Friday, September 24, 2010

{and god knew}

Well, today was a fun day. You know it's going to be a good day when it starts with a baby formula recall.

Yep, that's right: Similac recalled all their powder-based formula because of BEETLES in it.

Oh, that's right, I almost forgot, and their LARVA, too.

Beetles and their babies.

In my baby's formula.


(Anyone get that obscure movie reference? Anyone? No takers?)

And, of course, Similac formula is the only brand that doesn't make the babe backed up. It's going to be a fun weekend.

Ave went through one serious growth spurt last week. Several times he woke up in the middle of the night to eat (which he hasn't done for over a month now), and he has been putting food away. Now, all of his pajamas are high-waters. He is one. Big. Baby. Like I may seriously need to look in to purchasing a weight lifting belt. My biceps are so hot right now.

He's just this little Hulk Hogan guy: rolling over from his tummy to his back, once rolling over from his back alllllmost all the way on to his tummy, looking all the way to the right, taking all his weight on his legs, and, get this: he is officially a "propped sitter." He sits up all by himself when his arms are on the floor in front of him. I mean, really. Show off.

Drill Sergeant Debbie came today for the first time in almost two weeks (scheduling conflicts, it happens. Whatev.). For the entire session she just sat on the floor, watching Ave and shaking her head, saying, "I wouldn't have believed it if you told me. This is phenomenal. I would not have believed he was doing this stuff already."

Like I said, show off.

Last week we scratched the ophthalmologist off our list. Glorious feeling. And hopefully, it will be even more wonderful to scratch the cranio-facial surgeon off our list after our appointment in a couple weeks. 

I am not looking forward to it. At all. For one, they do a head scan. To get precise images, they put a pantyhose-like cap over Avram's head. He's going to be really excited about that. 

After the cranio-facial surgeon studies the images, he will tell us if we are lucky candidates for--drumroll, please:

A baby helmet.

Yes, you read that correctly. A helmet. For babies.

I should back up for a second and explain the reason we are seeing this doctor in the first place. Since the shunt caused Ave's side preference, he in turn has a pretty serious flat spot on the left side of his head. Normally flat spots round themselves out, but in the babe's case he also has a little cone head thing going on up top, and possibly some 'bulging' in other spots. Not so normal.

Without intervention, this can cause some pretty serious problems with his vision, hearing, balances, etc. Not to mention he'll look like he has a hacky sack for a head.

This is where the helmet comes in.

If the scans show that his head shape isn't going to get better on it's own, we will have to decide if we want to put Avram in a helmet. It would be for anywhere between one and six months. The helmet is designed in a way to help the head, you know...round out. 

But they stink.

As in literally stink. Like a skunk trapped in a trash can in a sewage drain.

And all of his hair will fall out.

And people will think that I must have taken some seriously bad drugs while I was pregnant.

I'm trying to psych myself up for it. I'm trying to remind myself that it would be a temporary inconvenience with long-term benefits. He won't have any memory of it, other than whatever pictures we may take of him and whenever a family member decides to bring it up to humiliate him in front of his first girlfriend. But then I remember the fact that a lot of insurance plans will not cover the helmet unless his case of plagiocephaly (fancy medical term for hacky sack head) is deemed extreme and the helmet medically necessary. And these puppies ain't cheap.

This is because some parents elect to have the helmet purely for cosmetic reasons, which kind of get and kind of don't. It would be different if Ave's head was just a little flat on one side. But it's more than that. You can actually see one side of his forehead is higher than the other. That goes a little beyond cosmetic, I think.

So, we find ourselves praying 3 prayers this week:

Lord, you either are going to

1. Round out his head all by Yourself. And You are perfectly capable of doing that.
2. Drop some cash in our pockets to pay for his fancy new hat

Or, the most awkward prayer I've probably ever prayed,

3. Make sure his head is badly misshapen and lop-sided enough to be covered by insurance.

So, we wait. Just like we have been for months now. We pray, we wait, we eat up every precious moment with our chubby little guy, we hope, and we wait. God has heard. And He knows.

"And God heard the groaning of the people of Israel, and God knew."
exodus 2:24-25

Monday, September 13, 2010

{a little bit lighter load}

This morning we had an appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist (I HATE spelling that word) at Children's Memorial. I had suspicions that Avram's vision was not-so-great, and had read that both hydrocephalus and schizencephaly can cause vision problems. Dr. Rob Bell also thought it was a good idea to have his eyes checked, just to make sure that the reason he keeps his head to the left isn't because he can't see all the way to the right.

We were up, dressed, fed, and out the door at 8am this morning. Binky for the babe and Starbucks for the mama.

I have mixed emotions about visiting the Children's Hospital. I absolutely love the valet guys. The guy who took my ticket was this smooth-talking, smiley, Rico-Suave Hispanic guy with a thick accent: "Oh, yes, good morning mam. I hope you are doing very well. It is a beautiful day, no? Enjoy the rest of your morning, we will have your vehicle waiting for you." I half expected him to kiss my hand when I handed him the keys. And then the guy who retrieved my car could have been a stand in for Hugo from Lost. I was impressed at speed and agility. I had never seen anyone fold up a stroller and pack it in the trunk that fast.

On the other hand, going to Children's gives me flashbacks of Avram's shunt surgery, and how scared I was. I can't help but expect to be handed bad news when we go there, especially since I had already convinced myself, of course, that Avram was completely blind and would probably require multiple eye surgeries. It's also so sad to see all of these kids in wheelchairs, with walkers, bald from chemotheraphy, missing arms or legs. But you know what? They're always so happy and sweet. That's another blog for another time.

We sat in the waiting room for a solid half an hour, and most of the kids were really well-behaved. Avram was fed and happy, so he was content to sit in my lap and people-watch. There was a TV with Mario 64 set up, and I was so close to kicking kids off so I could play. Paul & I used to come home from school and find my mom playing that game by herself in the living room. We also fought with her over our Gameboy on vacations.

Then, this weasely little kid, maybe 3 years old, JUMPS on to the kids' play table, and breaks it. Snaps a leg clean off. And his mother starts screaming at a nurse, "This is not safe! This table needs to be removed immediately! Don't they screen this equipment before putting it in waiting rooms?"

Seriously? Your kid jumped on a table. In public. While other kids were sitting there, coloring and minding their own dang business.

It was quite a fiasco. They brought up HR people to talk to her and offered her all kinds of free stuff. Whatever, crazy woman.

We finally were called, and Avram had to get 2 sets of eye drops in each eye. The nurse said that they would sting, but he was such a big boy. Didn't even flinch. Another nurse came in and did a preliminary screening, flashing all kinds of lights in his face, and said he looked great, and that the doctor would be in shortly.

Sure enough, the doctor came in. She also shined a bunch of lights in his face, pulled his eyelids up, and made him look in all these crazy directions. And he was glorious. He totally pulled out the charm today.

After no more than three minutes, she said, "Well, his eyes are perfect" and gave me this look like, "So...why did you bring him in again?"

I beamed. Avram burped. And he got some really slick shades to wear home.

So, Avram's eyes are perfect, and he doesn't need any follow-ups with the ophthalmologist. The Lord is good. One specialty-doctor down, 4 to go. I feel like someone took a big ol' rock out of this load I can't seem to get off my back. We're a little bit lighter today.

the little dude

Friday, September 10, 2010

{job descriptions}

When Avram cries--I mean, really cries--he looks exactly like one of those Hawaiian tiki statues. The resemblance is uncanny. This makes it incredibly hard not to laugh when he's balling his eyes out, which I'm sure would automatically disqualify me from winning Mother of the Year any time soon.

During the school year, Team Beer has a pretty solid daily routine. When J comes home from work, I'm on Dinner Duty and he is in charge of Baby Bath & Bed Time. He frequently challenges my firm rule of bathing Ave everyday, basing his case on the fact that he only washes his hair every other day, so a baby couldn't possibly need bathed more frequently than that. I remind him that if he threw up green beans all over his face and pooped his pants multiple times a day, he would also require a nightly hosing off. We debate this frequently.

Feeding the little man solids has been a real treat. He is just completely surrendered to abandon when he's eating. He lets banana juice freely roll down his face and into his neck-fat creases, like how I imagine Grampa Joad planned to when he finally arrived in the land of milk and honey.

I am still learning, day by day, to let go of all these fears I keep hidden in the secret parts of me, holding me back from living in the moment and allowing me to be content. Especially when I watch Avram laugh. He just started to giggle this week: in a low, Woody the Woodpecker kind of way. He smiles when I wake him up from his naps, smiles while eating peas, smiles after filling his diaper, laughs when water splashes his face in the tub. I am reminded a thousand times a day to have not just the faith of a child, but the joy of a child. To let the juices roll freely down my face, to let the water get in my eyes. I am reminded that joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I am reminded that it is not my job to worry; it is my job to love.

So love, I will do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

{the start of september}

Things are going wonderfully.

Ave has started smiling up a storm. I was getting a little anxious that he wasn't smiling in response to our actions or voices yet, and then, out of nowhere, BOOM: smiling baby. Smiling can indicate that a baby is able to socialize, is aware of their surroundings, can organize their it's a big deal, people.

What kills me is that he has been waking up closer to 7am instead of 8:30am (which has been his normal call-time the last two weeks), when I am definitely still in my Morning Mummy Mommy state. Physical therapy has made his core a lot stronger, which in turn has strengthened his diaphragm and turned his little lamb voice into this booming, grunting, growling voice. So come 7am, I hear him start barking, "BAH. BAH. Wuhhh. BAH." I stumble in, dazed and dreamy, slightly annoyed that he's up so early, and the little stinker is just lying there, smiling up at me and waving his Bunny Buddy around. Absolutely kills me. He's so dreamy.

We have also started solid foods the last couple of weeks. Well, I'm not really sure why they call pureed food "solid," but whatevs. Ave, as always, lets us know what he likes and does not like. When he likes a certain food (i.e. BANANAS), he bounces up and down in between bites and gurgles "Ba. Ba. Ba. Ba." When he is not particularly fond of something (i.e. broccoli, potatoes) he either spits it right back out or just sits there with the food on his tongue, mouth open, like he's saying, "Lady, get this crap out of my mouth. On the double."

So, in case we aren't friends on Facebook, here's a little video I put together of some of his first food samplings.