Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Prayers have been answered today!

Today, everyone in the house got up early, which NONE of us are used to right now. We left in time to drop off the big kids at before school care right as it opened and Jaden soon after that. Darby and Carter were a tremendous help this morning and knew how important it was that I leave on time. They were just great.

Jack and I then took off for Palo Alto and the California Ear Institute (CEI). About a half hour into our trip, I had handed Jack all the toys in my little magic bag for him to hurl on the floor of the car. He was ready to be out already. So, I started on the food. This kid can put away the crackers, let me tell you. It looks like a toss up between what actually made it into the belly and what is all over my car - but it made him happy for a while! Then, he was ready to be out of the car. We listened to music, which he likes to have up REALLY LOUD (note to self - get a new kid music CD). Then, a general meltdown ensued followed by a nap for the last 30 minutes of our drive. Three hours after leaving Sacramento and we were at the CEI office. There is only one good thing that can be said about this and all of our future trips to Palo Alto and it can be said in 3 words: CAR POOL LANE.

Jack then proceeded to charm the office staff and then amaze his audiologists. They performed a bone conduction hearing test on Jack. He sat in my lap in a little booth with a device attached to his head that vibrated sounds on his skull. He turned immediately when the first sound was made and I nearly cried. I don't consider myself to usually be a very emotional person, but God has answered some prayers and it touched my heart to see Jack hear so clearly. Jack has at least one functioning cochlea and maybe two. He heard everything in all frequencies down to 10 decibels. He was very cooperative and this will save us from having to sedate him for further tests. It is clear that a bone conduction hearing aid will help him a lot.

We then went to lunch. I ate some soup, while Jack wondered why I was trying to feed him after he just ate ten pounds of crackers. We then walked around the office area and had all kinds of fun walking along the planters, looking at spiders and ants (and smashing a few)and peering at people who were in the offices. He made many friends (none of them were bugs, though).

Here are some pictures of Jack picking me some flowers. Hard to tell if he is trying to be sweet or mischievous - huh?

We then went to meet with Dr. Choe and Dr. Roberson. What wonderful people these doctors are along with their entire staff. We agreed that there is no urgency for further testing since we know the BAHA (a brand of bone conduction hearing aid) will help him tremendously. We will start with this and some speech therapy and will go from there. So, our next appointment for the BAHA fitting will be on 12/29/06.

Then, Jack and I loaded up for the drive home. By this time, I was out of food and I think Jack's belly was out of room. After some very persistent and diligent tugging on the straps that trapped him, Jack fell asleep. A long day for a precious little boy and a day I will not soon forget.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Okay, maybe not. But, it sure felt like one when Jaden’s preschool director today told me they have a space for Jack! I am so incredibly relieved! I think it will be good for him to be where Jaden is and I really like this school and the teachers. I was not thrilled about trying to find another place for him and making 3 stops every morning and evening. Whew!

We have been home a little over a week. It is hard to believe that Jack has been with us for just 3 weeks. It seems like so much longer than that! He is adjusting to life at the Herne house and his siblings are adjusting to life with Jack. I am trying to figure out how I am going to get out of the house in any reasonable length of time – for anything!

Last week, Carter very generously shared his killer cold with the five members of his family. We all got very sick, very fast. For several nights, everyone seemed to be up with some ailment or inability to sleep. As a result, Mom was not a happy camper. Chris was going to work, so every time someone got up with some hacking cough, I got up, shared in the hacking myself and then tucked the poor soul back into bed. It seemed that by the time I got myself back into bed, someone else was crying or at the bedside. I am glad all that is over. We all seem to be recovering now.

The fantastic news is that Jack is sleeping through the night, in his crib, by himself. A huge accomplishment for this young lad – only after a few rivers of tears. It took about 3 nights of mean mom putting him to bed for naps and night time and letting him cry. He now offers his courtesy protest cry for about 2 minutes and then sucks his fingers while he drifts off to sleep. He does still wake up in the middle of the night, but only with some grunting and then goes back to sleep on his own. This was a tough 3 days for the whole family, but the result is that everyone gets to sleep at night. Poor Jaden had the worst of it since she couldn’t sleep in her bed while her new brother cried. She went from Darby’s bed to Carter’s floor, to mom and dad’s floor. It was a happy night when everyone was sleeping in their own beds all night!

Last week, we had the pediatrician check up. Good news – Jack is developmentally on target except for speech. I thank the Half the Sky program for this. However, he is not even on the growth charts – he is so small. He weighed in at just 21 pounds. I can see that his little legs are getting some chub on them, so maybe he will catch up at least a little bit. He also got 4 shots and was so very brave. He really didn’t cry much at all for this – well, not compared to the going-to-sleep-by-yourself-torture. Then, we had blood work - that was rough. I am glad it is over and I am sure he is too. Unfortunately, it made me think of how many times this little boy is going to have to be stuck with a needle over the next few years as we deal with his hearing and ears. I think it is harder on me than it is on him!

Tomorrow, we go to Palo Alto for Jack’s first ENT appointment. It is my hope that he will cooperate for the behavioral hearing test. If not, he will have to be sedated. I am expecting that they will order his hearing aid on Wed and then we will get it about a week later. In the meantime, I have signed him up for the early intervention program through the school district. They will provide a speech therapist who will come to our home a few times a week – awesome!

Jack and I are enjoying our days together. He loves to play with cars and enjoys being outside. He can’t quite reach the pedals on the trike and wishes very badly that he could. He loves going to the store and the post office with me and is exploring a variety of new foods. He still prefers noodles to anything and so I am using a little trickery to get some veggies in. He ate goulash laced with peas and ravioli laced with green beans. Today, he ate a cup of noodles with tofu chunks – ha! He is also feeding himself with a spoon and fork. See the video evidence here...

In the evenings, Jack is playing with his older siblings. He is still throwing things a bit too much and throws himself a little pity party several times a day if I tell him “No” to anything. Once he is done crying (and often flailing) in his crying spot, he stands up and gives me a big hug. I think it does him good to just let it out. These episodes are decreasing in frequency and length, so I think we are making progress. Tonight, he stood on a stool and helped make the pizza dough with Jaden. He then helped make his own pizza and stuffed his mouth with some of the extra pepperoni. He was soooo proud to be “helping.”

Jack’s vocabulary has been expanding as well. He says “bye, bye” now and likes to say this and take off in the other direction with the little shopping cart. Very cute. He also can say Jaden – though it sounds more like “Ada.” He can sign more, eat, drink, and done consistently. Just yesterday he ran around the corner saying, “mama, mama” and signing “drink.” I got him his water cup and he was so pleased with himself that he was able to tell me what he wanted! I enjoy so much watching his progress!

Sorry, I can't post photos because Chris has the cord I need to upload... More after tomorrow.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Good to be HOME!

Okay, I know it has been a few days since I have posted. So, let me try to recap...

We left Guangzhou early Thursday morning for Hong Kong. The flight went well and we managed to keep Jack awake for this leg. We had a pretty long layover in Hong Kong and Jack insisted on using chopsticks himself in the airport. See the video here...

We then loaded up for the long flight to San Francisco. We flew Cathay Pacific and the flight was just great. The food was good and they gave us two great little kids meals for Jack. He had his first fish sticks, snubbed the potatoes and experimented with peas (I think he may have actually consumed a few). He slept for a total of about 5 hours which was good because it will help us adjust when we get home.

We then did the luggage transfer through customs hauling the cranky boy with us and then sat for our torturous 3 hour layover. We wanted so badly to just be home! Jack enjoyed the airport and loves to watch the service vehicles at work.
He calls cars something like "ta-shey" which we are wondering if it is something in Mandarin. Soon enough, we load up for the short 20 minute flight to Sacramento.

When we arrive, our dear friends, Deb, Trish, Jo and Matthew brought Darby, Carter and Jaden to the airport to meet us. What a warm welcome indeed! They were holding a very nice banner and greeted us a the bottom of the escalators. Jack was very curious about all of this commotion. It was soooo good to see the kids! We split up and rode home. Jack went with Chris and took a little nap en-route with not much fuss about his car seat trap. I will have to post these first family pictures later as my camera was not snapping at the time and I will have to get them from others...

Grandma and Grandpa had a very welcome spaghetti dinner ready for us when we arrived home. So, Jack's first meal at home was a very messy spaghetti feast!

Jack then slept most of the night (like his normal up several times routine). We then kind of woke him up in the morning. He has since really enjoyed playing with the siblings and is exploring the house in earnest. He truly loves the backyard; the sticks, the leaves, the dirt - he is all boy. He is also VERY two and is continuing to test the boundaries - for everything. Jaden is doing so well with him and is enjoying showing him the ropes. A favorite toy in the house is the toy camera - he likes to snap our pictures...

The first full day home was Friday. All the older siblings went to school. I ventured out for diapers and smaller britches for Jack. Chris collected his truck, the mail, etc. We then took Jack to meet and greet at the elementary school. Jack was very happy to have Carter carry him around the class (and Carter was quite proud indeed). When the kids came home, I was surprised for my birthday with a girl's (just Darby and I) trip to the spa for pedicures - fun! Then, back home for the kid-made cake (very nice) and dinner AT HOME (yes!).

Jaden and Jack took their first bath together (the first one that Jack has enjoyed) last night. Jack made a fantastic mess with the water and was very upset when the fun was over. Then, last night was a bit of a mess. Jack was up most of the night fussing. Chris took over in the wee hours of the morning and we are all somewhat cranky today. Overall though, things are going well and Jack is settling in very nicely.

Let's all pray for sleep tonight.