Thursday, January 14, 2016

Carter Update

Jeremy Update:

Today was another fairly stable day with Jeremy's ICP around 11-17 most of the day. He had a couple spikes into the mid-20's and another into the 30's which is much higher than what we've been seeing lately. That spike came right after a procedure where he was rolled onto his broken leg so I'd imagine he was in a lot of pain. The trauma doctors have been weaning him off the pain medication but during the procedure Jeremy opened an eye and his ICP and blood pressure spiked really high. The nurse called all the doctors and was very proactive which resulted in Jeremy's pain medication dosage being increased and his ICP getting back down into our optimal range. The neurosurgeon didn't come by today so we haven't heard anything more about beginning to wean from the pentobarbital. We also haven't heard from the orthopedic surgeon in a while so we aren't sure when they may start to consider surgery to repair his broken femur and pelvis. 

Little Mister Carter Man is now 3 years and 1 month old. Although he likes to always add years to his life and insisted today that he was 4 years old. I reminded him he was 3 and would be 4 on his next birthday. But he said "We're running right now, so now I'm 4." I figured, whatever, and just kept on running. He has a mind of his own! Last month was our toughest month yet and this month has been an absolute dream. The most fun I've had being at home was this month. It's funny how that works out! Part of it has been changes in Carter and part of it has been changes with me, my expectations, and my reactions to situations. We have definitely found our groove with our little daytime trio and I'm loving it. The only hiccup is Elise's morning nap which I'm really looking forward to being dropped. It makes it hard to get out for playdates and activities in the morning. Either we don't leave the house in the morning or she doesn't get much of a nap. I try to give her at least one or two days during the week to get her morning nap at home and we do things on the other days.

Something that I have enjoyed so much is Carter's love for his sister. When she wakes up in the morning or from a nap, he takes off running to her room and wants to be the one to open her door. He gets upset if I get there before him and have my hand on her doorknob. He likes to sit in the chair by her crib before I get her up. It's the cutest thing because he talks and sings to her. Sometimes I lay in bed and watch and listen to them on the monitor. When I go to put her down for a nap, he'll yell out, "No don't put sissy down, she's not tired! I want to play with her some more." He keeps a close eye on her and will run to her and fish things out of her mouth. Whatever is on her tray is what he wants to eat. He's always asking if he can have some of what she's having too. He likes to say, "I'll eat you up, I love you so," like in Where the Wild Things Are. He made the saying his own by saying things like, "Sissy I love you so much, I eat your head for lunch!" He talks about how cute she is all the time.

A huge change in his life right now has been the absence of his Uncie J. Jeremy was in an accident on Saturday, January 2nd, and is still in the hospital. We've visited Jeremy's house a few times to feed his cats and Carter loves going over and will tell me things he normally does with his Uncie J when he goes to visit. He explains to people that his Uncie J is in the hosbibal and thinks he was hit by a garbage truck pulling a trailer. I keep telling him it was a regular truck, not a garbage truck, but he just keeps saying it. My parents are staying at our house so they can visit the hospital every day and are close. They have their 2 small dogs, Bobbie and Benni with them. Carter has become really attached to Bobbie and is so sweet with her. He will walk by her and stop to give her a kiss. He's always telling her he loves her so much and will eat her up. He cracks me up because he loves to police the dogs. One day at lunch I told Benni he was a bad boy because he wouldn't come to the back door to go out and go potty. I just sat down to eat lunch and figured he would come on his own time. While we were eating I heard Carter say, "Good boy, Benni! Good boy come here to go out, go potty!" I looked up and sure enough, there was Benni hobbling through the kitchen.

We are currently working on a colors learning theme with an emphasis on mixing colors. Carter is so obsessed with mixing colors and has such a great memory. He quickly recites the primary colors, saying they are red, yellow, and blue. He also always remembers that red and blue mixed together makes purple since that was the color we made his birthday cake. If I ask him what color two of the primary colors will make when mixed, he has a hard time. If I show him the secondary colors and tell him two primary colors to be mixed, he can correctly tell me which secondary color they will make. He's been drawing circles for quite a while now and has now mastered a square or rectangle. His main hang up was that he was trying to draw a square without lifting his marker from the paper. He was very adamant that I not show him how to make one as he didn't want to try it. Once I was able to show him how to lift his finger to make each straight line separately, it was a huge a-ha moment for him and he drew his first square. He likes to write a C for his name, sometimes writing it sideways. He can also write a J for Uncie J. He wanted to make a Valentine for his Uncie J and wrote a J on the to line with a C on the from line. He can also make a Q for Quinn, T for Uncie Taco, O for Oma and Opa, H for Harper, and an E for Elise (sometimes with more than 3 arms). He attempts an M for Mommy, D for Daddy, and G for Gma and Gpa, but struggles a bit with them. He also likes to make J's and T's out of his railroad tracks and building blocks. He'll make them to surprise his uncies when they come over.

I love that he is still such a book worm. We sit down and can read our entire bag of library books in one sitting which means 20-50 books at once! He also likes to get books and read them to us. If it's a book he's never read before, he makes up the words by looking at the pictures and it is awesome! He was convinced The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food was titled Jelly Beans. He saw the "j" in junk food and jelly beans in the illustration and came up with the title, then he made up the story to follow along those lines. It amazes me when he picks up a book we haven't read in a long time and is able to read it surprisingly accurately. Some of his favorite books right now are the Franklin series and anything about mixing colors. He likes to put a blanket over his back and pretend it is his turtle shell. I've been amazed at the train tracks he can build all by himself. He is awesome at it! He used to ask me to put together the outside part of puzzles and he'd do the middle pieces. Now he puts puzzles together by himself.

His social skills are always evolving and he has been impressing me with his ability to solve problems. He is also quite outgoing. He'll go up to kids and say, "Can I play with you?" If they ignore him, he stands and stares them down until they respond. If a child walks over by him, he'll say, "Do you want to play with me?" He also asks people, "What's your name?" all the time. One day we were on a walk and a man waved at us from across the street. Carter yelled, "Hi! What's your name?" I was cracking up! He'll also ask kids if he can have a turn and if he knows someone wants a turn after him, he'll run to find them when he's done so they can play with the toy. Of course, he also has moments were he pulls toys away from other kids and doesn't want to share, but those incidents are diminishing. He is quick to tell other kids, "You can have a turn when I'm done," if they walk up to him while he is playing with something. He definitely isn't shy. He also loves ordering for himself at restaurants. Often times he cracks me up with things he says. We went to McDonald's after a race and Carter wanted to order pancakes. He said, "I would like pancakes... With faces on them!" I laughed so hard. He'll also try to order things that he knows aren't on the menu because we always discuss what is on the menu before he orders. We went to Subway one day and he wanted cucumbers on his sandwich "just like daddy." It was the cutest and made me so happy Ty has made some really healthy changes in his eating habits in the past few years, mostly because he knew Carter would be copying him as he got older.

 He's still not quite full-on potty trained yet. Some days he does really well, other days he fights it, and others he for real is shocked and had no idea he had to go. Yesterday he got himself dressed and wanted to wear big boy undies instead of pull-ups and he used the potty all day long and we went on multiple outings with no accidents! I know we'll get there. It has just been such a long process. I'm so glad I have the experience of being a teacher so I know all kids are just so different. It keeps me from being frustrated as I remember with a class full of 25 kids there was never one way that worked for everyone to learn. Sometimes it would work for 24 kids and there would be one kid I had to teach in a different way. Sometimes it was 23 kids, others 22, many times even fewer. There's just no one right way to do anything when it comes to children and all kids are so different. I have people tell me things like, "I did it this way with all 4 of my kids and it worked great!" I think, well good for you but that doesn't mean it works for every child and unfortunately for me, my child is one of those it doesn't work for. I know they think I'm just not doing it right, but I assure you that is not the case. It's one part strong willed child, one part not always knowing when he has to go, and one part frustration and feeling unsuccessful. But I have no doubt we will get there!

A skill that I go back and forth on whether I appreciate Carter being able to do it, is lock and unlock the door. It's great that he can unlock the door to let Harper out to potty and then let her back in and lock it back up all on his own. It's not so great that he can unlock the front door and try to go outside while I'm trying to set the house alarm which won't set if a door is open. It's also not so great that he can unlock the back door and go out to play while I'm in the bathroom. Luckily with our alarm system the doors beep when they open so I know when he's up to shenanigans. One day Harper was going bananas at the front door because the post officer had come with the mail. Carter got excited and wanted to check to see if he had gotten a cookie in the mail, so he opened the door and started to go out. I stopped him, but Harper was able to shoot out the door and take off after our post officer like a banshee. I just wish he had been carring pepper spray or something because she deserved it, the little beast! We had to have a very serious conversation about not opening doors that lead outside unless he asks an adult first and we haven't had an incident since, thankfully!

It's so cute how much he loves Curious George and Daniel Tiger. They are his two favorites. I never liked Curious George as a kid because I was a big time rule follower and it bothered me that he was always getting into mischief, but now I find him hilarious. Daniel Tiger is adorable and I love the messages he teaches and how well Carter remembers them. He remembers them because they are repeated throughout the show and are usually in song form. The problem with that is they get stuck in my head. I've only watched one episode with him because his tv time is with daddy while I'm putting Elise to bed and that one song from that one episode is still stuck in my head! We checked a Daniel Tiger book out from the library and in it Daniel learned to squeeze your arms tight against your chest, take a deep breath, and let it go to calm down when he was excited. It was so cute to hear Carter use that skill. We pulled up to look at Christmas lights and I heard Carter in the backseat say, "Take a deep breath, squeeze, and let it go!" It was adorable. Carter hasn't wanted to watch Calliou lately and I'm glad. I thought Caillou was really cute at first but I had never seen a full episode because I'd just see part of the end when I came out of Elise's room. After seeing a full episode I was pretty much over that show!

Due to so many Christmas songs being about snow Carter is a bit confused about Christmas and when Christmas-time is. When it snowed he asked me if it was Christmas. Then one day while we were driving he saw some snow that hadn't melted yet and asked me if when we were going to open presents since it was Christmas. I've explained it over and over, but he still thinks Christmas and snow go together. At some point with global warming we're going to have to re-write all the Christmas songs that talk about snow!

When Carter was younger I kept thinking once he hit a certain age he would stop being as snuggly so I soaked up all the snuggles "while they lasted". Well, those snuggles are still in full force. Carter is the snuggliest and sweetest little guy. He is still waking up some nights and coming into our bed. It's the cutest thing because I'll feel him roll over and kiss me on my head randomly while we're sleeping. While playing with Elise he constantly stops what he's doing to go over and give her kisses. One day he looked at his Oma and told her he loved her brown eyes. He also randomly tells me he loves me. The cutest was at Bikes and Balls. He was playing with his friends and I was walking around with Elise in the carrier trying to get her to take a nap. Carter rode by on his scooter and said, "I love you mommy!" Nothing will melt your heart if a moment like that doesn't! I love him more than I could ever describe and I'm so thankful for the amazing month full of love that we've had this past month. Living life with my sweet boy is the best!

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