Thursday, April 4, 2013

All Things Samuel

Back before the pregnancy went awry, I promised a more detailed update on Samuel.

Six months later...

The Numbers:
Age:  36 months
Adjusted Age:  33 months
Weight:  28.5 pounds
Height:  36 inches
Shirts:  2T and 3T
Pants:  24mo and 2T
Shoes:  7.5W
Naps:  1-3 hours
Sleeps:  7:30pm to 6:30am (11 hours)

A Few of His Favorite Things:
It's still common to find Samuel sitting in the corner of his room, perusing through a large stack of books.  He will read just about anything, but his favorites are: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?, The Biggest Cookie in the World, The Little Blue Truck, Millie Waits for the Mailand You Can Name 100 Trucks.

He has thirty minutes a day to watch television and he always requests Mighty Machines...a series for kids that teaches them about vehicles and heavy machinery.  Personally, I'd rather not watch it every. single. time. but I can appreciate that he's learning something instead of watching mindless cartoons.

The boy loves his trucks.

Breaking Bad (Habits):
If you know much about Samuel's story, you'll know that eating has been his biggest struggle.  Oral aversion.  A threatened 'failure to thrive' diagnosis.  Oral motor issues.  Slow GI motility.  Sensory issues.  Learned behavioral patterns.  It's been enough to make a momma scream...or cry.

While I was away on bed rest, Samuel continued to make progress accepting and chewing different textures of table food.  His daddy, Nana, and occupational therapists did a great job.  But he still did very little self-feeding and required a lot of distraction (ie. television or youtube.)

We've known for quite a while that some of Samuel's resistance to eating was probably behavioral.  If you've fought eating your whole life, why would you suddenly stop?  So, with his 15th percentile standing on the growth chart in our minds, we decided to tackle The Feeding Issue.  No more television during meals.  We'll eat together at the table.  He'll have to feed himself.  You're gonna have to TRY, kid.  If he doesn't eat, fine.  No punishment, no nagging, no begging.

I'll be honest, the first week I was sure we were failing miserably.  He ate next to nothing and every time I changed his clothes for bed, his already skinny torso was noticeably thinner.  Ugh.

But here's the part where I pat us on the back, thank God, and marvel at what has been accomplished.  He began to eat.  He tried new things.  He stopped whining, complaining, crying, pouting, etc and began to join in on our dinner conversations. 

I won't say that we are THERE yet.  That marvelous place where he eats like a kid his age.  We might as well forget trying to feed him anywhere but home.  Tantrum with a side of refusal anyone?  And he pretty much has a meltdown anytime he gets his hands messy.  "Wipe it!!!!"  Sensory issues to blame?  But on the whole, he has amazed us.

And so now we're ready to deal with the bottle.  You know...the bottles of Pediasure he's been getting before bed and during the night to boost his calorie intake?  The bottles that we were just about to ween him from right before the pregnancy drama began?  Yup.  Those bottles.  I'm glad we have had them to fall back on while we confronted The Feeding Issue, but now they have got to go!

Whew.  And if breaking those bad habits wasn't enough, we have the normal sort of bad habits to abolish as well.  The paci.  No paci=no sleep.  His blankie.  I'm sure they'll let him have that in kindergarten (ha!)  Potty training.  He'll show signs of readiness eventually.  Right?

Birthdays mean reevaluation time around here.  He was reevaluated for speech, physical, and occupational therapies based on three year old skills.  He didn't qualify for speech.  No surprise there...the kid can hold quite the conversation these days.  From what I understand, he qualified for occupational therapy because he lacks quite a few self-help skills (such as dressing, brushing his own teeth, etc.) and is a little behind with fine motor skills.  He also qualified for physical therapy - not because he is terribly delayed with gross motor skills, but because his 'quality of movement' is not up to par.  We are talking through some strategies that may help him improve in this area (more on that another time.)

The Daily Thing:
Like most kids his age, he is developing quite a lot of independence.  He wants to do things for himself.  And watch out if you try to do it for him.  He's quite the perfectionist.  If he doesn't do things just right or if he hurts himself, he gets very frustrated.  Oy vey!

Most of the time, he's a pretty happy kid.  His behavior at home is great, but get him out in a crowd of people and it deteriorates quickly.  After all, we have AVOIDED crowded, germ-filled areas over the last few years.  I'm sure that is another thing we are just going to have to practice.

He knows all of his colors except yellow and pink (which he correctly names about 50% of the time) and we have just begun letter identification.  So far, every letter is either A or S...but hey, it's a start!

He's taken a sudden liking to coloring and I couldn't be happier about it.  Look at the beautiful hold he has on that crayon!

My little teacher heart could not be more happy!  :)


  1. Little Blue Truck is a favorite at our house too! Does Sam have Little Blue Truck Leads the Way??

    Our little man loves reading too! Sam is an inspiration and you are too Sarah! We're a little over a year behind you with our 24 weeker, but it's nice to kind of know what waits ahead!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. My daughter was a 26 weeker and is now 18 months actual/15 months adjusted. She is tiny for her age (16lbs) so weight gain has always been a struggle for us. She is still taking bottles in the morning, before naps and at bedtime as well. She doesn't drink well enough out of a sippy to get all of the calories/nutrients that she needs. It's comforting to know that she is not the only kid who still needs a bottle.

  3. Your stats interested me because my 33 month old, real age, no adjusted age, she was born at 38 weeks, is almost the exact same size. She is 29 pounds with clothes, 37 inches, size 2t or 24 mo. Size 6.5 shoes. We have had many of the same issues. She was close to FTT many times. She is hypotonic, and has sensory perception disorder. We still struggle with eating. If it is a favorite food, no problem, otherwise it is an issue. It's a texture thing we know. We have done PT for motor delays, OT for feeding and sensory. Swimming for strength training. She is our joy. So funny and full of life! She is the kid that has to have a nebulizer when she gets a cold, etc. I find it fascinating because she was full term, where as Sam was a micro preemie and they have a very similar path, ours just didn't start with the NiCU.

    Ours started with an emergency induction because of super low fluid. She was fine at birth, just tiny. My smallest baby at 6.5 pounds. She had a true knot in her cord and I was diabetic, we thought that might explain the fluid levels. Her first week, though she was at home, she became hypothermic and jaundiced and scared us pretty good. After that she seemed happy and healthy. At nine months she got sick with a respiratory illness, started nebulizer treatments, and that is when she began losing weight, not gaining and we discovered she was hypotonic. Also had her checked for hip dysplasia. Her hips still click and pop a lot.

    All this to say, you truly never know the path a child has laid out no matter when they are born. So glad both of your babies are doing well and I enjoy your blog!

  4. What a cutie!
    Your blog is adorable, I am a new follower! My husband was born at 2.5 pounds , and my brother was a preemie too. I find your blog very interesting :)
    Feel free to stop by !

  5. Just a book recommendation for you. I Stink by Kate McMullan. It is about a garbage truck in New York City. I think there might be one about a tugboat too. My now middle school boy, loved this book during his truck phase. It is a really fun book to read together!

  6. Our little boy loves reading too. Sam is truly an inspiration and you are too Sarah. I think if he continues doing what he really love, he can be a manager a construction site someday. montacargas colombia

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Love the pictures! And the great update. We just had our third girl... 23 days early. I know that's nothing and we are grateful she didn't have major issues. And while we haven't had feeding issues anything close to Sam's, we have had the usual trouble getting our girls to eat. One thing that has helped us is to play a board game... usually Chutes & Ladders or Candyland... at dinnertime. The girls don't get to take a turn until they take a bite. Wow. Empty plates galore. Just thought I would offer it as a suggestion if it might help. We've found it leads to some fun family time, too. Except when I lose. :(

  8. FWIW, and since the internet is forever I may never live this down, I had a paci until I was five. Years, not months. Yeah. And it didn't damage me. Kiddo should be fine if he needs a binkie a little longer than most. Heck, I wore two baby blankets to shreds over about seventeen years (i.e. until the cats were willing to sub in) and was definitely late with the big-kid potty. I was only born about a month early, which may be normal for my family -- so was my dad -- but we're pretty sure I came with sensory issues and borked brain chemistry, what with the endless nightmares and the picky eating. So I can kinda relate to little Sam here. ;)