April 24, 2013
They warm my heart through and through.
Song: Households by Sleeping At Last
February 25, 2013
Then and Now
Early March, 2012:
Late February, 2013:
What a difference a year makes! Same sweet face, same crazy love for his daddy’s longboard, and still rockin’ a hat like nobody’s business - but so much about our son has changed. Since last year he has gained a head full of blonde curls, a mouth full of teeth, and is nearly 6 pounds heavier.
I always love to compare the tangible reminders of our children’s growth. This weekend I went digging through a bin of outgrown clothing so that I could pull out Arlo’s first pair of New Balances (in the first set of photos above) and compare them to the second pair he is wearing now. The first were a tiny size 2 and his new ones are a toddler size 6! It’s amazing just how much our magic boy has grown in the last twelve months.
I’m sure I’ll have to abandon my efforts once his New Balances reach the size of a stinky-footed teenager, but I hope to save each pair he outgrows over the years so that he will have a little collection of his NBs in gradually larger sizes from his childhood. I’m doing the same for EV with her Saltwater sandals. I hope it will be a nice thing to pass down to their own children or to shadowbox and display one day.
This post sponsored by the fantastic selection of Toddler shoes available at the Finish Line
January 18, 2013
Something to Celebrate
This morning in our kitchen, taking his last dose and “pounding it” with daddy
For the past 602 days, my son has required some form of oral medication. It started when he was ten days old and was diagnosed with a pretty severe case of reflux. Because he was losing weight and unable to keep breast milk down, his pediatrician prescribed his first medication. I remember it feeling so incredibly wrong to be giving my tiny, infant son a chemical substance. I hated the way the smell of it interfered with his delicious, natural, new smell - but it was necessary and we would have done anything to keep him comfortable and growing. We tried dozens of other suggestions and I cut out many foods from my diet, but nothing but the medicine seemed to have any real impact.
At six months old, he was put on medication to try to control the extra fluid caused by the hole in his heart. His cardiologist prescribed it in an effort to hopefully help his heart work more efficiently, help him gain weight and try to give him a little extra energy. There were a few times when he had an ear infection that it felt like we were squirting a syringe full of some substance in his mouth every few hours for weeks at a time.
His catheterization procedure allowed us to immediately end his heart meds and I remember how happy I was to hand the remaining dosage over to the nurse before we checked out of the hospital last February. But every few months, he would outgrow his reflux dosage and we’d have to up it and give him more and more. Eventually the reflux meds stopped working all together and we had to switch to a different one that required constant refrigeration and a drive to a pharmacy on the other side of town who could fill a compounded prescription. We never went anywhere overnight without our trusty cooler packed with ice, a couple syringes and his prescription bottle.
Most babies outgrow their reflux by the time they begin to sit up on their own and start solids, but every time we tried to wean Arlo off of his, his reflux would cause him to cough for hours and cry and arch his body in pain. He was eighteen months old before we were able to get him down to one dose a day and then slowly over the past few months we have given him less and less, watching him closely for any signs of discomfort. A week and a half ago, he took his last dose and has not had any reflux symptoms. We have rejoiced at this accomplishment! Finally! But an overlapping ear infection has meant that he has still had to take amoxicillin every day since that final dose.
Arlo does not think twice about taking medicine. It’s just part of his life experience. He never protests or refuses, but today we gave him his last dose of amoxicillin. Tomorrow, when he wakes up, there will be no syringe to fill. At bedtime, no check and double check between Brent and I that one of us has given him his dose.
This is a day of celebration for our son. Another step towards total health. We know that he will surely have to take medicine for one reason another as he grows, but the daily task of it is over for us now. We are so thankful to find ourselves here. I will always be grateful for the roles these medicines have played in aiding our son as he has had health challenges, but we are happy to see them go.
December 11, 2012
The Art of Eating Cheerios.
It sounds silly, I know, but I love to watch my son eat cereal in the morning. I am amused by the way he carefully pulls the bowl full of milk and cheerios close to his body, lowers his spoon gently, and brings it to his mouth. He is measured, taking care not to spill a drop.
I think about his sister at this age, how I could never leave her alone with a meal such as this as it surely would have ended up across her tray and lap. But my Arlo, he is a conscientious little eater. He revels in the task of stabbing chicken with a fork or scooping yogurt onto his spoon. It is a process. Meal time is a pleasing ritual for him.
He will sit happily with a bowl of cereal in front of him for almost thirty minutes, chasing each little O around the bowl with his plastic utensil. And then, the grande finale… with eyes that flicker with anticipation, he will lift the bowl carefully to his lips and drink the remaining milk.
Lowering the bowl again, and milk dribbling from his chin, he never fails to smack his lips and let out an “Ahhhhh!” (His father taught him this)
It’s a small, seemingly trivial event in the goings on of our day but it brings me so much joy to watch the care and attention he puts into savouring and enjoying a meal. If this was (and I suppose it is) an entry in his baby book, I would write
You are 18 months old. I sat backwards in a chair in our living room on Sunday morning and watched you eat your cereal for twenty minutes with such enjoyment. You savoured every bite, careful not to waste any of it. You have discovered how to find pleasure in the ordinary and in those moments, you are teaching me to do the same. I love these lessons and I love you. Milk mustaches forever.
November 23, 2012
Arlo, I can’t even…
November 19, 2012
Happy Half Birthday, Arlo!
Arlo Redding turned 18 months old on Saturday, so we took a little time to celebrate him this weekend. We started the half birthday tradition with Everly because her birthday is so close to Christmas, but have kept it going with Arlo too. We keep it simple: a small, special gift and a cake (or cupcakes!) complete with a song for the half birthday boy or girl.
It’s almost hard to comprehend how much my son has grown and changed since we celebrated his first birthday six months ago. It feels like I was just there next to him on a warm day in May, watching as he tried to make sense of the song and the glowing candle and the cake we placed in front of him. This time, he clapped along as we sang, he blew and blew and blew until the candle went out and grabbed his prized cupcake with both hands and an open mouth.
Everly spent all day on Saturday hugging Arlo tightly around the neck and exclaiming “Today is your half birthday, buddy!” In some small way, I think she is also aware of just how fast her baby brother is turning into a little boy. In the past few months he has truly become her best friend, confidant and partner in crime. As we all sat around the dinner table Saturday night, eating cupcakes in Arlo’s honor, Everly reached out her cupcake to “cheers” me. “Here’s to Arlo!” I said to her as our cupcakes touched. She smiled back with a ring of frosting around her lips.
Here’s to Arlo and his first 18 months. And here’s to the lucky us, who get to celebrate this sweet boy on every birthday, half birthday and all the days in between.
August 17, 2012
A large box arrived yesterday and wrapped around my purchase was a ton of bubble wrap. Brent was off picking Everly up from preschool, so I got the idea to set her up a little surprise when she came home.
When she walked through the door, I told her we were going to do something fun and instructed her to put on her cowboy boots (which she adorably put on the wrong feet), then we let her loose! Daddy and Arlo joined in on the fun too. It was over as quickly as it had started, but there is nothing like introducing your kids to a little free fun!
Song: An Animal A Natural by Bella Ruse
August 3, 2012
The Rundown: 30 months & 14 months
(Eeek! I’m so late on this rundown. These photos are from our trip to Vermont as they are most accurate for this update)
Everly- You weigh 26.8 pounds and are 36 inches tall. After wearing the same shoe size for nearly a year, I’m excited about the prospect of you finally wearing a size 6 this fall. I’ve been collecting some super cute shoes for you over the past year because I was just SO SURE that you would have grown into them by now! Your hair is really starting to get long and although the back could probably use a trim, I’m just not ready to cut it yet. You are still in size 24 months in dresses and shirts, and 18 months in most bottoms.
Arlo- You weigh 22.6 pounds and are 31 inches tall. You have begun to lose what little thigh chub you gained after your heart procedure once you started walking. You are quickly moving into a size 4 shoe and are wearing some hand-me-down shoes from your sister and your cousin Thomas. Your hair has started to really grow in now and the fabulous little curls behind your ears are the cutest thing ever. You are wearing size 12-18 month clothing.
Everly - No updates here. Full set of chompers!
Arlo- We thought for sure you were teething most of June and July, but despite some swollen gums, we’ve yet to see any new teeth pop through. You’ve really taken to brushing your teeth and love to do it yourself. Sometimes you get confused and instead of moving the brush up and down, you will stick the tooth brush in your mouth and move your head back and forth- ha!
July 11, 2012
An Update: Arlo’s Eyes & Albinism Diagnosis
(Photos from this week’s visit to Duke Children’s Eye Center. I thought it might be nice to document Arlo’s time with Dr. B since he will be seeing him for years to come!)
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an update on Arlo’s vision after his albinism diagnosis last year. When we first learned that our son’s vision could be greatly affected by the condition, it was a pretty tough blow for us. It took us a week or two to wrap our heads around, but once we felt like we were up to speed on what to expect, we jumped right in with getting him early intervention services and vision therapy. We tried to do our best to give him every tool and resource he needed as he adapted to the limitations of his sight.
We promised ourselves we were not going to dwell on the worries and what-ifs, and we didn’t. We had our hands full raising two back to back babies. Additionally, dealing with Arlo’s other health problems really put his sight issues into perspective for us. His albinism will effect his vision, and it means being diligent about sunscreen and wearing hats & sunglasses to protect his eyes in bright lights(he has an extreme light sensitivity called photophobia) - but that’s peanuts compared to the pain of severe reflux or exploratory urology surgery or the heart defect that affected his ability to grow. I always say that having children solidified my relationship with God, but after having a baby with health problems, I don’t know how I would have kept my sanity without knowing there was someone greater there to shoulder the load. I have asked Him to carry our burdens and worries daily. I prayed for understanding and for strength and more than anything, for healing. Despite my worry, I just had to trust that there was a greater lesson to be learned as we juggled diagnosis after diagnosis for Arlo.
As many of you who have been on this journey with us know, Arlo has proven to us time and time again that he is a resilient little boy. Despite several obstacles in his first year, our son has continued to hit all of his developmental milestones right on time. I was told to expect that many of his vision-linked milestones might be delayed- but Arlo never missed a beat. He tracked us with his eyes across the room as a tiny three month old. He grasped for toys, responded to smiles, crawled early and began walking shortly after his first birthday.
At a follow-up appointment when Arlo was 7 months old, we learned that his visual acuity (his ability to see fine details) was testing in the low range of normal for his age. We had said dozens and dozens of times that we felt our boys was seeing so well, and this test confirmed that. We were over the moon to hear that as far as his vision was concerned, Arlo was seeing far better than they expected for someone with albinism.
When he was 11 months old, we had genetic testing done on Arlo. Because he had defects in several parts of his body, his team of specialists wanted to determine if there was any genetic link between them. They did two tests - a microray analysis which looked at his overall gene structure (I’m horribly oversimplifying this - it was explained to me in super technical terms so I may not be describing this correctly) and then a second test to determine what kind of albinism he had. The microray came back normal - meaning that his other defects were not linked to any gene abnormality (good news) - their cause is undetermined but not gene related.
June 6, 2012
The Rundown: 28 months & 12 months
Everly - You weigh 26 pounds and are 35 1/2 inches tall. You are still my teeny girl and we’ve watched your best buddy Mylah take off and gain a good inch over you in height recently! You are still wearing a size 5 shoe. Despite your small size, you are so quick on your feet! You love to jump and dance and climb. You are learning to walk down the stairs forward (instead of crawling down backwards) and tell me you are doing it “like a big durl” (girl) every time you hold the rail and careful step down one at a time.
Arlo - You weigh 21 pounds and are 30 inches tall. You’ve crept back up on the growth charts and are now hanging out in the 40% on weight & 50% on height. Your big ‘ol noggin is in the 85% (you can thank your dad for that one!) You wear a size 3 shoe and are starting to fit into some of your 12 month clothes.
Everly - You really love brushing your teeth. Sometimes you ask us several times a day. We try to make it fun with songs and you really love when I brush my teeth along with you. We told you that you have to get the germies off your teeth before you go to bed and now you will ask me after you are done brushing. “Mama, do you see any germies?”
Arlo - You have 8 teeth total - four on the top and four on the bottom. We brush them before bed and you are most interested in just chewing on your tooth brush. You’ve been drooling and chewing on your fingers a lot the past few days so we expect some new teeth are on their way.