Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Milo's 2nd Year At Home & Other Developments

On October 17th, it will be two years since Milo came home from the hospital. At roughly this time in 2008, the little guy was indeed very little. He weighed just under 8 lbs, and, although that seems about right considering his corrected age was about 2 weeks at the time, a lot of his weight was due to edema. He's gained about 17 lbs since then is looking pretty muscular these days. Seriously, his calfs look like mine at the height of my cycling career.

Milo - 14 October 2008 in the Alta Bates NICU, Room 15.

Milo - October 2010 playing on the slide at a park here in Alameda.

It was certainly an up and down road for Milo. Without getting into a catalog of all his medical challenges, suffice to say, we expected that he'd likely have at least some degree of cerebal palsy (CP) or some other more lasting effect. So far, though, no signs of CP or any other significant disability. Although I'm knocking on wood, both he and Maddy seem to be catching up quickly to kids of their calendar age. In fact based on Maddy's latest assessment last week at the NICU follow-up clinic, she appears to be in the "normal" range in most areas for a 27-month-old. Milo had his assessment way back in May. He didn't do quite as well as Maddy -- but the test began 45 minutes late, and the boy was tired and hungry. That's bound to have some impact on the average two-year-old.

Milo & Mom - 15 October 2008 at Alta Bates

Dad & Milo at the Speisekammer Oktoberfest in Alameda, October 2010

A nod to the nurses: Donna, Cheryl, and Eniko bid M&M a farewell on 17 October 2008.

October 2010: Milo rocks his shades and enjoys a spin by the water to see the duckies. Not sure if the little guy inherited my sensitivity to light, or whether he just likes looking cool, but getting him to wear sunglasses doesn't take much effort. He really seems to like em'.

October 2010: M&M along with Mom and our friend Derek clapping along to a polka band weren't sure how the kids would do at a crowded festival with a live polka band, but they did amazingly well. It helped that we had a lot of good friends along who also had similar aged kids. Safety in numbers.

One very recent positive development: Milo has finally decided to start drinking from an open cup. He's a bit messy, but it's a nice change! Up til now he's been very resistant to the idea. Apparently all it took was the right incentive. The boy loves the taste of coffee (not surprising given his genetics), it just took me splashing a bit into his glass of milk. Guess I'll have to start brewing some decaf.

9 October 2010, M&M visit Ardendwood Farm for the Harvest Festival and sample their first ice cream cones. The ice cream was good, but the kids were a little puzzled by the experience. Cookies are still first in their hearts.

Milo & Mom getting a closer look at the sheep at Ardenwood Farm.

25 September 2010: Milo watches Mr. Rogers and engages in a little of the reverse Al Bundy technique.

25 September 2010: M&M frolicking poolside at home.

Maddy & Mom looking silly at Oktoberfest.

Cinema M&M - Playing games by the pool.

The Closing Clip. A few nights ago, a paddling buddy posted a clip online of a group descending the Nevis River in New Zealand (a river I hope to paddle one day). The highlight was seeing Maddy's enthusiasm for the boaters. The bad part was when I asked her if she wanted to try paddling and she responded, "Oh, nooo." The best quote is her inspired "Weeeee!" toward the end.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Two Years Old" & Second Year At Home

A couple interesting milestones over these past couple weeks. The first is that the kids both reached the second anniversary of their actual due date. (Recall that M&M were actually due on September 26, 2008 but born June 15 instead -- a bit a head of schedule.) So what does the latest milestone mean? Well, for one thing, the whole "corrected age" thing we've referred to in the past comes to an end. The idea is that by the time a preemie reaches the second anniversary of their due date, they should be developmentally caught up. Some say it should apply until about 2.5 years, but hey, close enough...

More significant, it was two years ago that Maddy was released from Alta Bates and able to come home after about 110 days in the NICU. (Milo came home about two weeks later.) See

In honor of the big day, here are a few pictures to show how far she's come.

Maddy - 2 October 2009. About 3.5 months old (two weeks corrected age), About 7 lbs, and no teeth for a long time to come.

3 October 2009. Just about 21 lbs; roughly 3.5 teeth; and wearing size 4.5 shoes.

25 September 2010. Looking fly in her pink car and fancy duds. Weight - over 27 lbs. Teeth - too many to count. Shoe size - 7. Haircut - Mom Special.

3 October 2010 - Maddy at the park.

Of course, two years means it was also time for the Alta Bates NICU reunion, which the whole family attended last week. It was great to see several of the kids former doctors and nurses (we missed several who couldn't make it - we'll have to swing by for a visit in the coming weeks!). It was also nice to meet several families who knew the kids and their story from this blog. Thanks so much for following!

Tune in next time for a look back at Milo. In the meantime...

2 October 2010 - Milo on a first visit to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Hiking and snacking.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jumping - the Latest Craze

Above: Maddy contemplates a leap, and does. Milo cheers her on. September 2010.

Obviously M&M are our first kids, so I have no way of knowing whether the jumping thing is a phase or something peculiar to our toddlers. I'm guessing it's pretty common among all children in the ballpark of two. Either way, it's pretty amazing how fixated they are with jumping off and over things. And they're not too bad at it either. Maddy in particular is pretty bold. Though Milo will do everything she does, once he's seen her do it first.

Displaying good form and solid landings. The judges scored this round an impressive 9.5.

Since it's finally warmed up here in the Bay Area in the last few weeks, we were able to get the kids out to the pool. Maddy was pretty reluctant. On the first visit, she wouldn't go in at all; on the second she sat on the side and kicked her feet in the water; the third trip was pretty much the same as the first. Baby steps, I guess... Milo is just the opposite. He seems to think he knows how to swim. He doesn't, but that doesn't stop him at all from wanting to try on his own. He also loves jumping into the pool in keeping with the whole jumping theme.

I managed to find the kids a play structure for the backyard off Craigslist. This one is pretty nice and the kids seem to like it a lot. We'll finally be retiring the little slide for good.

With toddlerhood comes the inevitable tantrums, and with tantrums come time-outs. So far the time-outs seem to work pretty well and the kids are slowly getting the message. One setback, our attention-starved cat really likes Milo and whenever he's in time-out, she jumps in with him -- which of course, he loves thereby defeating much of the purpose.

Above: Maddy discovers the wonderful world of stickers.

It's nice to finally be able to let the kids walk around on their own. They are getting pretty heavy, and they both dislike the stroller. Hard to believe how far they've come.

Milo likes oranges -- a lot! And not just oranges, I stood by stunned watching him eat a half of a cantaloupe on his own.

Milo sits on the ottoman and watches his new favorite show, Mr. Rogers. I would have never guessed that Mr. Rogers would quickly replace the Wiggles, but old school wins out! Kind of nice that they are so into a show that's so much lower key than the Wiggles and Elmo.

More jumping...

Even yet still more jumping...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Big Steps

Milo makes his way up Woodminster Cascade in Oakland - 15 Aug 2010. The little guy made it all the way to the top of these stairs, minus the last three steps. After knocking off 95 percent, he just seemed to lose interest and asked me to carry him up the last few steps. Not quite the Rocky moment I'd have liked, but impressive regardless. It made for a pretty good picture - all kinds of symbolism, eh?

15 Aug 2010 - Maddy hits the slide before heading to the stairs at Woodminster.

Maddy, Mom, & Grandpa - 6 Aug 2010 - Crab House, Pier 39, San Fran.

We hosted Grandpa for a very nice, week-long visit at the beginning of August, and took him on the usual rounds to Little Farm, lots of parks, Fairy Land, and the Oakland Farmers' market. A good time had by all. It's always nice to have an extra set of adult hands to make sure the duo aren't setting fire to the house while Mom and Dad are busy, and the kids got a real bang out of Grandpa.

15 Aug 2010 - Loki & Milo

Most of you probably recall our Loki and his mom and dad, Kat & Jesse. (See Unfortunately, they are moving to the Netherlands in the next couple weeks. The had a going away party this afternoon, and the kids got to hang out together for one last time for a while to come. They'll be missed for sure.

Maddy & Loki

In size order: Maddy, Milo, & Loki

Milo, Maddy, & Loki. Milo shows off his stair climbing skills.

We're pretty well moved into the new joint now, and one of the nice fringe benefits of the place turns out to be the ducks. Lots and lots of relatively fearless ducks. These critters are bold enough to take bread right out of your hand and can get pretty greedy at times. Needless to say, the kids love them. Yeah, I know, don't feed the wildlife...

A quick glance at this picture, and you'd probably assume Maddy was out and about on her tricycle. Turns out she does like to sit on the tricycle and ring the bell, but she doesn't do it often. What she really likes to do is where her helmet around for no particular reason. It all started a few weeks ago when I put it on her and told her how fancy and pretty she looked in her bike helmet. Of course, she does look cute in it, but she's decided to make it a fashion accessory. Given how often she jumps off things and tends to bang her head, it's probably a good thing.

Another step forward: Maddy takes her first ride on the big kid swings. She didn't want to go very high, and there were a couple minor spills (where's that helmet when you need it?), but she did really well and kept coming back for more. That's our girl!

M&M hanging out in the backyard. With a little help from Grandpa, we were able to bring the fountain back from the dead. Unfortunately the kids new favorite past time is putting handfuls of dirt and rocks into it. Maybe they think it's hungry.

Above: Yet another trip to Little Farm in Tilden Park, Berkeley. Fun, cheap entertainment for the kids. For the cost of a few packages of celery, the kids can walk around and feed the cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs - all the standards and more.

Above: A promising start. M&M take a ride on the old porcelain express. Of late they have noticed other older kids at daycare using the potty, and they have started asking to sit on it as well. We decided to give them the chance at home too. We're not expecting an end to diapers anytime real soon, but it will be nice.

Parting shot: M&M head for home.