Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caught Up

Dear Eli,

How many times have I heard over the course of your life, "It will take him at least 2-3 years to catch up to his peers?" How many times was I reminded by doctors and nurses that you'd probably be a little "behind" for a while due to your prematurity?

As a premature baby, you had the odds stacked against you, for sure. Neonatologists all agree that preemies are "behind" in normal development, taking years to catch up to their full-term peers. I was told this hundreds of times by every doctor and nurse who cared for you, and I had myself convinced that what they said was absolute truth.

Yet, true to form, you have proved them all wrong. You are our miracle, Eli, and we are so very proud of the progress you've made!

At your 15 month check-up today, Rocky came in with the "milestone checklist" that she goes through at every well-baby check-up. Since your very first appointment, she has written "2 months premature" at the top of the checklist, as a reminder that you shouldn't be able to accomplish these milestones, that you should be "behind." And yet, each time, you have been able to check off many of the milestones that you "shouldn't" be able to accomplish.

And today? Today? Today Rocky moved down the list, asking me question after question... "Can he climb up stairs?" "Can he feed himself?" "Can he indicate what he wants by pointing and grunting?" "Can he say several words?" "Yes, yes, yes," I told her, the answer to these and many more questions. And then, before the last question, Rocky said, "This last milestone is one that some 18-month-olds can't even do." "Can he point to at least one body part?" she asked. I smiled proudly, thinking of the many times you've proudly pointed to your hair, your belly, your nose, all on command. "Yes," was my proud answer.

"He's more than caught up to his full-term peers!" Rocky announced. "There is no need to correct for prematurity any more! He's there!" My eyes filled with tears at her words of praise for my little boy. My mind flashed back to your incubator in the NICU, where I sat day after day watching your tiny little 2.5# body supported by machines for your survival. I heard in my head the voices of all those doctors reminding me of how you'll be "behind" for years to come.

And then I looked at you through my misty eyes: smart, active, happy, healthy, the joy of our lives. I'll say it again, Eli: you are our miracle! Way to go, our little fighter- you've overcome all the odds, and you are right where you need to be. We are infinitely proud of you.

All my love,

P.S. You tipped the scales today at 18.2#! You're slowly catching up in your weight and height, and your head, as always, is quite large. :) (It has to be, right? It's got to hold all those brains!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Sound of Fire Engines

(Toy fire engines, that is.)

Eli's absolute favorite indoor activity is riding around on his little "fire engine," a gift from his grandparents a few months ago. It makes all kinds of cool noises, including a very real-sounding siren.

The downside of this fire engine is that, though he can get on and off all by himself, his little feet just barely touch the ground, so he can't push himself. He'll get on and then lean really far to one side and push himself with just one foot- it's adorable.

Even more adorable is when Eric pushes Eli around the house on it. They go about 90 mph on the wood floors and can do a 360 in about 0.4 seconds flat. Eli loves it. I mean LOVES it. He's less than pleased with Mommy's sorry attempt to push him around the house. :) Clearly, this is a father-son thing. I love to hear the sound of fire engines (toy ones, that is) echo through my house!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Morning Routine with a Twist

Most mornings Eli and I take a walk. We both love to be outside, and it is about the only time of day that we can be out there without having a heat stroke. Plus it's a good way for me to keep Eli happy and entertained while I have some quiet time to just think and pray and gear up for the day.

By the time we make it down to the end of the walking trail through the park behind our house (about 1.5 miles), I am ready to be high-energy Mommy for the day. :) And Eli is ready to run around and be high-energy himself like he is 24/7. :) I take him out of his stroller and let him run around on the playground. I push him in the swings and listen to him squeal with delight. I chase him and tickle him and get him good and worn out so that he is all too ready to be put back in the stroller for another 1.5 miles home.

I love our morning routine. I love seeing his little feet dangling down off of the stroller. I love watching him point to trees and listening to him babble about who knows what. I love his huge smiles as he swings. I love his laugh as he runs. I love our time outside together, doing something we both enjoy so much.

Today, however that joy was slightly marred. Today my baby had his first big boo-boo, and it broke my heart! We've had our share of bumps and bruises, to be sure, but blood has thus far been avoided. Until today.

The park where we play has this rubbery stuff as the ground surface. It feels like the surface of a track, kind of bouncy. The edges of it slope down to the concrete. As Eli runs around every morning, he definitely gains speed as he goes down the little slope to the concrete, but he manages it fine. Until today. Today he went tearing across the playground, down the little slope, and did a face-plant into the concrete. He started screaming immediately, and I was so scared of what I would find when I lifted him up. There was blood all over his mouth and nose, and I couldn't see where it was coming from. All I knew is that Eli was sad and that there was a lot of blood. I tried to calm him down and used my t-shirt to wipe the blood away. Eli calmed down really quickly, which was a good sign, but the blood kept coming. He wanted to get down and run around again, but the blood was dripping from his little lips. I was chasing my child around trying to wipe blood off of his face with the t-shirt I was wearing. I'm sure it would have been an amusing sight to see.

Long story short, Eli is fine. He scraped up his upper lip pretty badly, but there are no deep cuts. He has a big fat lip that is red and raw from the scrapes, but I don't think he could care any less. :) One bloody boo-boo survived, hundreds more to go, I'm sure.

And you should have seen the look this lady gave me as I passed her on the path. Rightfully so, though- what would you think if you passed a woman whose white t-shirt was covered with blood? :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish

On Friday Eric and I took Eli to the Dallas World Aquarium. If you've never been, it's definitely worth a trip. Some guy had one brilliant idea when he decided to build a tropical zoo in an old warehouse building right in the middle of downtown Dallas. He's raking it in now, for sure! :)

Anyway, we joined what seemed like half of the Metroplex at the Aquarium for the day and had a really good time. Though it was a little crowded for our taste, we still got to see some fun stuff, and Eli loved looking at things he doesn't see every day...

Like a man feeding a giant sea turtle.

Or a huge spotted sting-ray.

And a steamy pool of eels.

We walked all around, looked at every animal and exhibit, and we finally found Eli's very favorite part of the aquarium:

Pushing his stroller around an open courtyard for 45 minutes. Good thing we spent $18 a person to get into the Aquarium, because he never gets the opportunity to walk around and push things at home.

Seriously, though, we had a really fun time together. We finished out our busy, fun day with a couple hours of swimming, and Eli fell asleep as soon as his head hit his pillow. We wore him out! And after he was asleep and under my parents' watchful care, Eric and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite places and enjoyed a special date. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In with the New

(Except I don't know what the new is, yet.)

See, I love our house. I love it because it is Eric's handiwork top to bottom. He completely gutted and remodeled the entire thing years before we were married. While I was studying my brains out at A&M and butchering the national language in Uzbekistan, here Eric worked, hour by hour, room by room, slab of drywayll by slab of drywall, electrical wire by electrical wire. And then when I got back from college and living overseas, I finally met this wonderful man who would become my husband.

People ask Eric all the time what his motivation was behind all the work he put into this house. His answer? "I was praying as I was working that I could share it someday with my wife. It's for you!"

How I love him, and this house of ours to boot.

Anyway, all of that is just to preface my question... What are some simple, inexpensive ways to make some changes in home decor? I have a fair amount of craftiness but zero brilliant ideas. Seriously, I couldn't think of a good craft to save my life. But if I'm told what to do, I have just the right combo of anal-ness (is that a word?) and raw I-will-not-stop-until-this-is-perfect determination that I can pull off a good craft or two.

So... the parameters:

1. Cheap.
2. Do-it-yourself.
3. Cheap.
4. Not too complicated. (i.e., I want to beat up Martha Stewart every time I see one of her "easy" DIY crafts. I need a few notches down from Martha.)
5. Cheap.

Ideas? Suggestions? Things you've tried and love? I want a new key-holder thingy, for example, maybe in combo with something else pretty and useful. I'll take all the advice I can get.

And then, after I finish my fun little crafts, I'll move out of the house with Eli for 3 days this winter while Eric completely renovates our wood floors, just because we want them to be a darker color. :)