Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jacob prays at night

We've recently started reciting the Sh'ma before Jacob goes to bed every night. It's important to us that Judaism is in his everyday life. We read him two books and then he covers his eyes while either Nate or I say the Sh'ma. He knows to remove his hands when the prayer is over, and he tries to say amen.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Growing UP-date

Jacob's blood tests all came back negative. He does not have Celiac Disease and his kidneys are functioning properly.

Sigh. Of. Relief.

So now we're tasked with figuring out how to consistently fill up the belly of a toddler who isn't exactly breaking down the pantry door to appease an insatiable appetite.

After too many frustrating nights and wasted meals, we finally wised up. I shouldn't say we—it was Erin who had the epiphany. She suggested having Barbara, his day care provider, give Jacob his Pediasure at lunch. Brilliant!

One thing we have changed is when we give him his daily Pediasure—an expensive milkshake-like supplement designed to grow love handles on even the most stunted toddlers. We used to give it to him at dinner where he would down it in one sitting. We were pleased he enjoyed this high-caloric drink, but it would leave little to no room in his stomach for dinner.

He eats much, much better around his friends than he does with us. We assumed he would continue to eat his lunch, even after consuming his Pediasure, because he would see the other kids eating.

So far this move has worked perfectly. Barbara gives him his Pediasure and he still eats his lunch. And lately he's been eating much more at dinner. He's still a picky eater, though, but I guess we shouldn't nitpick the situation.

Other times we've had to get a little creative—picnic in the den, dinner and a movie and eating with "friends."

If Jacob isn't going to eat for us, then maybe he'll eat for his friends at home: Buzz Lightyear, Mickey, Elmo and the vacuum.

Quick side note: Jacob has become obsessed with the vacuum cleaner. He's terrified of it when it's on, but when it's just standing silent against the wall or in a closet, he always says hi, gives it hugs and shares his toys. I don't know if it's some sort of fear coping technique, but it's really cute to watch.

Back to his friends. Jacob wasn't eating his waffle one morning so I decided to place Buzz in front of him. I told him to show Buzz how he eats his food. He grabbed a piece, dipped it in syrup and pressed it against Buzz's face. "Now you eat it," I said. Thankfully, he did. I had to continue playing this game, but whatever, it worked.

Stay tuned. We'll find out in a couple months at his 2-year checkup whether these moves will help pop the button off his skinny genes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is he growing?

Erin took Jacob to a special pre-2-year checkup on Tuesday. His pediatrician wanted to see him early to check his weight.

Two months ago he weighed 20.12 pounds. On Tuesday, he clocked in at... drum roll, please... 21.6! That's nearly a whole pound! Plus, it finally put him over the 21-pound hump.

Most people reading this will probably think 10 ounces... whoopity doo. But if you're familiar with Jacob's slow growth, you'd agree 10 ounces in two months is reason for a "huge" celebration.

But we're not out of the woods yet.

The pediatrician seemed relieved. She told Erin she saw three other kids before Jacob who had signs of failure to thrive. Still, Erin elected to have Jacob's blood drawn to test for Celiac Disease, kidney malfunction and other causes for stagnant growth.

Erin said the most difficult part of drawing Jacob's blood was not sticking a needle into the little boy's arm, but having to hold down the mobile munchkin for three minutes. He may be small, but he's a tough little guy.

We're expecting the Celiac results in a week. The pediatrician said she doesn't think he has it because he's gaining weight. We're going to keep our fingers crossed, anyway.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Last-minute trip to Texas

It was around 4 p.m. Tuesday when Erin called my cell phone. I was still at work, wrapping up things for the day.

"There's a 7:30 flight to Houston. Should I book it? It's the last flight out of Nashville."

We knew we were going to have to fly to Houston sometime this week, most likely on Thursday. I had already talked to my boss and co-workers about taking care of the weekly newsletter on Wednesday before taking off the rest of the week on bereavement.

Earlier that day we got the call that Erin's grandfather passed away. His death didn't come as a shock--he was spending his final days in a hospice--we just thought it would happen closer to the weekend.

"Do you think we can make it?" I asked Erin over the phone.

I still had a good 40-minute drive ahead of me. But with a crippling snowstorm on track to hit Nashville starting at midnight Tuesday, this was going to be our only chance to get out of the mid-state in time for the funeral.

"Book the flight. I'm leaving work now," I said.

I arrived home at 5:30 to a scene of pandemonium. The house was a disaster. The TV was on, but no one was watching. Erin was frantically packing two suitcases while making last-minute arrangements with the American Airlines. Jacob and Dolly weren't even at the door to greet me like usual. Dolly was outside and Jacob was in our bedroom, tearing up paper into tiny pieces.

Before jumping into the frenzy, I took a moment to admire Jacob's ability to ignore his surroundings, completely preoccupied by the task at hand. Not once did he look up to say hi to me. Normally the 22-month-old would be adding to the stress by bringing attention to himself. But on this particular night of madness, he stayed out of our hair until it was ready to go. Dolly was picked up by some friends just before we left.

By 6 p.m. we were on the road. It was raining. Jacob was hungry. We hit traffic. But in spite of all that, we got to the airport, made it through security (grope free), grabbed some dinner and managed to board with 10 minutes to spare. I don't know how we did it, but we were in the air on our way to Texas before the snowstorm made its way to Tennessee.

Scratch that off the ol' bucket list.

Jacob was perfect the entire week. He didn't complain about going to bed at 11 p.m. after our flight to Dallas. He didn't complain about waking up at 4:30 the next morning to make our connecting flight to Houston. He didn't complain about sleeping five nights in pack 'n play, and he didn't wake up when we went to bed in the same room. He ate well, and he enjoyed playing with his cousin, Beau.

During the funeral, he stayed quiet and didn't try to squirm out of my arms, as if he knew it wasn't the time to act up. Toward the end, he caught a glimpse of Erin sitting with her family and belted out "mama!" He saw her crying and wanted to sit in her lap.

He made a great first impression with the family members and family friends he met for the first time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jacob and Beau... friends from the start

Jacob and Beau getting into trouble already. They are going to be partners in crime!