Pre Birthday Blogging

Ben’s 2nd birthday is coming up soon, and here’s a quick update of where we stand:

  • Ben is standing on a more regular basis, though mostly we have to trick him into it.
  • Ben started speech therapy this week! Maybe we’ll get some on-purpose words soon!
  • Speech therapy also includes some feeding therapy. Maybe he’ll start eating things too.
  • Ben weighed 22lbs the last time I checked. This means that after hovering just below 20lbs for 4+ months, Ben has gained over 2lbs in 1 month (and is in the 6th percentile for his actual age). This blows my mind. We’ve been pushing the pediasure, and it’s been paying off.
  • Ben got a super cute pair of Stride Rite shoes. They’re like miniature hiking boots. So cute. Ben’s favorite hobby is trying to take them off of his feet and/or eat the velcro.

And finally, here is a poor quality, but very cute, video of Ben playing with a toy. We’ve been working on getting him to drop things he has in his hand for awhile (though he seemed to have mastered the art of “dropping” or even “throwing” at Thanksgiving when he was tossing all offerings of food and toy off of his chair, it’s never been this purposeful), so this was exciting.

Next time you hear from us, we’ll give you the 2nd birthday lowdown, complete with cute photos (including a cameo from Woods the Bear!)


Rock and Roll Fundraiser!

Benjamin is an extremely lucky little boy. He has family and friends who love him so much. He also has organizations that have helped him and will be there to help him in the future. One of these organizations we are grateful for is Lighthouse International. Lighthouse is where Ben’s early intervention is organized out of and they have been fantastic helping us get everything possible to help Ben get a good start.

So when our friends Greg, Matt, Jo-Ann and others asked if they could throw a benefit in honor of Benjamin, Lighthouse was one of the first places we thought about. So we are super excited to share that Greg’s company JP Reis is going to host an open mic evening in New York City to raise money for this great organization

Everyone is welcome so bring your singing voices, instruments and dancing shoes for a fun night of musical free expression; you can bring your whole band if you like! The list of guests and confirmed musicians is growing fast.  Entry is free and there will be happy hour specials. At the event there will be opportunities to support Lighthouse and hopefully I will be able to share a link for donations even if you can’t attend.

You can RSVP here.

Event: Rocking Wall Street

Date:  12th September

Time:  6pm the music starts at 7pm.

Place: Suspenders Bar, 111 Broadway, Financial District, New York

Lighthouse International has led the charge in the fight against vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment for over 106 years. We know that Lighthouse will continue to be a resource for Benjamin as he gets older – and we are proud to be a part of this event.

Thank you so much everyone involved in planning this – it means so much to us.

(also – we know we haven’t posted in forever, but we have lots of photos and updates from our summer… for now, accept this cute photo as a placeholder)

Benjamin at the PEZ factory

Benjamin at the PEZ factory

How did 11 months pass already?

Eleven months! One-One! That’s 31 days until 1 year!

Things have been good in Benjaminland. He has now hit 14 pounds at his last doctor appointment, which is great, but he’s still very small even for his adjusted age. Feeding has been on and off difficult, but one of Ben’s therapists is making a recommendation for a feeding therapist.  If gets approved it could really help, especially as we increase the solids – which right now just makes him puke.

Ben is getting really good at pushing himself up and seems much more interested in moving around. He’s getting to be a strong little guy. We are also hoping to start occupational therapy too. What sort of occupation could Benjamin have, you ask? Well right now his occupation (as listed on the census) is “baby”. So that’s what he’d work on – baby stuff. Though at this rate we’ll have to put in a waiting room at our apartment for all the therapists coming and going.

So lots of 11-month cuteness for you, including a giggle video (and yes – that’s a Steelers shirt from uncle Jamie… no one tell Benjamin about today’s game ok?):

A Merry Christmas for Benjamin

It was a very merry Christmas for everyone around here. It’s been a long long year for us and it was really nice to celebrate the holidays with the family. This time last year we were just getting our first presents for our son who we were not expecting until June, nothing but hope as far as the eye could see, all of the scary stuff of 2011 still ahead of us.

Twelve months later we spent a wonderful holiday with our family and Benjamin, now over ten months old. And once again, nothing but hope for the year ahead.

Benjamin riding on his rocking dragon

Yee-haw dragon friend! Christmas rocks!

Benjamin got some great presents – too many presents! I think everyone was a bit excited for Ben’s first Christmas. Our poor little apartment is busting at the gills. He also got to spend some more time with his cousin Kaia up from NC.

Benjamin has also been very busy himself. He has made a ton of progress on his physical therapy and is a champion sitter (for a short while) and he can now roll from his back to his front. This means he can roll 360 and does so now, ending up miles from wherever we lay him down on the floor. He’s also getting better at pulling himself around on the floor. Now that he’s mobile this is a whole different ballgame.

Ben also has been trying some solid foods with varying degrees of success. The rice cereal mostly got eaten, but the avocado we got to see twice.

Benjamin eating food for the first time

"Not sure how I feel about this food thing"

At his 6-month high-risk assessment they thought Benjamin was doing well and that he was only a little behind his corrected age, testing at 5.5 months. That’s not bad considering how long he was in the hospital.

Benjamin and his light box

Benjamin and his new lightbox

Things that have happened while I wasn’t blogging

You know that moment in December where you look around and realize that there’s less than a week until Christmas, yet somehow the last time you looked at the date it was Thanksgiving? Yeah, it’s been that kind of month. Here’s what happened, briefly.

  • Joe and I have gone to two holiday parties together, sans child. Amy wore earrings and necklaces without fear of them being brutally grabbed by a baby! Thank you for babysitting grandmas!
  • A lot of holiday shopping has been done online. Stores are for people who can leave the house, and whose main advice regarding their child wasn’t “don’t bring him to the mall.”
  • Physical therapy
    -Benjamin is gaining a ton of neck strength and can hold himself up *really* well with support and for a dash without support.
    -Benjamin can “tripod” sit independently for just long enough for me to snap a picture before catching him as he tips over.
    -Benjamin can roll over 3/4 of the way or 270 degrees. He hasn’t flipped from his side to his belly yet, but it looks imminent.
  • Vision therapy
    – Benjamin *loves* vision therapy; there’s songs and lights and lots of toys. His therapist lets him play with lots of different things, exploring different textures, sights and sounds.
  • Benjamin got his first synagis shot (out of 5 total) to help protect against RSV
  • Joe was in Atlanta for 4 nights, Cayman spent some well deserved time at Camp Bow Wow, and Amy and Benjamin had some quality time.
  • Benjamin went from eating really badly to eating not so badly, but also to “only eating for Amy”
  • We got a beautiful Christmas tree. Ben wasn’t a huge fan at first.
  • Today Benjamin is having his NICU follow up appointment. Feels like a milestone!

So someday soon hopefully we’ll put up a real blog post where we talk in detail about any of the above things, or something else new entirely. I just didn’t want to let the whole month slip away without checking in!

Giving Thanks and an update

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This morning as I was explaining today’s holiday to Benjamin (“…and then the pilgrims and the native Americans enjoyed a feast together and everyone was happy… except that probably didn’t happen and the story actually ends pretty badly for the indigenous people… but anyway they had turkey”) I made sure to tell him all of the things we are grateful for. One of the things we are most grateful for, of course, is that we have him in our lives. To that he said “GA!” and grabbed my finger. I’m not sure if that translates to “right back atcha dad” or “you are super cheesy.”

Benjamin has been doing so well lately – turning over like a champ and doing so great with his therapies. Tonya, his vision therapist, was here yesterday and said that she thought he was doing fantastic, especially with social interactions. He is just so giggly lately. He really wants people to talk to him and tickle him and bite his cheeks. And he’s babbling up a storm – mostly “Ba! Eee! Ga! Iii!”and the like – but he has a lot to say.

He also went to the eye surgeon recently and got an update. The doctor said he still doesn’t think he’s ready for additional surgery, but he was very happy with how his eyes were looking. He thought they grew more than he expected and was happy there was some retinal activity. The doctor actually said that he had expected Ben’s eyes to be shriveled by this visit but that they were doing well. That was information I wish we had. I think we might have panicked if his eyes really did begin to shrivel.

Ben also visited his pediatrician who thought he was doing great, but wants us to keep an eye on his weight. Ben hasn’t been growing very fast lately – mostly because he wasn’t eating all that great (he is a very difficult child to feed). But Benjamin must have heard that because since that visit, he’s been eating so well! Hopefully next visit he will jump up a few percentiles (he’s in the 2nd for his adjusted age now I think).

So lots to be thankful for! We hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful, no one argues politics, everyone has just the right amount of wine, and your yams don’t fight with your sweet potatoes.

Come back for photos of Benjamin and family later!

Roll-y Smiley Benjamin

I came home today after being away for work for a couple of days and found my super smiley little guy. Amy did a great job by herself the past few days – I mean look how happy he is!20111028-225324.jpg

He also rolled over for the first time today! (Twice!) Amy was out of the apartment when it happened so I am not sure if she believes me – but I was there and saw it. Granted, it was on the couch and the cushion was a little slanted – but I’m counting it.

While I was gone Amy and Benjamin met with the Early Intervention folks to review the evaluations, set goals and make the therapy plans. Hopefully starting next week Benjamin will be getting physical therapy and vision therapy twice a week each. Glad it’s finally starting – Benjamin has a lot of catching up to do.

Amy also got Ben’s costume delivered today – he is going to be super cute on Monday for the Jackson Heights Halloween Parade. Photos will be posted for sure.