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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday Steve and I celebrated our 5th anniversary.  We are going away for a long weekend in a few weeks to celebrate, so yesterday was pretty normal.  I did suggest that we take the girls and go out for an early dinner as a family.  Evelyn loves to eat at a restaurant, and a milkshake sounded pretty amazing to me, so we decided to go for burgers and shakes at Ruby's Diner.


We had as relaxing a dinner as you can with a 3 and 1 year old, but Evelyn had a ball watching the trains and ordering her strawberry milkshake.  It was a night of firsts, as Vivian tried her first milkshake, too!


Oh, and speaking of firsts, Evelyn decided she wanted to experience a first of her own!  But something trivial like a first milkshake just wasn't going to cut it.  So, while one parent finished paying the check and cleaning up the belongings, the other took the kids outside to yell and carry on.  And while Evelyn was running around and carrying on, she tripped and fell right into one of the metal benches that are outside, leaving a gaping wound right above her forehead.  We were suddenly faced with our first trip to the ER!

A quick phone call to Nanny and Grampy to confirm they were home and could watch Vivian and then a quick drop off, and we were our way to the hospital.  She had one or two freak outs in the car in regard to the blood that was all over her hands (I still have NO idea how she managed to not get one. single. drop. on her shirt!).  By the time we got to the waiting room, I was actually quite amazed at how calm she had become.  I think it helped that whenever we drive by the hospital we talk about how it's the place where Aunt Kelly works, so she doesn't see the hospital as a scary place.  

She chatted with a few people in the waiting room, wanted snacks, and after only about 20 minutes or so it was our turn to go back.  As soon as we walked into the triage room she asked "What's that??" about the gurney.  I made the mistake of saying that it's a bed for when people come to the hospital who are sick.  She got checked out by a nurse and a physician's assistant, and then we were shown back to a room where she was going to get her stitches.  The next nurse said, "Let's get you up here!", and indicated she should get up onto the gurney, to which Evelyn replied, "But I'm not sick!"  Quick as a whip, that one!  

We managed to get her up on the bed, watching a movie (thank you whatever channel ABC Family has turned into - excellent movie selection this weekend!), and relatively calm.  The nurse came in to put the numbing gel on her cut, which was kind of difficult, but she did promise Evelyn a popsicle if she stayed still, and she followed through with a purple one, as requested.  Aunt Kelly showed up to say hi since she was heading into work and hung out for a little while.  Thank goodness, because when the nurse came back to put some more numbing gel on, she first had to peel off the band aid thing she had used to seal the gel in the cut, and you would have thought she was trying to remove Evelyn's appendix without any anesthesia.  Between the nurse, Kelly, and me (Steve was dealing with the lady from the front desk who showed up for our insurance info at that very moment), it was all we could do to hold her still.  Holy moly, how were they going to STITCH HER UP????  

When the time finally came to do the stitches, the poor kid had to be papoosed (AKA wrapped up in a sheet like a burrito), held down by a nurse and a tech, while the PA did the stitches.  Steve and I were told it's best if the parents step outside, so we did.  And walked very far down the hall to get away from the screams, which will probably forever haunt me.  Not even 10 minutes later, the nurse came out holding my child, who was drenched head to toe in sweat.  It was as if she had run a marathon.  All for 3 stitches.  

We received our directions, got checked out, and made our way out.  By the time we got to the parking lot, she was chattering like a monkey, telling silly little stories, and asking for snacks - the tell tale sign that she was going to be just fine.  


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Off to the Plastic Surgeon

When I last posted we had just been to the dermatologist about a cyst on Vivian's head.  Flash forward a few weeks and we were meeting with the plastic surgeon we had selected to have it removed.  Again, just like the dermatologist, she was super nice, and very reassuring.  If you're going to have a dermoid cyst, Vivian's was apparently in a good location.  A simple incision and scoop it out.  It was in a place were there was no chance it had already tunneled into the brain (we talked to another mom that morning who had needed to take her daughter for an MRI because her cyst was on her nose...so glad we didn't have to do that as well!).  Steve asked how often she dealt with this type of cyst (he always thinks of the good questions to ask...I usually just sit there and nod), and she said she was consulting with 5 patients that day for the same thing.  We felt good.  She explained that because of Vivian's age she would need to use general anesthesia, though, and because of that she wanted to wait until she was one.  We weren't too excited about that idea, but it had to happen.  

I scheduled the surgery for a week after her first birthday.  What I didn't know when I scheduled, was that the minute she turned one, the rules for eating prior to the procedure changed.  I didn't find this out until a few weeks before and it was too late to change anything.  The minute she turned one, she could no longer have any more solids (milk included) beginning at 11 pm the night before the procedure.  Had she been under one, she could have had breastmilk up until a few hours before.  And my kid was still getting up around 4 am for a snuggle and some milk.  This created a problem. 

It was a problem of my own creation, as it was really more of a comfort thing for Vivian.  I was going to have to get strict.  I actually tried to give her back a pacifier to get her over that 4 am need, but she refused to take it, which really was probably better in the long run.  So I spent a few nights prior to surgery implementing a new round of "cry it out".  By the night before her procedure I was fairly confident that we would be fine.  We had gotten the phone call that her scheduled arrival was 7 am, and she usually eats breakfast around 7:30 or 8:00.  At least we would be out of the house before breakfast time, and maybe could keep her a little more distracted in a new place.

The morning of her surgery came, and Steve and I got up and began to get ready.  At 6:25 Steve got her up and as quickly as possible got her changed and dressed so we could get out the door.  I tried to remain in the background as much as possible to try to avoid her wanting to nurse.  We scooted out the door, and she was her chipper self in the car.  We got checked in and she was loving the waiting area.  She was having a ball banging her hands on the little tables and checking out the outlets (honestly...in a children's surgical center you would think they would have outlet covers??).  A nurse called us back and we went through the whole medical background (that I had already given a week earlier on the phone) and got her into a gown, and still she was loving life.  Being all cute and flirty with the nurses and the doctor when she came in.

But soon the cute and flirty ended.  The minute there was no action, and we were left there just waiting, baby girl realized she was hungry.  And my child goes from zero to HANGRY in a matter of minutes.  And where does she look when she's hungry?  To me.  All she wanted was to come to me.  Steve decided to take her for a little walk in the hall and found a great, big, textured mural that she was feeling and looking at.  As long as she was distracted, we were okay.  But there are only so many toys in my bag, and only so many times walking the halls that were going to amuse a one year old.  Our super helpful nurse grabbed a toy from their collection (one of those ones that you push the buttons and the heads pop up), and Steve brought it back in the room and kept her occupied for a few more minutes.

I know the nurse felt bad we were waiting because I heard her talking to one of the other ladies about getting Vivian's anti-anxiety meds ready to go so the minute she got the call from the doctor she would be ready.  They give a very mild anti-anxiety drug prior to the procedure to help with the separation and the baby being in a strange place with strange people.  The second the nurse got the call, she was in our room ready to go.  The other benefit of the med was that it helped Vivian forget she was hungry.  Within minutes she was waving her hand in front of her face, and giggling.  Her favorite game became pushing my head back and forth, at which time I realized that it had been quite a while since I cut her finger nails.  I ended up with some serious scratches on my chin from her repeatedly grabbing me.  And those heads jumping out of the toy became the most hysterical thing in the world!

Shortly after, they came and took her back, and we were shown out to the waiting room.  I barely had time to get comfortable when the doctor came back out and said everything went perfectly.  We chatted with her for a minute, when a nurse showed up and said Vivian was already awake and fussing.  Usually they have the babies sleep for a half hour or so, but my kid was up within minutes - no surprise to me!  She did doze back off once I was holding her, but woke again a little while later, and was happy as could be!  We started to gather our things and as we walked out she was waving and laughing with all of the nurses.  We scooted out the door and were home by 11.  I couldn't believe it.

We had been told by the nurse to not let her do too much walking, and to be sure to carry her everywhere because the anesthesia wouldn't be completely out of her system for a few hours.  Well that was next to impossible.  She got in the house and, although definitely a little wobbly on her feet, instantly went for all of her usual favorite play things...shopping carts to push and cars to ride on.  Steve had to remove a few things to the basement.  We also had been told to take it easy with food, and that she probably wouldn't want to eat much until dinner time.  Within minutes I was making her a peanut butter sandwich.  Truth be told, Steve and I both thought she was in a better mood than she had been in days!

She took a great nap, woke up starving and wanting more to
eat, and we went outside for a walk and even decided to go grab something for dinner.  Besides the steri-strips on her head, you would never know this was a kid who had had a surgical procedure that morning.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that this was very minor - that we could have been dealing with something much more serious.  But no one wants to see their child have to go through anything like this.  I think what made it the most stressful for me was the waiting.  It was months between each step in the process, which was fine at first when we really thought that it was going to be nothing unless WE decided we wanted it removed.  But then when we knew that she was going to have surgery, and we had to wait months for it to happen.  It was this thing just looming in the back of our minds that we had to just keep waiting for.  There was plenty of time to worry about what might happen.  But, it's over now, and we can move on to worrying about other things...like when those top teeth are finally going to break through!  

  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Visit to the Dermatologist

Vivian was born late at night.  They put her little hat on and laid her on me and we just snuggled.  She was perfect.  They took her away and cleaned her up and we moved over to the maternity wing.  I spent the rest of the night being woken up hourly to be checked on, the pediatrician came in really early and checked her out, we both tried to sleep, and still she wore that little hat.  

Okay, it wasn't this hat.  This special hat was made by my Grammy.  She wore one not nearly as cute, but you get the idea.
Finally, later in the afternoon that second day, Steve was holding her and the hat came off.  And he immediately noticed a bump on her forehead.  We didn't think much of it.  Evelyn had a bump on her jaw when she was born from her delivery.  We kind of just figured it was normal for babies to have little bumps that eventually went away.  

The following morning the pediatrician came back again early to check her before we were discharged, and Steve mentioned the little bump.  The doctor turned on some more lights to get a better look, and spent quite a few minutes feeling the bump.  She determined that it wasn't a result of her delivery, but was in fact a cyst.  Nothing to be concerned about, just something we would keep an eye on as she grew.  It might go away on it's own she said, or we could maybe decide down the road to remove it.  

When we went for Vivian's first appointment at the pediatrician's office, we were scheduled to see a different doctor.  Steve decided it would be good to get a "second opinion", so after the doctor check her, he mentioned the bump again.  It really was a small bump, and people just didn't notice it unless it was pointed out.  This doctor did the same thing.  Spend a few minutes feeling the bump, and agreed that it was a cyst.  She did mention, though, taking Vivian to a dermatologist in a few months to have it looked at.  Nothing to worry about at the moment, let her get a little older, and then take her in.  Again, we weren't worried.  Cysts go away.  They generally aren't problematic.  It was in a place that would be covered by her hair down the road.  

At her two month check, we we referred to the dermatologist, only because it can take forever to get in to see one.  I found out that the scheduling office opens up the calendar on June 1 for the rest of the year.  So on June 1, I spent HOURS (not even exaggerating a little) calling and on hold waiting to make an appointment.  I had been given a tip not to leave a message because they won't call back for days, and by then you will be waiting months for your appointment.  So I kept calling, and calling, and calling because they automatically kicked you to voicemail after 20 minutes on hold.  So that was a fun morning, but I did make my appointment for July. 

July rolled around and we met with the dermatologist.  I was really just treating the appointment as something I had to do, no big deal.  We would learn, again, that it was a cyst, and we would wait and see what it did as she grew.  To Steve and I, it was already less noticeable because as Vivian was growing, the cyst was not.  So in came the dermatologist and he was nice as could be.  While we were chatting I mentioned that she also had a "strawberry" birthmark on her chest (we were after all at the dermatologist...might as well take full advantage).  He checked it out...and let me know that it generally would break up on it's own over many years (I knew that!).  The location concerned him, though, so he was going to prescribe a topical gel to help get rid of it faster.  Huh.  Unexpected, but no big deal.

Then he moved on to her forehead.  He felt around, and said, that it was, in fact, a cyst.  It was a type of cyst called a dermoid.  It was relatively common, and develops in babies generally around the eyes and nose, but also often along the plates of the skull.  Got it!  And then he zinged me with...if left alone it will eventually wear through the skull bone.  Say what?  That hard thing that protects her brain?  It would need to be removed, and the general practice is to have it done by age two, but he wanted us to see the plastic surgeon right away and recommended having it done by six months.

So I left with my head spinning a little.  She had a strawberry birthmark that had to go, and a cyst that REALLY had to go.  Totally not the appointment I had been expecting.  I had a list of phone numbers and recommended pediatric plastic surgeons that Steve and I were going to have to look through.  This no big deal, let's wait and see situation had suddenly turned into a little bit of a bigger deal than we anticipated.

To be continued... :)


Friday, April 1, 2016

Kicking the Habit

A few weeks ago something happened at our house that was a long time coming.  It was something that Steve and I both admit should have happened a lot sooner.  But the longer we waited, the harder we knew it would be.  We are so excited to announce that Evelyn finally got rid of her pacifier!!

We had been getting closer and closer to this momentous occasion, but it was definitely a very long ordeal.  We are talking over a year.  And if I'm being completely honest, I don't think either of us really wanted to deal with what we knew was coming.  Over the past year we had been gradually removing times when she was allowed to have her pacifier, and as a baby she was allowed to have it whenever she wanted so this was a drastic change when it occurred.  Our first step was to limit it to only bed, stroller, and car seat.  Stroller was soon eliminated because she refused to sit in a stroller anymore.  The car seat happened about a year ago and was relatively easy by leaving it up to her to remember to bring it, and she actually often forgot because she didn't have it as we were getting ready to leave the house.

Then that left only bed, and we really drug our feet on tackling this hurdle.  It got to the point where she would go up to her bed in the middle of the day and claim she needed a break...which really meant a paci fix.  I had to start hiding it after she woke up.  We set a goal for age three.  My mom claims that on my third birthday I woke up and threw my pacifier in the trash.  I guess I figured Evelyn would be just as easy, but no amount of talking it up would convince her that it was the time to do it.  I didn't count on just how stubborn my child is.

Part of the problem was we didn't have a real plan in place and played around with a lot of different scenarios.  The paci fairy would take it, she was a big girl now, little babies needed her pacifiers, it was gross...  By the last week or so of her having it, she started talking about the paci fairy taking it away and cleaning the old one up and giving it to a new baby because she was a big girl and didn't need it.  I guess all the different scenarios mixed together wasn't bad.  Whatever the story was, she got it - it was time to get rid of her pacifier.  And then we pulled out the big guns.  She has been dying to have a sleep over at Aunt Kelly and Uncle Jeff's for a long time now.  We decided the sleep over couldn't happen until she was a big girl and didn't need a pacifier anymore.  Kelly told her it was gross and she had to get rid of it.

Well one Tuesday afternoon, Evelyn woke up and said, "I'm going to throw out my paci!"  I asked her if she was sure and said she would never see it again.  She said yes, and we threw that sucker (ha!) away.

Flash forward a few hours to bedtime.  "I WANT MY PACI! I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED IT!"  She screamed for two straight hours.  Steve was ready for her to levitate off the bed and her head to start spinning.  She finally passed out, but a few hours later woke in the middle of the night screaming again.  The second night she required a little more cuddling than normal, and there were some tears, but she at least wasn't hysterical.  She woke up again in the middle of the night, but quickly calmed back down and fell back asleep.  By the third night she went right to bed, but took over an hour to get calmed down in the middle of the night.  By the fourth night, I think she realized it wasn't coming back and was over it.

Naps, on the other hand, have become a thing of the past.  When "break time" came around that first full day without the paci, she looked at me like I had five heads.  No thanks mom.  And she has really reached the point where she doesn't need the afternoon nap, but boy do I miss it!  I really never truly valued that hour until it was gone.  I realize now all that I could get done in an hour.  A few weeks in and I would do almost anything to even get 20 minutes of quiet time - which is the new struggle.

It's really funny how proud she is of getting rid of the pacifier.  Every few days she mentions it, but generally in reference to how she's doing something that big girls do, "So I don't need my paci anymore Mommy.  I was little, but now I am big!"  No matter how proud she acts on the outside I know she would take it back in a second if she could.  She gives a long stare down to any kid we meet when we are out and about that has their own pacifier.

Despite the few days that were hard, Steve and I both agree that it was a lot easier than we anticipated.  We also agree that we are so glad we went the pacifier route!  Even though we wished we had gotten rid of it a lot sooner (something we did better with Vivian, who hasn't had one in months), we don't regret for a second giving it to her as a baby!


Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Birthday Vivian!

Today Vivian turned one!


I've got nothing planned for this post...no funny story to tell.  I just want to document the day, as it's such an amazing milestone.  She'll never remember it obviously, but I think for parents it's huge to be able to say you survived your baby's first year!  There were tears, growing pains, and many cups of coffee, but everyone made it through!  

Vivian is such a sweet, happy, easy going baby that it really has been the quickest year.  Every giggle, hug, cuddle, and open-mouth, sloppy kiss erases the memory of one of the sleepless nights of the last 365 days (okay, maybe not completely because we're totally going to hold it over her head what a needy baby she becomes at night).  If I search deep down, I guess I have to admit that I secretly love that she needs me for that quick snuggle to fall back asleep, even at 4 am.  But I'll also be the first to admit that I would just as happily provide that snuggle at 7 am - but that's play time!

Watching her take care of her baby doll today and push it around in a stroller it's so much fun to wonder who she is going to turn into.  Whatever she becomes, she's always going to be our sweet, little monkey!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

11 Things about Vivian

I feel like my blog hasn't featured Vivian as much as it should, so at 10 months old, I'm going to give you all 10 things I love about Vivian.

1. She is such a mommy's girl.  I mean, she loves Daddy, too.  And I'm super happy that she has finally started reacting when he gets home at the end of the day and runs to him like Evelyn does.  But let's be honest, Evelyn was all Steve's from the beginning, so it's nice that Vivian turns to me.

2. She is a cuddle bug!  She has this adorable little way of snuggling up right under your chin, but then she will pop back up to look at you and smile.  It's like she wants to know that you're happy she's there and she wants you to know she's happy to be there.

3. She loves to dance.  Put some music on and she's bopping up and down, usually in her trademark stance, which is down on one knee.

4. When given the chance she will make a break directly for the stairs and be half way up before you realize she's gone.  This is always interesting since Evelyn can open the door we use as a barrier.  

5. When she gets to the top, she turns around and closes the gate.  Safety first you know.

6. And speaking of closing the gate, nothing that opens or closes is safe.  Drawers, cabinets, the DVD door...

7. When she isn't looking for things to open, she's eating paper.  Toilet paper, tissues, receipts, her sister's art projects...

8. Don't try to feed her anything that she can't pick up and feed herself.  This makes things like yogurt and applesauce interesting.  Cottage cheese though...she will go to town!  

9. She goes nuts for a soft, cozy blankie.  We will often put one down on the floor and she flops right down on it and starts rolling back and forth and pulling it over herself.

10. When she gets mad, I mean really mad, she pulls off her socks.  Like she's staging a protest.  You're going to make me take a nap?  I'm ripping my socks off and throwing them on the floor.  Take that!  And when she gets really, really mad.  She poops.

And a bonus...

11.  When she happens upon a pair of her sister's underwear on the floor, this always happens...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sleep Update

A while back I posted about the sleep troubles we have been having at our house.  Since then I have received two products that made a real difference in our lives, and helped put us on track for full nights of sleep.  

The first thing we got was a Zippity Zip sleep sack.  My mom saw it on Shark Tank, and said the sharks ate it up.  According to the reviews on the site, it's a must have product and solves all sleep troubles.  The basic premise is that it's a sleep sack, but it allows for less movement, particularly when babies startle in their sleep.  Vivian's sleep trouble started when we moved her to the crib and she started rolling, so it made sense that she was probably waking herself up with her movements in her sleep.  

We got our Zippity Zip and instantly Vivian's sleep pattern increased to a five hour chunk of time, and then quickly to a seven hour chunk.  This was an amazing increase from the 2-3 hours we were getting.  We then feel into a routine where she was waking at two am.  Around this time my mom also got me a great book: How to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber.  Even if your child doesn't have "sleep problems", I seriously recommend getting this book.  It's very interesting to understand how a baby sleeps and the patterns of sleep they go through.  Evelyn was a good sleeper, but I still would have done things differently with her had I read this book when she was a baby.  

There was a section of the book specifically for babies with pacifiers.  And I know it sounds so stupidly simple, but basically the book said it was time to get rid of the pacifier.  By nine months most babies have outgrown the benefits of using the pacifier by the baby's ability to move around on their own.  And with one kid who's still hooked on her paci, I was okay with pulling the plug, especially if it meant we were going to get longer stretches of sleep time.  It took a few nights, but eventually she got over the pacifier and was suddenly sleeping until 4:30 or 5:00, when she would wake for a feeding. 

Reading the book I also recognized that it was time to change some of Evelyn's sleep habits.  It was time to cut her nap significantly.  She would still go three hours if we let her, but she was up until 10:30, or would go to sleep but wake up at three am and not be able to fall back asleep.  We played around with no nap at all, but she was intolerable by about five in the afternoon.  We learned through trial and error that about an hour was the right nap, and still have a bedtime of around 8:00.  I also need to make sure to wake her up by 8:00.  

Even though things are getting better, we continue to have some trouble with Vivian's sleep.  She cries for about 15-20 minutes every time it's time for sleep - both naps and night time.  It's hard to deal with, but there's really nothing to do about it because she has to go to bed!  I really think she just falls into the "light sleeper" category.  It kills me because I can't check on her at night like I love to do because  it almost always causes her to wake up, sit up, and start crying.  I dealt with the early wake up and feeding for a while, but she started getting up earlier, and was not really eating.  Add to the waking up early the fact that sleep and I aren't always on the same page, and I have trouble going back to sleep after that wake up call.  I decided it was time to sleep train that wake up out of our nights, but we also happened to put her to bed much later the other night, and she suddenly slept until 6:00.  So that's where we currently stand!  Vivian's bedtime has been moved back, and now the girls have bedtimes a little closer to each other, which actually makes life a little easier. 

And maybe, as I start to gain back some sleep, I'll have more energy for things like blogging!  :)