Friday, March 30, 2012

Say Cheese!...

Brian's very first school picture.

Could you just eat him up? And yes, I dressed him in that outfit on purpose. He looks like he's in boarding school, doesn't he?

Poor Brian woke up this morning sick with a cold. This is his 225th cold over the last four months. Pre-school germs suck. I'm hoping, although I'm sure it's a futile experiment, that it won't go through the house.

Yesterday Brian had his first follow up appointment with Dr. Kang, our acupuncturist. To refresh your memory, she was the one that exposed his peanut allergy. She does this with muscle testing - very non invasive. Basically, Brian held a vial that represented mixed nuts and then held my hand as I laid on my back with an arm in the air. Dr. Kang tried to push my arm down. Without him holding the nut vial I was able to resist the pressure and keep my arm in the air. Once the vial was in his hand (and his other hand was holding mine) - I had no strength. When you can't resist the pressure, it says that your body is not in balance. In Brian's case - it showed that he had a reaction to the nuts. We went to an allergist after that - and she confirmed with traditional testing. We are turning to our acupuncturist to help eliminate Brian's nut allergies...and then we'll move on to the rest of the allergies and sensitivities in the house. I wrote all about that HERE in a previous post.

All week, I've been faithful with the massage exercises she told us to do with Brian. I explained that part HERE in this post. The idea was to expose him to the allergen (in a safe way) while massaging areas up and down his spine...and then perform acupressure on certain areas of his body. He was great about it all week - it felt very good to him!

Yesterday we went to our appointment and the first order of business was to redo the muscle testing. While holding the nut mix vial again - and holding my hand - there was no reaction. None. Crazy, right? So - does this mean that I'm going to start making him peanut butter sandwiches? No. Does it mean his allergy is gone? Not necessarily. What it does mean right now is that he is becoming de-sensitized to the nuts. I will continue to do the exercises with nuts - but I'm now going to isolate individual nuts. Like work on just cashews...and then retest again. In a few months, though, I plan to bring him back to the allergist for repeat testing. I will be SO anxious to see if his allergies show up with the traditional western medicine testing. Yesterday we moved on to egg. Brian has a sensitivity to eggs - and Gavin is allergic. I will put a hard boiled egg in a jar and work on that this week with both of them. After that, we'll move on to gluten. And I may even move on to dog for Gavin! (Don't worry, Schmidt family...we won't come knocking on your door to steal our dog back!!) I'm always so proud of Brian during these appointments. He needs to be still for twenty minutes (at home and in her office) after being treated - and he is so patient! Yesterday we stared out her window and watched the cars and buses drive by.

I want to say one thing - please don't try this on your own at home with your child unless you consult with a doctor or a practitioner that you trust. Every child is different - and what we're doing is very unconventional. I know it makes some people uneasy, but please know we would never put our children at risk. With that said, I truly do believe that this will work. (I always believe that everything will work!)

This morning, Gavin and I were out the door early for the hospital. He had an appointment with his eye doctor for a check up and eye exam. She is still so amazed that his cornea healed as well as it did - with such minimal scarring. It was this time last year that his eye was sutured shut and we were told he might lose his eye completely. The way he bounces back from extremely traumatic events has always been inspiring.

Dr. Lehman thought Gavin's lid position looked good. We're hoping it will be a while before he'll need his ptosis surgery re-done. Then she dilated his eyes, which always has me holding my breath until she examines him. I'm always worried she's going to tell me that Gavin (or Brian!) will need glasses. Ed and I have pretty poor vision! But Gavin was spared - no need for glasses!

As usual, he was so patient as we waited for the doctor. He's such a sweet kid to hang out with in any situation...

And as we made our way through the hospital, he was recognized by one person after another. Some who hadn't seen him since he was a baby - but knew him right away! He clearly made an impact on people - which doesn't surprise me. Gavin has a way of tugging at people's heartstrings.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Halfway There...

Today you turned four and a half. I can't believe it!!

It seems like I took this photo just last week - you came home after a month in the NICU and we couldn't stop staring at your adorable face.

I could tell early on that you were a tough one. Easy on the eyes with a sweet smile that belied the warrior inside you.

You fooled me, though. For an infant who needed constant rocking and walking and holding and Moby-wrapping... turned into a child who is hard to contain! You crawled and rolled and pulled up to stand and now you're walking! And now when we try to hold you all you want is to get down and MOVE!!

As a baby, many people were unsure of what you would accomplish. I think they were trying to be "realistic" and set our "expectations" so we wouldn't be disappointed if you didn't reach certain milestones.

You should know that we nodded and smiled - but never really listened. We could see in your eyes that you were on your own path...and would get to your own destinations...and it would be in your own time.

And we trusted you.
And in turn, you taught us to trust ourselves. To trust our instincts.

They say your firstborn teaches you how to be a parent. This is so, very true. But Gavin - you've also taught us so much more.

You've taught us to accept. To believe in miracles. To be patient. To get your needs met without making enemies. You've taught us to trust our gut.

As your Mommy, I am proud of you every day. And...I am proud of myself. Just today I registered you for Kindergarten. As I sat across a table from some school district administrators, I started to explain to them just how special you are. I could see their expressions if they were thinking, "He won't fit in here - a child who is nonverbal, doesn't walk, doesn't eat solid foods..."

As I walked to my car I felt shocked. Early on in our journey, that exchange might have left me in tears. Anyone pointing out your glaring delays - it just crushed my spirit. But not anymore. Nope. As I walked away with my head held high I felt sad for them. Their school clearly isn't special enough for you...and it is them that will miss out on meeting an inspiring little boy. Because you change people, Gavin.

You change people.

Halfway to Five. We celebrate you every single day. You are loved.

"Believe you can and you're halfway there."
(Theodore Roosevelt)

We will always believe you are more than halfway there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kiss My Grits!...

I couldn't resist that title. Sorry. In all honesty, it's what I wanted to say to my crippled body when I woke up a thousand times in the night in pain. Boo hoo, let's move on...

My body came around by lunch time-ish. And I was determined to make something with this day besides robotically going through the motions of diapering and dressing (the boys - not me), preschool runs and such. I've been on a mission to come up with some new food choices for Gavin and today, I did declare, was the day.

Only one small problem. I had NO idea what I was doing. None.

I had bought a couple bags of black eyed peas last time I was grocery shopping. I once made a dish for Gavin (and by made I mean opened the box and microwaved and then pureed) that had black eyed peas, brown rice and vegetables. It was filled with flavors like Cilantro and onions. So, in my attempt to re-create that experience for him I came up with this...

Black eyed peas...lots of butter...garlic...onion...mexicorn...and diced tomatoes. Sara helped me puree it and put it into containers. We kept some un-pureed for his 3pm snack - the one where he is required to only eat solids. For a girl from the Northeast - I was pretty proud of this. But wait! It gets even MORE southern...

I made buttered (and I mean BUTTERED!) grits!

I thought about mixing it all together in the food processor - but figured we could mix the grits with his other foods and not just the bean mixture. Tonight at dinner he had Tilapia with the grits and his vegetable stew and he LOVED it.

On a roll, I decided to come up with a crock pot dinner when I couldn't find the recipe for what I wanted to make! I put chicken thighs in the crock pot with soy sauce, carrots, green beans, and when I couldn't find honey - I used Agave nectar. I gave some to Brian for dinner and he gave it two thumbs up! I tried not to be insulted when, after he said he loved it, asked if it was "Daddy's chicken?". Can't blame the poor kid - he's telling the truth.

But all things considered - I do declare - I may have had a bit of a kitchen confidence boost today!

Miss Maggie was here for Gavin's feeding therapy this afternoon. She wants to work hard on his mouth strengthening exercises. She used cut up carrots and played "tug of war" with him once he bit down on it.

Across the room, Brian and Miss Sara were making pretend ice cream cones with play doh...

Brian had to be reminded to "just pretend!" several times...

And I think, in an effort to sneak a taste, decided to barricade himself under the table.

Hopefully he'll get his cooking skills from his Daddy. But it's clear he gets his cleverness from me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Morning Review...

The reviews are in.

After a full night of giggling and snoring, giggling and snoring, (repeat) ...Gavin woke up rested and smiling. And still giggling. To say that he loved his first night in his new bed would be an understatement.

Today he gave his brother a tour and had him into HIS bed to play for a change!

Brian thought the whole experience was hysterical. Especially when Mommy crawled in and we closed up the net "door".

And especially especially when he realized it was an awesome bed for jumping!!

I think Gavin was worried that he'd lose his bed to the resident monkey.

Next week begins Brian's "Spring Break" - and Gavin's break from therapy, too. I realized today that from now on we are sort of at the mercy of school breaks! If we want to plan any vacations and it's not on an official break - we may have to break some rules! It gets tricky when you have a child in special education - or therapy like Gavin. There isn't a "summer vacation" - there's only a short summer break. Brian will still attend school...and Gavin will still have therapy at the house. So planning anything (if we're good and obedient parents) will have to fall on the scheduled spring or summer break.

Today was another rough one for me. So frustrating! I don't know how to explain it any other way than this... I'm very "aware" of every inch of my body. My calves...everything. It feels like someone is squeezing me from the inside - everything just throbs. It's bizarre. I was able to squeeze in a Dr. Trish appointment today, which was great. At the end of our session she said it was like my nerve endings were all exposed - like a frayed wire that needed to be resealed. So that's just what she did. I'm so grateful to be back with Dr. Trish. I know I'll have this crazy body back in sync in no time. Hopefully just in time to be pregnant!!

If you're wondering...we have a tentative date of April 9th (give or take a day or two!) for the embryo transfer. We're moving right along!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sleeping In Style...

We have been waiting for this day for some time now. The day that a four year old Superhero would fly out of his CRIB and right into a safe, secure and stylish BIG BOY BED.

Today was that day.

I was very, very picky about Gavin's bed. There were several choices - most of which were ridiculously expensive and very clinical or "hospital" like. I was so grateful that I was able to get our insurance to say YES to the bed I chose. It's called the Courtney Bed, named after a young girl named Courtney who inspired her Dad to create a bed just for her.

Her Dad is one of the reasons that I chose this bed! If he made this bed with his own daughter in mind, you know he put every ounce of love, thought, attention and detail into the design. It's beautifully made and so solid. I was able to choose the stain color and the hunter green sidewalls.

Ed worked so hard today putting it together. It really was supposed to be a two person job - and I was to be that second person. But this morning I woke up feeling crippled. I wanted to cry all day - for two reasons! One, because I was in so much pain. But mostly because I really wanted to be a part of assembling this bed. It's such a big deal to me to get Gavin out of his crib! He deserves it!!! But Ed was a trooper and literally worked from 10am to 6pm to get this bed together before bedtime. It was a rough day for me and I spent much of the morning laying in bed with the boys playing in our room. I have no idea where this crazy pain came from - it blindsided me!

In the end, I'm glad that Ed did it all. I tend to get all the glory moments with Gavin because I'm home! Ed got to own this bed today - from beginning to end. And then he got to reveal it to Gavin. (Scroll down for the video!)

Gavin loves his Daddy so much. And I'm pretty confident he loves his new bed, too.

I'll let the photos tell the story...

And then...the reveal!

He rolled around laughing and laughing - so happy! Then we zipped the front closed and whispered goodnight...

A big, huge thank you to Patrick Cyr from Cyr Designs for working so closely with me on the design of this bed! It was a pleasure working with him - and it was MORE than worth the wait!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Unleashing My Inner "Momtographer"...

This morning I attended a workshop given by a local photographer. It was geared towards Moms with cameras that have mysterious and intimidating settings - and Moms like me who probably didn't read the manual after they got the camera. Mine is mostly on "sports" for every shot.

While I was gone for those four hours or so, Ed kept the boys entertained and took some pictures as proof. Although these photos seem to prove that THEY entertained HIM more...

Meanwhile, I looked just like these women - my classmates from today - learning new things about our cameras 75 other settings besides "sports". I can't wait to test out my new knowledge!!

I got home just in time for Gavin's 3:00 snack. This past week I made a pretty big decision. This 3pm "snack" has been a full meal for quite some time - mostly in an effort to keep Gavin's weight up and pack in more nutrition. So he ends up eating four big meals a day...and he looks forward to that mid-day meal! But last week I decided to take it away. It has been replaced with a snack that is "solids only" - "take it or leave it" - and if he doesn't eat, he doesn't eat. I really want to push him more to try to eat un-pureed food. So this afternoon he successfully ate some melon and some "Pirates Booty". I'm sure he would have loved more - but he didn't complain!

Soon after, Brian woke up from his nap and I did his massage - just as Dr. Kang taught me in his session last week. I filled an old baby food jar with nuts - specifically ones that he is allergic to.

I put it up his pant leg where it rested against his skin.

He laid on our "Mush Lounger" and played a game on my iPad...

...while I massaged up and down both sides of his spine - almost like a karate chop. Then I rolled his skin up and down his back which caused him to laugh hysterically. The grand finale was four different acupressure points. All very easy to do.

He sat quietly for twenty minutes - and that was that!

If you are reading this and have no idea what I'm talking about, read yesterday's blog entry. We are basically trying to eliminate Brian's nut allergies through Acupressure and Acupuncture techniques.

Ed and I have started the process of putting Gavin's special needs bed together! We're hoping to have it finished by tomorrow.

Enjoy the weekend!!

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