Friday, February 25, 2011

Miss Independent

So my two year old thinks she's sixteen. This "my do it MYSELF!" stage is driving me nuts. Fortunately, she gets her height from her mother, so for a lot of the things she tries to do herself, the sound of a kitchen chair being dragged across the floor tips us off. Mostly I try to foster her independence - hey, in a month's time, it's only going to help me out if she can get her own drink of water and peel her own banana. But the one place we struggle over her independence is the bathroom. And here's your warning: the rest of this post is about the two year old's bathroom habits, read at your own risk.

She's been trained since last May and only wears a diaper at night. Lately, she wants to do it all by herself. She's actually fine for #1 - she has a little stool and seat, can set it all up herself, wipe, flush, and then yells for help reaching the taps to "wash my dirty hands." She *thinks* she's fine for #2 as well, but here's the thing: SHE'S NOT.

So when I realize she's in the potty, I always go to check on her to see if she requires assistance. She promptly kicks me out of the bathroom, saying "Go 'way, Mommy. My poopin' is PIBATE! Go see my brudder." (So then I loiter in the hallway to intercept her before she pulls her pants up over her still-dirty bum, reminding her that she needs to call Mommy for help.)

Today, however, she called for me in the bathroom! Success! I thought. I hurried right in, excited to praise her for calling me, but she cut me off with "My not done, my still poopin'.... Mommy, can you get Bert for me?"

Because GOD FORBID her mother is anywhere near the bathroom, but her furry friend Bert is apparently a necessity to the process. Hrmph.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Tired

Really, really tired. We've had a long few weeks around here. Our string of good luck with Talia's super-human immune system came to a halt, and of course you all know how Declan showed off his ability to turn purple. You name it, we've had it - some terrible virus that may or may not have been RSV, strep throat, double ear infections, stomach flu, hacking coughs that keep you up all night, staph infections (Yes, those are from the same family as flesh-eating disease. No, that does not mean the natural assumption to make when you suddenly get a blister on your baby finger is OMG I NEED TO GET MY HAND AMPUTATED, Rainer.) Throw into the mix a weekend of Grandparents, ridiculous amounts of sugar, and missed naps/late bedtimes...... is it any wonder I've been tempted to put these children on the curb for both garbage and recycling day this week??

In the middle of all this, we decided it was time to pull the plug, so to speak. So after we felt like we were finally on the upswing, we took Declan's soother away 2 nights ago. It wasn't a very big deal when we took Talia's away, but I was still anticipating SOME KIND of reaction from Declan. Instead, he didn't seem to notice. Seriously, I tucked him into his sleep sack, gave him George the Monkey, and closed his door. He chatted to himself for less than 10 minutes and went to sleep. Didn't hear or see him again for 12 hours. What a guy. He had a harder time during nap the next day, he woke up a couple of times and fussed for about 5 minutes at a time before going back to sleep, but his second night was a repeat of the first. Which is just as well, of course, since his sister's ear sprung a leak late enough during the day to require a trip to the emergency room instead of to our regular doctor's office. (I'm 3 weeks away from having a baby; guess how much I love hauling 2 kids around, in & out of carseats, to the hospital and then the pharmacy, during supper time. GAH.) Needless to say, I was wiped out by the time we finally got home last night, and was glad both kids went right to bed and stayed there.

Today, however, both kids believe naps are BS. Talia because her ear is still draining and is actually really gross and probably pretty sore, and Declan - maybe he's missing his soother? Or maybe his sister is keeping him up? Who knows. Let's just all say a prayer that his ear doesn't start leaking, too. I could really use the break of a daycare day tomorrow!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Deep Breaths

We had a bit of a scare with Declan the other day, but since we seem to be over the worst of it, I have a minute to update the blog.

On Wednesday, Declan turned 1 and wasn't feeling very well. I got a few 1 year pictures of him, but he wasn't very co-operative. He didn't eat well, we stayed home from music lessons, and even his first-ever cupcake went over like a lead balloon.

On Thursday, the kids were supposed to go to daycare and I had a full day planned of errands, preparing for Declan's little birthday party on the weekend. But Declan looked awful and coughed his way through breakfast, so I decided to keep him home and just send Talia (along with Declan's birthday cupcakes for his little friends.)

He was pretty listless all morning and even had a little morning nap, which he hasn't done for a few months. Around noon I thought he was breathing funny, although I realized I'd never paid much attention to how he normally breathes, so I couldn't say for sure.... but it seemed like something more than a cold was going on, so I called the Dr. and off we went.

When we got to the Dr.'s office, he seemed to be struggling harder to breathe. The dr. walked in the room and said "He's working way too hard to breathe. Can you lift up his shirt so I can get a better look?" (Declan was wearing a long-sleeved onesie, pants, socks & shoes.) So I pulled down his pants to unsnap his onesie and his legs were purplish-grey, as was his body once I got the shirt off. Dr. Lee said "He's in respiratory distress, you need to take him right to Children's Emergency," and picked up the phone to let them know we were on our way.

So I quickly loaded my listless little guy back into the van, and called Rainer illegally on my cellphone while speeding to the hospital and crying my eyes out. Looking back, it's sort of a miracle that we didn't have an accident on the way. Declan fell asleep on the way, and was so quiet I was terrified of what I might find in the carseat when we got there. Fortunately, the cold air and little nap had done him good, his breathing had slowed down and his colour was better. Of course, that meant that we were triaged into the packed waiting room instead of getting looked at right away. By the time we'd waited 20 minutes or so, though, Declan was off-colour and really struggling again, so I took him back up to triage to be reassessed and we were put right into a room.

By this time Rainer had joined us and I started calling around for someone to pick up Talia from daycare. I am so, so, so thankful for the good friends I made here in town this year. My friend Leslie picked up Talia and took her home for supper & a playdate with her kids so that both Rainer and I could stay with Declan.

Declan was examined by a few doctors. Apparently there is a bad virus going around Winnipeg and kids under 2 are being hit the hardest. It causes bronchiolitis, which basically means their little airways are too tiny to deal with the congestion & inflammation, and they have to work too hard to breathe. At one point this month, every bed in the PICU was occupied by a child with the same symptoms as Declan, only worse. They gave him a breathing treatment and then observed him for a little while longer, trying to decide if we could take him home or not. In the end, the breathing treatment didn't do anything to slow his breathing, but it opened his airways enough that he was exchanging air better, so his colour improved and he was able to come home. He slept pretty well that night, while Mommy & Daddy were up most of the night, counting his respirations over the baby monitor.

The next day was a little up and down. He seemed a bit better in the morning, then got worse again mid-day. We had actually decided to take him back in for another treatment, because he was still very listless and turning purple whenever he exerted himself by playing or crying. Rainer came home a little early so that one of us could stay with Talia and one of us could take D back to the hospital, but by the time he got home Declan had started to come around. He had perked up and was trying to sit up and play with toys, smiling a little bit, and his breathing had slowed down. He even ate a little bit of supper, so we decided not to take him in. He had a steamy bath and went to bed, and had a good night.

This morning he really seems to be much better. He has more energy than he has had for days, although he still tires pretty quickly and had another morning nap. His breathing is much better, and he was interested in stealing Daddy's breakfast and tormenting his sister - all good signs that he's on the mend! He still has the virus, which is basically the worst cold ever, but it looks like the worst is behind us. Phew! His birthday party was supposed to be today but we've postponed it until next weekend - now we have even more reason to celebrate!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Manly Men

Today Talia and I went to her bestie's 3rd birthday party. The whole family was invited, of course, but we decided to leave Declan at home with Daddy since the bulk of the party occurred over the 3 hours that is Declan's regular naptime.

As we were getting ready to go, Rainer asked Declan "What sort of manly-men type things should WE do today, Deckie?" Declan surveyed the mountain of toys all around the living room, then his eyes lit up and he leaned waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over to grab exactly what he was looking for.

"Diss?" he asked, holding out his prized possession to his Daddy.

It was, of course, the pink hairbrush that goes with the Dora doll. Try not to let the testosterone climb to an overwhelming level while we're gone, boys.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Last week was a discouraging one here at the Raine Drop. Declan started his home therapy and it was kind of a bust. He had a new therapist who did a whole new assessment on him, and it was not good. There was a long list of things he couldn't do and a very short list of things he could do. But what was even more discouraging was that everyone was stumped as to how to help him.

I get the feeling that Declan has been the focus of more than one staff meeting at the therapists' offices. They have a whole bunch of exercises and routines that they usually do for babies with this kind of physical delay, but usually babies with a delay this severe also have cognitive impairments. Declan, however, is sharp as a tack, so he sees right through all the little tricks they try and figures out an alternate way to do what they want him to do without having to actually move the way they want him to. It's excellent news that he does not have any delay or impairment besides the GIANT PHYSICAL ONE, of course, but it's also frustrating that he's too smart for his therapy!!

In the end, we were left with a list of things to do with him to help strengthen his core, so if the day ever comes when he might try to crawl or walk, he'll have the strength to do it. Think crunches and other lame ab exercises for babies. He hates them, and we don't see any progress, which makes it hard for us to continue to do them with him, while he screams his head off the entire time.

I think the hardest part of Mr. Sedentary's journey to date has been the comparison with Talia. Talia was a late walker, so we weren't terribly concerned with Declan's lack of movement. But Talia could at least do all the little things babies need to be able to do before moving. She had all the building blocks, so to speak, and when we had her assessed "just in case" everyone agreed: she was fine. In Declan's case, he has very few of the building blocks and NOBODY is saying that he's fine, which is really all any parent wants to hear about their kid.

Anyway, to our surprise, this week has been really great. Declan is belly sliding around backwards and rolling to get where he wants to go. He seems to be curious and wants to get into things, which is good for 2 reasons: first, that means that eventually he will (hopefully) want to move or get to something badly enough that he'll really crawl/walk, and secondly, that means his lack of movement for so many months hasn't hurt his cognitive development, which was the initial concern of the first therapist. So that's good news.

A few nights ago he wedged himself in between the toy box and the bookshelf where we keep the electronic/musical toys, and was able to push a lot of buttons and make a big ruckus. Look how pleased he was with himself: