Wednesday, June 25, 2008

4 and 5 year old well-checks

Yesterday, Xavier and Bennett had their 4 and 5 year old well-checks with their pediatrician. Yes, a little late, I know, but our doctor books up quickly, and when I called to make the appointments in March, she was already scheduling out to the middle of June.

Here are the stats:
Bennett: 35 lbs (50%) and 39" (30%) The doctor remarked that he's definitely not overweight even though his weight is a greater percentile than his height...he's just muscular. Agreed!

Xavier: 33.5 lbs (3%) and 41" (10%) Long and skinny. No change from previous measurements. Even though he's thin, he's not underweight, and is following his growth curve, so that's the important thing.

Here's Xavier waiting patiently for the doctor to come in. He loves to lay on the exam table and kick at the paper and make a crinkly sound. It makes him giggle.

And here are Ben and Nick, reading a Dr. Seuss book to pass the time.

Our doctor declared both my little loves healthy! And then the boys got 4 vaccinations. They both hated it, but got over it fairly quickly (they moved on with other things within a minute). Its unbelievable to think they got their "Kindergarten booster shots". They're growing up so fast. Crazy.

Budding chef

Bennett is always interested in helping in the kitchen. Lately, one of our "fast favorites" is pizza. You know, the kind of meal that you can make quickly and easily, because you don't feel like cooking, but need to feed your children? ;-)

Ben is able to put together the entire pizza all by himself. I, of course, have to cut the pepperoni from the stick for him, and help him pour the sauce onto the dough, but other than that, he can make a mean pizza all by himself!

Here he is, strategically placing the pepperoni on the dough with the pizza sauce, which he has carefully spread around with a spoon.

And the cheese:

Not quite the finished product, but when Ben saw me taking pictures, he said, "I'm going to lean close to my pizza and smile. Please take a picture." Hilarious.

Thanks for making dinner, Bennett! Now, what else can a 4 year old make with little supervision? :-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Video EEG and Sleep study

As mentioned in a previous post, Xavier and I braved a day at Akron Children's Hospital (28 hours, to be exact) so that he could have a video EEG and sleep study. He's been sleeping terrible lately, is tired and cranky quite a bit, and is having some muscle jerking occasionally during the day. We wonder if he is seizing at night.

On June 17th, we arrived at 9am, registered, and then went over to the EEG lab to have all the electrodes applied to Xavier's head and chest. They're actually glued down! Xavier tolerated the entire process really well, I was impressed. There were 24 electrodes in all, and then they were covered with a big "sock" to keep them in place and out of the way.

We spent the rest of the day and half the next in a hospital room. Xavier had to stay in the bed, so that he could be video taped to catch any concerning events. He was pleasant and cheerful close to the entire time, I think because he was able to watch TV nearly all day, something he doesn't get to do at home.

I brought toys for him to play with...doesn't he look cute in his hospital gown?

I was worried that Xavier wouldn't be able to fall asleep because we had to leave lights on for the video camera to work, and because we were right across from the loud nurses station. But he was an angel and after I went though his bedtime routine and told him it was time for bed, he rolled onto his side like he usually does, and promptly fell asleep in 5 minutes or less. He woke up a few times during the night crying, just like he does at home, and had several of the jerking type movements during the day, so I was happy that we captured a realistic day for him.

Here's the machine that recorded all the information -- see the little video inset of Xavier on the screen?

It was actually a really relaxing time for both of us. And I enjoyed spending the one-on-one time with him. I read almost an entire book too! We won't have the results for several weeks, as it takes a while for the doctor to read and interpret the results of over 24 hours of data, but hopefully we'll be able to come up with something that will help him rest better at night, and be less on edge during the day.

Ben is 4!

Bennett turned 4 on June 15th! We had a fun party for him, featuring his favorite character Thomas. It was a small bbq party with just family and close friends.

Ben had a fabulous cake - Thomas actually rode around on the "track"!

Here he is, triumphant after blowing out his 4 candles.

Ben got so many marvelous, generous gifts! Thank you to everyone! He remembers what everyone got him, and had fun signing his name to the "thank you" cards. He now has enough wooden track, engines, and Thomas building accessories to rival any collection. ;-) The creativity that this sparks in him amazes us, and we are so impressed with the problem solving skills he's developing. His layouts are becoming more complicated and diverse every day!

Xavier got a belated birthday gift from Aunt Michelle, and he LOVES it. Here he is, sharing his new ball with cousin Kathryn. Xavier loves Kathryn, he smiles whenever she is near. I like to see them together. She is such a gentle, sweet little girl, and Xavier senses this, and really enjoys her company.

Xavier couldn't quit smiling about this ball!

Happy Birthday, Bennett! You are such big kid. You're a joy and we love you like crazy!

Fill 'er up!

Ben and Nick filled up our kiddie pool last week. It has since been dumped out, because, of course, we forgot to cover it before a storm and it was completely disgusting with sticks, grass, bugs, and dirt. BUT filling it was fun and we'll get to do it again now, so no big deal!

Ben thought it was so cool that he could make a "tunnel" for the stream of water from the hose to go through.

We all got a little wet in the process, but that was ok, because it was about 90* that day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soaking up summer

When I think of my summers as a little girl, I have strong memories of playing on our backyard swingset. Swinging was (and still is) calming, mesmorizing, and smile-generating. To this day, I love to sit on a swing, look up at the sky, and listen to the birds boys seem to appreciate the same things. They both love to swing fast and high, but are equally fond of gently swaying back and forth, and absorbing the surrounding sights and sounds.

Xavier got a new swing for his birthday in April. Its a "boat swing", and is a bit like a small version of a hammock. It can swing both forward-backward and sideways. The boys can sit in it or lay down. To say the very least, it is a big hit.

Xavier is strong enough now to sit up in it, if we take care to swing it slowly.

Xavier and Bennett love that they can both get in at the same time. Xavier claps when Ben climbs in with him. Today, I pushed them for at least 30 minutes, and they giggled for most of that time.

Xavier and I like to lay on a blanket and watch the clouds go by:

Extreme happy closeups taken while swinging:

Ben's new trick:

and the dismount:

I don't have a picture of it, but he stuck the landing and earned a perfect 10.

Nick was making Ben laugh, making silly faces at him as he got close to him. This is the face I call "the bald eagle." Remember (I'm dating myself here) the bald eagle from The Muppet Show? Nick does a perfect impression.
For a while now, I've not been able to put my finger on what Ben's giggle reminds me of. A few weeks ago, I had an 'ah-ha!' moment. Its Snoopy's laugh. He also crys like Snoopy. Its hilarious. Ben has a very soft voice, including his laugh and cry. He's so quiet, I can rarely hear what he's saying to me when we're driving in the car. His vocal cords were slightly damaged from being intubated for so long as a baby (62 days!). He's such a strong, resilient kid, I forget sometimes what he's overcome medically and developmentally. Bennett is nothing short of a miracle, for whom I will be forever thankful.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New haircut, sassy attitude.

The new haircut and Xavier's every present giggling-one-minute-screaming-the-next attitude are unrelated. But I just figured I'd combine them into one post.

Nick gave X a new haircut, which he is obviously feeling very happy about. Here, he's showing it off in his gait trainer.
One of my new internet friends from Australia told me that Xavier sounds "cheeky". Not a common adjective over here in the U.S., but perfectly fitting for Xavier. He is cheeky indeed.

People often ask me, "Will he let you know if he does or doesn't like something?" The answer to that is : YES! Even though he can't talk, Xavier is extremely aware of what is going on around him, and responds in such a way that we know what he wants/likes/dislikes. He says "hi" (although it comes out "hhhhaaa!"). He shuts his mouth and shakes his head "no" when we try to feed him something he either doesn't like or when he's full. And the latest bit of cheekiness Xavier is sharing with us - pulling full plates of food or beverages off the table and onto himself or the floor. His new seat allows him to sit at the table, and this has afforded him ample opportunity to use those long gangly arms of his to reach far and yank things off. The hilarious part is he waits until we've left the table, and then mischieviously giggles, reaches, and heaves the target off. Ben will then inevitably say, "Xavier! Don't do that! Its not funny!", as Xavier is laughing his little head off.

In other "Xavier news", I've decided to schedule a sleep study to figure out why he's waking up in the middle of the night, then not falling back asleep, or why he wakes up at a decent time (6ish) and then is exhausted during the day. And cranky. Oh-so-very cranky. Sometimes, the only thing that can bring him out of his funk is music, in particular: The Clash (or BAD II, which makes sense - its the evolution of the same band). It NEVER fails: if I blast "Should I Stay or Should I Go" on my iPod, his screaming turns into laughter every time. I joke with Nick that Xavier's egg must have been paying attention during the early 90's when I listened to said music for the first seems to be ingrained in him to like it. Either that, or he just inherited an appreciation for good music ;-) Songs will start, he'll stop screaming, listen, then clap his hands and grin.

Anyway, you would think the solution is simple, if he's tired, let him nap! But, alas, Xavier refuses to take a nap even when we set the mood for him (in his darkened room) but will sometimes fall asleep on his own terms, like in this photo where we were playing outside. He shut his eyes mid-play, and that was the end of that:

And yesterday, he fell asleep right before dinner (a very inopportune time, when bedtime comes quickly after we eat)...

Ben took it upon himself to cover him up and give him a teddy bear for company (I found Xavier like this about 5 min after I left him on the couch to make dinner and Ben was watching a movie.) He likes to take care of his brother :-)