Saturday, July 13, 2013

Keeping Appointments

And that's it.

Just like that our summer break—or "intercession," as we'll now be calling it—is over.

I feel like we've been running around like mad the past couple of weeks; we've had a lot of appointments, for both professional reasons and pleasure. I think I've written about most of the pleasure appointments so all that I'm left with are the professional ones. Mostly, we've been to the doctor.

Benjamin had his official 12-month check up, one month late. He's just packing on the pounds—they say he's 18 lbs and 12 oz. now but I'm not sure that's entirely correct because that's considerably larger than he was just a month ago. He's still short—27.5 inches (which, again, is like an inch taller than he was last month so I'm not sure which appointment he was measured incorrectly at).

He got a round of vaccinations, which he was not happy about at all.

I'm glad that I remembered that for the MMR shot the side-effect fever can show up much later than the actual shot (7 to 12 days later, according to our handout) because Benjamin developed a random fever yesterday. I'm pretty sure it's because of that shot.

Rachel also had an appointment last week. She's still on the same curve she was plotted on at birth—smack dab in the middle of everything. She's nearly perfectly average: 3 ft. 10.26 inches and 42 lbs 12.3 oz. (that's 72nd percentile for height and 40th for weight).

She did a vision and hearing test right in the clinic, which she passed with flying colours. The only thing her doctor wasn't happy about is that we haven't found a dentist yet. They sent home a list of dentists...again. I think they do that every time we go in. My goal is to find a dentist before the next time one of our children has a well-child visit. That gives me until October!

Benjamin also had a hearing test, but for his we had to go into the pediatric-audiology clinic at the hospital, which is the biggest hospital I've ever seen. It took us a while, but we did eventually figure out where and how to park and made our way to the correct building and department (and when we got home there was an letter from the clinic confirming our appointment and giving us directions on how to do what we just did. Also, there was a birthday card for Rachel from my mom—that was mailed on July 1st. Our mail has been a little slow lately).

The test was interesting. We had to go into a sound-proof room and then while one doctor entertained Benjamin with toys, another trained Benjamin to look at another toy every time he heard a sound. She was on the other side of a glass panel and called his name over a microphone.

"Hey, Benjamin!" she called. "I'm over here! Buh-buh-buh! Benjamin!"

He searched the room, trying to locate the sound and when he found the correct speaker she hit a button or something that lit up a box with a toy inside. The toy twirled around and lights sparkled and Benjamin thought it was the best thing ever.

They did that a couple of times to get him "trained" before switching to different pitches/volumes of sounds.

The doctor in the booth with us would twirl toys in front of Benjamin to keep him looking straight ahead and then the doctor on the other side of the glass would play a sound. Benjamin would look toward the sound and would be rewarded with spinning toys and lights.

He did very well on that part.

He didn't do as well when they added headphones (to test his ears individually) but did settle down well enough to satisfy the doctors that he was hearing well enough.

He hated the last part where they blew puffs of air into his ears to measure how well his ear drums were responding to sound waves, but he passed that part as well.

So, he's not deaf, which we were pretty sure was the case. Apparently it's fairly routine for preemie/NICU babies to get hearing tests around their first birthday. Preemies are born with such little ear canals that they're at risk for developing hearing loss and there are certain antibiotics that can cause hearing loss (Gentamicin is the one our doctor was concerned about since Benjamin had been treated for Streptococcus mitis in the NICU and apparently that's a common antibiotic for that; I don't know) so even if your baby wasn't a preemie but spent time in the NICU for something else, they could still have to get a hearing test, I guess.

Whatever the case, Benjamin's hearing is just fine. In fact today, much to Andrew's delight, Benjamin figured out how to say "Dada!" and consequently sang it all day long.

He's also been experimenting with standing on his own—both letting go of furniture as well as trying to push into a standing position from the floor—so it looks like we'll have a little walker on our hands soon. Benjamin's rather cautious though so it might not be for a while but at least it now looks like he's actually interested in the idea of walking on his own.

Yesterday we also had an academic appointment, which was far more enjoyable for the children than the doctor appointments. Rachel got just the teacher she was hoping for and was so excited when her name was on list of his—yes, his—class. We've heard great things about him—he's been teaching for 23 years and just loves what he does. He raises chicks in the spring and does all sorts of fun, educational things. His guarantee is that he only teaches what he's passionate about; he believes that school should be a magical, inspiring place for children.

The teacher's aid was great as well. Her name is Nancy.

I don't know if it's a Southern thing but never in my life have I ever met so many Nancys. There are four Nancys in our ward alone and every where I go someone's mother or sister or aunt's name is Nancy. It's crazy. Before moving here I knew of the following Nancys:

  • Nancy Drew (fictional)
  • Nancy...can't remember her last name who worked at Leigh (I was a lunch time monitor for her classroom)
  • Nancy Richards (one of my YW leaders, and mother to some wonderful friends of mine)
  • Nancy...can't remember her last name, who "went" to St. Paul's Virtual Academy with me (that's an actual school, by the way)
  • Nancy Knight (we took English together in high school and we sat in alphabetical order so I sat directly behind her; it was confusing)

That's the comprehensive list of Nancys I've met over the course of twenty seven years. Then I move here and I go to church with that many Nancys every Sunday. There are Nancys all over the place here.

Anyway, the teacher's aid was great. She's really kind and helpful. The best part, though, was that the classroom was completely open to exploration. The teacher actually ushered Miriam into the play kitchen area, where she busied herself the entire time we were there. He welcomed Rachel to explore his library and assured her that he had boxes upon boxes of books in his office so that when she finished reading all the books she could see she could start on the ones she couldn't see.

We love Ms. R....but when we toured her classroom she forbade the children from getting into any of the activities, so I felt like I had to follow my kids around her classroom telling them not to touch things the entire time we were there. We had a great year with Ms. R., but that poor woman had her hands full of unruly children and didn't want other children coming in and distracting her sweet students from doing their work. I had to bring Miriam and Benjamin in once and they really caused quite the ruckus. For that reason, I felt a little trapped when it came to volunteering. I wanted to help out more, but at the same time...I'm a stay-at-home mom. My little ones are with me all the time. Leaving them to help out somewhere else is complicated.

This year, though, we should be just fine. Rachel's new teacher, Mr. A. said that siblings are totally welcome to come along. He said that Miriam is a joy—she'd be welcome to hang out in the play kitchen while I volunteer, or she could even be a reading buddy so that students who need practice reading out loud have a willing audience. Benjamin's welcome to tag along, too. Hopefully that will make it easier to volunteer.

In a fit of...something-or-other (insanity, maybe)...I even signed up for the PTA.

Andrew pulled out some quote about Leslie Knope and women changing the world. I'm really not that outgoing, but I do know that I'll at least have one friend at these PTA meetings so I felt better about signing up.

We've got Rachel all outfitted for school. She chose blue everything this year, except her backpack which is purple (but that's a mix of pink and blue, which is much better than straight-up pink (pink stinks—unless you're Miriam and then it's awesome (though I have to admit that I don't mind pink either))).

We're excited for school to start on Monday!


  1. I feel like Cheetah has had to had more than her fair share of extra test and appointments. We had that hearing one as well that Cheetah loved, those barking little was her fav! When they did the vibration test she had like no vibration. She had an ear infection like all winter and had fluid on her ears for months, but luckily it seems it finally cleared up! Sounds good about the teacher. My best year of volunteering I actually just traded babysitting with another mom. She'd watch my kids an hour a week I'd watch hers. Lucky Captain E I gave him so much of my time...poor Gigi I only went on one field trip and came in to two parties. It is hard having two little ones at home :)

  2. I had an Aunt Nancy (by marriage). She was from Miami.

    It's a cute name, huh? :)

    Maybe it's a Southern MORMON thing ... or just the Durham area.

    I can't believe Rachel is starting school already. I hope she has a wonderful year! I can't wait to hear about her adventures and what she thinks of having a male teacher.

  3. Did I tell you that I had a chat with Kris B's mom...and her name is...(drum roll)...Nancy! Did Kris tell you that you and her mom have the same name?

  4. Are you guys on year round school? I can't even think about school yet. Granted we just moved and our house is a mess :) Good luck on the new school year! Joshua had a male teacher and absolutely loved him.

  5. I remember a little girl that would absolutely bawl if her teacher wasn't a lady let alone any lady preferrably one with blonde hair.