Monday, August 31, 2009

First week round up

Luke is now officially a veteran of preschool. OK, so not really. This past week has had its fair share of ups and downs for dear Luke. He seems to have the roughest time in the morning... or maybe thats me when I drop him off?

On day 1, I stayed with Luke for a little while to get him comfortable with his class. He was doing fine when he thought that I was staying the whole time like I had the Friday prior! When he realized I was leaving, he threw a conniption fit... I tried to calm him but it wasn't until breakfast arrived that he was truly ready to forget I was there. We had him stay half a day on that first day, and he was definitely ready for us to pick him up at noon. He had been perfectly content eating his lunch until he saw Nate and me... at which time he stood up, hands straight down, mouth wide open, just crying. He was so overwhelmed. We felt bad, but got him calmed down and went home for nap.

The second day, we timed our arrival perfectly so that we arrived at the same time as breakfast. Luke was happily distracted and I was able to leave without a lot of drama. We did half day for the second day too, but much less drama on the pick up at noon. Luke's teacher told us that he had laid down on someone else's cot earlier so we figured the next day, he'd be ready to take his nap there.

On Wednesday morning, the drop off drama started again. Everyone told me that the first two weeks were the toughest, but I thought that based on minimal drama the day before, we could magically move on to easy drop off. No such luck. Luke did not want me to let him go. We tried playing Legos, blocks, puppets... anything! But breakfast was a little late, and I had to go to work. I left the classroom after many hugs and kisses, and watched through the one-way glass window from the hall as he paced the room looking for me and tried to get out the door. Ugh. It seriously tears at your heart. Eventually he calmed down and enjoyed an Elmo book. Thankfully Luke took his nap easily there too, and did very well in the afternoon.

Thursday morning was the same as Wednesday, and I stopped in at lunch time to see how Luke did. His teacher was excited to report that he had a great morning, went down for nap easily, and had used the potty twice.

Say what?

Luke? Our Luke? Used the potty? He's never done that at home! The preschool kids get to ring a bell after they successfully use the potty, and everyone in the class stops and cheers whenever they hear the bell. Anyone who knows Luke knows that he loves to cheer for himself, so I think he thought he was missing out by not being able to ring that bell. So we're keeping the whole bell thing going at home now, in hopes that we can jump start potty training.

On Friday, Luke's occupational therapist went to visit at preschool for his first session there, and was happy to report that he was having a great time and seemed well adjusted. They worked on getting him more comfortable and independent on the playground, and Luke's teacher said that he did remarkably well today on the playground during outside time.

Let's hope that the two week rule holds true with Luke and preschool, because today was another rough morning, though I am thinking that perhaps I am sticking around too long... maybe preschool drop off is like removing a band aid.

Anyway, as soon as we get through this Luke two week period, we start Will at his preschool... oh, good times!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random experiments

As promised, the slightly delayed breakdown on Luke's first day of preschool! And then a couple other stories mixed in.

So, we'd been talking with Luke all week about his trip to school on Friday to meet his teacher. I don't think that the word 'school' really meant anything to him, but 'teacher' certainly did... from third-to-last page of Brown Bear, Brown Bear! So every time I'd say to him that we were going to school, he'd remind me that we were going to see a "teacher, teacher," ha!

Anyway, we woke up and got ready like normal on Friday, and drove to Luke's school just in time for them to wrap up breakfast and start some play time. He was clearly nervous as we walked through the door... lots of new people (he didn't say "hi" to anyone, which told me he was a little overwhelmed). When we got into his classroom, he immediately turned around and wanted me to pick him up. I did, and we introduced him around. There were some familiar things in the room, such as a chalkboard, a sand table, and a sink with a faucet that Luke could reach, so he quickly became enthralled with those. Every couple of minutes, he'd look over his shoulder to make sure I was still there. He was moderately interested in the other children there, but really more interested in the bathroom and opening the classroom door! I am sure with time, this will pass.

He got a little confused and frustrated at one point because the classroom rules only allow two children at each play station (there are pairs of footprints at the sand table, for instance, to show how many kids can be there at a time). I am pretty sure they do this to avoid overcrowding and fighting between the kids, but even as a nice little girl tried to point out to Luke that he was the third person at the sand table, he didn't get it. And then he got mad when the teacher made him walk away and find another station to play at. Eventually he made his way to the creative play area, and sampled a plastic tomato.

Mid-morning, we went outside to the playground. As much as we've tried to get Luke to love the playground, he just doesn't. I am not sure if he gets scared or isn't sure of his footing, but whatever it is, he tends to stay close whenever we take him. He started out that way on Friday (he even threw a temper tantrum and tried to get back into the school), but with all the kids squealing and laughing as they went down the slide, his interest was definitely piqued. He climbed up and went down the slide once, which I considered a huge success because I wasn't the one convincing him to go up the slide, nor did he need me to ride down with him.

We went to another section of the playground later, and the teacher set up two water tables. Luke was in pure heaven, and didn't need me around anymore after the water table came out. I would stand farther away as he would splash more and more water across his increasingly large smile. He was soaked to the bone, and happy as could be. It definitely made me happy to see that.

After the water table was lunch time. Luke sat at the table with his new friends all by himself - a total surprise to me since he still sits in a high chair at home. He told his teacher "thank you" when she spooned his lunch onto his plate, asked for a fork instead of a spoon to eat with, and ate his noodles and applesauce well. Then he even cleared off his plate into the garbage when he was done! Amazing :)

We got ready to leave after lunch because the kids in the classroom were going down for a nap. Luke was definitely ready to go at that point - it was a busy morning! I ran out to the car to get Luke's supplies for Monday to put into his cubby, and he noticed that I was gone. He didn't cry, but he was clearly happy when I came back into the room. So Monday and Tuesday of next week, the plan is to have Luke go part time on his own... and then try full time on Wednesday. Hopefully that will help ease him into preschool and give him a little more comfort and independence.

The night before Luke's first day of preschool was his last day at the Little Gym. At the end of the last session in May, they had a medal ceremony for all the kids. We didn't know that was going to happen, so we weren't prepared with a camera. Determined to experience this medal ceremony as a family, we packed everyone into the car to congratulate Luke on completing another session of his Beasts class. For the first time ever, we took Will with us out onto the tumbling floor - typically one of us takes Luke to class and the other stays home to work with Will and make dinner.

Will had an absolute blast! He especially loved rolling down the big blue wedge and bouncing along with Oma to the songs that the teacher was singing! It was a totally fun, totally unexpectedly great evening for us! Even when we found out that they weren't doing a medal ceremony this time!

Our third experiment was this entire weekend, we went back to the beach. We left Friday night, to ensure that we'd have a place for the boys to nap at their normal nap time on Saturday (we learned from our mistakes last time). On Saturday morning, we went to the beach. Because Hurricane Bill was blowing through the Atlantic, we didn't go into the ocean much beyond our ankles because of the warnings of rip currents. Will again proved that he didn't like the ocean, however, and spent most of the time huddled with me under the sun shade while Nate and Luke spent some time in the water.

Saturday afternoon, we drove down to Fort Fisher and walked around there a little bit, and then headed up to Wilmington to stop at our favorite ice cream place, Kilwin's. Yum! We made it back to the hotel in time to get a short swim at the pool (even shorter for Luke, who is NOT a fan of getting his face wet) before the boys went to bed.

This morning (Sunday) started off a little rough, but we were kind of prepared for that! All we had to do was pack up the car and hit the road. Quick 2 hour drive home, just in time for naps. Ahh, this trip went like 1000000000000 times better than the last one!

I am sure there will be many other experiences and experiments to write about in the coming weeks! Be sure to check back!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On the coast of somewhere... really scary!

After all the prep work that went into getting the boys into preschool, suddenly the day is ::almost:: upon us! That's right! Luke starts preschool on Monday, and Will starts right after Labor Day. I'm taking Luke in this Friday for a couple of hours to test the waters. I think he'll do great, but he's also got a touch of separation anxiety, so I am going to stay with him this Friday. But Monday, he's on his own for at least the first half of the day.

While I am excited about the prospect of preschool and the fun that the boys will have, I also realize that this is a huge change for us! The boys have been cared for in the home since they were brought home from the NICU... lovely one on two care. But now, they're moving up!

I also realized that this will be the first time ever that they will spend all day, every day apart from each other. They've spent a day here and there apart before (because of hospitalizations), but never anything as permanent as this! And again, while I believe this will be a good thing (especially for Will, who really seems to come out of his shell when Luke isn't around - not in a bad way - its just that Luke is the more aggressive twin, and Will does a lot of listening when he's around), its sort of sad. I know that we'll all really treasure nights and weekends when we're all home and together.

Another big change is that Oma is about to head back home to Texas. Can you believe that a year has already passed since she came to NC to help us out? It has been a great help to have her here, but now that Opa is back safely from Iraq, the time has come. Will gets to spend a few extra days of one on one time with her in between Monday and Labor Day, but once he goes to preschool, Oma and Opa hop in the car! While we will all miss her, I think Luke might miss her the most. He really enjoys banging on her door and waking her up in the morning, and I think he finds some sense of relief in knowing that she's just down the hall from him (if he ever needs a computer to mess up or a tube of lotion to empty onto his head). So it will be a lot of changes all at once.

Bear with us as we enter this transition time! Blog entries might be a bit more stretched out, and phone calls might be tough to answer, but I know eventually we'll find a new groove!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Anyone out there who remembers when Nate used to DJ in college knows that he gets a pretty good head bop going when he likes a song. Well apparently that head bop is genetic. Case in point, see the video below of Nate and Luke rocking out to a Dave Matthews song last night (in between spoonfuls of applesauce)! If you receive this blog update in a note, probably best to visit the actual weblog at to view the video.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(Almost a) Fat Boy

I say that in the most loving, positive, excited, proud, mama way possible...

Today we went back to Will's CP clinic for our quarterly check in. The doc is the one who ultimately helped us decide on Will receiving his surgical g-tube. Always a good time, good informative conversation (he reads our blog!), and he is always very complimentary. Usually I leave the appointment with teary eyes, though, because he's said something so nice or so "to the point" about the difficulties of raising a child with special needs that I can't keep my composure.

Anyway, today we learned that Will has gained three pounds since his surgery... let me reiterate. THREE POUNDS. In less than 3 months. Way to go Will! Will hadn't gained a single pound in the 6 months leading up to his g-tube placement. Since we've figured out all the kinks, this g-tube has been a very good thing for him.

Here's the ironic part: if Will continues on this pattern of weight gain, by the next time we go to the CP clinic, Will with be OVERWEIGHT. What?!?! I guess he'll be considered "overweight" from a "child with CP perspective" - his ideal weight is right around the 35th percentile on the growth chart. But still. Its just ironical. He was startlingly underweight just 4 months ago.

This by no means implies that Will no longer needs his g-tube. In order for his g-tube to come out, Will will need to demonstrate that he can take all of his calories by mouth and continue to gain weight. Right now, he's taking a little more than half his feeds by mouth, and the rest of the calories he gets via the g-tube and pump overnight.

But for now, rather than worry about when the g-tube can go away, we relish in the weight gain. And pinch the chubbier cheeks and slightly rolly-polly legs. A lot. But not in a mean or painful way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dear Great Grandpa Milt

Hi Great Grandpa--

I wanted to write you a letter to thank you for the awesome duck step stool that you made for me, but seeing that I am still working on drawing circles and lines, a letter was out of the question. Thanks to my mom for transcribing this blog entry for me! I am still working on my vocabulary, but I think you'll find that I have a remarkable understanding and usage of the English language for my age.

I absolutely love the step stool. It is amazing how much of the world I was missing out on prior to its arrival. Did you know that my parents were hiding things on the kitchen counter? Now I can reach them! Telephones, computers, dog treats, silver ware, glass ware... I have never seen my parents run so quickly as they did when I almost got my hand on the knife block! They learned quickly, though, and took the stool out of the kitchen. Here's a picture of me when I was first getting used to the stool.

After the kitchen debacle (good word for a two year old, huh?), my mom moved the duck step stool to the hallway so that I could reach the hall light switch. I love light switches! I guess I was annoying every one by turning on and off the light about 800 times an hour, so they moved the stool again. Here is a picture of me and my favorite light switch before they moved the stool.

For a couple of hours, I was unable to find the step stool. But then my dad emerged from my and Will's room with a surprise for us. He had converted our cribs into toddler beds! And there was my duck step stool! It was right beside my bed, so that I could have the freedom to crawl into and out of my new bed as I please. When will my parents learn?

Last night was my first time sleeping in my new bed. I used the step stool to get into my bed, then I grabbed my own pacifier and blanket, laid myself down and said "good night" to everyone. I am getting to be a big guy!

I guess my parents don't completely trust me, though, because they closed all the doors to the bathrooms in the house, and put child locks on them so I couldn't get in. I thought maybe they wouldn't remember to do this, and since I get up before everyone else, I thought I might be able to get a good couple of flushes in before someone woke up and stopped me. No such luck though. They even went so far as to put a gate across the top of the steps so I could not get downstairs and play an Elmo DVD. Bummer!

For now, the stool is going to stay next to my bed. Maybe when I get old enough to brush my teeth, my parents will move it to the bathroom. I think they know that if they put it in front of the sink now, I'd play with the faucets until I flooded the bathroom. Mommy said that no one wants that to happen, but who is she kidding? I sure do!!

I really appreciate all of the love that you put into the duck step stool. I couldn't ask for a better great grandpa! I can't wait to see you in October.

Your favorite brown-haired great grandson,

PS - Here are some pictures of me getting into my bed and putting myself to sleep.