The Daughter Chronicles

Friday, July 28, 2006

Counting out

Mia has begun to count, which is very keen. Krys has been working with her for a while, and it's finally started to stick! She can easily count to five now, and a few times she has gotten up to seven. She loves three, though, which is weird - she'll count (in her parlance), "One, two, free, four, free, free, five." She isn't doing it as often as she was a couple of weeks ago, but three still remains her favorite. She can count fingers and ladybugs (Krys reads her Ten Little Ladybugs a lot) and I assume anything else we would want her to, but for now we're sticking with fingers and ladybugs.

She's been making this kind of slow progress in communication for a while now. Her speech therapist thinks it's only a matter of time before she has a speech explosion, but for now we're happy with the progress she's making, because it's more indicative of remembering and integrating stuff than just repeating it because we say it. So that's neat.

I apologize for the lack of pictures lately. I'll get some up soon. They're still as cute as ever!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good news about Mia's seizures!

As in, she's not having them anymore. About a month ago she had an EEG to check her seizure activity, and I finally got around to calling her neurologist to check the results. He said he could see no seizure activity, so he told us to start reducing her medication. We have been concerned about her level of medication, because it seems that she is dazed more often than would be normal even in a kid with a brain injury. The medicine, obviously, accumulates in her body, so even if it didn't happen before, there's no reason why it shouldn't be causing her to space out now. We think it's hindering her a bit in development, especially in her speech and reasoning. For about a year she has been on three different medications - Tegretol, Depakene, and Keppra - to control her seizures. The Keppra seemed to help the most, as shortly after she went on that (on top of the other two, of course), her visible seizures stopped. So now her brain doesn't show any activity, which is nice.

Her doctor told us to slowly take her off the Tegretol. Up until a few days ago, she was getting 14 ml a day of the Tegretol (along with 9 ml of the Depakene and 10 ml of the Keppra). We have lessened it to 12 ml, and in a week we will take it down to 9, then 6, then 3, then none. We think that the Tegretol is the one that makes her the most sluggish, so we hope to see some improvement as we decrease the dosage.

Of course, the hope is that we can get her off all of it. That's the goal, but right now we're just happy we can reduce one of the meds. Meds are necessary, but they suck nevertheless.

Yay, Mia! No more seizures!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Norah is one smart cookie

It's very interesting watching Norah discover the world around her, especially as it's completely different from how Mia is doing it. Unfortunately with Mia, her discoveries are often painstaking, very deliberate, and heavily supervised. It's still a joy to behold, but because we've been working on it for so long, it's not quite as spontaneous. With Norah, I can just sit and watch her as she crawls around and figures things out on her own, and it's fun.

For example, this afternoon she crawled into her bedroom to play. For some reason she loves playing in her bedroom rather than out in the living room where there are more toys. So, as the dutiful father, I followed her in and sat down on the rocking chair and began to watch her. This can be frightfully boring - it's a pretty comfy chair, and after watching a one-year-old pick up a toy and put it down about 6000 times anyone's eyes would start to get heavy - and today was no exception - I finally had to get up and walk around. Prior to that (today it was the lotion Krys uses on her - she took it off the shelf and stared at for several minutes, then put it down, then picked it up and stared at it, then put it down - and I could feel myself slipping into unconsciousness), she had done something interesting. She loves doors, and therefore often sits and opens and closes them. This is a problem when she closes them so hard that they click shut, because then she can't open them, consarnit! Today she closed her bedroom door all the way. She crawled over to it and put her fingers in the crack between the door and frame, but couldn't get it open. Then she looked up and saw the handle. It was fascinating, because you could see the light go on in her brain. She stood up and reached for the handle. D'oh! You guessed it - not tall enough. She can touch the handle and can't pull it down to unlatch the door. But it was very neat to watch her puzzle out how the door could be opened, and I'm sure in another few months she'll be opening and closing the doors with much glee.

Like I said, it's nice to see these things. She is slowly figuring things out, and even though she continues to believe that if she bothers the cats they won't swat at her (such childlike naiveté!), in other areas she's doing a nice job of problem solving. With Mia, these things take time and several hundred repetitions. It's cool to see Norah doing it on her own.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kids are disgusting!

Norah's latest thing is standing up by the trash can in the kitchen, pulling on the metal ring at the back that holds the top to the body of the can, and chewing on it. We tell her no and she smiles. We take her away and she screams and immediately goes back to it. It doesn't appear to be all that bad for her, so we just let her go. Is that wrong?

So: chewing on the metal of the trash can. She also tries to put her hands ... down there when I change her. I usually can stop her, but a few times she has managed to get her hands there after she has pooped. Charming. When that has happened, I have been able to clean her hands before she does what she wants, which is, of course, put them in her mouth. Sigh. At least she hasn't done that yet.

It's really a wonder that any of us survived to adulthood. Small children are icky.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Our middle-of-the-road child

First, an update: Mia's physical therapist decided that the cuts on her toes were probably blisters. He moved her toes around and discovered that she probably couldn't have cut them with her toenails in that particular spot. They had healed somewhat and they looked like blister sores. He said we'd have to keep an eye on the tightness of her shoes, but it seems okay now. We will be vigilant!

Meanwhile, Norah had her first year checkup, and everything is normal. Completely and totally normal. She is almost 31 inches long and she weighs 20 pounds 1 ounce. This puts her in the 95th percentile for length, the 25th percentile in weight, and in the middle of the road for length to height ratio (or is it height to length ratio?). Her doctor said that she is making good progress. I mentioned that we were going to try her on milk because she has been lactose-intolerant for a while, and he said that is fine. Then he said we shouldn't worry about it too much, because meat has enough calcium in it to give her what she needs. Apparently he's the only one in existence who thinks this, because everyone we've spoken to since and everything Krys has read says kids need milk for the calcium. He's wacky!

We tried her on some milk, and she was unimpressed. We got some soy milk, and she was unimpressed. I am dying to get her off formula, but it looks like it might be a tough road. Ah, parenthood!

Then, a few days ago, she got a fever. I took her back to the doctor yesterday and he said her MMR (mumps, measles, rubella?) shot probably gave her the fever. This morning it was back down, so we're hoping it's going away. She has no symptoms of anything else, so it's probably just nothing. It doesn't help that it's 110 degrees here and today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year.

She's still cruising and does not appear to have any plans to walk on her own. She better do it soon, so we can put her to work!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mia's mysterious injuries

I can't find a synonym for "injury" that begins with "m" to give the title of this post a nice alliterative feel. Some English major I am!

Anyway, Mia had some mysterious injuries this week. Nothing serious, and easily solved, but still weird. On Monday I noticed she had a few nasty-looking bruises on the back of her leg, right below and right above her left knee. This is where her AFO ends, so we assumed it had something to do with that. We kept her brace off of her on Tuesday the 4th, and on Wednesday I brought it up to her physical therapist. He said that they always look at her leg when they make her walk and they hadn't noticed anything. We put her brace on and checked out where the bruises match up, and it appears the only way she could have gotten bruises where they were on her leg is from bending her knee almost all the way. Then the top of the AFO would dig into the area right above her knee. The problem is, she hardly ever bends her knee that far. Occasionally when she is sitting in the chair in the living room, I will bend her leg to keep her from sliding down off of it, but I don't bend it that far and it's never for that long. She doesn't have any chairs that dig into the back of her leg like that - it has to be the AFO. But how it happened is kind of weird.

Then, on Wednesday night, we noticed that the bottom of a few of her toes had blood on them. What the crap? Krys investigated and determined that it was probably because her toenails cut her. On the bottom of her toes? Well, yes. We cut her toenails a lot, but they are still sharp. Is this a common phenomenon among kids who don't walk? Krys figured out that she is curling her toes so tightly that a nail on one toe will cut the one next to it. We wondered if her shoes were too tight, but after checking it out, we're wondering if they're too loose. Mia curls her toes quite often, so we just have to be more diligent in cutting her nails. It was still creepy.

We haven't been making her wear her AFO as much for the past few days, and the bruises are fading. We'll see if they come back once she has it on for several hours at a time. I hope not, but if they don't, we'll forever be in the dark about where they came from in the first place.

Kids: the mysteries never end!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Everybody into the pool!

Last week, when Krys's mother visited, the pool got warm enough for the children to go in. They do not like it if it's too cold, and although the weather has been hot for a while, it takes water longer to warm up than the air, so it's still been a little chilly in the pool. The kids love the pool, however, so we were ready to go once it got warm!

The four women went in before I did, so I took the pictures. Unfortunately, Norah was still not completely comfortable with Marion (Krys's mom), so Krys could not take Mia out into the middle of the pool and swim, because Norah would freak out. So they sat for a bit until I got in, and both kids could zip around away from the steps.

It was fun, because it was the first time Norah had been in the pool. Earlier Krys had taken her outside and walked near the pool, and she freaked out. So we were a bit wary about it, but she loved it. We figured she would - she likes the bathtub, and this is just a big bathtub! So she splashed and laughed and enjoyed getting zipped around. Mia has always been a big fan of the pool, so she thought it was groovy. They spent quite a bit of time in there, and we had a grand old time.

Norah gradually got used to Marion over the week, so by the end of the week she was used to her and having fun with her around. Mia, of course, loved her, because Mia loves everyone. We tried to get her to say "grandma" but Mia, as she does occasionally, transposed it to "Moo-gah." She kept saying it, so of course we decided that would have to stick. From then on we encouraged it, and Mia thought it was grand to call grandma "Moo-gah." She will be Moo-gah from now on, of course.

I have taken Norah in the pool once since then, and she enjoyed it. She kept trying to climb out and get onto the deck, which puzzled me. I guess the ridiculously hot deck is more fun than the nice cool water! I haven't taken Mia in because the only time she's awake when Norah isn't is in the morning, and she has therapy and other things to keep her busy during that time. I would like to take them both in more often, because for Mia it's good therapy - she actually kicks her legs - and they both dig it. I hope that I can get some nicer pictures of them in the pool. It is, after all, a long, long summer here.