Monthly Archives: March 2011

Hard work

Hard work is a part of life.  Staying at a job till it is done is a necessary self-discipline to possess.  It is not always fun to jump into the yard work or the laundry rather than sit and passively view TV all night; but it is part of being responsible.

Our responsibility to our children, and to the God who gave them to us, is to prepare them for the future.  To mold them shape them and direct them towards a successful path.  No matter the task at hand or the chore to be accomplished our first duty as parents is the shaping, the training and the encouraging of the boys at our side.  Our boys will need to be good men, productive adults, and excellent husbands and exceptional fathers.  They need to be ready to cuddle a sick child or to work all night in the bitter cold to keep a pond from freezing up for the live stock.  They need to be self sacrificing and work till the job is done and done well; putting their family and others first.

Our boys jump into hard work and thrive on being right there beside Daddy or momma in all daily tasks.  We strive to limit as much as possible the time they must, for safety reasons, be excluded.  We endeavor to talk about work, tasks and chores in a positive light and to encourage their eagerness about upcoming work.  We make every effort to portray life as “fun and work” but “work first, then reward yourself”.  I admit it is more of a challenge to momma or daddy to ‘share the work’ but the long term benefits of allowing a 5 year to cut cedar trees, a 3 year to sort laundry, or both the boys to shovel mulch is the worth more than gold.  Today we “share the work” with them, soon our family will share the work more evenly and the day will come when they will share the work with our grandchildren.  Our boys see shoveling rock or hauling trash as a joy a time to be with daddy and to ‘do for’ momma or the family.  Daddy and I make every effort to encourage them, to include them, to challenge them and to nurture their innate willingness to work.

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Big Brother is such an odd child.  I love him, and watching him learn is amazing.  I introduced the number line to him today, both the concept of greater than and less than and the symboles.  He took to it right away.  This was after acting incapable of counting pennies.  I sat down with both boys, with the intention of seeing just how high (one to one relationship) Big Brother could count.  He acted goophy and silly and slow and never did count, correctly past 13 and I know he can do better than that.  I sent him off, and started a momma project:  I got out a calendar and turned it into a sticker chart for him to keep track of his non “time out days”.  He responded well to a small reward for going 7 days without having to be “parent removed” self control is a big struggle for him, but he is so proud of himself after the fact.  He loves “challenges” so I decided to challenge him to go more days this time.  Since learning the calendar is a goal we are working on right now I thought recording his successful or not successful days on a real calendar would give him a more tangible way to learn days and ‘how long’.  The number line sprung up as we were trying to come up with a challenge day count.  At first he was all over the board, I do not if he was just shouting random numbers at me (“let’s do 2 + 1 days Momma, is that a lot?”) and knowing he was being silly or if he really still has that weak a grasp on  the sizes different numbers.  His suggestions were all over the place from 3 to 156, by then I think he was just writing random numbers.  He seemed pretty amazed that 150+ days would be “after this summer, it would be getting cold again”.  So I made a small number line; circled the 7 (the last challenge he met) and use the < and > symbols for the other numbers on the line.  I did it more as ‘something to write as I talked’ to try to just get him to look at the number line; but he got it.  He seemed to really be paying attention to the line and how the numbers related on it.  “This side is always littler momma?”  Now we’ll see how much retention he has tomorrow and if he really ‘grows in understand’.  We’ll see if he can USE the concept of greater or less than (< and >) or bigger and smaller as we talked about them in relations to numbers.  Nevertheless for today he seemed to be ‘getting it’.  We looked at the number line (1 to 15) and talked about all the numbers, in more or less random order, compared to 7 and he was right on them all.  Pretty exciting.  It continues to amaze me how some things are so quick for him, and others he just doesn’t seem to ‘grasp’.  We’ll see …


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The boys in what the call “pa pa shirts” (I had asked Big to “smile”)

Ah my boys, just a normal day.

 and now the other one ….


Finally Molly today — 26 pounds …


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The boys worked on numeral order; that is putting printed numerals in order and counting “up one” and “down one”.  They got to go 20 questions on the computer, ok Big got to standing by me and Little, hanging over my should got to shout out the numbers he knows, indifferent to the actual question, and point a lot.  All I can say is you have to be physically strong to home school a preschooler and a kindy kid – I wanna be the mom fro the Incredibles!!   After the computer time we got out the number tiles and I gave Big Brother the 1 to 10 tile and told him to put them in numbered order.  He can count much higher; but as for recognizes the written numeral; he struggles at 8 and above.  Our current goal is to count, and identify numbers up to 100 with ease. 

Home schooling is even more fun, not only with a little brother to help you, but a puppy too.

Both boys worked on fine motor skills today with a set of lacing boards.  Stop sign, square, pizza slice, so on that they lace the edges with shoelaces.  Ok maybe it is just my kids, but these do not keep their attention for over 45 seconds.  I can’t even tell you if the task is a challenge for them, or super easy – they won’t stay at it.  They start to lace, then they are swinging the cards by the lacing string (so, of course, Momma has to take it away) or “fishing” with them or ….you see the trend, they are not lacing.  So the cards got taken away after about 3 minutes after Momma had to stop them being swung and used for tug-of-war.  This is honestly the challenge I run into with most “fine motor practice” they start misusing the item almost immediately (bead got tossed, or rolled; tweezers or tongs pinch people, and so on).  I am not sure if this behavior is due to them just being little boys (all BOY boys at that) and so close in age they constantly egg each other on; or if it is a avoidance behavior because the request (the fine motor activity) is a challenge or frustrating for them.

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Little’s Blood Test Results

Remember Little Brother’s horrible blood draw and appt at the GI specialist at the Children’s Hospital?   Got all the test results back and they all came back normal / negative.  While I am certainly happy about that, I am, at the same time, frustrated.  I would genuinely like some answers regarding the seemingly random symptoms Little continues to struggles with.

The advice of Dr. Mhd Louai Manini, M.D.?  You’re gonna love this!  “let’s watch him for another week or so and see if things don’t right themselves”.  OK.  So I brought in 13 weeks of detail notes regarding fevers, eating, behavior, stools, weight gains and losses and medical appointments; but watching him another week or 2 is going to help the situation??

Nice guy, I really did like him, but please – if you do not have an answer just tell me so.

So now Daddy and I have to decide if we want to give it more time, or go back to the Ped (Dr Amy Kimball, we love her) and see about pursuing immunity issues? 

His symptoms are that that serious; since he is in general still gaining weights and the weight losses correct themselves in a week or two.  Nevertheless, given he has been struggling with this mystery malady since the first of 2011 and while not getting worse is not over it either is a cause for a Momma to worry.  Actually I am more worried about his body’s inability to conquer this (virus?  Bug?) lingering illness than I am about the illness itself.


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little sprouts

The boys started some seeds in the kitchen with Daddy.  The sunflowers are coming up.  Apparently my boys are much more gifted at growing things than momma is. 

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Sunday at mass I happened to be reading The Catholic Devotional in the pew.  I found a pray that made my heart sing, well it stung some too, but mostly my heart sang.  I’ve done a little research, and am still attempting to find the original author of this pray, I do not see the reason it is slated as a ‘pray for after HOLY COMMUNION’.  To me it seems much more fitting as a ‘how to start your day pray’.  I think I am going to start using this as my morning offering; and as the boys age I am considering teaching it to them too – but they are still trying to grasp the Our Father.  Nevertheless I found it in no less that three places (such as catorgizied as a pray after HOLY COMMUNION. 

Again, I am not the author of this fantastic pray, and I am seeking the correct person to credit.

Dear Lord,

help me to remove from my mind every thought

or opinion which You would not sanction,

every feeling form my heart which You would not approve.

Grant that I may spend the hours of the day

gladly working with You according to Your will.

Help me just for today and be with me in it.

In the long hours of work,

that I may not grow weary or slack in serving You.

In conversations,

that they may not be to me occasions of uncharitableness.

In the day’s worries and disappointments,

that I may be patient with myself and with those around me.

In moments of fatigue and illness,

that I may be mindful of others rather than of myself.

In temptations, that I may be generous and loyal,

so that when the day is over I may lay it at Your feet,

with its successes which are all Yours,

and its failures which are all my own,

and feel that life is real and peaceful

and blessed when spent with You as the Guest of my soul.

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Good day today.  Big Brother completed day 4 with no ‘time out’ removals.  I plan, soon to create a “Peace Spot” for him (and Little) that is more of a sensory / coping / soothing place.  I dislike time out and use it sparingly.  I feel they’d be learning more to have a ’quiet place’ to go to – something to cuddly, maybe dim light, some sensory fidgets – so they can learn to self regulate rather than just learn “this gets you in trouble”.  It is good to know “this is not ok” but that does not really do much unless they are learning another option in place of the not ok choice.  So I really have been looking at ideas for creating a spot they can choose to go, or a spot I can suggest that offers something to then rather than just removes them.  In the mean time, Big got though day 4 without a time out – at day 7 I have promised him a reward.  The ‘stay out of time out another day’ goal has been something I can quote to him to get them to STOP and THINK, which is what he needs – to stop and think.  Momma has to be responsible to be aware and remind him before he starts to cycle up and can’t think clearly.

Started Phonics Pathways  with Big Brother today; and Little Brother was hanging on my other arm joining in as he can (he’d be able to do it all if he had the speech ability).  Right now ve are talking about the 5 vowels and practicing their soft sounds (a = ant and so on).  we’ll remain on this “lesson” until he can tell me the 5 vowels off the top of his head and quickly give their soft sound as I flip the letters up for him.  The goal it is make it automatic before moving forward.  He already knows them; it is just a question of practice and practice until it is fast and automatic.

 Took the boys to the park today to enjoy some sun and fresh air.   


This past week when Little Brother saw the GI doctor, he had blood taken in the lab, it was HORRIBLE.  Poor little trooper.  He sat still, on my lap, for the first stick.  One labbie sticking him and one holding his wrist.  I had him in my lap and held his other hand.  She got the vein right off and I do not think she was ready, she jumped, sprayed blood all over and pulled the needle out (insert momma smacking her forehead here).  The female, nicest term I have, holding poor Little’s wrist says “It hurts, but you can’t jump” uh he DID NOT MOVE, I said as much and was hugging him and trying to sooth him.  I vas holding him, and he was trying to be good; HE is not the one that jumped.  Big Brother had HUGE eyes and looked like he was going to cry.  So that “assistant” left and had she not Momma would have insisted.  The Labbie said “I need help” (really, you think) and brought in an older woman.  Little really freaked as soon as they started the process on his other arm, I help him and he was screaming before she even started.  Poor little guy, momma was getting MAD.  Big Bother hid under the table and put his hands on his ears and was crying too.  She poked the second arm and then started to dig for the vein.  My head was going to explode; Little was flexing his entire body and screaming.  The older lady quickly took the needle, pulled it out a little and sank it into the vein; lucky for her she did.  Then she let the younger labbie complete the draw, she was changing syringes (not tubes like every other lab I have seen, syringes) of blood and dropped one on the floor, splattering more blood around, Big crawled out from under the table, picked it up with one hand (other still on ear) and picked it up for her and scurried back under the table.  Finally done, Little was a soaking wet rag doll, I carried him out, he didn’t even lift his head off my shoulder, the screams and tears eased down to choked sobs in my neck.  Big was a great help carrying everything out and staying right with me.  (I think the happy face on the pressure bands just adds insult to injury, myself)




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around the house


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Visting the Pediatric Gastroenterology


 Since the first of the year Little Brother has been not totally sick, but not really well either.  This is an on going issues for him, getting sick and then hitting a stall; not getting worse but not getting better either.  This challenge he has (the reason he vas hospitalized at 12 weeks with RSV, the inability to kick it on his own) tends to be a risk because his system eventually gets so worn down that he is seriously handicapped in his recovery.  He has been running a low grade fever on and off, at least 3 or 4 days a week; rarely over 100.3 but almost always over 99.5.  He has had several periods of very lethargic behavior, days of extremely clingy and ‘sick acting’ behavior too.  He has had several multi-day periods of diarrhea, either totally liquid or mostly so.  On these days he also will have 3 or 4 dirty diapers rather than one (or one every other day) like when “normal”.  He was treated for Step in Feb, and required 2 runs of antibiotic, and since then the symptoms (stools, fevers and lethargic days) have gotten worse.  He has been tested 2 more times fro Strep (he loves that) and both the short and long tests have been neg. 

Other relevant facts (or maybe not, who knows)

Little Brother has had an Speech and Occupational Therapy assessments.  Speech is deemed to be “a signification communication delay” and the OT noted many things such as “low core body strength”.

The visit today:

  • BMI: 16.41
  • weight: 15.6 kg  = 34.39 lbs
  • Height: 97.5 cm = 38.38 inches = 3 foot 16 inches

I was so proud of what a GREAT job both boys did – Big was very cooperative and still.  Both stayed with me really well and listened.  I was so happy with their behavior.  We were all tired, and it was a lot of going here, and going there (not much waiting, that vas nice) and a lot of adult talking.  Big actually fell asleep on the way TO the appt (“I was not sleeping, just resting up”). 

We went to the clinics at — actually they are NOT at the hospital, they are in 1212 the building next door.  Thanks for the confusion; a nice adult ‘candy striper’ got us there, and Momma did not panic.  Big did a great job, as did Little, walking back and forth with me as I tried to find the right place. 

I really like how I left with a copy of the notes he dictated about the appt and a list of all the tests ordered; just like when you get a copy of your med records – but I got it as a SOP at leaving.  I like that a lot.  Also had on it all his stats (height, weight, temp, bp, heat). 

Dr. Mhd Louai Manini, M.D.  spent about 40 minutes with us.  He brought in a small toy for the boys to share, and actually was very understanding of the activity level of the boys (he commented on it being high, in honestly, for mine, they were practically still) and Big Brother interruptions.  He talked to me a long time, and looked at Little Brother and ordered some tests, not a lot to be determined at the appt.  He told me “Little Brother is a healthy young man and it is good to see he is growing nicely and continuing to grow”.  He also said “I need no immediate risk, he is not a sickly child”.  He re-ordered all the tests Dr Amy had run, and a few different ones (I don’t think Dr Amy did liver functions).  

Blood tests:

  • SED rate
  • Complete Metabolic Panel
  • Tissue transglut ab iga
  • Immunoglobulin a


Stool tests:

  • C difficle screen
  • Cult stool and shiga toxin
  • Stool ova and parasite
  • Wbc stool
  • Occult blood stool

Things the doctor said (some funny):

He was, of course, amazed Little Brother is still nursing.  He actually seems more amazed at the consumption of solid food (not baby food), cow milk, water and Mother’s Milk.  He did comment “it might be challenging for him stop since he seems to like it” but I assured him first that Big Brother self-weaned and I am confident Little will too, and I tossed him a bone that Little was “weaning” around Christmas but then started getting sick.  SMILE.  The Doctor, in general, did not have a problem with the nursing, just a little surprised I think.  I did point out and the 4 different days (3 at once) that Little refused everything but Mother’s Milk nursing kept out of the hospital. 

He looked over my notes.  I took the last 3 months and made notes of weights, fevers, stools and so on.  They are pretty extensive; I had notes for almost every day, including medication for Step, appt at Ped and so on.  He said “You are a very conscious parent to keep such good records.  They are very useful.

He asked about diet, I explained about no artificial stuff, as best we can and admitted we are not perfect.  He asked about gluten or dairy free, and we are neither.  He said “it sounds like they have a really good diet and that Little Brother is a good eater”. 

He suggested the possibility that this is just “Toddler diarrhea” and THAT he claims is relatively common.  He noted it to be most common under three, and none of this started in Little till after three, so I am not so sure about that.  Never had any digestive issues before.  However as I search and webmd I do not fine the term, I find a lot about toddlers and diarrhea but not the term used as a diagnosis as the doctor today did.  I did find this:  and this has to be what he was talking about.  Basically an immaturity in the child’s digestive system, often acerbated by diet; but the more I read it does not sound like Little’s diet at all (excessive fluid intake, lacking ‘adult foods’ and a lot of juice).

He also suggested celiac disease I know there is some difference of opinion on the validity and reliability of the blood test but he feels it is about 98% reliable.  My research, today, shows:  IgA antiendomysial antibodies can detect celiac disease with a sensitivity and specificity of 90% and 99% according to a systematic review.  The doctor did note that a full diagnosis can not be made on blood tests alone: and that a positive blood test would still need to be followed by an endoscopy/gastroscopy and biopsy.   That we’ll discuss, DH and I and the doctor after all the lab results are in. 

He wants me to limit sugar (after saying the boys have a great diet).  No juice (they get none anyhow unless sick and I am trying to push liquids); only one serving of fruit a day.

He wants me to add fiber.  Even the chewy fiber supplements.  Going to check with out nutritionist about a supplement that is yummy in addition to diet.

Where we go from here:

Wait for the tests results.  Basically that is all.  Diet changes, keep making notes and wait.


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