Thursday, January 29, 2009


Well, It's been a struggle this week.
Claire Usually sleeps all night long. Last night she awoke at 4:30 and sleptf fitfully with Mark for an hour and he decided to change her diaper and give her some milk... this resulted in a very loud drawn out fit but in the end another hour of sound sleep for the whole family. (Well, I had to get up and change Emily about 6:15 but then we all slept.)

I had a couple of lousy nights due to frequent Emily wakings and bad dreams. It reminds me how thankful I am that I am usually able to get good rest in spite of having two small children.

I re-read the No Cry Sleep Solution recently. I've been a bit obsessed about the sleep issue ever since. Emily was taking a 2-3 hour nap every day as well as some shorter ones and for a week she slept from 7pm-2am. Lately she sleeps form 7-9:30 wakes at 10:30 12:30 and I'm not sure when or how many times after that! Emily has also been taking only 30 minute and 60 minute naps. However, we have made progress in a few areas. One night After our bedtime routine I set her down and she went to sleep on her own within a few minuted without fussing. This hasn't happened since mid December. Last night I had a real struggle getting her to sleep (also yesterday and Monday getting her to sleep for naps was a struggle.) Tonight I stood by her bed and sang to her and rubbed her sweet fuzzy head until she went to sleep. This took less than 10 mins and I had Clare sitting on the floor of our room looking at books by closet light. This was a big improvement over last night when both girls were in tears and I was beside myself.

Today I took Claire to My Gym with Emily in the sling. It worked out great. Emily enjoyed all the bright colors and the music and was looking around contentedly until she finally nursed and slept for about 30 mins.

Claire also had physical therapy today. We met Ann at the park. Claire is not as cooperative in this setting. One thing Ann and I discussed is her pigeon toed tendency and the possibility of wearing braces. I asked why Claire turns her ankles and knees in. Ann says it's because her muscles are used to pulling one way since she has spent a lot of time sitting "W" style. Other areas are tight like her hips and the back of her ankles. Mark and I try to correct her when she sits with her legs in a W and for a while it seemed like she was doing it less. Now she does it any time she sits on the floor unless she's kneeling. Some things that can help: squatting which stretches the muscles in the lower leg and ankle, Stretching the foot and hips and possible wearing high-top shoes. I am going to try and work with her at home more and see if it helps to straighten her out so she doesn't have to wear braces. [W sitting is contraindicated If there is muscle tightness, W-sitting will aggravate it. This position places the hamstrings, hip adductors, internal rotators and heel cords in an extremely shortened range. If a child is prone to tightness or contractures, encourage anther pattern of sitting.]

Emily is 9 lbs now!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bad dreams

Last night I kept dreaming the same thing even after waking to feed Emily and going back to sleep several times. In the dream Emily was hospitalized but I hadn't seen her yet. It seems she had already been there about 36 hours They had me attending a series of hospital mandated meetings. Then I went looking for her and I couldn't find her. I kept asking various people for help locating her but kept getting the run around. I was told she was on the 3rd or 4th floor. I went the the 3rd floor she wasn't there, she's on the 4th floor. I take the stairs to the 4th floor and end up in the library wing and you can't get to the patient's rooms from there. Finally I go to the lobby and demand to be escorted to her room. At some point I talked to her nurse on the phone and she tells me that Emily is doing great eating her beans. I also realize during this conversation that they have been giving her formula. I think about this as I'm searching for her. By the time I get to her room I am livid. I ask why I wasn't consulted about her diet and why I was kept form her and I hand over some frozen breaskmilk. I tell them I had been waiting to start solid foods until she is six months adjusted age. I ranted and raved. Then I woke up. I didn't feel rested at all. I prayed about the dream and cuddled with Emily until it was time to get up.

I realized that I'm still angry at the doctors at Good Sam insisting on giving Emily formula and putting off letting her breastfeed as long as they did. I believe they were wrong and I don't think my breastmilk was the cause of her infection or was ever a danger to her. I'm mad at the doctors for trying to convince me again and again that this was true. Emily's pediatrician and the lactation consultants I've worked with all say my milk was not contaminated and never posed a problem. Dr. Fleiss said he wished I had called him and could've talked to the NICU doctors. I wish I had thought to do so. Anyway, I'm working on forgiving them and putting it behind me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bad day good day

Yesterday was a bad day. Today was a good day.
Yesterday Emily was cranky and I had a hard time getting her to nap and I was tired from not sleeping well. I became cranky and easily annoyed.

Today I got up early said my morning prayers changed Emily had breakfast with Claire (who ate 2 bites as usual), I put Emily down for a nap really early just before 9am she took a short nap and was a happy camper. Claire did her morning quiet time and jumping on the ball and play dough play as reward. (this is a story in and of itself. She has been asking me to make baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph and the manger and stable and sheep. then she pretends with them.) Later Emily fell asleep for a longer nap in the sling on our walk to the park. Claire had a great time at the park and we stopped to get her a burger on the way home but she bit her tongue after the second bite and didn't want to eat so we walked home. She ate a good sized lunch at home had a nap. I had a cat nap while nursing Emily then did a few chores while Claire continued sleeping. I think Claire slept over 2 hours this afternoon. WOW! They we puttered around for a while and Emily took a late afternoon nap and Claire and I played with blocks, did puzzles, played a color matching game did cup bowling and read her envelope full of cards and letters from family and friends. Then Emily woke up and nursed and hung out while Claire had a good dinner (chicken, avocado, lentils mixed with butter nut squash and catsup and crackers.) Later she had a scone for dessert. I put got Emily ready for bed, swaddled her with one arm out and set her in the co-sleeper and she went to sleep without a fuss. WHEW!! Hurray. Then Claire played, had a bath and went to bed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dr. Visits

Claire, Emily and I all have the cold. I am feeling much better though today and Claire seems like she is on the tail end of it too. Emily just started yesterday. Hopefully it won't hit her hard since she's getting breastmilk from me and I already had it.

This week was a whirlwind of appointments. Good news: Emily's VSD (hole in the heart) is only 1mm now. Very small and shouldn't cause her any trouble. Claire's ASD and valve defect look the same as ever and the Dr. says surgery should probably be in the fall.
Claire was so excited to go see Dr. Burke, the whole drive there she kept saying she wanted to go play with his toys and to "be checked". And she was her usual exuberant energetic self at the visit. While he was doing the ultrasound of her heart she said, "I'm a kid. I'm a lovable kid." He instinctively offers to turn on the video player to distract her, but we always refuse since we don't let Claire watch TV. While he was looking at Emily, Claire kept saying, "I want to be checked again," and was so exuberantly happy that that Dr. Burke said in 25 years of pediatric practicing he's never met anyone quite like Claire.

Emily got her Synagis shot the other day and was a trooper. It didn't seem to be as painful for her as the first time. Maybe because she has some chubs on her little thighs now.

Claire saw the Neurologist for a follow up. He says she looks great and he doesn't see any need to see her every year but we can call him if we have any questions or concerns. I'm glad because I had both girls with me at the appointment and we had to wait over 2 hours to see the Dr. even though we were on time for our appt.

We did not get to follow our new schedule and I still haven't written it out on a chart to make it easier to remember. We had several successful quiet times and now she sits down for quiet time with no fuss. Sometimes she forgets and talks before time is up so I just reset the timer and tell her we are starting again. She can do 7-8 mins now.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jen under the weather

I have a bad sore throat and am afraid Claire is coming down with a cold too.
I stayed home with Emily today and Mark and Claire went with Vaughn, Andrew, Elsa and her two nieces to La Brea tar pits and LACMA. They all had a great time.
Emily was quite taken with Andrew before they left. He was making faces for her and she was very entertained.

Claire is still very itchy at least for part of each day. She wears long sleeves, tights under her pants and a onesie that snaps at the bottom so that her arms legs and torso are not exposed for her to scratch. (This is not ideal with the 85 degree weather we've been having. And it is not ideal for ease of toilet training.) Meal times, bath time and time spent on the potty and or having clothes changed are prime candidates for scratching fits. Please pray for her skin. I am currently applying 1% hydrocortisone a couple times a day to trouble areas which seems to help some.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Park DIscovery

Today we discovered amazing Pan Pacific Park which spans 3rd St. to Beverly Blvd and Stanley to Gardner. Claire had a ball and several of the playground areas. She was screaming with glee about the "interesting park." It was so inspiring we are planning to go back tomorrow with Vaughn and Andrew after LaBrea Tar Pits.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

love these girls

Claire and I have been praying a children's morning prayer I found in my new prayerbook every day for a few weeks. On Thursday I was nursing Emily in my room and Claire was looking at my Bible and another book by my bedside and took the book and sat quietly on the floor and recited most of the morning prayer. So sweet. I was blessed.
The prayer is as follows:

Lord Jesus thank you for the bright sunlight of a new day. As you made the sun to rise in the heavens, so come to shine in my life today. For you are the light of the world. guide me, direct me, lead me that I may do your holy will and please You in all that I do this day. Bless my parents, teachers and all who care for me. Amen.

When we pray prayers of thanksgiving, Claire says she is thankful for cats and for the moon and stars.

I am thankful for my sweet daughters.
Claire's behavior has improved a lot over the past couple of months. Some things that have helped: giving lots of choices... even silly ones. "Do you want to wear matching socks or unmatched socks under your PJ's" "Do you want to walk home now or in one minute?" "Do your want to walk to your room or hop?" "Do you want that with ketchup or without...heated up or cold?" This then gives us leverage when we say you can hold my hand in the store or you will ride in the cart. And she gets in the cart without a tantrum. We are still working on the whining and fussing but the tantrums are few. She is also getting used to asking politely when she wants something.

I love having my baby Emily as a constant companion. Emily is at such a fun cute stage. She is so smiley and likes it when anyone smiles at her and talks to her. On a car trip today she was smiling and making conversation for a long while. She also impressed the nurse at the NICU follow up clinic with all her vocalizations.

Another thing we try to do to encourage Claire and build rapport is to sprinkle our conversations with "I noticed that..." statements, for instance: I noticed that you like to make dough. I noticed that you like to pretend. I noticed that you can dance.

Gotta run.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

3 months

It is 3 months since Emily's due date. She is 8 lbs 6.9 oz. Yesterday we went to the NICU Follow up clinic and the Doctor, Nurse, and physical therapist all said she's doing great.

We had a great time with Nanu and Papa visiting us this week. My Dad installed some shelves in the white bathroom which look great and will be very helpful for storing towels Tp etc.

Claire Nanu, Emily and I went to the Natural History Museum the other day and Claire went yesterday with Nanu and Papa to art galleries in Santa Monica.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


This morning the wise men appeared at the stable of our creche with gifts for baby Jesus. Claire also opened her last gift of the holiday season... Two children's prayer books.

Emily went to the eye doctor today and he said her eyes are retinopathy of prematurity. She weighs 7 lbs 15 oz. She is cooing and making all kind of cute noises right now as she bats at her toys. She has a ready smile and laughs occasionally. The most recent occasion was a few days ago when her dad was holding her and smiling at her and he laughed his joyous laugh and she laughed back. So sweet! She is able to lift her head a little during tummy time and tolerates tummy time for 5 mins or so.

I spent an hour or so putting away the stacks of papers and things that had accumulated on our dining room table. It's still not quite done, but it's looking better. I also had the chance to edit some photos and upload them to Wallgreens to be printed.

Claire went to the Natural History museum and California Science Center with her babysitter today while Emily and I were at the doctor. Now she is napping.

Emily likes:
smiling faces
batting at her toys
her sister
having her clothes changed
being talked to

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Claire Quotes

yesterday, Fri Jan 2
Claire: Fish eat. They eat pancakes.
today Sat. Jan 3 (After reading this quote.)
Mark: Claire what do fish eat?
Claire: Fish food.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

We got back to LA this morning. We sure enjoyed our time spent with Mark's various relatives in Oklahoma. At the big family party on the 28th there were 38 people and Claire was in "cousin heaven." She had a great time playing with 2-year old Maverick and all his toys. The older girl cousins liked to pick her up and hug her. We also got to meet the youngest cousin, Molly, who is even smaller than Emily. We helped make spaghetti at Mark's Grandma's and hung out at Uncle Howard's and at Aunt Peggy's. One day we took a little boat ride in the canal at Bricktown and later met Maverick and his sisters at the Science museum. We all had a great vacation and enjoyed spending time reading and relaxing and eating good food at Mom's house and hanging out with Uncle Peter and his kids. Sarai and Rebequiah were very fond of Emily and very adept and entertaining Claire. One highlight for Claire was walking down the street to feed carrots to "Arrow" the friendly neighborhood horse. (pictures on Flickr at