Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eat to the Beat

As I've mentioned quite a few times over the last 6 months, Leah has difficulty eating.  Her OT and I work everyday on her taking food by mouth and it is a slow process that requires extreme patience.  We celebrate the tiniest of victories.  Anyways, back to the point of this post, in order for Leah to swallow her food without freaking out and spitting it all back out on us, we have to distract her.  Our distraction techniques are quite silly and animated and I'm sure we look completely ridiculous to anyone watching, but that's what it takes.  It started out with clapping her hands and rubbing her feet and has evolved into singing songs with Leah doing motions along with us.  Typically I come up with the lyrics and tune and OT puts her own spin on it (she's a much better singer than I). We have joked that we need to record an album and call it "Eat to the Beat" for other kids with eating difficulties.  Here are some of the songs/chants:

The original- "Move it Around and Swallow it Down"

Just repeat those words with different beats while moving Leah's hands side to side and up and down.

"I've got (fill in the blank) in my Tummy"- tune of Love in my Tummy

Yummy yummy yummy
I've got fill in the blank in my tummy
And it's tasting oh so good.

Yummy yummy yummy
I've got fill in the blank in my tummy
And I'm eating like a should.

Fill in the blank
In my

Swallow my food- tune of We're off to see the Wizard from Wizard of Oz

I'm going to swallow my food
I'm going to swallow it down
I'm going to swallow all of my food
After I move it around.

I'll swallow swallow swallow swallow
swallow swallow my food.

I'll swallow swallow swallow swallow
swallow swallow my food.

We also sing Itsy Bitsy Spider and If You're Happy and You Know It a lot because she loves those songs.  I will often just to a "cha cha cha cha cha hey" repeatedly and spell her name like "Give me an L..."

That's all I've got so far!

Friday, April 5, 2013


While I'm on a roll with the blog updating, I'll do a post of random happenings.

First up, happenings at the feeding table...

We officially have 1 bottle left (last one before bed) and they drink out of sippy cups the rest of the day.  My goal has always been to be done with bottles at a year, so we're right on track.  I started giving them a little bit of diluted juice once a day and they can't drink it fast enough.  Unless I try to sneak some medicine in it, then those little stinkers don't want it. :/  A couple of weeks ago we stopped warming their bottles/cups too.  The first day they protested the coldness, but the next day they were over it.  I LOVE not having to keep up with the crock pot and remember to put bottles in, and I can now use my crock pot for cooking again (not that I'm cooking again-yet- but it's only a matter of time before I'm a crockin' girl).  One thing I didn't anticipate was having to figure out which sippy cups work best and how picky they'd be.  They like the Nuk with handles and are currently adjusting to the Nuby with no handles.

Andrew is the chugster.  We joke that he's prepping for college- total frat boy!  No matter what cup he has he picks it up with one hand and throws his head back.  He chugs so fast it runs down his chin.  Sometimes he even burps when he puts the cup down and makes fart sounds with his hand.  Obviously he's quite advanced for his age and we are very proud.

I've introduced some new snacks too.  So far all have been successful- even with Levi!  I'm doing muffins as birthday cake practice; they didn't like the texture at first, but now gobble it up.  They LOVE LOVE LOVE cheese!  Allison even makes "mmm" sounds while eating it.  Once I was serving cheese and puffs at the same time and she threw the puffs back at me- she only wanted cheese.  What. a. diva.  The other new snacks I've deemed travel snacks because they're easy on the go- mum mums and squeeze applesauce.  They can't get enough of the mum mums.  Especially Andrew who tries to shove it in his mouth as fast as possible.  Levi did not like the grapes.  We learned this as we observed him leaning over the edge of the table spitting them on the floor.  

Ben is the laziest of snackers.  In an effort to make it easier for him to grab a puff I held it in my hand.  What did he do?  Put his hand under mine and lifted my hand directly to his mouth.  It's quite funny and cute, but I do NOT want it to become a habit.  

Next up, happenings in the medical world...

We have an official end date for the helmet!  On or before May 13th Levi will lose the helmet!  It's just about reached the end of its effectiveness as his head growth is slowing.  I'm glad he won't have to wear it during the summer- nasty!  Speaking of Levi, he's off his reflux medicine too.  He went cold turkey and has had no issues.  I get to sleep an extra 5 min in the morning now that I don't have to give it to him and it saves us money- win win!

Leah has started her vision therapy and she's already showing progress in just 4 sessions!  And what I have been doing on my own was actually pretty close to what her VI teacher does.  :)

Leah and Caroline visited the developmental pediatrician (the other 4 will go at a later date) for the first time since the NICU.  I have a good grasp on what they can and can't do so I wasn't surprised by anything he said.  Caroline is ahead of schedule in most areas, but her gross motor (she isn't crawling, but she is a fantastic assisted walker) and expressive language (inconsistent consonant use) put her behind.  Leah is very behind in all areas, but she definitely has made progress since NICU discharge and he was actually impressed with her considering her medical history.  I was impressed with this doctor and his team; he was focused on his patients and their parents- quite refreshing.  He's even going to come in on an off day because it worked better for me!  

Random alert!  Background- there's a lady in a white car who honks and waves and hollers at us everytime she sees us walking in the neighborhood and I have no idea who she is.  At the developmental pediatrician's office we were leaving and the receptionist stopped me and asked if I have a big blue stroller.  I say yes and she says, "That's me!  Always hollering at you!"  I go, "Lady in the white car?!"  She gives me a big hug and says she's so excited to meet me.  How random is that?

Last up, a few extra happenings...

Caroline has a little dance she does whenever she hears music- on a cd, on a toy, us singing, whenever. It's so cute!  I really need to get a video of it.  She slightly hunches and sways back and forth with her arms out.  Sweet girl.  

Caroline and Levi are both clapping and it's so cute!  

Everyone has at least one tooth now.  Ben, Leah, and Levi all got their first within a few days of each other and all handled it extremely well!  Thank you Jesus!
Our friend made these Coca Cola onesies for us.  They say "I'm part of the Perkins 6 Pack"  I love Andrew's face in this picture!

12 dangling feet

Baby Einstein working its magic

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Zoo Visit!

I'm not sure when or why I made this goal, but I did and I was determined to get it done.  I wanted to bring the babies to the zoo by their 1st birthday!  Luckily, I have great friends who are always willing to go along with my ideas and make them happen!  Double lucky- the Houston Zoo has free admission on the first Tuesday afternoon of every month.  I was worried this experience would be a total disaster and I didn't want anyone wasting their money.

Despite the threat of rain, we loaded up and headed out after lunch.  I had practiced hooking up the stroller to the back of the van the night before to be sure I could do it all by myself in a timely manner.  The zoo was busy, but not too busy.  We were able to walk around the whole place and see most of the animals.  We did stop to give them their afternoon snack in the stroller and they did great!  They were really good the whole 2 hours we were there, even though they could not have cared less about the animals.  I'm not sure they ever even looked at one.  Though Levi was quite excited the whole time;  he babbled and squealed-loudly- as we walked around.  So, just in case no one saw us coming, he did a great job announcing our arrival.

I do believe we were the most popular exhibit of the day.  I'm considering charging next time.  Constant stares, comments, and questions.  Some nice people asked to take their picture (I always say no), but others didn't and had the iphones out and ready to go.  I didn't get anything new, just different to have so much at once.  I will say no one was negative.  Here are some highlights with my responses underneath:

"Can I touch your babies?  In my religion, if I don't touch something I admire, they'll get the ojo."
    "No....oh wait you're already touching them.  We don't want no ojo."

"So how many moms share this stroller?  Just 1?!"
     "Yes, they're all mine."

"Are you a school or daycare?"
      "No, they're all mine."

"Are those quadruplets/three sets of twins?"
     "They're sextuplets.  All born at the same time."

"How you do that?"
       "I don't know, I just do it."

"Look over here!! (man to his family) And you've been complaining about one baby!"
      Smile and keep walking.

"So were you huge (while holding out hand way in front of stomach)?"
       "Yes, I was quite large.  That's what happens."

Arriving in style!

The whole crew ready for the zoo.

Snack break!
Andrew and Benjamin

Allison and Caroline

Leah and Levi

First Easter

As with the previous holidays this year, the first Easter was simple, fun, and a successful outing!  We didn't do much since they had no idea it was Easter and they don't care about eggs, bunnies, or anything else involved in the celebration.  I did luck out that they were born close to Easter last year and, as a gift, Dave's employer sent us 6 filled Easter baskets.  Since Easter 2012 had already come and gone when we got the baskets, I boxed them up and saved them for this year.  Great decision!  They were filled with onesies, books, stuffed animals, monogrammed blankets, and socks.  And I had to do nothing!

I dressed the babies up for a few days in a row to fit in the cute dresses and tutus for Easter.  We attended church on Saturday and Sunday headed down to my grandparents' house for lunch.  We did their lunch spoon feeding and afternoon snack on the floor with no chairs or anything to contain them.  It wasn't as much of a disaster as I expected.  Half ate well, half were too distracted by the new surroundings and people, but the snack was much better than the spoon feed.  They didn't take an afternoon nap so they were super cranky when we left- all slept the whole way home.  Overall, they were very good and enjoyed the extra attention and different toys.  I enjoyed all the great food and baked goods (I gave them up for Lent)!  

All 8 of us at Mama's for Easter

Tutus and bowties day before Easter- Ben's eating his bowtie

Pretty girls in their fancy dresses on Good Friday

Videos and Magazines

I'm SLOWLY working on getting the few videos we have of the babies on YouTube so I can post them on here.  So far, this is all I got.  It's Ben being a big goofball at dinner (not unusual).

While I'm doing links, our Pearland Focus feature is out for the month of April!  We're on the cover and there's an article about what my life looks like now.  The interview and pictures were done when the babies were almost 10 mo old.  This magazine was really great to work with.  I will say the article is very thorough and I might not have talked so much if I had known she was going to include everything I said!  A little embarrassing.