brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

When i entered Kindergarten I was already reading on a 2nd or 3rd grade level, could write, knew all my letters, could count pretty high and do basic addition. I was also socially awkward, clumsy, and super bored by the class. The kindergarten teacher took stock of the situation and decided I was developmentally delayed, and had me assigned to a special ed class. My mom found out over a year later, based on something I said. She went down to the school, raised hell, and had me actually tested, at which point they offered to skip me a grade or two based on my test results. This would have been pretty disastrous, actually, as I hadn’t actually learned anything in that year or so. She pulled me out of that school and enrolled me in a (private, religious) school at my grade level, where I was incredibly behind in math and remained so until Geometry class in high school, where for the first time I had a teacher who encouraged me and didn’t dismiss me as just a girl (literally, I got a lot of “well, of course you don’t get this, you’re a girl” and “oh well, you don’t really need to know this, you’re a girl.”). Skipping a grade or two with that level of math deficiency? Ugh. Horrible idea.

Nikola has asthma. It’s mild, and it’s cough variant, so he’s never had a classic wheezing panicked asthma attack. Instead, he gets this weird cough that to me is very distinctive but most people don’t notice it as unusual. He takes montelukast/singulair every night and uses a rescue inhaler a few times a year. For instance, we gave him a dose before bed tonight because he has a cold, so it was kind of a preventative thing. He may not have needed it, but you know. It might help him sleep better. His teacher is aware that he has asthma, and when he had his sinus infection, she called me to get him early one day because he had an asthmatic coughing fit in class. It wasn’t a big deal, and if I hadn’t told her I’d be near by and to call me, she probably wouldn’t have and just would have informed me of it at pick up.

She told me that because he has asthma he’s eligible for a 504 plan.

The term “504 plan” refers to a specific section of the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibiting discrimination of special needs students from federally funded schooling. It covers accommodations like peanut-free lunch rooms or tables, wheel chair ramps, ASL interpreters, special keyboards, and similar. Since he has asthma, which can require medication and can be triggered by specific things, he may need accommodation. So the school social worker, school nurse, his teacher, and I sat down at a meeting to discuss his needs.

I got a written notice and had to sign a form saying I consented to the meeting before the meeting was even scheduled. Once I signed the form, I was given an appointment date and some paper work about what a 504 plan is, and some confidentiality information. The meeting went well and everyone seemed on the same page about providing Niko with the best care they could. The school takes asthma really seriously and all teachers and staff have been trained in asthma care and on dispensing asthma medication from a variety of inhalers. I stressed that he had COUGH VARIANT asthma and so doesn’t have typical wheezing etc and everyone seemed to know what I was talking about. They talked about potential accommodations he’d get during the full day program next year, including when he’s in gym class (eg, be able to take a break from physical activity to catch his breath, being able to get water as needed).

While in the meeting, I brought up some concerns I had about his speech (he has trouble saying sh, ch, f, v, and some r sounds. For instance, he says “doll” and “girl” in very similar ways), and about some fine motor difficulties he has with his hands/fingers. His teacher said that upon me bringing it up, she remembered that he had some fine motor issues but since the kids are so young, they mainly focus on pincer-grasp motions which he’s great at (he is) and she was quick to reassure everyone that while he doesn’t consistently hold a pencil in the “correct” grip, he also doesn’t hold it in a fist. IE, it’s not super serious but they can look into it. So they arranged to have an informal session with the school’s speech therapist and occupational therapist to assess his speech and fine motor skills.

They were really responsive to my concerns and I feel like the meeting was a positive thing.

I know that a LOT of people have difficult and stressful 504 and IEP meetings, but I’m super happy at how ours went. Part of this, of course, is that his accommodations are super minor and, at least so far, don’t cost any money. But I got the feeling that the school he’s at is very concerned with extending educational opportunities to all students to the best of their abilities and meeting every need they can.

And, of course, the meeting made me think of my early education experience and the high handed way that a single teacher decided I had special needs and, without consulting or informing my parents, had me shunted into a classroom where I did nothing but pet bunnies and watch film strips. We weren’t even allowed to use safety scissors. Times have changed and there’s a lot more legal protection for kids and parents. But the more closely I look at Niko’s school the happier I am with it. It really feels like his teacher, the staff, have his best interests in mind.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Not this most recent weekend, but the one before it, my best friend flew in from out of state along with her husband, who we’ve never met before. (NB HE IS AWESOME WOW) (And also loves where he lives and will probably never move to the midwest. DAMMIT.) We had a super fun time with them all weekend, including eating out a huge bunch and going to the Museum of Science and Industry. Niko was exhibiting cold-like symptoms, or precursors to cold-like symptoms (cranky, small cough that came and went, sleepy, kind of generally off) and on Sunday he crapped out on us while still at the museum and wound up needing to be toted around by his Tata, head on Nesko’s shoulder. He also mentioned a few times that his stomach hurt and didn’t eat much. We all got home and, while trying to sort out dinner plans, he fell asleep on the couch. Nesko transferred him to bed. He was very warm to the touch and later explorations with a thermometer (he woke up a few hours later interested in dinner, but didn’t eat much) revealed a fever of 103*.

(ACTUALLY, our established dinner plans, involving Italian Beef from a place around the corner, fell through. So we ordered from Noodles Party, a local pan-Asian place with an emphasis on Filipino food. Niko LOVES getting Yakisoba from there, and will inhale almost an entire adult-sized portion of it. He was very excited about his Yakisoba but fell asleep anyway. When he woke up again, stumbling around and still sleepy, he mumbled about not wanting to miss “The Noodles Party.” “I just want everyone to share The Noodles Party. We have to have The Noodles Party!” I heated up his Yakisoba and he sat down and dutifully ate some of it, then crashed again. He’d made it to The Noodles Party.)

On Monday he complained once again that his stomach hurt, adding “what’s UP with that?” and then he barfed all over the floor. ALL. OVER. all over. SO GROSS. He spent most of the day lying limply on the couch. We had big plans for that Monday, since he had off of school, but we spent it watching “Chuggington” on tv instead. UGH FOREVER. I kept him home on Tuesday also, but packed him off on Wednesday, where they called me to pick him up early because he had a coughing jag that turned into an asthma attack. I kept him home Thursday, send him back on Friday and staid with him in class all day so his inhaler would be handy and also it was picture day. He seemed to be doing better, and had no fever, but then this most recent weekend was a tough one. He was sleepy acting, cranky, asking for food and then refusing to eat it, and coughed so much he vomited more than once.

On Monday, Niko was still coughing, enough to wake himself up at night. His eyes were shadowed, almost bruised looking, and his head full of snot. I added up his symptoms, including both complaining outright of a headache and acting like he had a headache (insisting that tv/radios be turned way low, even when he was watching them) and his long running cough, and called the nurse triage number for our clinic. After about ten minutes of questions, she transferred me to the person who sets appointments. That person cheerfully stated we needed to come in RIGHT NOW TODAY.

We set an appointment for 4:00 and I looked up how to get to the clinic’s new address.

Niko went to school as usual, and I did my usual volunteer work upstairs. I picked him up after and we hot footed it to the train. We got to the clinic exactly on time despite missing a train thanks to somebody’s lollygagging, and we saw a different pediatrician than we normally see… one who was brusque and interrupted and felt up Niko’s arm and commented on how he doesn’t have much in the way of arm muscles. Gosh, sorry my FOUR YEAR OLD isn’t all muscled out. What?

Anyway, he diagnosed Niko with a sinus infection (but  not an ear infection, which is surprising given his parents and their history of rampant ear infections) and gave him a prescription for Amoxicillin (“Is he allergic to any antibiotics?” “I don’t know, he’s never had one before, but my entire family pukes if given erythromycin” “Well, let’s avoid that then.”) and a nasal spray, and stuck him with a flu shot to Niko’s horror, and then we went to the library to pick up a book I’ve had on hold for over three months. (I queried what was taking so long for that book and was told it may have “gotten misplaced” but I should keep it in my holds que “in case it shakes loose” which I guess it did.)

Niko had his first dose of antibiotic last night and oh GOSH does he hate it. He tolerates the nasal spray much better, to my delight, and does a huge fake sneeze after taking it. The fakest of sneezes. I gave him another dose of  Amoxicillin this morning and it went pretty terribly until I finally diluted it heavily (which the instructions say is OK as long as the entire dose is taken) and let him sip it through a straw. I then followed up with candy. Because it really does taste gross.

The bruised look under his eyes is already lightened and his appetite has returned, and he’s interested in coloring and playing a little more actively.

This is the first time I’ve taken Niko to the doctor for anything other than a standard check up. It went pretty well. I second guessed myself quite a bit before taking him to the doctor. On the one hand, if it’s just a cold, there’s nothing you can do for a COLD. On the other hand, what if it’s something serious? Niko has asthma, and it’s not uncommon for someone with asthma to get sick and then get a gross cough that lingers for a long time but can be treated with steroids/a different inhaler/etc.  I’m really glad I dragged him in because wow, a sinus infection is pretty awful.

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3 year Check Up

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 21:15
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko had his 3 year check up today, where we discussed:

      His asthma (pretty much unchanged)
      His mental acuity (recognition of colors, shapes, numbers, letters, etc)
      How much we LOOOOOOVE poking him with sharp objects.

Poor dude had another blood draw to check for lead and anemia this time around. Unlike last time, he noticed the needle. Perhaps if I’d surprised him with another All! New! Experience!– perhaps a kitten?– it would have gone as well as last year’s blood draw. But alas, a shiny sticker and a sucker were not enough to distract him from someone jabbing him with a needle and stealing his precious life essence. I explained to him what was going to happen, then what WAS happening, and I think that helped. When the nurse put the rubber tie around his arm he said “Oh, this gives me an owie owie” and made a sad face, then bit into his lollypop. When she stuck the needle in, he said “Oh!” and tried to slap her away, but stayed pretty calm and still as we talked to him and held him. He got a Sesame Street bandage, which helped.

He doesn’t need any more vaccines until he is 5 years old, and our doctor decided to forgo the TB test until it’s required for kindergarten because he’s low risk for TB. He also FREAKED OUT when she tried to look in his mouth because he “didn’t want her to get it dirty” and cried when we laid him down so she could palpate his stomach/check his genitals. His lament? “I don’t want you to see me CRRRRYYYYYYY.” So we hid his face and he calmed down some.

The problem with making doctor appointments is that Nesko doesn’t get vacation days, which means if he takes a day off he doesn’t get paid for it, so we try to schedule appointments for when he goes in late to work, and that tends to coincide almost exactly with the danger zone of lunch time and nap time. So Niko is often a super cranky pants by the time it’s belly-checkin’ time. But he’s in general a laid back dude so frankly, it’s not THAT bad, and the staff are all super great at being patient and managing the situation, working with him, etc.

He is, if I remember correctly, 36 pounds and also he is 38 1/2 inches, which means that in two more feet he’ll be taller than I am. He’s about in the 85th percentile for weight, if I remembered his weight correctly, and 65th percentile for height.

I think I was going to write more about this, but Niko woke up from his nap halfway through the very first sentence, so whatever I had intended to write vanished into the ether. Ah well.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Some of you might remember a few months ago when I agonized over whether or not Niko had asthma and whether or not I should mention it to his pediatrician and then over whether or not I was a shitty parent for not addressing the situation, and his asthma, earlier.

We started treating him with children’s claritin and albuterol and after a few months we eased up on the albuterol because he was doing a lot better. Well, it’s allergy season once again, and we need to start dosing him again.

If you’ve ever wondered what an asthmatic kid sounds like when he’s having a little trouble breathing, I’m embedding a video of Niko singing and playing with his trains. The little breathy grunt gaspy thing he does? That’s a sign of asthma. If you hear your child (or an adult in your life) making that noise? Time for a doctor’s visit.

As you can see, he’s not in DISTRESS. He’s playing and singing and happy. You might not even be able to hear the grunt he’s making. But it’s there, and it’s unhealthy, and it can be treated.

If left untreated, asthma can severely affect a person’s quality of life, leaving them more open to illness and respiratory infections. The pathways of the lungs can literally reroute themselves, reducing the body’s ability to intake oxygen. When properly treated, people with asthma can lead totally normal, healthy, productive, active lives.

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Inhaler Update

Friday, 6 May 2011 05:00
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I just thought I’d toss out a little inhaler update.

Niko has asthma. We use an inhaler 2-3 times a day, 2 puffs, with a spacer, and a dose of claritin in the morning because he also has allergies.

We had serious, severe problems getting Niko to calm down and cooperate with the inhaler/spacer at first. We mitigated these problems in part by giving him M&Ms after each dose and praising him for specific behavior: sitting still; being calm; cooperating; breathing in and out; etc. His initial spacer had a small sized mask, and when we got a refill of the medication we also got a new spacer and mask. The new one’s medium sized and fits him better, and we let him play with the old one with the small mask. He carries it around and “doses” his toys… his trains, his baby doll, his cars.

We give him the first dose almost immediately after waking up. Actually, our routine is like this:

  • I eventually drag myself out of bed, and go to the bathroom and brush my teeth.
  • Niko starts clamoring for his vitamins, which are gummi vitamins. I give them to him. He does a little dance.
  • I dose him with claritin while he’s sitting on his changing pad, still in his pyjamas. If he spills, it’s on his jammies which are going in the hamper.
  • I change his diaper and get him dressed.
  • We go into the living room and sit on the couch together. He sits on my lap, I give him one puff and count slowly to 30 while encouraging him to breathe in, then give him praise and M&Ms.
  • He runs off and plays a bit, or sometimes brings me a book to read, and then I call him back and we repeat the dosing.
  • We read a book together, and then I sort out the breakfast situation.

I don’t like to give treatments closer than 4 hours apart, so his next treatment is either right before his nap or right after he wakes up, and then if he gets another one it’s before bed. If he gets too much albuterol he gets hand tremors and is a little bit hyperactive and his heart races a bit. The same thing happens to me when I have too much albuterol; it’s a collection of known side effects. His inhaler doesn’t have a little thing that counts down how many doses are left, and it became VERY clear that we’d run out of doses prior to our refill, when his first treatment with the new inhaler left him tremulous. But he soon adjusted.

Niko knows roughly when it’s time for his treatments, and he will remind me that it’s time for one. He thinks the spacer looks a bit like a train, so he’ll say “tootoot! *heavy breathing noise* myom myom” and point to where we keep it. He doesn’t always want M&Ms now; sometimes he takes a dose and then wanders off to play, not super interested in the reward. He does put up a fuss sometimes, but calms down pretty quickly once the mask is on his face and we’re counting to 30 again.

My ultimate hope is that his lungs improve and we’re able to get him to a point where he doesn’t need daily medication. Statistically, with treatment, 50% of childhood asthma cases resolve; so my hopes are pretty realistic here. I also realize how lucky we are that his asthma is relatively minor. In retrospect, I probably had asthma from a pretty young age, but it’s cough-variant asthma and not the more common wheezing asthma that everyone recognizes. It’s caught much more often now, people know more about it, but untreated asthma really messes up lungs. I absolutely don’t want Niko to have to live with that.

I’m going to call our pediatrician at the end of the month and see if she wants to discuss his treatment. He’s doing better than he was, but seems to have plateaued. He gets a little grunty sometimes, and has a cough when he over exerts himself (or it’s really cold, or he’s been screaming/crying). I’m optimistic, though!

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We went to a spring-y party some friends of ours hosted over the weekend, which included a fish release in a pond/canned goods party, brunch, and egg dying. And lots of babies/toddlers. We left before the egg dying because we live about an hour away from them and had to get up very early to make it to the fish release and the egg dying kicked off riiiiiight around nap time. So we scooted on out of there. It was fun, but there was one issue.

One parent brought her two kids, one of whom was getting over a cold and was mobile and putting EVERYTHING into her mouth and sucking/chewing on it (which is, you know, developmentally appropriate) including Niko’s toys. And her infant child sat in a seat and hacked and gagged and snotted and coughed wetly, spreading germs into the air.

Dude. If your kids are sick, please fucking keep them home.

Niko’s been out of sorts and hair-trigger tantrum-y the past few days, and yesterday and today he’s had this croupy phlegmy cough (which involves coughing so hard he can’t breathe, making a face, chewing, and swallowing whatever he just horked up. AWESOME.). He isn’t running a fever (yet) but he seems on the cusp of illness.

And last time he had a lung-involved cold? He stayed sick for a really long time. Because he has asthma. Because this shit settles in his lungs.

So, thanks parent who decided bringing your actively sick kids to a social function was a good idea. Now my kid’s getting sick, and he’s going to be gasping and wheezing for weeks, miserable and unable to breathe.

Shit.

On the other hand, Niko had a blast dumping a bucket of minnows into a pond, played on a brand new playground, played with a bunch of kids at the playground, ran around a jogging trail, ate a bunch of really fresh fruit, and played with a bunch of little kids and practiced sharing toys. He totally didn’t mind that someone else was slobbering all over his beloved Thomas And Friends water squirty tub toy trains, although he got a little possessive over a pink princess ride-on toy. Because, you know. Car. Vroom.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We’ve been having “issues” using Niko’s inhaler and spacer (with mask). He hasn’t been afraid of the spacer per se– he enjoyed carrying it around, calling it a train whistle, and pressing the mask briefly– briefly!– to his face. But he hated HATED hated us using it on him. I’m talking sobbing, flailing, clawing, back-arching, terror tantrums.

Last night, I asked Nesko to buy a package of M&Ms.

This morning, we used bribery.

Look. If you thought I was the kind of parent who was above bribery than I think you haven’t been reading this blog for very long. I will use any trick at all to make my life easier, including candy.

Sweet, delicious candy.

So we gave Niko his first dose early in the morning. Nesko sat with Niko in his lap and held him, I explained my way through the spacer/inhaler use, and then… 2 M&Ms! There was a struggle with the first use, but less of a struggle the second time. We dosed him again right before leaving the house to drop him off at Baba’s. He was reluctant at first, but the second dose? He was calm as anything. Patient. Compliant. The proud possessor of 2 M&Ms afterwards (although not for long, he quickly ate them).

My in-laws dropped him off (complete with a haircut/trim by my FIL, a man with 30 years’ experience cutting his sons’ and now his grandson’s hair), and we had some cuddle time and then I pulled out the spacer. He objected, not too strenuously, at first but when he saw the bag of M&Ms? Oh my yes. He cuddled in my lap and I put the mask on him and counted and demonstrated big inhales and he did everything I wanted him to do, as calm and patient as anything. I gave him much praise and 2 M&Ms after, and we read a short book, and then did the second dose. It went even easier than the first dose. Thank God.

I really hope that his ability to be bribed to use his spacer means we can also quickly and easily (and successfully!) incorporate bribery into potty training.

Anyway, after all that we read another book, then went to bed, where we read our traditional 2 books in bed… or tried to. He is having a love affair with a Richard Scarry book that has cars in it over a two-page spread, which means he ASKS for someone to read him the book but REALLY he just wants to keep turning the pages to that spread so he can look at the cars. Well. He is not allowed to do that all night. So I gave him fair warning I was going to turn the lights out on the count of three, did so, and didn’t force him to give up the book. He “read” the book with the lights out, then fell asleep with it on his face.

This is not the first time he’s fallen asleep with a book. Previously he feel asleep curled up with one.

Adorable? Yes. Nerdy? Oh hell yes. My child? Oh, definitely.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Possibly the greatest aid in parenting I’ve had is that I’ve owned pets. So, as awful as this may sound, I sometimes talk to toddlers the way I do to dogs: short, direct sentences and using my tone of voice to indicate emotion. I use the phrase “drop it” a little oftener than I should. And I’ve had to restrain cats. So this morning, when it was time for me to give Niko his inhaler without assistance for the first time (Nesko’s working a 14 hour shift; look upon him with mercy), I wrapped Niko up in a towel (pinning his arms) and pinned him to the bed. It was mostly successful. He’s supposed to have 2 puffs every 4 hours, and he’s supposed to hold the mask over his face and inhale for 30 seconds for each puff. The first puff, he managed to wrench his face away after only 8 seconds. The second puff I let him up after 20 seconds because he was so upset.

When I was first diagnosed with asthma, I also had bronchitis and the flu at the same time. I had tremendous difficulty breathing. For an adult using an inhaler, one is supposed to inhale while depressing the inhaler’s button (which dispenses the medication), and then hold one’s breath for 10 seconds. I was frequently unable to hold my breath for that long. I had so little oxygen in my blood stream that I needed to breathe, to take many short, shallow breaths. It was kind of like drowning with no water around. However, even the little bit of medication that got in my lungs helped, and soon I was able to hold my breath for 10 seconds… or longer! So I’m hoping that even though we aren’t fully compliant with the inhaler and spacer, it’ll still help; and I’m also hoping that Niko will get more used to using it.

He’s fine holding the spacer, or walking around with it. Sometimes, he presses the mask to his face himself for a few seconds. He’s not afraid of the spacer in and of itself. But he does not want us holding it to his face and using it on him. We’re going to pick up some M&Ms and see if bribery helps.

Again, anyone with experience in toddlers and inhalers/spacers, hit me up.

(For the record, he only coughed twice last night, which is a big improvement.)

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24 Month Checkup

Tuesday, 8 March 2011 05:10
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Yesterday we had Niko’s 24 month check up, and we’re actually (somehow!) on schedule for this as his birthday is the 16th. His original appointment was scheduled for the end of March, then they called to reschedule and we rescheduled for the 12th, and then they called again and left a message saying we need to reschedule (what the yo) and I was totally unable to reach anyone at the practice because my calls kept getting routed to a hospital. I don’t even. We finally got a real appointment, which was a relief because in addition to needing to get shot full of OMG TOXINS!!!! right INTO HIS BLOODSTREAM!!!! (because that is totally how vaccines work, right?) Niko’s had a cough for like… uhm. A month and a half? I mean, he had a terrible cold with a cough (how terrible was the cold? So terrible that I wound up dressing him in a long sleeve shirt, pants, socks, slippers, and sweater and then he sat quietly on the couch, glassy eyed, cuddled under two blankets. I could tell when the fever broke because he shoved off all the blankets and plucked at the sweater in a frustrated way, finally insisted I exchange it for a lighter sweater.) and then… never really got rid of the cough. And he’d occasionally randomly run a low (99*) fever. But mostly no fever, just lots of coughing at night (enough to wake himself up!) and random coughing during the day. Not just a cough, either, but a “stop what he’s doing and grind out a gaspy asthmatic sounding cough, unable to breathe in, sometimes coughing till he gagged” type thing. And then he’d go back to whatever it was he was doing which, in retrospect, mostly involved him running around and yelling.

You know. As toddlers do.

I have asthma, and my dad has asthma, and my mom has chronic bronchitis, and I am worried about Niko developing asthma. So I tried to frame my description of his cough and my worries in a way that made it clear to his pediatrician that 1) it’s a problem and 2) it might be this BUT I might be over-worrying. She asked some good, pertinent questions, listened to us, and then spent a lot of time listening to his chest/lungs.

Niko has an albuterol inhaler and a spacer/mask, and we’re to use it on him 4 times a day (two puffs a time) and see if he improves. If he improves a little bit or doesn’t improve, we’re to call his pediatrician and figure out what to do next. If he does improve, we’re to wait until he has several good days (and nights) in a row, then stop using it unless he needs it again. If you have experience with toddler asthma and/or using an inhaler/spacer please tell me about your experiences.

Other than that, he’s fine. In good health. Got his Hep A jab and that brings him up to date. He isn’t in day care, so no TB screen.

Niko is 35 inches tall and 30 lbs 8 oz. His head circumference is 48.5cm, which is still a tiny head. TINY HEAD.

Here, have some Milestones:
Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Names at least six body parts. Well. He doesn’t name them. But he can point to his head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chest, arm, elbow, butt, hand, fingers, knees, legs, feet, and toes when told to in English or in Serbian. He can also point to them on other people, in drawings/diagrams, and on many animals.
  • Half of speech is understandable. Yes-ish. He’s being raised more or less bilingual, and the non-English language is one I barely speak. So stuff I don’t always catch frequently turns out to be Serbian. Which is cool, but I can’t really judge how much of what he says is “understandable.” It’s not understood by me, but that’s because I’m, you know, ignorant.
  • Makes two- to three-word sentences. Yes. He narrates things, and likes to talk about stuff that happened previously. Especially if involved trains, cars, or falling down.

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do):

  • Talks about self. Yes. He refers to himself as “baby.”
  • Arranges things in categories. Yes. He groups like things in rows– blocks, cars, trains, etc. He also orders things by size sometimes. He does not group things by color, however.
  • Can walk down stairs. Yes, although he does best when holding onto a banister or someone’s hand. Which I’d assume is normal, considering he has short legs and steps are pretty high up.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do):

  • Begins to understand abstract concepts (e.g., sooner and later). Yes. In fact, we can use this to bargain: “we’ll read Mike Mulligan AFTER we cut your nails. But FIRST we’re going to cut your nails.” That sort of thing.
  • Becomes attuned to gender differences. I’m not sure. He calls adult-female-appearing people “mama” and adult-male-appearing people “tata” and older-female-appearing people “baba.” But all children and babies are simply “baby.”
  • Learns to jump. You have no idea how much this kid likes to jump. Up and down. Around. In circles. While singing. Across the entire apartment. He also stomps and marches. He is On! The! Move!

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

This post, which has two parts, is totally inspired by Suzanne of Bebehblog.

The first part is that sometimes she blogs about stuff she cooks/bakes, including recipes and photos. I’ve been talking with friends of mine literally for years about doing this, and now I’ve taken the plunge and started a thing. You can check out A Kitchen In Ruins, which so far features recipes for Split Pea Soup, Blueberry Muffins, and English Muffin Bread. She also posts photos and instructions for craft stuff sometimes (head bands, tutus, felt flowers) that are awesome. So I’m going to try to start posting every Monday about stuff I’ve made.

The other part is that she mentioned on Twitter a few days ago that parent bloggers aren’t as welcoming and supportive as they could be. This is true! And I can think of a number of reasons for that, especially when compared to craft bloggers (which she mentioned as well). So, let’s change that. Starting next week, I’m going to post an entry a day about a different parent blogger who has positively affected my mood, my parenting, my attitude, my blogging, or my level of knowledge about something. Why don’t you join me in this? Even if you can only dedicate one entry, let’s spread the love for each other. Let’s have a carnival of love. I’m going to figure out how to easily collect links to blogs taking part in the love carnival and we can have a big old love carnival party. How’s that sound?

And, unrelated to everything else mentioned, does anyone have experience with toddlers, albuterol, and spacer masks? If so, give me advice on using them please.

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