February, 2008

Nina turned 3 today! Hooray! She enjoyed her day for the most part, especially people singing "Happy Birthday" to her. She was a bit disappointed that she didn't get a bright-blue big-mouth bug costume as she is now very into the How Many and More Bugs computer games and had gotten a bit mixed-up about birthday vs. Halloween. Playing those games has brought Nina's mouse skills from almost non-existent to proficient in under a week. But back to the big day-- Nina's most favorite present was the mini-trampoline. After dinner she spent nearly 40 minutes bouncing, with only short breaks to give Sam a turn (and those were some really short turns). Unfortunately Nina is still a bit under the weather. She was on antibiotics maybe 3-4 weeks ago for her throat, and is now wrapping up course 2, this time for a probable ear infection. The doctor actually couldn't see the eardrum because of excessive wax so I have now been putting olive oil into her ear every night when she's nearly asleep.
Nina also started going to Kidzactive, the OT group run by the NAS Richmond group, with Sam in January. She absolutely LOVES Kidzactive. How incredibly happy I would be if she would feel equally excited about preschool, but alas, that is not the case. She missed three sessions due to illness. I sent her last Tuesday although she didn't want to go... she seemed to have had an OK time, but was very, very challenging upon her return home. I so wish that Pebbles sessions only lasted till noon. I also wish that some magic "parent fairy" would come down and tell me whether she should continue at Pebbles next fall or switch to Maria Grey, the preschool across the street from the Vineyard. Where is that parent fairy anyway??? I expect s/he's flying around with the gold medal that I'm also waiting for... ;)
We have started trying to use a PECS schedule with Nina for bedtime. It is not really helping a lot but may be helping a little, which is good, as the bedtime routine is like pulling teeth. In general Nina is certainly testing my parenting mettle far more than Sam at the moment. I am glad to see her getting along with other kids though. We had Catherine and Jess over last week and Nina and Jess played well together for the first time, which was lovely to see. Nina also clearly likes many of the kids at Kidzactive and at Pebbles.
Sam went to his first-ever afterschool play date on his own last Friday, and it seems to have gone really well! What a big step for him!
Sam fell or was pushed on the playground several weeks ago and cut his hand quite badly. This was quite a problem because of Sam's mortal fears of blood and bandaids (or plasters as they're known here). It ended in a trip to A&E (which is when we discovered that Nina was also sick). We had to apply a special cream and a bandaid that night and kept Sam home for the following day as he wouldn't use his hand. It is now thankfully healed.

Sam spent the night of Valentine's Day in the hospital. He had started to seem tired towards the end of the previous week of school and Friday when he came home from school he had a fever. Saturday morning he was diagnosed with tonsillitis at Teddington and put on penicillin. His throat got worse. On Tuesday he was put on erithromycin. On Thursday at first he seemed better as his fever was down (it had hit 39 in the night) but then we went into town (very silly but we had been inside all week). When we got back he was very cold and almost fell asleep while on the potty, which was very worrisome as he's the sort of child who sleeps where he feels sleep should occur generally speaking. So I called our telephone doctor who said, take him in, so when Håkan got home (early, because it was Valentine's Day), I sent them straight to Kingston A&E. That was around 4PM. Sam's blood work was OK (although getting it took 3 people and was audible throughout the hospital wing), but his fever had gone back up over 40. They hadn't gotten the blood work back by the time they needed to move H&Sam out of the ER so they put them in a ward. They spent the night there. Sam now seems mostly better but still not 100%. We have now switched GP surgeries and we are hopeful that the new surgery will be a bit more investigative and help us get to the bottom of why Sam keeps getting sick so often.
On a positive note, Sam went to football for kids with disabilities this morning. He was definitely the youngest and many of the players had no obvious disabilities (Håkan said it was probably just that they were from Feltham-- it's kinda like being from the projects). Also, despite being largely cooped up together for two weeks now, Sam and Nina have intermittently been playing really well together. This is the first long school break where that has happened so frequently, and it has certainly made all of our lives more pleasant. If only we could lose the occasional wrestling match or head-butting contest (Sam tries to excuse that behaviour by saying he's a pachycephalosaurus). Dinosaurs are all the rage here at the moment. Nina is particularly entranced with the Giganotosaurus, who features on a page titled "Killer Instinct."
Nina has been under the weather as well, but not to the point of antibiotics. We went to Twickenham yesterday and ended up being out for longer than I had planned, and Nina was able to use the big big potty at Starbucks! Another big step towards the potty-trained goal. She is doing really well, she's been dry at night for a couple months now (except for one night when she was sick quite some time ago). Nina is currently quite fond of the Peter, Paul, and Mommy CD, especially The Magical Toy and Puff. She says that Puff is all hers, it's nobody else's song apparently. Nina is also getting more interested in reading. She likes the British way of sounding out letters which is a bit tricky as my version of the "o" sound is quite different from the British version of the same sound. Luckily Sam can do both. Nina will definitely have a British accent. She continues to enjoy dancing and playing ball. Unfortunately she has become more prone to biting. Today we took the bus to go to a park nearby and I used the lightweight stroller we got second-hand. I didn't know how to fold it and it was quite tricky getting off the bus. She was upset that getting off hadn't gone the way she planned and promptly chomped my thigh. Luckily I was wearing thick jeans. I need to review the appropriate response for that particular behaviour.
Nina and Sam have also been enjoying painting lately. Nina made one picture that to me resembles "Starry Night" by Van Gogh. Actually, it's even better than that. ;)