Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Oscar- 15 Months!

You read that right, a 15 month old post update, because the 1 year post I planned on writing is just now taking place, so we'll just pretend like I did that on purpose (just to keep you guessing).

Since my last post about Oscar, around his 6 month birthday, he was well on his way to crawling. He started crawling not long after that post, and then soon after pulling himself to standing, and there he stayed for several months. He could walk holding on to things very well at 10-11 months, but he was too cautious to allow himself to let go. He took his first steps on his own at his birthday party, the day before he turned 1. It was the perfect time since some family and close friends were their to see it. We even caught the second walk on video, which was awesome.


In the past 3 months, he has progressed to speed walker/almost running. He loves walking everywhere you'll let him, and especially the places you ask him not to go. He also loves trying to jump, which he already can do on the kid trampoline and the couch. And then there's the dancing.


He's starting to say a few words, "dada" and "mama" being the first. And now most clearly is "hot" which is so funny since that was one of Sebastian's first words too. He is also very close on "duck" and "ball" and has many sounds for things that Brian and I recognize as words, but probably not anyone else yet. One day it sounded like he said "more please" when we were trying to teach him the signs for that, but he sadly hasn't repeated it. He has little interest in learning sign language, but we keep pushing the few signs we found most useful with Sebastian, and he's slowly starting to do them.

His favorite things right now are soft blankets, or softies as we've taken to calling them, and books. He's very interested in flipping through books and loves being read to already which is awesome. His favorite book right now is "Farm Animals- A Book About Animals Sounds". He tries to repeat some of them, and sounds like he's kind of growling in some combination of the "woof, woof" and the "quack, quack".

Sebastian and Oscar have started playing more together, usually games like peek-a-boo or some form of tag which is really just chasing each other around screaming and squealing. They also have made a game of spinning in circles and dancing around the room imitating each other. Sebastian has learned how to share very well with his brother, most of the time. Oscar can't wait to be able to do all the things his brother can do of course.

Oscar is a wonderful and incredibly happy toddler. I can see the crazy, scary toddler part coming right around the corner, but for now I'll just enjoy my happy boy.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Super Fast Sebastian

Well you wouldn't know it from looking at my lack of posts, but my brain is constantly bursting with things I want to write about. Life is busy and good but I'm struggling to find a time to write. If I was one to make New Years resolutions, writing more would be top of my list. But I'd rather not set myself up for failure.

Since I'm months behind on a Sebastian update, I'll just dive right in. We had him evaluated by the school district and he qualified for free assistance. The plan we agreed on with a whole team of people we met with is to send an occupational therapist to his preschool once a month to see if there's anything they can do to help him with his writing. A physical therapist will also see him occasionally to make sure his gross motor skills aren't too far behind. Both therapists have been to the preschool for a visit or two and left us notes. They both saw the things we were concerned about and are doing what they can, which so far doesn't sound like a lot. But hey, you get what you pay for and it's free so I shouldn't complain. As far as regular physical therapy, we're just going to stick with keeping him active. He's still in gymnastics once a week and he's now riding his bike without training wheels! So while he may not be running well, he's doing amazing on his bike! I was several years older than him before I would even try to ride without training wheels, so I think he's going to be just fine on physical development.

We also had an appointment at Shriners Hospital for Children to see if he needed orthotics. They examined him, watched him run and walk, and did an x-ray of the entire bottom half of his body (awesome machine there got it all in one shot). All good news there, his legs are developing fine. With NF1, deformities of the shin bone, called tibial dysplasia, can happen making it look like this. So we were relieved to see he does NOT have this problem. They said one of his feet is a little flat footed, but orthotics won't help that.

Before the appointment Sebastian asked me why he needed to go to the doctor. I told him they were going to look at his legs and see if he needed something to put in his shoes to make it easier to run. He got all excited about the prospect of the doctors helping him "run super fast!" So he was very disappointed when we left without the magic thing in his shoes. I encouraged him by saying this was a very good thing that he didn't need any help, he'd be able to run super fast on his own if he just kept practicing. Inside I cringed at my own words though. Maybe he'll never be able to run super fast, or maybe he will. I never know what to say but I feel that encouraging him to keep trying is always the right thing. He has to learn to never give up.

Up next for super Sebastian is the long awaited appointment with a pediatric neurologist at the Providence Neurodevelopment Center. We'll see what kind of doctor books out 6+ months in advance. I'm hoping for Hermione Grainger.

Friday, January 2, 2015

30 Happy Things

Birthdays make most of us reflect on our lives and think about how the time is passing. New Years does the same thing. So when your birthday is on New Years day, I'd say I get a pass on being a sentimental fool for a few days. So in the reflecting I've been doing, I realized a few things. First, 30 sounds so old when you're a kid, seems so far in the future. But it's here so fast and you quickly realize, you have to pay attention, or life is literally going to pass you by. Second, 30 is not old. If you disagree, talk to my 88 year old grandma. And third, I am ridiculously happy with where my life is. Much more happy than I would have ever imagined being. And with a much different life than I imagined for myself. So here are some of those things that make me happy, in no particular order and with as little editing as possible.
  1. The happy "good morning, mommy" from Sebastian every day.
  2. The giant grin on Oscar's face every day when I say "good morning!"
  3. Brian's tossled curls every morning.
  4. A promising career and a job I actually enjoy going to.
  5. A husband who will throw me a surprise party.
  6. Friends who will come to said party, even though they only had a weeks notice. 
  7. Friends with kids who are going through the same things as us on this parenting journey.
  8. Friends without kids who don't mind spending time with our crazy family.
  9. Running.
  10. Yoga.
  11. Biking to work.
  12. Seeing huge trees when I step out my front door.
  13. Rain and all the life it brings.
  14. Cooking and baking for family and friends.
  15. Being able to afford healthy food.
  16. Being challenged daily by my children.
  17. Living with a houseful of boys.
  18. Parents that love being grandparents.
  19. In-laws who I love like a second set of parents.
  20. A husband who does everything for his kids.
  21. Friends that have stayed friends for years and across hundreds of miles.
  22. Family and friends that drive hundreds of miles to come visit.
  23. Burning Man.
  24. Camping.
  25. Hiking with Brian.
  26. Watching the complete happiness of our greyhound Ginger as she sprints.
  27. The Oregon coast.
  28. Learning to love who I am.
  29. Being with the same amazing man since I was 16.
  30. All the amazing sunsets I have seen and have yet to see.

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica 5/1/2012

Black Rock City, 9/12/2012

Oregon Coast, 9/22/2012

Bald Peak, OR 1/1/2015

UPDATE: I forgot one of the best things ever. Listening to Brian play his music.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mouthful of Exhaust

I like riding my bike to work. The only way I'm able to make time to exercise during the week is by using my commute, so riding and running are perfect. Not to mention it saves on gas money and pollution. It's a win-win really. But anyone who's ever ridden in even mild traffic knows that sometimes your ride can suck.

You'll be huffing and puffing up a steep hill and some old piecer or diesel truck comes whizzing by with black smog pouring out of his tailpipe. You quickly switch to trying to breathe out only for fear of getting a mouthful of exhaust. Seriously there are days I wonder if riding in traffic is counter productive. Exercise is supposed to be good for your body but I can't help think I might one day end up with lung cancer from inhaling all these fumes.

A diesel truck hauling ass past always startles me and the gust of wind from it actually makes me swerve. Or maybe that's just from fear while imagining him swerving into my little lane and taking me out.

Getting stuck behind a city bus can suck. Trying to pass the bus while they're at a stop taking up my lane is quite scary since I'm never sure when they're gonna take off. Sometimes the timing is not in my favor and I pass them, only for them to pass me, and then me to catch up to them again at the next stop.

Drivers that like to slowly creep out while waiting to turn make me very nervous as I have no idea what they're gonna do or if they see me. Make eye contact people. That's the only way I know you see me.

There is A LOT of road kill. Squirrels, birds, cats, raccoons, skunks, possums, and completely unidentifiable animals end up smeared all over the road. The saddest to see is definitely cats as you know they probably belonged to someone. I have no sympathy for squirrels however since they seem to be constantly playing chicken.

There is a lot of debris in the bike lane, including the aforementioned road kill. Pine cones, garbage, and broken glass are the most common. Other interesting things I've seen are tree branches, hub caps, underwear, socks, shoes, hair ties, toys, bike locks, and full dirty diapers. Seriously people, use a fucking trash can. It's cleaner here than it was in Reno but still I'm appalled at the crap (literally) people will throw out the window. And smokers, cigarettes are still litter damn it! The planet is not your ashtray.

So if you see a biker riding on the edge of the bike lane and you think, what the hell are they doing? They're more than likely dodging something potentially nasty or dangerous. Road bikes have high pressure tires so we do NOT want to roll over anything if we can help it. Popping a 90psi tire is probably scary as shit and I have no desire to find out how tough my tires are not while flying down a busy road.

I actually had someone honk at me for being in the bike lane at a stop light, because she wanted to turn right. Sorry peeps, the bike lane is for, wait for it..... BIKES! I don't care if you use it to turn right when no one is in it but don't honk at me unless I deserve it.

So please, when you're driving, get in the habit of checking the bike lane. My 15 year old helmet isn't going to save my brain if you hit me going 45. No helmet would. But that reminds me I should get a new one. Anyways as you can see, there are many things that happen on the road that you don't always notice in a car. I really wish every driver would ride their bike in traffic a few times so they understand what it's like, and maybe take better care to watch out for cyclists when they're behind the wheel.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Things I never thought I'd say to my children...

...keeping in mind Sebastian is not even 5 yet....
  • Eat your pizza so you can have ice cream.
  • Quit eating your boogers.
  • Your friends won't like you if you don't wipe your nose.
  • It's only ok to call babies fat.
  • Quit yelling at strangers and eat your food.
  • You don't need to tell me every time you fart. Especially in public.
  • Don't lick me.
  • Get your hands out of your mouth.
  • Get your hands out of your pants. If you want to play with yourself, go to your room.
  • It doesn't matter how big your penis is. Quit talking about your penis.
  • If you eat vegetables, your penis will get bigger. (That was all Brian)
  • Don't talk about your penis, farts, poop, or boogers in front of girls. Remember Mommy is a girl.
  • No we can't pee at the same time.
  • You can only pee on a tree when you're camping. You cannot do that at the park. Pull your pants up.
  • You have to put pants on if you want to go outside.
  • Quit sticking your naked butt in the air.
  • Quit slapping my butt.
  • Quit touching my boobs.
  • You shouldn't say fuck, you'll get in trouble at preschool
  • Which one of your girlfriends did you play with today?
  • Do your girlfriends kiss you on the mouth?
  • No you can't play video games and watch TV all day.
And the worst one, the one I swore I'd never say to my kids, but have now said at least a dozen times because I can't think of an answer to his million whys...
Because I said so.

This makes it sound like he's a monster but these are things that are not said every day...mostly. I'd like to assume some of the more perverted things he says and does are not JUST because he's a boy... right? Someone with a daughter help me out here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The First Struggles of Neurofibromatosis

I am long overdue on a post about  Sebastian's NF1 (if you don't know what that is, you can read my other posts about it). After his eye exam last spring, we took a break from doctors. We decided there was no need until he started showing other symptoms. Sadly that time has come. Left on our list of doctors to try is just the neurodevelopment center. I was unable to get ahold of them when we first found out about this (almost 2 years ago... holy crap I don't believe it's been that long). We finally got a return call when we tried this time and we were able to get him appointments for physical therapy, and a pediatric neurologist, which isn't until March of next year! A doctor booking out that far...what is he, a magician? I'm betting he'll just charge us an insane amount of money to tell us what we've already heard. Nonetheless, I'd like to cover all our options and make sure Sebastian is getting all the care he needs.

At this point, it is hard to tell exactly what problems he is having from this disorder. Many of the things on the lists of complications from NF1 (things like ADD, socialization problems, balance and coordination, etc.) are things that can easily be explained away by his age. Most 4 year olds can't concentrate on one task for long, fall sometimes, or say awkward things in public. How are we supposed to know when it's from NF1? I think the answer is, we don't. We guess and hope we're right.

At this point, we do think it is delaying his physical development a bit. Most obvious is running, jumping, and writing. He seems to have muscle weakness and coordination issues. Brian took him to his first physical therapy appointment last month. It went well and he thinks it will really help Sebastian's physical development issues. The therapist said keeping him active like we're doing is the best thing we can do. It was reassuring to hear that we were on the right track to helping him. We hope to get him into regular physical therapy, but are trying to figure out how to afford it (one visit cost us $330!). Interesting that you can get an entire bottle of narcotics for $10 but something that's actually good for you costs hundreds of dollars. And by interesting I mean fucked up.

The other issue that is affecting Sebastian is writing. He is very intelligent (biased I know, but true). He knows all his letters and numbers, the sounds each letter makes, and is even learning how to sound out words and basic math. But he lacks the muscle strength to write. He can write ok with markers or draw on a touch screen, but using a pencil or crayon is very difficult for him. He gets tired quickly and quite upset if we make him practice for long. I think part of that is because his muscles really do hurt or tire quickly and the other part is that they have him practice so much at preschool that he's sick of it.

He's starting to notice that some things are a lot more difficult for him then they are for other kids his age. We're being honest and telling him that yes, he will have to work harder than most for certain things. His preschool teacher said he told her "I'm trying very hard!", as if he was concerned she thought he wasn't. She knows he is and is well aware that he just wants to keep up with all the other kids. I gave her some information about his disorder the other day so maybe that will help. We put off doing so until there was an issue because we didn't want him getting treated differently unless it was necessary.  She was thankful for the info. We're very grateful he has a teacher that cares enough about her students to learn about his disorder.

The discussions with his teacher broke my heart a little. Brian and I are guilty of writing him off as lazy sometimes, which means many people throughout his life will likely do the same. We have to constantly stop and remind ourselves that maybe whatever it is, is not laziness but something that is truly more difficult or causing pain or discomfort for him. It's so hard to find the balance between treating him like a normal kid, and treating him like a kid with a neurological disorder. I feel if we constantly use that as an excuse to expect less from him, then he won't try as hard to succeed. But on the flip side of course, it would be unfair to have "normal" expectations on things that are being hindered by this disorder. We're hoping as he gets older, it will be easier to tell what is a true complication and what isn't. In the meantime, our best guesses will have to suffice and we will continue to help him in any way we can.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Oscar- 6 Months Old!

Oscar turned 6 months old on the 22nd (Yes I'm over 2 weeks late on this post, such is life). The last 6 months have gone by in a blur of kids and work. I thought time moved fast with one kid but with two we're rocketing through life at the speed of light. It's a little ridiculous.

So at his checkup he was:
  • 26" tall- 21st percentile
  • 16 lbs 8oz- 30th percentile
  • 44.5 cm head circumference- 82nd percentile
Yep another smaller than average boy with a giant brain. I'm good with that. I have no weird sports dreams or goals for my kids, only hope is they stay healthy. Although Oscar's physical development is right on track. When Sebastian was this age he started to slow down on physical milestones. He still reached them all, just took a long time. We're assuming now that was probably from his NF1, but who knows. If it was, I'm hoping this means Oscar doesn't have it but it's too soon to tell without the blood test, which we're not going to do unless he gets all the symptoms Sebastian has. (More on Sebastian's NF1 next post.)

So back to Oscar. He can:
  • Sit up unassisted, and get from sitting to belly
  • Rollover
  • Scoot
  • Jump as high as his jumper seat will allow
  • Push his upper body off the floor (for yogis, I mean upward dog, not just cobra, he can get his knees off the ground too!)
  • Pull his knees under his body while belly down- he is very close to crawling
Now I'm sure all of this is perfectly normal for a 6 month old, but for us it seems a bit fast. Sebastian was only rolling at this age. I'm afraid Oscar will be a much more physical kid than Sebastian. Like one of those kids that scares the shit out of me because they're running and jumping before they're a year old. Brian's excited about this, but as a mother, I'm scared. Sebastian's slower development made many things a lot easier. I mean he just started climbing over the baby gate at the top of the stairs! It's a lot less scary when they're 4 (and a half!) than when they're 2 or whenever most kids do it. After all, a cautious kid is one without broken bones or blood gushing out of them. But I am of course very happy and thankful that Oscar is happy and healthy. I just hope we can keep him in one piece!