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We need to teach Lucy Spanish?

February 25, 2009
I mentioned recently that Lucy is going to be starting therapy to catch her up in some of the areas that she is behind. It sounds strange to say this of an eleven month old baby, but one of the areas she is lagging behind in is speech and communication. I won't get into the technicalities of how we know this, but we are needing to work with her on these skills. One of the ways that we are trying to help her is to use baby sign language to help her express what she wants or what we want from her. Years ago when Jack was a tiny baby, Drew and I took a class from the Family Resource center in Eau Claire that explained to us the benefits of baby signing as well as some very simple signs we could teach our baby. Oh yes, we were one of those very eager to learn new parents who thought that this sounded like one of those "baby Einstein" marketing gimmicks. We were teased by some of the more veteran moms in our neighborhood about applying such skills with our baby. Turns out that we have used baby signs successfully with all of our children! It really helps them to communicate their wants before they are able to verbalize them. The signs are simple gestures used to express one or two word commands, this technique was not ment for them to communicate in sentences or spell out words using signs. We have been trying to teach Lucy the sign for "more" since currently she just cries when she wants more of something. We are also we are trying to teach her the sign for "sit". Sit is an important sign to teach her since you all know what happened to her in January.

So last night when we were putting Sophie to bed Sophie declared very emphatically(like she usually does) that we need to teach Lucy how to sit in Spanish!

Drew and I were surprised and wondered why she was making such an out of the blue statement. We know better than to question Sophie's out of the blue statements at 9:00 PM as many of them are stall tactics. Being the tired parents that we are and hoping to get to bed as soon as her door was shut, we just agreed with Sophie that we need to teach Lucy how to sit in Spanish. Frankly, I just thought it was a word that she learned from watching Dora the Explorer and wanted to share her knowledge with her sister.

However, sometimes things are just so off the wall that you wonder where they are coming from. So I had to ask, "Why do we need to teach Lucy how to sit in Spanish?"

Sophie: "Because she needs to learn!"

Good enough, right?

Knowing that I was now delaying going to bed, I had to ask the obvious, "Sophie, how do you say sit in Spanish?" To which she replied like this, and showed us the sign language sign for sit.

Drew and I: "Oh, I think you meant we need to teach Lucy how to sit in sign language."

Sophie: "Sign language, Spanish what's the difference?"

I was not falling for that one! With that I said, "Good Night, Sophie! I'll explain in the morning."

Teeth, Sleep, and Stinky Diapers

February 22, 2009

We have several recurrent themes in our house: teeth, sleep, and stinky diapers. Who could have every imagined that ones life, other than a dentists, would revolve around teeth. Jack lost a tooth recently. Megan also lost a tooth recently. Lucy is getting a tooth. Sophie only wishes that she could lose a tooth so that she could reap the benefits of the tooth fairy(I know how she feels, that is kind of how I feel about the government's TARP money. I think that all of us should benefit from some type of interest rate reduction, don't you!). Lastly, I have a tooth that is bothering me. I guess a trip to the dentist is in order for the entire family. It's that time again.

Our tooth theme goes hand in hand with our sleep theme, or should I say lack of sleep. Oh my goodness, I sure hope that Lucy is not getting the front teeth of a saber tooth tiger. She is absolutely miserable! Every time I go into her room to get her from her crib she looks like she is trying the gnaw her way through the bars. Drew jokes and calls her our little snail because everywhere she crawls there is a trail of drool that follows. We are hoping that those babies pop through soon, by soon I really mean NOW! She is not sleeping well at all which we think is somewhat related to teething, but could also be related to her bodies ability or lack there of to digesting certain foods. We have slowly been adding solids back into her diet, mainly because she has the desire to eat and we do not want to miss this critical window and end up with a baby who has aversions to eating. Like all humans, it is complicated to differentiate what are her individual problems. So, we have chosen what we feel is in Lucy's best interests right now. We are choosing to feed her a variety of foods so that she is exposed to various flavors and textures, but are careful to feed her a minimal amount so that she can maintain the feeding regimen that we have so carefully established. As she is gaining weight and cognitive awareness we have had to make adjustments to her feeding schedule. I wish at times that there was a more precise formula for human growth, but there just isn't so we just keep monitoring her weight and making adjustments accordingly.

Stinky diapers are the result of feeding Lucy solids. Oh my, I will spare you all of the details but sympathise with me please as I feel like I am up to elbows in poop most nights and days. As I mentioned in a previous post, Sophie is not yet fully potty trained. By "fully" I mean that I am still changing her stinky diapers too. Believe me when I say that we are looking forward to the day when we only have one in diapers!

Just thought I'd share some of our issues with you all. Laugh, cry, sympathize... and know we may be tired but are loving this life none the less. As promised, the above picture is Megan's newest smile.

What a mom won't do...

February 21, 2009

I am happy to post that we did not have to shell out any co-pays this week as we had NO doctors appointments for the first time in six months! Oh what are we going to do with all that extra spending money? I was afraid to post about our non-medical week last week because recently my words have come back to bite me in the a** (Look back in our archive at posts from early January and February). Lucy was evaluated for various therapies on Wednesday by our counties Early Intervention Program. Technically this was an appointment, but they came to our house and I did not have to pay a co-pay so this I could handle. We have been tracking Lucy's development with our pediatrician for quite some time, and although she is making great strides in her development, she is understandably behind in some areas. Our hope is that she will catch up sooner rather than later with the assistance of some therapy.
My mom was here this week playing and helping with the kids. Her coming is a great help for me but even more for Drew. While she was here he was able to "catch up" on work related issues and put in some twelve hour days without worrying that I am at home doing it all alone. Since the middle of November, Drew began a new position at his company as well as maintaining his old one. This happened to occur the same week on in November that Lucy was admitted at DuPont, timing is everything-ha! So this means that he has been working two jobs since that time, but this will be coming to an end soon or so he has been saying now for several weeks. He is hoping to transition fully from his old commitment to his new one. We knew that this would be the case for a while when he accepted the new position, but I have to tell you that I miss seeing that man awake.
We tried our best to take advantage of having "free babysitting" while my mom was here, only we had one issue and that was a tiny little red head who goes by the name of Lucy. Like all of our kids, she has what we call severe "mommyitis". She is very attached to me and can barely stand it when I am not in the same room as her, physically touching her, and breathing the same air as her. I know that Lucy' feelings are only temporary because Jack, Megan and Sophie had many of the same feelings as Lucy does and now they are just fine with me coming and going. I love all my kids; however, all mommies need a break every now and then and this mommy really wanted to get out without a child attached to any hip, back, leg, arm, hand... you get the picture. In reality the best way to do this is to go out when Lucy is sleeping. As you can imagine, being anywhere at a certain time is next to impossible when your entire schedule revolves around waiting for the baby to fall a sleep before you can leave. There were several failed attempts at getting out the door at a certain time, but at first you don't succeed try try again! That we did! Unfortunately, we had a bad week of sleep. Fortunately for me but not so much for Lucy or my mom, a baby never died from crying. I planned most of my "get aways" around Lucy's sleep schedule, but much to my and my mom's dismay she never stayed sleeping for very long. However, I did manage to volunteer in Jack's classroom, run to the post office without kids(those of you with kids know what a pain that outing can be with little ones), deliver a meal to a family at the hospital without having to expose any of our kids to hospital germs, go shopping with my husband on a Tuesday afternoon with no kids, and last but certainly not least go out for dinner and a movie on Friday night just the two of us and only the two of us! Of course, while out I worried about the kids especially Lucy, but as my mom always tells me she raised three kids once before! While out last night, Lucy woke up an hour after we left. I fielded one call from my mom at the start of the movie about how to cap off Lucy's NG tube so that it wouldn't leak all over her. After addressing that issue my mom said that she and Lucy would be fine. They bonded over a giant box of Cheerios and Fox News. We came home at 11:30pm and found both Lucy and my mom sleeping in the leather chair with the television on. Who needs lullabies when you have Fox News!

I am on my way to bed, honest I am!

February 18, 2009
Just a quick post to let you all know that we are doing better this week. My mom is here and telling me to go to bed, so I am going to make this very short. Lucy's illness from last week is so much better. She no longer has a fever and that makes all of us so happy! Megan lost her second tooth last week in the middle of Lucy's fever week and I have not yet snapped a picture of that toothless wonder to share with you all. I'll have to get one in the morning when she is awake and happy. Sophie is happy that my mom is hear to give her that extra attention she so craves. I'm not sure that I can tell you anything new about Jack this week. He is, as Jack would say if you asked him, GREAT! Drew and I were able to go out for a Valentines dinner with Lucy of course on Friday night. Our friends watched the other kids for us so that we could get out even if it was with Lucy.
That's all for tonight, good night.

An Update

February 13, 2009
Just a quick post as I am heading to bed ASAP. It's Thursday and Lucy is still having low grade fevers, but is not as miserable acting as she was earlier in the week. She has an amazing tolerance for not feeling well. She has been through a lot in her young life and that has given her so much strength. She has an awful cough that sounds "junky" along with a very runny nose. Her appetite is a little better, she is eating Cheerios again. She is still not sleeping very well, mainly because she is coughing and has runny nose. On top of those two things we are dealing with lots of diarrhea diapers again since going to 24 hour continuous feeds. Today we have gone back to her normal feeding schedule to see if we can prevent her from having so many diapers. We are going backwards on the scale which is exactly what we don't want! Maybe this is more than you needed to know, but hey I am just reporting the news here.

Thursday is our crazy busy day and because Lucy was acting better despite her fever we went on with our normal Thursday activities. She really loves to get out of our house and see the world. Getting out of our house today helped us to keep her mind off of not feeling so well. It was also very mild here in spite of the wind which made it easier to take her out. Hopefully tomorrow she'll feel even better.
PS Just a waring for those of you with flat screen monitors that have great resolution, I wouldn't enlarge this photo as she has a very runny nose!

Things can change in an instant

February 11, 2009
Sunday morning Lucy woke with a fever and has had one ever since. She is not acting like her "normal" self and it has Drew and I worried. We know that kids get sick with stuff all of the time but with Lucy things are different. She does not respond to illness like most children do so we need to take extra precautions. We have switched her to 24 hour continuous feeds until she feels better and starts eating well again. Although she just lays on us, her tone is good which is good sign that her body is handling this. Of course we are monitoring her very closely as we are hoping to avoid the hospital! I brought her in to see our pediatrician yesterday morning to make sure that we are not dealing with something bacterial. As of yesterday it appears that this is viral, possibly a strain of the flu. We are testing her urine for any sign of infection as a precaution. She is not sleeping well which in Lucy's world is the domino that starts the not eating well pattern. We'll keep you posted!


February 8, 2009

This is going to be a rather boring post compared to some of our more recent posts. Trust me when I say that I have never been so happy to write about nothing. We spent our day at home sweet home! Even better, nobody got hurt or sick today! It has been a good day! The kids hung out in their pajamas all day catching up on some much needed playtime with one another. Sophie and Lucy both took naps that managed to overlap one another for about an hour. Drew and I spent our day filing our taxes (I know not so fun but oh so rewarding to have done) and synchronizing our schedules. That is what we did, but what we got out of that was time spent together talking and laughing about the little things, you know those things that don't really matter individually but when you add them up are a big deal.
Overall, we had a pretty non eventful week, which was just fine with us! I managed to get to the Y several times this week to sweat off some stress. Drew spent his week trying to "catch up", but ended up getting further behind as his computer has been giving him grief. We had snow in middle of the week which gave us a two hour delay on Wednesday morning. The kids took advantage and played in the snow several days this week. Megan had her staples removed from her head on Thursday. She was very brave and did better than I think I would have. Jack kept making a big deal out of the fact that he watched her get her staples out and didn't get woozy and faint. Sophie has not made any more attempts at using the potty. Nonetheless, she is eager to go to Target to redeem her prize. Jack lost another top front tooth last night. Thank goodness, that tooth was just dangling and every time he spoke it was driving me crazy. I was afraid that he might swallow it. As for Lucy, she is perfecting her hobby of tube pulling. Tonight we will have to place another tube, I think that this makes the fourth one this week. She is moving faster and faster everyday, now that she is no longer dragging around a heavy cast. She has been having fun exploring the wonders of our basement today after the kids and I spent most of Friday afternoon cleaning it up. If you are reading this Scott and Amy, I had flashbacks to our childhood yesterday when I was threatening to clean it all up "my way".
That's really all I have to report. Just thought all of you would want to know, everyone is happy and healthy!

P.S. I made Sophie put on a shirt before going out in the snow, and also had her change her boots around as they were on the wrong feet as usual.

Thanks to be given

February 4, 2009

We feel very grateful for our friends and neighbors in our life! We are so fortunate to have so many thoughtful people who love and care about our family. Since early December our friend Beth set us up with a "Care Calendar" in which people could sign up to bring our family dinner in hopes of making our life just a little bit easier. It has been such a wonderful thing for our family! It has been so much more than just a meal. It has helped to give me more time in the day to spend with our kids, especially during that oh so critical homework hour. It has eased the burden of having to grocery shop as often. It has given all of us new foods to try. Lastly, it has given Drew and I more time in the evening because we are not spending as much of our time cleaning up the kitchen. We are also so grateful to those friends who have watched our three other children for us so that we would not have to bring them along to every doctors appointment. All of Lucy's appointments have been "important" as we need to have our undivided attention given to each and every appointment. This would be very challenging with four curious children in the room. These same friends love and care for our children like their own, and for that we can not say thank you enough! Drew and I are very often asked how we are doing. Our response is that we are doing well in spite of the circumstances. Our family grows stronger each and every day. At the same time, the reality of our situation becomes more real every day. We are adjusting to our "new normal" and are proud to say that we have a routine in place that seems to be working for now. We feel so honored to have been "chosen" to raise the family that have been given. It is an awesome responsibility! We know that we can not do it alone. We have learned to rely on family and friends more this year than any other time in our lives. So many thoughts and prayers have been said for our family that we have truly been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. We have so much to be thankful for!
All the Marletts
Drew, Nicole, Jack, Megan, Sophie, and Lucy too

We should not be allowed to leave our house!

February 2, 2009

Have you ever had that feeling that you just need to get away? Drew and I were both feeling it this weekend. Usually, one of us is content to stay at home and do whatever and the other is itching to get out. Well, we both had the itch or should I say a rash to get out of our house this weekend! Like I've posted before, we have been very cautious of germs this year; therefore, we have not ventured to as many places as we normally do with our kids. Combine our fear of germs with taking four kids out for the day(one of which is very little and loves to put her mouth on everything she comes in contact with), and you get the picture, it can be exhausting! But this weekend we got cabin fever and needed to get out! We are a family that loves to visit museums, all kinds of museums, but especially children's museums! There is a great children's museum in Philadelphia that recently reopened its doors at a new location ironically called the Please Touch Museum. Yes, for a family who has been avoiding germs we went to a place called the Please Touch Museum. The new facility is amazing and we had a great time exploring the museum! In typical Marlett fashion we stayed until the Museum literally had to kick us out, we may never open a place but we will usually close a place down. After we left the museum we loaded all the kids in the van and off we went to find some dinner. Our criteria for finding a place to eat out goes something like this; nothing fancy or terribly expensive, some place kid friendly but with a healthy kids menu, and it needs to be relatively fast as we are not truly "dining out" we are "eating out" to meet our nutritional needs. We ended up eating at one of our favorite Mexican places, Chipotle, it happens to meet all of the above mentioned criteria. They do not have a kids menus, but they have on their menu a three taco entree which happens to be perfect for our three taco eaters. Chipotle is a counter service restaurant which means it's fast. However, for the first ten or so minutes that we are getting ready to eat Drew or I are constantly up and down getting napkins, forks and knives, drinks, sauces, whipping up somebodies drink, or getting an extra this or that you get the picture. We usually take turns eating, one of us holds the baby and feeds her some cheerios and the other attends to the other kids and manages to get a bite in here and there. Lucy is too small and not yet the best sitter to sit in any type of restaurant high chair, besides that they are always caked in some other baby's goo which is so gross! This system sounds chaotic and probably looks like it from the outside, but it works for us! That is until somebody needs to go to the bathroom. In this case it happened to be Sophie who is not really potty trained yet, but was obviously in need of going to the bathroom! I could write an entire post on this subject but will spare you the details. Drew first offered to take her but came back soon after saying that the men's room had no diaper changing table, and two he grabbed one of Lucy's size 1 diapers instead of a size 6 diaper for Sophie. So off I went to the Ladies room with Sophie who was saying in her usual tone of voice that the diaper daddy put on her was falling off and she needed to go potty! When in the ladies room I noticed that they did not have a diaper changing table either so here came her moment of truth, she needed to try to go on the potty! Sophie is so stubborn and difficult to persuade, but we had very few options available to us at the time and she obviously needed to go. So, I did what any mother would have done in this situation, I bribed her big time! I told her that we would march right across the parking lot to Target and I would let her pick out any kind of "big girl underwear" she wanted if she would just poop on the potty. I even threw in a pair of shoes that light up. Yes, I did! Lowe and behold she did it, she pooped on the potty and was so excited to tell the rest of the family what she had just done and where we were about to go next! F.Y.I I have a thing with public rest rooms that have no changing area and whose soap and paper towel dispensers are too high for the average little person to reach. I won't even get into the heights of sinks and the types of faucets in public restrooms. All I'm trying to say is that a small majority of the worlds population are children and they probably frequent a bathroom more than the average adult so couldn't they make them just a little kid friendlier? I'll just leave it at that. By the time we were done in the bathroom Drew and the kids were done eating and Sophie was anxious to go to Target and get her prize. I decided to pack up the rest of my dinner and eat it later because it was obviously time for us to make our exit. The kids were getting their coasts on and I was putting Lucy into her car seat when Megan, who was swinging in between two bar stools that were cemented to the ground, fell and hit her head on the foot rest of one of the bar stools. Megan is very tough so when she cries you know she is truly hurt. She came over to me and buried her head in my chest and started to cry, you know that cry where no sound comes out of their mouth for thirty or so seconds, that kind of a cry. I kissed the top of her head where she hit it and held her tight so that she would not disturb the entire restaurant with her crying when Drew looked at me and said "Why is your face covered in blood?". Oh my gosh, I looked down at Megan's head and notice that she had split open her head. The head bleeds a lot, and a lot of bleeding it did! Jack is so much like his dad in that he can not handle blood or seeing someone in pain. So guess what, he collapsed on the floor when he realized what had happened, I am not kidding! Drew picked him up and laid him in on the booth where we were seated, and I took Megan into the bathroom to assess the situation. I realized very quickly that this was going to need stitches! Change of plans we needed to find the nearest hospital ER and put our outing to Target on hold. Because we were in Philadelphia, we headed to CHOP where we knew they would be able to take care of us. Yes, you read correctly, we went to the ER at CHOP. When we arrived we were lucky in that they were not very crowded, but they did warn me that they had several cases of R.S.V and so we should put a mask on the baby. There is really only one other place we could have gone that has more germs than the Please Touch Museum and that was the CHOP ER. I feel like all attempts at germ control went out the window in one day, hopefully we did not pick up any souvenirs from our outings if you know what I mean. Can it get any worse...actually a little. While Megan was in triage, Drew came in with the other kids. Sophie managed to slip on the floor and hit her head on the door frame of the triage room, I kid you not I am not making this up! She got an enormous "goose egg" on her head or what they call a hematoma in medical terminology. The triage nurse was surprised to see her head and commented on how that has never happened before. I told them that the sooner they fix Megan's head the better for them and us, as things were really starting to go downhill fast! Two ice packs(one for Sophie and one for Megan), several piles of gauze, two Litacane gel applications, two staples in Megan's head, one Popsicle, and four stickers for being very brave later we were on our way home! I must say that I was a little nervous about our drive home as we were not having the best of luck yesterday. Drew and I commented on how we feel like we must be on Candid Camera or something. If you know something we don't, could you please let us in on it! All of this just because we needed to get out!