Monday, August 24, 2015

FDR is Nine Months Old

Dear Frankie,

You are NINE months old. In just three months, we will be celebrating your first birthday. Why is it that time is speeding up as you get older? Nonetheless, this serves as a reminder to absorb every moment, and to count our blessings as they come. 

You recently visited the beach, and loved it. You had so much fun sitting in the shade, playing with sand, and a pail of water while Forrest was off swimming in the lake! You boys also went to Milwaukee Zoo for the first time. Forrest had so much fun learning signs, and the facts about the animals. We visited the dinosaur exhibition, which Forrest was absolutely in love with. On the other hand, you were content with sleeping away the entire morning in a comfortable stroller. It was truly a perfect family outing. 

You are officially done with cranial doc band treatment! It came to us as a big surprise when we went in for your last appointment with Dr. Staci, because we were not expecting you to be done with the helmet until September. However, Dr. Staci noticed that there was no space left in your helmet; she decided to take measurements, and scan your head to check whether you had made any progression. As it had turned out, you were at 6 mm, just one mm away from 5 mm goal, and the scan showed that your head shape was close to perfect round. In the duration of helmet treatment, you made 18 mm of improvement, and it was a huge progress you had made in four months! Based on this finding, Dr. Staci decided to graduate you from cranial doc band treatment. Mama and Daddy could not be any prouder than we already were of you, dear Frank. The last growth spurt you went through must have done it for you! Good job, little man, good job! 

Mama, Grandaunt RO, and Grandma took you to Build a Bear store with Forrest. We build Fury the dragon for Forrest, and Chewbacca the doll to become a new wearer for your helmet! You boys loved your stuffed animals, and you often liked to cuddle with Chewbecca as you fell asleep.

As soon as your helmet treatment was completed, you did something started rolling over! Once you realized that rolling enabled you to reach your destination, you started rolling everywhere, and more often than not, you found yourself stuck under random spots! Mama, or Daddy often have to rescue you, and make sure that you don't wind up stuck again.  Sometime, you roll toward Forrest, or Bea to join the fun. You are a rolling bug! It is awesome to see you so mobile now. Mama is going to have her hands full with two very mobile kids!!

Dave has officially released you from his care. It is amazing how far you have come from being a 6 week baby with so many obstacles to overcome. Your head range is amazing, and your tilt is nearly nonexistent. You are still getting your daily stretches, and exercises as well as visiting Dr. Katie every three weeks for an adjustment. Dr. Katie is always remarking how great you feel, and is impressed with how well you've been doing. Mama, and Daddy are so happy with the integral care you've been getting for your Torticillis, because it has been helping you so much.

Due to how successful this integral approach has been for you, Mama and Daddy decided that they would like to see you to continue with PT, and had an early intervention team to come in to evaluate you for home visits. From the evaluation, it was shown that you struggled with balance with sitting unassisted, fine and gross motor skills, and eating. You were said to be two months delayed in those areas. As for social-emotional, language, and cognition; you were just wonderful, and everybody loved you! It was determined that you would benefit from in home PT with Jen in order to help you to improve some of the weaker areas.

You began working with Jen at home. It has been amazing to see how quickly you have been progressing under her care. You started sitting up longer, and longer with play therapy. Play therapy consisted of you playing with your toys that are placed a bit out of reach so you have to teach yourself how to use your hands to balance yourself as you move around. It has been most helpful in teaching you to become more mindful of staying upright. Jen taught Mama a way to enable you to sit up straight by using a rolled up towel behind your back, and neck. You took off after that!Your first official finger food was sliced avocados. You made a huge mess out of it, and everybody were so proud of you for being able to eat finger food without having any struggle with it.

Ever since, you took off with eating finger food, and had no to very little trouble with eating. You were able to pick up food, and bring it to your mouth, then practice by chewing food. No more choking or throwing up! You've had prunes, sweet potato slices, banana, butter squash, avocados, zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, cheerios, and crackers. You came to a point where you no longer needed a towel behind your back...two weeks after PT sessions at home! Food was no longer safe around you anymore! You were always clamoring for food when you saw someone eating!

You are starting to learn how to use a sippy cup. It is a bit confusing for you, yet you are getting the gist of holding a cup, swallowing, and sampling something different. Mama is planning on discussing with Dr. Karbon to see what kind of milk you can be introduced to, most likely soy milk, since there is a history of dairy, and nut allergies in the family.

With you being so successful with eating, Mama is starting to plan on weaning you from nursing, and it is a sad thought for Mama. It is a sad thought, because it means your babyhood is coming to an end soon, and she is not sure if she's ready for that. Ready or not, you will be a toddler before all of us know it! Nonetheless, the weaning process will begin in September, and hopefully, by your first birthday, you will be weaned from nursing!

Jen also had been working with you to get you a-crawlin'. You were unsure of it in the beginning, and fussed quite a lot. Once you realized that it meant moving quicker, you were quite determined to get crawling, even though you had not accomplished this yet. You kept rocking back and forth, trying to stay on your knees, and use your hands to keep yourself in the dog stance. Jen was quite pleased with your incentive to get this done, and she felt that you should able to grasp the concept of crawling in time with a lot of practice!

For a kid who is quite determine not to be on his belly during his awake time (because you are always rolling), you sure love to sleep on your belly, and it is rather befuddling to see you loving it so much. If it makes you happy, our dear boy, then it's all good!

You recently celebrated with rest of the family for Forrest's third birthday, and your baptism! Your Uncle Alex, and Aunt Lauren were thrilled to be your godparents. It was a great day for everybody. You enjoyed a cupcake along with some other yummy food!

Mama is looking forward to your 9-month old wellness check on August 25th to see how much you weigh, and how much you've grown in height. You are definitely tall for a baby, and Mama is rather curious to find out what your height is. When you stand up straight, with a help from Mama or Daddy, you are almost at half way to Forrest's height! Mama and Daddy think you will be the tall one, but time will only tell.

We are looking forward to see what this month brings to you, Dear Frank. We love you so much, and we are so blessed to have such a ray of sunshine of you in our lives.

Mama, Daddy, & Forrest

Friday, August 21, 2015

Forrest is THREE Years Old

Dear Forrest,

You are THREE years old.

Mama is amazed at how quickly these three years have gone by. She no longer feels like she 'had recently given birth' to you, yet the memory of holding you in her arms for the very first meeting is still so fresh in her mind. Mama has learned that motherhood is a juxtaposition in a sense that with her child's growing up, a mother feels an ache that her baby is no longer a baby, yet her heart is so full of pride that her child is becoming a fascinating, fun little person.

Yet another year has passed. You continue to amaze us with your infectious energy, a rambunctious laughter, a constant absorbent knowledge of the world around you, a passion for life, and love of people in your life. You are a perfect puzzle fitting into our lives. It is hard to remember what life has been like before you came along, and to be honest, we really don't want to remember, because you bring so much happiness to us on a daily basis. 

This past year has been both wonderful, and not so wonderful. As it is customary for every two-year old to go through terrible twos; you have not been most certainly exempt from this stage, and to make this even a wilder ride, throw in your strong-will nature into the terrible twos! It has been a learning curve not just for you, but for your parents as well! Needless to say, it has been a big adventure with you, our dear boy.

You love dinosaurs, dragons, trucks, cars, farm animals, farming, and animals. It is not surprising that your favorite signs are anything relating to animals! You know your ABC's both spoken, and signed. You love showing off your knowledge of ABC's to family, and friends. You always end up with a puffed chest, and a big smile on your face as you finish reciting it. It always bring joy to Mama and Daddy to have you to be so proud of your accomplishments, passions, and love of things that bring happiness to you.

Every night, you are tucked in your bed; you request a bucket of dinosaurs, stuffed dinosaurs, favorite books, and ABC puzzle board. You are always talking to yourself in your own language, and it is funny to hear you shout out ABC's as you are falling asleep. More often than not, once Mama and Daddy are sure you are fast asleep, Mama sneaks in your bedroom to silently tidy toys off your bed so you will have a room to sleep during the night! Otherwise, you would have fallen out of bed from the lack of space in your bed.

Currently, Mama and Daddy are working on getting you enrolled with school for speech therapy. There will be an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting to determine what kind of placement you will be put in--whether it will be preschool once or twice a week, or a private speech therapy to promote your language development. You will definitely rock at this. Mama and Daddy are anxious to see what kind of growth will occur from you being in the program for speech!

You are so fiercely independent, and crave to do everything by yourself. It can be a challenge in itself, because Mama wants to do things for you. She had to learn how to give up some of her control, and realize that this is HOW you learn. You are very much so of a "hand-on" learner. You need to interact with something in order to absorb facts, steps, and how it works. You need to do it not once, not twice, or not three times, but MULTIPLE times. 

You challenge. A rule has to be tested so many times before you realize that it is set in rule, and will not change regardless how you approach it. You test Mama, or Daddy by pushing their buttons. You can act petulant, angry, and stubborn when you feel that others are overstepping your bounds of getting what you want! You don't handle it well when people try to tell you what to do. What a stubborn little child that you are! You are very insistent of doing things YOUR way on YOUR own term. On some days, Mama want to send you to the Zoo!

However, this is not a bad thing! Mama and Daddy want to nurture your need to challenge into something positive rather than squashing it. If you don't challenge, and constantly obey instead, then how do you learn? A blind obedience may lead to you to not question. If you don't question, then where can you get your answers from? If you don't have answers, then how can you be a team player, and lead? This is a hope we have for you: for you to never stop questioning, challenging, and getting answers to your thoughts.

By challenging, you also are persistent. Being persistent is a good thing! It may not always lead to getting what you want. You may not always achieve after all of your hard work. But that is okay, because you did not give up, and in the end, you do still get the pay off. The pay off is your strength, patience, and character that has been developed from not giving up.

Despite this strong will nature you have, you are starting to understand what the boundaries are, and this teaches you how to be respectful not only to yourself, but to others, and to the things around you. You understand when you need to cool down, and to situate yourself in a calm manner. You are a very polite boy; always saying please, and thank you. When asked, you clean your mess, and put your things away in proper places. This makes Mama and Daddy very happy to know that you are being raised into a decent young man. Even though you like doing things on your own term, you also like to make people happy around you. While this is perfectly fine to want please others occasionally in order to be a good team player, it is also important to remember that you can also focus on making yourself happy, because there is only ONE you.

You love to help. You enjoy stacking up dishes, or taking it out to hand them to Mama. You enjoy helping Mama prep for meals by standing on your red chair, handing over a specific ingredient to Mama, and transferring prepped food into a dish. While she is cleaning, you happily hold the broom dustpan, and dump the content into the trash. You love sitting on Daddy's lap on a mowing rider as you both mow the lawn. When Daddy and Mama is working on their garden, you throw weeds in a bag, and toss dirt onto the seeds. You love spraying water on the garden. When Frank's dirty diaper needs to be thrown away, you excitedly carry it to the trash, and rejoice in doing a task! Mama hope you will apply your desire to help in helping others down the road, and be a good friend to many. 

You are fearless, and bold. You face on your fears without a second thought. For instance, you hold on to Mama's hands as you leap into a pool a few times, then you decide that you no longer need to hold on to Mama, and you leap into the water by yourself! You walk up to strangers, and gladly accept their conversations, as much to Mama's cringe. She would like you to be less bold sometimes, but then that won't make you YOU.

Even with your bold nature, you do have one fear that you struggle to overcome, and it is your fear of doctor visits. It is not surprising to see that you have a bit of anxiety surrounding doctor appointments due to your past testing for allergies, and two trips to ER. You make your disapproval known by screaming, kicking, and crying every time we go into a waiting room. Mama suspects that a part of this stems from your inability to communicate your anxiety, and to understand what is being communicated to you. With a help from speech therapy, Mama is sure that you will be able to outgrow your anxiety of  visiting doctors!

Oh my, what a social butterfly that you are. People are always complimenting on how outgoing you are. You don't give Mama, or Daddy a second glance as you run into the circle of other kids, and play with them. You open up so much to people around you, so they naturally gravitate to your charismatic nature. Mama can see you becoming an extrovert with many friends flocking toward you. This is where Mama sees so much of Daddy in you. She can already imagine having a few friends coming over with you, wanting to join us for dinner, and having a company for the evening for a few hours.

You are in the process of toilet training. It is not an easy feat for you, and Mama both. There has been days when Mama thinks you aren't ready, and then there are days when you surprise Mama by using the potty! It is Mama's hope that you will be potty trained by 3 and half, but we shall see, won't we!

You are a wonderful big brother. You are always protecting Frank from Bea when Bea gets too rough with him by licking excessively, barking, or jumping on him. You smile, and kiss Frank. You even share your toys with him! It brings a great joy to Mama, and Daddy to see you loving on Frank. Mama, and Daddy look forward to having your relationship grow, and become stronger with Frank as you both grow up.

You have such a zest for life, and it shows through your big smile.Your loud laughter echoes as you run around wildly, and you run into people with such a hard thump as you give them hugs. You live things rather intensely. You like make yourself heard. You are not afraid to show your emotions either through your scowl, a stinky eye as you manage your mischief, a gentle kiss on Frank's head, a hard shove at a very wiggly puppy harassing your brother, a wet noisy kiss on Mama's cheek, a shrill scream as Daddy toss you over his shoulder onto the bed while wrestling, and excitedly clapping as you show off your ABC's. You are full of flair, drama, and extravagance! Life is rarely dull with your big personality!

We are so excited to see what your third year will bring to you, and us. You are such a blessing in our lives, and we are so proud of you.


Mama, Daddy, & Frank