Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to school?

Parenting is emotionally draining some days. Or weeks. Or months. Or maybe it just stays like this all the time. 

Since we’re not so worried about Millie these days, lately I’ve been worried about Lola. She starts preschool next week. Preschool! And I have this ever-nagging fear that her preschool teacher will call me two hours after I drop her off to tell me I have to come get her because she’s just not ready.

I know we can’t do anything about it. We talk about how much fun it will be, what it will be like, the friends she will meet, etc. But I just don’t know how she is going to respond. She can be so timid in new situations, so fearful…

But then she also has times when she just is completely open to new people and ideas. She met a friend at the park the other day, for the first time really. Not that she doesn’t have friends at day care, but this was a quick, spur-of-the-moment kind of friendship. A little girl was playing and asked Lola to play with her. Lola ran over to me, told me and said she didn’t want to go make friends. Then my cell phone and it was work and I got distracted for a few moments. When I looked back, Lola was running around and playing with this other girl. It was so very nice to see. In fact, we were going to head home in about 5-10 more minutes, but we stayed for another 20 or so just so she could play longer.

That’s a good sign, right?

Tonight is preschool orientation. While parents are meeting in one room, they take the enrolled children to another room to play games, do activities, etc. I kind of think of this as a mini test run, but at the same time, it’s not going to be the same situation. It will be right after day care so Lola will already have had a full day of stuff. I expect her to be a little unsure of the whole situation.

But I hope it goes well.

We will see…

In other family news, look what Millie has learned! (Please ignore her mother’s squeaky voice at the end…)

So proud!

The only problem with it is she is now waking up screaming at 2-3 a.m. because she got to sitting and doesn't know how to get back down. I remember Lola doing this when she learned to pull herself to standing, but not sitting.

I also tried to get some pictures of the two girls together outside.

This one is my favorite. I can't describe how much Millie loves her sister. No one can make Millie belly-laugh or giggle like Lola can. When Millie is having an "off" moment at daycare, Lola is just asked to go over and smile at her and all is OK. Not that she doesn't love Ray and me, but the love that this little girl has for her older sister is just awesome.

Life is good.
- Bethany :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012


"Mommy!" a not-quite-whiny-but-getting-there voice called to me from across the hall. "I don't wanna play with 'Milia anymore. She keeps taking all the toys."

Music to my ears.

Millie has blossomed in the last few days. I can't say that she is crawling or walking yet, but she has made strides toward both. On Friday, she got up - voluntarily - onto all fours and started rocking back and forth. On Saturday, she wanted to stand. And she even thought about beginning to cruise along the furniture a little bit.

Between all that and having learned how to scoot her bottom all over the place, nothing is safe anymore (on ground-level anyway...), including Lola's toy stashes.

For the first time, I realized we actually will have to start baby-proofing soon (like yesterday).

Actually, we've had a row of "firsts" around here lately.

For Ray's birthday (18 days ago...), Lola wanted to color him a picture. And she drew her first-ever family picture.

(Lola is in the upper left, Ray is to her right, Mommy has purple hair and Millie is lying down at the top, taking a nap. The swirls on the bottom right is Lucy, the cat.)

After that, she colored her first rainbow (which, of course, was surrounded by stamps of Cinderella's

The girls, while we were in the Cities, took their first-ever jogging-stroller rides in their cousins' stroller. And I loved it so much I had to go get my own (at 11 p.m. via Craigslist to some neighborhood in the Cities - I don't think my mom was too thrilled with that decision...)

I tried on my wedding dress for the first time. We were comparing mine against Lola's "Rapunzel's-getting-married" dress). About my dress, Lola was not overly impressed; she kept telling me hers was much prettier.

It's been a good few weeks.

- Bethany :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

a recap, a wee bit late

This is probably old news by now, but I thought I should document it nonetheless.

Our trip to the Cities went well, more or less. The girls and I had a great time with family, although five days away from Ray was a little hard on us (OK, probably just me – the girls had a great time seeing their grandparents).

Anyhow, Millie’s appointment. It went well. I think. The neurologist didn’t seem overly super duper worried about her. She noticed a few things, maybe four or five, that were concerning, but, overall, she said she thinks she is simply developmentally delayed. She did not seem to suspect any specific disorder or syndrome (or at least she didn’t say so) and did not see more common signs of a more serious problem (cross eyes, lopsided smile, etc.). She did suggest having a swallow study done for her eating issues but the therapist here is going to wait on that a bit; she thinks Millie’s feeding problems are more texture-related than mechanical.

So what’s next? Well, the neurologist ordered an MRI so she could look at Millie’s brain stem. So, next month, on 9/11 to be exact, Millie will go in and be sedated in advance of an MRI in St. Paul. The MRI is at 6 a.m. and then we have an appointment that afternoon with the neurologist, who will go over her results. If everything is clear, we probably will not be seeing the neurologist on a regular basis. If it’s not clear … well, we didn’t actually discuss that. The neurologist seemed to expect that the MRI will be clear. As do I.

How do I think the appointment went? Well, I was somewhat disappointed to not get any “answers,” but, honestly, I didn’t really expect them either. That said, I am glad that the MRI is being done so we can have more information.

I am not, however, looking forward to having my baby sedated. At all. I know it’s probably quite common and standard procedure – and I certainly understand that you can’t tell a 13-month-old to lie perfectly  still – but the idea freaks me out a bit. So, Ray will be coming with me for that one. It was super nice having Ray’s mom with me for Millie’s neurology appointment, but I know I’ll need Ray at my side for this one…

Back at home, things are good. We’re now in the middle of our first week of five-a-week therapy sessions and, thus far, things are going well. I’m actually kind of adapting to this as my new normal. Sometimes I bring Lola with me and we have one-on-one time while Millie is in therapy; other times, I have to go in with Millie or at least be available, so I get some mommy time to myself.

On another topic, yesterday was Primary Election Day. For work today, I was going from polling place to polling place, just taking in the nice weather and happy to be out of the office for an hour or so when I heard that someone at work had gone home ill. And I immediately recalled the last “big” election year two years ago when I missed primary election day because I was in the process of miscarrying. So long ago... The worst day, as Ray refers to it. 

Yet, here we are two years later with our Silly Millie and our perfect little family.

It all worked out then; this stuff with Millie will all work out in the end, too.
- Bethany :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

a new chapter

We're about to enter another phase in Millie's care, I think.

Things have happened quickly this week. After posting Monday that Millie would be having an evaluation with the speech therapist, I soon was notified of an opening Thursday afternoon. The evaluation concluded that Millie would be going in for two additional therapies a week: one focusing on her feeding issues and the other focusing on her verbal skills. This brings her total therapy appointments to five a week, although they are scheduled as such that it's really only two mornings a week. Those mornings are just getting a little longer now.

We listened and talked with the therapist for about an hour. At the end, we asked if she thought we should, perhaps, consider pushing to see a pediatric neurologist.

This has been in the back of our minds for a while, to be honest. But as long as Millie was making progress in therapy, we were content to continue on that route. Considering, though, her recent regression in speech, Ray and I were more seriously considering this a viable option.

Apparently, Millie's three therapists, too, had talked about it, thinking that at a minimum it would perhaps rule some things out and at least get it noted in her medical history. No one wanted to scare me - the idea of seeing a neurologist is perhaps scarier than the experience itself? - but they seemed to think it was good idea.

But even with their input, I still needed to get the pediatrican's referral. I did that today, calling at 7:30 a.m. sharp to talk to the nurse, who put a message into the ped. Honestly, I expected that it being Friday to not really hear anything before Monday. But at 10 a.m. I got a call from the nurse saying he had agreed and we would be referred to a pediatric neurologist.

From there, my day got awfully busy very quickly. We thought we'd go to Fargo since that is kind of the larger base for our local hospital system. But Fargo couldn't get us in until March (!!!) so we were referred instead to St. Paul.  I was told at about 10 a.m. to expect a call from Children's at some point today. They called 20 minutes later, getting our medical insurance information, a brief history of Millie's development, etc.
I was told that they were booked for "a long ways out" so they would talk to the pediatric neurologist and get her input on how soon Millie should be seen so they could then squeeze us in.

At about noon, give or take, we had an appointment: this coming Thursday.

As in less than a week from now.

Honestly, I'm getting a little more freaked out as the day goes on. A very big part of me - probably the majority - believes that they are just on top of things and want to get us in sooner rather than later because doing so is for the best (you know, "early intervention is key" and all that).

But a smaller, less vocal part of me is getting somewhat scared, like perhaps they suspect something is more seriously wrong than I suspect myself. Do they know something I don't? (OK, obviously, the pediatric neurologist knows a lot more than I do, but you know what I mean. Do Millie's therapists see something of concern that I myself am missing? Is she doing or not doing something that indicates a greater chance that something is more off than I ecpect?)

I have a feeling it's going to be a looooong week.

The plan is to leave Wednesday evening. I was told to plan for a full afternoon Thursday with the pediatric neurologist so I didn't want to make a four-hour drive that morning; Millie would have been unbearably crabby by the time of her appointment.

So how are we doing? Not great. Not bad either but not great. Things are a little tense at home. Not because we're fighting or anything, but we're worried. Even though we're trying not to be.

Yet we honestly believe we're doing what we should  be doing. No matter how the next few days, weeks and months go, we're not going to look back with regrets, wishing that we would have acted more promptly with our concerns.

Good thoughts and/or prayers for the coming days are appreciated. Greatly.
- Bethany :)