Happy Birthday, Jesse!

Today, my baby Jesse is 1 year old!

Because Matthew’s birthday is in 2 short weeks, we celebrated both boys’ birthdays with family and friends over the weekend.

We were able to catch 16 of the 20 children in one photograph – missing from this picture are Lily, Caeley, Connor, and baby Livi.  You would think that it would have been crazy, but these are such wonderful kids – they all played so well together, with the “big” ones looking out for the little ones, that the “grown ups” had relaxing time to sit and visit.  I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true!

Everyone had a blast.

Jesse, you are walking running everywhere, climbing, bouncing, and trying to do everything your big brothers do.  You gave up your 2nd nap long ago, and now only sleep for 30-60 minutes each day.  You are exhausting, but a lot of fun.

You are already picking up sign language from your brothers, and sign “eat,” “more,” “dog,” and “fish.”  When I ask you to say “Mommy,” you say “Da-da” and laugh hysterically. Yes, your big brother Matthew taught you that joke!

Your favorite things are wrestling, being tossed around, cars, and anything that GOES.  You are ALL boy.  Do I worry about you being a danger to yourself 15 years from now?  Yes.  Yes I do.

But, on your first birthday, Micah helped you blow out your candle.  You thoroughly enjoyed your cake … I mean, not everyone fully experiences cake like you do.

And, you seemed like such a big boy sitting at a little table and drinking from a straw!

Matthew very much enjoyed hitting the pinata.

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… and even enjoyed some candy from it.  This is very unusual for him, as candy is usually spit out with a “ick” sound.  Matthew would have rather had an asparagus-and-broccoli filled pinata, but we wanted the other kids to come back to our house someday.

It was a big day for all of us, and by the end, we were more than ready to call it a night.

I am so blessed to have my boys … all 3 of them.  Our children are our greatest gift, and our lives are filled with joy, laughter, and love.

Happy, Happy Birthday my Jesse Bear.

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Matthew update

As is often the case, I have a songs from Rachel Coleman’s “Signing Time” series running through my head.  Even Micah can be caught humming a line here or there throughout his day.  How can we be anything but grateful, though, as these videos have given Matthew the ability to communicate.  He now has about 100 signs that he uses regularly and appropriately, with his vocabulary building daily.  (Newest additions: “farm,” along with a host of farm animals, and “rain.”)

Today’s tune is from the “ABC Signs” video (series 1, volume 5).

“So many letters, so many signs … so many words and so little time …”

Appropriate for today, as I do have so much to do, so many words to share with you, and so very little time.

Matthew’s recovery from his tonsillectomy was rougher than we expected it to be.  After another rough night, we took him to Urgent Care, where the doctor prescribed some stronger pain medication for him.  You see, the surgeon sent him home on nothing but tylenol and ibuprofen – and it just wasn’t doing the job.  He was refusing to eat or drink anything, and we were going to end up in the ER for IV fluids if we didn’t get his pain controlled enough to let him drink.  He still refused to eat for 2 1/2 weeks, but at least he would drink his milk.  (Oh how he loves that milk!)

After he finally made a full recovery, he has slept through the night nearly every night, and has been much more awake and alert during the day!  Hooray!  The tubes in his ears seem to be doing the trick, too, as we haven’t had any ear infections, and there have been subtle but definite improvements in his speech.  We were just waiting to see if his follow-up hearing test would confirm that these procedures had done everything we were hoping they would do.

However, the hearing test results were not as stellar as we would have liked.  His results were “inconclusive,” but still gave him a big “FAIL” in both ears, with both the hearing-booth test and the instrument test (like they do for newborns).  The doctors told us that they really weren’t sure how well he could hear anything softer than a regular speaking voice.

At first, this news broke my heart.  You see, I have quite a soft speaking voice, and I whisper and sing quietly to my kids as I put them to bed, rock and comfort them, etc.  What if Matthew hadn’t been able to hear any of these things?

A good friend shared some wise words of comfort with me the day we got that news.  She said, “Amy, even if he doesn’t hear you say ‘I love you,’ he knows it.  And, aren’t you glad that you’ve continued to use sign language with him?  Even when your therapists were not supportive of it, YOU knew it was the best thing for him!”

She was right, of course.  But, no matter what, it’s still hard to hear less-than-ideal news from any of Matthew’s doctors.  He’s our Matthew, after all!  Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to do our own “tests,” to see if Matthew hears us, and I think he hears more than he lets on at the doctor’s office.  He does respond to whispered requests (if he wants to), even if he doesn’t see our lips moving.  For example, in church on Sunday, Matthew was sitting on Aaron’s lap. He whispered very quietly behind him, “Kiss please, Matthew?”  Matthew immediately turned around and gave his daddy a very sweet kiss.

So, even though we are less worried than we were initially, we still need to make absolutely sure that Matthew is hearing everything that he needs to hear – especially for speech development and learning.  The next step is a sedated hearing test, where they measure his brain waves as they play soft sounds in his ears.  We’re hoping and expecting that the test will show that Matthew’s hearing is normal.

I know that it is important to make SURE that Matthew is hearing everything he needs to hear … but, I still hate it.

I hate the fact that he needs something “else.”  More sedation.  More anesthesia.  Another procedure.  Hasn’t the little guy been through enough already??

And, of course, they want us to travel back to Spokane to have the procedure done.  We are looking to see if there are any doctors closer to us who perform this test, as we are growing weary of traveling for all the medical procedures.

In the meantime, we will continue signing, singing, and whispering “I love you”s and “good night”s to all of our sweet boys.