Tag Archive | milestone

More Mayhem

The last few weeks have been full of Minion Mayhem, but in a good way. Lots of changes and lots to talk about! Where to begin?
A couple weeks ago, we moved into a real house. We had been in a townhouse previously, which was nice enough but didn’t really have a yard or garage and was basically the perfect home for two people, not a family. We had been looking for new houses casually and then got an offer we couldn’t refuse. Mr Minion’s grandfather was moving into a retirement home and gave us a deal for his house. Mr GrandMinion’s house is perfect: there is a garage, which will be nice in the winter since we won’t have to scrape ice and snow off the cars, there is a big front yard and a fenced backyard that Little Miss Minion already loves. We have great neighbors (although we had this at our old house as well). It’s a better school district than what we were in before, and we are looking into some programs they offer for preschoolers. Thank you Mr Grandminion!!!!
Which brings me to my next development: we moved to a neighboring county, which means that Little Miss Minion’s early intervention team has to be changed to people in the new county. It’s looking like her speech therapist will stay the same, but her physical therapist will be someone new and we will have new coordinators. 
And on the note of speech, it’s been a word explosion over here! Objectively, she still isn’t where she “should” be, but she’s getting much closer. At the end of January, she had maybe three true words and several approximations (she would say kee instead of kitty, that sort of thing). Now, she has lots of true words and lots of approximations. Off the top of my head, she says mama, dada, milk, no, table, key, toe, elbow, foot, cat, cow, phone, ball, bubble, outside, poop, get down, light, thank you, and several more. The one word she refuses to say is “please,” but she signs it instead. She knows more words than she will say herself, because if you ask her to bring you (random object), she will grab it and bring it to you. 
Her favorite things to do include playing outside, chasing bubbles, coloring/scribbling/making modern art, and eating. She loves splashing in the bathtub and throwing her clothes into the hamper. She’s happy and cheerful 95% of the time, unless she is tired or hungry. 
She will have her two year old checkup soon, so I’ll have official measurements then, but according to my fancy digital scale, she weighs right around 21-22 pounds. She is growing out of 12 month clothes and into 18 month stuff. 
She also gives the best hugs ever. When I pick her up, she puts her arms around my whole head and squeezes as hard as she can. If I don’t pick her up, she runs at me and doesn’t slow down as she crashes into my legs, arms out to squeeze. It’s adorable. 

NICU Development Clinic

Yesterday was Little Miss Minion’s third NICU clinic. This is the big appointment where she is evaluated by physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, a neonatologist, and a NICU nurse. We don’t have her official write up yet, but I have the rough numbers. She did really well!

For those who are unfamiliar, her age is measured by two numbers. One is her chronological age-this is how old she is based on her birthday. The other is her adjusted age-this is how old she is based on her due date. So, by her birthday, she is 22 months old. By her adjusted age, she is only 19 months old. This doesn’t really seem like much, but in terms of early development, it is a big deal. 

Her speech was scored at eighteen months, which is a HUGE improvement. This score technically means that she is no longer considered delayed in speech, which is amazing since she’s only had about a month of speech therapy. They gave us some tips on how to encourage her to talk, but said that she is so close to really talking.

Her cognition was scored right at her chronological age, which is also fantastic. This means that she is scoring three months ahead of her adjusted age, which means that she is pretty much caught up for now in that area. With her early birth, the hydrocephalus, and the brain damage she incurred as a result of either the meningitis or the initial pressures of the hydro, this is really a best case scenario. The doctor told me he had to double check her chart to make sure she was the right kid. 

She’s pretty much on track with her adjusted ago with regard to her fine and gross motor skills. They looked at how she walks, how she holds things, whether she can stack blocks, how she picks things up. 

All in all, I think her average score was twenty or twenty one months, which is great, great news. I’ll post more details once we get the official results in a few weeks. But for now, yay for LMM!

Moving Up Again!

We got the news today that Little Miss Minion will be moving up another level in classroooms! She will be in this new room until she turns two, and then it will be into the room where they start potty training! Not sure how that will work, since she will be two chronologically, but only 21 months adjusted. The new room will have mats instead of cribs for nap time, and they eat lunch at a little table with toddler sized chairs. 
We also have our bi-annual early intervention meeting coming up on Monday. This will include our case manager, the physical therapist, and the speech therapist. We will be adding speech therapy sometime in February, since LMM seems to need a little extra help with that. She is babbling more, since we started implementing the suggestions from our speech assessment, but no words. 
In non-LMM news, I have decided to volunteer in the NICU grad parent group at the hospital that LMM was born at. This is a group of parent volunteers who have had a baby in the NICU. They host monthly dinners, special events, and other things for the families in the NICU. They have two days of orientation and the first one is next Wednesday. I’m excited to be able to help out others who might be in the same boat we were in. There weren’t any micropreemie parents in the group, and I heard about their four and five pounders born at 34, 35 weeks and wished I knew someone with a preemie closer to LMM’s situation. The world of the NICU is so different from a full term, healthy birth, but within that, the world of a preemie vs micropreemie is vastly different. 

Preemie Christmas Part 12

It’s finally here,  albeit a little off schedule. 
On the 12th day of Christmas, the NICU gave to me: 12 feeds to freedom, 11 silver linings, 10 specialists a-knocking, 9 dads kangaroo-ing, 8 moms a – pumping, 7 monitors chiming, 6 nurses charting, 5 needle sticks, 4 brain surgeries, 3 minute scrubs, 2 blood transfusions, and a micro preemie in an isolette. 
In the NICU, we never said “when is Little Miss Minion going to have her next bottle?” It was always “her next feed is in an hour.” Nicu jargon seeped into our lives so much, people actually thought I had medical training, with my talk of vents and shunts and tpn and csf. 
When things were starting to look like she would be coming home soon, the nurses talked to us about what she would need to be able to do in order to leave the nicu. The easy parts, the parts that she would either do or not do, included passing her car seat test (90 minutes in her car seat without setting off her monitors), a hearing test, going a week without setting off her monitors, and maintaining her body temperature without the help of the isolette. The big one was that she had to drink all of her milk by herself for about three days. 
From the time she started getting milk, she took it via a thin, flexible tube that went from her nose to her stomach. When she started taking bottles, it was very tiring for her, so they would give her a little bit from a bottle and “gavage” the rest through the tube. As she got better at drinking from the bottle and her mouth muscles got stronger, she took more and more at each feed. 
In order to leave, she would have to drink all her milk by herself for 24 hours. At that point, they would pull the tube. If she could keep it up for two additional days, or 12 feeds, she would be out the door. 
About a week before she was actually discharged, when we were playing a game of “so close, but not enough,” she pulled the tube out herself. The nurses decided to leave it out and see if she still needed it, which she did, but for those 2 hours, we could see her face without nasal cannula, without tubes, without duoderm tape on her cheeks. We had seen her face without some of these things when they would redo the tubes and tape, but never all at the same time. She looked like any other baby, even though she was almost 3 months old and only 5 pounds. We could really see her face, her expression. It was wonderful.  

Speaking of which…

My last post was about the start of cold/flu/RSV season. Since then, Little Miss Minion has been fighting off a cold that has turned into a sinus infection. Lovely. We took her to the pediatrician yesterday and they gave her some antibiotics to help clear the sinus infection that might turn into an ear infection. The average kid should be getting better by now, with as long as she’s had this, but since she’s a preemie, it takes her a little longer to fight things like this, especially given her weakened lungs. 

We did get some new stats on her though! She is 17 months old, 14 months adjusted, and weighs 19 pounds 8 ounces! We are almost at 20 pounds, ladies and gents! 

In other news, we got her orthotics and new shoes for her, since she’s in the big kid class at daycare. I also scored an entire winter wardrobe for her over the weekend for about forty bucks. She’s in 9 month clothes now, so I bought 9 months and 12 months. The organization that holds the sale has several a year, and the next one is in the spring. I’ll take stock of where she is then, in terms of sizing. One thing is for sure: we definitely get our money’s worth out of clothes for her! Growing out of a size every week? Psssh, not with a preemie in the house! I guess when she’s like 80 and looks 40, she won’t mind as much lol. 

Happy September!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here. Little Miss Minion is fully mobile now, walking more than she crawls, so we’re pretty much chasing after her all night. Good news: we’ve pretty much toddler-proofed the living room and dining room. You can read this as “moved everything more than four feet off the ground and cleared off end tables.” I also had to put a PIN lock on my phone, since Miss Smartypants figured out how to open it and was texting gibberish. 

This weekend,  we are going to start transitioning her to “people food,” aka getting her away from purees all the time. I’m going to steam a ton of veggies and package them up for her to feed herself while we eat dinner. She eats tons of finger foods at daycare, but we haven’t gotten in the habit of doing that at home yet. I’m also terrified of her choking, but we DID have to take a choking/CPR class before we were discharged from the nicu. A nice side effect of this change is that Mr Minion and I will be eating more veggies too. 

We got her official nicu follow up report in the mail yesterday. It’s pretty much everything I already talked about, but they did call her IUGR at birth, which is not something that either Mr Minion or myself remembers. IUGR stands for intrauterine growth restriction, and means that the baby is smaller than they should be for their gestational age. It’s pretty common in preeclamptic delivered babies, since the placenta is usually affected by the high blood pressure and can’t function as well as it should. LMM was 1 pound, 14 ounces and 13.5 inches long at birth. The average stats for a 28 weeker are 2 pounds, 8 ounces and 14 inches long. It doesn’t really mean anything now, since she has stayed on her growth curve and isn’t having trouble gaining weight, but it is important information to have if I ever have another baby. 

LMM’s current favorite things: the Ducktales theme song, “flying,” being upside down, veggie straws, food in general, Mr Minion, and her light up bouncy balls. Current dislikes: being told no. 

Things are getting interesting. 

Early Intervention and NICU Follow Up

Last night, we had our yearly meeting with the early intervention team and today, we had an appointment today with the NICU development team to see how Little Miss Minion is performing with her chronological vs adjusted age. Short story: she’s doing really well and everyone is happy with her progress. 

So yesterday was the Early Intervention meeting. Our case manager, the physical therapist, and the two of us discussed her goals from this time last year and made new ones. These are things like walking unassisted, talking more, using utensils, etc. We have these meetings every six months. She met all of her goals from last time, which is great. 

Today was the NICU follow up, which is more in-depth than the early intervention meeting. They get her measurements (weight, length, and head circumference), and then a physical therapist and an occupational therapist take turns playing with her and watching how she interacts with toys, how well she can do activities, what her skills are at the moment. They measure in five areas: gross motor skills (big movements like walking, crawling, sitting, standing), fine motor skills (picking things up), cognitive skills, receptive communication (identifying objects, such as pointing to a book when you ask for it), and expressive communication (imitating words, playing peekaboo or other games). 

Because of her prematurity, we use her adjusted age for milestones. This means that she should be measuring around 12 months for these areas of skill, even though she is 15 months old chronologically. 

Gross motor: 13-15 months. 

Fine motor: 11-12 months.

Cognitive: 12 months.

Receptive communication: 9 months.

Expressive communication: 11-12 months. 

Overall, these are really good scores. She’s always scored higher in motor skills and lower in communication, but she is progressing at a good pace. Especially given her history of prematurity and her hydrocephalus, she’s doing excellent. They also explained that the skills don’t all grow at the same rate. Since she’s been doing so well with motor skills, they would expect the other areas to suffer a little. The important thing is that they are all improving compared to last time, which they are. 
Another huge milestone: she walked about six feet tonight!