November, 2005

Nina now has her two bottom front teeth. I think getting them was important for her to start getting the whole "Oh, food is for swallowing" concept. She now is enjoying small amounts of puree at lunch and dinner times. She also likes drinking water from a sippy cup (and spitting it out like a whale too... ). Nina already has clear preferences in terms of food. The increased solid consumption did a number on her tummy for awhile but she seems to be working that out now.
Today Nina also pulled herself into an assisted standing position for the first time, using the futon. She's very proud of herself and rightfully so. She looks super cute standing up, we just have to hope she will also soon learn how to sit down safely afterwards (she's had a couple spills today). She is very much a go-getter which makes changing her diaper and clothing her quite challenging. She is very funny about books. She loves them to the extent that she cries, sometimes inconsolably depending on the time of day, when they end. Nina is making some different sounds, the latest is "gaa," which is always a good one.
Sam started back at Brunswick after a very long break. Two weeks ago he had a serious ear infection-- yep, we're back to that again. This one got so bad that he could barely walk down stairs. And after that it was half-term, aka fall vacation, for a week and a day. Sam seems to be doing well at school but is breaking down at home a bit. He has entered a solid "no" phase where everything is "no." On the plus side, that is actually part of typical child development. And he actually named one of the kids at Brunswick the other day, a major advance. We've been doing a lot of clapping games, turns out clapping games are fabulous for eye contact. :)

Sam is a bit sick again. Yesterday he was very congested and I kept him home. Today we went to music therapy. We were late, partly because just as I had gotten both kids completely ready, Sam announced that he needed a new diaper. I was less than pleased. Then towards the end of music therapy there was some sort of incident and both Sam and one of the two other kids that take part came out crying. Christina, who leads music therapy, asked if there was anything going on for the other girl, but her dad didn't think so. Christina just said that the other girl was "agitated" and that "sometimes kids need to cry." Well, ok, but me, I'd like to hear exactly what happened. Oh well. So, we didn't go to Brunswick today either, since I knew getting Sam to go with him still a bit sick and having had something happen at music therapy, it would have been a struggle. Last Friday Sam protested going to the extent that he bent the axle of our new double stroller. So now we're back to our old sulky and I'm back to only carrying Nina until the part comes in.
To end on a more upbeat note, the four of us had a very enjoyable outing to the Museum of Natural History in London last Sunday. We met Lauren there and Nina became instantly enamored of Lauren's scarf. Sam liked the insect room. :)

Well, this has probably been one of the most difficult weeks of parenting I've experienced so far. Last Sunday Sam got very sick, after having been sort of under the weather for some time. There was blood in his diaper. We took him to Camdoc, the out-of-hours doctors, who gave us stool sample jars in case he had picked something up from Wimpole. On Monday we took him to Petersfield where they said they were not too worried. On Tuesday night Petersfield called and said there was E. Coli in one of the specimens. Meanwhile Sam was producing mostly blood, had been sick at least twice, maybe it was three times, and was having extreme abdominal pain pretty much every 20-30 minutes. Cambridge City Council got involved because they wanted to try to figure out where Sam had gotten it. H. thought he had spread it to Sam because H. was extremely sick the Friday before Sam got sick. But Håkan's got better in pretty much a day. H. and Sam went to the hospital Tuesday night and Sam was allowed to come home as his blood tests were ok.
Going back a bit, another strange thing that happened is that when I picked Sam up from Brunswick the Friday prior to his becoming ill he had a weird mark under his neck and on his cheek. I figured it might just be his mouth rash acting up again. Also there had been a sign on the white board that said they may have had a case of "slapped cheek disease" and I figured, well, it could well be Sam that had it. So I didn't really look super closely and didn't go back in to inquire. But when I called Nicola on Monday to say Sam wouldn't be coming I also mentioned the mark, because by then I had figured out that it was not a rash, that something had happened. She hadn't been there on Friday and didn't know what had happened. The woman who is Sam's one-to-one on Friday had said that he had a good day. I asked Sam about it later and asked if he had fallen. Yes, he had. In the garden? No. Inside. Sam doesn't usually contradict an idea like "in the garden" unless it really wasn't "in the garden." The most likely explanation was suggested by Cindy-- that it's shirt burn, from his shirt being pulled strongly. It bothers me.
Going back to our week of E. Coli. Yesterday morning when Sam woke up his entire face was swollen and he looked horrific. H. took him back to Camdoc who said he had an eye infection. Poor Lauren got to field many calls from me as she was on her way to the US for a visit over Thanksgiving, and she said, if you don't like the diagnosis, take him to A&E. So when I got home from my walk I did a search for "complications of E. Coli" and that turned up "Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome." That presents with fatigue (check), irritability (check), and swollenness (check), and can result in kidney damage. I called Håkan in hysterics and told him to go to A&E immediately. So he did that and he spent a very long day with Sam at Addenbrooke's while I spent a very long day at home waiting for news. The news, finally, was, he didn't have HUS, but the hospital will call to check up on him next week.
Sam seems much more himself now although he still looks worn out and a bit puffy. I am beyond grateful that he was able to pull through this week. I think I have a touch of PTSD after this week.
Nina is pulling herself up regularly now. It is so adorable to see her inspecting the toy box from above. She loathes diaper changes and getting dressed because she absolutely does not want to lie flat and still. She loves "Clap To It" almost as much as Sam and she smiles when she hears the Bob the Builder theme song. She is making gurgly new sounds. Her current favorite books are "Dear Zoo" and "Where Is Maisy." Nina loves rainbow time, the brief time in the afternoon when the sun hits the heart crystal in Sam's room and spreads rainbows all around.

The fear continues. Nina's sample, left last week, tested positive. She has seemed under the weather but nowhere near as sick as Sam. Please let her not get as sick as him, please let's hope that breast milk is as powerful as they say it is. I will be so unbelievably glad when we can close the E. Coli chapter. Keep us in your thoughts, dear readers.

I think, knock on wood, that we may be out of the worst of the E. Coli 0157 crisis. Yesterday and today life felt just about "normal" again. I am still having bad dreams that Nina catches it but hopefully that won't happen. We won't be officially clear till mid-December at the earliest but I feel that the amounts are subsiding, to my huge relief.