Friday, April 26, 2013

Clara - 28 Months

I think this may have been my most favorite month of Clara's life so far.  She is just soaking up everything in the world around her and exploring so much and making thoughtful, expressive comments about things and I love it so much!  Here's what she is up to:

-Her baby and teddy and her favorite "guys" and she's almost always got them.
-She loves to take care of her baby.  Wrap her in a blanket, snuggle her, take her on walks and feed her. She's a great mama!

-She is starting to understand the concept of time and will say things like, "I got sick yesterday/last week/last month/last year." Rarely accurate, but always exploring the concept of past time.

-She loves to swing again (yay!) and requests a lot of swinging everytime we're outside.  She always says, "BIG one!" -- she loves to go as high as she can!  Many times when she's on the swing she'll say, "back and forth, back and forth." "forward, back, forward, back." or "near, far, near, far" as she swings.

-She loves being a sister and having a sister and is SUCH a great helper with her.  She loves to hold her and teach her things, help change her diapers (we pretend on this part) and wipe her spit up.  She always puts a blanket on Betty so she can stay, "nice and warm."

-Clara loves to take care of her little baby (doll) and keep her wrapped in a blanket, feed her a bottle and give her a bath in her very own kitchen sink.

-She loves to blow bubbles and has gotten quite good at it.

-She gets so excited to see extended family.  She often talks about her cousins and knows who is who and who lives where.  Sometimes out of nowhere she'll look at me with a concerned/sad face and say, "my cousins went home to Colorado." (She's referring to Amanda and her kids, who were here last)

-She calls Amanda "Aunt Manda." So cute!

-Clara LOVES nursery.  When we drop her off, she RUNS in and gives the nearest nursery leader a huge hug.  She has a small group of little friends in there right now, so she gets to play with the leaders a ton too.  She loves them all.

-She loves to play in laundry baskets.  One day she was putting all of her stuffed animals (her "guys") in and tucking them all in, and then she climbed in and snuggled with them.  It was naptime and she protested, saying she wanted to sleep in her "spacket" so I put her in the crib... in her basket.  She fell right asleep and slept the whole time!

-We've been working on her saying, "I hold you."  It has turned into "I hold me." and "I need me." Haha. At least I know what she means.

-She's getting really good at going potty and has even gone on the big potty a few times.

-She loves trains, like her daddy and lately when we see the trains just north of downtown (when driving to my parents house) she'll say, "I ride that potty train."  It cracks me up!

-She gives the cutest little narratives from the back seat while we're driving somewhere.  She always notices helicopters and airplanes, snow on the mountains, birds, trains, big trucks, etc.

-Recently she was singing "I Am a Child of God" and at the end morphed the lyrics into "teach me all that I must do, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."  I was recording it and showed it to so many people (with her around) that she thought it was a cute and clever thing to do and now does it intentionally and laughs.  Oops.  We're trying to teach that it's a reverent phrase...

-We have had Early Intervention child development specialists come to evaluate Betty and help her and Clara is usually around.  They are always astounded at the breadth of her "expressive language."  It's true, she is quite a talker!  I honestly don't feel like there's anything she cannot communicate or express right now.

Monday, April 01, 2013


In the wisdom that comes with adulthood, my affection has migrated towards springtime and Easter has become my favorite holiday. As with most Christian holidays, the modern world has transformed and commercialized the day. But as the world awakens from winter and bursts into the color of springtime it's hard to ignore the symbols all around, reminding us that the snow will melt, the sunshine will warm, and "Sunday will come." Daffodils and hyacinth blooms spring from the earth once frozen.  Warm breezes replace biting wintery winds.

As my life continues to fill with more people to love, I also feel a renewed sense of life's fragility.  Every time we open our hearts to love, we open ourselves up to disappointment, grief, pain, loss.  But the miracle and celebration of this season is that the fragility of mortality is finite. We will endure no disappointment, depravity, doubt, disability or death forever; nor alone.  Because Christ came and because He lives, we can burst through every trial triumphant.

For me, the Easter season with it's eternal reminders came at the perfect time this year.  Days before, I left a doctors office trying to hold back the sobs that were aching to come out.  Trying to be strong in front of my two year old whom I naively brought along thinking it would be just a quick well check for my two month old.  I went into the appointment with a few concerns that I thought would be resolved as "no big deal," or "she'll grow out of it."  I left the appointment with a doctor I trust thinking my baby might not be able to see.  That parts of her skull could be fused prematurely, a condition that would require a craniofacial surgeon to break her skull apart so her brain could continue to grow.  That she may be aspirating milk.  That she seemed developmentally delayed and stuck in the "newborn blob" phase.
There is nothing like news affecting your child to change the depth and sincerity of your prayers.  We did everything our doctor recommended - the blood tests, the visit to the opthamologist, the chest x-ray, the CT scan, the MRI, the evaluation with Early Intervention.  We were so blessed with mostly fantastic news: blood tests were normal, optical development is normal, chest x-ray was normal, CT scan showed open sutures between the plates in her skull (normal), but her brain looked like it needed further testing (hence the MRI),which was also normal.  Early Intervention determined that she is delayed in a few areas, but we're hopeful that their services will help her "catch up."

Good news on the medical front is great, but perhaps even more encouraging was the gentle reassurance that we consistently felt even when we didn't know what would come of it all.  Our journey with all of this is not over.  Betty will meet with a pediatric neurologist, continue to receive therapies from Early Intervention, and have more extensive follow-ups with her pediatrician. We have no idea what the future will hold for Betty (or us, or any of our children, for that matter), but we do have that reassurance.  And if we choose to access it, we can feel that our loving Father is over all.
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