The Daughter Chronicles

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The plague house

Everyone in the house is sick. Okay, that's a lie. The cats are fine. Damned cats.

This is the first time we have dealt with two children being sick at the same time. I could die a happy man if they never do this again. Because they are evil, I'm sure they will coordinate their illnesses to coincide from now on, as they see how much it makes the hair of their parents fall out in clumps. If they feel yucky, the whole house must suffer!

It began last week with Mia. Always the trend-setter, she got a runny nose and a pleasant hacking cough. She seemed to feel fine other than that, though, so her daily routine wasn't upset. We assume she picked it up at school, so we sent her back to school to infect the rest of the buggers right back! That'll show 'em!

We gave her plenty of medicine on top of the medicine she's already getting, put Vicks on her, and trusted in science. She likes Vicks - whenever we take it out, she smiles and rubs her chest. She has started to associate it with getting medication - in the morning she rubs her chest when she is not getting Vicks on. It hasn't really affected her that much - she is sleeping fine and she seems perfectly happy. Her cough has actually gotten worse, which is a bit worrying, but we're holding off on taking her to the doctor because what the heck is he going to do?

Then, Norah became infected - diseased and unclean, if you will. She is not taking it as well. We give her a little medication and some Vicks, but that isn't having much effect. She is having a great deal of trouble sleeping, especially during the day, when she should be napping. She is cranky a lot because of this lack of sleep, and she doesn't enjoy the snot as much as Mia does. Mia digs the snot. So she gets very pissy when we wipe her nose. She also doesn't like playing as much because she's tired all the time. And, of course, she falls asleep at inappropriate times, like yesterday at about 5:15 p.m. Quite vexing.

The sickness hasn't spread as aggressively to the parents, but we haven't been completely spared its ravages. Krys is feeling run-down and achy, while my nose is very stuffy. This means that we have less patience with the kids' whining and tell them repeatedly to suck it up and deal with it! They just laugh at our foolishness. Actually, we've been holding up pretty well - it's just that at night we kind of collapse after the days. Isn't that the way it is with all parents?

The kids are getting a little better, but slowly. Illnesses are groovy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I have discovered something that inexplicably amuses Norah

Me eating a Twix bar. She found this the funniest thing ever this afternoon. This, of course, is an excuse for me to get even fatter.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

It's always fun to visit the neurologist

On Friday Mia had an appointment with her neurologist. It's always fun going to her doctor, and this was even more fun because we took Norah along. Luckily, Krys was able to join me, so it wasn't so bad. It's always fun because the appointment was at 10:30 and we didn't get to see him until about 11:45. Yay!

We wanted to see him because when she went in a few weeks ago to see her neurosurgeon, we mentioned that her attention span seems to be lagging. He suggested that seizures could cause it, as well as seizure medication. Now that's science! So we wanted to talk to her neurologist about when or if we could change her medication.

He only saw her for a few minutes (he's an extremely busy man, another reason I would not want to be a doctor), but he thought she looked pretty good. He is pleased with the progress she is making, which is nice. He was wary about messing with her medication, because her big violent seizures (the ones that are much worse) are gone, and she only occasionally has staring seizures, which are less severe. He wants to get her off the meds, but not so her seizures return. We mentioned vagus nerve stimulation, and he said that is a definite option, but not right now because she's too young and not bulky enough (it involves surgery, so she'd probably lose some weight, and she doesn't have weight to lose). He mentioned that he performed the operation on a six-year-old recently and he said the difference was phenomenal - he was able to take her off all but one medication and she improved greatly. So for now we're keeping her on all three meds, and we'll go back in May to see what we can do. We really want to get her off medication, but we'll see. It was a short but heartening visit, because we were able to explain our concerns to him and he was pretty helpful. We hope that in May we'll be able to get her off at least one of the medications she is taking. That would be nice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

[Insert the opening theme from Also sprach Zarathustra here]

Mia's physical therapist decided to monkey with her gait trainer yesterday. (Check out her in her gait trainer and her PT here!) He made Mia stand up more. The way it had been configured, she was slouching a lot and dragging her feet. He felt she had progressed enough so that she could stand up more. Success! She walked quite well, actually, after initially resisting. When she was slouching, it was easy for her to use only her right foot and drag the left. Now, that is not an option. We took her arm rests away, so she has to keep her arms up by herself, and the only way she can move is by using both legs. Her PT said that she is not using her butt muscles to propel herself like the rest of us do, but other than that, she looked pretty good. She actually raised her left leg, bending her knee, in an effort to move. After a few minutes, she was able to move herself along pretty well. Not great, but decently. We hope that keeping her much more upright and forcing her to move both legs will be a big help for her. So far, so good.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

How weird is this (possibly not at all)

A boy at Mia's school is named Anakin. Is that weird or am I just square? Is that like naming your kid Adolf or Pol Pot or something?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Christmas photos!

Here are pictures from Christmas and a few from before Christmas. I should be through another roll of film soon, so I will probably put more Christmas pictures up soon. You can never get enough Christmas photos!

Here's Norah trying some standing. She can't move around on her own, but God forbid she sits still!
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Norah has recently discovered sticking her tongue out. So she does it. A lot.
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Here's Mia tearing into a present. Nothing says wholesome American values like on orgy of presents!
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My niece is not exactly sure what to do with her present. Her brother was always willing to show her, however, much to the consternation of their mother.
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All the kids are doing their own thing.
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Mia enjoys just checking things out.
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Mia knows what you do with new toys - you chew on them!
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The day after Christmas we got family portraits taken. They came out well, all things considered - that we had four small children who think cooperating is for suckers. This is the whole brood. My brother-in-law apparently did not get the memo about color coordinating.
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Here are the grandparents and the grandkids. The kids did well, considering the separation anxiety (five feet or so from their parents).
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Finally, it's our immediate family. Look! The kids are actually smiling!
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Enjoy the pictures, everyone. More will probably be showing up soon.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year malaise

I suck because I haven't posted in a week and a day. The New Year has come, and the last post is still back in 2005. That's so 2005! Hectic wrap-up to the parents' visit, trying to get back into the routine, lack of time because Mia wasn't at school - so many excuses! But here's a brief update before I post Christmas pictures this weekend (that's a tease!):

Mia had a MRI two weeks ago as part of her regular visit to the neuro-surgeon. MRIs are no fun, let me tell you, especially when we had to wait for a long time in the waiting room (luckily my parents were babysitting Norah, or it would have gotten ugly). Mia has to be wrapped up like a mummy in order to keep her still - the whole set-up looks like a modern version of a Frankenstein movie - and the machine makes very loud noises, which of course freaks her out even more. Lots of crying, I can tell you. Her neuro-surgeon was happy with the results, since there has been no change in the images from two years ago, and her shunt looks fine, and her head size is fine. We mentioned that she seems to be learning more slowly, and he suggested we get in touch with her neurologist and see if it might be her seizure medication - he said that seizures can cause developmental delays, but sometimes so can the medication to stop seizures - the miracles of modern science! Her violent seizures have completely stopped, but she occasionally has what we think are "absence" seizures, where she just fades out for a few seconds before coming back. There are other options besides medicine (one involves surgery, which we're going to resist), so we want to consult with him. She has an appointment in two weeks, so we'll see what's going on there.

She continues to improve in gross motor skills - her PT is happy with her progress. Her fine motor skills, however, are still not great - we need to order her new chair so she can sit better, but it's been so crazy around here I haven't had time to do it. She'll still do her frustrating thing of saying a word very clearly and then never saying it again - the other night she said "sleeve" to Krys, but I doubt we'll hear it again for a long time. The other night in the tub she said "pee-pee," and when Krys asked her where the pee-pee comes from, she pointed to the appropriate spot, so we're trying to ask her if she needs to pee-pee and put her on the toilet, because we think she's getting annoyed with her diapers. Getting her toilet-trained would be nice.

As for Norah, my parents compared her unfavorably to my sister when she was that age. Barbra was a consummate whiner (I think she still is, but that's just me being a petty brother), and Norah is going that route. She is finally starting to learn how to play on her own, which should lessen the whining, but she still likes someone to pay attention to her all the time. She has resumed rolling, which is nice (for a while there she gave it up, as if she was thinking, "Well, I've mastered that skill, so I no longer have to do it"), but once she gets on her stomach, she can't get back on her back easily, so the whining starts again. We're awaiting the arrival of her teeth, because it seems like they've been coming in for over a month and they are annoying her. She's slowly getting better (she's standing in her Exersaucer and watching Baby Neptune as I type this, because her gymini just wasn't doing it for her), and she's starting to eat more foods (although turkey was not a hit yesterday), so that's that. I still can't wait until she's crawling and/or walking. I know it will be more work, but at least it will be fun.

So that's where the kids are. I have Christmas pictures to scan, but I just haven't found the time. I will either today or tomorrow, so check back over the weekend to see the two most beautiful children in the world and their cousins, who I guess are cute. In their own, non-Mia-and-Norah kind of way.