Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And now a splint (and a much-needed break)

Ha ha! Get it? Break? I amuse myself sometimes...see the end of this post about the much-needed break.

Six weeks have passed since I saw my daughter fall 7' and land with a sickening thud on the ground, breaking her arm in the process. I still flinch when a snapshot of that day passes through my head. Fortunately, young bones heal. Unfortunately, they don't always look pretty in the process. Lucy's cast came off today and the doctor did warn me that her arm would still look crooked and will stay that way until she "grows out of it" and it straightens. He recommended we keep it in a splint for at least 2 more weeks as it is still quite fragile and tender. We go back in 6 weeks for a followup just to be sure all is still going well.

In the meantime, shouts of "SAM!" rang out as Lucy and Kate spotted him in the hallway. He quickly set to work removing Lucy's cast.

You can see that it is still bent right below her wrist. That is where the bones are trying to grow back together.

Next up were x-rays. Kate was delighted to stand behind the wall with the x-ray tech and watch the pictures pop up on the screen while I stood in the room with Lucy and held her arm straight. Although it still looks pretty broken to me, the doc said it looks great with lots of new bone growth.
This angle shows where the bend occurs in her arm, causing it to still look a bit broken.

Lucy, ever the smiley trooper, was thrilled to have a splint. She was afraid to not have anything on it as it is still quite tender (and the skin is pretty sensitive too since it was 6 weeks in a cast) so the splint gives her a sense of security.
Kate was just happy to be having lunch!
Now for a bit of blog housekeeping: we are long overdue for a vacation around here so we are headed to FL for a bit. Len will be with us some of the time but alas, still has to work so will be back and forth unfortunately. As for the blog, I am taking a break from writing while I'm gone. That means that the Heart and Love Letters that are due in August will not be written (gasp!). I am torn b/c it will be the FIRST time I have completely missed a month. But honestly, I need a break from the internet. With that in mind, not only will the blog be neglected but FB and email will be as well. My brain and soul need to slow down and I find that constant scrolling through FB, email and blog rolls only distract from that.

I will return, hopefully refreshed and full of new stories, at the end of August. Enjoy your summer!

Monday, July 21, 2014


All I can say is thank goodness for waterproof casts. This summer would have been interminable without it. Last week we discovered a new, free, splash pad/park, Adam's Park, so we packed a lunch and headed out. This took up all of an afternoon!

Lucy's style of sliding is much different than Kate's....
Give my girls a plastic container that once contained Pho soup and they will make their own fun.

The water was C.O.L.D.

One last slide before heading home for supper!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mama/Daughter dates

I don't know if other parents with children close in age or of the same sex have this problem but it is HUGE in our house: a deep and urgent need to HAVE everything and DO everything that the other sibling is doing. I know I felt it as a kid with my brother even though we were 7 years apart in age and there was no way equality could reign supreme. I think in some ways it is easier to at least explain to children when there is an age difference (which doesn't mean they will take it any better tho!). With two children who are basically twins, carving out individual time and attention becomes harder and is met with more opposition (at least by the one who is "left behind").

It had been a while since I've had any alone time with just one of my daughters so I carved out a morning for the past two weekends for just that purpose. It was Kate's turn last week and she had been talking about it for a week...."I'm going to brunch with Mama!!!"....to anyone who would listen.

As soon as she woke up Sunday it was all she could talk about. We ended up at Julius Meinl on Southport which also happened to coincide with a street festival!

So after brunch we walked through the festival and hit the kid's play area. She jumped on the bungee.
And insisted that she would like being in a giant hamster ball set on water...I was dubious but let her try it.

 They push you in rather unceremoniously!
She didn't have as much fun as she thought she would...she got out as soon as the video was turned off.
Bubble girl from Lisa on Vimeo.

She had the most fun in the bumper boat!

Lucy's turn was today and she was equally excited. We went to Marmalade this time.

She polished off two glasses of OJ, 2 pieces of bacon and almost three pancakes!
There wasn't a festival unfortunately but she's always game for shopping so we ran some errands which suited her just fine.

It's amazing how easy shopping is with only one kid. I never realized this when it was just Kate!

We definitely need to do more of this. The girls are each so different and it's nice to get them away from each other, to focus all of your attention on just one child. It's almost like I could see them grow right in front of me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So little

I was cleaning out the girls' closet this week and saw their keepsake boxes on the top shelf. The girls spotted them too and wanted to see what was in them so we opened them up and walked down memory lane. At least I did...they were more interested in the small toy keepsakes I had squirreled away. Curious to see how they have grown, I had them pose with their first outfits.

Lucy's is the one she was wearing when she came into our family. Actually, this is only 1/3 of what she was wearing on that hot summer day. This was the middle layer.
And these were her overalls. She wanted to try them on... Other than length, they still fit!
Compare to this in China, Sept. 2011:
Then came an explanation about split-pants...
What one sister does....
Then we got into Kate's box.
She was 5 1/2 weeks early so preemie jammies were in order.
Next up was a sweater from my friend Maggie. It wouldn't go over her head and the booties she used to wear would only fit on her hands.
And here, just chillen',  at 9 months old.
She dug deeper and found this dress from Uncle Ry Ry. Surprisingly, it worked as a top!
Again, at 9 months...
'Tis true, the saying, "The days are long but the years are short."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pediatric Sleep Apnea

I initially went to our pediatric dentist because he was on our daughter's cleft team at Chicago Children's. As we've worked with him over the past almost 3 years, we've seen great improvement in Lucy's jaw and in her sleep. She is not nearly as active a sleeper, she doesn't fall out of bed anymore, she no longer snores, and she seems more rested when she does wake up.

Talking to Dr. Boyd at length at our many visits, we've come to the conclusion that his work in our family does not begin and end at cleft issues. Kate can benefit from his work as well. She looks to have all the issues in her mouth that I had growing up: too small a jaw to hold all of her adult teeth and a high, narrow palate. I now have developed teeth grinding and snoring as an adult which she could develop as well. My teeth grinding, and thus my snoring and quality of sleep, have improved now that I have a mouth piece but Dr. Boyd's research suggests that we have the opportunity to improve both Kate and Lucy's long-term health by using the "mouth jewelry" that I've mentioned in many previous posts.

Here is an interview with Dr. Boyd where he explains the basis of his research and what the long-term effects can be on children.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Love Letter, Month 54

Dear Kate,

You are 54 months old today...an even 4 1/2 years old.
You are pretty happy because you got your hair cut short again this week. As soon as Ms. Patty chopped off several inches of growth, the smile came back to your face and you didn't even complain about all the tiny hairs around the collar of your dress. We tried growing it out for a few months because you kept wanting piggy tails like Lucy but the reality of having your hair pulled into an elastic or worse, having your hair in your face, changed your mind pretty quickly. You are a no muss, no fuss kind of kid...just like your Nana actually. Keep it simple.
We've been enjoying our summer, spending quite a lot of time outside or in the water, just the way you like it. Since one of your favorite things to do is to "find shiny objects", panning for gold was right up your alley. You did this for nearly 45 minutes and then came back for another round after doing some of the other activities...
like riding the ponies, your 2nd favorite activity.

 Strawberry picking was yet another popular adventure as it involved both finding bright red objects...

and then eating them!
But your favorite thing to find is money, and let me just say, you are quite good at it. You have amassed nearly $6.00 in your piggy bank, most of it picked up in our travels around the city. You found 2 nickels in Chinatown one afternoon.
Your new favorite day of the week is Sunday because that is when Daddy teaches you about compounding interest. You both count out the money in your bank, write it down and then do the math to figure out what 1% interest would be. He then pays you the 1% which you put in a separate jar so you can watch how your money grows. The next week, you pull out the ledger and add in the new money you have found, the interest you already have and then figure out what the new interest is.

After the 3rd week of this, I mentioned to you:

You know, with all this money, you'll be able to take care of Daddy and me when we get old.
Your reply?
I'm more likely to use it to buy stuff.

It was worth a shot.

Some other things you have enjoyed include anything that goes fast or involves jumping:

Swimming or playing in water is also a guaranteed good time for you:
You learned how to both float AND swim on your back this month.

Although we've had quite a bit of fun exploring Chicago, from the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
 to the Chicago Water Taxi
to art projects

we have had a few doctor appointments for Lucy's arm and I have to say, you have been quite good on these visits. My favorite was when Sam, the cast specialist, told you how long it was going to take for Lucy's cast to dry. You dutifully sat with L, holding her hand, and announcing each minute as time ticked slowly for the next 15 minutes.

It totally reminds me of this scene from Frozen where Olaf takes Anna at her exact words when she says, "Just give us a minute":

[Anna arrives at the door of the ice palace, holds up her hand to knock but hesitates]
Olaf: Knock. Just knock.[Anna just stand motionless holding up her hand; to Kristoff]Olaf: Why isn't she knocking? Do you think she knows how to knock?[Anna finally knocks and the ice doors opens]Anna: It opened. That's a first.[before she takes a step inside she looks at Olaf and Kristoff]Anna: Oh, you should probably wait out here.Kristoff: What?Anna: Last time I introduced her to a guy, she froze everything.Kristoff: But...but...oh, come on! It's a palace made of ice! Ice is my life!Olaf: Bye, Sven.[Olaf turns to step inside but Anna stops him]Anna: You too, Olaf.Olaf: Me?Anna: Just give us a minute.Olaf: Okay.[as Anna walks inside Olaf starts counting down the minute]Olaf: One...two...three...four...

Your climbing skills have improved dramatically which mostly means that you aren't as fearful of heights as you used to be and you have more confidence in your abilities.

I also think that a lot of has to do with the fact that Lucy is not competing with you in this arena right now. Lucy's broken arm has kept her from taking the lead in some of the more physical aspects of play, allowing you to take charge and set the pace. While you can do most of what Lucy does, you are much more methodical in your approach. With Lucy not setting the pace, you are more willing to test yourself.

It is a hard lesson to learn, not to compare yourself to others...one that you will probably have to re-learn several times over the course of your life. I hope that this short window of time has planted a few seeds of self-confidence, a trust that you will find your own way of approaching challenges and that it is okay to do things differently than others....a confidence that you already exhibit with me on occasion:

Me: Look at the rowers on the water.
You: I want to focus on the geese.
I love that you have brought so much fun(ny) into my life.



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