Friday, September 12, 2014

Little Dude-6 Months

Age: 6 months 


Weight and height: 14 pounds, 12 ounces and 25 1/4 inches long which puts him in the 6th percentile for weight and the 4th percentile for height.
Here are the other kids' weights at 6 months of age for comparison:
Princess: 13 pounds, 9 ounces
Little Man: 17 pounds, 4 ounces
Star: 14 pounds 4 ounces

Wearing size: Size 2 diapers and size 3-6 month clothes.  I've been putting him in some 6-9 month clothes just because we don't have a lot of 3-6 sized clothes that are compatible with tube feeding, but they're still pretty big on him. 


Likes: He's very sociable and LOVES attention.  He loves blankets and snuggling.  His favorite toys are ones that play music.  He also loves playing with his pacifiers and paper (which for obvious reasons, isn't a baby-approved toy).

Dislikes: Not being entertained constantly.  He fights sleep like it's the worst thing in the world, but occasionally will fall asleep in his swing or without crying while being held.  He's also not a fan of physical therapy.

I can't get enough of this little face!

Eating habits:  He's still getting six 5 ounce bottles in a 24 hour period.  He eats about 50% by mouth overall and I tube feed him the rest.  His feedings vary-sometimes he won't touch it the bottle and other times, he'll drink the whole thing.  We're about to add rice cereal to his diet.  His GI doctor recommended not giving him gluten or oats for the time being.  We'll be introducing fruits and vegetables within the next month, but will be taking it slow to make sure he tolerates the new foods. 

Sleeping habits: He's taking longer, better naps now.  He still has a couple of days a week where he can't seem to fall asleep or stay asleep, but at least those days are fewer.   He goes to sleep for the night between 8 and 9 and usually sleeps until 7 am. 

My little Supertubie!

Milestones: He rolled over from his back to his stomach for the first time on August 31st and has done it several times since then!  Yesterday, during his G Tube change at the clinic, he started chewing on my finger and I realized that both of his bottom teeth have popped through already.  I'd just checked for teeth on Monday and didn't feel anything so was surprised to feel two.    
    

Miscellaneous: Around 5 1/2 months, I noticed that he wasn't able to hold his head up as well as before and that he often tilted it to the left as if he couldn't keep it straight.  You can see this in the pictures in this post.  This was concerning since just a few weeks before, he'd been doing so well with his neck control.  It was decided to increase his therapy to biweekly home visits instead of monthly and I have a list of exercises to do with him at home.  His physical therapist diagnosed him with mild torticollis.  He isn't even close to sitting up, but we're working with him to strengthen his muscles.  His fine motor skills and social skills are awesome though!


The pictures throughout this post are from Little Dude's 6 month photo shoot at Portrait Innovations yesterday.  That morning, he had a G Tube change, silver nitrate treatment on some granulation tissue and in the afternoon, he had his 6 month checkup and 3 shots.  He only napped for about 45 minutes all day, so when it came time for his pictures after both of his medical appointments, I was pretty sure he would be crying the whole time and wouldn't cooperate.  I was completely amazed that he smiled the WHOLE time we were there and the sweetest baby ever.  He charmed the socks off the photographer.  :)

 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The World of Eric Carle at Gymboree

*This post contains affiliate links.  

I have always loved Eric Carle books.  The simple, but sweet stories, the amazing artwork...they're definitely at the top of my list of children's books.  My kids love the books too, especially "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" which Princess and Little Man have memorized.  Little Man even had a Brown Bear, Brown Bear themed birthday party for his third birthday.



I was so excited to see that Gymboree released their Eric Carle collection on September 2nd.  The clothes are absolutely ADORABLE!  Gymboree is also hosting an in-store event on September 5th from 10am to 12 pm.  There will be fun caterpillar crafts and storytime. 

Since we couldn't make it the event, I was happy to see that Gymboree also has printable Eric Carle coloring pages and activity sheets on their website.

Here are a few of my favorite outfits from the Gymboree Eric Carle collection: 





What's your children's (or your!) favorite Eric Carle book?  Leave a comment and tell me which one and why.

So what are you waiting for?  Head over to Gymboree to check it out for yourself!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Random Monday - September 1, 2014

First of all, Happy Labor Day!!  We didn't have any plans today which was good since Princess woke up throwing up this morning (apparently, she didn't get the memo about not getting sick the day before the first day of school), and Little Dude hasn't been doing well lately.  His cough and wheezing have been getting worse over the last few days, and he's miserable and unable to relax for more than a few minutes at a time.  He cries if he can't see me and it breaks my heart because I can tell that something's not right with him right now.  I'm watching him closely and hoping he doesn't have to go in to the doctor before his three appointments next week.

I froze sweet corn from my in-law's farm on Saturday.  The two littlest munchkins "helped" me. 
 


My mom let me and my siblings get a library card after we'd read 10 books on our own.  I realized last week that I'd kind of dropped the ball on that one since Princess has been reading for a while now.  So while we were at the library for storyhour on Wednesday, she got her very own library card.  She insisted on carrying it home before giving to me to keep in my wallet for safekeeping.


I can't believe school starts tomorrow already!!  I'm hoping Princess feels better in the morning because it's no fun to have to miss the first day of school.  Little Man's preschool class doesn't begin until next week so at least we have a week to adjust to having Princess at school before throwing another one in the mix. 

Princess went with my mother-in-law on a trip this weekend to visit Hubby's grandma and sister.  She had a blast, especially since they got to go shopping.  On the way home from picking her up on Sunday, she sighed happily in the backseat and said, "It's good to get away from your family once in a while."  Word.

I asked Princess if she missed me while she was gone.  She thought for a few seconds before answering, "No, I don't think I missed you."  *sob*  Well, at least the other kids still love me, lol. 

I belong to a closed group on Facebook for parents of children with feeding disorders, GERD, feeding tubes, etc.  The group is a place for parents to ask questions, vent, and support each other as we care for our special needs children.  So, imagine the horror when it was discovered that a question and picture asked by one of the moms had been anonymously screen shotted and sent to a site where it had gone viral making fun of the "stupid" mother.  There are several things wrong with this.  First of all, the group is closed for a reason-because most people can't understand what it's truly like to have a child with a feeding disorder and parents need a safe place to ask questions from others who are walking the same path.  Secondly, it may seem like a "dumb" question to some, but honestly, when you're dealing with special needs, medically complex children, every little thing could possibly mean something big so parents tend to be extremely vigilant with noticing every change in their children.  And yes, there are rare skin conditions that can cause changes like that.  It's better to ask a seemingly silly or obvious question and be reassured that everything is okay than to wonder and worry.  This to me, looks more like a concerned, observant mother than a stupid one.      




Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pros and Cons of G Tubes

I get mixed reactions about Little Dude's G Tube.  Some people are happy he has it because it ensures that he's getting the nutrition he needs or just think it's really cool.  Others are horrified about it or sad that he has to have it at all.  Personally, I tend to waver between the two reactions so I put together a list of pros and cons.


Pros:
  • Little Dude's not starving anymore!  Huge plus, obviously.
  • I can feed him while he's sleeping.
  • I can give meds through the tube and not have to worry about him spitting them back out.
  • Cute tubie pads :)  I love accessorizing my kids with cute handmade things so when I found out that the tubie pads Little Dude needs to keep drainage from irritating his skin can be made in fun designs, I had some fun picking out cute ones for him.  I got his from Gotz GPadz on Facebook.
Little Dude modeling his Doctor Who tubie pad.
  • A G Tube is much less stressful than an NG tube, in my opinion.  An NG tube (a tube that goes down the nose into the stomach) has to be taped to the face, can easily be pulled out, and is traumatic to replace.  Little Dude pulled his three times in the five days he had it while at the hospital and I knew there was no way we were leaving the hospital with it, especially with a curious toddler at home.
Little Dude with an NG tube at the hospital


Cons:
  • Well, there's this tube going through a hole in my baby's stomach...not crazy about that.
  • I worry about the tube coming out.  I don't even like to change my 6 year old's earrings, how am I going to put a G Tube back in?  If it comes out at home, taking him to the doctor to do it isn't an option because we have to drive 45 minutes to the closest doctor who can do that, and the stoma closes rapidly.  Thankfully, the chances of it popping out are actually pretty slim. 
  • I spend a lot of time cleaning the extension tubes and syringes for feeding Little Dude.  You haven't lived until you've pushed soapy water through an extension tube only to have the other end fly up and shoot water all over like a runaway hose.  
  • Granulation tissue (tissue that grows around the stoma to try to "heal" it) sucks.  I'm trying out a new product called GranuLotion to get rid of it right now, but usually Little Dude's granulation tissue has to be cauterized with silver nitrate sticks. 
 
For more information on feeding tubes, visit www.feedingtubeawareness.com
 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Purdy River Band and the Coolest Parents Ever

Have I mentioned that my parents are in a band?  Actually, they're in several bands, but one of the bands just put out their first CD!  Yes, my parents are that cool.


The band is called the Purdy River Band, and they play bluegrass music.  My dad, Dave Anderson, plays the banjo (let the banjo jokes fly!) and sings lead and harmony.  My mom, Elizabeth Anderson, plays the upright bass and sings harmony.  My dad's brother, Jon Anderson, plays the mandolin, fiddle, and dobro and sings lead and harmony. The fourth member of the band (who I'm actually not related to, lol) is Chuck Lahr who plays guitar, sings lead, and writes the songs for the band.

Here's a clip from one of their concerts:



My dad recorded and produced the CD and FYI, he's a total perfectionist when it comes to stuff like that so the sound is amazing.

Coolest guitar picks ever :)

The Purdy River Band can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation and on their website.  You can buy their cd, Midnight Run, on Amazon.  Check it out! 






Monday, August 25, 2014

Random Monday - August 24, 2014

Princess after stepping outside: "It's so hot out here, I feel like I'm going to die to death!"
 
My older sister is a Whovian and let my kids watch some Doctor Who episodes at her house a few weeks ago which turned Princess into a budding Whovian as well.  While out shopping last week, Princess saw a blue port-a-potty and got excited..."Mommy, look!  It's just like Doctor Who's house!" which then led to a conversation about how my sister's house is just like the Tardis as well because "it's little on the outside except that it's little on the inside too."  Ha!
 
Princess: "You're the best mommy ever today!"
Me: "Thank you!  What about yesterday?"
Princess *thinks for a minute*: "No, not so much yesterday."
Thanks for the honesty, sweetheart!
 
Want baby fever?  Watch this:
 You're welcome :)
 
I got a copy of "All-of-a-Kind Family" by Sydney Taylor from the library.  It was one of my favorite books as a child, and I'm excited to be able to read it to Princess.

I've been desperate to get back to crafting, but thanks to some flooding in the basement last month, the floor in my sewing room needs to be re-done (which we're pretty sure will cost money) which means that I can't unpack my sewing supplies for a while yet.  Plus, Little Dude doesn't give me much time to dedicate to that sort of thing.  Sooooo, I've come up with some crafting I can do without my sewing machine.  Stay tuned in the next few weeks for the big debut!

I'm trying to teach Little Dude to fall asleep on his own.  And by "on his own", I mean, without me fighting/rocking him for an hour and with the pacifier, blanket, vibrating singing elephant, sound machine, infant swing, and any other sleep aid I can throw at him.  Wish me luck. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Little Dude - 5 Months

Age: 5 months

Sorry for the bad picture.  No camera cord yet so I had to use my tablet for his picture.

Weight and height: Little Dude 13 pounds, 0.5 ounces.  Not sure how long he is since we do weight checks once a week, but height checks are only during his regular checkups :)  I'm guessing between 24 and 25 inches long.

Wearing size: Size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothes.  He must have had a growth spurt because one day the 0-3 month clothes fit him fine and the next day, they were all too short on him.  A lot of the 3-6 month stuff is still baggy, but if he keeps growing the way he has been, they'll fit him soon!

Likes: He's not a fan of being swaddled anymore, but still loves having his blanket around him and near his face (don't worry, I move it when he falls asleep!) when he's going to sleep.  He loves playing with and chewing on blankets too so they make a great toy too.  He likes sitting in the walker and jumperoo with a blanket tucked around him for support as he gets tired pretty easily.   He loves the standing position and has very strong legs.  He absolutely loves when people talk to him and smiles pretty easily now.

Dislikes: Not being entertained or held constantly.  He still HATES going to sleep and will scream and fight like no other baby I've ever seen. 

Eating habits:  Because his weight gain was plateauing, we increased his feeds to 5 ounces every 3 hours  (6 bottles total in a 24 hour period).  He'll eat a few ounces at a time and will sometimes finish a whole bottle, but usually he loses interest and refuses to drink the whole thing.  Whatever he doesn't take by mouth gets fed through his G Tube.  I tube feed his last feeding of the day so I don't have to wake him up since it's late at night after he's gone to bed.

Sleeping habits: He's napping a little better during the day.  I got a sound machine which seems to help him sleep a little longer.  He usually takes 3 naps a day-a shorter one in the morning and in the late afternoon and a longer one in the middle of the day.  He's been sleeping through the night (cue the hallelujah chorus!) for the last few weeks and is asleep for the night between 8 and 9 pm and sleeps for 10-12 hours.  He gets his last feeding of the day around 11ish and I tube feed that one so I don't have to wake him up.  It's amazing how everything doesn't seem quite so bad when you're getting decent sleep!

Milestones: He loves playing with toys and reaches for things as soon as he sees them.  He can roll over from his stomach to his back and Princess swears she saw him roll over from his back to his stomach too.  I haven't seen him do that yet, but he does barrel rolls.  He seems to be basically caught up developmentally!     


Miscellaneous: He's doing so much better than he was!  He has longer periods of time now when he'll be happy if I set him down and walk away.




Saturday, August 16, 2014

August: The Easy Month

August was supposed to be our easy month, our month off from doctors and diagnoses and tests.  The only appointment Little Dude had scheduled this month was a therapy evaluation on August 1st (they're going to monitor him with monthly home visits, but he doesn't need regular therapy other than that.  Yay!) and we weren't expecting any test results this month.

I really need to quit getting my hopes up about stuff like this...

Little Dude started a 3 week round of antibiotics in late July to treat a bacterial infection in his lungs.  After a week, I noticed an improvement in his coughing fits.  A few days before he finished the antibiotics though, I noticed an increase in his coughing, choking, and breathing difficulties.  As his condition fluctuates a lot, I didn't think much of it-just increased his nebs and kept an eye on him.  Then, on Tuesday night, he started having a really hard time breathing and by Wednesday afternoon, a fever had joined the party.  By that evening, he'd gotten much worse so I decided to take him to the doctor Thursday morning.  Little Dude barely slept that night and was absolutely miserable.

The next morning, I woke up to find that I was sick with chills, fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, and aches all over.  I could barely get up, but fixed a bed on the living room couch and moved Little Dude's whole operation over there so I could rest while caring for him.  I called the doctor and as soon as they heard that he was sick and having problems breathing, they said to bring him over as soon as possible despite the fact that the doctor was booked all day.  I was in no condition to leave the house so my mom came over to take him and a note with all his info to the doctor for me.  I passed out as soon as she left and slept until she came back (I slept through 3 phone calls from her even though the phone was right next to my head, whoops!).  Probably not the best thing since I honestly have no clue what the other three kids were doing during that time, but no one got hurt or destroyed anything.  Thankfully, that nap was all it took to get me feeling just a smidge better because Little Dude came back with instructions to head to the ER.

I packed an overnight bag for Little Dude and me, and my dad drove us up to the ER while my mom stayed with the kids (Hubby was sleeping since he was in the middle of a run of night shifts).  I was so glad my dad could drive us since Little Dude needed someone in the backseat with him to monitor his breathing and choking.   


We spent the afternoon at the ER, where Little Dude had an x-ray of his lungs that showed that he had pneumonia.  They tried to start an iv for antibiotics, but absolutely couldn't get one in nor could they get the blood they needed for a blood draw.  Little Dude has impossible veins, and the only way to get an iv in him is when he's sedated.  After spending over 40 minutes futilely poking my poor baby, they decided to give him the antibiotic in a shot instead.  If I'd known that was an option, I would've asked for it immediately since I knew they weren't going to be able to start an iv.  It took two techs and a long time to get just enough blood for the labwork.


Around 6 pm, Little Dude was admitted, and we were finally sent upstairs to a room on the peds floor which incidentally was right next door to the room he had in May.  He spent the night there for observation.

Because Little Dude was keeping his O2 sats above 90 on room air, he was able to come home the next day with an oral antibiotic.  If he didn't have his G Tube, they would've kept him longer because of concerns for dehydration, but thankfully, we can get plenty of fluids in him even though he's barely taking any formula by mouth right now.      

So, I'm just a little freaked out about cold and flu season now.  Little Dude's lungs and immune system are not in great shape and both Princess and Little Man will be bringing germs home from school this year.  If you want to find me this winter, I'll be the crazy lady with lysol in each hand and a "don't touch!" sign above the baby giving the stinkeye to everybody with a runny nose.  




Monday, August 11, 2014

Random Monday - August 11, 2014

First of all, today is my dad's birthday!!!  I probably shouldn't say this but he's 55 years old today :)  Hello, Senior Discounts!

Vacation Bible School at our church starts tonight.  My sister is going to come over to my house each evening to watch our younger kids and I'll take the five older ones to VBS.  I'll be helping with the junior high class so will be staying the whole time.  The kids are super psyched about it, but Little Dude has been running fevers, throwing up, and not feeling good periodically the last few days and Princess is starting to complain about not feeling good too so we'll see how they're doing tonight before I decide for sure if they can go.  I'd hate for them to miss it, but you just can't control when they're going to get sick. 

We got our tubie pads from Gotz GPadz today!  I've been looking for some that are thin and don't have tight, rough stitching around the edges and opening in the middle.  These fit the bill plus the price and shipping time were great.  I got an assortment of 10 for Little Dude.  Since my (Whovian) sister has helped me so much with Little Dude since he came home from the hospital in May, I knew I had to get the Tardis ones for him in honor of her.   :)  


Little Dude modeling one of his new tubie pads.

Have a great week, everybody!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

World Breastfeeding Week

I know I'm a little late to the party since World Breastfeeding Week ran from August 1-7th, but the constant Mommy Wars over the best way to feed your baby this past week really got me thinking.

First, let me fill you in on my history with breastfeeding...

I breastfed Princess for a year.  It was an incredibly rough start and we both cried a lot in the beginning.  I had to supplement with formula because no matter what I did, I just didn't have enough milk for her, but at least we made it to a year.

I breastfed Little Man for 3 months.  It was a horrible experience.  He hated breastfeeding with a passion, and he screamed everytime I tried to feed him.  When he was 3 months old, I got mastitis and he flat out refused to even try to nurse.  I switched him to formula and within a month, he went from a screaming, scrawny baby to a chubby, happier baby.  It was definitely the right choice for him and for me.

I put a lot of thought into how I would feed Star before she was born, but the very thought of breastfeeding made me sick to my stomach, and I just couldn't bring myself to go through an experience like I had with Little Man again.  When Star was born, she was very tongue tied and probably wouldn't have been able to nurse well anyway.  I formula fed her from the beginning and never looked back.

When I was pregnant with Little Dude, I decided early on to bottle feed again.  I felt like Star was the first baby I had where I was able to actually enjoy the newborn stage since I wasn't fighting to get a baby to eat, and so I wanted to repeat that experience.  Little did I know that Little Dude was going to have issues with eating among other things.  Every time I tried to feed him, I felt like I was torturing him.  I felt like a complete failure as a mother as I watched him starve and then get a G Tube.  But the important thing now is that he's growing and thriving.  I've come to accept the button in his tummy and even love it because without it, Little Dude might not be here today and certainly wouldn't be doing as well as he is.   

I support breastfeeding.  I think everyone should at least give it a try before deciding it's not for them.  But I also think that sometimes, it's best for baby and mom to formula feed, and we need to stop judging other moms on how they choose to feed their baby.

I've seen way too many of my facebook friends lately stating that the BEST thing anyone can do for their baby is to breastfeed or bragging about how healthy and smart their kids will be because they loved their children enough to breastfeed.  For moms like me who are unable to breastfeed their babies or choose not to for various reasons, statements like that are a kick in the gut.  I love my children just as much as other moms love their kiddos, but the best thing I could do for my babies was to feed them, no matter how that was accomplished.  Formula feeding, breastfeeding, tube feeding...not one of these methods of feeding a baby makes that baby any more or less loved or makes the mom any more or less of a mom.     

So here's the deal: we all just need to agree that the most important thing is not how or what we feed our babies, it's that they're fed and they're loved.




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