Monday, February 18, 2013

Some passing thoughts and a busy Monday

David is "day time, pants-less potty trained". Yeah - that's right: as long as Commando is acceptable, we're there. I may or may not have Googled "kid kilts" this morning...

Again, he's making progress. That fact should be shouted from roof tops and posted about town. Ok, he might not appreciate such publicity later in life (or now for that matter), but I'm happy to report progress here nonetheless. His efforts are amazing and we have overcome so much to get just this far. We've undone his unwillingness. We've changed our approach. We've given him the power and in making his own decision, he glows with pride and revels in the success he knows he created for himself, by himself. He loves the autonomy and independence. He loves quiet praise rather than the hoots and hollers to which Mary Louise responds...yes, we're still talking about potty training.

Though he isn't quite ready to take the next step and actually don pants, he knows that step is coming and is working very hard to learn and understand his body enough to succeed in his own time.

For that, I am proud.

(at any rate, he's just about stopped telling me, "Mommy? I dus go poop-a-nin in da corner den you can change me, m'kay?" - let's just say that didn't really go over very well with me...)
Everett, after doing some super fast crawling for about 2 days, has begun to pull up on everything. He stands, cruises across furniture and eases slowly down to the floor. I watch him in amazement - as if before me dancing is a stunning ballerina with impeccable form. He can stand independently for seconds and I anticipate with pain and pride the day he'll take his first steps - knowing it will be here so so soon.

These sweet babies, our children...they're impossibly perfect to me.

Mary Louise bounced up to me the other day:

"Umm, excuse me Mommy?"
Me: yes, Mary Louise
ML: (drawing in one big breath) Umm...I dus saw Everett drop a yogurt drop on da floor and I thought, hey! I have a good idea! I dus eat one of Everett's yogurt drops because he dus drop one and that's a good idea and I dus eat one yogurt drop ok Mommy?
Me: Ok Mary Louise. Was it good?
ML: Yes thank you Mommy! It was DEEEE-wish-us!

(she really is that polite - and dainty - always - even when fussing)

This morning we hit the ground running - waking about 6:30 with Mary Louise and David and plunging right into chores and dinner prep. We started music class again and the kids were super excited about seeing their teacher.

They sang a few of the songs while eating breakfast and kept asking if it was time to go YET?! Mommy??

The class went really well. The teacher helped with Mary Louise - who was more than willing to be front and center for a bit. David sat with me - and Everett behaved beautifully in the Ergo - my ever present front pack companion.

David sang songs and moved with the class for all but about the last 10 minutes. It was wonderful to see how his concentration has developed since our fall session of class. Mary Louise danced wild and free with the music. I love watching her - so comfortable in her own skin and just happy to be in the moment.

After class, I told Mary Louise and David about a little surprise outing. We had friends over for a play date last week and the mom who came mentioned visiting the local airport on occasion. After a little talking, she offered for us to tag along on their next trip! Mary Louise and David clapped and cheered when I told them where we were going.

The airport is used for Fed-Ex deliveries, personal planes and small aircraft, NASA and military training and various maintenance and refueling needs.

We went to the "Million Air" building where there was a lounge for the pilots and quickly found that we'd forgotten about the federal holiday - President's Day. There weren't any scheduled flights coming in for us to see... but the head of air traffic control was very excited to bring us around. Christi had called ahead to see if we might get a little tour of the tower...

What we got was the red the shape of a big, bright red transport van! ha!

We were escorted and given personal tours of the lounge / lunch facility, the fire station and all trucks, the air traffic control tower AND the hanger! It was such great fun!

We were even invited back after our tours - a sign that none of the pushed buttons caused any disasters, and the 1001 questions were a walk in the park.

We plan to go back - Mary Louise and David almost burst with anticipation waiting for their Daddy to get home this afternoon. They attacked him at the door with talk about their music class and airport outing.

That, my friends, is a sure sign of an appreciated day (even though, upon pulling in the driveway after such busy morning, Mary Louise sure did ask to "do a pwojec peese Mommy). busy. diva.


I do have pictures of today - but have to figure out Picassa's new sharing parameters before embedding...I'll be back...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fun with Everett

Everett is 10 MONTHS old!!!! He is about 19 pounds of fun and growing more everyday. (For a fun comparison, Mary Louise and David were about 10 pounds at his age...during our last visit to the doctor, Mary Louise was 29 pounds and David was just under 27.) Everett recently mastered clapping and is absolutely loving "Peek a Boo". He's crawling quickly and gaining in speed by the day. He can pull up on anything, will cruise around while holding furniture and will let go to fall into my arms or on the floor - but isn't quite ready to walk independently just yet. He's still my snuggle bun - and definitely recognizes his parents vs. others. He is still nursing like a champ but "asks" for solids regularly now. Still very sensitive to dairy, he doesn't seem to have any other issues with food. He's tried a host of fresh / steamed veggies, loads of fruits and loves his little snacks - coconut or rice milk drops, and dairy free puffs as well as some granola and whole grain pancakes.

His great appetite seems to influence Mary Louise and David as well who have found a new love for steamed broccoli, cauliflower, peas and roasted sweet potatoes. (win. win.)

David is proudly (ahem) teaching Everett to use the potty currently. Everett claps from his Bumbo while I cheer for David's progress...yes. I cheer. Loudly. Our status of the morning:

"You can have your "big boy" underwear but you must continue to use the potty! Do not poop or wee on Superman!" - I am a nurse, a mom and it's Mardi Gras day. There was an iron clad guarantee that no matter what path I took in life, I would say those words today. Some moments are just meant to be...wish David luck with his under-roos! round 3342 of potty training. Here we go!

I am still very hopeful that David will decide to be "diaper independent" during the next few months. He seems to be very excited about it and Brent and I are making every effort to keep this a positive experience: no lectures, no fussing when accidents happen and if a step back is necessary, it's ok. David, I think, knows he's in charge now and seems to be reveling in his autonomy.

Everett's newest videos - if we're "friends" on Facebook or You Tube, you've seen them - but they're stinkin' cute and I wanted to include them here as well. You're welcome.

We've taught Mary Louise and David a few prayers during our evening routine, and they love to recite (them). But recently, we thought it'd be fun to let THEM conduct our evening prayers rather than have us as prompters. Oh the nightly gems we hear:

Last night (Brent did prayers and reported back):
ML: I love my family. I love my toys... ... ... I love me. Amen.
David: God bless our family and friends. Thank you for our Angel Kuylen. Wake me with the sunshine bright. 4 corners to my bed. Keep my fears away. Amen.

A few nights ago:
Mary Louise's prayer before bed: God bless my family. Pweese keep them safe. God bless Mommom. Yet her exercise. Mommy and Daddy and Ev-it and David - yet dem exercise with me. Thank you for yetting me pyay. Amen. (she was so proud.)

David's prayer: Wake me with the sunshine bright and keep my fears away. AMEN (yelling with a HUGE grin)

In short, David recites little pieces of prayers we've taught him and add libs as he sees fit. Mary Louise starts from scratch and does her own thing.

And one final little story:
Mary Louise has said, many times, that she wants to be a doctor and frequently calls herself "Docca Meese". David, on the other hand, just wants her to stop sticking her flashlight in his mouth and shining it in his eyes.

Mary Louise has done the above for awhile now, but recently, has become pretty intent on giving all of us "exams" daily. She listens to our chests with her stethoscope and uses her flash light as a go to tool for focal points. She has also requested a "Docca Meese" coat - because, as she puts it, Uncle Collin is a "docca" and he has a coat, so she can't be a "real docca" without a special white "docca" coat...guess what sweet girl is getting for her birthday...

Momma makes it happen kiddo.

Love love love. 


Ethics Debate

I received a call from our second - choice pedi's nurse this morning (Friday). I had requested David's neb meds and machine from her as she has seen us a number of times over the winter and was the host of our most recent visit. The response to my med request wasn't exactly what I was expecting... (for the record, I was expecting either a flat "no" or that our secondary policy was not as accommodating as the first). The nurse informed me, however that the doctor felt my request was "unethical". (Please note - this was NOT our primary pedi)

Now, for those that might be in the medical field, budding doctors, nurses, practicing already. Please, I beg you, never tell a micro preemie mother that she is unethical. Brent and I, over the past 4 years, have had more ethics conversations than I care to count. We've been faced with "greater good" scenarios and "quality of life" moments with our children than either of us can handle thinking about. Let's face it, everyday in the dark back corners of the NICU is, in itself, an ethical dilemma. It's unbelievable to me that a pediatrician (of all specialties) would display such an utter lack of empathy and resort to such a degrading low in an obvious effort to exert control and self importance.

Instead of pointing out what I thought was obvious: that allowing David to suffer to the point of audible wheezing would in fact be unethical when there is, in existence, a perfectly acceptable medication schedule suitable to keep him out of office, hospital and safe at home, I asked to be transferred to the front desk and immediately scheduled an afternoon appointment with our primary pediatrician.

For the 5th time in 2 weeks, David and I took the trip and waited, and waited in the office.

Our primary pedi walked in - happy to see sweet David. He adores her and she is unbelievably patient with him. I requested that David have his own nebulizer and medications and explained that he has not displayed the seasonal component of asthma symptoms like Mary Louise, but I was uncomfortable with the other MD's requirement that he come in wheezing. I also told her I'd talked to our ins. company already and they had approved the script as a preventative measure. She understood and agreed immediately and there was no more issue. Literally. That was it.

I dropped off the neb script with the specialty pharmacy on the way home and picked that and the medications up the very next day. We are stocked and ready - and though I hope all of the meds expire before we need them, it's nice to really feel prepared.

Now, if I could only make David understand the "Sammy the Seal" nebulizer is not, in fact, a toy...


Thursday, February 7, 2013

*Evening Update*

I called the ins. company this afternoon. I just couldn't get the odd reasons for not calling in neb meds for David out of my head.

They were very nice and said they agreed with my preventative approach and (furthermore) based on David's history alone they would approve a separate nebulizer AND the meds. (To be completely honest, the woman on the line seemed quite surprised we didn't have these things on hand already after reviewing his history.) The person was knowledgeable about the medications, treatment options, preventative care and equipment (refreshing) and told me to get a second opinion if the pedi wouldn't write the order.

It might be our secondary policy that's the issue - in which case I would decline using it - but sometimes I can't do's complicated because we pay for a secondary policy under the Medicaid system for them...and just explaining how we came to that is complicated - even when talking to the Medicaid people never mind office staff and doctors...I have a call in with the pedi explaining what I discussed with the ins. rep so I'll see what comes of it. Nothing simple I'm sure. (sigh).

Lizzie's appointment went well. Her bloodwork and physical exam came out ok - no burning red flags anyhow. She has lost just over 6 pounds. Her vertebrae and hip bones are showing, but her coat still looks beautiful. She's behaving generally well but for her ravenous appetite and not putting on weight despite being given extra food - almost as if she's not absorbing what she's eating. I am working a bit more with her diet and we'll go back in a week for a weight check. If she continues to loose, our next step is to take some xrays...

Ready to put this day to bed - Mary Louise already "unadjusted" her glasses by playing rough with David and smashing them against her face. So, please ignore my little crooked eyed kiddos for a couple of years (uh -because I'm pretty sure this trend won't end anytime soon).


All (Pretty) Clear

We went back to the pediatrician this morning to get an "all clear" from our last bout of ear / eye infections and congestion. Mary Louise and David have residual clear runny noses that are expected to last 2 to 3 weeks. Mary Louise has gained a full 2 pounds (making her 29 pounds this morning) - thanks oral steroids! David is holding steady at his slight 27 pounds - at least he hasn't lost anything!

Everett is a step behind the older 2 of course. He is still taking his medication (which has thankfully gotten a bit easier to give over time). But his ears were clear and he is down to clear nasal discharge - just sounds a little more congested as compared to Mary Louise and David.

The appointment also doubled as a "lung check" for Mary Louise so we won't have to return (AGAIN) to have her asthma medications refilled and updated. David needed a number of breathing treatments while sick - which is not unheard of and has been approved (sort of - maybe "understood" would be a better term there) by the pediatrician. However, our insurance won't pay for the medications to be put in David's name unless we bring him in actively wheezing. Nice right? We would have to allow David to get worse than we normally would to get a script for nebulizer treatments in his name. Just thought I'd throw that nice little gripe out there. If we waited until David had congestion in his chest (thereby causing wheezing), we would have to do almost 3 times the number of breathing treatments around the clock than if we acted in a preventative manner and administered the treatments when the congestion was bad, but not infecting the entire airway...It just doesn't make sense for a child to have to get worse when we know what will keep him on minimal medication and out of the hospital...(which, by the way, wouldn't exactly save the ins. company any money right?) I think his history should serve as proof enough that he needs the extra medication during a peak phase of a respiratory illness...the doctor actually agreed - but said her hands were tied as far as offering the script. He has to have active wheezing to get the prescription. From then on, he can have it refilled as needed.

We also stopped at the glasses place the get Mary Louise and David's primary frames repaired / replaced. Mary Louise's were fixed on the spot and David's were reordered. We'll be able to pick them up in 2 weeks. All sets in hand were readjusted and we were home bound for lunch and a little quiet time. (Everett had had just about enough of all the running around anyhow).

I'm taking Lizzie (our Weimaraner) to the vet today for some unexplained weight loss...yep - even the fuzzy kids are struggling around here...


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weekend Update:

Mary Louise and David woke this morning wanting to color. I took out their work books and watched as they "went to town". Suddenly, they asked about a page of pictures. I jumped at the chance to focus their endless energy on a lesson in "same vs. different". They loved it! They focused on the pictures, answered the questions, we talked over the pages and they were over it all in about 10 minutes. Welcome to preschool kiddos!

Meanwhile, Everett saw a golden opportunity this morning. He was on the bathroom floor as I was brushing my teeth. I heard splashing...ladies and gentlemen, our "baby" has discovered the toilet. He looked about like this when I caught him - mid splash:

He was very proud - and especially loved the vigorous hand washing that ensued as his grossed out Momma frantically scrubbed the ewies and nasties away. Toilet locks employed once more...what the heck is it about that porcelain throne that so attracts our little ones??

The LeBlanc kids are officially growing up.

Mary Louise and David have finished their antibiotics as of this morning. Their eye drops will be completed today. They are doing very well and have been since about 48 hours into the proper meds. We traveled to Mommom's on Friday for some extra hands in care, to visit Uncle Collin and relax a bit for our birthdays - Collin and I have birthdays one day apart.

It was fun, but Everett's runny nose progressed to a slight eye infection and fluid in his ear - so we went to Urgent Care with him Saturday morning to start antibiotics. Monday, I woke with the same symptoms...Urgent Care again...we stayed an extra night in Houma as I needed some rest before heading back. Meds, times 3 kids and a sick mom, 3 times per day, with allergies involved= overwhelming when not feeling well.

We ***seem to be mending once more though...and I'm a little tired of feeling like a broken record of sick reports.

Brent, Uncles Sean, Kyle and Collin boiled some crawfish on Saturday. It was the first time our kids had seen those little mud bugs!

True to their personalities, David marched right up and picked up and poked at a crawfish while Mary Louise went running and hid behind my legs. Everett was just happy to be crawling around in the grass.

David couldn't have been happier to help with the prep:

Under Uncle Sean's supervision:

Mary Louise stood back - a bit concerned:

She was much happier when Mommom produced a bit of side walk chalk:

We set up on the lawn for a lazy afternoon of cooking:

Mary Louise was pumped to have her very own "corns" (unseasoned of course):

and though E's eye wasn't feeling too well, the rest of him was doing just fine:

Later that evening, Brent and I slipped away for a quiet birthday dinner:

(and I got to wear my fun and fancy flapper dress):

Mommom doesn't live far from the parade route, so on Sunday, when most people were having their pre game celebrations, we dashed down town to see a few floats. The kids had never been to a "big" Mardi Gras parade. (ML and D were doing fine health wise and Everett's eyes were clear and he had minimal congestion.)

Though they were a little apprehensive at first, they quickly warmed to the "throw me something mister" mentality. Everett went to sleep pretty quickly in my carrier and stayed there under the Ergo hood snug as a bug the whole time.

Still a little worried but liking the swag:

and there she is:

and David:

We stood across from my old elementary school and church, right in front of the ice cream shop we frequented as kids:

David got a bit over stimulated at one point so we stood back just outside the ice cream shop doors. He saw a marching band coming, got really excited and suddenly took off running towards the rest of the family to see a little better. He missed the curb...with everything but his face...and glasses. One set down. I mean, nose piece smashed and lens gouged. I did purchase extended warranties, but was hoping we would have them for a little more than 2 weeks...c'est la vie. (and though David has quite the burn on his forehead, he's doing ok and wearing his back up Clark Kents while we order a new primary set up for him).

After that excitement, we went home for a good rest. The next day, Uncle Collin's girlfriend, Lhee, made the kids some fancy juice in fancier glasses. They thought it was just about wonderful:

(P.S. the "glasses" are plastic in case there's concern)

Later on, Mary Louise brought me her set of wire framed glasses saying, "dey jus need a sca-rew...I pick at dem." She had somehow picked a screw out of the nose piece and lost the pad and screw in an undisclosed location...2 sets of glasses, 2 days.

Go figure. It's just how we do things...thankfully, it should be an easy fix...I just hope this doesn't develop into a theme with her in particular. (I mean, nasty spills are one thing...purposely taking things apart is a separate issue altogether).

And that, is our weekend wrap. Loads of fun, a few sickies and accidents, but overall, a joy.


P.S. I wrote another guest "that mom" post. It's a little gripey - I wrote it while sick and on 3 hours of sleep...I did not have my happy pants on - but the points are (I think) valid nonetheless. Anyhow -McCall's blog is super cute and well, a little awesome so feel free to explore as you wish.