Monday, January 9, 2017

5.5 Year-olds, Kindergarten, and Happy New Year!

5 Year Update


William and Aaron are great!  I haven't posted an update in a while, so I thought I'd share a bit for anyone that doesn't see them on Facebook, or has found this blog through the preemie community.

William is a few pounds heavier than Aaron (45/42lbs-ish), but they're now about the same height again (William may have a slight edge, we haven't had official measurements in a while).  They're both right under 45 inches...moving up in the world!

We've been released from all doctors now except our regular pediatrician, ophthalmologist, and dentist.  All is fine on each of those fronts.  Outside of the NICU and early days, we've been blessed with 3 pretty healthy kids.  Aaron's eyesight continues to improve.  His prescription for near-nearsightedness has become weaker every visit, which is great.  William, however, is becoming more farsighted, so we're on a 6 month visit scheduled for him.  His glasses correct his strabismus, and it's much less noticeable now with them off, but we may end up discussing patching again at his appointment next month.  If he does need it, hopefully he will view it as a pirate costume and not an annoyance!  Big sister Anna started her orthodontic journey this summer, with a palate expander and braces.  William and Aaron will likely follow the same path in a few years.  Aaron especially has a high and narrow palate, which was probably increased by intubation and not solely due to (my side of the family) genetics.

Regarding their personalities - most of what I posted when they were 4 is still valid :) They are both in-your-face energetic and social little guys with an insatiable curiosity for the world and 9000 questions all day long.  They've continued to play soccer the past few seasons, and William is enjoying it more.  He did try a dance class over the summer, but was intimidated by the little ladies in the lesson and did not want to go back :)  Aaron still loves soccer and is very competitive.  William is his biggest supporter, although he did get a few goals of his own this year, which was fun :)  We'll keep playing soccer until they express interest in something else.

Aaron is our future engineer.  He is very creative with his Legos and builds his own awesome vehicles and houses with no desire for assistance.  While Aaron is very affectionate, and Anna is also very sweet, William is the all around sweetest of all three kids.  He says "I love you" all the time without prompting, and gives little gems at bedtime like "Mommy, I'm going to hold your kisses in my heart so that you're with me forever".  Some of the sayings that he comes up with make me laugh and melt at the same time. Anna and Aaron are both more independent.  William wants to be with us, or with a sibling, most of the time, and wants to be involved with whatever we're doing, including cooking or folding clothes, so he's a great helper.

We did start them in Kindergarten this year, based on their June birthday.  I know the trend these days is to give boys an extra year at home, but we felt that the right decision for us was to start them with their peers from preschool.  We got lucky with a teacher who is very hands-on and activity based, and they love her.  They're not at the head of the class but they met their fall benchmarks, and hopefully they will meet the spring benchmarks as well. I do worry a little, because I'm a worrier, but they've come a long way.

For anyone reading this whose baby has IVH, especially grade IV, I hope this is helpful.  All journeys are different.  Ours has been a fairly smooth one, and for that we are very thankful.

A couple of pictures

Spring 2016 Cowboys - Aaron on horse, William standing

Aaron's Fall Picture 2016
William's Fall Picture 2016
Christmas 2016 - Aaron, Anna, William





Friday, July 31, 2015

4 year-olds!

The boys turned 4 at the end of June and they are GREAT.  They have so much personality and they're turning into little boys and definitely not toddlers anymore.

In the past year, we've had eye doctor, dentist, and ENT appointments, but nothing super out of the ordinary.  They did fail a hearing test early this year, which they have always passed in the past - Aaron had fluid in his ears, and William's ear drums were retracted, so the doctor suggested that another set of tubes would fix the issue for both of them, and we agreed to the surgery.  They also had their adenoids removed.  I had put off another set of tubes last year because I just didn't see a need for them at the time, but the failed hearing tests changed that mindset.  The surgery and recovery were successful (but man did William wake up from the anesthesia fighting!  He reminded me of his big sister after her first set of tubes...not fun!)  They'll get another hearing test later this year, but we don't notice any issues with their hearing.

William is still ever so slightly bigger than Aaron - he's about 41 inches and Aaron is maybe 1/4 inch shorter.  William is also a few pounds heavier at around 38lbs vs 35, but Aaron usually eats more :)  They are both potty trained as of last fall.  It was definitely a different experience than with Anna, lots of accidents for them, but eventually it did happen :)  William still wears a pull-up at night because he sleeps so soundly, but I don't think that will last forever either.

The boys are both hams.  They both loves cars and trucks and being outside.  Aaron is generally happy-go-lucky and really Mr. Personality when you get him talking - he's super animated and with his facial expressions sometimes it's like he's really smug (in a cute funny way, not annoying, haha) about what he's saying.  He has the longer attention span and will sit down to try to work a puzzle, and I can see him being more interested in the way things work.  He enjoys the roller coaster type rides at amusement parks, but won't do the one that is darker a littler scarier.  William is the opposite - he likes the scarier ride because it's smooth, but isn't a huge fan of the bumpier/slightly more thrilling rides.  Aaron also has the hotter temper of the two, and is a little more assertive and physical - I also see a future in wrestling!  Oh, and he can ride a bike with training wheels!  We wanted to get both of the boys bikes for their birthday, and took them to the store to pick them out.  Aaron was really excited and hopped right on one and took off down the aisles in the store.  He didn't want to get off of it, we had to pull him off crying in order to get it to the parking lot :) William, on the other hand, ended up with a scooter- he couldn't quite get the turning of the pedals, and wanted nothing to do with it.  He'll let us know when he's ready.

William has a great imagination and makes up stories and songs.  He is very eager to please and is the more sensitive of the two - he has two baby dolls that are his grandsons and he takes care of them, which is cute.  Speaking of his grandsons - William has an imaginary grandson.  Not an imaginary "friend" but specifically his grandson, and his name is Mike, and he lives down the road from my parents.  Mike is generally around somewhere.  William is generally the more daring/impulsive of the two (he's the one I see climbing up the fireplace and trying to fly off one day), and also can be the grumpier one :)  The boys really are best buddies.  They look for each other at home, they play with each other, they are constant sources of entertainment to us and each other.  They're not perfect and they fight sometimes, but generally speaking it's a really great relationship that I hope continues between them for ...eternity.

They are doing soccer in the fall.  We signed them up last fall, and Aaron showed a lot of interest.  William was more interested in sitting on the sideline and eating snacks, haha.  We'll try again this year and see how they like it.  William has expressed an interest in taking dance like big sis, but I don't think he would actually stay in the room the whole time for the lesson.  If he's still interested next year, I'll sign him up if there's a class he can take at the same time as one of Anna's classes...managing activities for 3 kids and jobs for 2 adults is quite the juggling act.

Our goal for this year is to get them ready for Kindergarten in 2016.  They will be on the young side for their grade, with their birthday in June (and due date in October, which would have been past the cut-off date for next year), but we do think they will be ready to start.  Socially, they're ready.  We talk about school, they're ready to ride the bus, they are VERY social, communicate well, etc.  I do have some concerns about attention span and sitting still, but we'll see how this year of preschool goes.  They know all of their shapes and colors, can count, can spell their names, recognize most letters (for me, anyway...apparently they don't always want to cooperate with their teacher, but we are hoping that more days of preschool for the upcoming year will help with this).  My friend's son who attends preschool with them can spell all of the days of the week (pretty awesome for a young 4 year-old)...I asked my boys if they can do that too, as they had never mentioned this at home, and William can in fact spell "Wednesday" (of all of the days of the week, that's the one he can spell!).  So, they're learning!  We read together every night, and they love books.  

We are going to Orlando for vacation in a few weeks, and will take the boys to Disney to see Mickey (they are really excited) and Anna to Universal to see Harry Potter and Hogwarts and Diagon Alley (she has started the 3rd book and is very into Harry right now...I'll be honest, I'm excited about that part too, haha).  I need to put the boys in shoes with good thick soles and fluff their hair so they can meet the 42 inch minimum for a bunch of the rides ;)

I think that's all to catch up on for the past year :)  Really, the boys are doing great.   Generally, we're not very public with personal info on social media, except sharing pictures, so my goal with keeping this blog updated is to provide inspiration for other families facing some of the same things we did in the NICU.  There is a light and a world at the end of the tunnel :) 

Pictures/Videos

Disclaimer:  Ignore any messy rooms, unfolded laundry, etc...life is always in progress! 

Hopefully these links work!

Here's their performance from last night, it's goofy, their new song is "I love my meatballs".  I'd shorten the video if I had time, as probably the first minute is sufficient...William does mention his grandson:  https://goo.gl/photos/N2wcUuLwgHAvnnEM8

This one is from earlier in July, when Aaron caught his first fish and I was trying to get him on camera saying how big it was (true fisherman! I asked him and his immediate response was "This big" as he spread his arms out all the way):  https://goo.gl/photos/QLUKK8npkWxXX7Rh8

Here's Aaron riding the bike for the first time (and William not that excited, haha):  https://goo.gl/photos/Pq9AhnhNFNSA76TH8

I posted this one on Facebook back in March of the boys being hams, but it's cute:  https://goo.gl/photos/9eaWZCw9MShtpUEaA

This one is also several months old from March, but it's a (long) 8 minute video of Aaron "reading" one of his books at bedtime, and William mostly patiently waiting for his turn.  It's not super "cute" or funny but does show how well they're doing!:  https://goo.gl/photos/wtC8k38f7u6b5CQK6

Tennessee Aquarium

William

William, movie star

Aaron & William

Aaron, fisherman

Aaron & William, playing together before bed

Aaron
Aaron excited about his cupcake




Monday, July 21, 2014

Three year-olds!

Okay, I'm about a month late on this :)

The boys turned three on the 27th of June.  They are doing GREAT.  We had a pretty healthy winter, with the exception of a stomach bug or two.   We've only seen a few doctors since the last post:

- Dentist:  The boys will need braces some day, but no surprise there.  They have narrow palates and will probably need the palate expander in a few years to give the permanent teeth enough space.  I'm sure the prematurity contributed to this, but I had one as well so it could just be genetic.  Otherwise, their teeth are coming in fine and are not discolored.

- ENT:  The boys have had fluid in their ears the past few check-ups, with no other outward symptoms of ear infections.  Both have one tube from their last set of tubes still hanging in there.  The doctor recommended another set of tubes and adenoids removed for both of them - however, given the fact that they were not in pain, no fevers, the fluid wasn't infected, etc, we decided to wait. I did not feel comfortable putting them through another surgery without real evidence that they needed it.  It was a good decision (I think) as the fluid was gone at their 3 year check-up and everything looked fine.

- 3-year pediatrician check-up:  Everything looks great - they are growing well, talking very well, running and walking well.  William (32lbs) is about a pound heavier than Aaron now, and less than half an inch taller (37 1/4 inches), putting them both in the 50th percentile for weight and height.  William did not pass the depth perception test, though.  I'm not sure if this is was a fluke- holding up cards with 3-D pictures, the nurse asked him to "Point to the card with the letter E" and all three times he pointed to the wrong card.  While he can recite the alphabet and knows several letters, I'm not sure that he understood exactly what he was being asked to do since he each time he did point to the blank one.  The next eye doctor appointment is in October, so we'll find out then.

Their little personalities are staying true to the past :)  William is such a love bug when he's happy (and a grumpy bear when he's overtired or hungry), and quite the little performer.  Aaron is super smart and cute and makes me laugh.  They are not potty trained yet but we're getting there (hopefully).

We've been very blessed/lucky/thankful for their outcome given the rocky starts.  I still hope that their story is providing hope for other people going through similar situations with their preemies, especially with the brain bleeds.  Have faith :)

A few random videos of their silliness:

William makes up his own funny songs...this one had more verses, but this is what I was able to get on video:



Anna is sitting here as if nothing is going on because she had to finish her dinner in order to get dessert :):



A few pictures from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk:
William, Anna, Aaron

Reading together (Aaron, William)