A lot has been happening since my last post. The kids are getting really enthusiastic about everything. Here are some recent event.
Madison and Chloe had eye surgery last week to straighten their misaligned eyes. The procedure basically involved general anesthesia so the muscles could be detached from their eyeballs and reattached to a better location (Ouch!). It’s pretty routine surgery, and all of the other kids in the waiting area were having the same surgery (Come down to Children’s Hospital where every Wednesday is Strabismus Day! Get one Strabismus correction and the second one is 10% off!) The procedures went well, and now we just have to wait to see if it worked. It’s not uncommon to have to redo the procedure, particularly for kids with other issues like Madison. They were a little uncomfortable for a day or two but they seem none the worse for wear at this point. We’ll keep everyone posted on the results.
We moved the kids out of cribs and into little toddler beds, which the kids call “Big Girl/Boy Beds”. Chloe was the first one to get hers, followed by Noah and Madison a couple of weeks later. For the first week, it didn’t occur to any of them that no walls meant no limits on movement. Since then it’s been a bit wild. We have a baby lock on the door, so at least they can’t get out of the room, but there is a lot they can get done in one bedroom and bathroom. We have a pack ’n play still in the room for time outs in case someone just can’t stay put long enough to fall asleep.
First was Chloe:
And finally Madison:
So now their bedroom looks like this:
Here’s an example of what we might find at nap time. Here, Chloe has evicted Madison from her bed, who is totally content to scatter books for a while.
Even in the bedroom, they can get into trouble pretty fast. One time, Madison kept climbing out of her bed and emptying the drawers in the bathroom, so I put her in the pack ‘n play. Ten minutes later, I hear shrieking and giggling. I opened the door to find that Chloe had put everything that was not nailed down into the pack ’n play with Madison. Pillows, stuffed animals, bottles of lotions, even all of her own clothes. Madison was still in the pack ‘n play but lying on a foot of random debris. Meanwhile, Chloe, now buck naked, had climbed the drawers to the top of the dresser and was playing with the window shade.
Another time, I heard another run of shrieking followed by outright laughter from Madison. I entered the bedroom to find Madison standing at Chloe’s bed. She’d scream right into the sleeping Chloe’s ear then crack up, sometimes to the point where she’d fall over laughing.
So, it’s easy to understand why Noah has elected to start sleeping in a pack ‘n play in another room. When it’s time for lights out, Noah will grab his Pooh Bear and blanket and hustle off to the other room. Chloe will run ahead of him and open all the doors, then shut them behind him with a, “Night, night Noah.”
Chloe had become the little helper, by the way. When Noah falls and cries, she’ll run and grab his Pooh bear for him. When we were out to lunch the other day, she kept shoving Cheetos in Madison’s mouth. And, if we don’t intervene, she’ll try to lift Noah in to his pack ‘n play by his neck.
Not to perpetuate a stereotype, but when you live in Colorado you do have fairly regular access to rodeos. One of the larger rodeos is Frontier Days in Cheyenne, and it has all of the typical events you might have seen on TV. There is one event you may not be familiar with, and it’s the capstone on every evening’s competition. It’s called the Wild Horse Race. Teams of three men are charged with the task of saddling a wild (untamed) horse and having one of their team members ride a single lap around a dirt track. The teams are spaced out in front of the grandstand, each with a horse. They use all of their strength to cling to a rope, which is attached to their horse at the bridle. The horses are huge, and not very happy. The air is electric with anticipation as the men struggle to keep their horse in check until the competition begins. A horn sounds, and chaos ensues. The teams take turns restraining their horses while one of them tries to get a saddle on. The horses are struggling madly, the potential for violence is shocking and the danger of injury is unavoidable. Eventually there is a winner, but afterwards the track is littered with injured cowboys. Some are able to dust themselves off and limp away, while others are taken off on stretchers. It’s a wonder no one is killed. Replace the 1,500 pound, angry horses with 18-23 pound, happy triplets, and you have a pretty close approximation of what bed time is like at our house.
Between potty time, the brushing of teeth, story time and PJs, it’s quite an adventure. Everyone is off in another direction at the same time, and we’ve learned that keeping the bedroom door shut is a must. I’m not sure why streaking is so popular, but it is. A crack in the door, and you are guaranteed to have at least one toddler shoot down the hallway in a state of undress. And I’m sure a neurologist out there can explain it to me, but shouting “AAAAAAAAaaaahhhhhh” at the top of your lungs is apparently an involuntary reaction while streaking. Bedtime is more fun than hard, mostly because there are few things funnier than a streaking toddler. Still, we close the bedroom door at the end of every night and let out a huge sigh of relief. It’s quite the way to end the day.
Here is a snapshot of what you might see. Chloe with no pants, ready to run off. Madison trying to pour out Chloe’s potty, Meanwhile Noah tries to put his pants on head first.
Madison continues to thrill us with her continuing development. Her two main areas of concern (outside of the shunt) are her vision and her motor development.
She was diagnosed with ocular motor apraxia, which in her case means she has trouble shifting her eyes left and right. This may explain why she has trouble tracking with things that are in motion. Normally, we all unconsciously shift our eyes left and right to see more of an object that is in front of us, to follow an object or picture that is in motion or to simply read. Kids with ocular motor apraxia may have difficulty doing those things.
Her motor development is still progressing. She can pull herself to stand without even thinking about it. Once standing, she can cruise along the edge of a table or couch to get where she wants to go. She’s mastered crawling up and down stairs, and just this morning in the time it took me to put the laundry in the dryer she made it all the way downstairs (I could tell she was downstairs because I could hear her saying, “Madison’s fast!”).
All of that speedy climbing didn’t come without practice though. Here is Madison after having fallen asleep in mid-climb.
She can climb on and off the couch at will, and if she wants out of her bed, she’s gone. We got her a walker, and she can move around slowly in that, but she isn’t quite to the point where she can steer reliably by herself.
Otherwise, she’s a happy little girl. She still talks all the time, and sings constantly. Favorites are Baby Beluga, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, the Bye Bye Song from one of her videos, and the Alphabet song, just to name a few. She loves listening to music, and will surprise us with lyrics she’s memorized.
We have season passes t the Denver Zoo, and we took full advantage of it this summer. Lately, Madison has been saying, “Madison is at the zoo. Madison sees zebras. Madison sees hippopotamus. Madison sees lions.”, and so on. I took Noah and Madison to the zoo a few weeks ago, and one of their favorites are the peacocks (Noah calls them “ackcocks”) which roam free around the grounds. At one point I wheeled the kids by a peacock and Noah pointed and said “akcock, akcock, akcock, akcock, akcock, akcock, akcock, akcock”, pointing the whole way as we rolled past. As we made our way totally past, he finished with “akcock, akcock, akcock, akcock…bye bye ackock.” This then prompted Madison to break out with the Bye Bye Song, “Bye Bye peacock, Bye Bye peacock, Bye Bye peacock, we hope to see you soon.” They are at a really cute age.
Finally, here are some random photos:
Lots of little feet, mean lots of little shoes.
Note the cute smocks for painting (and the eating of paint).
We had a pool "installed" in the back yard. The kids loved it.
Here is Julie with two of the kids at a park near our house.
Here’s Bill showing Noah how to spin at the park.
Julie and Beth took the kids to a petting zoo. Here’s Julie showing off the sheep to Madison
Here’s Chloe contemplating the merits of leaping on to a sheep’s back.
Julie’s home office has been converted to a classroom for the kids. Here’s puzzle time.
Bill’s parents came to town, and Julie set up a family photo session. I’ll post some of the professional photos once we have them, but in the meantime, here’s Madison waiting her turn.
Photos can be thirsty work.
The kids have these videos of a stuffed bear that teaches them sign language. Here Bill’s Mom watching a video with the kids.
And finally, a couple of photos of the kids on a big hill at the park near our house.