Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh, boy. The differences between my boys.

I know that I'm not supposed to compare my kids. But let me just be a bad mom for a little bit, ok? I promise that I love both of my boys. Not for one minute would I want Russell to be more like Caleb. I love that he is himself. It's more fun to get to know him that way.

But they are SO DIFFERENT! I feel like I'm a first-time mom all over again! Only last time I felt that I was better informed (there is no better place to learn things than the NICU). Now I have a "normal" kid. It's more weird that I thought it would be! And much harder!

He gets hungry. He cries. He demands to be held, pretty much constantly. He poops a million times a day. He doesn't want to sleep unless I'm holding him. He doesn't want to cuddle. Seriously. He wants to be held constantly, but never cuddling. I feel like my little baby is growing up too fast! I had at least five months with Caleb before he was at the stage that Russell is at right now!

I specifically remember a time when Caleb was small where I was sitting on the floor, watching him play (aka, kick his legs), where I thought, "I could handle three babies just like him!" I can remember one time, ONE, where he was cranky and I didn't know why. He did everything that I wanted him to do (sleep) and nothing that I didn't want him to do (cry). Except eat. I wanted him to eat and he didn't.

At times I wonder if I can handle one of Russell.

Everyone always says, "the Lord won't give you more than you can handle." But my friend shared a very helpful piece of knowledge with me recently. The Lord will give you more than you can handle, but not more than you can handle with help. And he will give you help.

I now know that I gave myself WAY too much credit for his goodness. Caleb was Caleb, and I did a good job not messing everything up, but that's all I can take credit for. I can do everything the same this time around, and Russell will still be Russell. Particular tastes is a good way to put it. He wants to face away from whoever is holding him. He will cry every time I talk to him, and smile every time Auntie Jenna talks to him. Seriously. He wants to eat when he wants to eat, no matter the time of day. During the day, he will only sleep in his swing. At night he will only fall asleep if nursing. Right now, in my sleep deprived state, I've gotta do what I've gotta do and put him to sleep in whatever way it works. I'd like to keep from developing bad habits, like depending on the swing, but right now I don't have much of a choice. Some day we'll be able to do some "training." For now I'll have to settle for 3-4.5 hours of sleep at a time.

But! He will take a bottle from anyone, whether it be formula or expressed milk. That's pretty awesome. My life would be a whole lot harder at times if he wasn't that way.

And he's pretty dang cute. When he smiles, I just melt!

Even though my boys are so different in their personalities, they sure look alike! This was Caleb at about 2 months adjusted age (5 months actual).

This was Russell a few days ago, at 2 months, in the same outfit. He started out happy, but then when I looked at him for more than a few seconds without picking him up, he wasn't very happy. You can hear a little bit of how he coos while he's starting to cry. It's kinda cute. :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pictures and videos too good not to share

Happy Russell:
So strong!:
Two boys enjoying tummy time, Caleb on his special Monkey Pillow and Russell on his special Russell Pillow (aka, the boppy nursing pillow):
I wish I had more than one outfit like this for him:
Two mini Paul Bunyans (Caleb calls this his "Paul Bunyan Shirt):
Cowboy Cal!:

Dancing and singing along to the credits of his favorite movie, Rio:

"Check it out!" "Where'd the angry bird go?"

Remember how I told you that Caleb has his books memorized? Well, here we are reciting a book from memory together:
(At the end, when I say, "It's quiet now, what do you say?" he says, "I love you, too." He knows that Mommy, Daddy, Aunties, Grandma, and Grandpa all say, "I love you," so naturally Caleb says, "I love you, too!")

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The other day I was in line at Walgreens. The cashier was taking forever. A woman was in front of me, with a tiny, tiny toddler standing next to her. He was so small, and walking around like a big boy. Adorable. He was doing a very impressive job at being patient. He took one piece of candy off of the shelf and showed his mom, as if to ask if he could have it. She told him, "no," and told him to put it back, which he did. His mom had given him a thing of tic tacs to eat. He would tip the container upside down until he got a tic tac or two, and then would put the candy in his mouth.

This is a sweet, simple story, right? Kind of boring, actually. But it made a big impression on me. Why? Because if it was my toddler, it would have gone very differently.

First, I wouldn't be able to let him stand on the floor. I would have to hold him, or else he would run away to explore (aka, see what he could get into). If for some reason I let him stand on his own and he didn't run away, he wouldn't have taken one piece of candy off of the shelf. He would have cleared the shelf of all its candy, and then kicked it all around with his feet as fast as he could so that he could get as much enjoyment from it as possible before I rain on his parade by picking him up.

If he had a container of tic tacs, he wouldn't tip it over to retrieve a piece or two. He would have tipped it over, noticed that those little things fall out, making a cool sound and looking cool in the process, and shaken it until the candy was all over the place. He does it with his raisins every day. Every single day.

And if I held him for more than 30-60 seconds, he would have been squirming and screaming uncontrollably by the time we made our way to the cashier, driving everyone around us crazy.

That's why I love shopping carts. He is a perfect angel when in a shopping cart. He almost never tries to get out of them.

That's also why I love his smarts. I quiz him all of the time in circumstances like that, to keep him busy and happy. I say, "I see a heart! Do you see a heart?" And he looks through the whole store from the safety of his shopping cart until he finds the heart, exclaiming, "I see it! I see da heart! I see a heart ober dere!". I'll look at a magazine, with a really busy picture, full of a whole bunch of stuff, and ask him if he sees a camera. He can look at that busy picture for a whole minute straight, until he finds a camera in the picture, that's the size of his fingernail. And then we go through it again. We find everything in magazines and books. If I don't keep his brain going, I can't stop his body from going.

And nothing wears him out. Once we had a flight that was during his nap time. We got the genius idea to let him run around the terminal before the flight to "tire him out." Worst.idea.ever. An hour of running didn't tire him out. It winded him up. It was a miserable flight.

All these things got me thinking. This is obviously who Caleb is. It has nothing to do with parenting. I don't imagine that his energy level is going to change. Ever. So what happens when he starts school? Will he fail all of his classes because he can't sit still long enough to listen to a lecture? Will he drive all of his teachers and classmates crazy? Or will he get a great teacher who recognizes that he's more than some high-energy kid, and provide him with enough stimulation for him to excel?

And what can I do to help him be prepared for that part of his life? At this point, I can't even give him more than one crayon at a time. Why? Because they get turned from writing utensils to something that's really cool to twist together in your hand. More than two are really cool to push around a table to watch them roll together. A whole handful is great for throwing everywhere and watching as it rains crayons.

We can't brush him off as some kid with ADHD. Medicine won't change him. Remember what the doctors said? I've asked a lot of medical professionals if they think he has a sensory processing disorder, and they said that he's just a regular two-year-old boy, who is very smart.

I have this friend who is amazing. She can do anything in the world. She sets high goals, and always achieves them. From what I've heard, she was a lot like Caleb when she was little. Very...exuberant. Spirited. High-energy. Lively. Crazy. Yes. Crazy. Her parents did a great job of channeling all of her energy into learning, specifically about the gospel. And it sure shows! You could definitely call her "successful."

So how do I channel Caleb's energy into something productive? I think I need more energy, if I'm going to do that! And what productive thing do I channel him towards, anyway? My goodness, it's obvious that this child has the potential to do anything he sets his mind to. He is so smart. We just have to find something that he is willing to set his mind to. That doesn't bore him after 60 seconds.

So I've been thinking about music lessons of some sort. He loves music. He loves his harmonica. He also loves to read. He has most of his books memorized. Seriously. If there are a lot of words, we say the first part of the sentence and he says the last part. He also loves to do things with his body, obviously.

So I was thinking about enrolling him in piano lessons. Not now; maybe next year. That could keep his mind and his fingers going at a pace that he is comfortable with (rocket fast...that's his pace). Or maybe doing gymnastics or dance for now. I think it could be very good for his busy brain.

I just feel so much like what we do as parents, regarding Caleb's energy level and directing his energy towards something productive, could make or break him. He could be successful or not, and it's all up to how we teach him to channel his energy. And lately I feel like we can't just keep him locked up in a room full of toys and books any more. It's time to let him something. Anything. Whatever he likes.

I love Caleb so much. I wouldn't change him for anything. Well, for his sake I maybe would change that he has EE.... But please, oh, please let Russell not be so high-energy. I don't know if I could keep up with two "spirited" kids. It's exhausting. But I know it will pay off. It already is. I love watching him learn. Not in a million years would I want him to "learn" how to calm down. I want him to learn how to use his energy towards great things. He's such a great kid!

Friday, February 10, 2012

I made this!

The hat, the sleep sack (my first ever zipper!), and the cute, squishy baby, to be exact:

I also made this awesome bag for my friend's birthday. I didn't even need to use my seam ripper! I'm rather proud of myself. :)

Now I can't wait to make one for myself!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How my child eats!

It's Feeding Tube Awareness Week! In honor of raising awareness of feeding tubes, I thought I would post a video of how we feed Caleb.

We took this video when I was nearing my due date, thinking that it would be good to have easy-to-follow directions for anyone who might be babysitting Caleb. So, yes, I have a huge belly and there is hardly any space for Caleb to sit on my lap. :)

This type of feeding is called a "gravity feed." Other ways to feed would be pushing it in with a syringe (with a plunger); and pump feeding, where you use a feeding pump with a special bag full of formula. The pump can be programmed to deliver the formula at different rates. You can go as slow as half an ounce per hour, or six ounces in ten minutes, or even faster, depending on what the person can tolerate.

Also, you can feed things other than formula through a feeding tube. A lot of people do a "blenderized diet," where they take a regular meal and blend it up in a high-end blender and put it through the feeding tube either with a syringe or a pump. Since Caleb can only eat nine different foods, a blenderized diet won't work for him. His foods don't make up a balanced diet. It's unfortunate, because a lot of kids do better with real food vs. formula.

And now you know how we feed our little child. Every three hours during the day, and once while he sleeps at night.