Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pre-School Parent/Teacher Conference

We had Michael's first parent/teacher conference about 2 weeks ago and for the most part it was all good.  Behavior wise, Michael is doing excellent.  Given his fairly severe speech delay, his frustration level is at a pretty good level, but speaking of his speech, he is definitely delayed and I don't know why.  I think the only thing that bothered me about the conference is that when we asked the teacher about about fears of autism, the only thing she could say was that she didn't feel that he was on the spectrum given his ability to be comfortable sitting in her lap and being affectionate.  That was a good sign, but the fact that teachers are not allowed to give their opinion about testing because it may cause issues with parents really frustrates me.  I mean, these are professionals, who in our case, spend 5 hours a day 5 days a week with my son.  I am not frustrated with the teacher, but the system.  Michael's teacher is wonderful.  She is sweet and kind and motherly and I feel very comfortable with her as his teacher.  I just wish I could get a sense if we need to do more.

I have a feeling that going gluten and dairy free is a really good step.  I hate that we have to do this and we were really bad over the holiday, but we are now back on track and no gluten or dairy for Michael (so to be me too).  I really do think that it makes a difference!  It sucks, but I do think it helps!  The other issue that got brought up at the conference (by his teacher), is wether or not to get Michael tested for diabetes.  I am hoping that this isn't an issue.  Michael seems to drink a ton and then pees a ton to the point of having multiple accidents.  It kinds of makes sense that if he drinks a lot then he will pee a lot, but it is the drinking of fluids that makes me wonder, though I have to say, sometimes limit setting helps and his accidents are getting better.  He has even slept with underwear on for the last 2 nights and the first night woke twice to pee, and then last night didn't soak himself.  Maybe going gluten free and dairy free will really help with just more than digestive issues!

The twins are being evaluated for further needs in the school system.  They are going to be 3 in just under 2 months.  I can't believe that I have an almost 4 year old and almost 3 year old twins.  Eva Rose has been in early intervention since the beginning of the fall for a speech delay and has improved immensely (which is another reason I am increasingly concerned with Michael's delay).  She went from barely putting 2 words together and dropping the endings of words  to the point of not understanding what she is saying, to still dropping the endings of words but putting more than 2 words together.  There are still often times that I don't understand her and at 3 I probably should understand almost everything that is said. Thomas just amazes me with his vocabulary! That being said, when I look at friends kids I can't help but compare and still think my kids are behind, but maybe not. Then there are those people in your life who try to tell you that your kids are very behind and that they should be doing certain things, but in reality maybe those people are over estimating kids development.

It will be interesting to see how the kids further develop. Will Michael all of a sudden come out and just start talking? Is there more to his delay? Do Thomas and Eva Rose need more help with their expressive and receptive communication? Only time will tell and will see how things go!

Amy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Delays!

Michael has some pretty significant speech delays!  He is doing much better now that he has an IEP and is in school for 5 hours Monday thru Friday, but he is still behind.  A while ago, Like more than a year ago, my husband mentioned Autism.  We have gone through the back and forth of wether or not this is an issue.  I have asked his EI person, I have asked his teachers at school, and our family practitioner has never mentioned anything.  No one seems to be concerned about autism.  Everyone seems to think that this is just a speech delay and that in time it will resolve itself.

I have this sinking feeling that there is more than just a speech delay.  I am hoping I am wrong, but something just makes me think that there is more to it.  The problem, is that I don't trust myself and my gut. There is a good chance that I am just over reacting and thinking that there is something wrong, when he is just behind the developmental curve and will catch up.  I tend to compare my kids to my friends' kids who may actually be ahead of the developmental curve so that puts a spin on things too!

I don't think that it is autism.  I have taken my DSM IV, and looked at the autism spectrum disorders and while Michael may fit some criteria, he wouldn't, at least in my opinion, even fit PDD.  We are going to Michael's first school conference tomorrow and I will be asking and probably pushing the teacher to tell me if there is more than just a speech delay and if we should look at getting any sort of testing.

The other piece to the puzzle is that we have had a blood test for Michael and it showed that he has a significant sensitivity to gluten and dairy (as did my test).  The problem is, that this blood test has a lot of people that don't believe it's a valid or accurate test.  We have been trying to remove these foods from Michael's diet, but it is so hard!  Michael is my son when it comes to food.  When we removed dairy back in January, we saw a dramatic difference.  I didn't see that difference with the gluten so I wasn't as strict.  I was talking to my husband's cousin who mentioned that it could take a while before we see a difference with the gluten, and I remembered reading something about that.  After that conversation, I decided that I really needed to be more strict and I have removed anything that he could see that he would want and I would be tempted to give him.  I am trying to make sure that we have options in the house for him so that he can have bread and cookies and milk.  I need to get better at baking gluten free.  I also want to watch how much sugar he has.  It's amazing how I can do this for him, but I can't seem to do this for myself.  Michael is on his 3rd day of being gluten free.  Yesterday, he came home and hadn't had an accident at school.  This was the first time in a long time that he had been accident free.  I think the other thing that made going gluten free hard was seeing him regress with potty training about the same time as we stopped the gluten.  It probably had nothing to do with the gluten, but it was making me wonder if gluten was an issue or not.  Maybe the potty training regression had nothing to do with gluten, maybe I just needed to be more consistent and stop feeling bad about not giving him gluten.  I am totally on board with keeping him gluten free and hoping that this will help with a lot of his issues.  The dietician we met with mentioned that getting rid of gluten would make a major change with his neurological symptoms (we had mentioned the autism fear that we had).

As I write this, I feel that I should make a strong point to say that Michael has made significant gains over the past year.  This time last year, he had about 10 words in his vocabulary and that may be stretching it.  He now will say 3-4 word sentences, but he will be 4 in just 3 1/2 months and still can't even have a simple conversation.  I think I will feel better after our conference tomorrow and then we can hopefully move forward and either get some testing, or I can feel better knowing that it is more likely just a time thing!

Amy

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall 2011

Just a few pictures of our Fall 2011!

At our favorite restaurant

Pumpkin picking

family photo

 Eva Rose picking pumpkins

Thomas picking pumpkins

Michael taking a break from picking pumpkins

Thomas at Michael's first school Halloween party

Eva Rose at Michael's first school Halloween party

Michael was enthralled with the lights at his first school Halloween party


Tree limb on our roof after our Nor' Easter October 29, 2011

The crane lifting the limb off our roof just days later

Michael climbed his first tree

The twins actually do share

These are just some of our memories from Fall 2011.  I can't believe it is already November 12th.  Before we know it Christmas will be on us and I for one can't wait.  I don't want to rush the time, but I can't wait to start making our family's traditions.  I know that we may be a little late to the party to start making traditions, but I think that the kids are old enough to understand them now.  My next project is to make an advent calendar.  We always had one growing up and I want to continue the tradition with my own children.  I have a pattern that I plan to use for ideas.  I found it at http://www.acaseofthemundays.com/2010/12/felt-friday-felt-advent-calendars.html.  I have so many projects to work on for Christmas.  I can't wait to start working on them.

Amy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween and Way Back When-esday

Halloween 2009 (Dorothy and the 2 scarecrows)


We have a lot of Halloween celebrations this year.  One of the positives about getting laid off, is that I can now go to all these things at night with the kids.  We have a town Halloween night tomorrow, a Halloween party for Michael's school Friday, a Halloween party Sunday for my twins' group, and then of course it's Halloween Monday!  Last year was our first year being able to enjoy trick or treating with the kids.  Michael's first Halloween I had gotten put on bed rest 2 days earlier, and then the twin's first Halloween, we attended my sister's wedding.

I have at least attempted to make part of our costumes.  This is year no exception.  I have to admit that I am not taking as much time as I probably should.  Part of it is because they are costumes for not quite 3 year olds and a 2 1/2 year old, and part of it is because I procrastinated thinking that I had more time than I did, and now I think things will be worse if I stress about making the costumes perfect!  They will look good, but will definitely have short cuts.  As much I like crafting and creating, I don't know that I like sewing clothes.  I like sewing in general, but clothing is not my favorite.

I am almost done with the boys costume, and I need to complete (for the most part) Eva Rose's costume.  Hopefully by bedtime, I will have finished all the costumes and will only have to hem Eva Rose's costume tomorrow after she tries it on.  The boys' costumes are a little big, kind of on purpose to accommodate warm clothes.  Hopefully Eva Rose's costume will fit well enough.

Here's a sneak peak.


Amy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Diets

No not the kind to lose weight, though from what I hear a lot of people eat this way to lose weight.  Last summer I had a blood test for food allergies and this summer, my oldest has the same test.  Unfortunately, we both showed sensitivities to dairy and gluten.  I wasn't surprised about the dairy for either of us, and often wondered if gluten could be an issue.  Now it is time for both of us to go completely dairy and gluten free.

I think that this is going to be a really difficult thing for both of us.  Obviously, since I had the blood test over a year ago and haven't gone completely gluten or dairy free yet, I am going to have a really hard time. The good part for Michael is that I will be the one figuring out what I am going to be making for meals and snacks.  He won't have a choice like I do.  I have to make the right choice for me and him.

I have been reading some blogs that are gluten free focused and dairy free focused.  I am hoping that I will feel some relief from my foggy brain that I sometimes get.  When we talked to the dietician about Michael's  test results, we mentioned that at one point we were concerned about him being on the Autism spectrum.  My husband is no longer concerned, and even though I didn't pick up on things earlier, I am now the one that continues to have concerns that there may be more than just a speech delay.  The dietician mentioned that we may see some changes neurologically once Michael gets the gluten out of his system.  I am hoping that we see some changes since I have heard that diet can play a huge role in people's behaviors.

The other issue with diet is, my mom found out that she is a gene carrier for breast cancer.  I am more than likely going to get tested for the gene, but I also want to change my diet to help keep myself healthy even if I don't have the gene.

I am hoping to find some good bread recipes since that is going to be the hardest for me to give up as well as for Michael to give up.  What I have been finding lately is that I need to let go of what I expect things to taste like.  I can't expect that gluten free and dairy free foods, unless they are naturally gluten and dairy free, to taste the same as the regular foods will taste.

If anyone has any good recipes, cookbooks, blogs, or any info at all, please leave a comment.  If you have any suggestions on how best to tackle this, please leave a comment.  I will be researching and reading blogs often!

Wish me luck!
Amy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sleep

I haven't written about sleep issues in a long time.  That is because we haven't had sleep issues in a long time!  The twins have always been good sleepers, and since we stopped dairy in January, Michael has also been sleeping through the night.  For the last 8-9 months, I have only had an occasional middle of the night wake up.  For the last couple of weeks, Miss Eva Rose has been sleeping horrible.

She fights naps, even though she still needs them.  When she doesn't nap, she falls asleep what could be considered either too late or too early, meaning she takes a nap too late which then interferes with her night time sleep or I put her to bed early thinking she will be out for the night and she wakes up too early.  Today I put her and Thomas in for a nap and Thomas fell asleep right away and she is still yelling and crying at the door almost an hour later, although I think she is finally going to sleep now!

 I am hoping that a normal nap will help her sleep better at night.  I hate having her cry it out for a nap, but she needs her nap.  I don't even know if this will make a difference.  I also got laid off and I don't know if that is impacting her sleep.  She seems like she needs to be held, rocked, and/or have her head rubbed, but even then she still fights sleep.  I wish knew why she all of a sudden needs more attention and seems to be having some sort of separation anxiety.   I also wish I knew why she won't go to sleep like she has for the last almost 2 years 9 months.

Any help?
Amy

Friday, September 30, 2011

My How Things Have Changed!

When the twins were little, we would put them in the baby swing together.  I decided, now that they are 2 1/2 to see how they fit.

About 7 months old

About 7 months old

About 15 months old

2 years 8 months old

WHAT A CHANGE!

Amy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Way Back When-esday: Football Season 2009

When the twins were just about 2 1/2 months old I started taking pictures on opening day of our sports teams new seasons.  I haven't been good about lately, but here is the start to the Patriot's Season 2009.


September 20, 2009 Michael just 18months and Eva Rose and Thomas 8 1/2 months

I should get out the football shirts and do more pictures for 2011!

Amy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Makes My Monday: Where's Michael?

I went to check on the kids last night and what I saw was the following:

The twins were asleep in their bed

Michael's bed was empty

A little panic set in, but I kept reminding myself that he had to be in the house (even though I did check the window).  For the life of me, I couldn't figure out where Michael was.  I checked under the bed.  I tried to see if maybe he had gotten up and was out with daddy with out me knowing.  Then I checked the last place I could think of.

There he was, fast asleep in the toy box!

Amy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Toys, Toys, Toys!

School has started!  The weather is getting cooler. Christmas will be here before I know it.  I have actually started a list of things that I want for gifts for the kids.  This year, I am hoping that we don't wait to the last minute and end up not really getting the things we want.  I think I want to get some more car toys and some older doll house toys as well as some duplo blocks.  The twins are playing with some toy doll house pieces with EI and they seem to really like it.  I am also thinking that I want to get a few more dolls.  I had gone out looking for a Barbie doll for my daughter and even though I got so many thoughts about Barbie not being an issue for girls, when I looked them they were just so skanky and I couldn't spend $20 on a barbie for a 2 1/2 year old.  As I looked for something that I felt was more appropriate, I found a small doll that was bigger than a barbie, but still small enough for a 2 1/2 year old to carry around.  It came with a couple of changes of clothes that snap on to the doll and there are a few different dolls to choose from.  The kids love this doll and it was such a good choice.

Now, with Christmas approaching faster than I care to admit, I really need to weed through a lot of their toys and get rid of things that they wither don't want to play with, or that seem too young for them.  That way I can make room for new toys and hopefully keep a cleaner more organized house.

I am really looking for toys that are going to have a developmental benefit to the kids.  I am not crazed about the type of toys that they get, but I do want to make sure that they actually do stimulate some learning.  One of my goals is to also make a few gifts for them.  I am hoping that I can make some things to go along with toys that they will potentially get for Christmas.  A friend of mine made a great map quilt for her kids to play with their cars.  I am thinking of something like that, or maybe even just a simple case for the kids to carry their cars in.  I want to make a doll or 2 or 3, their quilts, and on and on and on.  I have way to many thoughts and not enough time to complete them.  I am hoping to have a few travel projects so that I can take them with me, for example when there is down time at work.  Right now, I need to utilize what ever time I can find to complete my projects!

Amy

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Camera

I have been wanting a new point and shoot camera for some time now.  I have a really nice little olympus, but it is literally a  point and shoot.  There is nothing creative that you can do with the camera only after the picture is taken.  That being said,  as much as I love to think of my self as really creative and a photographer, I know that I am such an amateur when it comes to creating and taking creative photos.  I now have 4 digital cameras and 1 film camera.  When I bought my first SLR film camera, I decided to get a Canon Elan 2E.  My husband was into Canon's and a friend of mine also recommended Canon's.  I then moved on to a 7E, also film.  Later I got a very cheap Canon that did me well, but it was sloooowwww!  My husband bought me one of the first Canon Rebels SLR.  I then went on to buy a 20D SLR.  After My older son was born, I decided I needed a new point and shoot and bought the Olympus.  3 1/2 years later it is still going strong, but I wanted something that I could do more with the settings of the camera.  This weekend I was at a wedding and was talking to a table mate that my husband had worked with and he recommended the Canon s95.  The next day, I went out to the camera store with my husband and bought it.  I really didn't want to spend the money, but I really liked the camera.  We took the kids to the park and I played with the camera while they played at the park.  The best part was that I actually used the manual setting and never once used the programmable settings that I had always found myself using.  These are just a few of the pictures I've taken since yesterday!

Michael

Eva Rose

Thomas

Michael, Daddy, and Thomas

Rose at the park on Macro setting

Thomas

Michael and Thomas

Eva Rose
3 across in the car

Playing in the driver's seat

Michael

Oh, and I played with taking black and white, sepia, and color photos too!  I had lots of fun with my new toy and got to get some cute pictures of the kids!  Now I just need to learn more about photography and take better pictures!

Amy

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Pictures!!!!!!

It's Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer.  Although I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family this summer, I am ready to have fall here.  I am not a hot weather person and am really looking forward to fall.  I am also looking forward to having a schedule again.  We have really been kind of flying by the seat of our pants with our schedule.  The only real schedule we had was Michael going to school the month of July, but after that, we just did what ever we felt like.  As wonderful as it was to not really have to do anything at any specific time, I am really looking forward to being on a routine.  We really did much more, but these are just a few of our pictures from the summer.

Tomorrow, the twins start a drop off group at EI and then we have orientation for Michael in the afternoon.  Wednesday, Michael starts pre-school every day for 5 hours.  It sounds like a lot, but he handles it so well and I really think he has benefitted from this extra school time!  I am trying to set up play dates for the twins.  I am thinking that it will help them socialize and maybe even learn to talk more! 


Michael Kennebunk Beach

Eva Rose Kennebunk Beach


Thomas Kennebunk Beach

Swinging in big kid swings

Thomas in the fire truck at touch a truck

Eva Rose in the fire truck at touch a truck


Michael in the fire truck at touch a truck


Hurricane Irene (thankfully we missed a lot of damage.  These were boats in Swampscott Beach) 

Date night at Fenway Park

Hiking in Breakheart Reservation after Eva Rose fell and went to the ER for stitches

Eva Rose after stitches

Swinging after stitches

Our newest baby cousin, Hannah

It's been a busy summer!

Amy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Updates

Well, I was going to write some really positive updates, such as potty training and returning to Early Intervention, at least for Eva Rose, but now I also have a not so positive update, not horrible, but definitely not great.

For the positives, we have continued to attempt to potty train all 3 kids.  There continue to be lots of accidents, but they want to wear underwear, and they do go on the potty, they just don't always tell us when they have to go.  On the other hand, over the past couple of days, Michael's accidents have greatly decreased and he is even taking himself to the bathrooma nd even pooping on the potty.  We are most likely going against every rule in potty training, but it is working.  The one rule we haven't broken is attempting to not make a big deal out of the accidents, but making a big deal when they use the potty.  We continue to muster on and hopefully this will work.

Eva Rose tested in to Early Intervention again.  The good thing is she will have more speech help and given that she had some fairly significant hearing loss prior to the tubes, I think this is a great thing.  She will also be able to go to a drop off group, hopefully, and I think given that Thomas is her twin, he'll get to go also.  The other positive is that they will make the referral to the school system like was done for Michael.  I am hoping that she will also need an IEP which will get her services for pre-school.  I will more than likely have Thomas evaluated, but I have a feeling he will just be going to a regular pre-school program.  Maybe he'll be able to be one of the mentors for the pre-school program!

Now for the not so positive news.  About a month ago, Eva Rose had a pretty high fever and a couple of swollen areas that had us concerned so I brought her to the doctors, which I never do for just a  fever.  The covering doctor sent us to the ER so that lab work could be completed and we would hopefully get the all clear.  Both my husband and I were concerned about Lyme, which was one of the reasons we went to the doctors.  The doctor thought it was a possibility, but when we went to the ER the ER pediatrician said that it wasn't presented in the normal manner for Lyme, but she wanted to test for it any way.  All the lab test came back fine, but we needed to wait for the lyme, which takes about a week, and we were sent home.  Things cleared up fairly quickly and we got the results from the lyme test which was negative.  It was recommended by both our doctor and the ER pediatrician to repeat after a couple of weeks just to ensure that it was a true negative.  Well, today I got the results and it was positive!  I'm not sure how I am feeling now.  We need to treat with antibiotics for 14-21 days.  I hate that she has to be on an antibiotic so young and we will definitely have her start eating some kefir so that we can hopefully ensure that the good bacteria that is killed off along with the bad will be replenished and she won't end up with an imbalance to her system.  My other concern is what are the long term effects of lyme?  Not that she's had any long term effects from her RSV, but I am always watching for that, now we have to watch for long term effects of lyme.  It's so not fun being a parent, but yet it's the best thing I've ever done!

Amy

Friday, August 5, 2011

Frustrations!

The other day was one of my more frustrating day's as a parent.  I'm not sure what was going on with me, maybe just normal parenting issues, but no matter what happened, I just felt like I had no petience.  We have had my brother in law living with us for the last 3 months and it has not been easy.  In fact it is definitely one of the biggest stressors right now.  The other big stressor is potty training and trying to get my health back. 

Potty training is probably the absolute worst developmemtal stage that I have gone through so far.  I'm sure there will be worse, but in 3 1/2 years, this is the worst.  The kids are definitely into going on the potty, but they are not quite ready to go without us telling them to go on the potty every so often, like every 1/2 hour or so.  Sometimes, we have great days and there are absolutely no accidents the whole day.  Sometimes, it seems like all we do is clean up pee and poop.  I is finally seeming like Michael is getting it.  He will go into the bathroom and either sit on a potty or pee in the toilet.  He has even pooped twice on the potty after bringing himself to the bathroom with no prompts from us as parents.  His biggest issue is that he loves to pee in any container he can find.  This is one thing I am working really hard to try to break.  I love his aim, but he needs to learn that there are places to pee and places not to pee.  The twins are good about going when we bring them, but no so good about telling they have to go.  Though, I have to say, Eva Rose woke up twice last night and after going on the potty went right back to sleep.  I think we will just keep on moving forward and hope that they will get it soon.

Lastly, not only are we dealing with the terrible two's times two, but a three year old also.  The behaviors and the whining are absolutely driving me mad.  I can handle crying, but whining is not something I handle well.  I am also not digging the defiant behavior of Thomas.  My sweet little boy has all of a sudden started saying no when I ask him to do something.  I guess he is just asserting his independence and I just have to remember my favorite developmental theorist, Erik Erikson states that people have different conflicts in life that they need to resolve in order to move on to the next stage of development.  My kids are in the autonomy vs doubt stage, at least the twins are.  They need to figure out how to have a sense that they are able to have some control over their environment.  I guess, I need to figure out how to maintain some independence without giving them free reign.  Michael, on the other hand, should be moving into initiative vs guilt.  This almost seems like a continuation of more advanced independence and that is exactly where Michael seems to be.  As I re-read some of the negatives, I think this may be what we are seeing with Michael's frustrations. He is learning to master different tasks and be much more independent and when he is unable to achieve a goal, he becomes frustrated.

Wow, writing this post has really made me feel better about things!  I really like Erik Erikson's theories.  I know that there are some people that criticise them, but I have always liked his theories.  I actually used them in my theoretical perspectives paper in grad school.  It's good to start looking at things again.  I may need to start looking at more child development to help me feel better about my parenting skills and to help me remember that what my kids are doing is probably just normal developmental tasks that they need to achieve. 

Amy 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toy Organization

I am struggling with organizing my house, all areas of my house, but I really want to get the kids' toys organized and reduced down to what they need and waht they actually play with.  I have started organizing some things, but I still have a lot to do.  My goal is to really look at what they play with, what I would like to have to offer them to play with for educational purposes, and also what they never play with and why.  Right mow, my house is a disaster of all sorts.  I really need to get my act together and get my stuff organized as well as the kids, but I think the kids' things will be easier and really most beneficial at this point in time.

Right now the big thing that the kids play with are cars.  I actually, for the most part, have things organized in this area.  I have thier kitchen stuff in a bin that hasa place in a cubby.  I want to get a bin and cubby for the following: art supplies, dolls, tools, puzzles, blocks.  Any other suggestions for bins or categories of toys?

Any other suggestions for organizing toys?

Amy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Barbie Dolls Part II

Thank you Tanya for you comment.  It makes me feel better to know that not everyone is against Barbie dolls, though I am having a hard time realizing that the first doll my daughter seems interested in is Barbie.  I guess I am not so against her having barbie dolls, I just hate the idea of the body image issues behind Barbie.

I guess the there are a multitude of things in our society that we have to protect or at least educate our kids about.  It's too bad that we have to worry about body image in our children at a young age.  I loved Barbie dolls as a kid as well as my baby dolls.  I definitely have body image problems, but I'm sure that playing with Barbie dolls was not the issue.  I was well aware that Barbie was not only an unattainable body to desire, but that it was also just not physically possible to have that big of a chest, that small of a waist, those hips, and those legs at least not without surgery.  Not only did I love playing with Barbie's, I loved playing with my baby dolls.  I was pretty much always a girly girl.  Did this make me into a meek superficial female ?  Not at all!  I have a masters degree and I have had a career as a nursing home social worker for 10 years before I had my kids.  Do I think as parents we need to be positive role models and talk about toys and goals and other life lessons?  Absolutely!  If I were honest, do I really think that toys by themselves are the devil incarnate?  No!  Do I sometimes have a problem with listening to others and following everything they say? Yes!  Should I start thinking a little more critically and start listening to myself?  Yes!  Can I let my kids play with Barbie dolls, baby dolls and other very gender specific toys and have them grow up to be balanced adults? Yes!  Actually, I think that it is positive for kids to be exposed to toys of both genders versus either only providing gender neutral toys or gender specific toys based on their gender.  I have never thought that providing toys that are marketed for the opposite sex would cause any gender confusion.  I have actually always thought that it would make a child into a more balanced adult, by letting them chose things that they are interested in.

There are many things in our society that we as parents have to talk to our kids about.  There are all sorts of images that make both sexes have issues with body image.  There are all sorts of things that we need to teach and be open with our kids about.  I guess, after writing this, I am leaning more to getting an age appropriate Barbie doll for my daughter as well as dolls and doll accessories.  That being said, I will certainly be offering these toys to the boys so that they can play with things other than cars and trucks and other traditional boy toys and I will certainly allow and encourage my daughter to play with the boys' toys if she chooses!

Ok, enough for my soapbox talk!  Thanks for letting me spill my thoughts out and for any comments that people have.

Amy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Toys for Girls

Lately, I've been thinking that poor Eva Rose doesn't really play with dolls.  She is much more of a tomboy playing with her brothers.  We have a couple of baby dolls, but none of the kids seem to want to play with them.  We have the little people doll house and they play with that a little, but they all seem to prefer running and jumping and other active things.  Or the other big toy are CARS.  My Thomas is totally into planes and trains and cars.  I started wondering if we needed to get more stereotypical female toys and start offering them to both the boys and Eva Rose.  I fully admit that when I found out I was having a daughter, I was thrilled that there would be dolls and barbies and hair things and dresses and all sorts of girly things to play with.  Now I also fully admit that if the boys wanted to play with these toys and any other "girly toys", I would have no problem with it.  My issues is, are we only really providing more of the male stereotyped toys since we have 2 boys and 1 girl who are pretty much the same age?

We went to York this weekend to a cousins house.  She has a couple of granddaughters and there were a bunch of barbie dolls around and Eva Rose started carrying them around the house, not wanting to out them down.  I started thinking that we should get her a barbie doll.  Then I started thinking about whether or not I really wanted to introduce her to the whole barbie idea with the warped body frame, the clothes that barbie wears, and just the whole barbie stereotype in general.  I decided to ask my twins group about getting a barbie doll for Eva Rose, hoping that there may be some alternative to barbie, but something that would be just as interesting as barbie.  Unfortunately, the only ideas I got were really just don't expose her to barbie at all, which is where I was leaning and instead just get a baby doll.  There were a couple of people who suggested more gender neutral toys in general, but I wouldn't mind having a more balanced approach to the type of toys we have in the house not just gender neutral.  Like I said, I have no problem with the boys wanting to play with dolls and since they love cars, I don't want to take that away from them either.  One mom did mention that she thought that barbies were good for little ones because they are easy to carry around.  They have a small waist and are easier for little hands.  This actually made a lot of sense to me.  She decided to get a barbie at a yard sale and just let her daughter have fun versus buying a new one with all the gadgets to go along with the dolls.

I am still on the search for more girly toys to expose all the kids to both male and female oriented toys.  we actually have a fair number of gender neutral items that are more on the educational side of things, but we really don't have a ton of female oriented toys.  Maybe I just need to see if anyone on freecycle has anything they are looking to get rid of so that thee kids can be exposed to more dolls and doll type toys.

Any thoughts on getting toys by gender?  Do you go more gender neutral or do you just expose your kids to both male and female oriented toys without making a judgement on which is better for which sex?  Is that even possible or do we innately try to swing girls towards dolls and other female oriented toys and boys to more masculine type toys?

It's all very interesting being a parent.  I don't want to sway my kids one way or the other based on what I liked growing up or what I didn't like!

Amy

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Potty Training Update

After having wirtten my last post and after getting a couple of answers to my potty training questions via my twins group, I have decided that we we muster on.  We are not at the point of the kids telling us that they have to go to the potty, but they will and want to use the potty.  They still ahve accident, but some days are better than otehrs and some moments are better than others! 

My husband and I are on the same page.  We have decided that they will be in underwear pretty much eery day.  We are going to stop giving rewards for going on the potty, because they pretty much have no problem sitting on the potty and actually going.  Where they have the issues is not always staying dry.  I started thinking that we needed to start rewarding for the behavior we wanted not the behavior that we already had.  I wasn't sure if it would work, but I thought about rewarding for actual dry diapers.  I got some positive feedback on this and we are starting this process.  We are also stepping up how often we offer the potty.  Michael's teacher said that he is on the cusp of being ready.  He will always go on the potty, but will not tell them that he needs to go.  I needed to get more diapers for school so I decided to buy pull ups.  They're much more expensive and I know some people disagree with their use, but I think in this instance, it is worth it.  Michael will go to school in either a diaper (since I still have some left) or in pull ups which I am hoping will help make it easier for him to be trained while at school.  The one comment I got also suggested to put them in underwear and if they have an accident to put them in a diaper and continue to bring them to the potty.  They will also be going to be in a diaper at this point.  I have a feeling this is not going to be a quick and easy process like for some kids, but they are definitely interested in going on the potty and I really want to encourage that as much as I can!  I am totally in this for the long haul and feel much more comfortable continuing moving forward after getting some advice from other moms.

On another note, we have had the twins re-evaluated for early intervention.  Thomas was not screened in, but Eva Rose was.  What is so interesting about this is that I always thought that Thomas was going to be the one who was behind, but it seems like Eva Rose and Michael are the ones behind.  Michael is doing well in school.  He is able to sing the tune of twinkle twinkle with some words thrown in, and also able to go through the book Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, and you can actually understand him reading the book.  At this point, I'm sure it is more him memorizing the words, but he is right about the colors and the animals.  My goal is to record him singing the book.  Once I have it recorded, I will make sure to post to this blog!

Amy

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Potty Training

God I hate this part of parenting!  I never realized just how much I would hate this part of development!  We decided to potty train all 3 at the same time.  I don't know if I am a glutton for punishment or what, but all 3 seemed to be interested in going to the potty at the same time.  At first we were doing great, just a for accidents, but now it seems like all they want to do is pee every where except the potty!  I am totally beside myself with where to go from here.  Do I put them back in diapers?  Do I keep pushing forward?  Do I play it all by ear? 

Please tell me this gets better!?  I am hating potty training and am thinking that I would much more enjoy having my 3 in diapers rather than this whole potty training crap!  Part of me wants to keep pushing forward, but part of me says just go back to diapers!  I don't want to do what's best for me, I want to do what's best for them.  Right now I'll just be playing it all by ear!

Amy

Next time, I'll post pictures and something more fun than potty training!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Time Flies!

I can't believe that I haven't posted a single thing for over a month.  This blog was going to be my version of a scrapbook and yet, I can't seem to get motivated to write.  I read all these other blogs that have such great writers behind their posts and I can't seem to feel like there is anything big enough to write down as well as just not finding the time to actually write!

I don't have anything profound to share, but summer is here and we are on a different mode.  Tom is home for the summer, which has been awesome.  It is so nice to parent with another person and not be the only adult in a house of a 3 year old and 2 1/2 year old twins.  It is also so nice to be able to take the kids places and feel comfortable letting them be a little more independent than if I were doing it alone.

So far, we have started a garden, gone swimming in a pool (large in ground pool), gone on a picnic in the park at the lake, saw fireworks, gone to the beach, gone to the Franklin Park Zoo, gone walking and then to the park, and probably more.  We have started potty training all 3 kids, which has had it's ups and downs, but I don't think that I would change anything I am doing.  All 3 kids are totally interested in using the potty and overall have been doing great, but there are still lots of accidents and they don't always tell us that they have to go.

Michael has been in summer school and has been doing great!  I am really amazed at how he has been progressing.  We still have a ways to go and Tom and I both have our concerns that there is something more going on with him than just a speech delay.  Though I have to say, I have a gut feeling that he is just taking in so much information that he is just taking time to process it and all of a sudden he is going to just come out and have a conversation with us.

Eva Rose is still not really talking either, but is doing better.  She is going to be eval'ed for speech through Earl Intervention, but I'm not sure that she is going to qualify.  She is behind, but I am not sure that she is behind enough. 

Thomas was just eval'ed for EI and did not qualify for speech.  I am absolutely amazed at his speech over the last couple of months.  His vocabulary has just exploded.  He is doing way more than just naming objects.  He is actually using action words and descriptive words.  He is definitely the most advanced with his communication skills.

All 3 kids continue to amaze me with their gross and fine motor skills.  They are running and climbing and actually even starting to jump.  They are able to string beads and scribble on paper.  Eva Rose and Michael tend to scribble on the whole sheet and Eva Rose is able to hold a crayon appropriately.  Thomas on the other hand tends to use a small area of the paper when he has crayons.  They are starting to do more pretend play and play with each other and even sometimes interact with other children.  They have so much fun at the park and all the climbing structures!  We have taken down their baby swings and put up the big kids swings.  Michael will now say "Mommy/Daddy push me!". 

Michael is my water boy.  I can't wait to take him in the water again and do more swimming type activities with him.  He was having fun in both the pool and the ocean.  He even has fun in the new sprinkler pool we bought.  All 3 kids are totally into container play.  It absolutely blows my mind how much they love to put things in a cup, pail, watering can, and then pour it out only to go and do it all over again.

As sad as it is to see them getting bigger, I am so happy to watch them grow and change and develop each and every day!  I am glad that I am finally writing a post and writing down all the newest changes that have been happening.  I do wish more people commented on my blog, but I keep telling myself that this is for me and I don't need to have people comment to enjoy blogging.  This is my way of keeping track of things and it is just a plus to have people comment.  I wish I had more time to be an active blogger.  I have one fellow twin mom who always seems to comment on the things I write and I am so grateful for her comments and any other comments that I get.  I am going to try to find time to make sure that I am commenting appropriately on other blogger's posts so that I can hopefully network with others!

Amy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jealousy

One of my twin mom friends wrote a blog post titled "Green Eyed Monster" at http://www.goddessinprogressblog.com/2011/06/the-green-eyed-monster/ and without sounding like I have totally copied her post, her words totally resonated with me!  Even though I was very lucky and was able to get pregnant very easily both times that I tried, neither pregnancy went the way I expected.  My first pregnancy, I ended up on bed rest with pre-eclampsia at 32 weeks.  I was hoping to go totally natural and let my body tell me when it was ready to go into labor.  That plan went away when I was induced at 38 weeks.  I ended up going into labor on my own and didn't require any medication until my contractions slowed and my son somehow got stuck.  needless to say, I ended up with a c-section and then on magnesium sulfate.  Breast feeding was pretty much a no go.  He didn't take to it like I had hoped and wasn't gaining weight, so I ended up attempting to breast feed, supplement with formula, and pumping every 2 hours for a while until his doctor felt like he was gaining weight appropriately.  By then I was pregnant again, he was only 3 months old.  I figured here was my second chance.  Then 2 months later we found out it was twins.  Once again I ended up on bed rest, this time for 3 months.  I was hoping for a VBAC, but again my body didn't cooperate.  My son was breech and he was babyB and the bigger of the 2 (come to find out he was all of 2 oz bigger) and I wasn't able to go for a VBAC ( I also had pre-eclampsia again).  They were 5 weeks early and didn't exactly take to breast feeding.  After having a full term baby that didn't gain weight after breast feeding and knowing that my twins were on high calorie formula when they got formula, I was too worried to breast feed.  Then they ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks and on an even higher calorie formula.  Having 3 babies under 1 with some calorie issues was not conducive to anxiety free breast feeding.

I had my tubes tied after I had my twins.  My husband and I decided that 2 difficult pregnancies was enough.  We had 3 beautiful babies  and didn't need to chance things again.  As much as I know it was the right decision, I still sometimes long for a "normal" pregnancy with no issues after birth.  I long to be able to go into labor on my own.  I long to be able to breast feed my child.  These are things that I will never experience and when I see others having this experience, I feel like I lost out and didn't get what others get to experience.  When I get like this, I often remind myself that I have 3 beautiful children that are healthy and even though my pregnancies and their births as well as the first few months after they were born, I am extremely lucky to have them in my life and we all just have to deal with what nature gives us.  I certainly could have experienced worse issues and could have lost any and all of my babies due to health complications, but some one was watching over me and them and kept  all of us safe!  And for that, I am truly and extremely grateful!

Amy

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pre-eclampsia



May is Preeclampsia Month


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I was one of the lucky ones and was able to get pregnant as soon as we started trying.  My pregnancy was going along perfect.  I had the normal morning sickness during the first trimester and pretty much at the start of the second trimester it was over.  Things went along great.  I was gaining weight just like I was supposed to.  All of a sudden, just before 32 weeks, I was at a routine OB appointment and I was put on bed rest because of high blood pressure.  I had no symptoms, but my blood pressure was high and I had gained a little extra weight.  I had to go back to the OB after the weekend and was immediately sent to the hospital for a week and then sent home on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I was to lie on my left side and only get up to go to the bathroom.  I was able to hold on until week 38 when I was induced and after laboring and then pushing for 3 hours with little to no results, even though the nurse said I was pushing perfectly.  My blood pressure continued to be a problem and then my son's heart rate started dropping.  My OB decided that I needed a c-section and my son was born almost 11 hours after my water broke.  I continued to have high blood pressure and increased swelling so I was lucky enough to get magnesium sulfate to help with the extra fluid and my blood pressure.  I was supposed to be on it for 24 hours, but I had to be taken off early because I was having too many side effects and wasn't able to get enough oxygen in my system.  The day of my discharge, the covering OB wasn't sure that she wanted to discharge me due to my continuing high blood pressure.  After coming into my room and seeing me sobbing, she decided that I would be better off at home and made me promise to call if I had any symptoms of preeclampsia or if my blood pressure continued to be high even with out any symptoms and I needed to see my OB in the morning.  All went well and I continued on my blood pressure medication with no issues.

3 months after giving birth, I found out I was pregnant again.  We were ecstatic.  We started trying right away,never thinking we would have a baby that quick.  11 weeks into the pregnancy, we found out we were having twins.  OMG, I had a 5 month old and I found out I was going to have twins with my due date being 1 week before my older son turned 1.  I continued on my blood pressure medication and my pregnancy went along great until week 23, when at a routine ultrasound appointment, I found out my cervix was too short.  I was placed on bed rest again and had to figure out how to take care of myself while having a baby who was only 7 1/2 months when I went on bed rest.  I had a couple of scares, but I think most of that was due to me being nervous.  I made it to week 35 when at a routine OB visit, I was told that I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced.  My OB told me that she wouldn't be surprised if I went into labor over the weekend.  I was a little nervous that I wouldn't know what it was like to go into labor on my own, but I figured, my body would tell me what to do.  Unfortunately, while at a routine non-stress test that afternoon, my blood pressure was 188/111 even though I was on blood pressure medication.  Along with that, I had protein in my  urine and my labs were off.  They decided it would be best for me to deliver the babies that night.  I was hoping for a VBAC if Baby B (Thomas) was vertex.  On Wednesday he was vertex, but just to make sure they did an ultrasound.  Only 2 days later, my Thomas, how was always moving had turned breech again and I was off for another c-section.  Thankfully, this time I did not need the magnesium sulfate.  I had 2 little babies who were born 5 weeks early and an older son who was 10 1/2 months.  My twins did great.  They were able to suck, swallow, and breathe, their heart rate stayed stable, and they were able to maintain their body temperature.  Thankfully they were able to come home with me when I was discharged 5 days after giving birth.

I received my preeclampsia foundation news letter today and found out, or should I say confirmed that women who had preeclampsia were more at risk for heart disease up to 15 year after giving birth.  I have always been concerned with my risk for heart disease since my only uncle died or heart disease when he was only 42, just 4 years older than I am now.  I really need to get my act together and start getting in shape.  Not only do I have a family history of heart disease, but now I have the added risk of 2 pregnancies with preeclampsia.

Amy

Thursday, May 19, 2011

First Parent Teacher Phone Conference

Today was my first parent teacher conference ever.  Michael's teacher wanted to talk about his progress and where things stood for the rest of the year and the summer.  During the phone conference I found out that as much as I think Michael is progressing, the teacher thinks that he will do better in a classroom with a teacher:kid ratio of 4:5.  I am thrilled that he is going to be getting a lot more attention, which I absolutely think will be a huge benefit to him.  I am concerned though that he is not progressing as fast as I would like.  the new plan is for Michael to transition into the new classroom and maybe even go to preschool for a full day.  I am really excited about his going to school for a longer day, if he can tolerate it, but I am mostly excited about the teacher to student  ratio.I hope that his speech progresses quickly and he can return to a regular classroom, but I would much rather see this happening now instead of delaying it and have him not be ready for kindergarten.

I know that all kids progress at their own rate, but given that all of my kids have somewhat of a speech delay, I can't  help but wonder if I am doing something wrong or not doing something right while I am at home with them.  I think one of the things that I tend to do is focus on their stronger skill set, their gross motor skills.  Since they tend to be so much more active, I tend to let them do more physical play instead of working on either fine motor skills (which they aren't really delayed in, they just have little to no interest in doing), or a lot of technically cognitive skills.  I need to put together a plan so that I can work on their fine motor skills such as holding a crayon and drawing and their cognitive/language skills.  They tend not to like to sit and read books, so even though I try to read to them, I often get frustrated that they don't want to listen and I don't read to them as much as I should.  This is really ironic since I am and have always been an avid reader.  I am so afraid that I am causing my children to have the dealys that they have.  I will just have to look at what I can do from now on and not look at what I haven't done in the past!

Amy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Potty Training Take 2

A while ago, I started to attempt to potty train Michael.  Needless to say it didn't go well at all.  He had no interest and could have cared less if he peed in his pants.  I am trying again, but now with school, I am a little gun shy about sending him in underwear.  School mentioned that when kids start potty training, they will follow what ever protocol is followed at home.  At this point, I think I am just going to have him in underwear when we are at home and if he is out with us, but I don't think I'm ready to make him go with no underwear at school, since I am not convinced that he is really ready.  I think this is more to get him used to sitting on the potty than actually getting him to train.  He'll sit there and we'll sing the ABC song.  This also helps him to learn his ABC's.  I know this approach may be considered confusing to some people, but for now I think the best thing to do is to take it slow and see how he does.  I plan to put together a sticker chart so that he can see his progress and after so many stickers he can get a prize.  I have been reluctant to use prizes, but I am caving and am going to at least attempt it to see if it helps him.  Michael is now 3 years and 2 1/2 months.  If he's not ready, I don't want to push him, but I do want to give him the opportunity to learn to go on the potty vs just in his diaper.  If anyone has any suggestions on potty training, please comment.  Even if you think that this is a bad way to potty train, please let me know and let me know why so that I can figure out if I should just hold off til he is completely ready.

Michael will continue to go to school through the summer a couple of days a week, so waiting til summer is not going to help.  Also, the weather this week is really really crappy and the chances of us leaving the house for long periods of time are slim to none.  I figure if we are going to be house bound mostly anyway, why not take advantage and to potty training.  Michael's expressive language is getting better.  I am hoping that with his increased ability to express himself, he will be more likely to tell me if he has to pee and maybe just maybe this will help him feel a little more independent.

Amy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Makes My Monday: Counting

It's not quite Monday yet, but this truly makes my Monday and every other day!  Michael is just barely putting words together, but he can actually count to 11.  He's been doing it for a while now, but I was finally able to get it taped.  I am so happy with his progress and can totally see how much of a benefit pre-school has been.




video


Happy Monday!

Amy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Way Back When-esday: March 2009

I was just reading http://mollyandluke.blogspot.com and it reminded me of when I took my twins home from the NICU after their bought with RSV.  Thomas had been admitted 1 week before Eva Rose and was supposed to come home on Friday after he had been in the hospital almost 3 weeks.  Thursday night we got a phone call that Thomas had a minor set back with some tachycardia so he wasn't able to come home the next day.  He stayed over the weekend and ended up coming home with his sister on Monday in a snow storm, just like when we left the hospital after they were born.  I thought it was pretty amazing that not only did they they ended up coming home together, but pretty much on their due date.  We had to have a visiting nurse to check their weights and their breathing.  They did awesome and the visiting nurse was able to discharge us after just a couple of weeks!

March 3, 2009

March 3, 2009

Amy