Tuesday, July 10, 2012

@ 17 months...

-I'm walking! Not all of the time, but more and more each day. I can stand without support, take steps, and regain my balance. I still like to walk holding someone's hand though and will put out my own hand to ask to hold someone's finger to help me
-I can say more words ("uh oh," "yum") and I am trying to repeat more too ("nai nai" for 'nighty night' "wuh wuh" for a dog barking, "up," "day-do" for 'thank you,' "ka-kuh" for 'cracker') . I can often repeat the inflection of a word or phrase, but not the actual sounds. I have a lot of 'L' sounds and tongue flapping in my babbling. Also, "s" or some sort of 'air' sound, and "fff" when I smell flowers
-I'm working on learning to roll and throw a ball. One ball I have has holes in it which makes it easy to grab and then fling back at the ground. It bounces and rolls away, so I crawl after it and do it all over again
-I've been to the beach a few times. Usually it goes like this: arrive at beach, set up things, play in water/sand, have a snack, take a nap. I figured out how to "dig" in the sand, but only by pulling the sand toward me and into my lap
-I've also been to the pool a few more times. The routine is basically the same as at the beach. Mommy bought me a float to sit in, but I usually only stay in it about five minutes. I'd rather be pulled around by my arms while I pretend to kick (It looks like I am walking in the water!), or stand on the edge of the pool and 'jump' in! Mommy dunked me all the way under a few times and I did OK with it. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, but I've been dunking my own face in the water too so it's not too bad!
-I've also been in the pond! And Mommy put me on a boogie board and pulled me around
-And a hot tub! With the temperature turned way down, of course!
-When someone puts out their hand and asks me to share, I give them whatever I am holding. But I usually ask for it right back
-I can point. Everytime we go in a different room, I immediately point to the light or fan. And I've figured out that big people turn them on by using the switch on the wall! Sometimes I even say, "dat?" ("that?") when I'm pointing so they tell me what it is. And I follow someone's finger to see what they are pointing to
-I am remembering books. I know to turn the pages when I stop hearing the words, and can remember which pictures I like to look at. I even have favorite pages in the "touch" books and like to consistently touch certain pages, but not others. One of my favorite books to read is actually a photo album with pictures of me from the hospital
-I still get the hiccups when I laugh really hard. And I'm ticklish on my upper chest so Mommy and Daddy can make me laugh really hard all of the time!
-I've learned to gag myself. I put two fingers down my throat as far as I can. Mommy says, "no" and pulls my hand away, but that just makes me smile and laugh and try to do it again. She ignores me now, so I don't do it as much anymore
-I went to the Virginia Beach Aquarium. Just like at the zoo, I enjoyed watching the people more than the animals! I tried to touch a ray and then tasted the water on my hand! Mommy said, "Yucky!" I could see the big animals the best, so we spent a lot of time watching the shark tank and the sea turtles
-I know my name and turn my head when someone calls me
-I can dance! Well, it's more like stomping. And I know to do it when Mommy says, "Dance, dance, dance!"
-Mommy and I go to play gym! I've learned to do a forward roll with help, hang from the uneven bars, swing from rings, walk on a balance beam with help, and loads of other things! I have a giant smile on my face and squeal almost the entire time!
-I have finally outgrown my reflux and no longer take my Zantac! Horray!
-I go to story time at the library once a week and Mommy, Daddy, and I are all participating in their Summer Reading Program. Right now, I've read the most!
-I'm a big fan of rough and tumble play now. One of the things Mommy and Daddy do that makes me laugh (besides tickling) is rolling me over and over on the bed or pushing me around in pillows
-I will attempt to climb anything!
-I like being 'chased' and think it's hilarious when I'm caught doing something naughty. I tense my entire body, stand on my tippy toes, squeal, and smile so big! I laugh and stomp if Mommy or Daddy says, "What are you doing?" and give me a look like they are going to get me!
-Also, when I am crawling toward something I'm not supposed to and someone grabs my upper thighs from behind and lifts my heiney and legs up off of the floor but I'm still supporting myself with my arms, I laugh like there is no tomorrow! You can even do it over and over again and I still think it's funny! 
-I've learned to stand on my tippy toes to reach things too. Like that time I took all of the leaves off of one side of Mommy's plant!
-I know to look for Wrigley and point to him when Mommy says, "Where's Gigi?" Same thing goes for "Daddy," "fan," and "ball." I'm still working on "Mommy" (it's hard to practice this when she's the one doing the asking!) and "light." Sometimes I can understand, "Go get your ball." (or some other toy/nontoy)
-I'm getting into a sitting position on my own more often now. Guess I need to rest every now and then after all
-Mommy finally put child locks on the cabinets in the kitchen and I am not happy about it. I still cruise around the kitchen and try to open all of them and fuss when they only open two inches and then stop!
-I'm picking up on the fact that the pacifier and food goes in my mouth, so now I'm trying to put those things in other people's mouths. I try to feed Mommy the foods on my tray and sometimes she eats it and sometimes she doesn't. She says things like, "No thank you, that has gluten." (whatever that is), and "No thank you, you just chewed that up and spit it out of your mouth." and "That's a piece of dust you just picked up off of the floor." It's so confusing trying to figure out what people will eat! Sometimes I try to tease them. I hold out the food or pacifier and they open their mouths, then right before it gets there, I quickly put it in my mouth instead! {smile}
-I can grab my sippy cup from the holder in my highchair tray and help myself to some milk or water. I can't always get it back in the hole, but I can sit it back upright
-I drop food behind my back and have been known to have Cheerios in the back of my shirt
-I have discovered peanut butter and jelly and would eat it every meal of every day! I can eat an entire sandwich - two pieces of bread, crust and all!
-I've been into styling my hair with the food stuck to my hands during mealtimes. Peanut butter and jelly gives me the best styles!
-I like to dip my solid foods in my not-so-soild foods and then eat them. For example, a piece of mac and cheese gets dipped into banana yogurt (I even said "Yum!" after this one) and a piece of sandwich gets dipped into applesauce
-I have finally accepted beans, but still spit out peas
-I understand, "Take your bib off." and take it off and hand it to Mommy every time we're done eating
-Mommy is trying to get me to go a little longer between meals (I was still eating every three hours), and taking longer naps these days is also helping with that since I tend to sleep through some of my old meal times
-I don't have a 'lovey' or blanket, but I am pretty attached to my pacifier. It's become such a part of my sleep routine, that once Mommy changes my diaper, turns on my sound machine, and lays me sideways in her arms, I open my mouth really wide for it, even if she doesn't have it in her hand yet! Also, you know how I have to give it Mommy before I'm allowed out of my crib? Well, I noticed that she just keeps them all on the back rail of the crib, so now when she's asks for it, I take it out of my mouth and I try to put it up there myself!
-I'm still obsessed with the refrigerator and will crawl with lightening speed when I see it open! Sometimes, I'm allowed to play in there a bit and I make excited "Ohh! Oh!" noises the entire time. But usually I'm not allowed to play in there and it gets closed right as my fingers are reaching for the glass jars on the bottom of the door. (Insert baby tantrum here)
-Mommy says I help her when she is carrying me now. She says I hold onto her arm or neck and she can feel how strong I am! She especially loves when I put both my arms around her neck and lift both my feet up under me when she picks me up and my whole body tenses
-I'm working on giving hugs and kisses
-I say "Ooh!" after I burp. "Excuse me" is still a little too difficult to say!
-I'm not allowed to touch Grandmommy's old ceramic containers because they might break, so she told me, "Ah ah." So I told her, "Ah, ah!" And then Mommy told me, "No, no" and shook her head, so I told her, "No no!" and shook my head. Then I continued to play with them. I thought it was funny!
-I don't just copy words, I'm also starting to copy actions, like blowing out the lights, or how Mommy shows me to play with toys. I saw her putting lotion on her feet one day, so I went over and started rubbing her feet too. Then she rubbed the lotion on her hands, so I rubbed my hands the same way!
-I had my first "boo boo" (if you don't count any of the things from the hospital). I took a spill on the back deck and scraped my chin. Ouch! Mommy tried to put a bandaid on it, but I kept taking it off. My play gym teacher saw it the next day and asked me if I forgot to tuck and roll!
-I've started putting my head down on people's shoulders when I'm tired, and then just sometimes when I want to give them a little extra sugar! (Thanks, Grandmommy!)
-I take a bath in the big tub now! Mommy dumps out the bucket of every bath toy I own. But then she has to clean it all up when we're done. It takes her a little longer than it used to, so I peed on the floor while I was waiting for her each day for three days. She finally caught on and put a diaper on me before cleaning up the toys!
-I'm wearing 6-9 month pajamas, 12 month one-piece rompers, 9/12 month t-shirts, and 9/12 month shorts that are usually rolled at the waist (6 month pants fit me in the waist but are too short)
-Unattended roll of toilet paper = FUN!
-There is a hint of an upper center tooth. The right one. FINALLY!

Swinging from the rings all by myself

Love bananas! 



This never gets old!

At the VB Aquarium with cousins Tommy & Nikki

Oops! Better get them before Wrigs!

I get to wear shoes now!

Anybody out there?

Love stealing Mommy and Daddy's toothbrushes in the morning!

PB&J hair!

My sweet ride that I take to the pool. I can beep the horn!


Grandaddy at the back door!

My contemplative look

Got it in my mouth this time!

How'd he get in here??

Cousin Aiden (my inspiration for walking!)


Exhausted after all that swimming!

My first boo-boo (notice someone holding both my hands so I don't rip that Band-Aid off!)
Dipping my food before eating
I thought I was getting better at this feeding myself thing...
Whoops! Dunked my face in the water again!

Anybody out there gonna notice me sneaking away with these??

I'll just put these up there myself then

Monday, July 9, 2012

From Mommy (again)

Dear Shay, 

There have been only two times so far where I feel the need to hack into your blog account. Turning one year old. And taking your first steps. That's right, you're walking!

Let me take you back to February 7, 2011. You're still in my belly. Daddy and I have been in the hospital for two days. I've been given medicines I can't remember the names of. A doctor tells me that I have signs of an infection and the best place for you to be is not floating around in it. They are stopping the medicines and my body will decide if it's safer for you to come out. And we'll need to meet with a neonatologist since you will be born so early. He will need to brief us on things that may or may not happen to a baby that is born at 25 weeks.

"You know, he's not going to be a world class athlete."

What? How does a professional start their parent counseling session with this statement? Don't doctors have to take classes in patient counseling? Practice for years under other doctors so they don’t say stupid things to vulnerable parents?

At the time, Daddy and I just took the comment as a rude statement made by a tactless doctor. In fact, we were so taken aback by this single statement that neither of us remembers what else Dr. Doom said. But we remembered his comment when he became the doctor in charge of your nurse practitioner team a few months later. And every time we spoke to him at rounds for an entire month. And now, over a year later when I want to call the hospital and shout, “Shay just took his first steps!”

We had no idea what this could possibly mean for our unborn child.

Fast forward to March 18, 2011. I am showing you off to my best friend and casually ask if the results of your last cranial ultrasound had come back. A nurse checks the computer, and motions me over to the monitor to read for myself. I get to the end of the report and there is a new term.

Periventricular Leukomalacia.

Words I couldn’t pronounce, let alone remember long enough to ask the doctor the next day what they meant.

The nurse (who was probably not supposed to have let me see the report) pretended as though she had no idea what it meant. She called for the nurse practitioner, while I sat for what seemed like an excruciatingly long time dissecting the wording around the new terms to figure out if they were good or bad. Although deep down, I knew nothing new is ever good on a brain scan report unless it’s a word like resolved or improved.

“Oh, that’s brain damage.”

Seriously?! Do you have to be so direct? And thank you for being all upset that we called you in here to explain this to us when you have worked a long day and you’re tired and you weren’t even supposed to be working today. Because between the two of us, you are the one who’s having the worse day.

Frantic phone calls. Uncontrollable sobbing. Throwing things across the room. Finally running out of tears. Praying.

Thank the Lord we had a compassionate neonatologist in charge of our team that month, who showed us every scan of your tiny brain the very next day and walked us through exactly what the little white spots on your brain might mean.

There is an 80% chance that he will have cerebral palsy or some sort of cognitive disability.”

At that moment, all of our dreams of what our son might be like crashed around us in Pod D. Our visions changed from someday having a yard that you could run around in to hopefully being able to afford a house with a ramp to accommodate your wheel chair. From not being able to wait to hear you speak “Mama” and “Dada” to praying to God that you would be able to one day even know who we were. Preparing for a life of therapies, meetings, and daily struggles.

As you grew and continued to develop on track, we figured there was less of a chance that you were going to have developmental or cognitive delays. You hit every milestone exactly two weeks later than my email newsletters said you would. And then came the walking. Yes, children may walk as late as 15 months. Yes, you were a cruising master. Yes, you loved being upright and walking when holding someone’s hand. Yes, you continued to make teensy bits of progress each week. But that percentage just stuck in the back of my mind. Nagging me. The weeks kept passing. Your baby friends were walking. Other preemies were walking. Shay wasn’t walking.

Early Intervention called to check up on you. “How is Shay doing?”

“Well, he’s not walking yet, but I know he technically has more time before I should worry, but he doesn’t seem to have great balance, and yes it seems to be confidence related, but what if it’s because his muscles aren’t strong enough? I’m just not sure if…”

I’m sure that’s exactly what she was expecting to hear! I received the paperwork for your six-month review that we had during that phone call on July 5, 2012. It said we were to have an annual review at the end of August to update your paperwork and give you more time to develop before we called in a Physical Therapist for an evaluation. Great. More worrying.

That night, Daddy and I were playing with you on the floor. You were holding a bottle of your vitamin drops. You stood on your own holding that bottle. You continued to stand. I told Daddy to grab the camera to film you standing. Something you hadn’t done for more than a few seconds. You kept standing there. Then you took a step. And another step. And another. And landed in my arms! I gave you a squeeze and stood you back up, in my mind thinking, “Do we count that as walking?” You had taken steps in the few days before that, but always when you were holding onto something first, and even then it was only an average of three steps, usually two being at a 45 degree angle to the floor, before plowing into Daddy or I. You stood there again, then took a few steps toward Daddy. We were giddy with excitement! You walked between us until you cried from exhaustion, then we cried that night as we put you to bed a toddler, and no longer just a baby.

By the next day, you were taking more steps than we could count and catching yourself if you fell off balance. Your main mode of locomotion wasn’t walking by a long shot, but we felt comfortable saying that you were finally walking.

Shay, to say that we are ecstatic that you have started walking is an understatement! You’ve beaten the odds again! I think to myself, “Better late than never!” But I want to let you know that if ‘Never’ would have been our reality, we would have loved you just the same!

Awesome job, our little toddler!

Love, Mommy & Daddy (& Wrigley)


At first, Mommy helped me practice by having me stand and hold on to either the couch or ottoman. At that point, I couldn't stand on my own yet. It took a few weeks before I let go and took steps without holding onto Mommy's finger first. I was just learning the motions and building my confidence. Eventually, I knew she was going to catch me if I let go with both hands, so I started launching myself at her. Sometimes taking steps and sometimes just propelling myself in her direction!

Eventually, I let go with both hands and took two or three steps before falling. But I still wasn't standing on my own.  I was very graceful!

One night, I was practicing with Mommy and Daddy and holding my vitamin drops bottle. I didn't realize for a long time that I was standing on my own! Mommy kept saying I was doing a great job and I didn't know why. I turned to her and smiled, then took a few steps toward her.

She stood me up again, but this time I walked to Daddy!

We kept practicing all night and I got better and better!

The next day, I took even more steps!

And then didn't need my vitamin drop bottle anymore!

Watch out Wrigley! Here I come!
Here's a video of my evolution of walking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ndkHPBMgNk

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th of July

I was asleep for the fireworks this year, but hope to go and watch them next year!