Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday pics!

Hope everyone has a happy holiday. We are driving to Los Angeles tomorrow. I am happy not to be flying anywhere given the nasty weather all across the country.

This picture below is an out-take from our holiday card photo shoot. Only in California do you get green grass in the middle of winter! I was trying to make it look festive with the red chair.

Drake was doing wonderful kneeling. He held on to the chair like that for a while. And he was trading arms back and forth so the other could do some banging on the seat.

Love this one of him, too...

And finally, here is the one we went with (I had to photoshop out my cousin's kid running behind the chair)!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Workin' it

I have been looking for a job since November, and just got offered a contracting gig. I've been there a week now. It's been so bittersweet for me to work again. I miss the twins terribly. But, I am having fun being out of the house, working with smart people and using my brain!

What has been crazy though, is how much change I notice with the twins now that I don't see them all day, every day. Last night I was feeding Drake his bedtime bottle and he reached up with both hands and grabbed the bottle right out of my hands! Then he put it back in his mouth, pulled it out again, put it back in. In between each of these acts he was laughing with pride. He was so excited to realize he has control over his bottle. I told my sister what he did and she was like "Oh, yeah. He's been doing that." It was like a dagger in my heart that I didn't know this was something "he'd been doing".

Lucy, too, is taking me by surprise. I came home the other day and I swear she said "Hi" when I walked in. Again, I told my sister what she did. "Yeah", she replied. "She's been doing that." Her first real word and I missed it?!

I am trying not to focus on what I am missing by being at work, but what I am gaining when I come home and feel completely awed by my amazing children.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cheap trick

I swore I wouldn't let the twins watch TV until they were at least 2 years old. But the other day I was at a friend's house who has a 3 year-old and she put in one of his old Baby Einstein videos for the twins to watch so we could chat. I begrudgingly let her; I, too, wanted to chat as I hadn't seen her for a while.

Needless to say, the twins were transfixed. What is the secret ingredient to these videos that makes babies go deer-in-headlights for 30 minutes straight? I wish I knew, I would be rich!

Anyway, what struck me was how well Drake sat while watching the video. He sat there, steady as a post, in his prop sitting position, head up, for at least 20 minutes!

His therapists and I have been brainstorming ways to strengthen his upper back and the back of his neck and to get him to bear more weight on his arms. We have decided prop/side sitting is the best bet, as he hates tummy time now that he can roll right out of it. He is great at prop/side sitting, but he tires or gets bored and lets his head hang and then his arms collapse and he lies on the floor in some kind of yoga pose I could never attempt.

So, today I was at Babies R Us and I saw some Baby Einstein videos. I couldn't help myself. I bought one. I put it on when I got home, got Drake into a HANDS and KNEES position (we've been working on this advanced move), turned on the video, and voila, he held that stationary crawling position for like 5 minutes! With his head up to see the TV! When he tired of that, I put him in prop sitting and he watched the rest of the video -- for like 20 more minutes!

I think I'll be buying a few more of these videos.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Feeding frenzy

Drake is getting much better with finger foods. He pretty much feeds himself all his meals now (except for yogurt and applesauce and things that need to be spooned) and can pick up banana and slippery things as well as Pirate's Booty which is featured in this video. He almost always uses his left hand, and though the control isn't perfect and he sometimes "blindly feels" for the food, as documented here, he gets the job done. Very proud of my little dude.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The hardest question

My husband and I are going to a wedding in Colorado in two weeks. It will be the first time we have both been away from the twins overnight. And not just one night, two nights! And it's the first time we will have flown somewhere without them. Of course, that gets me thinking about the question you never want to ask "Who would I leave my kids to if something happened to us"?

When I was pregnant, we talked about it a little. We settled on asking my brother, who is 28, recently married, and has no kids of his own. We thought they'd be the best choice, as they are true soul mates, there is no divorce in their future. They are also kind, compassionate people who value the same things my husband and I value.

We decided we don't want to leave our kids to either of our parents as we don't think it's fair to ask them to care for young children when they are finally retired and free to do the things they want, and we don't think it's fair for our children to grow up with older people who will ultimately need their care.

But then, when the twins were born and we found out about Drake and realized he will have lifelong challenges, everything kind of changed. I felt that we couldn't ask my brother anymore as it would be too much to ask him to care for a child with a disability. They want their own children some day, it's already a lot to ask them to take twins, let alone one who will need more care. I feel awful saying this, but I don't know who in my family would jump at the chance to have him. I am sure if I asked my brother and his wife, they would say "Yes". They are family people, they love us and the kids. And my brother's wife is in medical residency to be a pediatrician. Perfect for access to healthcare. But I can't bring myself to ask them. It's like I feel guilty asking them. That I would have somehow forced them into committing to it.

That leaves my sister, who lives with us, and is the twins' nanny three days a week. She loves them unconditionally. But she is 26, unmarried, trying to get into graduate school. It would be really hard for her to take on two little ones at this point in her life. I can't ask her. My husband has a brother. He is 29. And he lives with his girlfriend. But, they don't even want kids. Again, I am sure they'd say "Yes" if we asked them, too, but again, Drake complicates things.

Of course, our kids would come with money. They'd get all our savings, stock portfolio, estate, etc. But it's not going to be enough to pay for them until they are 18. And I don't know what it will cost to outfit Drake with things he may need.

I feel stuck and awful feeling like no one would want our beautiful kids. I guess nothing bad better happen to us.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Brain That Changes Itself

My grandmother recently gave me the book The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. It's about "neuroplasticity" and the idea that the brain changes and can be forced to changed if damaged or compromised in some way. I just started reading it and have only read 2 chapters -- one about a woman who had no sensory perception and was cured by stimulating the sensory receptors in her tongue and another other about a stroke victim who learned to walk and talk even after damaging a significant portion of his brain. So far, it's pretty fascinating -- and encouraging. I was telling one of Drake's therapists about the book today and she said that now neuroscientists use MRIs to watch in real-time how new areas of the brain can "take over" functions for damaged parts. It's so amazing what our bodies and brains are capable of. I feel like there is still so much to learn about the brain, too. And with stem cells, too. Anyway, the book got me kind of excited, so thought I'd pass the title on.