1. In early August we took Sarah on her first vacation – the beach! We were still having a few sleep issues at the time but, in spite of my worrying, she adjusted quite well. Sarah loves the water, though she wasn’t a big fan of the sand. Can’t say I blame her!
2. After being unemployed since I was hospitalized in June 2009, I finally went back to work in late August. This of course means that Sarah started daycare. Let’s address the job first – when I first got pregnant, I had no intentions of staying home. In fact, I was even planning a very short 4-6wk maternity leave for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you realize that my pregnancy was FILLED with good intentions that quickly passed once I delivered early. I LOVED being home with Sarah and I’m beyond lucky to have had that opportunity – so many preemie moms have to return to work before their babies are even home, but I was able to spend my days in the NICU with her. But, the fact remains, we require two incomes. And health insurance. All in all, I feel like going back to work was one of the final steps I needed to take to get us back to where we should have been all along.
3. Daycare. Sarah started daycare on August 23rd. After only TWO WEEKS, we’d been to our pediatrician THREE times and spent Labor Day in the Emergency Room at Children’s Hospital. This was the exact reason that we avoided daycare as long as we did. At that point, Sarah was congested, had a week long fever that spiked at 105* and was having O2 desats that left her with blue lips and hands. When the dust finally cleared, she’d missed more than a full week of daycare and we now have our very own albuterol nebulizer. Ya know, because I didn’t feel quite guilty enough about going back to work. She would cry when we dropped her off, cry when we picked her up, she wasn’t napping at all during the day, became completely dependent on her pacifier and she was a miserable troll when she was at home. The only thing she WAS doing was eating well, but even so, she stopped gaining weight (more on that shortly). I was left wondering why in the world ANYONE put their kids in daycare. And then last week (week seven) everything magically changed. We credit the Glow Worm Seahorse that some friends gave Sarah for her birthday. We keep the original seahorse in her bed and she plays the music at night until she goes to sleep. In a last ditch effort to help her nap, we bought a second seahorse to keep in her daycare crib. She’s stopped crying when I drop her off in the mornings, she actually reaches for her teacher now, she’s napping at least an hour each day (usually closer to two hours) and she’s much happier when she’s home. Sarah is also learning things like clapping her hands (that was one thing she simply would NOT do before), she’s making new sounds (not quite words yet so everything is still “dog”), she brings home artwork to hang on the fridge and she’s walking like crazy. We know she’s going to continue to get sick, we can only hope that her immune system is improving and will be able to keep future ER visits to a minimum.
4. Sarah continues to receive services thru our county’s Early Intervention program – we were discharged from PT several months ago, but we still see our OT regularly. Just before Sarah started daycare, our OT sessions were cut back to once a month because the OT was really just watching Sarah play – her motor skills are on (sometimes even ABOVE!) par with her peers now! Her OT will continue to visit Sarah once a month (they’ll evaluate her in daycare now which gives me an extra set of eyes there) mainly to make sure that her speech develops as it should. We don’t anticipate speech delays, but I’d rather address any concerns early on.
5. I mentioned in #3 that Sarah’s weight gain has slowed. Up until her first birthday, Sarah was still drinking quite a bit of formula each day (we’ve since switched to whole milk) and we could count on her gaining approximately 1lb per month. At her 12mo pedi appointment in July, she weighed approximately 17lbs. That was two and a half months ago. When I weighed her last night, she weighed approximately 17lbs. Uh, huh? I’ve always heard that a baby’s weight gain slows after a year…but Sarah’s seems to have STOPPED. And since I’ve been hypersensitive about her weight since she was born (every OUNCE she gained in the NICU was cause for celebration!) I can’t help but worry a bit about it now. Because let’s face it, Sarah is small. REALLY small. At almost 15mos, she’s the size of an average 6mo old…which REALLY alarms people when they see her walking (okay, that part is kind of funny…). My micropreemie has become a microtoddler – 17lbs, 27”. Now, with all that said, the lack of weight gain certainly is NOT caused by a lack of eating. Sarah may be small, but boy she can EAT. Every morning we start with an entire packet of oatmeal for breakfast – I make hers with whole milk and add cinnamon and a big blob of applesauce to it. The she goes to school and eats a SECOND breakfast there (cereal, a honeybun, a cinnamon roll, etc). She almost always eats all of her lunch (a protein, a veggie and a fruit) and then snacks mid-afternoon. She has another snack when she gets home and then dinner. And don’t forget about the 3-4cups of milk scattered in there too. I guess her constant motion burns the majority of that…the rest she stores in her hollow leg. Sarah’s pediatrician genuinely listens to my concerns and usually manages to make me feel better about things – we see him again on the 25th for a 15mo vaccination (blech) so hopefully that will help.
6. The other issue with Sarah’s size is finding clothes. The upside is that she really gets a lot of use out of her things whereas a lot of kids outgrow their clothes before they even have a chance to wear some of them. The downside is that she’s wearing 6-9mo clothes with a few 3-6mos things thrown in there. The difference in sizes across brands is ridiculous. And it doesn’t help my anxiety level to buy 6mo pants only to have them fall off of my 14mo old. I have a couple of reliable brands that I stick to now (Carter’s, Target’s Circo, and BRU’s Miniwear) and can usually tell how much I’ll have to hem the pants before she even gets them on. I don’t bother buying out of season because who knows what size she’ll be next summer. Having a kid is all about adapting, right?
7. I said before that Sarah’s only “real” word right now is DOG. We occasionally get “duck” or “ball”, but really, they sound just like “dog.” Our dogs are definitely “dogs” to her so she knows the meaning of the word…but some days, everything else is “dog” too. You just have to pay attention to what she’s pointing at/reaching for. Her lovie blanket…”dog”. Her cup of milk…”dog”. ME: Sarah, can you say “mama”?? Sarah: DOG! Oh well, at least she knows what’s important, right? She will sign for “milk” (though she’s modified the sign a bit for her own tastes), sometimes we get something in between the signs for “mama” and “daddy” and she just started signing “more” (like more food!) over the weekend. She knows where her “noggin” is and where MY nose is…though she still seems completely unaware that she has a nose of her very own.
8. Sarah and her dogs…goodness, where do I start? She’s doing SO well learning to “pet nice” and “be gentle” with the dogs. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional eye poke or ear pull. But they exact revenge with a whack of a tail, usually upside her head. All except for Ralphie…not only is his tail super short, but he’ll take affection any way he can get it – even if it’s a poke in the eye. If you’re wondering which dog is Ralphie, he’s our male pit bull. Not exactly the vicious beast the media would portray him to be. Sarah’s a smart girl, she knows who loves her best!
9. Teeth. We now have TWO!
10. This past Saturday was Sarah’s first haircut. I want to let her hair grow, it just needed to be cleaned up some on the ends. She was looking pretty pitiful…especially with her daycare snot nose. I was a bit concerned about how she’d behave (and how the resulting haircut would look) but she did VERY well. She even sat in the (modified) chair all by herself! The gal who cut her hair put all the little clippings in a envelope for me, gave us a little “My First Haircut” certificate and didn’t charge us for it! Plus all the older ladies in the salon were have a FIT over Sarah…especially when she started walking (she really looks too small to be walking on her own) so it was quite entertaining for all of us. Now, if she’d just keep a bow in that hair…