Monday, February 28, 2011

Piper the rubber doll

I’ve been trying to get a video of Piper “talking” for ages.

…I’ve been trying to get a video of Piper laughing even longer.

And, as is par for the course, I pull out the camera and her exuberance is greatly diminished.

BUT, here’s  small snippet of Piper “talking”.  And giggling. 

Don’t you think she’s EXACTLY the kid they modeled those little rubber dolls from the 50’s and 60’s after?  You know, the now politically-correct ones you shake to make cry?

We cannot help but laugh back at her.  I dare you to try.


It’s weird thinking that we’re further along in this pregnancy than when a lot of the babies in the NICU were born.  Holy moly, I canNOT imagine having a baby a few weeks ago.  We were always SO thankful that Piper waited until she did; I just can’t comprehend what it’d be like to have a 24-, 25-, or 26- weeker.  Every day counts with a preemie!

We still have about another month before Piper came, and I’m already getting kind of nervous.  I LOVE my OB, and he’s pretty much willing to do whatever it takes, he said, to make me feel more comfortable (including every day NSTs, lol- doesn’t THAT sound like fun???).  And I can rationally say that Piper’s immediate decline and failure was probably due to that extra chromosome, but emotionally is a whole different story.  I feel like it may be a long couple of months before this little one makes her appearance…

Anyway, in anticipation of the little one coming, I keep getting glimpses of some of Piper’s early pictures.  She was so teeny and ALWAYS a super cuddler.  She LOVED to be held (and still does)- I keep telling Piper that it’s her job to 1- tell her sister to STAY PUT and 2- teach her how to cuddle.

So, I’m sharing some of my favorites from the pre-blog days.  It’s so awesome seeing how this completely immature little person has grown into a perpetual motion toddler. 

167About 1 week old- still sedated after surgery.

…BUT it was the first day that we got to dress her!  Pink, of course.

193About 1 1/2 weeks old- FIRST time I got to see her without any tubes on her face. 



369Going home!  She wasn’t overly thrilled with the outfit, and she’d had a long day of tests before we were released…  I think the facial expression sums up her attitude quite well.  She was so scrawny!

383Daddy taking in his little girl at HOME.  The NICU decided that since she was going home, surely newborn diapers would work.  I went out and bought preemies, which we wore for MONTHS, after this, lol.

390First tummy time- aaaand the first time she rolled over.  The black thing on the side?  Maggie trying to figure out WHAT THE HECK we brought home.




733-1Around 3 1/2 months old- the little “preemie” (you know the Up to 7 Pounds” kind of “preemie”) dress my mom bought for her to come home in kind of fits.  She probably weighed right around 6 pounds here.  I think this may be one option for this little one to come home in, too.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You never know WHAT you’re gonna get…

Piper stayed the night last weekend at my parents.  It offered me a wonderful reprieve from Piper’s ongoing lack of sleep.  It’s amazing how spectacular you can feel after a single night of good sleep…

What’s even more amazing is that my parents volunteered to take the non-sleeping child knowingly.  Saints, I tell ya.

Anyway, that night before I went to bed, I found these on my email.

No wonder Piper loves going to her Nana and Grandpa’s- princess dress up and doggies?  Oh. Man.

perez 019

perez 018

perez 016

perez 015

perez 014

…although, I must admit, princess dress-up is far less disconcerting than the police cars from the last slumber party…

Fine Motor Confinement

Piper has a little bit of an attitude.

Okay, so she’s somewhat of a stinker when it comes to “playing the therapy game”.  If she doesn’t feel like it, by golly, it’s NOT easy to get her to cooperate.  On more than one occasion, she’s “accidentally” showed us what she’s capable of doing, realizing she’s goofed, and won’t do it again.  We’re working on “compliance”, but, just like with any other almost-two-year-old, that task is far easier said than done. 

So, in order to, ahem, “encourage her cooperation”, Piper now has to do her fine motor activities while sitting on top of a yoga ball.

It makes her focus on something other than the task at hand, keeps her confined, and helps her hold her attention a little better.  She doesn’t always need this much help keeping her attention (as evidenced by, among other things, her ability to sit and read books for hours. on. end.), but for some reason, she just really does NOT enjoy fine motor ANYTHING (except for coloring, finger painting, and, in general, anything messy…)

We really have the best luck when I’m holding her from behind and Becky, her therapist, does the activities from the front.  That’s right- somewhere along the line, my kid has decided that she’s a big kid now and doesn’t need Mom’s help all the time.  She does significantly better when she forgets that I’m around.  Part of me is a little sad that she’s growing up and gaining her independence, but the rest of me is excited that she’s, well, growing up and gaining her independence. 

Not all activities are easily done while balancing on a ball, unfortunately.  Her piggy bank and beads work really well.  We love her stringing beads, by the way (thanks, Nana!!!)- they have a really big “needle” and the beads are easy to hold, too.  Besides, who doesn’t like Hungry Hungry Caterpillar???


However, things like stacking do NOT work on the ball.  Neither she nor I have the ability to keep her still enough to accomplish any amount of building.  So, we work with the Little People building blocks because they stick together and don’t require the same amount of control.  Unfortunately, placement has to be more exact and fine-tuned in order to get the lego-like blocks to stick together, so it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword.

Tonight I thought I’d see what she did with real stacking blocks.


Lo and behold, despite her exhaustion and ready-to-go-to-bed-ness, she stacked.  By herself.  Without the ball.  Go figure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little Bookworm

Piper’s always loved to read.  Don’t get me wrong- she’s always like to sit for a story, and has very often asked for “more”.  She also really likes to make up her own story and tell you about it.  Of course she’s speaking some mix between Mandarin Chinese and French, but that’s besides the point.  (On that side note, sometimes I really wish that the Babble Fish from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a real thing.  I mean, seriously?  Someone could make a fortune…)

The last month or so, though, Piper’s love has turned into a flat-out ADDICTION.  And obsession, maybe.  We’re literally reading 20-25 books a day.  If not more.  Sometimes she likes the same book over and over (and if I have to come up with another set of things to talk about in her Noisy Farm Animal book, my head may explode); other times, every book is off of the shelf.  10 times.  In one day.  “More book, please” is one of the most commonly signed sentences “heard” in our house.  And it helps that “boo” is in Piper’s identifiable spoken vocabulary as well. 

She particularly loves her flappy books because she can read those on her own (supplying her own editorials, mind you).  I will say that the book aisle at Costco is almost as dangerous for Piper to see as it is for me.  How do you say “no” to your kid asking for a  new book???

Last week, during one of our several-days-stuck-in-the-house-in-a-row episodes, we decided to make Piper a “fort” next to her books.  It’s nice and warm in that corner, too, because the heater vent is right there.  Hey- I was willing to pull out ALL the stops.  I was trying to get some work done, and I was hoping that she’d sit and read to herself for a little while (after three hours of stopping every 10 minutes for another story, I was getting a little weary…)

Whatdya know?  She had SO much fun!




I SO love her love of books. 

Preemies and Sleep Issues

I thought I’d pass this information on to anyone who may be interested.  The more I thought about it, seems like there are several preemie moms who are having sleep issues ‘round here.  And it’s not just preemies- research is showing that any little one who spent time in the NICU is at risk, although it’s usually proportional to the level of intervention that they received there. 

A few months ago, our EI team invited me to a training that they’re all going through at Children’s to know how to help kids coming out of the NICU.  Our team, specifically, is going to get most of the Part C kids now for the county and are working on being specifically trained to do so.  It’s pretty cool, actually, because the issues that face preemies are so different in those first six months especially.

Anyway, one of the biggest parts of this part of the training was looking at State Transitions- how kids go into and out of sleep.  Preemies are not always good at making smooth transitions through each step and they sometimes need help figuring it out.  The problem is that if they skip a step, it disorganizes them and they just don’t know how to cope. 

Piper’s sleep has AGAIN taken a turn for the worst.  She was waking up at 2am (and/or 3am and/or 4am…) and NOT being able to go back to sleep.  I was a wreck.  Piper was exhausted.  And grumpy.  And uncooperative.  Last week during OT, I was at my wits end.  Piper was up most of the night, and she was NOT in the mood to participate (not that I blame her…)  Becky and I talked about it for a bit, and she asked what I thought was causing it.  I had thought about hunger (she woke up one time asking for “blooies”- blueberries for breakfast are the BEST part of her morning), so I was going to start there by upping her protein to see if it helped.  But the more I thought about it, the less I thought that was the case.  We tried; it didn’t work.  She’s NOT teething.  She SHOULD be exhausted.  I didn’t know what else to think.

Becky asked HOW she was waking up- and it donned on me that when she has the most issues is when she suddenly wakes up.  Usually I hear her mess around for a few minutes, and she just slowly starts to escalate.  The bad nights, though, she’s just instantly mad. 

I thought about it more this week after Becky and I talked and I’m now fairly convinced that the state transitions are Piper’s issue.  She wakes up too fast, and then she can’t get from light sleep to deep sleep.  And THEN it donned on me that her issues have REALLY gotten worse since she started walking.  That means that she’s getting FAR less sensory input than she was before.  When you crawl, you get input through your palms, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and calves.  Walking, you get feet, ankles, knees, and hips…

SO, the moral of my story is that IF your little one is having sleep issues, it’s worth talking to your OT for some pointers and sensory training.  We now have a regiment of exercises to do a few times a day for a couple weeks to see how it goes.

I really hate to get my hopes up, but…  Piper took a THREE hour nap this afternoon after a session of joint compressions.  I’ve been lucky to get ONE hour for a couple of weeks now.  Please, oh please, oh PLEASE let this help.   

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tales of the Random Things My Kid Carries

I think Piper’s an interior designer at heart.  That would explain why she insists on disagreeing with me about the location of EVERY DANG THING that exists in my house.  And why EVERY DANG THING that’s in her realm of maneuverability is suddenly at risk.

Problem is that I routinely underestimate her strength, and therefore the number of things she CAN move. 

I was more than a little taken aback when I noticed a giant blue streak quickly moving across the house this morning.  A bucket (that was, by the way, filled with balls that are now spread from one side of the house to the other) that’s as big as she is was apparently misplaced in the room-o-toys, and was better suited in the family room. 

And tonight, after she made Luke read her Barnyard Dance book for the 9 millionth time, she decided she needed to take the bucket for a promenade, too.  She was literally dancing in circles laughing at herself.




Now if I could just teach her to put things IN her bucket that need to go back to their mom-approved homes, things would be great.  But somehow I doubt that’s gonna happen any time soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011


We (meaning Luke and I, and my parents, of course- NOT Piper, lol) worked this weekend.  A lot. 

Luke and I started on Friday night, after I dropped Piper off at my parents for the night.  We started getting the basement (which hasn’t really been touched since we moved in here four years ago) cleaned out and organized.  Saturday morning, Mom and Dad came up to give us a hand (since my ability to lift is greatly impeded by the one-and-a-half million contractions I get a day).  Poor Piper wasn’t a big fan, because she was, for once, NOT the center of attention.  But she DID think that playing in the big boxes was fun.DSCN1181


After we got a good start on the basement, we could start breaking down the office that lived in our extra bedroom.  All of Luke’s electronic stuff, our computer, and all of my craft stuff ALL had to be moved downstairs.  And attempt to keep SOME KIND of organization. 

And as of last night, we’re about 90% there.  It feels SO good! 

But the best part? 

Piper’s Big Kid bed is all ready to go!  And she LOVES it!

She EVEN took a nap in it today! 


Can this REALLY be possible???

…now to just figure out what color to paint the walls…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(Un)Stuck on Standing

Piper’s always done fairly well for herself in the gross motor department.  But while she’s been able to obtain most of the “big” skills without much issue, her transitional skills INTO the next higher position have been MAJOR hurdles to overcome (“out of” she’s always done easily.  And correctly.  Go figure).

She HATES being off balance.  We’ve always figured she HATES being out of control, so anything that requires a balance shift has been very difficult for her to process.  Remember last year when we had issues getting her into sit?  I had to tell myself that she SURELY wouldn’t go to preschool able to walk, but not get into sit by herself.  Sure enough, one day she just DID IT.  Like it was no big deal.  Like she had done it 1000 times before.  Piper only does things when she’s 100% sure that she can.  And that she can do it right.  NOT before. 

Getting into stand has been our current issue.  Yup- my kid has been exclusively walking for months now, but NOT getting into stand from plantigrade on her own.  If she needed to, she’d crawl over to a surface to stand.  In fact, she didn’t independently stand (not knowingly, anyway) until she was walking about 15-20 feet on her own. 

I haven’t been  pushing the issue much, knowing that Piper will do it her way when she thinks she’s ready.  And until she gets that confidence, there’s no point in getting frustrated.  I was ready to do an intensive “training” where I spend all day on the floor with her forcing her to get into stand on her own without pulling up on something EVERY TIME.  Mostly because as my belly grows, this feat was getting harder and harder with each passing day, and if I was going to do it, I needed to just do it. 

Piper cut me a break last week- and decided to do it on her own!  I was on the phone with a couple of coworkers when Piper, while standing on the hardwood floors with slippery footy pajamas on, decided she was going to bring me a book.  She can’t crawl with a book, so she had to stand to bring it.  And of course, since I was on a conference call, I couldn’t say anything.  No dancing.  No singing.  No hoorahs.  Just like she’d been doing it for months. 

And she hasn’t stopped.

My house, unfortunately, is bearing the brunt of our new-found disaster maker.  I’m sure the only reason she decided she’d do this new skill is because she wanted to transport toys from one room to another.  And by “toys”, I mean remotes, phones, clothes, shoes, toilet paper, books, and, of course, actual toys.  It’s quite comical to see her carrying items almost as big as she is.

She is one determined child.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The last few weeks have been, plainly put, blissfully boring.

The baby’s behaving, so we get to go three weeks between visits (instead of the two we’ve been having to) this time and next.  Which will be nice, because then we get to start the once- or twice-a-week visits and non-stress tests.  We’ll, holy moly, be at 30 weeks the middle of March. 

We’ve been going through phases of relatively nice weather (like today- 60-some degrees) and horrifyingly cold (last Tuesday the low over night, sans wind chill, was –20; the high was somewhere around 5).  So, we’ve had lots of indoor days lately because I haven’t been willing to go outside for any period of time, no matter how short.  Add to that my working (almost) three weeks of work in just over a week, and life’s been a little…  crazy.

It hasn’t stopped the fun, though-

We’ve baked (Piper liked to stir.  Until she tried tasting the brownie batter, at which point Mommy took over the responsibility)…DSCN0728

…we’ve explored…DSCN0744

“We’ve” (I take NO part in this one) been naughty (and used more than our fair share of TP, I’m sure)…DSCN0758

…done laundry…P1090219

…and lots of oral motor exercises (seriously- have you seen this kid’s tongue???)…

Piper’s even “helped” me work (no worries to my boss, if you happen to be reading this- Piper does not actually get to touch the computer when I’m logged on.  I promise, lol.)…  I love her tippy-toes.DSCN0919

And Piper has, for the first time ever, gotten “lost” in the house.  I’m not 100% sure how you lose your child in your own home, but she had me going for a good five minutes.  Who knew that a closed shower curtain could make such good cover???DSCN0970

Despite our home-boundedness, certain necessities still require a trip out.  Like dog food.  Dogs, like husbands, get very grouchy when it comes to having food.  And although I’d like to say the trip to Costco was JUST for dog food, I’d be remiss to leave out the detail that, despite the overly frigid temperatures, I HAD to have ice cream.  And, by golly, I got it.  Piper walked almost the whole store, until she got too distracted to listen and follow us, at which point she got stuck in the cart.  But being the bearer of the receipt, she KNEW it was her responsibility to hand it to the nice white-haired guy at the door, so walk she did.  (On a side note, Piper’s so used to going to Costco that she thinks EVERYONE wants her receipts.  She does anything to get a receipt from me- including raiding my purse, if it’s open- so that she can have something to give to the next unsuspecting person with whom she comes into contact.  I’m afraid that Costco is permeating my child’s brain almost as much as it has mine.  Yikes.)


We’ve been enjoying the lull and nonchalant-ness of the past few weeks.  And we’ve been very glad that our therapists come to us.  My “yoga” pants (which really is just a nice way to say comfy lounge pants, right?) have gotten some good use, anyway.  We’re planning on letting Piper have a slumber party with my parents on Friday, and Luke and I are going to conquer getting the basement organized.  Then we can clean out the spare bedroom and get Piper’s “big kid” furniture set up.  I’m still trying to figure out what color to paint, so I’m hoping that by getting the furniture in there, I’ll have some kind of technicolor epiphany. 

We’ll see.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Love Day!

It’s been a while, I know, but, for now…

Happy Valentine’s Day!


DSCN1090Sharing a smooch from her favorite Valentine.  At least her favorite four-legged Valentine…

DSCN1034Sending kisses your way!

DSCN1054After a day full of shopping, cooking, and card making, Piper had earned herself a nap.

…and because she loves me so much, she actually slept for two hours.  Thank heavens.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reason #814…

…why I should really go with my instincts and put door locks on every door in the kitchen.  And not leave one unlocked just because Piper can “help” get her own bibs for meals (which, ironically, she very seldom uses in the first place, but that’s besides the point…)

ZoomThis stuff?  SO yummy.  A spoonful in a cup of hot tea?  Yum.

Apparently it tastes just as good raw.  Off the floor.



You can imagine the fun in clean-up when the dogs decided to help, too.  God-awful sticky mess doesn’t begin to describe the chaos. 

…and THIS face explains why we could laugh it off (and laugh we did).  Man, that face is dangerous.