Sunday, August 29, 2010

{baby boot camp}

Since Avram had to spend time in the NICU when he was born, he automatically had a follow-up appointment with the NICU physical therapist. I didn't mind at all, because Dr.Overland is wonderful. She's got this whole new age-hippy thing going on, which I can be a total sucker for. She even took her shoes off and sat down on the floor indian-style when she came in our room for the check-up. So organic, man.

Anyways. Unnecessary details.

She felt that Ave had a strong left-side preference, due to his shunt being placed on the back lower right side of his head . I felt that she was putting it a little lightly, since he would SCREAM whenever his head was turned to the right.

She also felt that Avram would benefit from having a physical therapist come to the house. Being born 2 weeks early, hospitalized for nearly 3 weeks, and having surgery had all set him back a few steps. A physical therapist, she explained, would help him catch up, even get ahead.

I had mixed feelings. Having a long list of doctors and check-ups is one thing, but having them come to the house, too? That just sounded a little too much like running an assisted living home. But I told her, "If you think this is what he needs, then let's do it."

So, we're doing it.

We were referred to this awesome physical therapist named Debby, and she has started coming over once a week for what Jason & I have lovingly entitled "Baby Boot Camp." Debbie has given us an intense exercise regimen for the little man including strict instructions of ZERO back time, with the exception sleepy time. I have now been given the role of drill sergeant, leading the buddy man in long bouts of tummy time, standing exercises, rolling practices, "active" carrying positions, and sitting positions.

This past week has easily been one of the most ex-haust-ing weeks of taking care of Avram, even though he is sleeping 12-13 hours a night. Instead of popping him down in a bouncy seat or letting him stretch out on our bed when he gets all grouchy-pants, I am now spending every waking moment running him through Baby Boot Camp. He's not too happy about it, either, and he definitely lets me know. It has been the freaking Cry Baby Capitol of the World around here. Not that I blame him. If I had somebody making me run sprints & lift weights 24/7, I wouldn't be a happy camper either.

But on the other hand, in just one week he has morphed into a Special-Agent-Green-Beret-Marine-Rambo Baby. During tummy time today, he held his head all the way up for SEVEN MINUTES. This baby, just a week ago, would just sort of pop his head up for a second or two during tummy time. And he has these terrific little gluteus maximus muscles. And he is SO close to rolling over. And if I sit him up with his hands out in front of him, the baby SITS UP all wobbly for a couple seconds. This is huge, people. Huge. Monumental.

So in the midst of Avram's amazing physical transformation this week, we also are adding two more doctors to his ever-expanding list of health providers. I think we're up to seven now. I've lost track. Dr.Rob Bell wants us to go visit the pediatric optometrist, just for peace of mind, and Drill Sergeant Debby wants us to go see a craniofacial specialist to check Ave's head shape. My immediate response (which, of course, is always sunshine and rainbows) has been, "Ter-freaking-rific."

But then the Still Soft Voice gets a chance to speak, and reminds me that I specifically prayed for the right people to be placed along the banks of the river, for the right people to be there for our little miracle boy, and this is just another answer to that prayer.

More hands on the banks of the river.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

{things that make me feel like a good mama}

1. J. He tells me all the time, and it is one of the most sincere compliments he gives me.

2. At any given time, I can be found holding a bottle with one hand and a singing puppy dog in the other, rocking a bouncy seat with one foot, & balancing my phone between my shoulder & ear with a health insurance agent on the line with amazing skill and prowess, all on 5 hours of sleep.

3. Bodily fluids no longer phase me: poop, pee, vomit, snot, goobers, drool...bring it on, sucka. (Well, except blood. Not a fan.)

4. When that sweet baby wraps his arms around my neck and falls asleep.

And, the reason for today's blog,

5. Our pediatrician.

He is fabulous. He really does look like a 50-year-old Rob Bell, complete with hair cut, black rim glasses, creative illustrations ("Imagine you woke up & didn't know if you would have electricity or running water. This is how Avram feels without a schedule."), randomly placed pauses, and choppy hand gestures.

But that is not why he makes me feel like a good mama.

Would you like to know what does? His "do what works best for your baby" philosophy. He doesn't have some set list of solutions or a step-by-step program to trick babies into sleeping through the night. If you get on any baby website, it seems like this huge competition between moms to see whose baby sits up first or smiles first or lifts a car straight over his head after eating a rare 52oz filet first (which reminds me, I would like to take this moment to say that Ave is in the 80th percentile for height & weight and has "excellent" vocal sounds, not that I'm bragging or comparing, of course). But at our pediatrician's office, no one is competing. He has suggestions to offer but in the end he always says things like,

"The only person in this room who knows how much Avram needs to eat is Avram"

"If he needs rocked to sleep, then you rock your baby to sleep. You will not ruin or hinder him by rocking him to sleep."

"Milestones are only guidelines, not mandates. Avram will have his own schedule and pace for accomplishing milestones because he is not every other baby, he is an individual. So we will challenge him to do more, but we will not force him. He will do what he needs to do when he needs to do it."

I love this guy. He does this mama's heart good. With our never-ending list of doctors and therapists and surgeons and clinics and check-ups, he does this mama's heart good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

{moisture is the essence of wetness}

Well, I haven't updated in about a month now. This is mostly due to the fact that we were out of town for 2 weeks, and partially because I have just been having some more personal journal entries as of late. With that being said, I'm back in the saddle.

Ave loves Bath Time. I mean, loves it. Every night I take him in the bathroom and lay him on the floor mat while I put his whale tub in the big tub, and as soon as I turn the faucet on his eyes light up, he gets the biggest wide-mouthed grin, and his legs start kicking. He kicks his little thunder thighs so frantically and with so much force that it's a WWF match just to get his diaper off.

Once I put him in the tub he does several two-legged splashes, which make him look like a little mermaid ("...mer-man!"). He then kicks and splashes and coos for 15 or 20 minutes straight. He's actually started doing this little high-pitched squeal that sounds like a cross between a baby pig oink and a little girl's gasp. It is a squeal of pure Joy. His eyes even light up when he hears the shampoo bottle squirt, and he gets mad when I stop lathering up the shampoo in his hair. He's quite the little diva, channeling his inner-Norma Desmond. He doesn't even get mad when water splashes his face; in fact, he seems to enjoy it. The more water in his eyes, the better. Who knows, maybe he will be a swimmer. One thing is for sure, he certainly lets us know exactly what he likes and does not like.

Speaking of things the babe is not fond of, he does not enjoy The End of Bath Time. When J gives him his bath, this time is affectionately known as "Drips." J picks him up out of the water, holds him over the tub with the water running off, and cheers, "Drips! Drips! Drips!" until Ave announces (in a quiet, considerate manner, of course) that "drips" is over. J then wraps him up in his duck towel and tells him, "Good Drips tonight, buddy, good Drips." Avram beams with pride.

He's also not a huge fan of me swabbing out his ears with baby Q-Tips. Every time I clean his ears I have flashbacks to my own mother restraining me on the bathroom floor, trying to clean out my ears with bobby pins because they were so filled with wax that Q-Tips just weren't cutting it. Don't worry, Doc, I survived with both my ears drums fully intact. Although I do instinctively cover my ears whenever I see a bobby pin.

Avram is a fan Baby Oil Time. He just loves getting greased up and rubbed down like Rocky before a match. He stretches his arms and legs out as far as they will go and gets this look on his face like, "Ahhh, yeah, that's the spot Ma."

Bath Time is happy time. No matter how grouchy or gassy or napless of a day, Bath Time is happy time.
Avram, 2 months old