Archive for October, 2010

We are a Happy Family

“Happy Family” is one of Abby’s favorite Primary songs. She often points out, usually when we’re all snuggled up together on the couch, “We are a happy family.” “Yes,” I tell her, “We are.”

Abby girl

Abby is:

Imaginative – She has several imaginary friends: Trixie (a horse), Kevin (the bird from the movie “Up”), and Cinderella are her current favorites. She also enjoys pretending to be various animals: a horse, a bat, a dolphin, a pig.

Affectionate – Loves to snuggle and to give/receive hugs and kisses.

Artistic – Her favorite subject to draw or paint lately is “monsters, nice ones, not scary ones.”

Polite – On our way home from preschool today, Abby said, “Thank you for driving me home, Mommy.”

Sweet – She is generally very good at sharing, and knows what it means to be a good friend.

Active – Never stops moving, or talking.

Observant – Often surprises us with the things she knows. The other day, she covered her eye with a spoon and said, “Look! I’m a pirate!” About a month ago, after a trip to the zoo, she pointed out, “If I [sounds like "wish I"] was a giraffe, I’d eat the leaves off the trees.”

Independent – Will spend hours each day entertaining herself: painting, reading, singing, drawing, imagining. Likes to do things “all by myself.”

Cautious – Before trying something new, or even something familiar in a new place or situation, she will observe for about 20 minutes before deciding to participate.

Graceful – Has a natural talent for dancing, and carries herself well.

Silly – Enjoys laughing, and doesn’t mind being laughed at (she rather enjoys it).

James: Before and After

Shortly after James was born, he was diagnosed with saggital/cranio synostosis – premature fusing of the saggital plates in his skull. Normally, an infant’s skull plates  are loose, to allow the brain to grow in all directions. If the plates are fused, the brain grows where it can – in James’ case, out toward his forehead and back. (My brother, now doing his medical school rotations, will laugh at my description, I’m sure).

We met with a pediatric neurosurgeon when James was a month old, and he recommended surgery to remove the section of fused bone. What used to be an 8 hour surgery can now be done in 2 hours (or less) endoscopically. They make two incisions in the skull – one near the forehead, the other at the back of the head – and remove a 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide swath of bone. Our surgeon recommended we do the surgery between 2 and 3 months of age; any earlier and there’s a chance of the bone re-fusing.

Post-surgery, he was fitted with a helmet – called a DOC band – which encourages the brain/skull to grow into a normal shape. He will have to wear the helmet for 2 – 3 months.

James had his surgery on September 13 at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The surgeon was very pleased with how it went; said there was comparatively little blood loss; and that his head already looked better. He was in the hospital for 2 days; and after 2 weeks, was acting like nothing had ever happened to him. We feel so blessed to have access to  modern medicine and technology; and that James is thriving.

For about a week, he had a large indentation in his head that looked rather strange. But then his skull started growing back together, and tightened the skin around it, which looks much better.

After a month of helmet treatment, his head looks perfectly normal. His helmet technician is thrilled with his progress. We see the surgeon again at the end of November.

Here are some before and after pictures of James. In the “immediately after” pictures, it looks like James has blood all over his head. He doesn’t – it’s an anti-microbial agent they used to protect him from germs.

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