Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our first Teacher

Miss Melinda.

Our First Teacher.

She came into our lives through Watch us Grow, and she spent two and a half years visiting us every week.

She played with us.

She read to us. (of course if you come into this house, you have surely read to us)

She helped us learn to do things like sit and stand, walk and run.

She met us at the park where we played, rode our tricycles and climbed.

She gave us an hour a week with adult interaction in those early days when Mommy really needed adult interaction yet was afraid to take us out in public.

She did messy stuff with us like paints and cooking and food play.

She introduced us to lots of fun things to learn and play with.

She brought friends to see us like an Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Psychologist to help us in our development.

She made sure we got OT services for Evan when he refused to eat. For free.

She made sure we got on the waiting list for pre-schools in the area, and made sure we got in.

She gave Mommy ideas of how to continue to enrich our thirsty minds.

She was a constant in our early years.

and now that we are three, she is gone.

It makes Mommy sad. We don't realize it yet. We may never realize what we are missing every week.

Miss Melinda teaches at the pre-school where we will be going in the fall. Mommy plans on making sure we see her when we are there. She doesn't want us to forget our first teacher.

Mommy never will.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Three years ago

Celebrating the boys birthday is always a challenge. I love a party, and I have to admit it isn't a day or two after Christmas and I'm already trying to figure out what our theme will be for our April birthday party. I can't help it, I'm a planner.

But, in all of my planning frenzy, I STILL can't help think, "three years ago I was..." and fill in the blanks. The first year was the hardest. They were still so medically fragile. The second year was tough too because well, they were two! This year, well this year was easier I have to admit, however I still find myself struggling with the memories. They are still so tangible, so clear, still. so. painful. Raw, not so much.

I look at my beautiful, perfect little men, and I marvel at how far they have come. Yet I can't help but think of them like this...
Its hard to believe that they have become this:

All of the planning, and baking, and stuff...ends up being worth it. They enjoyed their day, just running around EVERYWHERE. Being the centers of attention. I enjoyed their pure happiness, and not once during the day did I think, "three years ago..."

(and yes, I did a horrible job documenting their birthday party...and I only have about 5 pictures)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love letters (Baby A)

Dear Ryan:

My first born.
My sweet cuddler.
My patient little boy.

You are so kind, so ready to please. You show so much empathy for others. I love to hear you tell your brother that he will be okay when he is hurting.

You love to read. You would read all day long if you could, or rather if I could. I love that you know the words to almost all of the hundreds of books that we own. I love the way you cuddle into me while we read.

You love cars, trucks, and trains, anything that goes. Second to a book, or Snoopy, you almost always have a car in your hand. I love that you can spot and name any construction vehicle on the freeway or side of the road.

You love your guys. Snoopy, Snoopy, and Mama Puppy are your favorites, however froggy, kanga, baby kanga, baby puppy, Tigger, Pooh, polar bear, puppy, franklin (aka Clifford) and Baa all have to be in bed with you. I love that you have so many guys, and you know where each and everyone of them should be.

You are full of excitement over everything. You scream "Lizard" every day like it is the first time you've ever seen one. When you get excited, you have this way of saying "OHHHHH" that makes me smile every time I hear it.

You vie for attention because sometimes your brother needs more, but you do it so sweetly. "Look at me, Mommy." or "Watch me Evan" are heard at meal times as you try to help your brother learn how to eat his food. I love that you are so supportive, and so understanding of the extra time it takes to get Evan fed.

You laugh so easily, giggle, snicker. I love to tickle you just to hear you laugh uncontrollably. It makes me smile to think about your joy.

You have a ritual at every nap time and every bed time, you say..."Baby puppy has an idea, when baby puppy wakes up he sleep in Mommy bed and Daddy bed." your inflection goes up at the end of Mommy and Daddy with excitement. Every time, it's the same, unless you are a baby kitty, or dinosaur, or lizard that day. I once just wanted you to go to sleep, until I realized that you were growing up so fast and that one day soon you'll barely be saying good night to me at all. Now, I cherish that moment, that adorable phrase

You started out as the quiet one, but now you are quite a chatter box. You narrate your actions throughout the day, you sing things that surprise me, sometimes you whisper them. I don't know why, but it is really cute. I love to listen to you chatter, or sing. You are always so excited by what you are saying.

You are so observant. You know where everything is. If Evan is looking for something, you'll say, "oh, that is over here!" and you are always right! I love that you get that from me.

You love your brother. You call him Evie, or Ev, or Ev-AN. I love the sweet tender moments the two of you share, cuddling and reading on the couch. I love the raucous wrestling matches, and the giggles that follow.

I love so much more about you that I could never put into words. You are the joy in my everyday. I smile every time I think of you. I love you to the moon and back.

Love Letters, (Baby B)

Dear Evan:

My sweet Evan.
Born second, but never second fiddle.
So full of energy.
So spirited.

You love things that spin. Fans, tops, windmills, Ferris wheels, carousels. If it goes around and around, you will find it. I love that when we drive around you spend your time in the car looking for windmills.

You love balls. Soccer, foot, basket, base, fuzzy, large, small, all of them. You sleep with a basketball, football, soccer ball and a lady bug ball in bed. I love/hate that if one of them is missing you are inconsolable.

You love Ringo Ringo, Other Ringo, and Soft Ringo above all. I love that they are all named Ringo, but there are differences and you know them. I love that Ringo-Ringo has been with you since the NICU. I love how much comfort you get from your Ringos.

You love music. You have a passion for it. You sing with your daddy at bed time, and you have quite a repertoire including Hallelujah, Fire and Rain, Superman, plus a bunch of kids songs. I love that you sing at the top of your lungs, I love your passion for song, that you ask for music at mealtimes, in the car, almost anywhere.

You are so sweet and loving, but you are a little manipulator. You can ask your brother to do anything for you, and he will. I listen to your conversations and laugh. "Ryan, will you get me my Ringos? Thank You." "Ryan, will you get me a blanket? Thank you." "Ryan, will you get me some water? Thank you." Ryan always replies, "here you go Evan." I love that you can get Ryan to do these things, yet you don't do it all the time.

You are so quick to giggle and belly laugh. You have an amazing sense of humor and timing. Really well developed for a three year old. You think rhyming is hysterical and love it when we play the name game. You tell me "Don't tickle me silly" and then run off. I love the sound of your laugh and your giggles. I love to hear you laugh with your brother. You crack each other up.

You still don't eat much solid food, but you are really trying. You've been making a ton of progress in the last 4 or 5 months. You are working so hard and I am so proud of you. I'm confident by your next birthday you will be eating like every other four year old.

You are a talker. You have something to say about everything. You once talked, non-stop from Sacramento to San Diego. I cannot believe that I ever thought you were delayed in your speech. I love to hear the things that come out of your mouth. You are so funny. You are so observant. You are so VERBAL! I love to hear your opinions. I am a little worried for when you get a bit older with even stronger ideas. I am pretty sure that you will be thoughtful and insightful at any age.

You love your brother and will often give him unsolicited, unrequested hugs. Sometimes they lead to wrestling matches, sometimes they lead to giggle fests. Either way, it's a sight to behold. I love to watch this brotherly bond grow each day.

I love you so much. My heart overflows. The way you delight in life, makes me a happier person. I love you THIS much.

Monday, April 13, 2009

There are P@nises in that book

I have two posts brewing honoring my delightful three year old boys. Their quirkiness, their sweetness, all the things I love about them. I also have a post brewing about our last day with our teacher, and how sad that makes me.

But, quickly, before they wake up from naps, I had to post this.

Melinda brought us this great book, which she immediately had to read to the boys. After she left, I was changing Ryan's diaper and his hand went where it almost always does. I repeated the phrase I never thought I would be saying every day. "It's not polite to play with your p@nis in public." His reply was, "There are p@nises in that book" I said, "no, no there isn't!" and then he showed me this picture...

He's nothing if he isn't observant.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Overheard at bed time

Music is such a huge part of the boys every day. They have always loved music, and have very eclectic tastes. Everything in the spectrum. Kids music, sophisticated classical, rock, adult alternative, the Grateful Dead, you name it, we have some of it in the "Ryan and Evan's Favorites" play list on the iPod.

They know words to lots of songs, they sit and play their guitars and sing. They sing in the car, they sing in bed, they just sing.

Tonight, after I finished putting Ryan down, I over heard Scott and Evan singing this song...A Cappella.

- - Hallelujah
Found at bee mp3 search engine

He got almost every single word. I stood there in front of the monitor, mouth agape, smiling, shocked. If you've never heard a three year old sing Hallelujah, you haven't lived.

Ce-le-brate good times, whoo hoo.

It's a big day around here. Three years ago today Ryan and Evan made their grand appearance into this world. At a whopping 955 grams a piece these two little fighters defied all of the odds to just survive their first week let alone make home.

Today we celebrate their third birthday. The third year of life. Three years of laughter, love, tears, tantrums, hugs and kisses. Today we celebrate life.

And tell me aren't those the faces of boys that know how to celebrate life?

Saturday is the big party, but there was cause for celebration today, not just the whole birthday thing...

See this plate with a piece of pizza? The child's spoon is in there for size comparison.

It's small yes, BUT........

This is what the plate looked like after Evan worked on it for 45 minutes. That was THE MOST he has ever eaten...EVER. (I'm tearing up just writing about this) He did not want to stop eating his pizza. Every time I suggested we move on he covered his plate with his hands and said no. He just kept putting bite after tiny bite into his mouth and swallowing and swallowing. I don't know what, or why, or how. I'm knocking on wood, holding my breath, crossing my fingers. And baby, I'M CELEBRATING!

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's that season again.

This time of year is always difficult. I find myself thinking. Thinking a lot. It always sounds like this in my head.

"three years ago..."
"...I was in the hospital."
"...I was on mag."
"...I was missing my baby shower."
"...I was scared to death."

This year, it seems to be less. It could be that we are so busy there's very little time for reflection, or it could be the terrifying memories are fading. It could be that I look at my little boys everyday and see the distance between my fragile 2 pound babies, and my 30+ pound boys grow wider and wider with every moment.

It could be that I've got other things on my mind. There's the fact that my BABIES are going to be THREE! How did that happen?

It could be, that for the last 2.5 years we've had wonderful people in our lives and they are all about to go away. As the boys turn three, we are losing the wonderful services provided to us through the Watch Us Grow program. Our teacher, Melinda? Who has visited us once a week for 2.5 years? GONE. Our OT's Teri and Stacey? Whom we've seen for the last 2 years and 6 months respectively? GONE. Our super busy schedule? GONE. (mostly)

I'm really not sure how the boys are going to handle this absence of these people in their lives. The absence of this routine. Will they miss them? How long will they ask if we are going to see Miss Teri, Miss Stacey, or Miss Melinda? How am I going to fill this void in the boys lives?

It could be that I have friends and relatives going through difficult times in their lives, and it has me thinking about them constantly.

It could be that in our testing with the school district to determine if we qualify for any additional services, the boys blew it out of the water. The panel was blown away. They said that it is rare that they see kids like this, and that they were amazing. They loved testing them. They were engaging, bright and funny. They tested in the normal or above normal range in all areas. There were a couple of areas of note, and it really comes as no surprise to me, or anyone who has spent any time with these boys.


Both boys tested in the 99.96% for language. That's only .04% of 3 year old children that test higher. WOAH! I knew these kids talk a lot, and have great vocabularies, but dang, really? 99.96% really??? Cool.

The other area that blew my mind was Early Academics. This tests colors, shapes, numbers, letters, words, all of the pre-school readiness areas. The average is 85-115. Evan's score was 131. HOLY COW!

All of this confims my belief that I am soon to be in very big trouble. These kids are going to be out smarting me before their 4th birthday!

So this time of year, when I find myself reflecting on their difficult beginning, it's nice to have something to smile about.