Thursday, August 18, 2011

10 Months Old

Weights and measures this month are as follows:

  • Weight: 20 pounds, 1 ounce

  • Height: 30 inches

  • Head: 18.5 inches

I feel like so much has happened this month! First off, Aaron had his first flu bug. I cannot believe we have made it this far without him getting sick! I know perfectly well that this will not last forever, though I am incredibly grateful that he was not sick while he was so small and vulnerable. This first flu bug was not a bad one at all. I got a call from his babysitter saying that he had been throwing up. It was a super hot day, and they do not have air conditioning (a common thing in Colorado. Seriously…) so that might have been part of it. She stripped him down to his diaper, which helped, and I left him that way the rest of the day. I got him home and fed him a bunch to keep him from getting dehydrated. He had a fever of 100, though once we got some ibuprofen in him, his temperature came down to normal and he felt great! It was so hard to keep him down once the medicine had kicked in! I am seeing the beauty in using a little bit of TV to keep them entertained in circumstances like this. It has been something we’ve been avoiding, but seeing him feeling like he wants to party when he is technically sick made me re-think that a bit.

Therefore, I started to TiVo Sesame Street! He LOVES puppets right now, and laughs and does a little baby dance when it comes on. His favorite character is Murray, the red fuzzy one that does interviews on the street throughout the show. I really don’t want a zombie for a son, so he doesn’t get access to it all the time. I got some Sesame Street CD’s from the library, and we got some of their books as well, and he is having a blast with it all.

Here's Murray:

We also took our first vacation with him as well. We really enjoy doing the Courage Classic in the summer to help raise money for the Children’s Hospital. In particular, we raise money for the Gene Team that benefits the Inherited Metabolic Diseases Clinic that helped us so much after Noah died to understand his illness and how to prevent future children from getting it. The event takes place up at Copper Mountain, and Chris and my father ride the 200 or so mile route. We get a condo, and my mom and I relax while the guys ride. It was the perfect first vacation with the baby because we had a great home base with the condo with plenty of room to take care of whatever he needed, yet we had easy access to Copper Mountain Village to be a part of the activities as we could. He did great with it all, and had fun seeing all the activity. The air is cooler (in the 70’s every day) so we got to enjoy a lot of fresh air too. It was a fun, relaxing weekend, great to see our Gene Team friends again, as well as meet other families with the same class of illness that our family has faced.

Here's our favorite photos from the weekend:

Aaron with Dad at the finish line. Aaron is wearing a zebra print bib for the Gene Team (team mascot)

Taking a really relaxing nap!

Waiting for Dad and Pawpaw to cross the finish line!

They made it!

Family photo on the last day.

Last month I wrote about possibly switching pediatricians. We have decided to go ahead and do it, however, we decided to put it off until we get some visits in with a pediatric dietitian I found to help us figure out Aaron’s continuing problem with adjusting to eating solid foods. There is a bunch of referral paperwork that has gone back and forth, and having a well established relationship with a pediatrician has been helpful.

Let me back up a minute here and explain. I attended a health and wellness webinar at my work, where they let us know that we have access to six visits a year with a dietitian if we would like as a part of our insurance. The thought immediately clicked in my head that that would be just the sort of expert we need to work out this whole food issue with Aaron, so I got on the phone and had them set me up with the best one in town. This lady works as a part of a team that includes a dietitian, a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, and a pediatrician that handles special food issues and disorders in children. They evaluated Aaron and sure enough, they absolutely believe that he has some sensory integration issues with food. Basically, it is a behavioral issue that he can and will grow out of, but some special care with how we present food to him must be taken so that we avoid some bad habits down the road. Because he has been reluctant to do this the ordinary way, his tongue only moves up and down (not side to side). This is a muscle that he needs to develop. His ability to manipulate and swallow solid food doesn’t work the way it should as a result of how he functions now. What do we do? To start off with, they have us feeding him in a booster chair on the floor (so it is different from his high chair, which has gotten to be a traumatic experience for him with all of our force feeding). We put applesauce on his tray, and let him put his hands in it. We give him what they call “hard munchables.” These are basically hard food that is in a stick form that he can easily hold onto. They gave him Slim Jims, licorice that was a bit dried out so it is hard, celery, and biter biscuits (hard baby biscuits). He can dip in the applesauce if he wants, though if he doesn’t, it's no big deal. If he holds it out to me, I am to put it in my mouth. It is his way of asking “Is this safe Mom?” By putting it in my mouth, in his world, I am saying to him “yes, this is safe.” Then he will feel more comfortable to put it in his own mouth. I am not allowed to wipe his mouth. We just make a mess, and play. They also have an empty honey bottle (the one shaped like a bear) filled with water, and a straw in it. They want him drinking water by straw now rather than use a sippy cup.. Again, they are trying to get his tongue moving in a new way, and this helps. The whole thing is like a big conversation and play. The goal is NOT the number of bites he takes and swallows. It is just for him to interact with the food in a positive way. When he puts his hands up and gives any sign that he’s done playing, we’re done. Nothing is forced. So far he loves it. He mutilated a Slim Jim last night. It is clearly his favorite. I guess at this point, he is developing taste buds, so really flavorful things are good. What an odd thing to give a baby! We are going to do a bunch of follow-up appointments, and I feel encouraged that we are finally on the right track with this.

Here's a picture of Aaron's dinner plate. Going counter clockwise starting with the applesauce are: Slim Jim sticks, biter biscuits, celery, carrots, licorice, and his honey bear with water is at the top. Yummy!

When Aaron holds something out towards us, we are to put it in our mouths to show him that this is safe. No kidding, he will then put whatever it is in his mouth in response afterward.

Aaron is taking a turn putting the Slim Jim in his own mouth. He loves it!

More than worrying about the number of bites he takes, the goal is mostly to just have fun! Mission accomplished!

Enjoying a cool drink of water from his honey bear!

One big stressful thing that has happened this month is that his babysitter quit! Chris and I have both been grieving losing her! Our babysitter while we are at work has been a wonderful stay-at-home mom of a kindergartner. She is such a loving and caring person. Aaron was her only full time kiddo, so he has gotten so much special attention. He lives on her hip all day long, and has done so well with her. She has decided to go back to school this fall, so her schedule is going to be a bit erratic now, making this situation no longer work. We immediately started pounding the pavement trying to find someone else. The area of town we live in is nice, but has pockets of not so great neighborhood not that far from us, and it seemed that all the home daycare settings we found were in the not so great areas. I would comb the state daycare license website to check people out, and find complaint after complaint on just about everybody. It hardly inspired confidence when considering leaving Aaron in the care of a complete stranger! Finally, we decided to check out the local Montessori School since they take babies. After the tour, Chris and I both felt that warm fuzzy feeling that we were on the right track. It is ridiculously expensive, but wow, do they have a great program.We decided the cost was worth it for the peace of mind. He is now enrolled and starts on Monday! This is a very different environment from what he is used to, so pray it goes well. If he likes it, he will be grandfathered into their awesome pre-school program when he is older. Everything is educational and exploratory and caters to what he wants to do. I think it will be so good for him, especially as curious and mobile as he is these days!

Speaking of being mobile, my little guy is getting to be quite good with crawling, getting more comfortable moving with his belly off the ground (he has been army crawling like a pro for a while now). The big new thing he loves to do is to pull up standing! With his crawling, he keeps getting over by the coffee table and bonking his head, so I went out and bought a new coffee table that is a brown leather ottoman. Once that was put in the house, he quickly discovered how much fun it is to pull up to standing on it on his own and holding onto it, to play with toys on top of it, and to take a few steps around it! I think we will have a walking baby very soon as he continues to get stronger and more comfortable doing this. I can't seem to get the house baby-proofed fast enough! It is amazing how now that he can get around so much easier, how he manages to find even the smallest things I wouldn't think he'd get to. Pine needles or other things that come in with the dog after she's been outside, clumps of dog hair that's been on the floor for a nanosecond, anything really, and it all goes in his mouth so we really have to watch him closely.


Here he is crawling:

And, here he is standing:

He is just so cute, and communicative. He points to things a lot these days, and is very inquisitive. We are just head over heels in love with him. Watching him grow is so amazing. Thanks for reading along with this particularly long post!

Friday, August 5, 2011

9 Months Old

(Look who just discovered that that thing on his shirt is a sticker! I think the coming months' photos may be a bit more difficult to capture!)

Good lord I am late on this! I have actually had it written, but just not posted. The reason? Aaron hasn't slept in a couple of weeks! I never get those precious few minutes between when he goes to bed, and when I go to bed to get a few things done. Oh well. Better late than never!

He’s 9 months old, and ready for another update! Here’s his weights and measures:

  • Weight: 19 pounds, 5 ounces (25th percentile)

  • Height: 30 inches (95th percentile)

  • Head: 18 1/8 inches (75th percentile) – This is smaller than what I measured last month. It is hard to get a baby to sit still to get accurate measurements! We just take our best guess I suppose!

Aaron had a doctor’s visit today. Immediately, I was concerned about his weight. He has been tracking at the 50th percentile since he was born, and now all of a sudden he is at the 25th percentile?! It has been so difficult with getting him to eat solid foods. Is he not gaining weight the way he is supposed to be as a result? The doctor said that this is typical. As babies learn to move on their own, and work so hard at it, they burn more calories, and their weight gain can slow down. Whew!

Everything looked great with where he is developmentally. He can sit pretty well on his own (with a bit of help at times). He mostly prefers to play while on his tummy. He couldn’t really care less about sitting, but he will do it. He is doing great with doing an army crawl to get to where he wants to be. I think this is really a very instinctual part of being a baby with how much he has developed in this regard. He gets to where he wants to go doing the army crawl, so why learn to do it with your tummy off the ground? Who cares? The need has been satisfied! The doctor agreed and said that he has seen some babies never do it with their tummies off the ground! They go straight to walking from here. We will see what Aaron chooses to do. I am not too worried about it.

Top on my list with the doctor today was to talk about Aaron and solid food. This has continued to be a problem. We’ve tried it all: homemade baby food, store bought baby food, bits of fresh banana and avocado, mum crackers, baby puffs, different eating utensils, changing up feeding him in the high chair vs. his bumbo chair vs. just sitting in one of our laps, feeding him with me in the room, with me out of the room (I smell like breast milk to him), and everything else in between and none of it has worked. The doctor was quick to say that he is still growing as he should be, so he is obviously getting what he needs. Aaron is breastfeeding well, and it is a comfort thing as well as a food source. He is pretty attached to it. I did some research, and my insurance will pay for six visits a year with a nutritionist. I did more research and found the best pediatric dietitian in Colorado Springs, and got the doctor today to write us a referral. I can’t wait to see her and see what ideas she has for us. The doctor was eager to say that we need to watch our expectations, because this may not work either, but I think we have to try. I wonder, is this typical of breastfed babies over formula fed ones? There are so few women out there that I know of that have breastfed exclusively as long as I have. If you did it over the long haul, and had this experience, can you send me a note to let me know? Lord, it is so stressful!

I am really kicking around changing pediatricians. I have such mixed feelings about it. I love our doctor. We went with him because he is currently treating patients with MCADD, the illness that Noah had. We wanted an expert in diagnosing and treating it in case Aaron had it. We now know that he is free and clear of the illness thank God. We’ve known for months now.

Reasons to go:

  • The doctor’s office is as far away from home/work as you can get. It is a hike to get there for sure.

  • Our doctor is in his mid-sixties. He will likely retire in the not-too-distant future.

  • The last few visits, they have been out of stock of at least one of the shots that he needs. Their answer to this is “That’s ok! You can just come back in a couple of days and we’ll get you right in.” Right… I have to take off work, go yank Aaron out of daycare, and drive across town to the office. There’s half a day gone, when I already had to take half a day to make the original appointment!

  • I had a terrible experience with a PA. She basically freaked me out and had be bring Aaron in for something innocuous that could have been resolved over the phone if she’d taken 5 minutes to ask me some additional questions.

Reasons to stay:
  • I do like the doctor. He has a ton of experience.

  • If Chris and I are lucky enough to get to have another baby (a big “if” considering we have to do IVF to have a healthy baby. $$$$$$$$$) we will need an MCADD expert again to make sure that all is well. He is the best in town. I am uncomfortable being “that guy” who uses this doctor and then bails once we know everything is ok.

  • It’s a pain in the rear to switch everything over. The easy thing to do is to just stay.

Chris and I interviewed a doctor at an office that is closer to home. It is a huge practice with a lot of nice benefits. In a perfect world, I’d find a doc that can roll with my hippie self, and be encouraging when I feel like taking my kiddo to the acupuncturist to handle certain issues, or trying herbal remedies and such. The problem is that being a grieving mom, there is also a huge part of me that needs someone more cerebral and aggressive when it comes to modern western medicine. I don’t know that I would find someone that I would feel totally jazzed about since those are two conflicting things on my wish list. The guy we talked to is a brainy type. He had heard of MCADD, though never treated any patients with it (it is extremely rare after all). He spouted off enough info to us that said that yes, he really does get what it is. Who knows. Since we have this referral to the dietitian going on, we plan to sit tight at the moment until that all goes through. Then it will be time to figure out what to do.

Here's a couple of videos of our boy for this month. The first one shows his new trick: waving good-bye! He feels a bit self-conscious doing it, so he doesn;t do it that vigrously all the time. He gives us these looks like "is this right? You want me to do this with my hand, yes?" He is too funny, and very cute!

Another thing he's doing is getting VERY squirmy when it is time to change a diaper or clothes. You can tell he thinks it's fun to be wrestled into and out of his clothes. (FYI, please know that right after he started moving around like this, we moved the crib mattress down to a more reasonable level!) Take a look: