Sunday, April 29, 2012

Slow progress is still progress

I think my last update on Caleb seemed like I was focusing on all the things he can't do right now.  I don't think I realized how much he was able to do on his own until he wasn't able to do them anymore.  I knew that the recovery would be long and I knew that it would take time for him to regain function...I knew that.  But it has still been really hard to watch.  Caleb is making progress, slow progress, but progress nonetheless.  He continues to have physical therapy 3 times a week and it is definitely helping him.  I do see him getting stronger and Ms. Vicki seems very confident that he will be back to where he was in no time at all.  He did ask for his walker today and he did manage to take a few steps with Glenn supporting him.  I have noticed a couple of improvements since his surgery.  Before the surgery Caleb was beginning to really bow his back and arch his belly when he was sitting up.  I'm not sure why tethered cord would cause that but he has been sitting up nice and straight since the surgery.  Also before the surgery, his right foot was constantly twitching and it got really bad the first few days after the surgery, but it isn't twitching at all right now.

One thing is certain, going back to school last week did help his "stir crazy" behaviors.  I only let him go for a few hours each day but it really did help improve his mood.  He was so excited about seeing his friends.
Caleb headed to school on Monday. I think that big smile says it all.

Tonight after his bath, Caleb asked me to take a picture of his back.

When I showed him the picture he said: "Whoa, it goes all the way across."  I don't think he realized how big his incision is.  The boy really has no understanding of the seriousness of the surgery he just had.  He feels good so he can't imagine what all the fuss is about.

The incision looks great.  I think there is only one or two stitches just barely hanging on at this point.

He has his follow-up appointment with neurosurgery on Tuesday, hopefully he will be free to resume normal activities.  He is so anxious to do P.E., recess, and he wants to stay at school for the full day.  I'm not sure if he will get a green light or not.  Just because his outward incision looks healed, doesn't mean he is fully healed internally.  So, we'll see.

I've mentioned before how much Caleb enjoys reading and he is really good at it.  His class goes to the library every Friday and this past week he brought home "Amelia Bedelia goes camping".  This was a book, not just an easy-reader, but a book with over 50 pages and tons of words.  
I just thought he looked too cute reading in his bed the other night.  So proud of that kid.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Benjamin

With Caleb going back to school for half days this week (update on Caleb coming soon), I've had some one-on-one time with Benjamin.  This kid loves his momma and I'm certain that he would suction himself to me if that were at all possible.  I took a few cute pictures of Benjamin this week and I thought I would share.

This kid is a constant eating machine.  You certainly can't tell it by looking at him but he eats all day long.  He eats a bowl of cereal (sometimes 2 bowls) when he wakes up and then he wants to eat again after we take Bubba to school.  There is usually some kind of mid-morning snack (2 homemade granola bars) and then he eats a pretty big lunch.  You get the idea.  The other day he wanted to eat some oranges.  I just thought he looked cute peeling the orange.  It took him forever to get all the peel off but he insisted he wanted to do it by himself.  It's funny because sometimes he wants to do things by himself and refuses any help at all, even if it means he is walking around with his underwear inside out and backwards.  And then other times he claims he can't even do the simplest thing on his own, like take his socks off.   Three year old's are a lot of fun, if you consider riding an emotional roller coaster with a lunatic fun. :)

Working so hard to get that peel off.

He also picks of those little stringy pieces because he doesn't like those (he gets that from me).

This morning he was playing with his Monster Trucks back in the playroom.  He set up 2 ramps for the Monster Trucks to jump over.  He made the appropriate sound effects and everything.

I just love how he gets down on the floor and plays.  It is so cute.

Doing a wheelie up the ramp.

Action shot

This Monster Truck jumped right off the ramp and into the sky.

Apparently El Toro Loco needed a horn adjustment.  I wish you could hear Benjamin say "El Toro Loco", it is hysterical.

Benjamin has definitely enjoyed having me to himself a bit more this week.  Yesterday he said:  "Come snuggle me in bed momma."  Well, this momma could not deny that request.




Friday, April 20, 2012

Stir Crazy Caleb

Stir crazy (condition)

(emphasis added by me, indicates the "stir crazy" behaviors seen in Caleb)

Stir crazy is a phrase that dates to 1908 according to the Oxford English Dictionary[1] and the online Etymology Dictionary. Used among inmates in prison, it referred to a prisoner who became mentally unbalanced because of prolonged incarceration. It is based upon the slang stir (1851) to mean prison. It is now used to refer to anyone who becomes restless or anxious from feeling trapped and even somewhat claustrophobic in an environment, usually a confined space, perceived to be more static and unengaging than can any longer continue to hold interest, meaning, and value to and for them. 'Stir crazy' could be classified as a more specific form of boredom, but combined with elevated and often increasing levels of anxiety, frustration, agitation, figeting, manic depressive type mood swings, and accessory episodes of acting out violently or otherwise antisocially on those feelings, the longer the unengaging non-stimulating environment is persisted in. 'Stir crazy' has a similar meaning to cabin fever, except minus the urge to disengage and sleep more, plus the urge to engage and attempt doing anything perceived to be even slightly more constructive and productive, given the extreme limitations of the environment, even if plainly destructive, than doing nothing at all. Prisoners will sometimes initiate otherwise easily avoidable conflict for no other reason than they perceive they have nothing else better or more worth while to do.(this translates into more frequent fighting between Caleb and Benjamin)

 Stir crazy might colloquially be defined as finding yourself trapped in a waiting room without any apparent appointment time scheduled.

So, that just about sums up Caleb and his attitude right now (and let's face it, it describes my attitude too).  Caleb goes from being emotional, wanting 16 hugs in a row, telling me how pretty I am...to being sassy, defiant, belligerent, and downright grumpy.  I have found myself getting frustrated with him and his "stir crazy" attitude and then I have to remind myself what he has been through the last 2 1/2 weeks.  He is sick of being home.  He is sick of me asking him to lie down (he pretty much refuses at this point).  He misses school.  He misses his friends.  He wants to go to church.  He longs for his independence and freedom.  He is having to rely on me so much because he hasn't gained back the function he had prior to the surgery.  He can't get himself up to the table, he can't climb up on his bed, he can't walk into the next room, he can't climb his steps to brush his teeth, he can't get into the car by himself.  There are just so many things that he can't do right now, things that he was used to doing.  He is having to work so hard in physical therapy.  I was watching him just struggle to get into a tall-kneeling position today with Ms. Vicki.  It was so hard for him.  He has just lost so much strength and function.  He is gaining it back but it seems like such a long road and the kidney infection really set him back a bit.  Thankfully he is on the mend from the the infection and we are able to move forward with his recovery.

I'm not trying to complain or focus on the negative. While the last couple of weeks have been tough, I'm still very thankful:
*For how well Caleb's incision has healed.  We have not had a single issue with the incision.
*For the ability to be home with him during this time.
*For all the wonderful love and support we have received from friends and family.
*For all the notes, cards, gifts, and visits that Caleb has received.  I think we have had more visitors to our house in the last 2 weeks than we have had in the 8 1/2 years we've lived here!
*For all the prayers.  It is amazing to me that so many of you have never met Caleb, or me, but you love him and you prayed for him.  That just gets me all teary-eyed.

Okay, time for a few pictures:
We have had gorgeous weather this week so I have taken Caleb outside to soak up some Vitamin D and hopefully improve some of his "stir crazy" emotions (and mine too).

Benjamin had school a couple of days this week so Caleb had me all to himself.  We had a picnic lunch in the backyard yesterday.


With his kidney infection, Caleb has had access to more juice than usual.  I don't buy juice often but I needed to make sure he was drinking enough fluids. 
 (I was not given any monetary compensation from CapriSun-although I should have)


Being his silly self.  See, a little bit of sun did help his mood a bit.

Ah, love the toothless smile.

Blowing bubbles

I love this picture of Benjamin.  He was all hot and sweaty from running around like a lunatic in the backyard. His face was flushed and he had tiny sweat droplets on his forehead.  And I'm pretty sure that is a giant river of snot pouring out of his nose.  Awesome.

Caleb has been working hard for Ms. Vicki this week.  Here is picture of him sorta standing up.  She was offering quite a bit of support but he was able to put some weight on his legs, so that is an improvement.
Smilin' even when he is working hard.

Picnics in the sun and blowing bubbles can momentarily help with "stir crazy" behaviors but I think going back to school will be the cure for grumpy-pants Caleb.  So, I've decided to let him go back to school on Monday for just a few hours in the morning.  I'll likely keep him going a half-day until we have our follow-up appointment on May 1st.  I think Caleb will do fine with just 3 hours of school.  I think just being out of the house and spending time with his friends will do wonders for his current condition of stir craziness.  And just maybe, it will benefit my mental health as well.  :)



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Facebook Photo Dump

It has been a long time since I have done a "Facebook Photo Dump".  I had intended to do it once a month....but I kinda forgot. I'm mostly doing this for me.  I am in the process of printing out my blog year by year so I want to make sure I include all the random photos and captions that I share on Facebook, but that don't always make it to the blog.  Here goes:

April 14, 2012
Benjamin painting a birdhouse...topless.

March 23, 2012
I feel like this picture could be used against me in a court of law, but I assure you that the child got in there all by himself, he even took his own blanket, pillow, and toys. 

March 10, 2012
Future basketball star right here folks! He was so excited because he got a team jersey today, he still hasn't taken it off! 

February 6, 2012
Nappin' with his monster truck 

January 9, 2012
So nice of Caleb to give Benjamin a makeover. 

January 3, 2012
Caleb's school picture. Seriously, how cute is my kid?!

December 16, 2011
Benjamin and Izzy cuddled up on the couch together...(he's pretending to be asleep and she' not supposed to be on the couch) 

November 30, 2011
Benjamin had his picture taken on a pony at preschool....I think his expression says it all. That face is so Benjamin. I love it.

November 23, 2011
I love this kid, his smile makes me smile.

November 7, 2011
What is it with this kid and the dryer?!

November 3, 2011
Silly boy.

October 25, 2011
Pajama Day at school

October 24, 2011
Western Day at school

September 23, 2011
Benjamin wanted to sit in "bubba's" lap. I love it when they like each other :)

September 17, 2011
This goose egg is from a mosquito bite...he's allergic.

And I think that about does it!  I'm all caught up on my Facebook photo dump.  Hopefully I won't wait another 7 months to do this again.  




Sunday, April 15, 2012

Freeing Butterflies (and a quick Caleb update)

A few weeks ago I posted about our tiny baby caterpillars and how the boys were anxiously awaiting to see them transform into butterflies.  The caterpillars took about 10-12 days before they were full grown.  It was amazing to see how quickly these caterpillars grew.  When they were ready they climbed to the top of the container and hung upside down.  Within hours they have a hard shell around them, also known as a chrysalis.  So weird.  Once all the caterpillars had formed their chrysalis, I moved them into the butterfly garden.


And then we waited.  And waited.  It takes another 10 days or so for the butterfly to emerge out of the chrysalis.  We had 4 butterflies total, 2 of them emerged on Monday (we let them go on Wednesday) and the other 2 emerged on Friday (we let them go today).



The boys loved watching the butterflies.  


I gave the butterflies fresh orange slices twice a day.



The butterflies were pretty eager to get some fresh air.  I tried to let the boys hold them but the butterflies were ready to fly free.

Caleb did get to hold a rollie-pollie. :)

This kid just has mischief written all over him.  I love that little stinker.



Today I noticed 2 butterflies hanging out on these flowers.  I can't be certain that they are the same butterflies we let go, but they sure look like it.  I like to think our butterflies are going to hang around our house to visit.

Quick picture with my big boy.

My sweet Caleb has been so sick today.  He woke up with a 102.7 fever and very cloudy urine.  I had been worried about a possible UTI since he was in the hospital for his tethered cord surgery.  They actually checked it before we were discharged and it came back clean.  I have just been pushing fluids all week, hoping that it was nothing.  He never had a fever so I assumed that he didn't have an infection.  Well, he got sick fast today.  His fever was over 105 degrees by lunch time.  Over 105 degree temperature makes this momma start to freak out a bit.  We took him to the ER because we were pretty sure he has a kidney infection.  We were right.  Luckily, they just gave him a heavy shot of rocephin and sent him home.  As long as he doesn't get worse or start vomiting then we can avoid a hospital stay.  He did throw up once tonight after dinner but it was minimal.  He is burning up though, poor baby.  I hate kidney infections.  They make him so sick.  He was just starting to get around more since his surgery and now he is down and out with this infection.  Kid just can't catch a break.  Hopefully the rocephin will take the edge off the infection and we can avoid going back to the hospital.  His previous kidney infections have landed him in the hospital for 3 days.  I really don't want to go back to the hospital.

Caleb's PT came out this week.  After doing a quick re-evaluation, we decided that Caleb needs PT 3 times a week for the next 3 months, or until he gains back all of the function he lost after the surgery.  He is crawling much better but he still can't stand up at all and walking is obviously out of the question right now.  Ms. Vicki seems optimistic that Caleb will make progress quickly.  I am going to keep him home from school this next week and then see how he is doing the following week.  I will probably start him back with a half day here and there to see how he does  He misses school so much.  He had a couple of his classmates visit him over the weekend which was such a blessing.  His wonderful teacher came to see him a couple of times this past week and she brought letters and pictures from all of his classmates.  They were so sweet.  I will definitely tuck those away for safe keeping.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Caleb update: One week after surgery

Today marks a week since Caleb's tethered cord surgery.  He is doing well.  We managed to keep him laying flat for the first couple of days home but by yesterday he was pretty sick of laying down.  Can't say that I blame him.  I have been letting him do more and more the last couple of days but I still make him take breaks.  He tires out quickly and is sleeping about 12-13 hours a night.  I guess his little body is just tired.  I'll admit the last few days have not been easy for me either.  Caleb tried to crawl on Saturday and he couldn't even get his knees under him at all.  His legs just couldn't move the way he wanted them to.  It's weird because I knew this would happen, I knew his legs would be greatly affected by the surgery and that it would take time to gain back function.  But, it has still been really hard to watch.  Then my mind wanders to other things...like, what if he can never walk again? What if we made the wrong decision?  What if the surgery does more harm than good?  All crazy-worried-mama thoughts.  He is improving and gaining back some function.  As of today, he is crawling better and getting his knees under him somewhat.  So, I already see improvement which makes this crazy-worried-mama feel better.

Time for pictures.
A friend of mine was sneaky on Sunday morning and dropped off a gift for Caleb at our front door.  He was so excited to open it.  And she gave us a gift card to Domino's, so Caleb will be getting his favorite food soon (that would be pizza).  Thanks Jocalyn.

Caleb had quite a bit of trouble sitting up on his own the days following surgery.  Yesterday when he wanted to play the Wii, I had him sit on his cube chair so that he had to balance and work those core muscles again.  He did really well.  Of course, I only had him sit like this for a short amount of time and then I made him lay back down again.  I put his braces on him yesterday to see if he could stand up at all.  He was able to put a little bit of weight on his legs but not much, I had to support the rest of his weight.  He said his legs feel "noodly".

Caleb's teacher and her daughter came by yesterday afternoon.  Caleb was so excited to have visitors.  His teacher had the class make this book:

Each classmate drew a picture for Caleb.  He loved it and looked through it several times.  He misses school so much.  He doesn't understand why he has to stay home because he feels fine.  Since he doesn't feel sick, he doesn't think he needs to stay home.

I have been successful in keeping him occupied during the day.  We have read books, played video games, and colored.  Thanks to Netflix, we have discovered that Caleb loves "Dennis the Menace".  And I mean the ORIGINAL, black and white show:


He. Loves. It.


With all that is going on with Caleb, I haven't mentioned Benjamin much.  Since Caleb has been sleeping until 9:00 in the morning, and Benjamin finds it necessary to get up before the sun...I've been able to spend a couple of quite hours with just Benjamin in the mornings.  He loves the one on one attention from his mommy. I took this picture at breakfast yesterday.

I love the milk running down his chin!  He's so cute.


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