Thursday, November 04, 2010

Made You Jump

Another Halloween has come and gone and for whatever reason, this is the holiday that most reminds me of the twins' days in the NICU. I'm not sure why since you would think it would be their birthdays, or even Christmas, but Halloween was the first day they both came out of the islolettes and sat together on Jim's lap, so for me it's a day of reminiscing. You can tell that their personalities are shining through now when it comes to choosing costumes. Eleanor wanted to be a turtle and Adam wanted to be Mario from Mario Party 8. Alex plays it and Adam always chooses Mario as his character. He can't really play himself yet, but I'm pretty sure he thinks he's playing. :)

They went to about 40 houses this year and had a system down to get from one to the next. Jim pulled the wagon and I pushed the stroller with Ethan in it. Afterwards they took a look at their haul and Eleanor proclaimed that she wanted the Dots. Eleanor makes many proclamations every day. One example is, "When somebody is still putting on their seatbelt, somebody doesn't leave yet." Or, "When somebody says, 'Boo!', somebody says, 'AAAhhhh!' not 'Boo!' " She has many rules. And be certain to follow them or she may place her arm over her eyes and dramatically state, "I don't know anything!" Adam has continued quoting (appropriately) from all his favorite shows. For Halloween his favorite was, "Boo!" and when I said, "AAHHH!" (because those are the rules), he says, "Made you jump!" from Charlie and Lola. Another favorite is Toy Story. "We need more monkeys! There aren't anymore! That's the whole barrel!!"

Adam and Eleanor and now 5 and in their last year of preschool. We eeked out another year of preschool because of the date of their birthday. Both of them are doing well in school and read all the time. I wish I could get Adam to hold his pencil tighter because he would love to write. He can do it on a Doodleboard, but pencil/paper is hard for him. Eleanor is a social butterfly and everyone is her friend. She barely remembers to say goodbye to me when I drop her off. They both can count by 2's, 5's, 10's up to 100. Now if I could just get Adam to sit in a seat for more than 2 minutes, we could really accomplish a lot. Neither of the twins like crafts much and Eleanor doesn't play with dolls at all. She loves stuffed animals and has them all around her on the couch in what she calls her "nest". Or she plays Leapster 2 Pet Pals and has them circling her.

Adam's favorite game right now is Search for Trouble. He goes around the house and searches for ways to wreak havoc. The other day he came downstairs with two soaking wet sweatshirted arms complaining he was wet. I asked him whose room he got so wet in..."Alex's room." Aaaaagh!! The fish!! Sure enough he had both arms in the fish tanks beyond his elbows. I put him on a chair in the family room stating, "Sit there. Be quiet. Be calm." You know what he says? "Mommy, you're funny." Arrrgh!!! Then yesterday, I thought he ate his lunch kind of quickly, but his plate was empty and he was reading Berenstain Bear books up in Eleanor's room. Later in the evening, Alex comes downstairs with a handful of apples. "Where'd you get those?" I ask. "Eleanor's bed." Aaaaargh!!! When I ask him, he admits to it, I give him a big hug and a kiss. What else can you do 6 hours later?

Let's just say there's not really a quiet minute around here these days. And I couldn't be happier.

(Eleanor's drawing of Adam and herself. Notice the pigtails.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hey! No Cameras!

I think Adam's favorite season is summer. I haven't actually asked him, but I know how happy he looks whenever he's in the water. Whether it's the pool or the sprinkler, he's thrilled to be out there with his little swim trunks sagging off of his skinny butt. For a kid we're pretty sure has some degree of sesory issues, he sure doesn't care about the grass, the dirt, the water, or any combination of the three.

He'll get out in the backyard and the first thing he will do is scoop both hands in the water and splash Eleanor as close to the face as possible. Now because Eleanor has seen, "Can You Teach My Alligator Manners?" on tv, she is under the impression that you should not splash others unless they want to be splashed. And Eleanor is all about The Rules. So this upsets her greatly and she proclaims, "Aaadam! Don't splash somebody unless somebody wants to be splaaashed!" Hmm. I ignore her. I think splashing is funny as long as the kids are the same age--plus the last thing I want is a whiny kid--i.e. Waaah! She splashed me! So just about the time Eleanor gets the last word out, Adam splashes her again. She should be used to this by the end of the summer I figure.

Recently, Adam has become completely hooked on Cars, the DIsney movie. The kid can quote about 50 lines form the movie, including his favorite, "Hey! No cameras! Get outta here!" He knows the name of every Car, and often knows their numbers. We went to Florida last month and stayed at my dad and stepmom's condo not too far from Disney, so we spent a day there.

He went nuts every time he saw Cars paraphanalia which of course was often. I have to admit he came home with a track and a stuffed Lightning McQueen to sleep with. Ka Chow! Eleanor has even gotten into the act and it looks like they have agreed on a Cars birthday in September. I thought for sure by 5, they would need separtae themes, but not yet. So a Lightning McQueen cake it is--I'll have to post photos after the party.

Developmentally, Adam has made great strides during the last year of preschool. He's speaking so that most people can understand what he's saying most of the time. At this point, his speech teacher is mostly concerned with correctly answering Who, What, Where, When, Why questions more so than pronunciation. For a boy who couldn't really talk at all about a year and a half ago, I think that's great! Adam's cognitive scores are right at the avarage level for his age. He can read quite a bit, knows all his letter sounds, can write many 3 and 4 letter words, and I've mentioned how he loves his numbers. SInce his speech has improved, he hasn't been quite as obsessive with th numbers. I personally think he had found a way to communicate through the numbers when he speech wasn't so great, so he wanted to count with everyone. But now that his speech isn't as big an issue, he doesn't want to count all the time with everyone he sees any longer.

Where Adam's scores aren't so great is in the behavioral stuff. He has a really hard time focusing on tasks--particularly tasks that he hasn't initiated. He can sit and read through a book 2 or 3 times, but ask him to do a worksheet at school and there's all kinds of trouble. We've wondered if he has some attention issues. I've never been a proponent of going right to medications to correct behavior, but it's something on our minds with Adam. I would hate for him to get any farther behind because of his lack of ability to focus if we could find a medication that may help him. I don't know what to think yet.

What I do know is that Adam is improving by leaps and bounds all the time. I'm hoping that his focusing and his ability to play with kids other than his sister improves this year. He's had fabulous teachers for the past 2 years and I know he'll have one of them again this year, so it will be a great year no matter what.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Unexpected Tears

I'm a lucky mom. I know...all moms are lucky, but for me it's different. I have 23 week twins and I can go days without being reminded of that. Although Adam attends special education preschool, that is the only "leftover" if you will from their combined prematurity--and it's just "social/behavioral". His cognitive scores are at least average if not higher. I don't take this lightly, and although I'm very happy for my kids it also brings some guilt. Not all situations turn out like ours and I know that. Hopefully someday things will be different.

But today was one of those days that I hadn't thought about it. I woke up with Ethan, Jim started baths for the twins, they got themselves dressed (well, mostly...), I did some laundry, Jim did some yard work, and I went to this GIANT greenhouse nearly to buy our flowers for the summer. Yes, I got to go by myself. Ahhh... Then it was time for Eleanor's ballet recital dress rehearsal. I did up her hair in a bun, put a little blush on her, and slipped on her frilly pink tutu--just too sweet.

Then we drove off to a high school where she got on stage to do her dance. She's quite the perfectionist and gets more than slightly irritated with the girls who don't know their part--to the point of tears at a few practice sessions. Gee, wonder where she gets that trait?

So I drop her off backstage and go to the auditiorium to watch and take pictures. And right there, while she was doing her dance onstage, twirling around with her little pink teddy bear, the tears hit. I just started crying and crying, all the while still attempting to focus and gets some cute shots. I couldn't believe that was my little girl up there, the one who started off at 1 pound 5 ounces, who has a big scar across her back from her PDA ligation, the one who we really thought wouldn't even live, let alone dance her little heart out on stage.

I wanted to yell out, "Do you know what that little girl has done?! Do you know how much more this means to me than it does to all the rest of you?! Do you have any idea how much more FABULOUS my daughter is than any of yours?!" But I didn't. Of course I didn't, because who knows what some of those little girls on stage have overcome? Probably not the same thing as Eleanor, but we all have our stories, and theirs are important, too. But still, it crossed my mind. With the way Eleanor lives life, I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time I start crying amidst hundreds of people...wait until her first soccer game.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Best of Friends

Adam and Eleanor have always gotten along, for the most part--more than I would expect two 4 year olds who spend so much time together. But this year, their relationship has really blossomed. It warms my heart to see them getting closer and acting like brother and sister.

Eleanor has the stronger personality of the two--to anyone who knows them, this isn't news. She's been quicker at learning just about everything--except numbers, of course--and she's quite adept in social situations. Until recently Adam couldn't really express what he was thinking about what was going on around him because his limited speech just didn't allow him. But his sister wouldn't have any of that. Eleanor began sticking up for Adam, making sure he got his prize from the Happy Meal when she did, giving him her extra chicken nugget she didn't want, keeping track of his likes and dislikes, reminding me that Adam needed to be buckled in the carseat just like her--as if I'd forget. I guess it's been a sweet, but often one-sided twinship (I'm making up words here...) Now that Adam is talking all the time and saying just about anything he wants to, their relationship is changing, and definitely for the better.
Tonight, I was holding Ethan because he was getting tired and a bit cranky, and because I just love to cuddle with him and the twins decided to play a pick up game of baseball in the foyer. Yes, in the foyer...ask me if I thought I would have let that happen 10 years ago. Anyway, big yellow plastic bat, big white plastic ball. Eleanor would pitch, Adam would attempt to hit the ball. Mind you not one pitch crossed the plate, nor was one ball hit, but each time they would yell, "Homerun!!!!!!!!!!!!! Out of the park!!!!! High ten!!!!!" (A high ten is a high-five with both hands. They also give each other high-threes and high-zeroes. A high-zero is in essence a knuckle bump. Hilarious.) After three pitches one of them would exclaim, "Change sides." (Incidentally, all of their baseball teminology was learned on Wii Sports--easily the favorite game in our house.) Then Adam would pitch and Eleanor would hit. No matter what the result, they support each other. "Don't give up Adam!" "Try again, Eleanor!" I just sat there on the step, with a giant grin on my face, tears welling up in my eyes. I've discovered that often happens when you're a mom, but it happens even more often when you're a mom of preemies who started out with little chance to even leave the hospital. I thought that maybe those memories would fade, and I guess they have a bit with the mundane happenings of daily life. But when something new occurs, when a milestone is reached, it floods back pretty quickly. Never has a baseball game between two 4 year-olds meant so much.

A photo of our little Ethan for those of you wanting an update. :)