Every night, after we read him bedtime stories, this little boy goes to his bed, turns on his flashlight and "reads" in the dark. He looks through all the pages of the books and inspects all of the pictures. Some of his favorite books are by Richard Scarry - books that include trains, cars, and airplanes. In the last 6 months, we've gone through about 4 different flashlights and many many AA batteries. I've been working with him on reading simple words, but we haven't been seriously doing it. And his preschool class is working on letter sounds and writing, but no concentration on reading just yet.
This boy is so ready to read. I will need to get some tools and resources to help him out soon. I've been researching Hooked on Phonics and already know that he is beyond his age level. This boy is a smart one! He will definitely surpass his Daddy's collection of books. Sadly, he'll probably be as blind as a bat by the time he gets to his 20's just like his Mama.
The background music is the same music he's been listening since he was born. We have a few different CD's but Daddy and I could only tolerate a few when he was co-sleeping with us. This music plays on a loop non-stop. Aside from going through flashlights and batteries, we'll probably go through many CD players.
Incidentally, the above flashlight may have died tonight. I changed the batteries and not 30 minutes later, I hear a scream about the flashlight being broken.
We had our WIC appointment yesterday and after a total of 2 hours, we finally made it out. The appointment itself didn't take long, it's just the normal government agency slowness at work. No one is ever in a hurry. I am also glad that hubby was able to come. Had I been alone with the 3 kids, I would have brought our side-by-side stroller to contain the twins, and that my friends, wouldn't have been able to fit in the tiny waiting room filled with chairs. The paper work was also not as bad as it could have been. Since the kids have been approved for Medicaid, WIC didn't have to verify income.
Once we were called in and the girls saw the scale, they started screaming. These two are scarred for life from their RSV shot days. And the screaming just got worse after their fingers were pricked to check blood levels for anemia. After all that was done, we were ushered to the next room by the so called nutritionist. She explained that the boy is big for his age and asked what he ate. I told her he actually doesn't eat that much. He only eats cheese, PBJ, fruits, chicken and dairy products. Then she said that WIC will cover milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, beans. At this point, I told her the girls have milk allergy, to which she replied, "well, as an alternative we have lactose free milk and powdered milk." I had to stop my gut reaction of slapping my forehead, rolling my eyes, and pulling my hair out. But instead, I said, "they can't have those because they still contain milk proteins" and they need to be on soy. She said they don't cover soy unfortunately, so I just let it be.
We were given WIC checks to cover two months for the three kids. The checks of course cover milk for each of the girls. Since they can't consume milk and milk products, we'll have plenty of milk for hubby, me and Curious George. We won't need to worry about who will eat the cheese since Curious George can consume his weight in cheese. The WIC checks also include 1 lb bag of dried beans. I have never used dried beans and don't really know what to do with that. I will either not buy them, or buy them and probably donate them to our church or hold on to them until I can figure out how to cook them.
I got to use one of the checks today, which covered a total of $20 worth: 2 gallons of milk, 1 lb of cheese, 36 oz of dry cereal, 2 cans of frozen juice (this one is new for us too). I just used one of the kids' check since each check include milk. My husband and I and the little man can't possibly consume that much milk in a week.
Anyway, we are completely thankful for this aid. Twenty dollars worth of staples that we don't have to worry about is a lot of help. I just wish they cover soy milk. If WIC lowers the amount of milk gallons approved for the twins to cover soy milk (soy milk is more expensive), we'll be happy. But they don't make concessions for special cases, sadly.
The information packet we received says WIC covers peanut butter, but none of the kids' WIC checks include peanut butter. Perhaps this because my kids are too healthy? Hmmm. Also, I doubt the so-called nutritionist is a nutritionist at all. Why else would she offer other milk-containing substitutes after I said my kids have milk allergy? Ladies and gents, there is a big difference between milk allergy and milk intolerance. The latter gives people diahhrea and doesn't cause people to carry epinephrine pens. Consuming anything with milk and milk derivatives causes my twins hives around their mouths within minutes of consuming them and causes them to sneeze, watery eyes and raspiness.
I have to thank a fella mama of twins at diagnosis:urine for sharing her WIC experience with me. Based on my online research of WIC, I didn't think we'd qualify, but this kind woman shared what she knew and so I went for it.
A few months ago, we've decided to get Curious George a balance bike for his birthday. Balance bikes are bikes without pedals in order to teach little ones to balance. A bike with training wheels doesn't really do much to teach kids. Balance bikes run anywhere from $100 to upwards of $300. But since our family is now in the poor house, we have to do it the cheap way. We bought a $35 12-inch bike at Wal-Mart and Daddy removed the pedal. Actually, arriving at what size bike to get Curious George ruined the surprise. We measured his stance and went to the store, but that didn't quite work so we had to bring him in. And of course we couldn't get him out of the store without one. So with much negotiation, we finally just broke down and gave him an early present. Which then ruined one more thing - the pedal. He loved pedaling around the store, that when Daddy surprised him the next day with the bike with missing pedal and training wheels, all hell broke lose. And the fact that he didn't sleep well the night before made the 'hell' even worse.
But after the nap, we were able to convince him to try the bike without the pedal with the promise that Daddy would put the pedal and training wheels back on if he just but try first.
Here is what happened:
As a balance bike, he should be able to put both feet flat on the ground, so this is just a tad too high. But Daddy couldn't make it any lower. Still, he did very well. We are very proud of Curious George. This video includes me screaming with excitement about his little run of balancing so I had to cover it up with pretty music. :0) After about half an hour, Daddy finally put the pedal and training wheels back on, at which point, Curious George became a speed-demon.
Unfortunately, it rained the next day so we had to occupy Curious George another way. Here is Daddy and son bonding over Lego.
I gave the girls color wonder markers today to play with and here is what happened. This is also a good look at the "twin talk" - twins talking in their own language. It's a long video at 4 minutes, but if you stay for the whole thing, you'll see these 2 kissing at about 3 minutes in. (Thing 1 is in blue, Thing 2 is in green)
(Do watch it in High Quality to see their cute facial expressions. )
Like most mornings when Curious George wakes up first (which happens 95% of the time), he crawls into our bed and 'wakes' us up. By 7am, Daddy and I finally woke up. We cuddle/wrestle/tickle with Curious George until we all finally make it downstairs for breakfast. The girls sometimes joins us.
This morning, I decided to make up a story and asked what name we'd like our hero to be. Daddy said "Machupichu" (from some of my Filipino relatives' pronunciation of Matthew - ma-chu), and Curious George suggested "Marcaroni".
Macaroni Machupichu is a seemingly normal little boy who goes on wild adventures. Today, he was called on by the fairy people to save their Fairy Princess who was kidnapped by the tribe of Farting Frogs (thanks to Daddy for this villainous frogs who use toxic gas to fight their enemies) in the jungles of Mexico. To make the long story short, Machupichu rescued the Princess, who then granted him one wish as token of appreciation. Thanks to Curious George's contribution to the story, Machupichu happily ate/swam in the giant bowl of orange icecream.
Curious George wanted another story, so it was Daddy's turn to make one up. Daddy brought Macaroni Machupichu in space where he had to rescue his whole family from an evil empire. After braving through bad guys and obstacles, Machupichu Skywalker (as Macaroni was also known in space) was able to free his mother, and his two sisters, Kitty Wan Kinobi and Jojo Binx. But his father was nowhere to be found. In the end, Machupichu battled with Darth Vader (I can't quite remember if this is the evil dude's name that Daddy used) and defeated him. Of course, Darth Vader confessed that he is Machupichu's father. (By this time, Curious George had a very sad face and was about to cry.) But then Daddy turned the story around at the last minute and Darth and Machupichu ended up happily together with the rest of the family.
Up till recently between the twins, Thing 2 has been Daddy's girl. And what I mean by that is she is the one who always wants to be with Daddy, will occaisionally only be consoled by Daddy, and sometimes refuse to go to Mommy when she is with Daddy.
Recently, Thing 1 has started the same trend. She will frequently get very upset with Mommy and refuse to go near her or interact at all. She then of course runs to Daddy. In addition, when she wakes up in the morning or at random times during the day she will call out "Daddy, are you?" This has become a running joke that when she wants attention of any sort or needs something she calls for Daddy. Thing 2 has not learned this tactic yet.
I have a great video to share (and I've been trying since yesterday!) but youtube is PMSing on me. So in the meantime, I want to share something about Curious George.
Curious George has learned to say "Excuse me" at school after burping. So now, he does it consistently. He even tells his Daddy to say it after he belches. And considering that my hubby is a man and most men just let it all out when it comes to bodily functions, this gets funny. Several times a day, the females of the house hear "blurpppppppp" and then a microsecond later we hear, "Daddy, say excuse me!" And this is true even if they are in the opposite sides of the house. Hilarious!
A few days ago, I gave Curious George the job of cleaning up the table after we eat. I have an all natural surface cleaner that I allow him to use. He loves the job! The first night, he was so excited. "This is my job", "I have a lot of job because I'm a big boy", "I have a job to do" he exclaimed the whole time he was cleaning.
It's been warm these past few days, the kids are able to have fun in the backyard.
Notice the way Thing 1 calls her daddy to come get her. "Da!," she says.
Thing 2 finds Curious George's bucket of rocks and plays with it. She tries to count, but says letter sounds instead.
Curious George wants to put a bird house on the tree. The problem is, it's broken. But it doesn't matter, I guess. He is in his full "builder" mode, complete with goggles and his very own pint size real hammer.
Thing 1 joins Thing 2 to play with the rocks. I say, "one" and Thing 1 says "two" and Thing 2 says "three". :-)
Curious George and P were the leader and the rest just followed along. (Thing 1 in blue, Thing 2 in pink)
It's not an easy task to get all these kids to look at the camera at the same time.
Building a sand castle that is complete with animal gardeners, butlers, and other workers.
Looking for fish (Coys, I believe they're called).
It was a great day at the botanical garden. The weather was unusually warm. The kids, ranging from 7 months to 5 years old all had fun being outdoors. Curious George and P was the leader of the group, always ahead of everyone. Thing 1 and Thing 2 did very well walking on their own. They even made the trek (uphill ramp) all the way up to the tree-house. Unfortunately, no sooner did they reach the top, the bigger kids were already on the way down. Oh well. But for such little Things, they kept up with the big kids very well.
After having my arthroscopy with lateral release Dec. 5th, and after 6 weeks of physical therapy after the fact, my knee is still having problems. I am experiencing different pain, but it's a symptom of the same problem - my knee cap isn't staying in it's tract. My right thigh (the operated leg) has lost muscle tone from lack of use and looks different from my left, which has been over-used ever since the surgery. The physical therapy is supposed to strengthen the quads back to it's normal pre-operation function, but the pain in my knee is hindering the effort. I can't get pass the pain in order to build the quads back up.
The pain isn't constant. In fact, I can walk around without pain. The pain rears it's ugly head when I lift my leg straight up from a sitting position and when I'm lying down. And that's the most important exercise when strengthening the quads. Because my quad muscle is very weak, I have to lock my knee pretty much all the time to support my weight. If I bend it during normal walking gait, it gives on me. Nice, huh? No, not really. Especially when my 20 month old twins can outrun me without trying.
The creaking noise it used to make is gone, sure. But it's a whole different ball game. I feel like a cripple. After completing 6 weeks of post-op physical therapy, my doctor ordered 4 more weeks. And told me that the operation didn't help as much as hoped. If we were to leave things alone, being young, I am sure to develop bad arthritis. I already have arthritis, but I guess it was bound to go downhill from here. My orthopaedist has refferred me to a sports medicine doctor to discuss more aggressive surgery. Yikes. This on top of my dear husband's change of employment status and the lost of health insurance last Friday. Well. I will have to make due with being a cripple for a while.
In the meantime, where does this leave me? It leaves me having to propel myself up the stairs if I have to lead with the operated knee. Why would I want to lead with that leg? Well, to give my other bad knee a break, of course. And then hanging on for dear life when going down the stairs, hoping my operated knee doesn't buckle on me making me go down faster than I really want to.
If and when we sell this house, ranch style homes are looking more and more beautiful to me.
Oh well, enough about my misery. This blog sounds worse than it really is. Considering our current state of having no income, we must look for the bright side of things. At least I only have one creaking knee now, instead of two. And my children...what little miracles they are. My husband...well, he's just the best friend anyone could every ask for. We'll all be OK.
Thing 1 (in pink) was instantly attracted to the little girl and kept rubbing her back. She did it for a good 5 minutes or so. Thing 2 (in green) was busy walking around. These 2 are hardly in the same area when we take them here. Curious George was here too, he was just too fast to be caught on camera.
Thing 2 played on this bridge/slide. But she couldn't climb all the way to the top, so she backed up and sat down and slid down from the sitting position, giggling "Whoah!"
(While the video is playing, click on the triangle on the right bottom corner of the video and then click on HQ and you can watch the video in high-quality mode, you can see the faces a lot clearer)
Thing 2 was also attracted to this little girl and wanted to play with her but she got distracted when I yelled out for Daddy to catch the little escape artist (Thing 1). Curious George is here in orange, if you catch a glimpse of him.
Daddy commented how I'm starting the girls low rider pants. I had to explain to him that the pants looks low because it was small (size 18 months). I promise to not put these on them again. :-)
We had our first dusting, finally! Of course Curious George was very excited and wanted to build a snow man. He was a little disappointed when he couldn't, but he did enjoy the mud. The little munchkin noises in the background are the twins.
Curious George was submitted to an allergy test and did extremely well. His Daddy and I are tired of seeing him itch like crazy night after night and making himself bleed because of his eczema. Since his sisters were diagnosed with food allergy, we thought he may have the same. But as it turns out, he doesn't have any food allergy, but he does have allergy to mold. The doctor was surprised that he didn't have any other positive reaction to the environmental allergens, since his nasal smear showed towns of allergy cells. But instead of subjecting Curious George to a more traumatic skin testing, the doctor opted to see him when his allergy is at it's peak in the spring. He was prescribed Nasonex, Singulair for asthma, and a steroid cream for his eczema.
I tried my best to prepare Curious George for this unpleasant experience and it seemed to work. Though he didn't like it, he didn't cry at all.
But I'm sure this red Power Ranger helped a whole lot to distract him.
On a sad note, Daddy found out today that his last day of employment is this Friday. The company is shutting down. It's an unpleasant reality, but one that we can't afford to let defeat us. We have 3 kids to look after. So with a plan to empty the house of clutter and unnecessary furniture, we will get it ready in 30 days to put in the market, and then move in with the in-laws. They are gracious enough, as always, to help us out. These coming weeks and months will be tough on us, but we have to keep moving because life goes on. As long as we're all together, we can survive.
How this boy grew bigger in the last month or so without us knowing, we don't exactly know. One of his friends' mom commented to me how he has gotten so much taller. My response? A blank stare. I truly have not noticed, until she said it. After that I started noticing that the shirts that used to be so big on him, are now shorter. And the 4T pants I bought him in the fall? Well, let's just say we can now explain the "plumber's crack" phenomenon. The next opportunity, I bought a 5T pants. But though it's plenty long, it was a little snug. I remember buying an XS youth pants a while ago, and dug that up. Sho' nuff', it fits. Oh, and this shirt is XS youth also.
My baby isn't a baby anymore. *snif* *snif*
Playing at school before going heading out. As if he didn't get enough play time during the day!
This pants is about 5 inches too long, but I'm sure he'll hit another growth spurt by the summer. Other than the length, it fits.