Monday, June 11, 2012

13/14 months

Dear Little T,

I'm so far behind. So, to make up for it, how about a little torture?

This adorable picture was taken in Asheville, by your "Aunt" Becca. We went to tea, and of course there had to be big fancy hats. I literally had to tie you down into that chair, because you decided to stand up in the one that didn't have a strap. We had a great day with our friends. We went to tea of course, and then to a fountain made for kids to play in. You fell asleep in the car on the way there, so only our friend A really got to play in it, while you slept in her stroller.

You've made such incredible progress this month. Just in the last couple of weeks, you've begun standing all on your own, even though you were barely cruising along the sides of couches, and you've FINALLY started eating cereal puffs on your own. You put them in your mouth, you chew them, and you swallow them. BY YOURSELF. You have no idea what an accomplishment that is for you. Up until now, we'd have to shove them in your mouth, you might chew it a bit and then you'd either spit it out, or gag until you threw it up. That's how we were training you to eat, at the behest of your speech therapist.

Yes, you're in therapy. You have a speech therapist (mostly for eating, not really for talking), a physical therapist, who has helped you make amazing strides in crawling and walking, an occupational therapist, and, to coordinate all of them, you have an early interventionist, who thankfully comes to see you at daycare. Thank God for Babynet - a program that provides all these things to us for free.

You have discovered the Joy of the Dog's Water Bowl. If you can crawl past us, and sneak your way through the kitchen, you splash until all the water is on the floor, and you love it. I can't figure out the attraction, but it's better than food, and almost as good as the bath.

Right now, I've just put you to bed, and you're screaming. I wish I didn't have to do that, but 8:00 is bedtime, and you have been wild the last couple of days. You are 14 months old today, and you confirmed this afternoon that Dada is your father. He walked into the room as I was feeding you, and you immediately called out, "Dada!" even though you'd been saying entirely differen things before he appeared. You also said something that sounds very like, "Duck" when I got out your duck toy. You really are starting to talk!

Notice you have a snotty little nose in this picture? That's because you have been sick. You have been sick since your birthday, actually. You got a double ear infection, and then after kicking that, you got strep throat, and then a sinus infection, which you promptly gave to me. The snotty nose has been fun. It feels horrible when I can't make you feel better, and your fever jumped up and down, up and down for over a week.

Even so, when you're happy, your eyes shine like I've never seen anyone's shine. Your smile is magic. I can't wait to see what you'll do next.


Monday, April 30, 2012

12 Months: Happy birthday, T!

Dear Little T,

I'm stunned to think that a year ago today (as I wrote this) , I was lying in a hospital bed, begging to go see my baby. I expected to go see you after my 10 o'clock blood draw, but it turned out they meant I would see you after the results came in.

This month has happened in huge leaps. You're crawling properly now, and  your knees are always red. I'm pretty sure you're landing on your nose a bit, too, because your nose is also always red.

It's colder today than it's been in weeks. I have a cute little "Birthday Boy" onesie all set out for you to wear to "baby school", and it's kind of cold.  You also appear to have an ear infection. You've been cranky for a few days, and I was pretty sure something wasn't right, but I thought you had some back teeth coming in. It's not what I hoped for your first birthday, but since your party isn't until Saturday, I hope both you and the weather will improve.

You're "talking" so much more. Now, instead of "Dadada" it's Da, Mamamama (only when mad or upset, of course), and Baba. I'm pretty sure you don't know what any of those mean, but dada and baba are happy sounds, and mamama is what you say when  you're upset and crying. My personal favorite, though is "Aaada!" which sounds an awful lot like, "A duck!" That's why rubber duckies is the theme for your birthday party. Plus, you really like chewing on your rubber ducky's head.

It's hard to know what to tell you on your first birthday. There's so, so much. I bugged your father for fully four years before we were "ready" to have you, because I wanted you so badly. Turns out, your daddy was pretty excited, too. When we found out we were having a baby, he started a project:

1000 paper cranes

He started making paper cranes. Having 1000 is supposed to be good luck, and he was making them for you. He made a great mobile out of them, later. 

As everyone knows, you arrived far earlier than we had hoped. Even now, I feel a pretty intense amount of guilt about it, even though I'm told by every professional out there that it's not my fault. You are an incredibly little man, and growing up way too fast, in spite of the fact that it's just a little slower than other kids.  You're crawling so fast, and pulling up on every surface you get near, no matter how unsteady. 

Pulling up on Daddy

I'm so very proud of you. You're the happiest child I have ever seen, and it amazes me every day. You're so funny, too! The other night I found you using the bumper in your crib as a pillow, curled up, holding a round plastic bear-type light toy in your arms. Even at 4am, I got the giggles looking at you. 

I'm sure someone's going to shout at me for having a bumper in your bed at all, but when you started getting both of your legs stuck in the bars of your bed, and screaming, I decided to put the bumper in. You're extremely good about rolling away from things in your face, so I worry less about those issues these days. 

For your birthday party, even though you were only one, I went a little crazy. You won't remember that day, but I will, and I wanted it to be special. Our friends were there and wonderful, and the only way I could have been happier is if you had tried to eat your cake, instead of throwing it on the floor. Still, you were too cute to be mad at: 

Photo courtesy of Smilin' Down Photography

You were also super funny. Like your Aunt K as a wee baby on her first birthday, you hated the grass, but you put up with it: 

Photo courtesy of Smilin' Down Photography

My favorite thing about you now is how easy it is to make you smile and laugh. Your Daddy laughs, you laugh. We tickle you a little, and you laugh. Daddy comes home, and as soon as you see him, you're crawling for him as fast as  your little hands and legs can move, and trying to climb his legs, and laughing. 

Your constant joy is infectious. I really hope that you keep that forever. One year in our lives, and it seems like life would not be living without you there. The other day I dropped you off at daycare so I could clean and run errands on my day off, and the dog was at the vet, and the house was impossibly quiet. Your dad commented that the house just wasn't right. How very true - our house is no longer right without you. 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

11 months

Dear Little T,

Today you are 11 months old. It absolutely boggles my mind to think that it's been nearly a year since you were rushed into the world.

I'm absolutely certain that we, as parents, scare other people off of parenthood, at least temporarily, with all of our complaints. I'm sure I'm no different. I was absolutely positive that I would love being a parent, long before you were born, and that is true. As a matter of fact, parenthood is far better than I ever imagined it being. You certainly present your challenges. I've never been busier in my entire life. I remember clearly waking up one night a couple of months before you were born and sobbing, because what if I had ruined our lives? What if I was going to miss having all this time to myself too much?  Shockingly, I don't. I do miss my sleep sometimes, and I do miss occasional lazy days, but you fill in my lazy times with FUN. You're so fun!

For example - your laughter. You laugh all the time now, and it's the most beautiful sound on earth. Your joy is contagious, and I mean that truly. You love being hugged, and you hug back now. The ticklish spots are mostly on your neck, and you're fully enjoying being zerberted on your belly.

When you're excited, you flap your arms like you're going to fly away, and like everything you do, it makes me laugh.

The crawling process is continuing, although slowly. You have begun a little bit of a scoot. Fortunately for me, you can't move too quickly, so for the moment I can still keep up with you. However, those little changes are happening so fast, I can barely keep up. You've started trying to pull up, and the day you turned 11 months, I caught you up on your knees in the crib, trying to eat the railing.
I know how fuzzy this is, but it's so cute!

What's amazing to me is how calm you are. You're nothing like me with respect to the fact that you can enjoy sitting in your stroller, watching things for hours, while I'd get bored in five minutes and scream, at your age.

Bought this hat when you were three months old. It was huge then! Of course, when you were born, that baseball rattle was as big as your head.

It's hilarious what you like to play with. While last month your favorite toy was a spoon, now grabbing my necklace is your favorite sport. While you can't pick up a little piece of freeze dried yogurt, you can grab at my swinging necklace and never miss.

The feeding is a funny thing. You'll grab at your food bowls, but as soon as  you realized that I couldn't feed you without it, you left it alone. I actually can't seem to get you to play with your food. You will try to put anything in your mouth but food, and you when you do put finger foods in your mouth, you spit them out. You're eating baby food like I'm starving you death. You'll entire containers of baby food, just to start crying when I get up to throw it away. I didn't think baby food was expensive, and it's not - when you're not going through 30-40 containers a week! Fortunately, we have a baby food maker, too.

I'm planning your first birthday party, and I just can't believe it. I can't believe my teeny baby is going to be one. Slow down, little man! I'm not ready for this.


Monday, February 13, 2012

10 months

Dear Little T,

You are ten months old! It's unbelievable how fast you've changed. Your new favorite look is to stick your tongue out. Constantly.

Photo taken by Rebecca Crandall 

It's ok when you're smiling, but you often do it when you're not, especially when you're thinking about something. That's when it starts to look like a "duh" face. "Duuuuh". Sometimes you even say that. I'm sure there's a brilliant mind in there, but you are a little stinker and you're trying to hide it. You rarely do that when it's just us.

Photo taken by Rebecca Crandall 

I still think you're the most beautiful baby ever made, but dang, kid!

You've made some pretty spectacular changes in just one month. On the 11th, the very day you turned 10 months old, you CRAWLED. It was just a teeny bit, and then you went flat on your belly and did a lizard type army crawl, but you did it! I was so excited, I might have screamed a little. Judging by the state of our house, it's perhaps a blessing that you haven't done it sooner. 

We took you to a couple restaurants this month, and gave you small foods to chew on. You were unimpressed. You tried to eat a chip at a Mexican restaurant, while I tried very hard to get a picture. Alas,  every time you broke off a piece of the chip with your three (!!!) little teeth, you spit it out. I'm not sure you realize that it's food yet. The same thing happened with a french fry. I know, fried foods for infants is bad, but you're still so thin that I'll do about anything to fatten you up. Seriously. Yesterday I gave you two containers of yogurt, which is about the calories in four of your little baby food meals. Oh, and that third tooth? Oh yeah. It's on the top. Not in the middle, like a regular kid, but those eye teeth. Yes, my poor son, you are getting fangs, just like I did as a baby. I can't wait to take pictures of you looking like a little vampire.

Speaking of eating, you food range has exploded this month. You went from refusing everything except cereal to eating everything that is mush you can possibly get your hands on. Since everything, and I do mean everything you get near goes in your mouth (you put my shoe in your mouth yesterday before I could stop you). Now you'll eat any baby food I offer you. Prunes do not faze you a bit. Everything is NOM NOM NOM. As a matter of fact, you really do say "MMMMMMMMMMMM" after every single bite. Every single one! It's stinking adorable. I thought maybe you'd quit, but a day or so ago I gave you your very favorite, yogurt, and the MMMMM was back. That means there's no excuse for you refusing to say "Mama". You just won't. You say "Dadadadada" all day long, but never "Mama". Hmph.

I spent the majority of this month sick as a dog, and the Saturday that I was sickest, you were wonderful. You played, and goofed off, and asked very little of me. Sweet little man. I actually stayed sick for two solid weeks - with what seemed like just a miserable, awful cold. If you felt half as bad as I did, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I didn't feel more sorry for you, and hold you around the clock if you wanted, because that was hideous.

Your firsts this month - you can pretty much sit up, but you cry every time you fall over, and you are simply not interested in sitting up on your own. Lazy! However, you also crawled a teeny bit the other day. WOOHOO! I was getting all worried because you seemed like you were falling behind, and then you went and crawled. Now I can't get you to do it again, so everyone probably thinks I'm a liar. Which just makes you a little stinker.

STINKER. That you is what you are! You made your first in-tub poo the other day, too. Delightful. The worst part is, with the bubbles, I didn't see it. I didn't see it until I went back a couple hours later to dump the little tub out (What? My hands were full! I'd like to see YOU juggle a wet baby and a baby tub full of water without dropping anything!) and the water was brown. That was all kinds of gross. Good thing your Daddy wasn't there - he would have thrown up.

We started Kindermusik this month, and it's kind of fun. I honestly never expected to feel like I got exercise, but I wasn't thinking about carrying/swinging you around the whole time. You seem to have fun, but you get overwhelmed by the end, and make it very clear to me that you want to go home. Very loudly.

In just another week we're going to our friend Alice's birthday party. I'm excited, and I hope you'll be good, and smile a little.

Picture taken by Rebecca Crandall of

Even if you're cranky and crabby, you make every day better and more fun. I can't imagine life without you any more, and I wouldn't want to. I'm still really happy that you've got all the teeth you need for a little while, though.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Official Parents of Preemies day

The first ever Parents of Preemies Day will be on  March 23rd, 2012! 

While I don't feel that my own courage and commitment need to be honored, I'm very pleased to announce that the courage and commitment of all preemie parents will be honored on this day. Yay!! 

Please follow this link for more information:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

9 months

Dear Little T,

What a month. All of a sudden you are making big strides, and the dichotomy of being a mom emerges again.

You measured, two days ago, at almost 27 inches tall. That means you've grown an entire FOOT since birth. A foot. Do you have any idea how long it took me to grow the last foot I grew? YEARS. And you've gone from nothing to over two feet tall in something like 16 months. I'll never cease to marvel about it, even though I've seen it a million times with other people's kids.

Your first tooth came in this month. During the week of Christmas break. While Daddy was sick. So, yeah, it's been fun. I spent the whole week taking care of screaming, angry T, when I'd gotten to really enjoy cheerful, happy T. I was so looking forward to spending a week with happy T, and playing, and cooing, and I got an angry, angry child. Seriously, I put you down and you screamed like I had stabbed you repeatedly with needles (much like when we got your shots).  Except this happened every time I put you down. Since we've been to the doctor, oh, weekly since Thanksgiving, I promise you, you are not in pain because I'm putting you down. You did, however, make me want to give you to the circus. Fortunately, the tooth popped through, you bit me, and I was sure all was well. But those crankies did not go away. They went away abouta week or so later when the second tooth came through as well!

Christmas sucked. I was excited about the idea of opening presents as a little family. And we did! Like two days after Christmas, because Daddy was so sick, he couldn't even get out of bed to go to Grandma's house, and I had to take you alone. After two presents, it was too much, and you started to cry.

There was plenty of good stuff - you learned to roll all over the place, so it's anybody's guess where you'll be if I leave you on the floor for a minute and come back. I'll put you in the living room, and you'll be gnawing on the dog's tail in the kitchen by the time I turn around.  I'm not joking; you tried to chew on my foot this morning, too. Also, you're getting up on your hands and knees! That sounds like no big deal, but you do it, and you rock, too! Yes, that totally means you're awesome, but it also means you're rocking back and forth, like you're thinking about crawling. You even launched yourself forward like..well, like a kid on a bike with training wheels going off a ramp, and landed about and inch in front of where you started. But hey! It's a start! You're going to crawl!

All my notes for this month have to do with the crankies. It overwhelmed us this month, but, as I said, you are true sunshine now that those darn teeth have come through. You were impossible to entertain for more than oh, three seconds at a time, and now you're happy as a clam to play with your box of diapers for an hour or so. I had to re-Ferberize you (YES, we do that. I love you more than I can say, but if you refused to sleep all night, or woke up 10 times a night, I'd kill myself and your Dad - obviously not in that order) because you were waking up at least twice a night, and Daddy's been working tons of overtime. He awesome for that - believe me - so we can pay your NICU bills, but I sure do miss him when you're crying in the middle of the night.

I had this whole internal debate with myself the other day - I thought it was very deep at the time. I wondered if I was spoiling you by holding you every night and rocking you to sleep and such. I always wondered what possessed parents to spoil their children, but I would give my eyeteeth and pinky fingers to keep you smiling. Half the time I worry that I'm not giving you enough love and attention and you'll grow up to be a sociopath (THANKS, Criminal Minds!) and the other half I worry I spoil you too much and you'll grow up to be a sociopath (Thanks again, Criminal Minds. Awesome show, truly terrible on the parent psyche).

Your new sound! You tell us very emphatically each day, "Da! DAdadadaDA! DA! Daaaaaa!" You even informed me that "Daddadada". Not a "Mama" in sight. Except for the class "Goo" and "Aaaah", you're not doing any more talking.

I love you. More every day, even when you're being a pill. Every day you give me another reason to laugh and smile. I can't wait to see what you accomplish next.


“Time doth flit; oh shit.” 
― Dorothy Parker

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Seriously. I have to stop playing on the internet.

This review of the nosefrida is so true and so funny.

A nosefrida, if you don't know, is this thing. 

This thing is gross. You literally suck snot out of your kid's nose with a tube. There's a little spongy thing that keeps the mucus from getting in your mouth, but it's still kind of horrifying. 

T hates it. HATES. He SCREAMS. Imagine tearing a child's arm off, like in the beginning of Stephen King's book IT (if the kid survived, of course). That's how he screams. He screams MUCH harder than say, when the pediatrician stuck his finger for blood and then squeezed and squeezed and squeezed it. He does NOT appreciate the nosefrida. 

However, when you have a child that has to go to the pediatrician say, at least once a week (actually, I've totally lost track. I've made a vow to keep a doctor visit journal) and usually for breathing issues, getting rid of snot is a priority. Those bulbs just aren't good enough. So yeah, I'm willing to use the greatest thing on the market for my son. As a matter of fact, I've bought three. (The dog ate the first one, so I bought a spare the second time). 

It's amazing. Your kid will act like you chopped off his arm and ate it, but at least he'll be able to breathe. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I promise...

I'm working on T's monthly letter. However, I apparently love to post-steal, and here's another:

The Bloggess. I find, all too often, people mock depression. People mock the struggle, they mock because of those who abuse it for a disability check, they mock because they've never been there, and they mock because they can't see the bleeding. I suffer from anxiety. When I say suffer, I mean that. It's not the same. I'm perfectly aware that it isn't the same, but I think it gives me some empathy for those who suffer so much that they seriously don't have the will to live, and when they're finally rising out the depths is when they have the strength to commit suicide. How ironic is that? It reminds me of the phenomena wherein a terminally ill person seems to get well all of a sudden, right before he dies. And yet, people still don't believe. Everyone believes in friggin' breast cancer. How many don't believe/understand how many babies struggle to live, to breathe, even though the parents sacrificed everything to have them, and have done everything possible to have a healthy child? How many people, on the same end, don't believe that depression is real, or that it really affects people?

The Bloggess wants to see people wear silver ribbons for depression. I want to see more purple in support of babies like my son. My son, the beautiful light of my life, the cheerful happy child who is delighted to see anyone who will smile at him, that some people have said wasn't worth saving because he was born too early and so very very small. I have a lot of ribbons to wear.

Here's her original post about her struggles with depression: (I hope my ramblings didn't go too far off base).

For the babies: Prematurity awareness. 
For Depression. For every person who struggles to feel alive. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I missed World Prematurity day

However, this article gets to me, so I'm going to post it anyway, because the March of Dimes walk is getting closer.

From the March of Dimes website: 
The global toll of preterm birth is harsh. We estimate that worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon each year. More than 1 million of these premature babies die before their first birthday. Here is a story from one of our friends in England, Honeybee Mum.

My girl was born in Africa at 26 weeks. We don’t know what she weighed, nobody bothered to check. We do know she had a 1 minute APGAR of 8. Then she was put outside on a table to die. After 6 hours they realized she was still breathing and ventilated her. In a shared crib. After 5 weeks she was sent home to die, in order not to clutter up the hospital. Shocking? Yes, but not so very far adrift from many preemies’ arrival all round the world. Including ‘western’ preemies.
My girl’s determination, strength and character shine through all of this. 6 years later she has a list of diagnoses that scare many medical professionals. She attends mainstream school, and speaks or understands several languages. She defies the odds at every turn. And yet our frequent blue-light rides in her ‘special van’ (ambulance) terrify us every time. When she’s lying blue-grey on the floor and I can’t find her pulse – again – I am at my most distraught.
My girl wants to be a dancer. A chef. A paramedic. She wants to build houses and paint. She wants to walk like her friends. She wants her body to work properly. She wants to be able to feed herself. To have a wash by herself. And a thousand other little-huge dreams. She roars with frustration and anger, then reaches deep and finds the strength to try again and again and again. I learn from her. I learn most of all to share a love of life lived in the moment, all the while holding onto dreams of the future. Dream big and aim high. Meanwhile do what you can today. My girl has taught me this.

I was going to write about the poignancy of driving miles to a hospital that hopes it can cope with her needs, on World Preemie Day. I was going to stop harping on about the history and the past. But while our babies are still demanding to come early into the world, their stories need to be told. Over and over again, until the unaffected world leaders begin to listen and hear their (silent) shouts for equity. For the care and attention that should be their birthright, their due. For the tables and waiting places to be taken away for ever. For their ongoing needs to be addressed and supported. For proper research, at the point of prematurity and on and on into the future lives of the ‘unlucky’ ones. Because yes, some come away unscathed. The few and far between ones. The lucky ones. Their terror journey has ended. For so many of us, the rollercoaster will continue to an unthinkable ending.
This problem is truly global, affecting families everywhere. Although the vast majority of preterm births and related deaths occur in poor countries, families in wealthier nations are also at risk of having a baby born preterm. In fact, the number of premature babies born in the United States has increased 36 percent over the last 25 years.

The March of Dimes partners with organizations around the world to raise awareness of the problem of premature birth. Today, November 17, 2011 — World Prematurity Day — we are making a global effort to draw attention to the global crisis.
Our global alliance partners include the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), Little Big Souls International Foundation in Africa and the National Premmie Foundation in Australia. We welcome inquiries from organizations who are interested in supporting these efforts.