Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We've often remembered that particular story with a smile because in the spring, Zach will have someone to have a snack with. Yep, we're having another baby!
Some answers to frequently asked questions:
The baby is due May 9th, so I'm 12+ weeks along.
Zach turns 3 on January 21, so he'll be a few months past three when the baby is born.
I've been feeling very well, thanks for asking. Very similar to my pregnancy with Zach - no sickness in the morning or otherwise. I'd hardly know I was pregnant, other than some minor symptoms like fatigue and the desire to eat everything in sight (and out of sight, unfortunately, our Halloween candy supply has been decimated).
We don't know if we're going to find out the gender. We change our minds daily (well, at least I do). It will likely be a decision we make on ultrasound day. We did not find out with Zach, and we are a little curious what it's like to know in advance... but we'll see.
Yes, Zach knows... sort of. We just told him a few days ago. This will be an on-going conversation, since six+ months is a long time for a two year old. We'll have more serious conversations at it gets a little closer, and when there is more tangible proof - setting up the baby's room, my shrinking lap, etc. But the conversation we did have was pretty funny. Scott asked Zach again if he knew what a brother was, and got the same answer about someone to snack with. Then he asked what a sister was, and Zach paused for a minute, and then said he didn't know (apparently you don't snack with a sister?!?!). I used his cousins as an example, that Bryn and Maryn are sisters, and then asked who Chase's sister was; he correctly identified his cousin Sophie. When we asked him if he wanted a brother or a sister, his answer was: a Sophie!
We also asked what he wanted to name the baby. He said Zach. We explained that was his name, and wouldn't that be confusing if they had the same name??? I gave him examples; if I called "Zach!" - that both he and the baby would come running. And that if mail came addressed to Zach Willard, we wouldn't know who it was for!!! He's very interested in the mail these days, since he got so much when he had his cast on, so now thinks that's hilarious, he repeats it and laughs hysterically. He also decided if it was a girl she should be named Sally, since that's the sister's name in The Cat in the Hat. Good input, but I'm not sure we'll be going with his suggestions...
Monday, October 26, 2009
So, as you may remember, Zach was supposed to start "school" the Monday after he broke his leg. What we are calling "school" is the Mom's Day Away program at the local Christian pre-K thru 12th grade academy. Basically they offer a chance, up to three days a week, for your child to spend the majority of the day with them. They do have a curriculum, similar to what any day care program has, but it's not technically preschool (3 is the magic age for preschool). Zach was going to go once a week, on Mondays; obviously postponed after he became immobile.
As a result, today was the big day - first day of school. I wasn't really looking forward to it, since any time we brought it up his response was generally "are you going to come too mama?" or "I don't WANT to go to school!" Not surprising, since this is a boy who hasn't spent a lot of time in a child care setting, other than up to two hours at the YMCA last winter, the hour or less when we separate at our ECFE classes, etc.
We talked about school this weekend, to get him ready and hopefully excited about what was coming. This morning, when I gave him advance warning that we'd be heading out for school in a little bit, I got the "don't wanna" response. So we talked about it a bit, and he started asking questions: did he know anyone there? Who were the teachers? Was I going to stay?
I answered his questions (yes, you've met the teachers, no you don't know any of the kids so you'll have to ask their names and tell them yours, etc), and then I apparently used a magic word: gym. When it's cold, the kids get to go play in the school gym, riding bikes, playing with balls, etc. So he instantly wanted to know - could he play basketball??? Suddenly he was ready to go.
So to make an already too-long story short - all the drama I was anticipating didn't happen. He chatted away with the lead teacher, asking questions. He pointed out that the bear-shaped name tags marking the kids' coat hooks looked like the Twins bear, but that while the one labeled "Tamar" started with a "T", it didn't say Twins because it ended with an "r". :)
And after we'd been there a few minutes and he was already playing, I squatted down and told him I was going to go. And what did he do? He lifted his face up for a good-bye kiss.
I tell you - this kid is a ROCK STAR!!!
I had the strangest feeling walking out of the school; I'm still not sure I can identify it. I was in sort of a daze. It was definitely a mix of disequilibrium, from just not having my little guy with me, and the relief that the transition was so smooth. But you know what the primary emotion was? Pride. And what a great way to start the day.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Scott got to check something off his "bucket list" - he has now carved a pumpkin. Yes, folks, he reached the ripe old age of 34 without ever carving a pumpkin. Don't ask me how! But I did the honors last year, so this year it was his turn to stick his hand in and pull out the goop. Zach watched with interest, but didn't seem to have any desire to participate. He did, however, offer that fantastic smile (see above) when I pulled out the camera. Sigh. At what age do they learn how to really smile for the camera?
(more photos on Facebook for those of you who also waste your time out there!)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I told Scott when he got home yesterday that I thought all his PT efforts were paying off, and that Zach would be walking any minute now. I was basing that on the fact on some of the progress Zach'd been making, including some that day:
- standing for minutes and minutes on his own
- being able to stand up from sitting, without holding on to anything
- when he was walking, he often was barely holding on to me
- when walking with his walker, he was often walking in front of it, pulling it behind him, just using it to catch his balance occasionally
- he jumped yesterday. Yes - an actual jump - both feet left the ground. He was holding on to my hand at the time, but still! The reason he jumped... peer pressure. Our little friend Kasey was over, and she was demonstrating her newly achieved jumping skills. Zach watched, heard me cheering for her, and seconds later had to try it himself!
So... after less than 9 full days of having the cast off - this morning Zach decided to walk. He was asking that someone walk behind him to catch him if he fell, but he's already stopped doing that and is getting around the house pretty easily, although slowly. We're headed out to our friends' cabin this afternoon for some fall/Halloween fun, and it'll be interesting to see how he progresses today alone, since he'll be surrounded by running kids!
One step closer to "normal"...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Zach also rode his trike outside yesterday (we had a 60-degree day - hooray!). He has never really been good at pedaling it, but he does ok on the slight decline on our street. His little legs kept moving!
I was a bit optimistic about when he'd walk. He made so much progress so quickly that first day or two, but we've pretty much stalled at this point. He can stand on his own for minutes - really until he realizes it and freaks out. He walks a little better with his shoes on, so we keep them on all the time now. He still struggles to put his heel down when he puts his weight on his left leg; apparently those muscles/tendons are pretty tight. We'll keep plugging away...
Monday, October 19, 2009
Pretty good, huh? He's able to stand on his own for a while now, and was even able to swing a golf club and bat while doing so. He has fallen down a few times, and at one point I thought we were going to have to take another run to the hospital! He fell while holding on to the bat, and instead of letting go, he landed on his hand/arm and the bat handle funny. I immediately started thinking "is this the same cry he had when he broke his leg?" and "oh boy, how are we going to explain this one at the hospital?!?!?" But fortunately it wasn't serious - whew. I wonder how long it will take before I stop panicking and thinking broken bones every time he falls?
Scott also got Zach to take one step a few times - slow progress, but we're headed in the right direction. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, Scott is much better at pushing Zach to try new things. It looks so painful when he walks holding on to our hands... he tries to avoid putting his left heel down, and puts as little weight on the left leg as he can.
Which is where my struggle comes in - it's been difficult, to say the least, to find the right balance between encouraging Zach to do things on his own and just doing it for him. While I am very aware that the more he does for himself, the quicker life will go back to "normal", I am already weary of the whining, crying, and screaming that often goes with making him do something himself. It's no different from plenty of other parenting decisions we've had to make along the way - whether to take the easy way out to make the short-term better, but then suffering the consequences in the long-term. I would have said we were pretty good at doing what's best for the long-term, but this particular situation is proving to be a challenge, for me at least.
In other news, we went to an apple orchard/pumpkin patch on Saturday. Zach's desire to go on outings is still missing - if you'd heard him you would have thought we were taking him to the dentist for a root canal or something. Once we got there he was fine, of course, and had fun directing us where to go through the pumpkin patch. Scott did most of the toting... this kid is heavy; we need to get him walking soon!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Q: Will it take Zach a couple days to be comfortable walking again, or a couple weeks?
A: While we obviously can't answer this exactly yet, based on the last twenty-four hours, I would guess we'll be closer to the couple days end of the spectrum, although I wouldn't be surprised if it was a week or so. By the time he went to bed last night, he was sitting on his own, crawling (albeit without fully bending his left leg), scooting on his butt, standing while leaning on something, taking a few steps with support, and even moving from standing to sitting and occasionally vice versa. That's a lot of progress! But, he clearly does not want to put his full weight on his left leg, nor does he want it bent past a certain point. I am assuming every day, the more he puts his weight on it and moves around in attempts to play, the better it will get and the closer he'll get to trusting the leg.
Q: Will he play cars by himself or continue to want us to play - nonstop? Will he ever want to play something other than cars?
A: Yes and no, to both questions. He was absolutely delighted to play with "toots the train" (thanks Cindy), his grocery cart and food, and construction geotrax last night. And he did play by himself quite a bit - his imagination creates all sorts of scenarios now; it's fun to hear him making up conversations between cars and trucks, etc. But in the end, we did come back to the cars, and that's the first thing he wanted to do when he got up this morning. We're playing in a different way - with him standing against a row of our ottomans - so he can use his legs a bit. Hopefully the pictures show some of his progress, even if you can't see his face - he was too busy playing to look at the camera!
A: This boy slept for 2.5 hours yesterday afternoon - which is not typical. And he seemed to sleep well last night too; he did cry out once or twice during both his nap and at night, but based on what I think I heard, I suspect he was having bad dreams. And as soon as I put him down in the crib, he rolled over - hooray!
Q: Will he still want to watch tv as much as he does now?
A: Hard to say for sure what the long term answer will be, but for now, he's pretty happy to play. That was his first request when he got up from his nap and this morning, although this morning he pooped out after an hour or so and wanted to watch tv. So I don't think it'll be too much of a struggle to get him back to "normal" viewing levels, especially once he's walking and we can go outside.Q: Will he want to go out in the world again, or continue to prefer the safety of home?
A: Well, if this morning is any example, it will just keep getting better. We went to a playdate with our regular group, and he was a little iffy when we left the house. But he did GREAT at the playdate; was scooting himself all over the place to get to the toys he wanted, and walking fairly long distances while holding on to my hands. So hopefully we can get back to our usual out and about schedule sooner rather than later!
Q: Will he ever eat vegetables again?
A: TBD... we haven't tackled this one yet. We're starting out focusing on having him eat at the table again, and eating what we're eating/what we put in front of him, rather than the custom-ordering he's gotten used to the last 5 weeks. Veggies are up next!
I also have to comment on one other thing. Zach is very lucky to have both a mom and a dad, and yesterday was yet another perfect example of why. When Zach got up from his huge nap, we plopped down on the floor and started playing, with me encouraging him to try new things like sitting, for example. And I was thrilled to just watch as he had an absolute blast playing with things he hadn't played with in a while, and cheered him on when he started doing things on his own, like scooting around on his butt to get to something he couldn't reach.
When Scott got home from work, he was ready to start "PT". He had a plan - arranging all the ottomans so Zach could walk hanging on to them. After a while I thought to myself, I'm glad I'm going curling in a few minutes, because this will work better if I'm not around! Scott has always been able to get Zach to try new things better than I can, for many reasons I won't go into. And while I was pretty content with the progress Zach had made, Scott was quite sure he could and should do more. And sure enough, this morning I got to see Zach demonstrate all the things that he and daddy had worked on - all the walking, moving from sitting to standing, etc, that I mentioned above. And I can assure you, he wouldn't have made that much progress if I'd been there! He needs both of our approaches - the combination is what works. So yet one more time that I've been so grateful that I'm not doing this on my own, for my own sake, but especially for Zach's.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The cast removal itself was a non-issue, which was funny, since that's what I was most concerned about. But the saw was smaller and less noisy than I had anticipated, and I think we had prepared Zach for it reasonably well. He didn't look scared, didn't cry, nothing, as they cut the cast off (4 cuts total). Then once it was off, he moved his left leg a little, said ouch, and then said "mama, can you put something on my knee so I can't move it?" Apparently this is a typical response, kids feel the stiffness, and it's such a foreign feeling to them that they interpret it as pain, and don't want to move. So we were very gingerly moving him around as he got an x-ray, got dressed, and got into the car (in his own carseat!!!).
We headed to Wendy's for our lunch celebration before we took Scott back to work; Wendy's was Zach's choice because he knows he gets a frosty ice cream treat with his meal. :) And the best part - he sat in a regular chair next to Scott! No more sitting in the stroller or on our laps to eat. Whoo hoo!!
Our biggest challenge now is clearly going to be the itching. The nurse (?) who cut his cast off said his skin actually looked great, that we did a good job (not sure what exactly we did, but thanks). But there's some red patches here and there, quite a bit of dry skin, etc. That's all to be expected, of course. We thought a bath might help, so when we got home I headed straight for the tub.
Zach did NOT want to take a bath. But I quickly realized why - he thought we still had to do the sponge bath thing; he told me I was going to the wrong place when I headed for the bathroom upstairs. Once I got the tub filled - he was excited. I had to go track down his favorite plastic animals so he could play with them in the tub. It's ridiculous - I almost cried seeing how happy he was to be in the tub, making his animals talk, do back-flips into the water, etc. I had one heck of a time getting him out of the tub when the water was getting cold!
It was also obvious the water felt good - there's a reason people are supposed to swim to exercise their muscles! He was able to move around pretty well in the tub, and when I got him up even stood (with assistance) for a little bit. And when I put him in the crib, I put him on his back to see if he could roll over onto his belly - and after a second or two he did it!
While I wasn't trying to move his leg around too much to test things out, I did get the impression that he is the most comfortable keeping the leg in the position it was in the cast - almost fully extended, with a slight bend in the knee. It seemed to hurt if I bent the knee too far, or moved it closer to his chest. So we'll slowly but surely work on that.
As far as next steps, we are just supposed to encourage Zach to walk as soon as he wants to. He is completely capable of walking on the leg right now - he just doesn't understand that and doesn't like the feeling. We can go to physical therapy if we decide we need it, but the goal is just to assist him with walking. I don't really want to take him to any more doctors than we need to, so we'll keep that option open if necessary.
We'll also be going back in 6 weeks, and then in expanding intervals for them to keep an eye on the progress of his leg. Not because of concerns about it healing (we saw the x-rays - it's definitely healed!), but because they want to make sure that the growth of that leg stays on track with the other leg. Apparently in young kids that can be a problem in the long run, so if we stay on top of it and get it checked annually or so, we can address any potential issues if they come up.
Whew, I think I'm coming down from my high. But boy, does this feel good!
Oh, and before I forget - one of the little things I didn't realized I missed? Being able to pick up my kid by the armpits!! Sounds weird, I know, but if you have a little one at home, I challenge you to not pick them up, in any way, by the armpits for a few hours. Sit with them on your lap, and then try to get up without adjusting or picking them up by the armpits. It's not easy. So boy, was it a delight to snuggle with some books with Zach, and then be able to just pick him up when we were done!
In a few short hours we'll get to say goodbye to our way of life the last five weeks...
- Goodbye blue fiberglass spica cast.
- Goodbye newborn and size 2 diapers, Poise pads, and cloth tape.
- Goodbye 3 and 4T onesies.
- Goodbye solo sock.
- Goodbye sponge baths.
- Goodbye unpleasant sweat and urine smell.
- Goodbye checking diaper and related paraphernalia every 45 minutes.
- Goodbye boot worn to protect his toes when he sleeps on his belly.
- Goodbye checking for pressure sores.
- Goodbye alarm set for 3 am.
- Goodbye Britax Hippo car seat.
- Goodbye fluid rationing before bedtime.
- Goodbye careful power-lifting techniques.
- Goodbye green Jeep stroller (and thank you - you were a much better mode of transportation than a wagon could have ever been!)
- Goodbye "mama - come roll me over on my belly!" at odd hours of the night/morning.
- Goodbye lap tray.
- Goodbye crumb-filled and sticky couch cushion.
And we will say hello to... a lot of unknowns. Some of the simple, logistical "knowns":
- Hello pants, pair of socks, and shoes.
- Hello size 5 diapers.
- Hello bathtub!
- Hello old carseat and stroller(s).
- Hello booster seat and kitchen table.
But other than those practical matters, we have no idea what it will really be like. Will it take Zach a couple days to be comfortable walking again, or a couple weeks? Will he play cars by himself or continue to want us to play - nonstop? Will he ever want to play something other than cars? Will he realize right away he can roll himself over in his crib, or will he still cry out in the middle of the night for one of us to come and roll him over? Will he still want to watch tv as much as he does now? Will he want to go out in the world again, or continue to prefer the safety of home? Will he ever eat vegetables again?
We can't tell how much we're looking forward to finding out.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
We both just froze and then looked at each other, exchanging "where does he get this stuff???" looks. When Scott asked what privacy was, the answer was "letting me do something so I can."
Now, I can remember using the word once or twice, usually in reference to the bathroom. But it's been a long time - obviously before the cast, but I think it's been months. And it's not something I said often, since I've more or less resigned myself to company in the bathroom. It really is amazing what his little mind is retaining... and yet another reminder to be careful what we say!
I was also equally amused by what Zach said after he drank his water. Scott had moved to the other end of the couch, and Zach looked at him and said "thanks for letting me drink my water."
Monday, October 12, 2009
And it's now almost 1:00 pm, and it's still snowing! Basically, it has been a nice day to stay inside and play... cars.
In less than 72 hours, the cast will be lying in the trash somewhere! :)
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Our countdown has begun in earnest. At first we were counting the days until G&G Klicka arrived on Wednesday, knowing that time would fly by while they were here, and then we'd only have 5 days left in the cast! And we were right, it was wonderful having my parents here, for all of us. Besides the fact that there were extra hands to play with Zach, they also gave me the opportunity to do things like run to Target on my own. Exciting, I know!
Best of all, Scott and I got to go curling Friday night! That's right, it's curling season already. We started out the season with a win, although not exactly a strong one. But hey, it was the first time we've thrown rocks in six months! I can't tell you how good it felt to be out of the house, able to forget for a short time that we were the parents of a child in a spica cast. Instead we were just two curlers, having fun with our teammates Adam and Jamie, savoring a few drinks to celebrate our win (and drown our sorrows over the Twins painful loss). So a big thanks to my parents for making it all possible.
I didn't even bring my camera out once while my parents were here! Perhaps that's because if I had, all you would see is pictures of Zach playing cars. Despite the fact that I've said it many many times, I think my parents were still surprised that playing cars is literally all Zach wants to do! It's the first thing he says when he wakes up in the morning and from his nap, and he exacts a promise from us before he goes to sleep that he can play cars when he's done sleeping.
Zach's interest rose to a whole new level when my parents got here, since they brought him pretty much all of the characters from Cars, as well as a playmat that depicts the setting of the movie. Last week he had two of the major characters from the movie, and a few of the minor ones too. Now he has almost all of them - the stars and the supporting cast; and he definitely has new favorites. He will sit there with a few of the cars and quote the lines from the movie - basically recreating some of the scenes. Scary. I will take a picture of him and all his new favorites soon.
I did pull out the video camera a few days ago, to capture a new song Zach likes to sing. From the soundtrack of Cars, of course...
Spica cast days completed: 31
Extremely malodorous spica cast days remaining: 4
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
No, unfortunately Zach's new trick is rolling over. (I am constantly reminded how this entire time in the cast has reminded me of the first few months of Zach's life ... now I'm talking about him learning to roll over??? And soon we'll be updating you on how he's learning - re-learning - to walk?!?!? We're going backwards! Crazy.) Anyway, the reason it's unfortunate is that he can only roll from his front to his back. So, in the middle of the night, when he decides to roll onto his back, he can't get over again to his much-preferred belly-sleeping position. Sunday night Scott got to go find out what the screaming was about, so when I put Zach to bed last night, I made sure we had a talk about how he should stay on his belly. Did it work? What do you think?
The first time he woke up, he again did so screaming, at about 12:45. When I went in his room, he calmly said "Mama, I'm on my back and I can't roll over to my belly, see - uhh, uhh." (Sound effects are apparently supposed to highlight how hard he was trying.) So we talked again about how he should stay on his stomach, and both of us went back to sleep. At 3:36, instead of screaming, I heard "Mama! I rolled on my back again and can't roll onto my belly!" Sigh. When I walked into his room, he was once again wide awake and ready to talk, telling me how he didn't listen to me, that he'd rolled over again. No kidding. Let's just hope this is a short-lived phase!!
Grandma and Grandpa Klicka arrive today - hooray hooray!
Spica cast days completed: 27
Stinky, smelly spica cast days remaining: 8
Monday, October 5, 2009
Inspired by this information, a week or so ago we tried putting Zach on the kitchen floor to see what he thought, if he'd want to scoot around, etc. He wasn't so sure about it at first, and definitely wasn't interested in the spica spin. But he now loves playing on the kitchen floor. What are we playing? Occasionally we can get him to bowl, but mostly it's cars, of course! He can scoot himself around a little, and really enjoys a new way to zoom his cars around. Collisions seem to be his favorite new activity - crash!
Other than playing cars, we tried a new activity last week - a play. There's a theater that puts on children's shows in Hopkins (http://www.stagestheatre.org/), so I thought this was a good time to see what Zach thought of live theater. He was captivated by the singing and dancing... for a while anyway. The play was based on a book called "I Like Me," and while it had a great message - to love yourself and not worry about what others might think - there wasn't much of an actual story to follow. So after about 45 minutes of the hour-long show, Zach was done. I decided to call it a success, even though he told me later he didn't have any fun. Stinker.
In other random news, I wanted to share some recent funny stories about Zach and his memory. Several times, Zach has both amazed and made me laugh when he wakes up and immediately (seemingly before he's even fully awake!) talks about something we discussed right before he went to sleep. Saturday night, as I was putting Zach to bed, I said something to Scott about needing to put the clean sheets back on our bed. Zach asked me some questions about it - why we needed sheets, etc. The next morning, right after I asked him how he slept and rolled him over to change his diaper, he asked me if we'd put the sheets on the bed. It took me a while to even figure out what he was talking about, since "sheets" sounded more like "seeds," and I had totally forgotten about the conversation. But he sure hadn't!
Lately Zach has been protesting pretty vehemently about going to bed (just a new phase, or cast related??). When I put him down for his nap yesterday, he was telling me he didn't want to sleep, he wanted to play cars. I told him that after he got a good sleep that Daddy and I would play cars with him (again). When he woke up, he told me he was ready to play. I was carrying him downstairs, telling him that we needed to change his diaper first, and he said "Mama, you said when I woke up, Daddy, you, and me would play. Changing my diaper is NOT playing!!!" I shudder to think about the debates we'll have as this kid gets older!
Spica cast days completed: 25
Spica cast days remaining: 10
Saturday, October 3, 2009
So I decided to rectify that.
I think I've been a little too focused on the negative on these last posts, when I should be celebrating the same stuff I usually am - what a funny, smart, loving kid we have. Even though he can't move most of his lower body, Zach is still the kid who likes to make up jokes, gets really excited when he spots a number he knows when we're out and about (mom - there's 100!!!), recites large portions of his Doctor Seuss books, asks "why" so ofen my head spins, changes the lyrics to songs just to make us laugh, invites everyone to his house to play, wants to know what words he sees on signs spell, and says things like "I'm the bombigity." He is now also the kid who says I love you a lot more than he used to. No complaints here about that.
Zach also is now the kid who can quote lines from the movie Cars - I had no idea guys started quoting movies this young! My favorite though, is when he gets the quote wrong, and then tries to defend his version. For example, there's a line "I ain't no Mack, I'm a Peterbuilt for durn sake!" He thinks they say "Firebuilt," and if we try to correct him, he says no, and very patiently explains that a Firebuilt is a truck with fire coming out of it. Okey dokey, if you say so.
This experience has taught us so many things; as we sat in the emergency room Scott and I agreed that while it was the most horrible night of our lives, if that was as bad as it got - we were extremely lucky people. You can't sit in a pediatric ward in a hospital and not be grateful you're only there for one night, because there are so clearly many others who have been there so long they've turned those rooms into their homes. And of course, every time I struggle to handle the most basic tasks, from lifting this boy to transporting him to figuring out how to position him so he can play, I have to remind myself it's temporary. Only temporary, thank god.
So I've posted some pictures of Zach that way he usually looks - smiling (but not looking at the camera, of course, laughing instead at his dad). And video of him telling his jokes, changing them until they don't make any sense, and giving a big fake laugh. Because he's still that kid.
Spica cast days completed: 23
Spica cast days remaining: 12