Parker – 4 Months Old!

I should have come to expect that time would pass quickly, as it had with the twins, but here we are again. Another month, another few pounds, new likes/dislikes and emerging personality traits. Parker continues to be a really happy little guy who goes with the flow and is pretty much content anywhere. He still doesn’t love being in a car, but has learned to soothe himself quickly. He’s become quite the prolific thumb sucker and hasn’t really cared for any of the assorted types of pacifiers we have at home, including the cute Wubanub pacifiers with a stuffed elephant attached to it. I guess one less thing to remember to put in the diaper bag is ok with me! Parker is a super smiley (with dimples!) guy upon waking and has been cooing, laughing and squealing a bunch. He rolls from his back to his front, but can’t figure out how to go the other way. Despite my attempts to correct him, he prefers to sleep on his tummy while sucking his thumb. When he gets tired of this position, he’s sure to let us know. For the most part he sleeps really well and only wakes to eat once although we have gone some nights without any waking for 12 hours. These past few nights have been a challenge because he’s currently fighting his first little cold and a stuffy nose has been interfering with his ability to breath while sucking his thumb. Fumbling around in the middle of the night with the saline spray and the nose sucker while he’s screaming is only slightly less painful than trying to function after a night of such broken sleep. We haven’t really had to experience this with Parker since he’s been a pretty good sleeper since we brought him home from the hospital.  Hopefully he’s back to his old self soon… *yawn*

Parker is in the 90th percentile for weight and height, so there’s no denying he’s a big boy. The only question is when will he be the same size as his older brothers? He has a huge appetite and luckily my supply has stayed ahead of his intake. The pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start solids when we’re ready, but I’m kind of dragging my feet since solids leads to finger foods then to utensils and real meals and I’m maybe subconsciously trying to keep him little.

My favorite memory from this month has been him propped up on his elbows in his crib and seeing a huge smile on his face when he sees me walk into the room. Love that little guy! DSC_0080

Posted in Parker, Uncategorized

HalloWeek!

Each year as Caleb and Wyatt get a little older, there’s more and more Halloween festivities for them to take part in. This year we attended several area events in the days leading up to Halloween (hence HalloWeek) so the boys had several occasions to wear their costumes. For the third year in a row, we took the boys to the Eye Spy Halloween Train at Cabin John Park. Whenever you combine 3 year olds and a train ride through the woods, they have a great time, but throw in costumes as well and these boys were over the moon excited! A few days later, the boys got to wear their costumes to preschool to show off to their friends and then later that evening, our neighborhood put on a Halloween party and costume contest. Guess who won for most creative costume?!? That would be Officer Caleb! He was kind of freaked out by the guy trying to give him a ribbon, so he stood there and cried, loudly, which was kind of hilarious.

On actual Halloween, Caleb, Wyatt AND Parker dressed up and wore costumes to physical therapy and a party at their old daycare. The older boys loved being in costume! Caleb was especially proud of his walker (which we outfitted to look like a police cruiser) with the flashing blue light on the back! Wyatt loved the fact that he had real whiskers drawn on his face. He was really good about trying not to smudge it! So cute! Parker on the other hand, didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. But like the chill baby that he is, he just went with the flow and let us dress him up in a cute puppy costume. The elastic band around the top of his head was a little tight, so it made for some really funny expressions! It’s like he was a real bulldog!

After dinner, we took the boys trick or treating to about a dozen houses on our street. We really tried to get Caleb to do as much walking as possible, but he would get so tired, that we ended up carrying him for part of the outing. This year, Caleb and Wyatt took turns ringing doorbells (favorite part) and saying Trick or Treat (usually needed to be prompted)! They weren’t too crazy about the candy and always said thank you and Happy Halloween! so we were pretty impressed with their behavior! Our neighborhood is perfect for trick-or-treaters, but every year we get less than 20 kids! I always buy way too much candy, which is why sugar has been coursing through my veins since last Friday. I have zero self-control!

Shane and I enjoyed putting Caleb’s police car together and it definitely provided an incentive for Caleb to walk around in it, but a small part of me prays that next year at this time we won’t have a walker to decorate! Fingers crossed!

DSC_0002

DSC_0024

Parker’s face is just priceless.

 

DSC_0044

 

DSC_0053

 

Posted in Family, Uncategorized

Fall Fun!

DSC_0083a

On a recent weekend, we decided to visit a new (to us) pumpkin patch in Frederick, MD. We’ve been going to our same local pumpkin patch since the twins were born, and decided this year to try a different place to see if there would be less crowds. We were definitely not disappointed. Summers Farm was much bigger and better organized so we rarely waiting in lines or had to deal with overcrowding, despite the fact that there were hundreds of people there. All the usual staples of a pumpkin patch could be found at Summers like the hayride to the actual patch, corn maze and slides. They also had these huge jumping pillows, farm animals to feed and live music. Our family had an absolute blast, even though we were exhausted by the time we were ready to leave. Taking three little kids to an event like this is definitely hard work, but it’s become an autumn tradition in our house and the kids talk about it for days. I’m just glad that we’re able to give our kids these experiences that they can look back upon when they’re older.

Happy Fall!

DSC_0016

DSC_0020

DSC_0030

DSC_0035

DSC_0048

DSC_0039

DSC_0054

DSC_0061DSC_0064

DSC_0069

DSC_0076

DSC_0083a

DSC_0011a

Posted in Family

Six Weeks Post-Op!

Today marks six weeks since Caleb’s spinal surgery (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) in St. Louis at the end of August. Since that time, Caleb has had physical therapy 3 times a week and also works with a physical therapist during preschool. He is definitely fully recovered now and there isn’t anything that he was able to do before the surgery that he can’t do now. He used to use his spasticity to his advantage and use it to stay upright, but now that the underlying muscles (or lack thereof) are responsible for his mobility, he tends to get tired more easily. Although, just this week Shane and I were remarking that he’s been able to walk in his walker for longer periods of time without getting tired, so we think he’s just getting stronger and stronger everyday.

We’re currently working primarily on proper heel-strike gait patterns when using his walker, transitioning from kneeling to standing, side-stepping, standing unassisted while wearing ski boots (they provide foot/ankle/leg stability), riding a tricycle and walking on the treadmill. Our fantastic therapist is able to use an assortment of toys, puzzles and technology to work on these skills while making it seem like a game to Caleb.

Caleb’s scar on his back has healed perfectly and isn’t very big at all, I’d guess maybe 3 inches long? I’m not sure he’s totally aware that he has a scar back there, but knows that we used special lotion to get rid of a rash he got from being in his hospital bed for several days. The only limitation he had until now was NO WRESTLING so now we no longer have to break up he and Wyatt when they choose to play tackling games which cause me to age at an exponential rate. We give him a good stretch morning and night and encourage extra PT activities like walking on the treadmill at home and practicing side-stepping at a local playground on the weekends. Some days are better than others in regards to his cooperation level, but that’s to be expected… he’s three, afterall.

Overall, I’d say we are happy with the progress we’re seeing thus far and we don’t have any regrets. His flexibility and range of motion have improved so much, it’s like it’s a whole different kid! And with everything he’s gone through these past 6 weeks, he is still our smiley Caleb a vast majority of the time.

Here’s a video of him learning to use a tricycle in a recent therapy session.

Posted in Caleb, Cerebral Palsy, Physical Therapy, SDR

Back in the Swing of Things

DSC_0038

This week, I returned to work after being out on maternity leave for 3 months. All summer, I’ve been telling myself that returning to work wouldn’t be as hard this time around since I’ve been through it before, but there is this instinctual tug at your heartstrings when you drive away from your kids; enough to question what is the point of going to work, anyway? I have the benefit of knowing that it’ll get easier, but it still just sucks to be away from my boys all day.

This summer has been anything but relaxing and rejuvenating. Three hours after the end of my last shift, my water broke and I went into labor… less than a day later, we had a new member of the family. Parker has been a dream, and now that he’s three months old (!!), it’s safe to say he’s solidified his role as a happy, chill baby, who loves to sleep almost as much as he loves to eat. Our nighttime routine has gotten more chaotic when you add another mouth to feed and body to bathe before bed, but Parker didn’t keep us up all night like a couple twins I happen to know. He slept for long stretches between feedings from his first weeks home and now has slept a full 12 hours a few nights these past few weeks. After eating, he loves to smile and coo and laugh and squeal. It’s a lot of fun to watch him explore his surroundings and he’s getting better at reaching for toys. He’s become a thumb-sucker just like his big brother Caleb, and they even share a left thumb preference. Parker likes a lot of things, and riding in the car is not one of them. His hatred for the car was really bad about a month ago when I couldn’t go anywhere without him screaming bloody murder the entire ride. Luckily, he seems to be growing out of this weird phase but I’m still always careful to ensure that he’s not too hungry, too full, too tired or too wet for a quick trip in the car. Parker also doesn’t really like tummy time and that puts him in the same camp as about 99% of all infants. He is soooo close to rolling over from back to tummy but not quite there yet. Our little guy can barely get away with being called little at this point. He’s in the 99th percentile for length and 87th for weight! He couldn’t be more different than his preemie brothers who weren’t even on the growth chart for a little while after birth. All in all, Parkey is doing great and is on the receiving end of lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles from all members of the family.

Caleb and Wyatt are doing well and really enjoying their time at preschool. I’ve been handling the drop-offs and pick-ups from school and I have to say, there is NOTHING cuter than your kids smiling and calling out Mommy! while running into your open arms after a long (er, 2.5 hours) day at school. The time not spent in preschool was typically spent at daycare but this is their last week of daycare. Because of our unique work schedules, preschool and therapy appointments, we realized we needed someone who was able to not only watch our kids but also transport them to where they need to be. Shane and I will still be taking Caleb to his therapy appointments, but now we’re able to have Parker and Wyatt cared for by a nanny, while Caleb can focus on his therapy. I plan on writing a separate post about Caleb’s progress, now that he’s almost 6 weeks post-op.

Caleb and Wyatt are liking their roles as big brothers. Caleb is very very affectionate towards Parker and loves to make him laugh and give him hugs & kisses. Wyatt helps out by fetching things that we need for the baby or letting us know if he’s awake or crying (even though we can always tell when he’s crying!). They’ve both been great and a lot of the jealousy that I worried about just isn’t there. I know their relationship will only get stronger once Parker becomes more of a play mate to the two of them.

As for Shane and I, well, nothing really to report. Our work and family obligations keep us pretty busy, so we’re just keeping our heads down and taking it day by day for the next eighteen years foreseeable future.

Here’s some pictures from our summer!

DSC_0042

DSC_0038

DSC_0060

DSC_0070

DSC_0085

DSC_0086

DSC_0090

030 038 045 055 135 154 189 202 234 266

Posted in Family

Dear Caleb

Dear Caleb,

I don’t know if you’ll ever remember this time in your life. We’ve been talking to you about what’s going to happen when we travel to St. Louis for your Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. We’ve glossed over a lot of what is going to happen (you’re only 3, afterall) but you know that we’re going to St. Louis so Dr. Park can fix your legs and help you learn to walk without your walker. When we prompt you, you let us know that sure,  you’re excited to learn to walk, but most of all, you’re excited about staying in the hotel and wondering whether the TV remote will work or not (during our last trip, the remote didn’t work in our room).

It feels surreal to know that we are hours away from a procedure that will totally change the course of your life. I can’t wait for you to have an improved quality of life and to free your legs from the tightness they feel day in and day out. I wonder if there will come a time that you don’t remember what it felt like to have these tight legs? I can’t wait to see you sit comfortably with your legs straight in front of you. I can’t wait for you to be able to take control of your body and wiggle your toes if you want. And yes, those first independent steps are what all parents dream of, except the anticipation has been building for years in my case. Most of all, I’m anxious for you to not have to work so damn hard at what comes so easily to most of us. There isn’t a worse feeling than when I watch you collapse to your knees after an extended period in your walker. It’s like your legs physically can’t move another inch and it can be so heartbreaking. I’ve been wanting to take this hardship from you since the moment you were diagnosed and now, I feel like we have a shot at making your life a heck of a lot better. You deserve it, kiddo.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I can’t think of a better kid for the task. You are hardworking and attentive but also silly and very affectionate. Barely a day goes by when you aren’t complimented on that huge smile of yours and as cliché as it might sound…. you really do light up a room with that face.  You are so much more than your cerebral palsy and I hope this procedure allows you to be your very best self at  age3 and 93 and all the years in between. We love you so much Caleb and we’ll be by your side every step of the way.

Love you forever,

Mommy, Daddy, Wyatt and Baby Parker

 

P.S.  GO CALEB GO!

gocalebgo

Posted in Caleb, Cerebral Palsy, SDR

Parker at One Month!

Our little guy turned one month old last Friday. The weeks are flying by and we’re loving getting to know him and watching the dynamic between all our boys. Parker is only the “little” brother because he’s the youngest… there’s not much else that’s very “little” about him! He’s such a tall baby and it shocks me how fast he’s growing out of clothes!  We’ve long outgrown newborn and size 0-3months, so now, at five weeks old, he’s wearing size 3 month clothing and even those are getting difficult to snap! My favorite time of the day is when I get to rock Parker and count the rolls on his legs, arms and neck and marvel at the adorableness of his knuckle dimples! Fat babies are awesome! (Little peanut babies are pretty cute too, I’ve had a couple of those).

On a very much related note… Parker eats… a lot. He’s a milkaholic and I’m his open bar so it’s not uncommon for me to be feeding him every 2.5 hours during the day. Luckily for us, he’ll stretch it a bit more at night… between 3-4 hours. Shane handles one of the feedings in the middle of the night so I get a long stretch of sleep and have woken up relatively well rested lately! I struggled in my attempts to nurse the twins when they were newborns, which led me to exclusively pump milk for months until they sort of got the hang of it. By the time they were six months old, however, they were getting formula only because I couldn’t keep up. Feeding Parker has been much easier and I’m enjoying the experience so much more because I’m not constantly stressing about his weight gain. If he’s sleepy during a feeding, I just let him go back to bed, rather than try to keep him awake like I had to do with Caleb & Wyatt. My goal is to nurse Parker for as long as I can.

Parker has just begun giving us some big gummy smiles and somewhere buried in those chipmunk cheeks are possibly two little dimples. It’s a little too early to tell for sure though. He’s also started making sweet cooing noises, as if he’s trying to tell us lots of stories. He’s starting to spend more of the day awake, which is a lot of fun, except he’d prefer to be held rather than in a seat, swing or carrier. Carrying Parker around totally tanks my productivity, but my primary responsibility during maternity leave is to bond with him, so I’m ok with the fact that I won’t be winning any awards for my cooking (or lack of) and cleaning (or lack of).

Current nicknames: Parkey, Park, Park-ma-nark, Master P and P.D.  Oh, and Caleb randomly called him Bon-Bon the other day. Huh?!?

Parker, we love you! Happy one month birthday, baby!

DSC_0025a

 

 

Posted in Parker

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 875 other followers

Number of blog hits
  • 68,688
Recent Posts
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 875 other followers

%d bloggers like this: