Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 40: The new Monday

I know three day weekends throw everyone for a loop, not just me, but you can imagine my chagrin when one of my loyal readers asked why the blog wasn't updated yet, and I replied, "I'm updating it tonight, because it's Monday."  Of course, this conversation happened this afternoon (ie Tuesday).  So, I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend, and for this week, Tuesday is the new Monday.

 On Wednesday of last week I took Lemon for his 9 month checkup with the regular pediatrician.  In preparation for the visit, I'd received a survey in the mail with a bunch of questions about Lemon's development.  Because I am such a prepared mother, I even completed the survey before we saw the doctor, by which I mean that I filled it out in the exam room in between the nurse leaving and the doctor arriving.  The doctor took the survey, sent it out front to have the results tabulated, and when the nurse came back with the paper bearing the results, the doctor told me that Lemon was "borderline" in one category and "delayed" in another.

Of course, I was shocked.  I mean, he seems totally on par with the other kids his age in his music class, and he started crawling right on time, and so forth.  But, according to the survey, he was "delayed" in social development.  Which is to say that he only says one distinct syllable (ma-ma-ma-ma) and doesn't put his feet in his mouth much (why this is a social skill, only the geniuses behind the survey can tell us).  In any case, since I appeared so shocked, the doctor said she would be willing to delay the home visit (HOME VISIT?!?!?) until his one year checkup, to see if he would advance enough to move out of the delayed category.  She sent us home with a sheet listing fun activities to do with your baby to help with social development.

I was so unconcerned about it that I honestly didn't even read the sheet that carefully, but Papa Bear took it to heart in a big way, wondering if we should run out that night to buy Cheerios so that Lemon could practice picking them up (another important social skill, apparently).  He also launched right in with reading more to Lemon, and harder books.

Whether Papa Bear's full court press had anything to do with it or not, I can't say, but somewhat amazingly, within days of the appointment, Lemon started doing almost all the things on the list that he wasn't doing before, including adding several new syllables to his vocabulary and, yes, shoving his feet in his mouth, most often when his mouth is full of food as well.  We got him some Cheerios and he will carefully pick them up and hold them in his hand.  He puts everything else in his mouth, so why he doesn't try it with the Cheerios I don't know, but I'm sure that will come in time.  With any luck, it will come soon enough that we won't need the home visit after all!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 39: Three quarters

Today, Lemon turned three quarters of a year old.  To celebrate, he worked out an amazing new trick over the weekend:
If you play the movie with the sound turned on you can hear just how pleased he is with himself!  He has been on the cusp of this breakthrough for at least a week, and he finally figured it out at music class on Saturday (I had taken him for a make-up session since we missed Wednesday).  There must have been something in the air at music class that day because a little girl in the class who has been just pulling up and standing all of a sudden took about ten unsupported steps, which was really exciting to watch.  It's amazing to think that in another couple of months, Lemon might be able to walk!

It goes without saying that our lives as we have known them are now over, and we are in a frenzy to at least vaguely baby-proof some areas of our house.  Every object on the floor, and there are just a few, now must be viewed as a potential hazard.  But, the extra fuss is well worth it--we're so thrilled that Lemon hit this major developmental milestone right on schedule.

We had a good visit at the CF clinic on Friday as well.  Since everyone loves a good growth chart, here's one of my favorite ones yet:

You can see how his growth was basically flat from mid-March to mid-April as a result of the April plague.  Then he got better!  We now think that the ranitidine that he was taking between his sick visit on April 18 and the end of last week may have had something to do with that amazing growth, too.  Our prescription for the ranitidine ran out a few days before our clinic visit, and over the weekend we noticed that his digestion wasn't as good as it was while he was on it.  So, today we called in to the clinic to ask them to renew that prescription.  He started on it again tonight so we'll keep watching over the next week or so to see if things improve again.  He's on the borderline for being big enough to increase his enzyme dose as well, but his doctors felt that it would be better to use the ranitidine to get the current dose of enzymes to work more effectively rather than increasing the enzyme dose, at least for now.

The rest of the clinic visit was uneventful (ie, we only saw the nurse, the social worker, the nutritionist, the pediatrics fellow, Lemon's actual doctor, and the clinical study coordinator, all over the course of about two hours).  For better or worse, but given the circumstances I would say for better, we've been there enough now that I actually recognize all these people and remember their names.  They all recognize us, too, and are really impressed by how much Lemon changes between visits.

Just as a reminder, the Cycle for Life event is just a few weeks away, so if you haven't made your donation to our team yet, there's no time like the present!  Please visit our team page by clicking here and make a donation.  You can even make your donation to either Papa Bear or Opa instead of me if you prefer, since I am in the lead at the moment!  Your money will go straight to support the invaluable research that we so desperately hope will extend Lemon's life.  To those of you who have already donated, thank you so much--your support means the world to us!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 38: Mother's Day

Another week of glorious weather out here on the edge of the prairie.  So gorgeous, in fact, that I took a quilt out in our back yard, where Lemon encountered grass for the first time:
The next thing he did (not shown in the video) was to try to put the lawn in his mouth.  Luckily for him, I am fiercely opposed to the use of lawn chemicals, on the grounds that lawn chemicals cause the grass to grow, which causes me to have to mow it.  I did mow our lawn for the first time this weekend, and to the extent that I can keep the amount of time dedicated to that particular household chore to a minimum, I will!

On the indoor front, our new living room sofa was finally delivered, which means when all of you come to visit (and we can't wait until you do!) you will have somewhere to sit.  We got a new recliner as well, but you'll have to discuss with Papa Bear as to whether or not you are permitted to sit there.

Lemon is continuing to get better and better at "army crawling," and the cats are scouring the house for new places to hide where they can be assured of napping in relative peace.

My first Mother's Day was great.  We had a special breakfast at home (OK, I made it myself, but that's just because no one else in the house has yet developed the particular skill set required to make crepes with rhubarb compote and whipped cream), I went for a run, a plumber cut a hole in the wall of our bedroom (don't ask), and had a cold beer on the sun porch with Papa Bear after Lemon went to bed.  Really, what more could you ask for?

As it happens, I would like to ask all of you for one more thing.  I've decided to make a new annual tradition of participating in the Wisconsin edition of the CF Cycle for Life, which is taking place on June 1.  Our team is small this year, because we don't really know anyone here yet, but I hope that over the years to come we will grow into the biggest team on the ride, and also become the top fund raisers.  So, in the spirit of Mother's day, I'd like to ask you to make a donation of any size in Lemon's honor by clicking here.  Your donation will support the life-saving efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease that will shorten Lemon's life dramatically unless we take action now.  I want the same things for Lemon that I know every mother wants for her child--a long, happy, healthy life.  Right now the odds are stacked against us, but you can help change that.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 37: Spring in the air

Spring is definitely in the air in Madison at last.  The temperatures are staying above 40F at night (believe me, it feels like a miracle), the grass is getting green, and there are buds on all the trees. 

On Saturday, Lemon and I went to the two farmer's markets that are on our street.  That's right, two farmers markets, on our street.  Both were great fun although the selection was pretty much limited to scallions, radishes, and spinach.  All were absolutely delicious, however, and hint at what's to come.  I also bought a few little plants, which I installed in our garden this evening (with assistance from the watering can piggy that the previous owners of our house left behind--good of them to do so since I haven't managed to locate an outdoor spigot yet).  There's still tons of space left in the raised beds in our yard, so more is certainly to come.

On Saturday evening, I think Papa Bear and I hit a new level of new-home-owner-new-faculty-new-baby madness.  We had an early dinner as soon as Lemon went to bed, and as soon as we were done I ran off to Home Depot to buy a variety of things including salt pellets for our water softener.  Then as soon as I got home and unloaded the car, Papa Bear hopped in it and headed off to lab.  This is apparently our new idea of a good time...

On Sunday, we met up with another couple and their baby and went on a walk in Madison's free zoo.  We saw all kinds of animals--lion, tiger, giraffe, rhinoceros, meerkat, red panda, and capybara.  Which one did Papa Bear choose to photograph?  The only animal that Lemon was even mildly interested in was the tiger, since it was pacing back and forth in its enclosure very close to him, where he could see it.  Plus, he is fond of orange cats.  After the tiger he lost interest and took a restorative nap for the rest of the walk.

In addition to those highlights, I feel like Lemon is really blossoming now.  I think it took him until this week to fully recover and make up the ground he lost during the April Plague.  He's finally sleeping through the night again (phew!) and eating everything in sight during the day.  He's figured out the army crawl, creeping very purposefully towards objects as much as 6 inches out of reach.  He's starting to develop little opinions about things (mint flavored ranitidine = bad, cat = good), and his range of facial and vocal expressions is growing every day.  He can stand really stably holding on to something with just one hand.  It's a very fun time for me, although it makes me realize how soon he will be a year old and leave babyhood behind.  Is it too early to be nostalgic?