Monday, November 29, 2010

The update (part 1)

Obviously, the Thanksgiving holiday has kept us pretty busy and the blog posts have suffered a bit.  But never fear – we are going to get you all caught up and back on track!

And this is “part one” of our installment.  This will take us back to the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  For the whole weekend, Mike had been sleeping a little more than usual and eating a little less than usual.  He was due for another “growth spurt” where he grows “up” instead of “out” and we had decided that the time had come.  We really had no reason to think otherwise…

“The Dad” was just getting ready to leave and head back to Cincinnati.  Mike was just finishing up his supper.  And then it started.  Just a little cough.  That turned into a bigger cough.  Then bigger.  And bigger.  Then some gagging.  And a little more.  And some more.  And then the whole digestive system went into reverse.  He had primarily eaten peas and yogurt.  You can imagine what THAT looked like after it all came back up!

By the next (Monday) morning, it had stopped coming out of that end – but it all started coming out of the other.  Oh joy!  Eight outfits before lunch.  After calls to the doctors office and about a hundred gallons of Pedialyte, it had started to slow a little.  By Tuesday, he still had a touch of diarrhea, but we had definitely crossed over to the recovery side of “the event”.

By Wednesday, Mike was nearly 100%.  And not a moment too soon!  Because Wednesday was Mike’s first birthday!

But for the details on that, you’ll have to wait until part 2…

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The results are in…

We woke up this morning with a little bit of apprehension.  Today was the day of “THE BIG DOCTORS APPOINTMENT”.  It’s been the same with every appointment with Mike’s orthopedic doctor.  The same ol’ questions / feelings / concerns / nervousness – and throw in a dash of hope.  It can all be summed up into a common theme.  “I hope everything is ok”…

We loaded up and headed out.  Walked in to the doctors office and signed in.  We waited a short time before the nurse called us back to “the examination room”.  Oh – the memories.  Memories of being in this room while they put casts on our 16 day old baby.  Memories of being back a week later to cut them back off with a Stryker saw and put on the next set of casts.  After his series of casts – which all went from the top of his hips to the tip of his toes – I can’t believe that he didn’t get even one nick from the saw.

The memories of getting the first brace.  Meeting with the orthotics specialists.  Pressure spots developing on Mike’s feet.  Lots and lots of crying (mostly by Mike, but some by mom and dad too…).  Sitting in this very examination room and discussing the tenotomy surgery on a 9 week old baby.  General anesthesia?  On a 9 week old?  A timely message from a fellow blogger who has a child with clubbed feet (Thank you JoAnne!  You’ll never know how much that little message about the tenotomy set our minds at ease…).

Checking in to Children’s Hospital.  Watching them roll our son – our little 9 week old baby – through the double door with the bright red letters “SURGERY”.  Waiting and waiting and waiting in that little waiting room…

More casts.  More Stryker saw (I can’t believe he still has all 10 toes!).  Then more of the dreaded brace.

No – I can’t say my memories of this room are especially fond ones.  But with each visit, the news kept getting progressively better and better.  Perhaps today, that trend would continue.

In comes Dr. Crawford.  A quick examination of his feet.  It all goes much quicker when all you have to take off is his socks!  The usual bending, twisting, turning.  Then the prognosis…

Dr. Crawford looked up and smiled (did he just smile?  He never smiles…  Is this a good?  Is he smiling because he is getting ready to give us bad news?  Trying to soften the blow?  Is he trying to…)

“Mike’s feet are absolutely excellent!”  (WHEW!) 

He went on to say that Mike had more maneuverability and flexibility in his feet than some non-clubbed foot kids.  Things were CERTAINLY looking up!

We still have to wear the brace at night until he starts walking.  Given that Mike is already pulling himself up with no problems and has begun a little “furniture surfing”, Dr. Crawford’s estimates (both as a dad and an orthopedic surgeon) – he (Mike – not Dr. Crawford) should be toddling around in about a month.  Once that starts – we can stop using the brace altogether!

And that is what we call “GOOD NEWS”!  And while that was certainly the bulk of the good news – we also received another little tidbit of good news.  Dr. Crawford told us that the chance of Mike’s feet regressing are “essentially zero”.  We now only have to see Dr. Crawford for “routine checkups” – when Mike turns 18mo, then yearly until he turns 5 just to make double sure that there is no regression. 

Really?  I’ve only got to sit in the little examination room 5 more times?  Really?  Seriously?  AND there’s a chance that he could be out of the brace by Christmas?  Now THAT’S what I call a successful visit to the orthopedic doctor!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two more days…

Two more days.  Two short little days until it is Thursday.  Thursday, November 18th.

And what is it about Thursday, November 18th?  We have an appointment that day.  And by “we”, I really mean “Mike”.  And it’s not just any appointment.  It’s a doctor’s appointment.  “But”, you say, “Mike has doctor’s appointments all the time.”

True, my friend.  Very true.

But this one is with Doctor Crawford – Mike’s orthopedic doctor.  It’s been month’s since we’ve seen him.  The last appointment was stellar.  Mike’s feet were doing fantastic.

But there is always that little bit of dread that starts creeping in.  After all, bilateral clubbed feet can certainly become a lifelong struggle.  Sure – Mike responded extremely well to the serial casting.  And after a short struggle with his brace, we had the tenotomy procedure done.  After that, Mike responded very well to the brace which holds his feet in position.  So well in fact, that for the last 3 months, he has only had to wear the brace at night when he’s sleeping.

And his feet have had no relapse.  They are still fully corrected.  They still have plenty of pronation.  When he stands on them, he stands flat footed and not on the outside edges.  To the untrained eye – they look perfectly normal.  If we didn’t tell you that he was born with bilateral clubbed feet, you would never even suspect it.

But the key phrase is “to the untrained eye”.  Sure, we might know a little more about bilateral clubbed feet than your ordinary average Joe – but we are still very far from the “expert” range.  The “expert” in our case is Dr. Crawford.  His is the final word.

So, we will cross our fingers, say our prayers, kiss the Blarney stone, rub the Buddha belly, and whatever else we can think of that might bring us “luck”.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our little helper…

Mike has reached the age where he is beginning to understand “helping”.  Things like he will “help” you with his bottle – or he will “help” you get the spoon up to his mouth.  He will help you put his arms through his shirt sleeves or put his arms through the straps on the car seat.  When it’s time to get out of the car seat, he will help be sitting up and making it easier to grab him.  There are a ton of other examples, but here is his most recent attempt at “helping”.

We were trying to get some of his clothes folded and put away.  He decided it looked like fun and wanted to help.  He reached in the laundry basket and pulled out some clothes and threw them on the floor.  Then reached in again and pulled out some more.  Then some more.  And some more.  And more.  He had a blast – and thought it was hilarious when we would put the clothes back in the basket.  I have to admit – it was a lot of fun!  More fun than laundry has ever been before.  Now – if we could only get him to fold the clothes instead of throwing them on the floor…

Look at me "folding" the laundry

“Look at me ‘folding’ the laundry!”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No no!

I’m sure all parents have stories about when they started trying to teach “right and wrong” to their children.  A couple of examples would be things like – “it’s wrong to eat the dog’s food” or “it’s wrong to try and remove the ‘childproof’ cap from the electrical socket so you can stick your finger in it”.

Of course, you can’t use long winded sentences like that to a 11 month old – so you say the traditional “no no”.  Perhaps you even waggle a finger at them as a signal for “don’t do it –or else”.

I know that we certainly do!  And it seems to be working.  The events that occurred at daycare today seem to be proof!

Mike and Harper were sitting at a table.  The teacher in the room had apparently just finished changing a diaper and was on her way to put the wipes away when a group of parents showed up to pick up their children.  The teacher sat the wipes (securely sealed in a rubber maid container) down on the table where Mike and Harper were sitting.  Shortly afterwards, some of the parents starting laughing.  The teacher turned around and saw that Harper had managed to get the lid off and pull all of the wipes out.  She was wiping her face, the table, the floor.  And there sat Mike – looking over at Harper and saying “No no.  No no.  No no.” all while wagging his finger at her!

That’s my boy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mike the teacher…

Yesterday morning we were dropping Mike off at his “school” when we ran in to Harper’s mom.  Apparently, Mike has been teaching Harper some sign language! 

Remember back a few months ago, we took an infant sign language class.  It turned out to be really good – especially with how to teach sign language to an infant.  We’ve been working with Mike – especially with the signs that are “most useful” (like hungry, eat, more, please, mom, and dad – and a few “non-standard”  ones like “go vols”!).  And he’s getting pretty good at them too!

So good, in fact, that when he is getting fed at “school” (he eats with Harper, of course), he’s been showing Harper things like hungry, eat, and more.  It turns out that Mike must be a pretty good teacher because (believe it or not), she has started using them!  Just imagine to 11 month old babies “goo goo” and “gaa gaa” back and forth while signing “more please hungry”.  How cute is that!It’s too bad the teachers aren’t allowed to take pictures of the kids (it’s horrible that we live in a world where something like that is considered a “security risk”) – I would LOVE to see it in action

So yesterday morning, we gave harper’s mom the quick rundown – “this is eat – this is hungry – this is more – this is please…”.  Oh, and if she raises her hands over her head giving the “touchdown” signal – that’s “go Vols”!!!! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

As hard as it is to believe, it is already November!  In three short weeks, we will be celebrating Mike’s 1st birthday.  And that seems absolutely unreal!

But before Mike’s first birthday comes Mike’s first Halloween!  Since Halloween was on a Sunday this year, we started the day out with our usual Sunday morning trip to church.  Mike was his usual angelic self (and spent a large amount of time flirting with the ladies in the pew behind us).  Afterwards, we went to lunch with our neighbors Todd and Maureen.  Maureen was convinced that we should try something for Mike from the kids menu.  She is well aware of our difficulty in getting Mike to try solid food, but she insisted. 

We decided on the macaroni and cheese.  We ordered our food with a “just you wait and see – he’ll spit it all on the floor!” attitude.  After all, we tried the same thing from the same restaurant just 3 weeks earlier.  We would have tried something else, but “chicken fingers” just didn’t sound like it would cut it!

The food came.  We got out the “travel spoon” for the mac-n-cheese.  We put on the bib and made sure it was strategically positioned so that when Mike spit out the mac-n-cheese, it would be deflected to the floor rather than in his lap.  We dipped the spoon in to the huge (and soon to be wasted) mac-n-cheese – help the spoon up the Mike’s mouth – and…

He ate it!

He actually ate it!  And the next spoonful and the next spoonful.  Before long, he was using his baby sign language (which he has recently starting using fairly regularly) to say “more please more”!  Unbelievable!  And he ate and ate and ate.  We have never seen him put away so much food.  We were absolutely shocked and stunned.

Of course, Maureen thought we were a bunch of leg pulling liars…

Mike eats mac-n-cheese!

“Hey man!  This mac-n-cheese is great!  I could eat this whole bowl!”

Later that afternoon, we got Mike all dressed up in his Halloween costume and took him to his first Halloween party at the church.  He was absolutely adorable!  It was fun just watching his expressions.  He simply stared at everyone in amazement wondering why everyone was dressed so oddly.  Then we would look down at himself and realize that he too was dressed somewhat oddly.


“Look everybody!  I’m a puppy!

Once he realized that it seemed to be “normal” that everyone wasn’t dressed “normally” – we decided to be a little social.  We went around and took his picture with several of the folks…

Mike and the Scarecrow

Mike and the Scarecrow!


Mike and the pirate



Mike and the bumblebee



Mike, “the Dad”, and our neighborhood fireman!


“Don’t I make a cute puppy?”


After the fun, we went back home.  We stopped by a couple of the neighbors houses to show off our new puppy.  Everyone absolutely gushed about how cute he was!  And – let’s be honest.  There’s nothing that a proud parent likes to hear more!  We ended the day with a quick “family portrait”.  We tried to get Foxy in the action – but (as usual) she had her own agenda to attend to and didn’t have time for “those silly human activities – there are squirrels to chase from the yard!”


“Hi Izzy!  I’m a puppy!”



“Mike, “the Mom”, and “the Dad”


“Happy Halloween everybody!  Forget the candy – send mac-n-cheese!!!”