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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Travelin’ Man

Welcome to our first post in quite some time! It’s been a busy summer for Jeffrey & Co. He’s been quite the little traveler. In July we made a trip to visit Grandma & Grandpa Sheppard for an extended weekend. During the trip, we celebrated Great-Grandpa Jack’s 80th Birthday, and bid “Bon Voyage” to Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Roger who just moved to Colorado for a new job with Seagate. Of course, everyone was excited to meet Jeffrey, as it was the first time he’d traveled to Pittsburgh. In general, he’s a really well-behaved car baby. He made the trip with relatively little fussiness and only one quick stop in Zellienople (not Istanbul) for a snack.

Just before we headed home, Grandma & Grandpap (and Aunt Marilyn) spent the day with us at Ohio Pyle State Park. Danielle and I took advantage of the babysitting to go for a bike ride on the rails-to-trails paths. The 11.6 miles along the scenic Youghiogheny (yak-uh-GAY-nee) river was a new record for the Mrs., and the canopy of trees to shade us from the summer sun while we rode was a nice touch.

On the 31st of July, Monica (Jeffrey’s physical therapist) visited us and was blown away by his progress. He’s making great strides at sitting up and following objects. We hope that by her next visit, he’ll be able to sit up on his own. The next day was a check-up with Dr. Smith-Burke and our little chunk tipped the scales at 13.8 lbs! She encouraged us to increase his intake of baby food and decrease his dependency on breast milk. As you may remember, we started rice cereal (not so successful) and oatmeal (wildly successful) after the last visit. Since we had no other indications, we kept giving him just the oatmeal… for nearly a month. We now have official word that he can move on to other fruits and veggies. Her recommendations included: breakfast of oatmeal cereal + 1 veggie/fruit; lunch of 1 veggie or fruit; dinner of oatmeal cereal plus puree’d form of whatever we’re eating. Try to include meats, hard cheeses, yogurt or ice cream.

Wasn’t Jeffrey pleased when Kurt & Steph came to visit in August? We all went together to Six Flags Darien Lake as part of the Gates Ambulance annual appreciation picnic. There were many firsts, including his first time in a pool (didn’t enjoy), first Ferris Wheel ride (didn’t care), first Merry-Go-Round (Whoa!) and first ice cream (enjoyed immensely).

After weeks of trying to make a date of it, we finally made it to Mark & Angela’s house for dinner. They’re one of the virtual authors of our imaginary guide to parenting (along with Marc & Heidi and Adam & Joanne). Mark had a fun time playing with Jeffrey on the floor, and their two children, Zöe & Luke, were amazed by his ability to roll over. Luke (5) got rather concerned while Dani was discreetly nursing Jeffrey in the living room. Not understanding the concept of nursing or the relationship between Danielle and I, he informed me, “your baby is eating your Mom’s boob.” Kids say the funniest things!

On August 9th, we got a visit from the early intervention program’s vision specialist. Her job is to evaluate his visual acuity and determine whether he needs services from early intervention, and what type. Jeanie worked with Jeffrey for nearly an hour, using all manner and sizes of shiny toys and rattles. She told us that most of his vision seemed age-appropriate for his adjusted dates – with the exception of things directly in front of him. Although his MRI in June came back with results that claimed “no PVL” and a clean bill of health, his initial grade II intra-ventricular hemorrhage and subsequent PVL have been shown to lead to Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), she explained. Jeanie recommended a few visits by a teacher of the visually-impaired, just as a safeguard. We should be having our first visit with them in September.

For all of you anxious Grandparents out there... we've posted new pictures!

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