Saturday, March 21, 2015

16 Month Update

I intended to do a 15 month update, but Stella's immune system had other plans, so here we are at 16 months (plus 4 days).  I left off after Stella's first birthday, right before Thanksgiving.  So let's jump right into it.  We spent Thanksgiving Eve at Mark's sister's house with his family taking a photo with all the grandkids for his parents.  What a task!  We did manage a good one, thankfully.  They were almost all looking :-)  Thanksgiving day was spent having lunch with Mark's family and dinner with mine, same as every year.  Stella was big enough to enjoy the feast this year!

The beginning of December brought the sicknesses.  I did get Stella to the clinic for her 1-year shots before she got sick.  I posted a few times in December about the holidays and plaguing illnesses (see this post and this post and this post) so I will spare you the repeat.  We finished up our holiday celebration in January...had to make my Christmas truffle and let Stella spend some time in her Christmas jammies!  Mark and I also went to Peoria for his work Christmas Party.  They got us all hotel rooms and provided a nice dinner.  We didn't go out after dinner because I was still sick but it was nice to get away for a night :-)

On a break from holidays and illnesses I joined the local YMCA.  They provide free baby-sitting mornings and evenings while you use the facilities.  I thought it would be a great play group for Stella.  I took her once and she LOVED it!  And then she caught pneumonia (more later) so she hasn't been back yet, but fingers crossed we'll be back at it next week.
Ready for my first play date at the YMCA!
We watched the Super Bowl from home this year because of the snowstorm that came through that day.  Before football took over the house I dressed Stella in her Frozen costume and we watched...of course...Frozen and had a girls morning while I made chili for supper.  Then she was an all-American girl for the football game!

We had a pretty low-key Valentines because Stella and I were both sick (noticing a pattern here?).  Mark made pancakes for breakfast and we just hung out and watched movies.  I got Stella 3 books from the $1 section at Target and she read them all afternoon!  She even figured out how to open the gift on her own, so cute.  After putting her to bed Mark got some Chinese take-out and we just lounged around some more.  The day before Stella and I had a Valentines party with her cousins where we attempted a craft for daddy...future crafts might wait until she's a little older, she wasn't having it ;)  Once Stella got to feeling better I took her into town to see my family and let her wear her Valentine outfit.  Seems holidays run about a month late in our house lately...

So, let's move on to the sicknesses, shall we?  On February 17th we took Stella to the walk-in clinic.  She wasn't eating, drinking or sleeping.  This was a first for her...she even did all those through previous bouts of croup, the flu, and colds.  I knew it was bad.  She was coughing and wheezing like crazy.  Of course we couldn't get a dr appointment so we drove to the clinic.  They diagnosed her with double ear infection but couldn't do anything for her cough.  I didn't feel quite comfortable with that.  We went to her dr the next week and he said her ears were still pretty bad and gave her a steroid for her chest.  To sum up 6 weeks of weekly dr visits and medications and X-rays, they technically diagnosed her with pneumonia.  They found an infection on her lung but don't know what it is.  She's fine while on the steroid (3 rounds now), but when it's gone the wheezing returns with a vengeance.  We almost had to admit her to the hospital last week because her oxygen levels were so low.  He's thinking we'll be on the nebulizer for about 3 months (which is a whole battle in itself...thankfully she tolerates it now but we just wave the wand in front of her face.  the mask was an epic failure).  Her dr thinks it might be early asthma, but she's just too young to diagnose.  It really sucks...she feels bad, no nebulizer meds are covered by our insurance, and we have to go to the dr every week.  I pray it's resolved by summer.  But for now, we medicate and deal with it.
spending lots of sick days with mom and dad...Ipad time with daddy here!
OK, next up:  Stella's developmental delay.  We had to cancel her evaluation the first time because she was so sick (Feb 17th), and we finally got in the beginning of March.  We went to Abilities Plus in Kewanee.  They just watched her play and had her perform certain tasks, but most of the info came from talking to us.  She tested around 13 months for almost every area, so a little behind across the board, but probably related to her lack of movement.  Not a huge cause for concern.  Especially the way they perform the tests:  they go down a list of skills and stop when they get to once she can't do, and that's where they "determine" her age equivalency.  Being a former teacher, I understand the need for assessment.  Now being a parent, I understand it's not the be-all-end-all.  They said Stella could perform tasks way down on the list, but of course that didn't matter.  Anyways, the areas that stood out were gross movement (obviously) and language (weird, I'll explain in a minute).  I should say that about a week before the exam, Stella's movement jumped dramatically.  At the beginning of December she started to spin herself in a circle to get to different toys.  At 14 months she started scooting, but not very often.  Finally at 15 months she sat up on her own.  When she was very sick I walked in her room one night to find her sitting up in her crib!  I almost cried.  I had been teaching her to roll to her tummy and then push up with her hands since she just couldn't do it from her back.  When I observed her sitting on her own this is what she did!  So proud!  She also began pulling up to her knees, so we lowered the crib mattress.  On February 24th she crawled 2 steps to get a toy.  By the next week she was fully crawling!  So at the evaluation she tested at 8 months for movement (and she was 15 and a half months old).  It was determined she will get PT at the local grade school once a month until she is walking comfortably on all surfaces.  The other area she is going to get service in is language.  Now, I know I've mentioned before how off the chart her communication is.  Baby girl TALKS!  But it's a foreign language.  Tons of babbling in various pitches.  She even sings and whispers and reads (I can definitely distinguish her reading voice)!  But she only says 2 words.  And they rhyme ("cheese" at 14 months and "please" at 15 months).  She doesn't even say "mama" or "dada".  This is a concern, so she will also get speech once a month at our house and her dr ordered a hearing test to make sure there is no fluid behind her ears.  Her services start this week (they're spread pretty thin since it's a state funded program).  So that's where we are at there.
sat up on her own! the book bin of course!
practicing standing...have a ways to go here!

Most recently we celebrated St Patrick's Day (and by celebrate I mean wore a holiday outfit and had green eggs and ham for dinner) and the 10-year anniversary of Mark's return home from Iraq.  My mom watched Stella while we went to the dentist and had an early dinner at Red Lobster.  That's how we date these days!
10 years home from Iraq!
At her 15 month check-up, Stella weighed 23 pounds (71%) and wasn't measured because she was sick and crabby.  She did get her hemoglobin and lead tests and they were fine, and I'm happy to announce her dr is doing shots now, finally!!  We got caught up on her immunizations there.  She is pretty average size, she's been wearing 12 month clothes until today.  I switched out the clothes for the 18-24 month ones today.  It is nice to get so many hand-me-downs.  I literally don't buy any baby clothes, and the very few outfits I've gotten have been from the Facebook swap.  I may have indulged in a few Etsy headbands, however...

The Routine:
Stella is a great eater!  On January 5th I gave her the last of her formula.  We now do 2-3 sippy cups (bottles were gone on February 1st) of milk (whole or 2%) a day.  She eats everything we do, and even loves meat!  She doesn't use a fork or spoon yet, but I hope to start that as soon as she gets feeling better.  She loves to self-feed and is starting to refuse us when we try to feed her messy foods.  Some of her favorite foods include fruit (any and all, especially bananas), pancakes with PB2, sausage links, chocolate cereal, and veggie straws.  She can now eat a whole veggie straw on her own, it took a while for her to learn how to take bites without shoving the entire thing in her mouth.  That just happened this week.  Stella eats breakfast around 8:00, lunch around 12, snack around 3, and dinner around 5:30 with a cup of milk before bed.  I buy healthy foods or make my own for Stella always.  I'm not afraid to let her have a treat when we're out, but at home it's health and variety all the way.

Cloth diapering and homemade wipes are still going very well.  I can't remember the last time we had a leak.  I still do disposable overnight and if we're going to be gone all day.  In January we went to a size 5, but only because I use them infrequently.  She really could wear a 4, but ordering in bulk made me go up a size.  What is not going well are diaper changes and pooping.  She SCREAMS when I change her diaper.  I mostly do it in front of the TV now in the living room because I just can't take the battle anymore.  I am still giving her Miralax every 2-3 days.  For now she really needs it I just hope she can regulate soon.  Girl is complicated!

We are struggling with bath time now because we don't have a tub.  She splashes too much to continue using the kitchen sink, so for now we are putting her baby tub in the shower.  When she can stand on her own we will do showers, maybe one play bath a week in a large tote in the shower.  For now we're just making do since she can't stand.
last sink bath!
 We did have to make some adjustments to keep Stella safe now that she is growing and on the move!  Last weekend we took care of most of the baby-proofing.  We have some small things to finish up this weekend, and I'm sure more will come up as we go, but the majority is done.  To be honest, there wasn't much to do.  A plus of living in an 800 sq ft house!  Mark also installed her new car seat last week.  It is the Britax Marathon and I love it!  It was a little pricey, but it was highly recommended by moms and safety experts so I figured it was worth it.  I also got it at 40% off (opened a Babies R Us credit card and bought one brought in from another store), so that helped. 

Stella is as good of a sleeper as ever.  She goes to bed around 7 and wakes up around 7:30 like clockwork.  She always wakes up singing LOUDLY.  Happy girl!  She loves to go to bed, especially now that she can sit up.  She likes to sit and bounce in her crib for about an hour before she falls asleep...go figure.  At least she's happy!  She can't sleep without puppy, although she never formed an attachment to a blankey.  We tried to substitute Barney one night when puppy was in the wash and it didn't go over well.  She went to bed with a wet puppy that night ;)  Fun fact, she has to sleep fully clothed/PJed.  I tried putting her down for a nap in a diaper or just her top when her room was warm and she wouldn't go to sleep, just wanted to play.  When I put pants on her she went right to sleep.  Several times.  I've learned my lesson now.  She naps every day from about 1:30-3:00, but if we're gone and she misses a nap one day she really doesn't get overly crabby.  That's what's nice about such a wonderful sleep patten.  Put the work in up front moms, TOTALLY worth it!

A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Nuzzling mommy and daddy and giving/getting Eskimo kisses
  • Watching kids run and play (makes her laugh hysterically)
  • Watching slapstick TV (Home Alone and Jumangi cracked her up)
  • Watching TV in general (Barney, Wiggles, Kidsongs, Frozen, the Shreks, Mickey Mouse)
  • Sitting at the computer with mommy watching videos of herself
  • Stacking rings
  • Doing puzzles (can get pieces in sometimes even!)
  • Rolling and throwing balls
  • Putting shapes in their containers, putting items in and out of baskets and totes
  • READING!  can't get enough.  especially pop-up books, flap books, and touch and feel books
  • Stacking blocks.
  • Singing songs.  Does "patty cake" when you say it, claps her hands for "happy and you know it", says "shh shh shh" for "wheels on the bus".  Also loves "row row row your boat".
  • Clapping.  especially when she does something good we always have to clap :)
  • Waving.  She waves at Shrek when he says "bye bye" on TV.  Her newest thing is stopping mid-crawl to wave, it's so cute.
  • Being flexible...she's always pointing her toes and doing the splits.
  • Being tipped upside down and thrown in the air (of course).
  • Getting her face blown on.
  • Getting raspberries on her tummy.
  • And...because I can't leave it out...what she hates.  Being told NO.  She started putting her face in her hands and wailing.  I must say after about 2 months of that she finally handles it better.
Playing Little People School

Loves her new chair! 
Baby Stella dolly for Baby Stella...loves to take the pacifier off!
 Around the house:
  • This winter has been brutal around here.  I give credit to parents of sick children every single day, because it's been an uphill road just with what Stella has been going through.  Especially during cold weather and having to be cooped up inside, out in the middle of nowhere.  Needless to say the recent warm weather and ushering in of spring had been most welcome!  I cleaned my house and car and opened the windows to air the place out, and it smells like lilacs around here (literally.  just discovered Yankee Candle had wax melts for Scentsy warmers.  yumm.)  So this week brings in another dr check-up and the start of PT, I pray all goes well and we're on the road to recovery.  Hibernation is officially over!
  • Speaking of the road to recovery, I finally found a new OB-GYN in Peoria.  He thinks my C-section wasn't necessary (arrrgggg) and I should try for a VBAC next time.  He told me my incision was cut too low and future C-sections would run a super high risk of cutting into my bladder.  That doesn't sound fun.  He also said I have scar tissue problems already, so he ordered PT for me as well.  I start this week, so let's hope I can finally heal.  Super tired of too much pain and too many pounds.  The things we do for our kids!  But I will happily do it all over again and again someday.  I know a girl who refuses to have kids because of what it does to your body.  Fine.  To each their own.  But I will say this C-section turned my body to SHIT (pardon my French, sometimes it's just necessary) and yet I don't have an ounce of regret.  I love my scar.  It's my daughter.  It's my pain, my joy, my perseverance.  Someday I will get my body back.  But right now it belongs to my babies and I'm OK with that.  
I'm in love with Spring right now.  A beautiful time for fresh air, healing, watching Stella make progress, and some serious Spring Cleaning of my house, my life, you name it...Spring is the perfect time for change!  I will check back in for an 18-Month update (let's hope this one's on time!)

***I have more photos of Stella on my Facebook page, please look HERE to view them.  Figured this post was long enough!!