Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miss Personality x 3

For the first time last night, Ada called out for me when she woke in the middle of the night. She didn't cry, she didn't make sounds. She just called, "mama" and I went to scoop her up. Who could resist such an incredible moment? I held her for a bit, and she clung to me, then I laid her back down.

She's been sick this past week and it's been challenging at night, but during the day she's happy as can be. She really is a ray of sunshine. So bubbly, with belly laughter, even when she's sick. She giggles and laughs when I tickle her or blow raspberries on her tummy. Since she's not feeling well this weke and she's congested, she's hasn't had nearly as much to drink as usual. She's still getting enough that I'm not worried about dehydration.

Ada is trying to pull herself up, but she's not strong enough to pull to stand yet. We have hardwood floors and even though they've been pulling up and trying to cruise around our furniture, it's been tricky keeping them safe. We've placed a large plastic tub in their play area to give them something to pull up against and cruise around. They love it. We've filled it with boxes of wipes to weigh it down and it's working well because they can't pull it over and can't open it up. There's a surface (the lid) to bang on and stack toys on, and throw toys off of. It was such a simple solution. Their play area has foam matting and it's not a big deal when they lose their grip and keel over. Julia and Emma have learned how to plop down, and even when they fall, they have learned to roll and lift their heads off the floor so as not to bump it.

During the day, they wear dresses with pants or shirts and pants, usually with grippy socks because they get cold easily. Even with the grippies, they still slide around on the wood floor.


Julia started cruising this week. She's now bending down to scoop up toys with one hand, while standing. It's so cool to see how fast she's progressing and catching up to Emma who has been doing this for a while.

Julia is our wriggly worm. She was the first to start getting stuck in the crib, and yesterday she squirmed her one arm out of her sleeve. I fear this is the beginning of the end in terms of them undressing themselves and eventually learning to take their diapers off. I'm just hoping we won't get to THAT phase too fast.

Last week she figured out how to climb out of the feeding table seat. Thankfully she didn't get hurt. We purchased better click-seatbelts for the McCourt seats, because they come with crappy slide-through seatbelts that were driving me nuts. We built our own feeding table, but we purchased the seats online.

In terms of talking and comprehension, she has made leaps this week. She's making breathy sounds when I ask her what sound the dog makes. She breathes in and out like a doggy who is out of breath. She is also trying to imitate lots of different sounds, and although they don't come out sounding exactly like what I said, she's getting close, and I can see the wheels turning in her head. Such concentration, and intense focus on my lips.

She is saying "tee tee" for her bottle. 3 nights ago, I was feeding her, and I said "tee tee." Julia finished her bottle (couldn't speak while drinking - duh!) and the moment I pulled out the bottle, she said, "tee tee" and smiled the biggest "I comprehend!" smile. The next morning when I reached to get her bottle, she said "tee tee" again and looked at me, smiling proudly. She definitely gets it now.

Ada and Julia held hands this week while they were drinking their bottles. So sweet.


For the past few days, Emma has been saying, "Ada Ada Ada" interspersed with "ja ja ja" which means "yes yes yes" in Afrikaans. A few times, it's sounded like she's saying "ai jai jai" which is kind of like saying oy vey. She said that once after I complained that my coffee was cold! Too funny. It's like she read my mind. LOL.

So many of my friends have commented that she has an impish smile. I couldn't agree more. She is my littlest pixie who is always watching and scheming about her next move. I think she's going to be all sorts of fun "trouble" when she's a bit older, wanting to play practical jokes and figuring out how to get her sisters to join in at our expense. Her personality reminds me so much of her dad. Fun-loving and sweet, observant, but full of mischief and jokes.

Infant Acupuncture for Reflux - Who knew?

I took all 3 to an acupuncturist on October 7 hoping it would make a difference with their GERD (reflux). My goal is to get them off the Pre.va.cid and get Julia and Emma eating larger quantities and greater varieties of food.

Now, let me preface this by saying that anyone who's ever had a baby in the NICU would understand that having your child undergo any kind of treatment involving needles ever again is beyond traumatizing.

I dreaded it. I avoided making the appointment with the acupuncturist despite the speech therapist's insistence that it has made a huge difference for other kids she sees who has reflux. The acupuncturist is also a RN, and the head of an acupuncture school. Still, I put it off. I just couldn't bring myself to take them.

Given that I had gone for acupuncture treatments during IVF, and I believe it can make a difference, I still dreaded it. Until finally, I closed my eyes and just did it. And now I'm scheduling follow-up appointments because the change is just.that.good.

But let me back up. The appointment itself went surprisingly well. The speech therapist met us there and worked with two while I answered the acupuncturist's questions and held the one receiving treatment. That worked great.

The babies were fine with the acupressure and cold laser therapy, and miraculously fine with the needles. The acupuncturist explained she didn't "have to" use the needles, and that we could "see how it went." That made me feel better, like I had an "out" if it was torturing them.

The needles were only in for a few seconds at a time. The acupuncturist worked gently and quickly. She used one in each of their feet, one in each of their hands, and one in their legs. Julia only complained about the ones in her hand, but it was a brief whine, not even a cry. Emma didn't like the one in her left hand at all - she let out a quick cry, and the acupuncturist decided to forego the one in her right hand. Ada was fine with the ones in her feet, thighs and hands. When the acupuncturist was working on her head and neck, she'd whip her head around to the side to sneak a peek at her as if to say, "Hey! What are you doing back there?"

They're such little troopers. I couldn't be prouder of them for tolerating it as well as they did. No mommy guilt, just relief.

There was also one funny moment with Emma wiggling her feet while the needles were in it. It was hilarious and totally relieved the stress and anticipation about what the experience would be like for me. I could tell she was thinking, "What the heck are those little things sticking out of my feet suddenly?! And WHERE did they COME FROM?" (The needles have little green tips - she was fascinated by them.)

They've only had one appointment and the most amazing thing has happened. (TMI alert.) Julia's metabolism kicked into gear and she now has daily dirty diapers. She's had trouble from the get-go, but the pediatrician kept reassuring me that nothing was amiss with her going every 3-4 days. In the NICU, her tummy was so distended on the day she was supposed to be discharged that they kept her there a few more days. She's not constipated, it's just that she's never been regular. Until now.

Let's hope her reflux will improve because of the acupuncture, and that she'll start to eat better because her bowels are emptying faster.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

11 Months - Mobility, sippy cups, and new almost-words

The girls tried sippy cups on October 3 and Ada couldn't figure out how to get the milk out, but Julia and Emma eventually "got" it. They held it lying down and drank about 5oz each from it, but haven't figured out how to tilt the sippy while sitting up yet. Ada wants to play with the sippy cup, and she brings it to her mouth, but then becomes really frustrated when the milk doesn't flow. Darn those spill-proof valves. She wants it so bad, but couldn't figure out how to close her lips around the spout! I caved and gave her her bottle because she was getting very mad. My friend figured out how to "trick" Ada into drinking from her sippy cup. She performed 'thee olde' bait and switch. Ada was happily drinking from her Dr. Brown's bottle when my friend surreptitiously slipped it from Ada's mouth and substituted it with the sippy. Ada loves her bottle - she has started calling it her "tee tee." She whispers "tee tee" when it's time to drink. So cute.

Emma said "bye bye" for the first time on October 4 as I was leaving for work. It's pretty funny that Ada is saying "ta ta" in Afrikaans while Emma prefers the English. Emma repeated it after I said it, but now it's old hat. I'm trying to get her to do it again, but she won't oblige. Sometimes they're so sneaky. We'll say things over and over and over again, and then they'll repeat it once, with barely a whisper. And I'll go, "What? Yes! What you just said!" but no amount of excitement on my part will make them repeat it again. Sometimes I think I must have imagined it.

There is lots more copying going on in general. They now mimic one another with clicking their tongues. If one starts, they all join in. They sound like a little Zulu tribe. The only sounds I can consistently get them to copy are clicking their tongues and blowing raspberries. For some reason, they really enjoy making those sounds.

The speech therapist wants us to work on repeating sounds and words, and I'm starting to sound like a broken record to myself. But then, magic happens when you least expect it.

The day after Emma said "bye bye, she repeated "Woof!" (or some approximation thereof). I about died. I told her what sound the dog made earlier that day (Oct. 5), and clear as day, this afternoon she answered me "Bwoof bwoof" when I asked her about the dog. I think she's bored with the whole, "Where's Mama?" "Where's Papa?" "Where's the dog?" game I've been pestering them with.

They all can say, "mama," but not consistently, and they don't use it to call me... yet. I guess I should count that as a blessing that they're not calling for me specifically in the middle of the night. On October 7, Emma said "mama," but I don't know if she was just making sounds.

Emma can now stand for about a minute at a time without holding onto anything and looks like she wants to start taking steps. She's starting to cruise from object to object.


On October 4, Ada cut her 4th bottom tooth, and 8th tooth in total. She has finally caught up to her sisters in the teething department. Ladies and gentlemen, between the 3 of them, they have 24 teeth. Wowzer. No wonder we haven't been sleeping much. Only 36 to go. Tee hee.

Ada's making lots of word-like sounds, but nothing recognizable yet (aside from the words I've mentioned before). She sounds like she's telling me a story sometimes. Very adamant, with intonation. She made "rrr" sounds for the first time yesterday before falling asleep.

She's also started saying "du du" - which means to sleep in Afrikaans - at bedtime.

Ada rolled a ball back to me on October 7. She has totally figured out the game.

On October 8, she said, "papa" to her dad. It was great that he was there to hear it, because she hasn't repeated it to me at all.

When Ada hands toys back and forth, she now says, 'ta' which means to give.


Julia is standing for longer and longer periods every day, about 10 seconds at a time now. She is not yet cruising but looks like she wants to move while upright.

Julia started making many more sounds on October 7, including ones that are starting to sound like words.

She seems even more frustrated than usual with eating solids. She refuses to let others give her cereal in the morning, and has figured out how to spit anything out that she doesn't want to eat. Sometimes it's just a slow refusal. Stuff will go in, she'll taste it, and then it'll slowly ooze out of her mouth again. So messy and amusing to watch. I've just been going with it, keeping it happy, but it's been challenging. I feel like she's regressing - refusing pureed stuff she ate a few weeks ago.

I've been having her try different textures and foods, and just letting her play with it. She's more inclined to touch new foods, and sometimes will bring it to her lips, but won't actually put it in her mouth. Feeding them smaller pieces of spaghetti (mostly to play) is a riot. They wiggle it around, but then it accidentaly sticks to their face, hand or bib and they lose track of where it is. I intervene every now and then to help them locate it, and then I'm rewarded with a giggle when I hand it back to them. Who said you couldn't play with food? Despite the challenges, I love meal times. They crack me up.

More in a separate post about taking them to the acupuncturist for reflux in an effort to get them off the Pre.va.cid once and for all.