Monday, June 1, 2009

It's Logan's World...We're Just Walking Through It

My dear sweet Logan – where do I even try to begin? I get quite emotional thinking about either of my miracle boys but just the mere mention of Logan’s name or a fleeting thought of him can sometimes reduce me to tears out of sheer pride and awe. It astounds me to look at him today knowing what he has endured throughout the past 8 months. For all those months in the NICU and even his first few weeks at home with us, I was so worried that his spirit had been broken and he may never truly recover from the emotional and physical trauma he suffered. I just couldn’t get my hands around the idea that such a small soul could tolerate the things being done to him in his first few months of life and then still learn to trust, bond, love and be loved. But my little boy just doesn’t know the word defeat – he continues to grow, learn and thrive and I feel as though with each day that passes, he lets us in just a little bit more or does something special to surprise and amaze us, even if its something as little as opening his fist and reaching out to touch a toy. For any other baby, and to any other parents, this may seem like an insignificant afterthought but for a baby with cerebral palsy who is constantly clenching his fists tightly shut, this is something on which we work very hard with him each day. It is just one of many daily struggles for him and us that he continues to overcome.

Ok ok, enough of the mushy sentimentalities. First and foremost, I must begin with the exciting announcement that YES, Logan has weaned himself OFF the oxygen!!! And it has shocked me how Logan has adapted to his new oxygen-free life - he has become an entirely new baby without that obtrusive cannula up his nose, the probe wrapped tightly around his foot or wires running all over the place. His personality really has blossomed over the last few weeks and it has been so emotional and uplifting for me to witness. As I’ve discussed in a few previous posts, for the first few months he was home, he didn’t really socially interact much with us and rarely ever smiled (unless it was at his angels who sit on our ceiling fan, will explain that one another time). Now he smiles and “talks” to us constantly and on occasion I have even been able to elicit a real LAUGH out of him, which of course just takes my breath away!! Lately, his cooing has even turned into a few discernable sounds, like “ma” or “ga” (goo-gaa seems to be one of his favs) which is another important milestone for him.

His favorite activity right now seems to be when you stand him up in your lap, talk to him and give him big kisses, he just adores it!! Whether it be on his puffy chipmunk cheeks, his hands and feet or smack on his big beautiful lips, he just can’t get enough!! On more than one occasion I think he has mistaken me for his bottle and given me nice big WET kissys, which are my favorite kind! He also loves to be tickled and of course I never miss an opportunity when he’s awake to get a good tickle in on his belly or neck. His whole body tenses up, his arms and legs flail out in the air, his mouth opens up wide and he lets out a precious little coo of delight while smiling (or laughing!) – it’s just priceless. Sometimes he just doesn’t feel like smiling so instead he’ll hold his breath and grunt and squirm until I stop and give him a break. Of course then when I stop he gets all excited and flails about as if to say “haha, I won Mommy – you couldn’t make me laugh” seemingly enticing me to do it again, which I always do until I get that beautiful smile.

He also enjoys being sung to, and this is often the only way we can get him to take his bottle anymore. Unfortunately, neither my husband nor myself are singing aficionados and sadly enough, I don’t know all the words to many nursery rhymes so more often than not, I find myself simply making up words and singing them to the tune of familiar songs. It’s great now that he doesn’t know the difference but I imagine I should probably learn the words to some songs soon so he’s not someday singing “Hush Little Baby” to his kids with lines like “and if that diamond ring don’t shine, mama’s gonna buy you a porcupine.”

Two of Logan’s favorite positions are reclining and bouncing – so it stands to reason that of course he LOVES his bouncy seat. Sometimes he just phases everything and everyone else out and goes off into a blank stare admiring his little lamb, star and moon that hang in front of him as he sits in it. It never ceases to amaze me the things that entertain small children and babies. Keep in mind, I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those parents that just throws her child in a seat or swing every chance I got (particularly b/c I’ve read it can inhibit gross motor skill development) but when he’s really upset and I’ve done all I can to try to soothe him, I must admit the chair always does the trick - it has been one of our saving graces! And for that reason, I must thank my wise mom who encouraged me to buy it even though I was apprehensive about it. I must admit that now I bring that thing everywhere and use it more than I ever planned!

Logan bears a striking resemblance to Steve when he was a baby, it really is quite remarkable, and we often joke that he behaves just like him as well.
He has a tough exterior and may at times act like he just wants to be left alone, but deep down he is a big teddy bear (hence the reason I call him my Logi Bear) who loves to be cuddled and held. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, Logan is almost the complete opposite of Landon – he is content sitting back out of the spotlight and just watching the action, he doesn’t always need to be a part of it. Don’t get me wrong, he loves attention also and has certainly been fighting for more of it lately, but he doesn’t thrive on it like his brother does. On more than one occasion when Landon is “showing off” trying to get mommy’s attention by making lots of noise and whirling about, I have caught Logan just laying there calmly staring over at Landon with this quizzical look on his face as if he’s thinking “what is wrong with you and why don’t you just calm down”…it really is hysterical and a testament to their drastically different personalities.

Similar to Landon, Logan’s hair is also constantly changing – one day it appears brown, the next day black and the day after that, a hint of red. Unlike his brother, his hair actually lays flat on his head but parts of it are longer than others (particularly behind his ears) and it’s still so thin that sometimes he looks like a little old man when the strands of long hair aren’t cooperating and decide to stick out! Grandpa said he looks like a little Yoda, which absolutely made me laugh because it’s so true!! He has stunning big dark hazel eyes (or maybe they’re brown, I can’t decide!) and crazy beautiful long eyelashes framing them. Although we’ve been having some extremely serious feeding issues with Logan lately and he’s not gaining weight at the rate he once was, he is still a little butterball with lotsa chubby baby rolls, big love-to-pinch-‘em cheeks with a double chin and a hearty little belly to boot.

Unfortunately, Logan does not take after his brother in terms of his cry. When he gets angry, he lets you know it by belting out a high pitched scream (or a series of them) at which usually I just have to laugh (because I think everything he does is hilarious) but I imagine it probably scares and irritates the hell out of strangers or guests who aren’t accustomed to it!! Whereas it seems to take an act of God for Landon to cry, Logan isn’t afraid to tell us right away when he’s getting even slightly upset or uncomfortable and he’s not afraid to be overly dramatic about it either, he’s such a character.

Other things he loves: his baths, falling asleep with his head on my shoulder, his bink, sleeping (11 hrs. a night!!), the octopus on his play gym, his nurse Lisa from Pennsy, the animal mobile over his crib, organic prunes.

Things he hates: tummy time, sitting up for extended periods of time, blankets, his nasal cannula, Landon crowding his space, being cradled (he prefers being held upright over my shoulder), bright lights and loud noises.