surgery for Claire tomorrow

I’m back from an amazing weekend in NYC helping my sweet sister Jessica shop for a wedding dress. Now it’s back to reality in a big way because Claire the Bear is having surgery tomorrow. She’s having a shunt placed to help treat her hydrocephalus (the fluid that builds up in her head because of her spina bifida), which has gotten to the point of causing fluid to build up in her spine. This is called a syrinx, and because it could compromise her mobility, we have to finally do the surgery this time, almost exactly a year after we first thought we’d be getting it done.

I’m glad we could wait this long. Since she’s older, the procedure is much less risky than it would have been on a tiny baby, and that’s always good news. We trust our surgeon completely and know she will be in the best hands. All you lovely folks: please be praying for or sending positive thoughts her way, whichever you do. Thank you for always cheering Claire on. She will be in the hospital overnight, but it should be a fairly quick recovery, so let’s hope that’s true!

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nothin’ says lovin’ like something from a jar

It’s hard to believe the Bufflo Gals have gone from this:

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To this:

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And as they’ve grown, things have changed with the way we feed them around here. Some things have worked great, others haven’t worked out.

I really wanted to make my own baby food.

And then I met my babies. One wants nothing to do with being spoon fed (as I mentioned in an earlier post) and the other vomits the minute she tastes my homemade food. Not just spits it out. Vomits.

At first, I was sort of offended by this. I thought I had a picky baby, since she would happily gobble down jars of purees both veggie and fruit, and then immediately gag and choke on my homemade stuff that, to my eye, seemed exactly the same as the stuff in a jar. In fact, I remained irritated and offended by this for a few months.

And then I finally googled “spina bifida texture issues” and learned that this is common to many babies with spina bifida, and often requires occupational therapy to fix. And then I felt like a jerk.

IMG_0419We’re looking into our OT and PT options and will be getting a referral soon, but in the meantime, I have accepted that homemade baby food is just not our thing. I can make a few very thin varieties that she will eat (like tomato carrot!), but, since straining every puree through a fine mesh strainer is a huge hassle, I will just be buying jarred purees for Claire. There’s a huge variety of organic Earth’s Best foods available, so that’s mostly what we’re going with. I even got over my aversion to pureed meat, because if she’s gonna be on these things for longer than average, I want to let her have some proteins, and the only other option is lentil dinner.

Meanwhile, Etta is doing a sort of half-assed version of Baby Led Weaning. I haven’t read the books, but I’ve read about it on the internet, and, like most of the rest of my parenting, am sort of doing what feels right. She gets soft chunks of things cut into pieces she can hold in her fist. Sweet potato, pasta, carrot, watermelon, cantaloupe, cheese, and toast are all favorites. It’s going pretty well.

Etta loves eggs.
Etta loves eggs. Or did. Until she had an allergic reaction this morning. No more eggs for a while.

Next step: transitioning from formula to milk in about a month, and also trying to transition from bottles to sippy cups. Anyone have tips on that? Both of my girls still have issues with fast-flow nipples, and they nearly drown in sippy cups.

She'll gnaw it, but she won't drink from it.
She’ll gnaw it, but she won’t drink from it.

5 months

Technically the gals turned 5 months on August 28. So this may not be the most timely of posts, but I wanted to share the results of my little photoshoot with them (I’m going to eventually have a photo book of their monthly photos). I have zero photography skills and usually end up using my iPhone, so I’m lucky my subjects are adorable.

happy morning

I’m told that as a small child, I used to stand by my parents’ bed saying HAPPY MORNING until someone woke up. Sure, it was the crack of dawn, but who can be mad at someone who is just so HAPPY that they insist someone wake up and share that joy with them?

My girls have inherited the morning happies, and I am so very glad.

Pre-babies, I often enjoyed quiet lazy mornings with Tinycat, who, much like toddler Ernie Bufflo, would meow by my bed until I grabbed some coffee and joined him in the living room (lazy mornings are the perks of a grad student schedule). He didn’t need me to play with him or feed him, he just wanted me to BE with him in the living room, internetting while he lounged in a sunny window. It came to be some of my favorite time of the day, and I wondered what mornings would be like once we added two tiny people to the family.

It turns out, they’re just as lovely. Now, I know this is one of the perks of newborns– they’re sleepy folks. My girls tend to wake up very happy around 6:30 or 7, have a bit to eat, and then spend a few minutes making smiley faces and happy squeals until they are just SO TIRED, at which point it’s time to nap until 10:30 or 11. I am enjoying these morning naps as hard as I can right now. They nap in the living room with me, while I sip coffee with Tinycat and catch up on my internetting, pausing occasionally to gaze at my gorgeous, sleeping girls. I realize that all too soon, my mornings will likely look radically different, so I’m savoring this as long as it lasts.

In fact, I’m pretty much enjoying the whole not-so-newborn phase right now. The girls are waking up only once in the night; they’re still sleepy, snuggly, and portable; and they are starting to be more interactive in terms of reacting to us, smiling at us, and making cute little noises. Sure, sometimes the day to day routine is mind-numbingly boring. Most evenings one or both of them has a VERY angry witching hour(s). And I still get barfed on an awful lot. But overall? Life at 2 months is very very sweet.

Claire naps in her Boppy on the couch.
Etta naps in the swing.
Tinycat naps in the recliner.