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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month 11 ~ January 25, 2003
~ Toddling - well, kind of!

KatelynThis month has been very busy, a bit difficult, but also filled with excitement and enjoyment. My sister and her two boys were up from Melbourne for Christmas and stayed for a couple of weeks with my parents. Almost every day we saw them, and it was great for Thomas to get a chance to play with his cousins (whom he unfortunately only sees every couple of years) and for me to catch up with my sister. Jennie and her younger boy were quite taken with little Missy Moo (the older one could take her or leave her!!). I suspect Jennie would have liked to take her home with her! LOL! With Christmas and their visit, things were pretty busy but also enjoyable!

Then we decided to have a day outing to Australia Zoo before Andrew started his new job. It was a very hot day but we had a great time. Steve Irwin was there, doing all the crocodile demonstrations himself, so that was quite a thrill. Katelyn actually could take or leave the day; as far as she's concerned, as long as she gets to nurse as often as she likes and is held/cuddled a lot, she wouldn't care where she was! It was great though to have her in the sling, nursing or sleeping or looking around, and to be able to enjoy the day so much. One thing she did seem to enjoy was watching the little otters play.

We had a couple of pretty unsettled weeks. Firstly, Katelyn finally cut her sixth tooth on New Year's Day, and was working on two more (now both through thankfully) for a week or more. She also caught a cold, that had already been through Thomas and me. To have a baby getting THREE teeth and being miserable with a cold can be a bit of a challenge! She cried if I was holding her and squirmed to get down, but if I put her down she cried! I think that even SHE didn't know what she wanted, except that she just knew she was in pain and miserable. Poor baby! I did end up having to give her some pain relief medication a few times and that did help.

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I actually took both children to see the paediatrician in mid January. I have been getting a bit concerned about Katelyn's inability to handle any solids. Every once in while I have tried her on the TINIEST amount of something quite innocuous, such as a finger tip of potato, and the night afterwards she has been in BAD shape. She will hardly sleep at all, writhing around in pain, drawing her legs up, latching onto the breast and then pulling off, latching on again, more writhing, crying, screaming, more feeding. It just goes on for HOURS! I spoke with the specialist about it and he said that she can be okay on just the breast milk but there are two possible concerns: developmentally, as she is wanting them, it seems a shame not to give them to her and let her have all that hand-eye coordination practice - if I don't give them to her now when she is asking for them then there could be the potential for her to not want them much later (of course, eventually, she would want something other than the breast, but I do understand what he was saying). The other potential issue is iron. He said that whilst babies can be okay for some time on the breastfeeding alone, once they approach the one year mark if they aren't having any at all, the iron can be a problem. He isn't into invasive procedures and doesn't want her to get a blood test, but did suggest I try either some iron drops to see if she can tolerate them (she can't), or keep trying some solids and give an extra big dose of antispasmodic medication (which she is already on to help her cope with her usual feeds), to see if that will help. I tried that and after three more nights of little or no sleep and lots of crying, I gave up. I did then decide two days later to try one more time and we have had some minor success: she managed a half-teaspoon of boiled white rice one day and then a few bits of a piece of pear the next. I am going to keep trying and see how we go..

To be honest, even despite our ray of hope over the past two days I am a bit worried about the whole situation. Hopefully it is just an immaturity situation, and in time she will be able to tolerate various foods well. In the meantime I guess it is good that I am breastfeeding her and that she continues to feed well, because I doubt she would cope with formula if she can't even handle a few grains of cooked rice. What if there really is something wrong though? I mean, even to breastfeed without agony, she needs both Zantac for her top end and Merbentyl (the strongest anti-colic remedy you can get) for the bottom end. The paediatrician said he doesn't want to do any testing "at this stage"; I hope this won't be necessary at all. At least her growth is okay. She is 25th percentile for length and 30th percentile for weight. She weighed exactly 9kg at the appointment, so has finally reached the weight Thomas was at about 5 months!! (yikes!) I am seeing the paediatrician again in a few weeks so will continue to try a small amount of rice or pear with extra Merbentyl until then, but I suspect I am going to continue to be worried and VERY tired. This is so hard!

I also talked with him about some concerns I have been having with Thomas. For some time now - okay, since he was born! - I have known that he is a particularly spirited and special little guy. More and more though over the years I have noticed things about him that have raised extra concerns. I won't go on and on here as this is Katelyn's journal, but the doctor seems to think that Thomas probably has ADHD. At this point we are not going the "Ritalin route", both because of my personal reluctance to do so and due to the fact that the doctor wants to see how Thomas copes at school (he starts in TWO DAYS!!). What he has done is to give him some mild medication to take at night to stop his perpetual thrashing around. It is working and the poor little guy seems to be able to actually RELAX when asleep now. Funnily enough his stuttering has been less of a problem since he has been taking this medication; that is certainly a good thing!

Katelyn standingKatelyn's walking has been coming along. She still is at that transitional stage, where she prefers to be holding onto something or someone when she walks, and if she wants to travel somewhere really quickly, she will get down and crawl, even putting her little head down so she can go even faster! Many, many times each day though she is stepping out on her own, and she can do twenty or more solo steps now (travelling about 2 to 3 metres or so). She can also get to standing from the floor too, rather than needing a piece of furniture, a wall or someone's leg to scale. She is gaining confidence every day and in just these past few days I have noticed her walking when before she would have decided to crawl; I don't think it will be long now until she stops even bothering to look for "props" to walk between.

She has continued to be a very cheeky little girl! Her latest thing that always gets a laugh is to put something in her mouth, and let go with both hands. She just looks at you with this expression on her face that totally cracks me up. Of course, because we laugh, she just does it again and again! Missy Moo thinks she is just so clever and of course she is right! She also amazed me at the beginning of this month when I asked her to "clap hands" and she did. I hadn't clapped myself or anything; she had just understood what I wanted and did it. She now does that with waving as well, and even more impressive than that, she has started waving to all and sundry anytime we leave somewhere or someone goes away from us. This is without prompting! He just seems to understand the way things work! She will even see Andrew heading to the door with his briefcase and start waving. When he does leave she starts to cry though, poor little girl. At least it shows how much she loves her Daddy.

Katelyn with her blocksKatelyn is a very playful little girl! Probably her favourite game is peek-a-boo and she often instigates this herself by going behind a piece of furniture and then peeking out, or putting something over her head, pulling it off and laughing. Sometimes she even says "boo" when she does it! She also still ADORES her Thomas, and practically deafens us with her squeals of delight whenever she sees him. She will go up to him and throw her little chubby arms around him for cuddles; it is so lovely to see! She also makes what we call her "dolphin noise", which is a happy noise just like a dolphin makes. Missy Moo does this so often we have even started referring to her as "Flipper" on occasion. LOL! Katelyn also enjoys playing with the old standard things such as blocks and rings. She can now reliably put the cylindrical blocks through the correct hole in her Fisher Price shape sorter/block thing, and is starting to be able to manage the other shapes as well. I think that is pretty darned clever!

Missy Moo has started doing something else that is rather puzzling but amusing. A few weeks back she saw Thomas playing with an old camera. She decided she wanted to play with it too and started putting the cord around her neck, taking it off, putting it on, etc. This went on for AGES, until she started getting so frustrated that she couldn't do it "right" according to her and I had to distract her to play with something else. Ever since then she has practically been obsessed with putting things around her neck (don't worry, I am always right there with her!). She will go into the bathroom, pull towels down and drape them around her neck. She will grab clothes out of the basket as I fold them and put them around her neck. Whenever I get out our video camera or still camera she goes berserk trying to grab it off me so she can play with that as well! What a funny little girl!

Katelyn and PunkyKatelyn's favourite word has continued to be "pussy". She is practically OBSESSED with Punky, our ginger cat, and every time she sees her we hear "Pussy, pussy!! Pussy, pussy!!". Then she makes a beeline for her and practically smothers her with love, hugging her while lying on top of her. I actually try to rescue the poor feline and put her in another room but she just keeps on coming back for more. What a remarkable cat!

I have found myself enjoying the nursing more and more. I must admit that nursing Thomas as a toddler was probably the favourite part of my mothering at that time, so being able to nurse Katelyn for as long as she wants is something I am looking forward to. Of course, with her unable to have anything else to eat, it is pretty much vital that we continue anyway, but it is still lovely! She has started doing cheeky things like pulling the top of my shirt out and peeking down. I know that some people might find this shocking or inappropriate, but I find it amusing and rather sweet that she knows where her favourite things are! LOL! She even yesterday did her first "sign" (we have been using some sign language with her) and it was of course the sign for milk. I was absolutely delighted! I still LOVE nursing her off to sleep as well. It is so wonderful to have this warm, soft little creature in my arms, to see her enjoying her feed so much. Then her little eyes start to flutter - open, shut, open, shut. Her little body starts to relax. I can FEEL the tension go from her. It is just beautiful and I love it that I can do something that is so wonderful for her. The feeling is mutual, little Missy Moo!

This coming month will be a busy and exciting one as well! In two days my Little Mister will be starting "big school" (Grade 1). Then in a couple of weeks it will be his sixth birthday and we have booked a "pony party" for him at the local equestrian centre. 11 days after that little Missy Moo will turn ONE! Oh my! Where on earth has this time gone?? Last time I looked around my little boy was a toddler and now he will be a big schoolboy; what seems like a moment ago my Missy Moo was a tiny baby and now she is practically a toddler. WOW!

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