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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This weekend, as beautiful as it was, we locked ourselves in the house. A few months ago Arianna's daycare teacher was potty training her son and Arianna showed interest, so she started potty training her too. She was successful there! At home it was a different story - she wouldn't sit on the potty and was wetting herself often. So we took a break. This past weekend we decided to try again.

I picked up this book at and both Shawn and I read it cover to cover - its only about 50 pages and most of it is real common sense stuff. It advocates a very positive reinforcement to potty training over the course of 3 days.

I'm happy to say that by the end of the second day Arianna had gone both pee and poop in the potty and by the end of the 4th day was more successful using the potty than not. This morning marked day 5 and she started the day with no accidents (a first!).

We threw away her diapers as was advocated by this book - she doesn't even wear them to bed. She still has accidents in the middle of the night, but with time it will get better, and we've already noticed a big difference. She will nap during the day and stay dry! We're having such good success with this book that I wanted to make a post to tell others about it. We were really clueless about where to start and this book laid a good foundation. I can't say we follow it word for word but instead have adapted it to our needs and its worked well.

Our reward system includes candy corn, jelly beans and stickers - she is very proud of herself when she goes pee and poop and is giving us many good signs. Her daycare teacher is continuing the great work we are doing and Arianna does great in her care during the day. I couldn't be happier with how well she is doing.

My mom tells me I was 4 before I was potty trained and it looks like by the time baby #2 arrives we'll have only one in diapers - that's amazing to me!

...2 now...

Today was Arianna's due date. May 28th, in 2006, fell on Memorial Day weekend - would have been nice to make it that far. We ask Arianna (or awinanna as she calls herself) how old she is and she always replies with "I'm 2 now!".

We met with her nutritionist yesterday and it looks like we may be saying goodbye to her soon. Arianna weighed in at 24 lbs. 4 oz. I trust this scale because we've been using it for months. I don't trust the GI docs scale - how can she gain 2 whole lbs. in 3 weeks when we haven't seen any change in her eating? She couldn't have. I'll stick to the nutritionists scale.

As of right now she's back to where she was at a year old - 15th percentile for BOTH height (33") and weight. It took us 15 months to get back there, but we did it - and she looks FABULOUS for it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Milestone #1

Did you notice?

I made it to 24 weeks today... not something to celebrate, for me, because it was never my goal - but I made it! Since everyone always says that everything happens faster with subsequent pregnancies I was worried about delivering even earlier (and still am) but I've made it to 24. Here's to another 11 without complications!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Mother's Day! I thought I'd post some pictures of how we spent ours:

Arianna and Mom in the backyard (she's practicing for new brother/sister with her baby doll)

Arianna enjoying her new slide!

Checking out her new Elmo picnic table set!

Arriving home after dinner with grandma and grandpa (isn't she adorable?!)

Her first night in her new toddler bed, and she did great!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Arianna Update

I've been negligent about posting here and I'm sorry for that.

Yesterday Arianna was released by another specialist - Gastroenterology. She hasn't been on Prevacid since just before March and at this appointment, although she hadn't put on any weight (still just under 23 lbs.), she grew 3" in height! Wow! Her feet grew 3 sizes in that time too, so we're finally doing some growing. I have noticed that her pants no longer drag on the ground, which is good!

We've become much more lax with her lack of weight gain lately. She eats really well - almost anything you put in front of her. I'm very guilty of not making enough veggies for her to eat during dinners - but I'm such the anti-stereotypical pregnant woman right now - housecleaning and cooking are the FURTHEST things from my mind... I could totally care less about that stuff. But she's also very active and spends a large part of her days outside at the home-daycare and at home. We've been slowly accumulating more and more outdoor items for her to play with/on. So even though she's still in the 1-2% on her actual chart for weight, we're not too concerned because she still looks good and eats fine. There has been some research pointing to problems with glucose regulation in preemies that put on a large majority of weight in their 2nd year, so I won't push calorie intake any more than she wants. Even her nutritionist tells us to take cues from her - she's doing really well otherwise so don't push it or she'll develop bad habits.

Tomorrow EI comes back to the house for another PT evaluation. Arianna is doing much much better with her gross motor but is obviously very behind other kids her age. She's very clumsy running and very slow doing anything that requires a lot of muscle coordination (walking up stairs for example). But she'll climb up the metal slide at daycare and climb up the little plastic obstacle course they have there - things she would never do without the intervention of other children. I doubt she'll qualify for extra services but I seriously doubt that she will be dismissed from EI either. We're getting a lot of help from nutrition and its obvious she's still gross motor delayed.

On other fronts her fine motor skills are really coming along great! We've been working on coloring much more the past few weeks and she's come very far - she'll actually color in the general area of a picture that I direct her to color (color Big Bird's beak) and pretty much stay in that area. We're still working on colors right now - this week is the color red which she has yet to identify when I ask her what color the crayon/marker/object is etc. She's counting really well now. We work on counting nearly every day and she's doing wonderfully with that - counts up to 20 with help but to 13 without any help at all. She actually corrects the other kids at daycare when they get it wrong. She knows all her letters in uppercase and we're working on lower case letters too - she's so cute when I ask her what the letters are too "oh, that's Big A and lil' A Mama!". She'll even sing the "ABCs song" all the way through now! She's got a wierd love of nursery rhymes right now and asks us to sing them all the time - so we finally got some CDs from the library because we got sick of singing them all the time. A car ride without one of these CDs is NOT fun! "TD (aka CD) Mama. Three Blind Mice peeze! Bus... Mama... play bus peeze!" (Bus is "The wheels on the bus" song).

She's unbelievable fun now and its making my pregnancy really fun. Sounds odd huh? If Arianna was still in her 'whiny, annoying, sick baby' phase I would be dreading a lot of my pregnancy and the pending 'bundle of joy'. But she is really an amazing joy to be around now - she's so smart and funny. She makes me laugh every day. Although the memories of her early days haunt me I am very encouraged by the amazing, fun little lady she has become. I'm very excited for the fall when I'm home with her because of all the bonding experiences we can have. She's a giggle machine right now and its the one thing that is sure to bring a smile to my face during the day!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Preemies in school

I have been doing more reading in the preemie internet community and have seen alot more talk about 'wait until your preemie gets to school to see the problems s/he has'.

This got me wondering. Why does that matter? Why does it matter that s/he is not on equal footing with peers of their age range? Why does it matter that s/he has many disabilities that could be a part of their early birth?

It matters because we are trying to fit our children into a pre-determined mold. We are trying to make them like everyone else instead of tailoring their learning experience to their individuality.

This is something I have struggled with lately - mainly because I've watched how much faster Arianna is picking up her preschool curriculum than the older children at her home-daycare. I'm very worried that when she starts school she will be smaller than all the other kids yet be more advanced academically and as a result will waste time in school where she could be learning more rather than waiting for everyone else to catch up to her.

She will be 2 years adjusted at the end of the month yet knows all her letters and counts to 20 on a regular basis - she actually corrects the other children when they get it wrong. She knows many nursery rhymes and will sing them (or demand we sign them to her: "Mama, sing Three Blind Mice peeze"). This is wonderful - I'm so glad she is learning so well and loves it! But at the same times its not wonderful - she is not at a maturity level for that type of learning environment. Much like myself. I was always academically on par with my peers but socially immature and I suffered for it.

I already know Arianna and I are very different people personality wise - she won't be a push-over like I was. She is very much a girl in a number of ways but she won't be a blubbering mess if someone says something mean to her - she'll usually be mean right back, which is great. But I don't want her academics to become stale because everyone else has to 'catch up' to her.

What's the solution? Not enrolling her in preschool for starters.

I will be leaving my job when the new baby arrives to stay home and will work on all the typical preschool requirements with Arianna on my own. She will do great with one-on-one learning, that much I know. But what happens when I have to release her to strangers who won't show the same love/enthusiasm/dedication to her learning that I do?

I don't know, but as each day goes by homeschooling looks better and better. There are many obstacles to overcome (social stigma for one, there are very few homeschoolers in my area) and my own personal apprehensions to work through but it does seem like an ideal solution to a problem that many parents face - prematurity or not.

Tailor the environment to your child rather than forcing them into a mold that they will never fit.