"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."
Quote by: Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Learning new things

Learning new things

Emily loves to draw, which seems pretty cool considering she's only 14 months old, but she really surprised us when she climbed up on this little chair (belonging to Ana) and started coloring today.

This kid's got more concentration than me.

Emily is doing so many new things. Her speech therapist was so impressed with her progress that she thinks Emily may not need therapy much longer. She has started saying "bye" and waving and she babbles a lot now using both vowels and consonant sounds (a very good sign this soon after palate surgery). I have heard her say "night night" and "catch" and she seems to be trying to say other words such as "again" which was just sort of a "g" noise.

She is climbing and walking a lot more now. Here is my little chubster in a swim diaper (we played outside with Ana and the garden hose). She can climb up and down on that toy without falling (mostly).

Her progress is amazing. Seems she wants to make up for lost time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups

Here's the queen holding her cup. This is such a a huge accomplishment for Emily since we basically held her bottle for the entire first year of her life (a bottle we had to squeeze so she'd get the milk). This is the first time she's really had to work on feeding herself, and she's doing a great job. She'll still refuse to hold her own cup, but she's getting more independent with it. She's started having tantrums which are so sad, but she really is learning. She was throwing the cup down if I didn't hold it, so what I started doing is leaving it in front of her when she signs "more" and walking out of the room. She'll inevitably pick it up on her own and start drinking from it if there was no one to hold it for her.

A nice shot of actual lip closure around the spout (trust me on that). Can you see the dimple near her mouth in this picture? That means she's actually getting suction. She can empty a full cup - with the valve slightly augmented - in about a half hour (she puts the cup down and picks it up a lot during this time).

Ana insisted on demonstrating that she, too, can hold her own cup.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Prayers for Zachary

Prayers for Zachary

My friend Colleen has begun the countdown to surgery with her son Zachary (he's in the NAM Gallery) who is scheduled for his palate closure on Tuesday, June 21st. Please send prayers, white light, positive thoughts and positive healing energy out into the universe for little Zachary. Every bit helps. Colleen, you are so strong. I will be thinking of you and Zachary on Tuesday and wishing you well.

Visit Zachary's website to see his gorgeous smile for yourself and sign the guestbook.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Cup Update

Cup Update

She loves to stick her tongue out, especially if she's looking in the mirror. I wish I was as easily entertained.

Emily's gone seven full days without her soft sipp bottle and I think it's safe to say that we're rid of the thing forever. She's now drinking from the Munchkin Healthflow Big Kid Sippy, even though she's still a little kid. The spout is much wider than a normal sippy cup, and since Emily can already drink from a regular paper cup, she had no trouble drinking from it. In fact, I think it's easier then a smaller sippy spout which requires she purse her lips more.

We give her juice in the Healthflow with a valve, but Jim widened the valve so that she doesn't need as much suction to get the juice out. Still, she needs suction so that means....(drumroll)...she's got suction!! She can't get milk out of this cup with the valve in, I guess because milk is thicker. So we take the valve out for the milk and she does fine. She was on a milk strike over the last couple of days - would only accept the juice from the cup, but once we put milk in the Healthflow (instead of the Gerber cup), she started drinking it again.

She's still not truly walking. She can take 6-7 steps at a time, but she's extremely cautious and will only do it if I'm sitting close to her on the floor. She's started standing up and sitting down by herself though, which is a great sign. She'll just do that over and over again and giggle.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

No More Soft Sipp!

No More Soft Sipp!

Here's a picture of Em from yesterday. That little outfit is supposed to snap at the bottom, but she's too chubby and it kept unsnapping. Ah well. It's still cute.

Well, we finally did it. We got rid of the soft sipp post op feeder for good. Emily had been drinking milk from these bottles since her lip surgery in October 2004. She initially refused them and we'd had to re-hospitalize her for dehydration. We force fed her for about two days, which was agony, and then she just accepted them.

After the three week post-op period was over (from lip surgery), she continued to use them and absolutely refused her Pigeon bottles. We didn't have the heart to force feed her again so we stuck with the soft sipps until her palate surgery last month. We'd ordered about eight more of the bottles back in October and we were still using them as of YESTERDAY. But they had begun to fall apart. They are not really for long term use.

This is such big news because it really is huge step for Emily towards normalcy. The soft sipp bottles were always a reminder that something was wrong. People always stared at them when we used them. They also only hold about 3.5 ounces and we were forever refilling them. What's she drinking from now? She's using a Gerber Soft Starter cup without the valve now. I think she is able to get some suction, but when we put the valve in she gets extremely frustrated. Overall, the transition to the cup was surprisingly painless. We'd been using the Gerber cups at meal times anyway (for juice) and so she was already familiar with it. This past Saturday she wanted her soft sipp and got pretty cranky, but after her second nap I put her at the table and gave her some gouda cheese, which makes her very thirsty. She glugged the milk from the cup and we haven't looked back since! I'm so proud of her.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Post-Op for palate surgery

Post-Op for palate surgery

We took Emily to NYU for her post-op checkup from her palate surgery. We'd had to cancel the 3-week post-op visit because she had a pink eye and a cold. She did great! Her palate looks good - the surgical resident who checked her mouth said that it looks like she has no fistula (openings in the repair) and the ENT from the team checked her ear tubes and he said they look perfect. Fistula can be quite common, but the surgeon told me that Emily has less than a 1% chance of developing one now that she's six weeks post op. I guess time will tell.

We took Emily with us to Ana's preschool yesterday for the end-of-season party. She loved this stacking toy so much we may get her one.

Emily's munching on Gouda cheese and cheerios (for your complete breakfast). She loves Gouda - very odd. So did Ana.

We're trying to transition Emily off of the soft sipp post op feeder which she's been using since OCTOBER after her lip repair. She is not a happy baby and it breaks my heart, but the soft sipps are falling apart and you can't buy them anymore. There's some kind of defect. I'm sure I'll be posting more about this transition (probably at 4 am while I'm listening to her cry it out).