Le Petite Artiste

by Kayte

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Appointment Roundup

by Kayte

Last week was a busy week for us. Between the NICU clinic and a follow-up with our GI, we have the following additional appointments over the next month:

  • Orthopedic examination for Lola
  • Hearing assessment for Max & Lola
  • Speech evaluation for Max & Lola
  • GI endoscopy & biopsy for Lola

It helps to keep in mind that this surge of appointments is just a function of our periodic evaluations, not that Max & Lola are regressing.

This isn’t technically an appointment, but tomorrow we have our first session with our new OT. She’s from the same company as our PT and CDS, both of whom have been with us from the beginning and whom we love. In contrast, we were shuffled around between at least 5 OTs with the other company, which made it hard to develop a meaningful relationship. Hopefully our new OT will be a good fit and stick with us through this last year of therapy. [At 3 years old the county program stops and, if therapy is still needed, we’ll be transferred to a preschool program in the city school district.]


Swing n’ Bubbles

by Kayte


Chucks

by Kayte

Daddy. Daughter.

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Weight Check

by Kayte

We took Max to the doctor today because he’s had a runny, crusty eye for a few days. We weren’t if it was allergies or an infection, but the doc didn’t think it looked too bad. Since the discharge is clear it’s either allergies or a viral infection, both of which we just have to wait out.

The best part of of the visit was Lola’s weight check. She gained almost a pound (13oz) over the last month and is now 18lb 6oz! That’s the most significant gain she’s had in a long time. Maybe even ever. It makes me wonder if maybe Lola’s reflux meds are doing something?

Max gained another half pound at 25lb 1oz. I think this is the first time Lola has ever gained more than him in a given time period.


Shooting Hoops

by Kayte

Max playing with his new basketball hoop. Thanks Auntie Karen!




Knee Immobilizers

by Kayte

Our PT is reaching deep into her bag of tricks to get Lola to walk. Little Miss Stubborn has recently figured out that she can avoid walking just by sitting down. It has gotten so bad that today we were forced to introduce the Knee Immobilizers. They sort of look like soccer shin guards, but they extend over Lola’s entire leg. They have a metal bar in back that prevents Lola from bending her legs.

The knee immobilizers were actually better received than I expected. Of course Lola did not like them at all, but she has cried much worse during PT before, so it wasn’t a disaster. The knee immobilizers worked exactly as advertised, and once the option to sit down was taken away, Lola actually did focus much more on walking instead of trying to avoid it.

Monkey Max can now climb to the TOP of the ladder wall (6 feet) all by himself! Which means we have to watch him super closely since he can’t quite get down safely by himself just yet. He loves the gym and runs around asking to play with the “ball,” “rings,” and swing.”

 


Reflux Meds

by Kayte

We had a follow-up phone call with the GI today to report on the results of Lola’s reflux meds. We told him we hadn’t noticed much of a difference. She still gags herself at almost every meal. We’ve been preventing her from actually making herself throw up, but the behavior is still there.

He said the next step is to do an GI tract endoscopy/biopsy. It’s a short procedure under general anesthesia. The doctor will send a scope down Lola’s throat and into her stomach to look for blockages, inflammation, irregularities, etc. He will also take a few tissue samples for testing. The results will tell us if everything looks normal in there, and can also give us a definitive answer on reflux or possible food allergies.

The endoscopy is currently scheduled for late May, so in the meantime we’ll just keep doing our thing.


Joint Party

by Kayte

We had our annual birthday party with our NICU buddies today. Things went a lot more smoothly than our last get-together. Maybe we were all just better prepared for the craziness.

We had 5 two-year-olds, 2 infants and 3 moms. Definitely not a favorable kid-to-adult ratio, but it all worked out. It’s amazing how low-maintenance the infants are compared to the toddlers. They sat in their car seats the entire time, napped during the chaos, and only cried when they wanted to eat.

Meanwhile the toddlers were All. Over. The. Place. The kids had fun destroying the house playing with all the toys, running around outside, swinging, splashing in the water table and chowing cake. It was fun to see all the different personalities and interactions: this was the first time they all really played with each other. It will be neat to see them all grow up together over the years.

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NICU Clinic

by Kayte

We had our 6-month checkup at the NICU Follow-Up Clinic. It’s always an overwhelming day, even with Brody there to help. First they do all the vitals: height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, etc. Then they take each kid into separate rooms to perform a development evaluation. After the results are tabulated, we cram into a tiny room and meet with the attending doctor, a fellow, a therapist and a dietician. Everyone talks all at once about both kids, their progress, recommendations, etc. The whole process takes such a long time and leaves me feeling a little dizzy.

Today’s visit was a little disheartening. Up until the age of two Max & Lola’s development milestones are age-adjusted for their prematurity. So when Max & Lola were 18 months they were evaluated at a development age of 15 months since they were born 3 months early. But now that Max & Lola are two the clinic doesn’t adjust their age anymore, so on paper it looks like they regressed. I know they’ve come so far in the last two years, but this visit made me realize just how far we still have to go.

The evaluations are not an exact science. Lola in particular was pretty uncooperative. Rather than playing with the toys and performing the activities, she was in the mood to throw everything on the floor. I’m not sure how that impacted her scores, but definitely not favorably.

On top of that they want to to have Lola looked at by an orthopedist to see if there ins anything physical preventing her from walking. Our PT thinks not, but who knows. Maybe some corrective shoes or equipment could do the trick. They also want to have Max & Lola do a hearing screening because of their speech delay. I thought they were doing pretty well with speech, but apparently not as well as I thought. I’m also going to request a speech evaluation from our Regional Center to see if they perform a little better in their home environment. If not we may be adding an extra day of therapy to our week.

Blah.


Paintbrush

by Kayte

Max & Lola have done finger-painting before, but today we tried out some of their new art supplies: brushes! They seemed to like it better. Lola because she had an object to hold onto. Max because he doesn’t getting stuff on his hands. And those little artist aprons sure did their job well – not a single mark on Max & Lola’s clothes! Though they did manage to get quite a bit of paint in their hair…


Egg Hunt

by Kayte

We celebrated Easter today with our good friends Trey & Corynn. We dyed eggs, ate a delicious feast, and searched for Easter eggs.

It was Max & Lola’s first egg hunt. They caught on quick – as soon as that first egg broke open to reveal delicious treats! (Cheddar crackers and chocolate chips.) Max put the empty shells into his basket while he went in search of new eggs. We arranged Lola’s eggs within arm’s reach – she had such fun shaking and opening them.

It was the perfect end to a busy and exciting weekend. Though I hope their birthday doesn’t fall on Easter weekend too often – I need a little break between all the cooking and baking.

Now to start prepping for our joint party coming up on Thursday…

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Two!

by Kayte

We opted for a low-key, relaxing birth-day today. Max & Lola opened presents in the morning. We got them an “art studio” with all the supplies. So far they mostly like taking things in & out of the storage boxes, but I have high hopes for our budding artists.

After their morning nap we met Aunt Julie, Uncle David and Cousin Booker at Franklin Canyon for a pizza party picnic. The kids had a great time playing in the dirt and eating cake. It was a beautiful day to turn two!

Happy Birthday Max & Lola!

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Choo Choo

by Kayte

We’ve been visiting Travel Town a lot this past month. Max & Lola know the drill – they were “choo chooing” before we made it out of the parking lot.

Today we were there for a friend’s birthday party. Max & Lola blew bubbles, rode the train, ate cake and even got to hit their first piñata! It was a fun afternoon.

At home we kept with the theme of the day. We’ve had a hand-me-down train set in the closet for a long time now, so today we decided to set it up. That set off another chorus of “choo chooing.” Max & Lola had more fun dismantling the track than playing with it, but they sure were sad when we put it away at bedtime.


Lola’s First Steps

by Kayte

Lola made some big progress in PT yesterday!




Turtle

by Kayte

Max has been turtle obsessed lately. It’s his favorite word to say and he’s constantly asking to see turtle pictures. Max has found every book we have with a turtle in it – which is a surprisingly large number.

Today Max & Lola got to see a real live turtle (technically a tortoise). My parents have a friend in LA (Eric) who owns a few desert tortoises, and he was nice enough to bring one over for the kids to meet.

Max & Lola each approached the tortoise in true form. Max burst into tears. Apparently real-life turtles are a bit scarier than those in the books. Meanwhile Lola scooted right up to the tortoise and started banging on its shell. She is fearless. Max eventually came around – he didn’t want Lola to have all the fun!

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On a sad note my parents and brother left today. The house feels empty after all the fun activity we had. Thanks for a great visit! Miss you, love you.


Catalina Island

by Kayte

Our big adventure this week was a trip to Avalon on Catalina Island. We woke up bright an early to catch a boat for the hour trip out to sea. We roamed the island, went on semi-submarine tour, ate fresh-caught seafood and dipped our toes in the ocean.

It was an all-day affair that really tested our limits. We’re accustomed to a pretty consistent schedule (naps, meals, etc.) and that all went out the window today. Max was a champ and just rolled with the punches (although he did get seasick on the boat). Lola didn’t fare as well – she was grumpy after the first missed nap and on-the-go meal. It took all five of the adults to soothe, distract, entertain and generally wrangle her all day. It was petty exhausting.

Overall I’m glad we went. It really was a fun day, just interspersed with typical toddler challenges. I think this trip answers our recent question about how much fun vacationing with (2) two-year olds would be though. Being confined in an airplane for 4+ hours doesn’t sound too appealing right now. Maybe in another year… 🙂

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Sun-Day Monday

by Kayte

Things really heated up today. Temps rose above 90* and the sun was shining bright. My mom & I took the kids to Travel Town, while my brother & dad went golfing. Later we took a dip in the pool and ate grilled pizzas al fresco.

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Santa Anita Park

by Kayte

Today we took Max & Lola to the track to bet on the ponies. We sat on the infield where we could see all the action and the kids could play in the grass. We placed high hopes on a horse called “Maxx the Giant” but no luck today.

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How Does Your Garden Grow

by Kayte

Everybody helped plant the vegetable garden this year.

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