Wednesday, December 23, 2009

18 Months!

18 months old just in time for the holidays! These shots were taken a few days late for the occasion but close enough to count.

Milo - 19 December 2009

Maddy - 19 December 2009

Unfortunately, it has only gotten more difficult to photograph Maddy and this was the best I could do. It was either the shot above or this one....

Or this one...

I think I made the best choice best on the available selection of photos.

In other news, the monthly Mr. Bear photos will become a thing of the past with this post. We had originally planned to cut them to once every six months after M&M turned one year old, but at the time they were still making big jumps in growth. It's fair to say things have slowed down since then. The kids are definitely getting bigger, but the month-to-month growth just isn't that dramatic anymore. I'll still be doing blog updates (with pictures) regularly, but the bear pictures will be bumped to once every six months.

And speaking of growth and development, the kids had a couple of big assessments in the last couple weeks. Overall, everything looks good. As of early this week, Milo weighed in at 19 lbs 8 ozs and was 30.5 inches tall. Maddy came in at 21 lbs 9 ozs and 31.5 inches tall.

Milo & Maddy at the Alta Bates Follow-Up Clinic - 15 December 2009

Developmentally, the babies are basically on track for their corrected age (which is about 14 months) with some exceptions. They are behind bit on their expressive language and their gross motor skills in particular, but they have been making some good strides of late. They can both walk now, but not really well enough to call them "walkers" -- they still crawl plenty but their walking is coming along quickly. Both babies will be receiving some additional physical therapy, which has proven very helpful already. Milo remains in the high-risk category for cerebral palsy, due to high muscle tone in his legs, low muscle tone in his mouth (partly why he sticks his tongue out so much), and of course the fact that he had a grade III IVH at birth. The good news is that if he is diagnosed with CP, it appears very likely that he will fall in the mild category. For example, he might have trouble using scissors or kicking a ball -- it's tough to say exactly how it might manifest and we won't know until he's at a stage where it will be noticeable.

In other developments - at long last, the babies are getting ready to make the transition out of the infant room at daycare to join the other pre-toddlers.

Have a great holiday!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Recent Pictures

Today - Maddy demonstrates her new walking skills. She took her first "official" steps the day before this photo, but - as is usually the case - no camera was at the ready.

Milo - 11 Dec 2009

11 Dec 2009 - Milo shows off. Just a couple weeks ago the little guy was only putting together a couple steps, now he's crossing rooms. Great stuff!

A day at the park. Milo likes the slide but loves the swings.

As is to be expected, Maddy is exactly the opposite. She's happiest when she's going down a slide. Hopefully it's a prelude to a great love of snowboarding.

Of course, she likes the swings too.

The standard staged Christmas photo. It took about 40 shots to get this one shot, and in the end we decided to put something else on the X-mas cards. The funny thing is that Maddy loves sitting in the wagon and Milo really does like to push her around in it. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get very good photos of it.

Today: Maddy sits on her rocket car and watches the Wiggles.

Today: Elaine was able to get this excellent shot of Maddy at dinner. She like to use her hair as a napkin. Her appearance is all her doing. Very nice!

More tub time pics.

Another great tub time shot. The babies don't typically bathe together. Frankly, it's a lot tougher, especially since Milo never sits still. In order to preserve Milo's (eventual) sense of modesty, I took the liberty of adding a redaction box just sufficient to keep all the family secrets from public view.

First Steps for Maddy!

Following close behind her brother, Maddy took her first credible steps yesterday (December 11th). She had been threatening for a while, but our policy has been to only declare first steps after the twins put together at least four steps. Maddy put together about 5 for the first time, and it was of course very exciting. Pictures to come!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Steps For Milo!

There was much excitement today during my lunch time visit with the kids at daycare when Milo decided to take his first unassisted steps. He has taken a couple steps before -- usually only one or two at the absolute most -- but today he put together about 5 steps. He repeated the feat later at home (this time about 3 or 4) for Mom.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

17 Months (on time no less)!

For the first time in many months, I'm glad to have finally taken the bear photos on the 15th of the month. It seems like the photos and posts were getting pushed later and later. These days the pictures are not nearly as dramatic from month to month as they were in the first few months, but nonetheless it's good to finally get back on track with my dates. At some point, we'll probably stop doing the bear photos on a monthly basis -- that'll probably be sometime around M&M's second birthday (15 June 2010). Maddy will be happy about that. She can barely sit still for the photos anymore as showcased below.

Above: Maddy - 15 November 2009. This is as close to sitting up right as I good get the Pixie to agree to. I sit her up, she wiggles down... That's the way it goes.

Maddy wrecks the photo set.

Maddy on the rampage, towering over Mr. Bear. "I will not be posed!"

Surprisingly enough, Milo is usually pretty good about sitting still for the picture. By the way, Milo weighed in during a doctor's appointment about a week ago at 18 lbs. 12 ozs. He is still gaining weight, but at a much slower rate despite a voracious appetite. This is typical for pre-toddlers. Until Milo reaches the critical 20 lb mark, he has to remain in a rear facing car seat. That means that who ever sits in front of him will continue to have their knees pinned under their chin to accommodate the rear-facing seat. The little man is pretty tall, but still thin despite a voracious appetite. He's also got a relatively big head -- and occasionally resembles an orange on a toothpick (anyone name that movie?).

Now for some other more easily obtainable pictures.

Above: M&M play with a new bouncy horse gizmo from Grandpa. I wondered if it would be to advanced for them, but they knew exactly what to do. Notice both babies have a nice swath of saliva dripped all over their shirts. Yes, even yet still more teething, Maddy especially.

In other news, M&M are picking up some more words. Milo now says "poo poo" and "diapa" usually together. He also says "nigh nigh" when he gets tired and wants bed. Maddy seems to recognize all the same words as Milo (and even uses a couple signs he doesn't), but for now her words are pretty much just "ma ma," "da da," "hi," "up" and a few others. If they are anything like Mom and Dad, they will both have plenty to say eventually.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mad Skills!

It brings a tear to my eye. The way the kids are coming along, they'll be able to push a lawn mower, a vacuum cleaner, or even a wheelbarrow in no time at all! Then we'll teach them to make shoes and weave rugs, and that's when the big bucks start rolling in. But seriously, the kids continue to make great progress with their walking and standing skills. Although Maddy was the first to figure out how to push the cart around, Milo has really taken off with it. Today was the first time we took them outside with the gizmo, and - not surprisingly - M&M were on a mission.

Maddy sprints down the sidewalk sporting her fashionable knee pads, which were designed from an old pair of Dad's socks. In her enthusiasm to go fast, Maddy ends up falling on her knees a lot. It doesn't seem to phase her in the least, but the knee pads are essential to keeping her smile and pants intact.

Maddy looking determined. Notice her hemangioma is almost completely gone.

Milo stops to look at the fountain. Both babies really enjoyed being able to walk around, and I was surprised to see that M&M would periodically stop and look at things rather than just trucking on by. It let me realize how frustrating it must be to get whisked around in a stroller without ever getting to stop and look at the things that interest you (and without ever being able to say "stop"). By the way, notice our cat Mouse in the background.

Milo practices good lawn mowing form. Yes, all in good time little man!

Above: Milo takes a stroll.

Exhibit 1. And speaking of heavy chores... As most of you who know us may know, Elaine and I generally keep a pretty clean house. Behold (above and below) what's become of us. Hopefully the Department of Social Services isn't monitoring this site. Yes, we do clean up after, and the floors get washed a few times a day. This is just a showcase of a particularly bad moment in the life of a kitchen where twin infants reside.

Exhibit 2. Nothing says neat freak like a trash can on the dishwasher and a recycling bin on the fridge. What's the alternative? Leave em' on the floor and it's a sure bet both babies will knock them over, crawl inside, and make a fort in the old coffee grounds and moldy breads.

Heading into snack time. Maddy examines her tray for any food that may be stuck underneath from lunch. Nope, none.

Snack time. Milo does what he does best, steal food from Maddy's tray. There's nothing so delicious stolen fig bar.

On the health front, both babies seem to be catching a series of colds. By my count, I think they've both caught about 5 or so since starting daycare back in August. The good news is that they've weathered it all very well. M&M remain in good spirits even when sick, though they have had some pretty rough coughs, and the lines of snot have at times resembled thick, greenish yellow shoe laces. Add the fact that they are both drooling machines due to the latest round of teething, and it makes for several wardrobe changes a day. That includes all of us, since the babies love to wipe their noses off on Mom and Dad whenever we pick them up.

We had a bit of a scare last week when I came down with some strain of the flu (probably not H1N1). It was enough for all of us to end up on Tamiflu. Luckily, it only appeared to hit me, and - other than some serious body aches - the virus passed uneventfully. Both babies have received flu shots and the H1N1 vaccine. Hopefully they'll get nothing worse than a cold this season. RSV is still a concern (see last year's posts), but the babies will not be immunized against it this season.

In other news, the kids were due for a visit to the Alta Bates follow-up clinic, but we rescheduled for next month due to concerns over their potential flu exposure. We should find out more about how the kids are progressing and developing then. For now, things look good.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Maddy and Milo prepare for the big Halloween parade on Coast Guard Island.

About 5 minutes into the parade...

Monday, October 19, 2009

16 Months!

Milo - 17 October 2009

Madeline - 18 October 2009. It's very tough to pose Maddy now. She pretty much just squirms down like she did here. This was actually the best of about a dozen similar shots.

M&M at the Oakland Zoo, seen above parked on the Hayward fault - 18 October 2009

M&M hanging out with the giraffes.

Maddy greets the day.

Milo takes a (brief) walk.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Step Forward!

It's not walking, but it's a break through nonetheless -- and it's a good start.

Above: Maddy (at 12.5 months corrected age) bravely crosses the room on foot, ably assisted by a fancy Melissa and Doug "Deluxe" Walker (and no, I'm not getting any kick-backs from the toy companies -- though I'm not above taking some). Milo actually does even better, but he kept refusing whenever I started the cam. Hopefully they'll be doing complex math in time for tax season.

By the way, you may have noticed I've added some nice new features to the blog. If you look on the left-hand side, you'll notice I added a search feature as well as some other functionality. A few parents have mentioned that they use the M&M blog to look at the various issues the twins have faced, and I figure this will spare a frantic parent some time hunting. All ideas I've stolen from Loki Sky's blog (see our friend's blogs).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yet Another One Year Mark & the Big Reunion!

You've all probably noticed a lot of one year marks on the blog of late, and this week we can add yet another. Maddy celebrated one year home yesterday (October 2nd). For comparison, I went back and dug up a photo that I took just a few minutes after we got her in the house last year, and then I staged the same basic photo today. Pretty amazing difference, eh? (By the way: For an interesting comparative read, take a look back at the posts a year ago from about September 25th to October 10th, 2008)

Maddy - 3 October 2009. Current dimensions: 29.75 inches long and coming up on 21 lbs; she has roughly 3.5 teeth; and she wears size 4.5 shoes.

Maddy - 2 October 2009. Dimensions (then): A little over 7 lbs.; no teeth; socks only; and looking a lot less robust.

It's hard to believe that the car seat is actually getting too small for Maddy now. A year ago she practically disappeared in the thing, and we needed to tuck blankets around her to keep her snug. In fact, we bought new car seats today for M&M.

To celebrate this latest milestone, Maddy and Milo got a little something extra with dinner. What else? Madeleines, which the kids obviously liked since they contain the dietary staples sugar and chocolate.

So what was Milo up to a year ago? As you may recall, Milo decided to hang out with the nurses and docs for another 15 days after Maddy went home. But for posterity, here's the comparison.

Milo: 3 October 2009. Weighing in at 7 lbs. 8 ozs. (including a lot of edema) and sporting a nasal gavage tube for feeding. Looks like a whole different baby. The amazing thing is that the little guy had every right to cry and whine about everything, but he was almost always all smiles all the time.

Fast forward...

Milo: 3 October 2009. Weighing in the high 18 lb. range. Along with a much healthier disposition, Milo has developed a bit of a temper -- which he clearly gets from mom since I was a perfect child. Above he is seen throwing a little tantrum while I was trying to photograph Maddy. What would his nurses think? To be fair, he's just getting over a fever, and he's got two new teeth coming in. All in all, he's still a pretty happy little guy.

In other news, we attended the Alta Bates NICU reunion last week. It was a great chance to return and visit with the all the great folks who were so vital in getting Maddy and Milo so healthy and strong. And we also got meet up again with other friends and alumni families.

Left to right: Elaine, baby Ruksana with mom (Preema) and dad; Nurse Janet; Dr. Espinoza (in the shades); and Jesse & Kat.

Janet and Milo and Madeline. We were hoping to get pictures with Annette, Aneko, and Dr. Kao, but they snuck off before I got out the camera.

Krista & Molly hanging out with Elaine and Milo. You may remember Molly and family from earlier posts. Molly overlapped with M&M at the NICU.

Dr. Espinoza, Baby Loki, Janet, and Jesse and Kat (Loki's parents). Kat and Jesse have kept a great blog about Loki, which you can - and should - check out here: It's definitely an amazing story - Loki is a 24-weeker who was born at Alta Bates the day after Milo went home. Highly recommended!

Elaine & Milo, Preema and Dad with baby Ruksana. Like Loki, Ruksana was another 24-weeker born right around the time M&M came home.

A rare moment. Maddy sits still in the grass without tearing her hat off.

Parting Shot...

Since Milo got pretty short shrift in this post, it seemed only fair to end with a nice shot of him not having a tantrum.