Tuesday, June 15, 2010


15 June 2010 - The singing of Happy Birthday. (Bigger celebration to follow!)

Happy, happy birthday to our beloved little Milo and Maddy. Oh how far they've come! It's hard to believe it's been two years since the beginning of the journey in NICU Room 11. In preparation for this post, we began looking back through our boxes of keepsakes from the early days, and we found the original signs posted on the babies' isolettes (see below). We thought they might offer a nice reminder of how far they've come since those early days, rather than rehashing all the babies have gone through. But, for those of you parents out there with a baby in the NICU, it's worth remembering that there's a lot to be hopeful about. Take a look back at the substantial challenges M&M faced and see just how well things have turned out for the little fighters.

Milo - notice his first hospital ID bracelet is still taped on.

Maddy - the little heart on the bottom left was one of her monitor sensors.

And since it's the kids birthday, it's worth taking a moment to again thank all the great nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, lactation consultants, social workers, nutritionists, admin staff, and everyone else at the Alta Bates NICU who helped to take such great care of M&M and make us feel welcome during their first four-and-a-half months of life. The gift basket of chocolate we left probably doesn't quite cover it.

It's been a while and this seemed like a good time to plop the kids back in the rocker for another photo with Mr. Bear. It's been six months since the last picture, and we figured there'd be a pretty dramatic difference. Turns out, not so much (see http://miloandmadeline.blogspot.com/2009_12_01_archive.html). By the way, here is the very first Mr. Bear picture for comparison: http://miloandmadeline.blogspot.com/2008/08/long-march-to-september.html.

Madeline Ava - 15 June 2010

The Mr. Bear pictures have gotten no easier to take. This was the best one Dad could get before Maddy chucked the bear at me, stood up, and started swinging the rocker back and forth maniacally. Ah, age two.

Although the kids are definitely getting bigger, most of the advances are coming in the area of skills and language. Maddy appears to have leap frogged over Milo in that department, particularly in the area of language. Maddy's vocabulary seems to grow a bit everyday, and she occasionally links words together into 3+ word phrases. Her voice is still kind of hoarse and a bit Joplin-esque. She also loves to sing, so maybe we have star a on our hands.

What else can we say about the little girl? She's very, very friendly. She rarely passes by someone without waving and saying "HI!" She loves giving hugs and blowing kisses. She loves singing and music and books -- her current favorite is Is Your Mama a Llama? She loves to say "no" in a deep, gravelly voice to any statement that sounds like a question. Here's proof:

Notice she declined to answer that last question. Very concerning.

Maddy also loves to talk. (Huh, where'd she get that from?) It's really funny. She's clearly trying to tell a story, but doesn't know how to say what she wants, so it just sounds like she's rambling on in some foreign language. Very cute. Maddy is also nuts about playground slides. She loves to jump up and down and is remarkably good at it. She's developed a pretty good sense of rhythm too; she can now clap along with a lot of her favorite songs.

Milo Camper - 15 June 2010

Milo has also made good progress over the last couple months. He's saying bunch of words and occasionally using two word phrases ("all done," "no more," "hi daddy," etc.). He's quite a bit more reserved and shy than Maddy, but he loves to laugh and often gets hysterical when being tickled or when watching the Wiggles. Milo is the consemate engineer - he loves to tinker with things. We have no doubt that by this time next year we wake up and find him taking apart the stereo or some other expensive pices of electronic gear, not unlike Dad did as a child. Milo likes to look at books too, but not as much as Maddy. His current favorite is Quiet Loud. Milo is more into swings than slides, and, though he does like to rough house, he's a little more cautious than sister at the moment.

Like pretty much every two-year-old, M&M both constantly like to test us. If you ask them to stop banging their spoon, they stop, look at you and then tap it lightly to see how far they can push it. Same thing with jumping on the couch or bed (their favorite indoor past time). If told to sit down, they will. But slowly they'll climb to their feet while keeping an eye on Mom and Dad to see what we'll do about it. Same with lifting their plates, banging cups, throwing toys, and playing with electrical cords. Testing is definitely the order of the day. On the flip side, they also really like to help out. Whenever they see us cleaning up, they like to pretend to vacuum, mop, and put things away. The problem with the latter is that many things around the house disappear and reappear in various drawers around the house -- car keys, toys, brushes, pretty much anything portable.

Finally, as some of you already know, we are moving houses this month. We'll still be living in Alameda, but our new place has a yard and a lot more space for the kids to run around, along with some nice amenities for Mom and Dad like a built in dishwasher, multiple bathrooms, and adequate closet space. We're sad to leave our lovely, historic Storybook style house, but are looking forward to a few of life's more modern amenities, too. The move has put our birthday celebrations on hold for a few weeks, but we're planning a party for the kids over 4th of July weekend at the new pad. Stay tuned.