Reincarnated As A Mother

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Houston, We Have Lift-Off!

Ah the sweet taste of success. And in this case, it tastes a lot like Rice Krispies! Under the coaching of his therapist, Pat, I've been working on his pincer skills. Unlike most babies, Kean had no concept of seeing food on his tray and then trying to pick it up with his fingers. So I've been wetting his hand in his mouth, then putting his hand in the cereal, which sticks nicely-- and then putting it back in his mouth.

Tonight for the first time, he did it himself! He put his hand in the Rice Krispies and then....
Yes! Sweet rewards.
I just had to share his big accomplishment! We're getting there and each step is really quite exciting... at least for the two of us!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Answer?

The doctor's office called today with Kean's test results. It seems his thyroid is not working properly and that could very well be the reason why he is not gaining weight. Hmmmm.
So now he goes on a medication (I'll pick it up tomorrow). The doc says he'll likely be on medication for the rest of his life. Pretty crazy to start something at age one and go from there. And we'll run some tests in four weeks to see if the medication is at the right level.
I have to say I'm relieved that the poor boy doesn't have to go through more prodding and poking-- if this is the reason. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Keanut the "Peenut"

I've started calling the baby "Keanut the Peenut"... because, I swear, every time I pull him out of the bathtub lately, he pees on me. Lovely, I know. What a glamorous life I lead.
Our little guy has had a rough week. I took him to the doctor last Tuesday for his check-up. We had a bit of a shock. When we were in at 9 months, he weighed 15 pounds exactly. Now at 13 months, he only weighs 15 lbs 15 oz. Not good. But get this, he looks healthy and he really likes to eat. So today we went down to the hospital and had some blood work done and now we are scheduled to meet with a Dietitian. Meanwhile, the little guy is trying to bulk up with Carnation Instant Breakfast added to his bottles. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Then to make matters more complicated, poor Kean is, well, let me put this delicately, he's plugged up. He cries and cries when he has to go. So he is also downing prunes, peaches, oatmeal etc. Fun times.
He also got some of his shots (we are on an adjusted schedule), so he's had a fever to make him even more miserable. Let me translate that for you-- it means momma's not getting a lot of sleep or much done around the house. His therapists have been sweet and gentle with him. I've never shown you a picture of Melissa (above). She is a developmental specialist-- who focuses on his motor skills, his verbal skills, his communication etc. Oh, for every mother to have therapists coming to their home to give advice, tips and great ideas.

And then there is Pat-- the Guru. She usually has him on the floor, working his muscles, trying to practice crawling and sitting up. Since he was not feeling well (look at those little eyes), she just worked on his eating.
For those of you who have kids, eating probably came pretty naturally for them. And I have to say, Kean has picked up on it much faster than I expected.
Here's the money shot: Kean can now put the spoon in his own mouth. These milestones are huge for him and for us! You should see what fools we are-- clapping and laughing at his triumphs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gifts and Gaps

We had our dear neighbors (Nancy and Jacqui) over for dinner the other night. They lived just above us and lost everything in the fire that hit our neighborhood. About a week ago, Jacqui picked up Holland and let her help her sift through the rubble that was once their home. Jacqui has been searching for her grandmother's diamond ring. While they did not find the diamond, Holland found all kinds of other treasures (a burned clock, some pieces of melted jewelry and some mis-shapen silver goblets). Jacqui did not want the "treasures", so Holland, Greer and Reese spent a good afternoon scrubbing and cleaning up the goods. Here's where the touching part comes in, Holland and Greer took the two nicest pieces of salvaged jewelry (picture two stone - like pendants) and made a beaded necklace out of each of them. One for Nancy and one for Jacqui. They wrapped then up and were so excited to present their "memory" necklaces to the women. It was really quite sweet. As if that wasn't exciting enough, Greer's long-time loose front tooth decided to steal the spotlight and make a very bloody entrance at dinnertime.

We're all about making memorable memories around here. Try saying that 10 times fast!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is going on in that little mind of hers??????

If you've read this blog with any small amount of consistency, you'll know that our youngest daughter is made up of 100 percent personality. It never stops. In fact, I'm convinced I could write a book on her musings alone.

Yesterday, she spent a good twenty minutes asking me all types of questions about mermaids-- here's one: "When mermaids are babies, do they have to swim with a life vest?"
I guess my answers about mermaids weren't compelling enough because by bedtime she had given up her quest to become a mermaid. As Byron was tucking her in, she made him look out the window and make a wish upon the moon. She told him he had to repeat (with her) three times loudly-- "I wish I was a princess, I wish I was a princess, I wish I was a princess"! I can report, so far, Byron's "wish" has not come true.
As you can see, she can be a bit bossy. The other day she told me to call up my friend Andrea for a play date for us moms. That way, she could have a play date at the same time with her daughter, Anne. See, everybody's happy.
The other day, she asked me to tell her how old I am. When I told her I'm really old. She said, that's what daddy says he is-- really, really old. She then asked me why I don't have those big cracks in my face, if I'm so old. I told her, just wait, they're coming!
Trust me, the girl can talk non-stop. And I must admit, sometimes, I just periodically throw her a uh, huh, or mmmm, I see. At lunch the other day, she spent the entire time telling me about how water starts coming out of her neck when it gets hot outside. And how her hair sticks to the water on her neck and it drives her crazy.
So next time one of you stops by the house-- please understand why once in a while I'm feeling desperate for adult conversation.
Seriously, she's quite entertaining. Who needs movies or TV with her around? Here's one final gem: Reese asked me if she was born in the same hospital as baby Kean. When I told her yes-- she replied, "I knew it, I just knew that is why we have always been best friends"!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Guilty Conscience = A New Mailbox

We woke up the other morning to find this. Ouch. It seems a young man was coming down the hill at 4a.m. and "lost control".

After hitting our mailbox, he cut across the road, took out the neighbor's fence and crash-landed in to their horse pasture.
The police immediately knew who the kid was... because he left quite the calling card-- he left his truck in the pasture and took off on foot. The cops towed his truck and went a callin' to his home. I guess his dad answered the door (just after 4am) fully dressed and ready for the day-- but had no idea where his son was at that hour. Hmmmmm.....
My best guess is he was hiding somewhere-- drying out!
So poor Byron schlepped to Home Depot to buy a new mailbox. This is the 3rd time we've had to replace the darn thing (due to wacky drivers)! And we live out in the country!!!
Here's the good news. The next day, I was coming home and lo and behold, there, working on the neighbor's fence was a young man and his father. I stopped, rolled down my window and asked him if he was the one who took out the fence. He sheepishly replied yes. I then asked him if he'd be repairing our mailbox next. He was surprised and shocked. Get this, he had no idea he'd smashed into our mailbox. (See my theory above). Long story, short, the very next day, he installed the new box and left us a check to pay for the cost of the box.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Adjusted Age Birthday to You....

Today's kind of a crazy anniversary. September 15th-- one year ago-- was my due date for Kean. So today is what his Docs consider to be his 1 year birthday (adjusted age). All I know is I'm not making another birthday cake. One go at a fire truck cake was enough for me in my lifetime. I won't focus on what he can't do YET... I'll just let you know all the fun things he can do so far. You know, with my other children, I always appreciated each cute little milestone or ability they mastered but with Kean, I don't know quite how to put it-- other than to say with every little thing he accomplishes, I rejoice. He works so incredibly hard to do what comes naturally for most other babies. I tell ya, he's living up to that old name he had while he was cooking in my belly: Spartacus. He's quite the warrior.

Today was another therapy day. Maureen worked him pretty hard on repeating the motions he would use for crawling-- hoping that one day it will all click. Notice Reese on her belly in the hall. Even though she had a friend over to play today, she has a hard time leaving Kean for just a moment. Here she is showing him how to crawl. And he actually seemed to be paying attention.
He did the best he's ever done. So we're making progress each week. Just look at that form. I'd give him a 10 if I weren't a biased judge.
I told you he works hard. Pure grit, I tell ya.
So at 13 months old (or 12 months adjusted age) here are a few of his talents:
  • He can sit on his own for a few minutes.
  • He can push his chest and head up with his arms and look around.
  • He can roll and roll and roll-- clear across the room and back and forth.
  • He loves to eat (especially vanilla ice cream).
  • He has graduated from breast milk (my personal pumping hell has finally come to an end and Byron can no longer say I'm part Holstein) and formula and is adjusting to the milk you buy at the grocery store.
  • He gets so excited to see me in the morning that he just hugs and hugs my neck (can I tell you how much I love this?).
  • Sometimes when I'm burping him, he pats my back.
  • He chatters. Sometimes he jabbers so loudly, the girls get agitated because he actually drowns them out!

I'm telling you, he is the sweetest, most loving, most even tempered, most content, most....... Well, you get the idea. I've said it before, he's pure joy. I remember the father of a Down Syndrome boy telling me (right after I had Kean) that he would be the joy of my life. I had no idea the amount of love awaiting me. At the time, I numbly nodded and tearfully whispered, I know. I know I'll feel that way someday. I just didn't know it would happen in such a short amount of time. I feel very blessed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Greatest Generation

As you all know, Saturday was the 9th anniversary of what is now seared into all of our memories and vocabulary-- simply as 9-eleven. I spent the evening with my mother and brother, Doug at a reunion for civilians who served as P.O.W.'s during WWII. And what a patriotic evening it was.
It was also nine years ago that my mom and I flew (with Holland as a 3 month old) to Great Falls, Montana for one of their reunions. At the time, my mother was knee deep in researching her book. My great grandfather spent nearly five horrific years as a P.O.W. at the hands of the Japanese. While in Montana, I helped my mom interview 85 former prisoners. And coming from a woman who used to tell peoples' stories for a living-- the stories of these men were spellbinding, amazing and inspiring.
Saturday night's reunion was a bit on the bittersweet side... there were only ten of the guys in attendance this time. They are all too rapidly passing on. The guy in the middle (below) doesn't remember much these days. But 9 years ago, while in Montana, we had dinner with him on a couple of occasions (and in the years since). His name is Bill Taylor and he was mentored by my great grandfather. Bill has quite the story to tell. In fact, he wrote a book a few years back-- but honestly, by the time he got it written, I think his mind was starting to fail him. The book does not even come close to capturing his experiences on paper. Anyway, he was one of the very few to sucessfully escape the Japanese. He and a buddy jumped a train as they were being transported from one death camp to another. His friend shattered his ankle and did not end up getting away. But crafty old Bill Taylor somehow made his way through enemy territory and ended up taking refuge with Mao Tse Dong's band of guerrilla warriors. He even has a picture of himself with Mao. Can you imagine?

This is dear old Mick Johnson. After the convention 9 years ago, baby Holland, my mom and I took a trip to some tiny, dot of a town in Arizona to Mick's house. He showed us all kinds of pictures and memorabilia and told us harrowing story after story. Get this, while we were there, he showed us in a closet where he had buried many of his priceless pictures and mementos from the camps-- under the carpet and the cement. We offered to have it dug up and the floor fixed-- but he said he would have it done someday. Well, the other night, we asked him about it-- if he'd ever unearthed his treasures-- and he couldn't remember where they were buried. How sad. We told his step-son. Hopefully, he'll find it.
This is Glen Newell. All of these men are truly heroes. And they all love my mom. She went back to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and dug up all kinds of information for each of them-- including their original P.O.W. cards the Japanese kept on each man. She gave them all copies. And she was able to clear up a lot of housekeeping details on each of the camps in China and Japan-- details that had grown cloudy with the memories of the men.
This is J.O. and Pearl Young. We spent a lot of time with them at the reunion and at subsequent reunions. J.O. was close with my mother's grandfather. I will never forget sitting over dinner with J.O. and him telling about how desperate the conditions were at the camps. From the maggot infested rice gruel (I think on average 3 men died a day in each camp due to starvation and dysentery) to the daily beatings by the Japanese. Most of the men were worked to death if not starved to death. J.O. was working under inhumane conditions in a factory when he took the incomprehensible step of slamming his own leg into a machine until it broke-- just to get sent to the infirmary to get a few days of rest.
And this is LeRoy, one of the cutest characters you'll ever want to meet. I don't think I've ever seen him without a cocktail or two, or three or.... But, hey, after what these guys went through, he deserves it! LeRoy, unlike a lot of P.O.W.'s will talk your ear off and tell you story after story. Stories that make your jaw drop lower and lower with each passing minute. All these men were working as civilian contractors for Morris Knudsen Construction company building Naval landing strips on Wake Island in the Pacific when they were attacked by the Japanese on the day after Pearl Harbor. This relatively small group of construction workers somehow outsmarted and out fought the Japanese for a couple of weeks before the island fell. 98 of their co-workers were executed on the beach in cold blood. The survivors (my great grandfather included) were shipped in the most heinous conditions to Japan. When they left Wake Island, many had been stripped down to their underwear. It was hot and muggy and after hours of having to stand or sit as prisoners on the island's tarmac-- many were badly sunburned. They were stacked in the hull of an old ship, forced to sit in a foot of human waste for several weeks as the creaky, old ship zig zagged the ocean, trying to avoid U.S. Submarines and Warships. When they finally arrived in Japan, it was in the throes of a bitterly cold winter. What they suffered is beyond my comprehension.
I remind myself that my sufferings cannot even be placed in the same room with these amazing men. Stop me if you ever catch me saying woe is me. I sure hope these guys are around for next year's reunion.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Learning Machine

Well, Reese's teacher survived the first week of preschool. And so far, so good. Reese seems to love it. My favorite part is that on Wednesday they do "cooking school". This first week they made Rice Krispy treats.

On the way home from school, I asked Reesey what she learned that day. And here are her answers-- unedited.
"When we cook, we're not allowed to pick our nose."
"When we have to cough, we do it into our chicken wing."
And finally, when I asked her about cooking her Rice Krispy treats--- if she got to help, she said yes, "and we didn't get burned"!
So I'm thrilled we are truly getting our money's worth-- Reese is learning all kinds of life lessons, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Her Turn

After asking me, oh, only about a gazillion times, the big day finally arrived. Reese started preschool today. She's by far the tiniest in her class-- but boy howdy, does she pack some punch into that little body. This is Miss Amber (my good friend and Reesey's new preschool teacher). I don't know who's more excited... Reese or me. She'll be going three days a week and on Wednesdays-- it's cooking day. They'll be learning to make tortillas, banana bread-- this week, Rice Crispy treats. I think she'll be in heaven.

All I know is she was pretty darn excited about her first day and raring to go back for more.
Now with all three girls in school, summer is officially over. Grandpa Bodily closed the ol' swimming hole over the holiday weekend. But not before we all got lots of swimming in. Here's cute Grandma Bodily reading a story to the girls after dinner.
And last night we went over to my parents house for a BBQ. Can I say again how much I LOVE having them living here??? Anyway, we had smoked ribs (thanks to my big brother) and watched the Boise State game. At one point, it was a bit too quiet in the house. So guess what we found the little girls up to? Picking all of Grammy's flowers and making perfume.
Luckily they didn't pick all of Grammy's flowers. I think we caught them just in time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo!

In case you're wondering, Fairy Godmothers are real and do exist. Case in point-- my friend, Mary K. Each year, she takes Holland and Greer our for their birthdays-- for a day we've dubbed "Mary K Day". And she spoils them rotten. This year, she took them out together (along with her niece, Savannah). First stop-- a shopping spree at Walmart-- for each of them: sunglasses, a hat, a new necklace, scarves and new shirts for starters. Then it was off to a day at the Western Idaho Fair- for lots of cotton candy, unlimited rides and overall spoilin'! The day is as eagerly anticipated as Christmas morning, I'm telling you! Oh, for every child to have a Mary K in their lives! Not to be completely outdone, our good friend Roger Billingsly (Dodge's dad) came through town yesterday. Roger, who is like a second father to Byron, is retired. He spends a few months each year tooling around Idaho and surrounding parts. And he visits us nearly every year. Last night, he took all of us out for Mexican food (yum, my favorite). So in my book, he's my fairy godmother -- since I didn't have to cook!