Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday

Happy 2nd Birthday, April and Sophia! These cute little girls are holding stuffed animal bunnies that I bought when they were in the NICU. We took a series of pictures there of them with the bunnies to show their growth. Those pictures are on my other computer, so I'll simply comment that the bunnies were just a tad bit shorter than April and Sophia were -- and the bunnies were chubbier.

Below is April. I always remember that, in the NICU, a nurse once commented regarding her gaunt face: "Oh, she'll be attractive when she's older... very distinctive looking with well-defined chin and cheek bones." I had to smother a laugh at that time, because my children do NOT have thin faces, and I knew that April would be no exception. I do think she is attractive, though:

Below is Sophia. I think she is cute, too!

Below is what happened when I asked Dale to take a picture of April and Sophia together. He laid them on the floor. April left, and Sophia must have been bumped in the process, because she wasn't happy. Notice her spastic legs.

I love the picture of Sophia below. She was opening gifts (well, her sisters were really opening her gifts) and sitting in her chair fairly uprightly for the first several minutes.

Here are some things about Sophia at age 2:

* Eight teeth (molars still emerging) -- only missing the incisors
* Will be weighed and measured at the end of the month -- probably over 21 pounds and under 30 inches
* Says a few words spontaneously on occasion (not often): Ma (for MaMa), Buh (for Jolie), All done, Na (for song/sing), Cuh (for Claire)
* Says additional words when she hears them or is prompted: Da (for DaDa), Buh (for April), A-Ma (for Amen), Ba (when she hears her ball), Dow (for down when I'm carrying her down the stairs), Muh (for more), Ha (for hi), 'K' sound (for book), Buh (for bye), 'K'- 'K' sounds (for cracker) -- I might be missing a few
* Will sign "thank you" when prompted by putting her hand to her mouth
* Loves to chew on hard toys
* Will put anything in her mouth and then bite, including people's skin -- we are often telling her, "No biting!!" (And then, if I don't say it first, April chimes in with, "Ouch!")
* Is a good eater -- she will eat most things by feeding herself with her hands... she spills a lot and her appetite dropped off for a couple of weeks, but seems to be back now
* It can be difficult to get her to drink enough... she usually drinks from a sippy cup... but she just recently learned how to suck on a straw! This is a major accomplishment!! (She still needs to learn to coordinate the suck & swallow so liquid doesn't drip from her mouth)
* Cannot sit unassisted -- this has actually become worse as her legs are tightening more as she gets stronger...
* Rolls on the floor with some effort
* "Commando crawls" -- pulls herself across the floor on her belly using her arms
* Can see well enough to crawl toward an object several feet away from her, though she seems to "turn off" her vision at times
* Learning to take steps in her gait trainer, but can't propel it herself
* Seizure-free so far since beginning regular seizure medication (Keppra)
* Laughs when roughhousing
* Loves for people to sing her songs -- a favorite is "Rain is Falling All Around"
* Can put her hand on her nose when asked to "touch her nose"
* Doesn't have a pincer grasp, can't point her index finger
* Is a very loveable, fun little girl whom we love and LOVE having in our family!!

Below is a picture of April kissing Sophia. Sophia used to scream anytime April touched her (April's touch was probably somewhat uncoordinated and rough), but she's getting better about that -- April's probably becoming more coordinated, and Sophia's probably learning that April won't always inadvertently hurt her. These are my two little twins.

Here are some things about April at age 2:

* Has eight teeth -- incisors look like they will break through any day
* Unknown weight and height. I'd guess 24+ pounds and maybe 30 inches?? (She's heavier & taller than Sophia)
* Has the cutest smile with dimples. I remember, when she came home from the hospital, she didn't often look at me. Now, I love to make eye contact with her and hold her gaze as long as possible to take in that adorable smile.
* Says a lot of words and occasionally puts two together. Sounds like she speaks in sentences, but we can't understand any of it. Most of her words are not very clear, and I worry a little about her speech. Here is a partial list: Mommy, Daddy, Claire, Buh (for Jolie), Audrey, Eee-a (for Sophia), more, all done, thank you, please, ouch, hungry, cat, moo, meow, baa, ear, eye, nose, no, yes, hi, bye, woof, Addie, up, down, cracker, book, baby doll, blankie, love you
* Usually calls Sophia "baby," but will say "Eee-a" if I push it
* Has learned to feed herself with a spoon
* Can drink from an open cup, but will throw a fit for a sippy when she sees Sophia with one
* Likes to put all her food into an open cup
* Until recently, answered "yes" as "uhh-uhh," with her voice rising at the end of the utterance. Cute. Now, usually answers "yes" as "no," although she can physically say the word "yes" when I prompt it.
* Likes to play with whatever Audrey is playing with -- Polly pockets, etc., but she is usually not a welcome addition when that type of toy is involved
* Tries to run, and is getting faster, though I think she still always has at least one foot on the ground
* Nicknamed "kitty" by Audrey
* Has shown more interest in Sophia, and will assume a helper role -- will hand her toys she drops, and copy what I do -- like trying to "help" with her positioning
* Can kind of sing the chorus of "I Am a Child of God" (though you can't really understand the words)
* At bedtime, asks for "mo baby," which means "more blankie" or more blankets
* At bedtime, has down the urgent "Mommy!" to try to get me to stay in her room, but then doesn't say anything else
* Likes people
* Is somewhat afraid of -- but fascinated with -- our (outside) dog, Addie
* Is a sweet, smiling little girl whom we LOVE having in our family!!

Below is a picture of April with her candles. I thought she would be excited about her party, but the whole day she just seemed kind of perplexed. I felt badly because I didn't prepare her to try to blow out her candles, so she wouldn't even try. She did enjoy her cake and ice cream, though.

Sophia also enjoyed her cake (see below). I had worked on blowing with her, but she purses her lips and blows up toward her nose, and she didn't think it was time to do it when her candles appeared. Maybe next year?

Happy two years old, my little girls! I love you!

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Equipment

I am trying to bury the previous post. (It is LONG... the summary is that Sophia had two seizures in December, but is on seizure medication now and is doing okay so far... Now you don't need to read it!)

Never mind about the previous post... how frustrating.... I was about to post it, but I highlighted the text to try to change the font, and -- poof -- it disappeared. I am discouraged because it took hours and lots of energy to write. Anyway, here's this one (I'd better post it before its text disappears too):

Sophia has some new equipment. The first is a new gait trainer / walker. She wasn't quite ready for it, but our insurance would pay 100% of it last year, and we received it Dec. 31, so it was fully funded by insurance! Hooray! The following photo is from January 1st. She couldn't hold herself up at all. I wondered whether she would ever be able to use this thing.

In early February, she received foot orthotics (braces that support her feet and lower legs). I need to take a picture of them. We had to pay nearly $300 for them, and insurance covered the remainder (no more 100%). She wears huge shoes that make her tiny, unused feet look big, but the orthotics make her much sturdier. The following photos are from February 18th. She can't propel the gait trainer herself and her feet cross over each other when she steps, but look! She can support herself (with the gait trainer's supports and the orthotics helping) with her arms and legs!! Now I think that she may someday actually be able to get around in this thing! (Though her therapist thinks that a wheelchair will be her primary mode of transportation.)

We're also borrowing a different, more supportive stander from Early Intervention. I was disappointed to go from the less-supportive stander to the more-supportive one, but it is a nice piece of equipment and is what she needs. She loves to bite the bin that comes out of the tray.

All done!

I'll try to do birthday posts soon -- April and Sophia turn 2 on Sunday!!