Jean | THREE

I think you will forever be Baby Jean to me, despite that you are firmly in little kid territory now. THREE. We managed to survive two, Beanie, and I’m proud of all of us for that.

You have so much personality packed into such a little thing. You are a force of nature with a really sensitive heart. This can often make you somewhat difficult to parent, as your determination and sheer will are often overcome only by your desire to be picked up and held. texas -1

You were pretty thrilled with your birthday and kept singing happy birthday to yourself all week. You have such a capacity to understand new things, it’s fascinating. You are a moderate eater, sometimes you will try anything and eat a bunch, and other times you barely touch your plate, but I remember that from all your siblings at this age. You particularly love carbs and fruit, of course! You also ADORE goat milk and drink at least 10-12 ozs a day if not more. You also love chewing on ice for some reason! We recently started you on an enzyeme (which ironically, I now remember doing about a year ago) and have seen a DRASTIC reduction in your fits. For the past 2 months, you have really been struggling with your anger and abrupt fits. You were having a lot of trouble with patience and accepting no and would often thrash and flail on the floor for up to an hour before calming down (usually you would finally ask me to pick you up). You were also refusing for daddy to help you at all and insisting mama had to do everything. We had tried many ways of supporting you and reinforcing your power and positive attention, but not much was working. It was even worse during/after our recent visit to Texas. However, it has become clear to me that there is a gut/brain connection that was making it difficult for you to process and handle emotions. Since we started you on an enzyme, you are now much more patient, use your words, accept change or no, and are willing to let others help you. It’s been fabulous to see our sweet Bean come back to the surface. texas -2

You really do have such a caring heart Jean, you really want to connect with people, which is why you choose to reach out for physical affirmation after being upset. You will happily THROW yourself into someone’s arms. You are still napping, but barely these days. It often makes bed time difficult for you to fall asleep, especially sharing a room with Joelle, but you are getting better about settling yourself down. You still love being carried around, although you are getting much too heavy for that. You are wearing 3T, but can also wear Joelle’s 4T clothes (she’s not ready for 5T yet!). You still have much of the baby chub and round belly left hanging on, and it’s just precious. You now have a haircut to match Joelle and everyone thinks you two are the twins, which you don’t mind. You have this adorable little scrunch up smile that just stretches your whole face. texas -3

Your current favorites:
– swinging (you’ve recently learned to keep yourself swinging on your own)
– stealing someone’s food
– coloring (lately you’ve developed the patience to sit and slowly color something in)
– oils, you love all mama’s oils
– being held and snuggled, being held like a baby
– learning your strider bike
– bath time with lots of splashing
– goat milk, lots of goat milk
– bouncing around
– singing
– putting underwear on over your diaper (nope, you aren’t potty trained, I’m gonna let you decide when you are ready for that!)
– “your” helping day and running errands with mama
– feeding the puppy, your choretexas -4

As I mentioned above, you have had quite the affinity for mama lately, but you do also love for daddy to hold you. The other day at dinner you told Jonah he was your best friend, but you also say that about Joelle. I personally think you and Jocelyn will be the best of friends one day (if you can just stop pushing her over and sticking your feet in her face, haha!). You pick up on so much around you and are very quick to learn and keep up with the bigs. texas -5

You have started more pretend play lately, with little ponies and animals. You happily join in on the big make-believe games that Jarvis sets up for everyone. You desperately want to be included and want to play with their things, you aren’t quite as much of a loner like Jonah, nor quite as much as a people person as Joelle and Jarvis. You fall somewhere right in the middle. You will often come back to where I am when the others are off playing. Not that you aren’t all sorts of brave. You will try anything on the playground with no doubt you will succeed and can be quite the daredevil. Often, your toddler body catches up with your bigger kid brain though and that’s when you fall or get hurt. You also love to tinker with things and build and gather. You adore sorting and will often sort and resort small objects by size and color (so much like your Jonahbear). You know a lot of your letters and some sounds, but don’t really like being quizzed on it. texas -6

You have a great many nicknames Jean. Jeanie, Jeanie-beanie, Beanie, Beanie-baby, Gremlin, Gremil, Baby Bean, Bean, and many more. And you fit your middle name- Wilder, so perfectly.

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I hope and pray every day that I can help teach you to channel this force of nature you have flowing through you into positive things. You have a great ability, Beanie, to influence people and win them over. With your will and determination, you can change the world. Most days we just hang on to each other in the tidal wave that is a strong toddler and keep working on grace and humility in the middle of your fantastic personality. I can’t wait to see what you do with your life Jeanie, but I am so thrilled to get to enjoy you as a sweet little kid for a little bit longer. I love you Beanie, never stop rocking the world.

Jean | 2 years

**This is over a month late- I have typed it out TWICE and lost it TWICE due to computer issues. Now I have a new (to me) computer and hopefully I won’t lose it this time!**

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Oh my goodness. The years just fly by. Sweet Jean, you turn two tomorrow. I can hardly believe it’s been two years since you rocked our lives. Oh how aptly we named you (which is partially why we are afraid to name your little sister!!). Jean Wilder. You are a crazy little storm of wild. Coming just 16 months after your twin siblings, you have spent the last 2 years, petal to the metal, trying to catch up. As far as you are concerned, you are a big kid, just like all of them. You do nothing halfway and live life with a full gusto. The best description I can come up with for you is a force of nature. You have such a dynamic mix of attributes of all your siblings, it’s just fascinating to see them in you.

You have a myriad of nicknames- The Bean, Beanie, Beanie Baby, Beaner, Sister-bear, The Mess, Mess-maker, Gremlin, Wilder, Medusa, the list goes on and on!

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You are a very empathetic kiddo- especially for being two. If you realize you have hurt someone, you always immediately respond with “I sorry!!” Our favorite example is when daddy was holding you after dinner one night while the rest of us finished at the table. For some unknown reason, you reached out and smacked his face. He froze and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing, which made the others laugh. You immediately started patting his face and saying, “I sorry, I sorry!” Then you looked at the rest of us and said, “Not funny, not funny!!” which made us laugh even harder. You knew it wasn’t a good choice to hit him and were so upset that the rest of us were laughing. I can’t wait to see how your empathetic little heart grows as you learn to control yourself with age. You love taking toys from the bigger ones so that they will chase you and play with you, but you also love giving them back so they will hug you.

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Food might be the highlight of your life. Everything else is just waiting until someone gives you food again. I don’t dare try to grab a bite or chew in front of you. If you even so much as suspect someone is chewing, you insist on seeing inside their mouths and say “I want bite! I want bite!” Food is a communal object and you are just as happy to share as to take. The bigger kids ask that you get a different snack cup so that we can easily tell when you have stolen their snack cups! Snack is your favorite, but you love all meals. Usually though, you would prefer to eat the food on someone else’s plate, even if it’s the same as the food on yours! You are a pretty good eater, although an epic mess-maker- hence the nickname! The food ends up up all around your hands, face, and hair. It’s why we went ahead and gave you bangs, to reduce the food mess in your hair! It’s helping!

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Hair is the quite the battle, although you have gotten better about it! You’ve given yourself a black eye trying to run away from the hair brush. But that’s been better with the bangs as there is less food mess in your hair!

Just a month ago I would have categorized you as fearless, but lately you have been a little more clingy. Whether it’s a phase or the impending little sister, you have insisted on someone holding your hand outside, especially in tall grass! You’ve always needed to come “check back in” every 30 minutes to an hour. Return to a safe adult for a little snuggle and then go back to what you are doing. It’s a sweet  check back in. I have to say that you prefer Daddy over Mommy most of the time, but that’s also probably related to the fact that he will hold you, something mama can’t do most of the time! And if he’s gone at night for work, and you wake up, it’s hard to convince you to let mama comfort you. I usually have to let you see that Daddy isn’t in his bed before you will let me hold you.

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You have this stubborn streak, which doesn’t surprise me since your siblings all do to! You really want things to go your way, and can go from from zero to sixty really fast. It’s best to try and discuss things with you ahead of time and make sure the directions and expectations are clear. It’s been easier for you to transition through this lately, you just really want to be heard.

I wouldn’t say you have a favorite sibling, it’s just whomever will play with you in the moment! You do tend to “disrupt” their games, so it’s dicey sometimes on whether they will play with you, but you just adore being with them. Generally you love naps and bed time and let us know as soon as you need a diaper change. You ask to go on the potty all the time, since your Joelle and Jarvis do- and Jonah occasionally, haha! Usually you ask AFTER the fact though. I bet you will be our earliest potty trainer, simply because you insist you are big like the others.

I can’t believe you are days away from being a big sister. In so many ways you are still the baby of the family- in fact you will have held the youngest child position the longest so far. I think you will adore the baby, but I am expecting some jealousy of course!  You love any baby you see, so I can’t wait to see you with your little sister. She’ll have to be tough for sure!

Welcome to two sweet Jeanie- you keep us on our toes and constantly learning and we love you for it!

Jeanie | respiratory issues

Well, I mentioned in a previous post that Jean had a hospital stay a few weeks ago. I thought I’d share what happened, just as much for my record keeping as for informing all of you!

Jean woke up on a Thursday morning and I noticed some mild wheezing, however it was an isolated symptom and came and went through out the day. The next day, she had a well baby one year check with our pediatrician who noticed the wheezing as well. She agreed we should start albuterol as needed and keep an eye on it. By now, I’m pretty aware of the symptoms of respiratory distress. She had one albuterol treatment Friday and her wheezing cleared for the rest of the day. She had no other cold symptoms. Saturday afternoon, her wheezing returned but went away after an albuterol nebulizer treatment.
Sunday, she woke up from nap with significant wheezing, retractions, and an elevated respiration rate. When it had not resolved 15 minutes after an albuterol nebulizer treatment,  we headed to the ER.
When we arrived, her oxygen level was steady at 98% but she had major retractions in her ribs, wheezing, and her respiration rate was in the 90s. They gave her three hour nebulizer treatments with a new mix of steroids and an oral steroid (which was the main reason I went, we can only get that there!). By late evening, her wheezing was gone, her respiration rate was down to the 60s, her retractions were reducing, so they sent us home with a prescription for four more days of an oral steroid and around the clock four hour nebulizer treatments, standard.

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We had an early morning follow-up with the pediatrician,  who felt like she was stable for the moment. However by the afternoon, after her nap, she woke up with an extremely high respiration rate, in the 90s again. Keep in mind, this is on four-hour albuterol nebulizer treatments and two doses of an oral steroid.
If you have followed my kids at all in the past two years, this is basically the same point we have reached three other times (twice with Jonah and once with Jean.) And the last time with Jonah, I waited too long and the rapid respiration rate exhausted his body nearly to the point of failure and he spent five days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I now know when it’s best to just head back to the ER.image

So Monday afternoon we went back in, and of course faced some initial disbelief that we were back. Partially because we had just been released 20 hours before, but also because despite a respiration rate of nearly 100 and severe retractions, Jeanie never stopped playing and smiling and giggling. Her wheezing was gone, but she was now showing signs of a runny nose and some upper airway congestion. They put her on an hour and a half continuous flow nebulizer, hoping that might jump-start her lungs and get us back home.

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However, her improvement was minimal after the continuous nebulizer treatment. So we were admitted to the hospital. She received one more continuous flow nebulizer treatment in the ER (they don’t have the ability to do them in the rooms), and then we were sent upstairs. She was put on three-hour nebulizer treatments and minimal monitoring. She slept just about as well as can be expected in the hospital, but at least it was a crib for her and a bed for me. The hardest part of multiple hours in the ER is trying to hold a baby who just wants to play on a standard hospital bed!

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Overnight, there was a respiratory emergency and one of her nebulizer treatments was an hour late. When she woke up on Tuesday morning, she had regressed significantly in all regards. So they bumped her back to two-hour nebulizer treatments,  which are considered acute,  which means constant heart rate, respiration, and pulse ox monitoring. That is a lot of wires on a very active baby!!! Exhausting! However it was a new set up for that hospital and I was able to show them some tricks how to keep the wires contained that I had learned at the PICU at Children’s with Jonah. Ha!

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She was doing better by the evening and was put on three-hour nebulizer treatments.  They were concerned that she might relapse again overnight, but she was clear in the morning. Her respiration rate was finally dropping down into the 40s when she was sleeping (below 30 is normal for a one year old), and in the high 50s when she was awake. Still high, but slowly coming down. Her wheezing was clear,  but she had a rough breath due to upper airway congestion.
Wednesday morning, they cleared her for four hour nebulizer treatments and we were released that afternoon.

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We are working on getting her into Jonah’s pulmonologist, but basically, from now on, at the first sign of wheezing, we will start a more aggressive treatments to head off the issue early. Although she had some minor signs of a cold, we can’t determine for sure if it was viral, allergies, or what. Basically the same issue as Jonah.

So yeah, we are experienced in ER trips and hospital stays! It was all a little scary for mommy, because the last time I sat in that room, I was nine months pregnant with Jean, holding a Jonah whose body was shutting down as it struggled to maintain his oxygen level.  it was very surreal. Jean never got close to that, mostly because I was much more proactive due to experience. Overall, it was just exhausting for the two of us, as no one rests well in a hospital, especially a very social and active baby who wants attention. We were very glad to be home, safe and sound!

Baby Jean | ONE

I simply can not believe how fast this year has flown by. This post is a few days late, but our youngest has turned one! So a little post all about her is a requirement!

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Jeanie started walking right before she turned 11 months, a full two months earlier than the rest of her siblings. It didn’t surprise us though, she’s always been a mover, and anxious to catch up with her siblings. She’s also very adept at ladders (including the ones on the playscape out back- scaring mommy!), and can climb up onto just about anything. She loved her brothers’ and sister’s pottery barn chairs and she got her own for her birthday from grandparents and she just loves climbing on that thing.

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Bitty Bean did not have any teeth until three days after her birthday! Which makes her the latest teething child 🙂 She has one little one now and I imagine will have a few more by the end of the month!

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Developmentally, Jean is knocking the socks off of her milestones. I think it has the most to do with her desire to mimic other people and be a part of things. She will mimic just about any word she hears or any action. As a result, she has several words with recognition- mama, dada, hi, bye-bye, shoes, up and others. She claps and waves and will mimic hand movements.

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Jean is just a people person, and she still prefers to be a part of the action, especially in someone’s arms, and especially when they are sitting on the ground and she can climb on them! She also loves stealing her siblings snacks and toys, much to their dismay. She’s very determined and will get what she wants!

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At her well-check appointment, she weighed in at 18lbs 11ozs and was 25 inches long. (Joelle was 17lbs 13ozs and 26.5 inches, Jonah was 19lbs 11ozs and 28 inches) SO basically, she’s shorter than the twins but weighing right in between them. She dropped a bit in her height curve, but went up a bit in her weight curve. Overall she’s doing well.

We have transitioned her off the (expensive, lactose-free) formula and is on whole goats milk, like Jonah. She is now sleeping through the night most of the time- waking occasionally around 5/6am a few mornings a week still. She is still drinking 4-6 ozs of milk 6 times a day. She eats a ton of table food and pretty much wants anything that is on our plates and is really good at gumming them apart. She still eats purees as well, maybe 4 ozs three times a day because she just can’t chew enough to fill her up.

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Lastly, some things she loves: daddy, watching her siblings play in the backyard, sand, water, all food, milk, her giraffe pacifiers, Luc and Juliette, bouncing on the trampoline, wiggling her shoulders around, holding onto mama’s legs, smiling at anyone and anything, being upside down, and giggling

Sweet Jeanie,

I can not get over how joyful you are, of just how happy you are. You never stop going and you just absolutely love people. We love having you as a part of our family and how infectious your joy is. Thank you for bringing constant sunshine to our lives! We love you Beanie Baby!

Love, mama