The Daughter Chronicles

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yet more on Norah's potty training!

Never let it be said that we don't talk about bodily functions here at the blog!

So today Norah had a couple of breakthroughs. I'll leave the one for another day (because photographs are involved, and it takes forever to load those) and concentrate on the potty-training one. Of course, the only one left is the Final Frontier: Pooping On The Toilet!

Yes, today was the day. It might not be the day tomorrow, but for one shining moment today, she went in the potty. She was watching Lady and the Tramp (her latest favorite DVD) and she said she had to poop. This is after I kept reminding her that if she needed to poop she should sit on the potty. So when she said that, I told her to sit down, and, miraculously, she obliged. She sat there for the rest of the movie - about 45 minutes. I was sitting on the other side of the room, and I thought I smelled it, but I couldn't be sure. Whenever I asked her if she was done pooping, she would whine "no" at me. I think she was afraid we wouldn't be able to stop the movie while she cleaned up, so she figured she would just stay on the potty until the movie ended. When it did so, she dutifully wiped herself and stood up. Lo and behold, there was the magical turd! There was much rejoicing.

We cleaned up, me praising her all the while, and then we called Mommy. Norah has only recently decided to talk into the phone, so I put her on and told her to tell Mommy what she had done. Very clearly, she said, "I poop in toilet." As Krys promised her goodies for pooping, I dug out the 100-piece puzzle of Tinker Bell and her fairy friends (Norah is somewhat obsessed with Tinker Bell these days; one of the reasons she gave for cutting her hair was so she could look like Tinker Bell, ignoring the fact that Tinker Bell does not, in fact, have short hair), which we promised to her as a present for pooping. It's for kids 5 and up, but she has mastered 24-piece puzzles, and Krys claimed she couldn't find any between 24 and 100 pieces (of course, she wasn't looking around that much). Norah tore into the 100-piece puzzle, and with Daddy's help, she put it together. She's very good at figuring puzzles out, and I have no doubt that in a few days she'll be able to put that sucker together without any trouble whatsoever.

So that was her day. We're of course very proud of her, and she seemed happy that she had actually pooped in the potty. Maybe this will convince her that pooping in pants really isn't that great an idea. We'll see as the days go on. Next up, of course, is getting her to go in the actual toilet. That would be nice.

Thanks to my pals Kelli and Frank and/or Deb, who offered advice on how to deal with this (Frank and Deb have a joint e-mail account, and neither one signs his or her name, so who the hell knows, even though I suspect it's Frank, as I've known him for 30 years). It's always appreciated!

The next post will not be about Norah's bowel or bladder. So swear I!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

More on Norah's potty training

So Norah is out of diapers now, except at night. I didn't really want to do it, but Krys insisted, and Norah was acting like she was able to deal with it, so we went into the breach!

We had put Norah into underpants a few weeks ago, and she thwarted us by holding it in. Yes, on one day, she didn't pee for seven hours until I caved and put a diaper on her. It was quite annoying. But at least we realized her bowel was mature enough so she knew to hold it in. I tried to get her to go on the toilet a few times, but no dice. Confound her!

But then, this week, Krys decided to put her in underpants. As I wrote below, she went in the potty over the weekend, so we thought it was a good idea. And lo! she has continued to pee in the potty all week. I put the potty by her wherever she goes in the house and put some toilet paper next to it, and when she needs to, she simply pulls her pants down and goes. We've told her to take the basin beneath the potty into the bathroom and flush it, and then wash her hands. She was a bit sketchy on the hand-washing once because I accidentally made the water too hot, but she's recovered nicely and is now into the whole washing of the appendages. So she has the whole peeing thing down pretty well. We haven't moved her to the actual toilet yet, but we wanted to get her comfortable with panties first. In that, she's done well.

But then there's the solid waste material. Oh dear. Norah refuses to poop in the potty. Unequivocally. We tell her over and over to use the potty, and she agrees with us that that's probably a good idea, but then she doesn't do it. If I ask her if she needs to poop, she whines and says no. It's bizarre, because she's become annoyed with us wiping her butt, and we keep telling her that it would feel better if she pooped on the potty herself. But nothing works.

This leads to some unpleasant accidents, as you might expect. She's been going through underpants at an alarming rate (she's on her third pair today). Just because she's not wearing diapers and won't use the potty doesn't mean she's holding it in. So we've had some soiled underpants, and even though she gets upset when there's poop in her pants, she does nothing about it. It's frustrating.

We're a bit stymied. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know. We're probably just going to keep trying to convince her it's much better to use the potty and hope she sees the light. We're very happy that she's peeing where she's supposed to, but it would be nice if she got the second part of the equation, too. What say our five readers?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A small breakthrough

Today Norah went down for her nap with underpants on. She hadn't gone to the bathroom all day, but we didn't care - we figured she could pee in the bed, and maybe that would teach her to go in the toilet. At about 3 o'clock she was awake, so I opened the door and let her out (she can open the door by herself, but she's quite good at staying in her room at naptime). She walked out and told Krys (I'm not important) that she used the potty in her room and she wanted a sticker (which we've told her is her prize for using the toilet). We asked her if she really went in the potty, and she said yes. We checked on it, and she had indeed used the potty. Success! Yay, Norah! We've been half-heartedly trying to potty-train for a while, with no success. I would have bet money that she would have peed in the bed. But she did a great job, and she was very proud of herself. Maybe that hurdle has been overcome. We shall see in the next few days. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Party time for Mia!

This past Saturday we had a birthday party for Mia. We decided to have it after her birthday this year, because we thought it might be a bit cooler than having it before, which we usually do. Well, it was marginally cooler, but not much. Still, it was a nice party. It's always odd having a party for Mia, because she really doesn't have any friends that we can invite. She likes her classmates, but it's not like she was asking for any of them to be invited. So it turns into a party for people we like and haven't seen for a while. Luckily, a lot of them have kids, so Mia has a grand old time hanging out with people her own age. Of course, Mia often has a grand old time no matter what, so there's that. Norah also gets to interact with kids her own age, which she only does at Little Gym. We have been considering putting her pre-school, but haven't because it's pretty expensive, but maybe she needs to be around more kids. I don't know; it's a pickle!

So we had a good time. Two of my ex-colleagues in the teaching industry came with four kids between them. An ex-student of mine showed up with her daughter. Mia's lawyer also came, which was cool of her, with her two daughters. Mia's OT, who is quite awesome, also showed up. We have a small house, so we couldn't have handled too many more. All the kids went in the pool when they arrived, Norah included. One of the girls was not much older than she was, so she followed her lead. She hung onto the edge and moved from the shallow end to the deep end. It was pretty keen. She's still kind of a wuss about the pool - she really doesn't like it when she gets water in her ear, something I'll expound upon when I write about her swimming lessons - but she's really digging the deep end of the pool, which is odd. The other kids had a lot of fun, too. I guess. I didn't ask, but they were shrieking happily.

We cut the cake, and that's where some of the fun began. As I mentioned, Norah seems to be kind of a wuss recently, and this extends to fire. A few months ago, she was outside with me while I was grilling, and a flame spurted up. I didn't freak out or anything, because I didn't want to freak her out, and she was standing five feet away at least, so it's not like she even felt the heat. She didn't go nuts or anything, so I thought nothing of it. But then, in June, at her birthday party, she cried when the cake came out with the candles burning. She still talks about the "fire" and how it won't hurt her, but that doesn't stop her. The same thing happened on Saturday when Mia's cake came out. She simply freaked out. I had to take her back in her bedroom and try to calm her down, but she wanted to stay in there for a while. After a few minutes, the candles were out (Mia blew out one of them, which was fairly impressive), so she came out. Then all was well!

Mia had a fun time opening her presents, although Norah, of course, wanted to "help" her. A few of the other kids helped, too, but they actually, you know, helped. Mia's lawyer's kids, who are nine and five, had heard about Mia, and they were excited to meet her. They sat by her and helped her open stuff. My ex-student's kid handed her presents, which was nice of her. Mia got some nice stuff - mostly clothing and DVDs, because it's tough to buy toys for her, and she has so many already. She seemed to enjoy what she got, so that was nice. Then, to wrap up the day, Krys put in The Lady and the Tramp, one of her new DVDs. The kids were winding down a bit, so they just chilled and watched the movie. Then everyone went home.

It was a nice day, because I always like to catch up with people I haven't seen in a while. I always like hearing the latest war stories from the teaching trenches, so the fact that my two ex-colleagues are still teachers is always fun. And I hadn't seen my ex-student in at least two years (maybe three - jeez, the West Valley is far away from Mesa!), and I was jazzed to see her. I have only kept in touch with a few of my students, and she's one of them, so I was glad to actually see her. And it's always fun to talk to Mia's lawyer! She's quite awesome, actually. I have known only a few lawyers, and they have always been very cool. Mia's lawyer has always done an excellent job with her case, and she's a nice person as well. So I was very happy to catch up with them. E-mail just isn't the same, man!

So that was Mia's birthday party. It was a fun day, and Krys, as always, planned it perfectly. Mia had fun, Norah had fun (mostly), and I got to see some friends that I hardly ever get to see. Enjoy the pictures!

Norah freaks out because of the candles, while Mia's OT tries to calm her down.

Krys cuts the cake while the kids wait impatiently.

That's my ex-student Yazil. She rocks!

That's Yazil's daughter in the foreground. Beside her is the daughter of one of my ex-colleagues.

Mia's OT is perpetually happy ... except when she's dealing with Mia! (I kid - she loves Mia, because who doesn't?)

Krys dazzles with her knifework on the cake!

Mia's lawyer Bridget. She rocks too!

My friend Monika, who taught in the ghetto with me. If you're wondering, she rocks also!

Let me tell you, that was darned good cake.

Everyone helps Mia unwrap presents!

Monika talks to another ex-colleague, Jessica. Yes, she rocks. They were having fun gossiping about education stuff.

Mia digs her Wiggles shirt!

Back to real life now. Norah's swimming lessons, and more news about Mia's surgery. It's always a good time here at the blog!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More excellent news about Mia

I'm being sarcastic, unfortunately. We often have good news about Mia, but the way she is, there's always a chance it won't be.

Mia needs hip surgery. Yes, what fun. I took her to an orthopedic specialist yesterday because her neurosurgeon suggested it. We've been thinking about it for a while, just to make sure her spine and pelvis weren't screwed up. Well, her spine is fine and dandy, but her hips are not.

The X-rays are remarkably clear so that even a moron like me can read it. When your hip bones are growing, they eventually settle at about a 130-degree angle to the leg bone. Because of Mia's high muscle tone, it impeded the growth and her hip bones are at about 160 degrees. That ain't good. Her left hip managed to make it into the pelvic socket fine, but the right hip is not aligned correctly. The orthopedic guy said that it will come out of the socket eventually, which will entail even more surgery. So it's probably best to do it soon.

He said that the hip bone problem is a big reason why she doesn't walk and why the mechanics of her walking are so screwed up. When she takes a step, this is how it goes: she takes a step with her right foot, and then twists around to her right, pulling on her left leg with other ligaments and tendons so that it swings forward. This is, obviously, contrary to what should happen. Ironically, when she manages to keep her head forward and her shoulders aligned, she can take a step with her left foot rather easily. But she doesn't know she can do that, so she does the twisting thing more often than not. And it screws up her hip even more.

So she needs surgery. We haven't scheduled it yet, but we'll do it soon. I don't know how long she'll be down for the count, but the specialist said two weeks. I don't know if that means two weeks flat on her back, but that would suck, because she'd be bored out of her mind. I'm hoping it will only be a few days where she can't be upright at all, but we'll see. The other concern (besides the fact that it's surgery, which is always a concern, obviously) is that if she continues to walk the way she does, she'll screw up her hip again. Our hope is that if her hip isn't so screwed up it will help her walk better, but who knows. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

We're thinking about October or so for the surgery, depending on if they can get her scheduled that soon and based on some other factors. We hope it doesn't knock her out of action too much, but we don't know. We'll see.

It's always something fun! I will, of course, write more about this when we know more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More aid for Mia!

Mia's physical therapist had an idea. He has been trying it out with another patient, and it has worked well, so he thought he'd try with Mia. His premise is that when kids are too small to walk, they get tummy time. Okay, that's not his premise, but his premise is that because they have tummy time, they breathe against something hard (the floor) and the resistance this creates help build strong chest muscles. Therefore, when they stand up, their muscles are strong enough to stabilize them and they don't have any problems. Mia, of course, didn't get a lot of tummy time when she was small. She was just starting to roll over when she had her accident, and then, after that, she spent a lot of time on her back before re-learning to roll over. Therefore her chest muscles are developed terribly well.

So what? you might ask. Well, her PT theorizes that this might have something to do with the fact that her hips aren't terribly stable. One side of her chest is stronger than the other, and because neither side is very strong, it throws off the alignment of her entire body and makes her hips weaker and messes up her balance. It makes a fair amount of sense, and he decided to do something about it. He came up with a vest made of neoprene and wrapped it around her torso. He made it as tight as he could and strapped it with velcro. Then he told us to make her wear it for 2-3 hours a day. This, in theory, would constrict her chest muscles and make her work harder to breathe, strengthening the muscles in the process. This would help her body align.

It might sound a tad barbaric, but it doesn't hurt her in any way. She actually doesn't mind wearing it at all. Well, maybe that's going a bit far, but she doesn't complain about it like she complains about wearing her AFOs. It's constrictive, sure, but she can breathe fine - in fact, I wonder if it needs to be tighter, because he said she might take deep breaths every once in a while because her muscles would be tired, and she doesn't seem to do that. He's going to check her soon to see if she needs it tighter or looser, but it doesn't seem to be bothering her. He said it's a long process - at least 2 years, because we obviously don't want her in it all the time, and it takes a while to build muscle - but if it helps her, I'm all for it. He videotaped her before we began and will tape her again periodically to check the contours of her chest.

It's just one of the many fun things we can try with Mia. The nice thing about it is that unlike some medication she can take, there's nothing really that can wrong with this. I watch her every night when she's wearing the vest, and it doesn't bother her at all. And if it strengthens her muscles, then it's a good thing. We'll see!