and (my personal favorite) 5) encourage Addy to have more sensory experiences, especially during meal times and most especially by giving her a spoon to play with and by dipping her toys in her food and letting her suck on them.  Yes, give the child with a sensitive gag reflex a spoon, and then don't watch while she barfs when she sticks it down her throat.

This is what happens when a 9-month old "experiences" sweet potatoes:

And this is what happens when a 9-month old "experiences" prunes mixed with pears:
Note the spoon and pile of toys on the floor.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit to adding the war paint stripe across her forehead.  The rest of the art work is an Addy original.

This whole thing is driving me crazy.  Why?  Because, for one thing everything within about a 50 foot radius of Addy--INCLUDING THE CAT--has to be thoroughly scrubbed after she has "experienced" her food.  For another thing, Addy spends the whole time sucking on the toy that was dipped in food instead of eating from the spoon.  It now takes more than an hour to feed her what used to take 25-30 minutes.  Add to that the hour of clean-up that's now required post-"experience," and you're looking at more than 2 hours spent on a single meal.  By the time it's done, it's time to start over with the next one.

I remain skeptical that this will accomplish anything other than perhaps sending me to a psychiatric facility.  I guess if it helps with the barf then maybe it will be worth it.  Maybe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The X-axis is just as exciting as the Z-axis

Addy has started clapping! She has been doing "gimme 5" type claps on our hands for a while now, but in the past couple of days she has started clapping her own hands together. Yay!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Destined for management

Addy has always had the slightly disturbing ability to sleep with her eyes cracked open--you know, so she can keep track of what all is going on, even when she's not actually conscious. I just wish she would pick a sleep phase other than REM to do it.

She's been doing a lot of practice crawling over the past couple of days. It's still mostly going backwards, but she'll get forward figured out once it's no longer interesting just to be moving. She's also doing a lot more rolling over, including from back to front. For some reason she hasn't figure out that if she keeps rolling over, she could cover quite a bit of ground. (I would give her about another 3 days on that one; she's kind of scary smart some times.) This weekend should probably be "put the safety locks on all the cabinets" weekend...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Telling time

Addy's internal clock seems to be set about 10-15 minutes fast. Exhibit 1: She knows that I get off work at 4:15, so at about 4:05, she starts calling "Mamamama!" Exhibit 2: Yesterday Addy had PT at 9:00, so I had planned to get her up a little earlier than usual so that she would take her morning nap a little earlier than usual, so she would be awake and ready for therapy. The alarm was set for 5:45. Addy woke me up at 5:30.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I still don't like FaceBook

I joined the rest of the lemmings at the bottom og the FaceBook cliff this week. I still maintain that FB is mostly evil, but it's a point of contact for entirely too many people. Those of you who think that FB has the ability to change the laws of time--and you know who you are--will just have to live with your disappointment. When I have time and a story worth sharing, I will post it here. Why? Here is where the comments are turned off and here is where you don't need a FB account to read about the red-headed wonder.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is this thing you keep calling "gentle"?

I am so ready for Addy to understand the concept of not yanking on my hair when she has it wrapped around her fingers. I'm pretty sure the cats agree with me on this, too.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Little Mermaid

Addy has a pair of "shorts" that I refer to as her "funny therapy shorts" because they're mostly for her physical therapy work. (They're homemade "Hip Helpers"--basically bike shorts with the legs sewn together to help with Addy's extremely loose hips.) Lately the shorts haven't been working as well because the legs kind of ride up, and her loose hips just aren't kept in check like they're supposed to. So Mommy the Craft Diva made Addy some mermaid pants in the hopes that they would at least keep her knees together and help with the crawling and rolling over. Well, they work pretty awesome at keeping Addy's legs together all the way down to her ankles, but they also greatly reduce the friction between her legs and the floor, so she got herself scooted along the floor pretty well with them on. However, she finds it easier to push with her arms instead of pulling, so she went backwards across the floor this time... Our poor little mermaid will have to work on finding her way out of reverse.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I dub thee Sir Addy

We're working on helping Addy learn to kneel this week. It will help build up her thighs and trunk so she can ultimately work on walking, but it still makes me think of someone being knighted.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

If you're going to pull hair...

Addy has been in a hair-pulling mood for the past several weeks, which makes cuddling her not nearly as pleasant. The other day I was pretty fed up with having her pulling on the tiny hairs at the back of my neck, so I told her, "If you're going to pull hair, could you at least pull your own please?" About a week ago she started noticing that she does, in fact, have hair on her head, too. She doesn't seem to pull nearly as hard on her own hair as she does anyone else's (kind of like how she doesn't bite on her own fingers nearly as hard as she does ours).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

93 days and counting

I don't know why, but I have had Halloween on the brain lately. I think we've settled on what Addy's costume will be this year, but there's still plenty of time to change our minds. A pirate is tempting, given the cute snarly face that she's been making of late. I think we'll save that for next year so we can have time to teach her a few choice pirate phrases.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The opposite of "no" is "yes"

Every once in a while you can get Addy to nod her head "yes," but it's super adorable because she moves her whole body when she does it.  "No" is definitely the easier gesture to do.

She's finally getting the hang of rolling over (other than front-to-back-over-her-right-side).  Front to back over the left side is finally fun, though easier when she's wearing her funny therapy shorts that hold her legs together.  Back to front is still not exciting, but Addy is absolutely able to do it even if she isn't interested in it. 

Crawling remains a bit of a chore for her--I need to work on finding the magic motivating something that will make Addy really want to put some effort into getting it.  I thought I had a clever idea of making a burp rag with lots of little satiny tags around the edges (Addy is an expert at finding the washing instruction tag on any item she gets her sticky little fingers onto).  Then I saw one at Target for $9.99 (link).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Newest tricks

Addy's latest food adventure is rice puffs (think over-priced Cheerios (R) for the 21st century).  It's a very, very slow process, but she does manage to grab a puff, get it into her mouth, and mush it up enough to eat it.  She also does a lot of pushing the puff across her tray, passing it back and forth between her hands, dropping it on the floor (and picking it back up), and getting it into her mouth and then pushing it back out with her tongue.  But eventually it dissolves in her mouth!

Her other super cute trick is shaking her head "no."  A lot of times when you ask Addy a question she'll shake her head as a response.  I don't think she means "no" when she does it; I think she's figured out that if she shakes her head, it makes us laugh.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chomper #2

Addy now has two teeth. Maybe the poor dear will be more pleasant in a couple of days...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Favorite books

Addy's new favorite books are "Dinosaur vs. Bedtime" by Bob Shea and "Curious George at the Zoo" by H A Ray. The former involves lots of "ROAR!" sound effects. The latter is the great trifecta of Curious George, chew toy, and touch-and-feel book.

Bob Shea also has a book called "Dinosaur vs. The Potty". Too bad we're not potty training yet...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New tricks, old tricks, bad habits

The red-headed wonder is now fully weaned to formula--huzzah!  Unfortunately, that has had an unpleasant side-effect of some tummy troubles.  Fortunately, Addy loves prune juice.  We're still working on finding the right balance, but it's finally getting better.

Starting a couple of weeks ago, Addy figured out how to make a super-adorable new face.  She scrunches up her nose, squints her eyes, and makes a snorting noise.  Apparently she looks especially like me when she does this.  She has also started saying "Mamama", but mostly when I'm not in the room.  (After she says "Mamama" a few times and it fails to make me appear, she moves on to "Dadada".)

Her latest trick, which I'm not really excited about, is throwing a small fit when she doesn't get her way.  Usually it's because she wants to play with a cell phone or something and it has been taken away from her.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

If you guessed "Bottom Right Tooth", you were right!

The pesky thing seems to have finally broken through (barely).  Addy's first tooth is the lower right one!  Derek was disappointed that I didn't make "egg tooth" one of the options on the poll.  My theory was that it's a little late for Addy to finally be getting an egg tooth.

She is also officially a big fan of bananas and actively tries to help find the spoon with her mouth when we feed them to her.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roll Over Fiend

Addy is now officially a roll over master (front to back to the right only).  While entertaining and exciting, it does make it more difficult to get her to practice crawling because as soon as you put her on her tummy, she starts to flip over.

We had a very good father's day with family over the weekend.  Addy was baptized at church on Sunday and we celebrated anniversaries and birthdays while we were all together (Aunt Katie dubbed it "Happy Fill-In-The-Blank Day".

Monday, June 13, 2011

Twice in one day!

Addy rolled herself over (front to back) twice today--hooray! When she's done it in the past, it's been on accident while chasing a toy or trying to stuff her fingers in her mouth. Today it was quite purposeful.

We're also experiencing a battle of wits at our house for the past week. Just when I start to work on getting the red-headed wonder weaned to all formula, she declares that formula is gross and refuses to eat it. Spits the bottle out, just lets the formula drool all over her chin, occasionally gags--all kinds of fun and totally out of the blue. I took her to the doctor to check to make sure it's not an ear infection or anything. Nope, she's just opinionated. (Not that I can really blame her. The stuff is disgusting. You couldn't pay me enough to drink formula.). Maybe when she's done cutting this tooth she'll be more agreeable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Redefining Hand-Eye Coordination

Addy had another visit with the pediatrician yesterday.  She's an all-around 90th percentile kid at 17lb10oz and 26.5 inches.  The nurse said her head circumference is at 44.5 cm, but I get closer to 44.0 when I measure it at home (either is just fine and an improvement over where she was at before the shunt revision).

She's working on getting better at her hands-and-knees pose and putting one hand in front of the other.  My guess is she'll "army crawl" before she does a four-point crawl, but it's exciting anyway.  Addy's latest favorite thing to do is to grab and poke at your face.  Apparently she thinks that hand-eye-coordination means coordinating her hand to find your eyes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tummy time, v.2.0

Addy is working on practicing her "four-point" stance this week. This morning she was on her hands and knees on her mat, with Miss Cindy's hand helping to support her tummy, but she got too excited about grabbing a toy in front of her and reached with both hands. Fortunately Cindy kept Addy from learning about gravity the hard way.

Yesterday was the first real day of doing repeated consonants--mostly "bababa," but there is also the occasional "dadada" or "mamama" too. Before now Addy has mostly just done random jibber-jabbers and lots of raspberries.

And lastly, Addy is starting to dabble in that really annoying phase of baby-dom: "I do it." This week it's been a lot of helping hold the bottle. Only, because she's teething, she likes to push and pull the bottle along her gums.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ferocious Teething

Chompers, oh chompers wherefore art though, chompers? 

Poor Addy is still teething and has developed a somewhat terrifying technique that we have dubbed "the veloceraptor."  She puts her hands together, brings her fists toward her mouth, and shakes her head vigorously.  I think she's rubbing her knuckles on her gums, but it's still pretty ferocious looking.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some things were not really meant to be chewed on

Addy's teeth (a.k.a. "chompers") still have not made their appearance, so she vigorously chews on absolutely everything she can get her sticky little hands on.  Favorite chewies include teething toys, shirts (hers and ours), rattles, etc.  Apparently cardboard baby books have the mouth feel and flavor of, well, cardboard.  And she also discovered that, while interesting to look at, her hairbrush is not actually very tasty.  After she put it in her mouth last night, she gave me this very disappointed look that said, "Gross.  Mom, why did you let me put that in my mouth?" 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Addy Gets the Giggles

Thanks to Erin for being quick with the iPhone and thanks to BJ for getting Addy's giggles going!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Splish Splash

This week Addy has started splashing in the water during bath time.  It is fabulously messy.

We have also added peas to the list of things Addy likes to eat.  Tomorrow we might try bananas!

Friday, May 13, 2011

3 out of 3 cats agree: baby food chicken is gross

We've been working our way through several different kinds of honest-to-goodness baby food lately.  So far, Addy is a big fan of both squash and carrots, but didn't care for the pureed chicken that I made her try.  She disliked it so much that she actually threw up all over the both of us in the process of trying to spit it out.  I smelled the chicken before I tried to give it to her.  It smelled kind of like chicken, but not like anything I'd want to eat.  Not rancid or anything, just not very appetizing.  And the texture was just so wrong; meat should not come in paste form. 

After Addy made known her opinion of the stuff, I figured it wasn't worth trying to give it to her again so I tried to feed it to the cats.  They didn't want to eat it either.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Two socks on one foot

She's been doing good (knock on wood!) about not getting her fingers down her throat, so we haven't been putting socks on Addy's hands for the past several days.  She has been chewing on her thumb a TON lately and has been super drooly, so I'm thinking we have teeth in our future.

Today we went to visit the physical therapist to get a splint made for her left ankle to help hold it in the correct position.  Her ankle turns in pretty severely and we've been working on getting it stretched out so that it will go to a normal, neutral position, but it snaps back to the turned in position as soon as you let it go.  The splint itself is made out of something called "aquaplast," which is rigid at room temperature, but becomes malleable when placed in a hot water bath.  She's starting with wearing it for 30 minutes at a time today and we're supposed to work her up to wearing it for 6-8 hours per day.  Once we're up to wearing it that long, we're supposed to try wearing it at night so that it doesn't interfere with the toe sucking that she's supposed to be doing.  She needs to wear a sock under the splint so that it doesn't rub directly on her skin, and then we may have to add a second sock over the split to keep her from pulling on the velcro straps.  Yes, sometimes my child wears socks on her hands, and sometimes she wears a pair both on the same foot.

In other Addy news, she's been doing really good with eating the rice cereal.  Tonight I mixed it with some pear juice, just to spice things up a bit.  Soon we'll be trying out real baby food.  Oh the mess we will make!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mmmmm... Coffee

We survived the record-breaking tornadoes from last week completely unscathed.  The only thing we lost was the contents of our refrigerator due to the power outage and we're very thankful for that!  Our house now has power restored (a little earlier than we'd expected) and we're all glad to be done living like domesticated cavemen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yes, there's a Star Trek convention on the bus

Addy did just fine the rest of last week, so we went ahead with our plans to go visit family in IL for Easter.  We split the trip up so we took 2 days going up and 2 days coming back.  Addy seems to have about a 150-200 mile per day tolerance for being in her car seat, which can be stretched by another 50-100 miles if someone sits in the back seat and entertains her.  We did pretty well at coming up with an hour and a half of entertainment, but we had to get a little creative and make up our own verses to "The Wheels on the Bus."  My bus always ends up with an entire zoo's worth of critters on it (the ducks on the bus go "quack, quack, quack"...) but Daddy's bus had various Star Trek critters on it (the captain on the bus says, "warp speed!"...)

Speaking of silly songs to sing to your 5 month old, we're also fans of the "Throw 'em Out the Window" song (a.k.a., "The Defenestration Song").  So far, my favorite extra verse is:
Lizzy Borden took an axe
And gave her father 40 whacks
When she saw what she had done
She threw him out the window
The window, the window, the second story window
When she saw what she had done
She threw him out the window

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A first we'd hoped to put off for a while

This weekend and Monday morning Addy had some fluid build up around the scar on her scalp, but none of the other usual symptoms for shunt problems (inconsolable, extra sleepy, lots of nausea, fever, bulging soft spot, neurologic problems, etc).  When I asked the neurosurgeon's nurse what we should do about it, she said to go to the ER to get it checked out.  It sounds all big and scary to say that you have to go to the ER, but it's the most expedient way to get some X-rays and a CT scan.  So we had our first adventure at the local ER on Monday afternoon.  They couldn't find where the fluid was coming from and it was mostly gone by the time the neurosurgeon's nurse finally called me back, so for now we're supposed to keep an eye on things (go back to the ER if she gets worse or there are more symptoms) and get an appointment to see the neurosurgeon in a couple of weeks for a follow-up.

Yesterday her shunt was almost completely back to normal.  She was a little fussy (and insatiably hungry), but I think that may be teething  (and normal).  Today she's back to her old, happy, jabbery self and the shunt is back to normal again.

Monday, April 18, 2011


  • "Running out of cute" : Getting fussy, usually assumed to be due to hunger.
  • "Topping off the cute", "Refilling the cute" : Feeding.
  • "Noms" : Food (usually milk).
  • "In need of fresh rose petals" : In need of a diaper change.
  • "Rule #1 infraction" : Sticking one's fingers down one's throat.
  • "Rule #2 infraction" : Misbehaving while nursing.
  • "Marinade" : Barf (n), soaked in barf (v).
  • "Giggle loop" : A reference to the TV show "Coupling" (the British version, please).  One person giggles, which makes the other person giggle, which makes the first person giggle, which makes the second person giggle, etc.
  • "Nose goblins" : Boogers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lots of new things

New update from SB clinic:  shunt revision looks great; bladder pressure is great; no more antibiotics!
New favorite word:  "vvvthmmmmm" (make sure you're sticking your tongue out when you try to say it)
New favorite trick:  blowing bubbles and the occasional raspberry, especially if she has a mouth full of cereal
New least favorite trick:  rolling over front-to-back (she has to do tummy time first)
New cutest thing ever:  cracks up laughing if you make explosion noises at her

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lots to say, but I'm not sure what it all means

Yesterday we had a fun (and hot and sweaty) time at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens with Aunties Martha and Phyllis who came by for a visit.  After a leisurely stroll through the gardens we stopped for gelato, where Addy entertained us with her longest string of babbling yet.  I don't know what all she was saying, but she would fuss at Derek every time he tried to look away and carry on a conversation with someone else!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

75 + 90 = 100% cute

Addy had her 4  month check-up with the pediatrician on Monday.  She's at 90th percentile on weight (15lb 3oz) and 75th on height (24.5 inches)--a slightly pudgy baby.  The best news is that her head circumference hasn't gone up since the shunt revision so she's down to 95th percentile on that!

She's been doing a lot of laughing and giggling lately, which is just adorable.  But she's back to wearing socks on her hands (and not on her feet) because it's just too exciting to discover what the back of her throat feels like.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cereal is messy

We've tried baby rice cereal a couple of times now.  So far it's mostly messy (and time consuming!) and, while it doesn't seem to be Addy's favorite thing, it's not the most torturous thing for her to endure either.  The first time we tried cereal I mixed it up per the instructions: 1 tbs of cereal to 4-5 tbs of milk.  That's about 1/4 cup of liquid to try to spoon feed to a wiggly, fist-sucking 4 month old.  So the second time I wised up and used teaspoons instead of tablespoons.

Speaking of things that go into Addy's mouth, she seems to have slowed down some on the sticking-her-fingers-down-her-throat trick so we have reduced mitten time to diaper changes and car rides.  She still puts one (or both) hands in her mouth all the time, but the part where she extends her pointer finger has slowed down (knock on wood!).  And now that the weather is warmer, sundresses are her favorite thing to wear because she can grab on to the end of it and stick it in her mouth.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Socks: They're Not Just For Feet Anymore

Addy now has several pairs of "mittens" (a.k.a., "socks") because we're all tired of cleaning up vomit.  Today is the first day of wearing them and so far they're doing a good job of keeping her fingers out of the back of her throat, but we'll see how mad they make her.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hand, hand, finger, thumb

Hands have become Addy's obsession lately.  Hers, yours, doesn't matter.  Hands are fascinating.  And tasty.  She always has one hand in her mouth and she's pretty sure that she can get the other one in there, too, and she loves watching you play Patty Cakes or sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" (only in her version, she eats the spider before he gets to the top of the water spout). 

So far it's been pretty convenient--it's not like her hands can suddenly fall on the floor when she stops sucking on them.  But it's also proving to be pretty messy since she has started tickling the back of her throat, which causes her to throw up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feet (and toes)

Addy's physical therapist wants her to work on playing with her feet (reaching for them, grabbing them, and even sucking on them).  So far this seems to rank only slightly higher than tummy time on the "List of Things Addy Likes to Do." It doesn't make her mad like tummy time does.  She just doesn't really seem to care that she has feet.

PT did caution me that another client of hers who has Spina Bifida accidentally used her toes for teething...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not having the desired effect

Crib wedge, schmib wedge.  It doesn't seem to be keeping Addy comfortable during the night.  She has gone back to sleeping through the night again, but now it's a game as to what new and wacky place you'll find her in the morning.  Twice now she's gotten herself scooted 90 degrees from where I put her to bed and last night she had rotated herself 180 degrees around so that her feet were at the top of the incline instead of her head!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Growing up so fast!

Happy 1/3-of-a-year day, Addy!  According to the bathroom scale, she's approaching 15 pounds already.  It doesn't sound like much, but when you're trying to lift her (and the car seat) into the car, it feels like she weighs a lot more than that!

In shunt-healing news, Addy seems to be back to her old self again.  The stitches in her scalp incision are starting to dissolve and the ones on her tummy are all gone now.  They seem to have used super-duper strength betadine in the OR because I still haven't gotten all of that washed out of her scalp.  (Derek has apparently seen a different version of "South Pacific" than I have because he's been singing "Gotta wash betadine right outta my hair" to Addy during bath time.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Advanced thumb sucking

We knew it was bound to happen with all of the fist sucking that Addy has been doing lately.  She has finally achieved honest-to-goodness thumb sucking!  It still involves the occasional scratch to the face (and it's often more thumb chewing than thumb sucking), but it's quite cute nonetheless.  The down side is that she usually swallows a lot of air when she's gnawing on her hands, so we have to try to burp her every so often, even when she isn't eating.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Daylight Savings" Time

It's time for my annual rant about "Daylight Savings Time."  First, you're not actually saving daylight by setting your clock ahead by an hour.  The number of hours of daylight each day is a function of the Earth's orbit around the sun and not the arbitrary designation of when 8:00am happens to occur.  And it's not just that it has a stupid name.  The whole concept is stupid.  What good can possibly come from forcing everyone to adjust their schedules by an hour in the spring and fall?  If anything, you're decreasing productivity by disrupting everyone's sleep schedules.  And don't even try to make the "energy savings" argument.  That's just hooey.  There cannot possibly be enough of an impact on our energy usage to justify the time change.

But I digress.  This year's daylight savings time annoyance is extra special because it reminds me that babies do not understand clocks and they certainly do not understand daylight savings time.  On the other hand I guess if she's going to get up in the night it doesn't really matter what time she goes to bed, does it?

We had 3 big poopy diapers, 2 pee-throughs, and 1 vomit all before 9:30 this morning (which felt like 8:30 because of the time change).  Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The best of intentions

Since Miss Sunshine has had such a miserable couple of nights' worth of sleeping, I thought maybe she was having some acid reflux in the night or I just wasn't getting all of the burps out before I put her to bed.  So I went to the store and bought a crib wedge to help prop her up a little bit in her crib.  (Side note: the kid in the picture on the box has the scariest eyebrows I have ever seen!)

She's still getting up in the night, so it doesn't seem to be helping.  But tonight she actually woke up enough to eat at 1, so maybe she's waking up hungry and then falling asleep before we get any food going?  It's been a few weeks since we've spent 23 hours a day eating so she is due for another growth spurt.

Other than that, we still seem to have some tummy troubles.  I'm not sure if it's related to the shunt revision, or if it's due to her new obsession with sucking on her hands.  I think she sometimes chokes on a little bit of spit and then just empties her whole stomach once she starts to gag.  I should remember to go buy some shares in the company that makes Clorox Wipes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Always knock on wood

Addy usually sleeps through the night fabulously and I've told everyone who asks about her awesome sleeping habits.  In bed between 8 and 10, doesn't get up until 6-6:30, doesn't wake up for anything.

Until last night.

Didn't go to bed until 11.  Woke up at 1 and fell back asleep pretty much as soon as I picked her up.  Woke up again at 3 and fell back asleep pretty much as soon as I picked her up.  Woke up at 4 and fell back asleep pretty much as soon as I picked her up.  (Have you figured out the pattern yet?)  That'll teach me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hungry Like Tiger, Sleepy Like Bear

Yesterday (Saturday) Addy was back to her sweet and smiley self.  Her appetite was back to it's usual voracious level and she spent less of the day sleeping.  I think it was probably just the long car ride home from Nashville that had her so worn out on Friday.  She seems to have that pattern after we've gone there for doctor's appointments.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

Addy was released from the hospital Thursday morning as expected.  She seems to have a bit of a headache, but the nausea (or at least the throwing up) is gone now.  Her discharge orders crack me up, though.  Under the "Activity" section it says:
"As tolerated; NO rough play or physical exercise for 6 weeks; no heavy lifting (> 5 lbs)"
Sounds to me like doctor's orders to not do tummy time!

Today was a very sleepy and not very hungry day.  I'm not sure I'd be at my best having had brain surgery 48 hours ago, but it's a little concerning none the less.  She seems to have perked up a little more since Daddy came home from work, though, so hopefully she's on the up swing again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shunt successfully revised

Addy's surgery went well this morning. She's working on slowly recovering in her hospital room now and with any luck she'll eventually forgive us for not feeding her since last night. From talking to the neurosurgeon, it sounds like there was a partial blockage in the tube that drains into her abdomen, so that has been replaced along with the valve. He always goes ahead and replaces it since it's the most likely thing to fail and adds another 10 seconds onto surgery time to swap out once he's in there to check everything out. Afterwards, he was much happier with how her soft spot felt than he had been prior to the surgery. So here's hoping this shunt will last a good bit longer than the last.

Hopefully I should have a few more new photos from her hospital visit uploaded later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Patience young grasshopper

Surgery date is set for a week from today.  Fortunately she has the first appointment of the day but it will still be a very long morning of not eating for her.  The poor thing really only fusses when she's hungry, but she expresses her opinion quite loudly if she thinks her needs are being ignored.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just when her hair was starting to really grow back in...

Addy had an appointment with the neurosurgeon today because her head circumference has been getting bigger at a faster rate than it should be.  The sonogram of her ventricles shows that they're bigger than they should be if the shunt were working correctly, but they aren't as big as if the shunt were completely malfunctioning.  Conclusion: shunt is partially blocked.  And since partially blocked is not a good thing, it means that Addy gets to have her first shunt revision (date yet to be determined).  She's really not going to like that whole "no food after midnight" thing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Slow down there, tiger

Addy's head circumference has been getting bigger at a faster rate than "normal" so I put a call in to the neurosurgeon to let him know.  (In this case "normal" means "compared to a baby without Spina Bifida and most shunted babies who do have SB.")  He is apparently concerned but not alarmed so we need to take her in for a head sonogram in a few weeks to get a look-see at what's going on.  So far her head circumference is the only symptom, so we're just keeping close tabs on it.  Hopefully something simple like a tweak on the shunt settings is all that will be needed.

In other medical-related news, we received the all clear from the plastic surgeon this week.  He wants to give her a chance to grow into her scars before we look at doing anything more with them.  The PT and OT who work with Addy have us working on massaging the scars to try to loosen them up and keep them from impeding her movement.  They're kind of tender and pretty leathery, so it's not one of her favorite things, but she'll usually tolerate it for a little while.

Addy has been working on doing more swatting at toys in her line of sight lately.  This afternoon she even managed to grab hold of a rattle a couple of times (and promptly thwacked herself in the head with it the second time).   Also today she managed to get mostly rolled over from her back to her side a couple of times.  We're still working on getting that (big) head of hers nice and steady.  PT claims that tummy time is the key to that, but Addy disagrees with the theory.  She much prefers just sitting up on a lap and looking around instead.  Not bad for an almost 3-month old!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grape is also yummy

I'm allergic to penicillin, so I had asked the urologist if we could try an antibiotic in a different drug family so I could nurse her without worrying about whether it might literally put me in the ER.  Turns out to have been a total bust because the new antibiotic is a sulfa, which I'm also allergic to.  (Yes, as soon as I filled the prescription I realized that we hadn't actually solved the problem.)  At least Addy seems to enjoy the new grape flavoring just as much as she did the bubblegum.

We've also tried a new brand of vitamin drops this week.  They still seem to do a number on poor Addy's tummy, but they don't look and smell quite as much like tar as the other ones did.

Last but not least, we have smiley pictures!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Such a big girl

Addy was very brave yesterday for her second round of immunizations.  Not even a sniffle--at least not until she decided it was taking too long to get through the check-out desk at the pediatrician's office!

For those keeping track, she was up to 11lb 4oz.  Officially too big for all of the newborn clothes we have!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maybe the bathroom scale isn't so inaccurate

Addy had her first appointment in the Spina Bifida Clinic at Vanderbilt yesterday.  She's up to 10lb 14oz already--must be all that eating she keeps doing!

It was a full day at the clinic, but it all went really well.  It's set up so that the patient goes to an exam room and the doctors come to you.  For people who have a condition that crosses over several medical specialties, it's a fabulous setup.  Addy had scans of her kidneys and hips in the morning and in the afternoon saw the neurosurgeon, urologist, orthopedist, nutritionist, physical therapist, and the occupational therapist.  We were there for about 45 minutes in the morning and then a couple of hours in the afternoon.

All of the doctors and therapists we saw said she's doing really well, but we did get 2 extra special pieces of news.  The best news we got was that Addy's kidney scan and catheter output logs show that she doesn't need to be cathed anymore--hooray!  Now, if Addy wants to sleep through the night, Mommy can too!  She'd been doing pretty good with sleeping at night for the past couple of weeks.  She would usually sleep from about 11pm - 5am, snoozing through the middle-of-the-night cath.  Last night she was asleep by 10pm, but got up at 3:45am.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy to do whatever she needs to be healthy, but I'm also happy to get more sleep if she doesn't need me to get up every 4 hours!

Second best news was that the neurosurgeon said that, as far as he's concerned, we can switch from the car bed to a regular infant car seat--can I get an Amen please??  I'm waiting to hear back from the plastic surgeon to make sure he's okay with the switch, but I'm guessing he will be.  We've been bringing both the car bed and the regular car seat with us when we go out, using the car bed for actually transporting her to the store and then using the car seat for carting her around in the store.  (For those who are curious, our car bed looks very similar to the one on this link:

Monday, January 10, 2011

What exactly is the difference between a road that is "impassible" and one that is "closed"?

So, we got some snow last night.  Okay, we legitimately got A LOT of snow.  Our immediate area got about 7-8 inches according to the TV weather guy.  Now I'm from up north where 7-8 inches of snow in one night is not pleasant, but you just wait a couple of hours for the salt/plow trucks to get out and you're good to go (slowly).  Down south where snow is truly a novelty, they save money by not budgeting for things like salt and snow plows.  Never mind the small mountains, never mind the crazy raised roadways, never mind the roads that go over rivers and creeks, never mind that it actually seems to snow at least once per year.  It's easier to just shut down the city.  Or at least it's less expensive.  (I will absolutely admit that it is safer and more prudent to go ahead and shut down the city because no one is willing to drive appropriately for dry conditions, let alone snowy/slushy/icy conditions.)

People around here are so terrified of snow that schools and businesses actually started closing Sunday morning--6-8 hours before the first flake even fell.  Side note: What was the first thing to close?  Auburn, as in the school, not the town.  And not just the school, but all of the football tailgate / viewing parties that were planned due to Auburn going to the final game in the BCS tournament.  Good thing the game is being played in Phoenix.  There might be riots if the game had to be postponed due to snow.

Which brings me to my original question.  We've been watching the local TV station to keep tabs on what's open, what's closed, how much snow is coming, when will it finally melt, etc.  They keep making a distinction between roads that are "closed" vs. "impassible".  For example, the interstate, several of the main artery roads in Huntsville, and the highways that go over the mountains are "closed."  In contrast, the roads in Madison City, Madison County, Limestone County, and several of the other small towns in the area are just "impassible."  So, what in the world is the difference between "closed" and "impassible"?  According to the news anchor on the local CBS station "closed" means there are police actually out and physically preventing travel on that particular roadway, while "impassible" means that, if they had enough staff to do so, there would be police out and physically preventing travel on that roadway, but they don't.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Usually when she's starting to wake up, Addy makes this serious of faces (in no particular order: grouchy, just sucked on a lemon, worried, and smile).  This morning we achieved smiling while awake!  It is super cute, especially with the little dimple in her left cheek.  Unfortunately, it's really sporadic and not predictable, so there's no photographic proof of it.  At least not yet...

Everything else is going fabulously.  We seem to have found a brand of formula that doesn't turn poor Addy's tummy inside out (she wants more to eat than I can give her, so she gets topped of with an ounce or 2 of formula now).  Other than that, we're counting down the days to our first big clinic appointment at Vandy.  Fingers crossed that the urologist says we can back off on the caths!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Addy decided to ring in the new year with lots and lots of eating (and not a whole lot of sleeping).  I think she and I rang in the new year with the lovely people of Alaska, and joined the people of both New Zealand and the Solomon Islands in welcoming January 2nd.  (Did I do that right?  I hate the International Date Line.)

She is continuing to practice her thumb sucking technique.  So far no additional war wounds, but it's still not the soothing activity that it will probably be in a few weeks.  Everything else is going really well with her--her sides look fabulous where she had the skin grafts, her back incision is also looking really good, diapers are consistently wet and dirty, and cath outputs are (generally) nice and low.  There have been a few higher residuals on the cath recently, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with Addy's growth spurt.  Eventually she'll stop eating 24/7, right??

Hope you had a safe and happy new year, and wish you a blessed and successful 2011!