Thursday, October 16, 2014


Lottie got a big-girl car seat! At her current rate of growth, this ought to last her until she's in grad school.

And Jim can write his name! A month later, he can even do it without any prompting at all. (forgive the grocery ads - Noah had just painted the chalkboard up there and we didn't have a frame yet)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lottie's Ticker Gets Fixed (Mostly)

Lottie's heart adventure started at a routine visit when the doctor noted, after much furrowing of brows, that she actually had an extremely obvious heart murmur that somehow no one had ever noticed before. He recommended getting it checked out immediately, because it was a fair bit louder than the normal kind that just goes away. We were all a little nervous, of course, but tough baby that she is, Lottie went ahead and got her shots afterward anyway. No sense being a heart patient with whooping cough when you can just be a heart patient, right?

Anyway, the pediatric cardiologist got us in right away. Incidentally, if you've ever wanted instant sympathy and special treatment from anyone, just say "pediatric cardiologist" three times fast. It totally works. Anyway, Lottie had a great time during her EKG and echocardiogram, but I can't really say the same for the poor technicians. The EKG apparently requires just two full seconds of holding completely still to get enough data. Lottie, wiggly little creature that she is, took over fifteen minutes to hold still for that long. The echo went the same way. They had to call in assistance to blow bubbles and sing songs to get her to stop giggling and bouncing long enough to get a few good pictures.

The techs knew their way around babies, though, so eventually they got it done, and the doctor came over five minutes later to talk over the results. Turned out she had a severe pulmonary stenosis, which is when the valve that takes blood from the heart to the lungs is really constricted, as well as a giant hole between the upper chambers of her heart.

So, yeah. That was scary.

Dr. Amin recommended surgery right away. There was apparently no real threat to her life just yet, but there would be once she got bigger, so we might as well get it fixed while she's tiny and healing would be easy. He recommended a catheterization, where they'd run a catheter through a vein in her thigh up to her heart and use it to inflate a balloon in the constricted valve and place a patch over the hole.

Tired people in the hospital room. Note comfy seating.

My only regret is that we weren't there long enough for a bath in the giant bath tub.

So on September 3rd, we all walked into the local children's hospital to get it done. The nurses were all terrible nice, and the room, I have to say, was super cushy. For a hospital room, I mean. And there was free food. What's not to like? Other than the infant heart surgery, I mean.

Jim enjoys the complementary Froot Loops.

Lottie enjoys the complementary remote, and nurse-calling-thingy, and cell phones, and everything else she can reach.

Before long, they had her tucked into an adorable little hospital gown and ready to go. Despite not having eaten for eight hours, she was remarkably cheerful and was excited to meet the nurses, the doctors, and all fifty-three anesthesiologists (there were actually only about seven, but it seemed like more).

Exhibit A: Adorable little hospital gown.

So, long story short, the anesthesiologists took her away, then I went back to wait in the hospital room. Noah got back from taking Jim to preschool shortly thereafter, and we waited for a couple hours. A nurse called every half hour or so to let us know how things were going. Finally, we got the call to come down to the operating room doors so we could walk with her to recovery. Poor baby looked like a mountain of blankets with a teeny little smooshy face. It was actually pretty adorable, but the only picture I have is on my phone. I'll see what I can do about that.

Lottie is knocked out from the anesthesia.

And now she is extremely unhappy about being less knocked out.

The recovery wasn't super pleasant. She was alternately completely unconscious and very unhappy about becoming more conscious. Noah got to carry her upstairs in a wheelchair, and then we more or less took turns holding her on our laps until she woke up completely.

This is how she looked all afternoon.

After she was up, Dr. Amin came over to discuss things with us. Basically, primary objective was achieved, second one not so much. The pulmonary stenosis was fixed and looked good, but the hole was bigger than they thought. The ultrasound had judged it to be 8-9mm in diameter, but actually it's more like 15mm. Apparently, that would be considered a pretty big hole on a ten-year-old, let alone a teensy baby. So the trouble is that Lottie is too small for a catheter big enough to carry the correct size of patch to fix the hole. It doesn't seem to be causing any trouble right now other than making her get tired a little faster than other babies, so instead of going to open-heart surgery, he recommended waiting until she's 18 months or so and then doing another catheterization. And since he has infinitely more medical degrees than we do, we're totally taking his recommendation.

So that is the status of little Lottie. Recovery was ridiculously easy once we got home. Seriously, she had heart surgery and got to go home the same day with nothing more than a little puncture wound on her thigh that cleared up within a week. Science, man.

And this is how Lottie looks post-surgery.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An eventful 3.9 months.

Apparently I haven't posted since the end of May. Whoops. Allow me to fill you in on what's been going on.

In the middle of August, Jim started preschool.

Jim gave me the option of "slightly dopey sneezy face" and "possessed," so take your pick.

Preschool is going very well. He gets to learn some social skills besides "bulldoze," sing exciting songs, and do messy crafts that I don't have to clean up afterwards. He's a pretty big fan, and so are Noah and I. His preschool's Facebook page even posts pictures every day of the what the kids did, so I can spy on him from afar, thus assuaging my "shipping-the-kid-off-to-be-cared-for-by-strangers-for-twelve-hours-a-week" guilt.

Lottie grew some teeth and started eating food.

Chocolate pudding is totally a finger food.

So far, she's got quite the sweet tooth. Her favorite foods include bananas, jelly toast, ice cream, and pudding. Cruel creatures that we are, however, we also feed her broccoli, curry, tuna melts, and other savory fare.

Did I mention that both kids had surgery? Well, they did. Both of them.

World's cutest hospital gown.

Yes indeed, ladies and gents, surgery for little babies. I'll tell you the whole nerve-wracking story another time, but suffice it to say that Lottie's doctor found a heart murmur when she was 7 months old, and she was whisked off to heart surgery before she was 8 months old. Don't let the term "heart surgery" scare you too much, though; it was done by catheter, so she came out of it with nothing but a little puncture wound on her leg. She'll need another surgery later, but this one fixed the most pressing issue (a severe pulmonary stenosis).

Not to be outdone, Big Jim had his own surgery.

Apparently Jim has sized himself out of the most adorable gowns.

Scroll back up and notice how tired Jim looks in the going-to-preschool picture. We took him to an ear-nose-throat guy because he's an awful snorer, and he ordered a sleep study that showed that Jim had really bad obstructive sleep apnea, so his tonsils and adenoid needed to be chopped out. That just happened on Friday the 26th, so he's still in recovery-mode (much harder than Lottie's, as it turns out), but hopefully this'll fix what ails him.

Aaaaand that's about it for major news, at least as far as I can think of. I've got pictures uploaded to show Jim's and Lottie's surgeries and a few other odds and ends, so hopefully the next post won't take nearly four months.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Four months and four months.

Jim at four months:

Lottie at four months:

See, they really have wildly different baby personalities. Jim was all kinds of active and inquisitive and not particularly interested in me. Lottie is all laid-back and doesn't give a damn about anything but talking to people. Totally different.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Look at him now.

Happy Three-Years-Old to Jim!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jim is hilarious!

To wit:

He is potty-trained now, and we're in the process of removing his training potty so he can just go in the real thing and make everyone's lives 100% more wonderful. Whenever he pees in the grown-up one, he peels off precisely one square of toilet paper and drops it in the toilet before flushing. Does not wipe anything, just drops the paper in the toilet. Because that's what you do, right? Go potty, put paper in toilet, flush. So that's what Jim does.

Jim got a fever recently. This is him adorably sleeping it off.

He talks funny. I feel bad laughing at him, so I hold it in until he's gone, but seriously, man, he talks really funny. I can't figure out why he says some of the things he does. Fire ants are always "ant fire," and he's deathly afraid of them. He uses pronouns correctly to say "I hungry" or "Dat's mine," but he still says "MY DO IT!!!!!11" when we do something that Jim should have been able to do (which is everything, you know). He gets all ahead of himself and fills in sentences with "deedlydeedly" while he's thinking of the next word. "Dat one" is also a good all-purpose word and is used in a variety of syntactically questionable ways, such as "Dat mine dat one red candy," which presumably means "The red candy is mine." That said, his language is really progressing astonishingly well at the moment.

See, look, isn't he cute?

As you may have guessed from the previous paragraph, Jim is a completely selfish creature right now. All things belong to Jim. All games are on Jim's turn all the time. All tasks must be done by Jim alone with no assistance, lest the calls of "Noooooooooooo dat MY do it!" commence.

He totally commandeered our bed for recovery purposes.

We made the grievous error (or wise strategic choice, maybe, because it worked) of using M&Ms as a potty-training reward. Now he carefully metes out his urine one drop at a time so he can get "one candy peez" each time. This occurs especially around bedtime, when he's figured out that he can drag the proceedings out an extra half hour or so by going to pee fifteen times.

He tried to take Lottie's, too, but she wasn't having it.

Jim can totally play video games now. He knows what buttons do what, and he only needs help on the tricky parts (like anything that requires jumping a gap). Of course, he has no idea that there's any sort of point involved, and god forbid you try to take the controller to reach the goal. That's JIM's do it, you know.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What an old baby.

Tummy-time isn't quite the torture it used to be.

Lottie is 4 months old now! Geez. That seems so old, doesn't it? But it's true. She's becoming quite venerable. She can roll over (from back to front only, but she tries really hard to do it the other way, too), and she now likes to hold and gum anything she can get her hands on, especially if it belongs to Jim. Jim naturally does not approve of this and reclaims all objects immediately, at which point Lottie squalls. Apparently protesting when you remove a toy is a milestone, too. Who'da thunk it?

Dealing with big brother's dubious affections is making her a pretty tough baby, too.

Personality-wise, she's the happiest, most sociable baby you ever saw. She smiles and laughs and talks if anyone so much as glances in her direction. She's a bit melodramatic, too: If anyone stops glancing in her direction, she sobs like she's being beaten. Everyone has to pay attention to Lottie or else. Physically, she's on track with her milestones but super lazy. Tummy-time isn't torturous anymore, but she doesn't really make much of an effort either. She just kind of lies there waiting for somebody to get down and talk to her. I was looking up old videos of Jim at this age and was absolutely shocked to see how much he kicked and wiggled. I'll post a comparison soon so you all can marvel with me. I can't believe how much they neither look nor act like each other. I'm hoping this means she won't be as crashing-through-the-walls insane as Jim is when she's a toddler.

This is what Lottie looks like if you even hint that you're going to talk to her.

To celebrate her being an old baby, we took her to the doctor this week. While Jim observed and gorged himself on goldfish crackers, she was pronounced to be 14 lb (58th percentile) and 24 inches (37th percentile), with a moderately large (but not freakish) head (actually slightly smaller than Jim at this age, much to my surprise). Lottie being Lottie, of course, she smiled and laughed through the whole thing. She even took the shots with remarkable stoicism and only cried for ten seconds. What a tough baby.