MicroblogMondays: Preschool…

Recently we are considering sending the kids to preschool.  They were supposed to go last September but the pandemic hit and we opted for staying on the waitlist for another year.  The school contacted us and I was still reluctant to make a commitment, partly because of COVID but also because it is hard for me to let go of the routines that we have established.  Watching the kids interact with friends and with others at the playground, I think Okra can really benefit from socializing regularly with someone other than his parents, grandma, and sister.  Bunny on the other hand does well socially and will definitely thrive in group situations.  I finally contacted the school and learned that we would still be able to enroll them three days a week starting in August if we turn in the enrollment packets by the end of the month.  I have been reading the packets and am feeling quite confident that the school knows exactly what it is doing.  After having the last year to figure things out, their COVID protocol is solid.  There are processes for what to do about everything health and safety related.  The night I received the packets, I had a dream about the kids having a really hard time at school.  I woke up feeling anxious about it.  I guess it is part of the life as a parent who has been with the kids every single day since they were born 3.5 years ago.  It is hard to let go and to entrust them in the hands of those who are not part of our family.  But I do feel that it is time.  I know that it is going to be a big adjustment for us and the kids.  I asked the kids the other day what if they get to go to school like their friends.  They asked me, “What about you mama?  Are you going to be there?”  When they realized that I wouldn’t be going with them, they said they didn’t want to go to school.  I think the next few months we will have some convincing to do.

MicroblogMondays: Progress

I mentioned three weeks ago that Okra lost half a pound and I fretted. Since then I have been intentional in adding fats in his diet. After a week of eating well, I weighed him and noticed that he had gained back some of the weight that he lost. Last Wednesday was his GI follow up visit. Okra had his weight and height check. He has gained back his weight and some more. And he has grown over an inch in the last couple of months. I am so pleased with this progress. His GI doctor was also pleased. She showed me his growth chart. He has been following his curve nicely, with his weight around 30ish percentile. It did dip down to 13th when we first noticed the problem so this is a much better weight for him. His height has been following the curve of 60ish percentile. His GI doctor said that he is just a tall and lean guy, and there is nothing wrong with that. His ribcage is still filling out, and his thighs are very strong. She said that he is a very healthy guy and she is not worried about him. Since the appetite stimulant has such an influence on his moods, she suggests continuing to let him grow without using it. We will see her again in three months for another follow up and see how he’s doing. I am very happy that Okra is responding well to food. But I am also learning to let go of my control. There are some days and some meals that he doesn’t feel like eating, and that’s okay. I have to remind myself to let him have control of the amount of food that he eats and not to push so that he learns to listen to his body and have a healthy relationship with food. I hope that his weight gain will continue and be steady.

MicroblogMondays: Losing Weight

Ever since my son Okra stopped his appetite stimulant, we have seen a reduction in the frequency of his extreme tantrums.  He used to have them frequently and they lasted 1.5 hours to 2 hours.  After he stopped his meds, he had two of these tantrums in January and none in February.  He does still throw tantrums and is whiny but he does not throw a tantrum out of the blue and they don’t last 2 hours.  In terms of eating, he seems to be pickier than before.  He seems to be uninterested in a variety of food that he used to eat, and some days getting him to come to the table for lunch and dinner has become a chore.  He would refuse to come or would hide.  When he does come, he would eat a piece or two and declare that he is done.  I became worried about his weight so I weighed him last week.  He has lost about half a pound.  After I weighed him, I was very sad and was trying to hold my tears.  Despite my best effort, I shed a few tears while brushing Okra’s teeth.  He looked at me and asked, “Mommy, why are you sad?” Bob heard my sniffles and came to ask what happened.  I was so thankful that instead of asking me not to cry, he took me and Okra to our bed.  He and Okra snuggled with me and rubbed my back while I cried my heart out.  I needed that loving tenderness in that moment.  Ever since that day, I have again become intentional in what I give Okra for each meal.  I add butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil in bread, rice, muffin, or pancakes.  I am trying smoothies with him again.  He hasn’t liked it in the past but it doesn’t hurt to expose him again and again.  I am even giving him and his sister ice cream a couple of times a week.  I am keeping a food journal to see exactly what he is consuming each day.  I messaged his GI specialist who suggested putting Okra back on the appetite stimulant to let him gain some weight again.  I am very hesitant in doing so because of the extreme tantrums.  I am part of a FB group of caregivers who struggle to help their kids gain weight.  Many people are/were in the same situation where the medication causes their children’s moodiness.  Some suggested reducing the dosage or to only take the dose at bed time.  Okra has a follow up appointment with the GI specialist in a couple of weeks. I will be armed with loads of questions and hopefully make an informed decision.  In the mean time, I am happy to report that Okra has been eating pretty well for a few days in a row.  He hasn’t refused to come to a meal, and he actually has been eating most of the food offered to him on his plate/bowl.  It has been hard to do, but I am trying to focus on it one day at a time and choose to celebrate small victories whenever I can.

MicroblogMondays: Delight

One of the tools my therapist and I discussed about is to track my son Okra’s tantrums and my anxiety symptoms to see if there is a correlation between the two.  I have these blank calendars I printed from the internet to meal plan. I took one and started writing down Okra’s moods and tantrums on a given day and how I was feeling on that particular day.  I started middle of the month in December.  That coincided with Okra stopping his appetite medication.  He had a video follow up visit with his GI specialist on that day.  He had been on this appetite medication since September to help increase his appetite and hence gain weight.  His weight went from being on the 13th percentile to 41st percentile, so the medication did help tremendously.  However, I noticed that he had some wild tantrums that seemingly came out of nowhere.  The intensity and duration of them had increased since winter started.  There was an epic tantrum that lasted one hour 45 minutes that really worried me, that something could be wrong with my precious little boy.  I had read that this appetite medication can affect some kids’ moods.  I brought it up with Okra’s GI specialist and she agreed that it was about time for Okra to recycle the meds, which means for him to be off of it for 5 to 7 days and restart it for the medication to have its maximum effectiveness again.  At the same time we could watch Okra’s moods and see if being off of it makes a difference.  At that time, Okra was having these huge tantrums that were recurring every few days.  He was easily triggered by some very minor things and everything became a struggle.  Even when I fulfilled his wishes and gave him what he wanted, he would immediate flip flop and say he didn’t want it.  He would go yes/no yes/no many times for many different things while crying uncontrollably.  I was desperate for these tantrums to go away.  I am also quite sure that these extreme tantrums did not help with my anxiety symptoms.  Okra stopped his medication on December 16th.  He had one extreme tantrum on December 19th.  He then became calm with some typical toddler whininess for the next few days.  We restarted his appetite medicine on December 23rd.  I gave him one dose at 7:45am.  He woke up happy and ate his breakfast happily.  At 9:35, he suddenly flipped and got upset for no reason and threw a huge tantrum seemingly out of nowhere.  It was like a switch was flipped.  I immediately thought of the appetite medication so in the chaos of a tantrum, I wrote the GI doctor a quick note.  Fortunately she usually writes back quickly.  She told me to stop the appetite medication and see how he does in the next few weeks.  I am so thankful for a doctor who responds promptly.  That morning Okra ate a huge snack despite having a huge breakfast earlier that day.  I wonder if the medication had made him super hunger and if he couldn’t read his own hunger cue and got really upset/angry because of that.  After we stopped the medication, Okra was calm except for some instances of whininess and small tantrums for nine whole days.  Even when he had a tantrum, he showed the ability to recover very quickly.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my son on those very calm days.  It was such a delight to hang out with him and we were able to do so many fun things together and have great bonding moments.  He did have one day of extreme tantrum on January 2nd.  When I was waiting for the tantrums to be over, I was reminding myself of what he is capable of and I knew that this would pass.  And it did.  He was back to being his normal happy self yesterday.  It was such a delight to see.  Okra may not be eating as much as when he was on meds, but I’d rather him be a happy child than suffering from side effects of the medication.  I know his last extreme tantrum did not have anything to do with the medication because he wasn’t on it.  I sometimes still worry about something being wrong with him.  Our pediatrician did give us a referral to a developmental pediatrician in case I wanted to get a consultation.  I am suppose to fill out these questionnaires before scheduling an appointment.  Something is stopping me from filing out these forms.  I guess I am waiting to see how things unfold before I subject him to any sort of testing.    Anyways, back to my therapy homework.  Marking on the calendar really helps me to see if there is a pattern of Okra’s tantrums and how I am doing emotionally and physically.  I am happy to report that out of those nine calm days, I was symptom-free for six of them.  Even when Okra had the big tantrums on Saturday, I wasn’t affected and haven’t felt any lightheadedness, heart palpitation, or general uneasiness.  It is such a welcome change.  

MicroblogMondays: Growing

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my son Okra’s weight gain.  At that time, he had gained a pound in a week.  I was ecstatic and hoped that he would continue to gain.  Last Wednesday was his follow up visit with his gastrointestinal specialist.  I was anxious to see if he had gained more weight.  Truth be told, I knew he must have been heavier because it had gotten harder to lift him and carry him in the last week or two.  He just felt like a load to me.  Fast forward to the visit, first thing he had to do was to check his weight and height.  I was so pleased to learn that his weight went from 28 lbs to 30.8 lbs.  He had gained almost 3 lbs in 6 weeks!  Considering that he hadn’t gained any weight for 6 whole months (he had been 28 lbs for 6 months), this is such a shocker.  What was more shocking was his height.  When the nurse announced that he was 38.5 inches, I thought that she measured wrong and didn’t believe her.  I told her that at the visit 6 weeks ago as well as the well check with his pediatrician 5 weeks ago, he was 37.125 inches.  I told her to check the previous records and remeasure his height.  She did both, and showed me that he is indeed 38.5 inches.  Wow!  I didn’t even think about the possibility of a height increase for him because I was so focused on putting weight on him.  I just marvel at the power of food on his body.  Not only did his body absorb all the nutrients to make weight gain possible, the food also made his body grow more than 1.25 inches in 6 weeks.  When his GI specialist came in, we were both grinning like crazy people about his progress.  She was so pleased that the appetite medication in combination with the Miralax have been so effective in helping him gain weight, and that she and I were on the same page in regards to the same approach and same goals.  His weight went from 13th percentile to 30 something percentile for his sex and age.  I told her that I was surprised at his height.  She said that you could often see kids’ pants getting shorter.  I told her that my quirky boy always pulls his pant legs up at home so there is no way for me to know how long his pants look on him.  Hahaha.  When she examined his stomach, she noted that his ribcage area was filling out unlike the last time when he was bonier.  His stomach was also not distended anymore, which indicated that his constipation issue has gotten better. I told her that I did notice his increase in appetite, although he is still picky.  But you know, Okra never really told me that he was hungry before, but he started telling me that he is hungry a few weeks ago sometime mid morning.  I take it as a good sign.  His water intake has become a power struggle.  The frozen fruit strategy that I talked about last time doesn’t work anymore.  In order to reach his daily fluid goal of 40 oz, I had to do a lot of different things to make him drink his water.  Dr. GI Specialist said that life is too short and lowered his daily fluid goal to 32 oz.  To me, that is much more manageable.  As for his stool formation being mushy (he rarely has good formation), she told me to take photos of his stool a few days prior to returning for a follow up visit in two months, and we will discuss about it then.  In the mean time, we will continue the treatment and see how he does.  I walked away from the appointment with Okra so happy that he is doing so well.  He told me that he was hungry and I gave him the muffins that he refused to eat at home.  He happily ate all of that and then some other snacks on the way home.  I know my son is still picky and changes his mind about foods that he once liked.  It has always been a challenge to come up with new foods to entice him in order for him to eat more.  For example, he had loved his “ice cream balls” (frozen balls of peanut butter, cream cheese, and honey), homemade chocolate pumpkin donuts, or raisin cookies.  Last couple of days, he rejected all of these items.  He recently stopped eating all carbs including his beloved bread and rice.  He only eats this paratha from TJs so I slather on some butter and give it to him at dinner.  Pickiness has made feeding him really difficult.  But seeing his tremendous progress has spurred me on to continue to cook and bake and look up new recipes so that he will continue gaining and growing.  That’s all I can do right?  To help him the best way I know how.

MicroblogMondays: One Pound

Almost two months ago, I wrote about my son Okra’s gastrointestinal issues.  This is the latest.  He and I had an in-person follow up visit with his GI specialist almost three weeks ago.  His weight gain was stagnant.  Upon palpation, he still had a lot of gas, which meant that his constipation issues were still there.  She didn’t think that he had any wheat or lactose sensitivities.  His lab work showed that he is a healthy toddler on the skinnier side who is maintaining a good gain on height.  Since there is a weight gain issue with constipation issues, she reintroduced Mirala.x to help with his bowel movement and a medication to increase his appetite.  She said to start the appetite meds first for two weeks, initially with it 30 minutes prior to dinner for one week, and then adding a dose 30 minutes prior to breakfast.  Then after two weeks of that, start Miralax.  The kids’ three year check up was the week after the GI visit.  Our pediatrician read Okra’s x-report and recommended us to start Mirala.x right away instead of waiting for another week.  He said that the moderate severity of his constipation could really cause Okra to feel unwell and be moody, which was what we had been experiencing.  At that visit, Bunny’s weight exceeded Okra’s weight by 11oz.  Historically, she was often two pounds lighter.  He hadn’t had a weight gain in six months, and she gained over 4 pounds in the past year.  Okra is not exactly diagnosed with “failure to thrive” but he is closer to the low end of normal for his age.  So this has been the situation with Okra medication-wise, water-intake wise, and food-wise.  In the morning, he takes a dose of the appetite medication upon wake up time.  I try to delay his breakfast so he has about 20 to 30 minutes before he eats.  After food, I give him Miralax.  Thirty minutes prior to dinner, he has another dose of the appetite medication.  Good news is, he somehow likes the appetite meds because of its taste?  But he fights drinking water with it as water intake has become a power struggle.  Mirala.x is a powder that has to be mixed with 4 to 8 oz of water.  He fought that with all his might in the beginning.  I have tried my best to tempt him to drink water.  I tried different cups and different straws.  I even bought another Funtainer bottle that has Thomas on it.  Eventually I discovered that the best method to encourage water intake is to put frozen fruit (blueberries, strawberries, mangos, or pineapple, or a combination of any of them) in the water.  This has been a saving grace.  He (and actually Bunny too) somehow loves frozen fruit and is willing to drink the water so that he can eat the frozen fruit at the end.  Because of the frozen fruit lure, Okra has been drinking the required amount of water each day to help with hydration hence his constipation issues.  In terms of food, I have been adding high calorie food and healthy fats whenever I can.  I add butter to his toast, muffin, and rice.  I make smoothies with coconut milk, flax seed, avocado, and full fat yogurt.  I use the same for making popsicles which he loves.  I add half and half to his milk.  He does not eat eggs, avocado (by itself), yogurt, or cheese.  Recently I made cream cheese with peanut butter and a little bit of honey into frozen balls.  I call them ice cream balls.  Okra totally bought into it and ate a ton.  I add a lot of stuff in these “cookies” and he likes them.  I have introduced adding cocoa powder, crushed peanuts, and a little bit of honey to oat meal and now he eats it.  I have even gotten chocolate sprinkles for whole milk yogurt with apple sauce but Okra refuses to touch it.   His appetite seems to wax and wane but I can see that he has been eating and drinking more than before.  I decided to weigh the both of them a couple of days ago.  I weighed myself first and then weighed myself while carrying the kids.  I subtract my weight from the total weight.  To my huge surprise, Okra seems to have gained one pound.  ONE WHOLE POUND.  He and Bunny actually weighed the same, which means he gained more than Bunny in the past week. I can’t begin to tell you how huge it is.  He had been stuck at this one weight for months.  Sometimes his weight even went down.  So for him to gain a pound in a bit over a week of adding higher calorie foods and fat, I am so encouraged that the diligence will be paid off.   Maybe my scale is off.  Maybe he didn’t gain one whole pound, but he definitely has gained some weight as I can feel it when I lift him.  I really hope that we are off to a good start with his weight gain and he will gain more consistently from now on.  Who would have known that my own child’s weight gain would be a source of stress and concern?

MicroblogMondays: More Freedom

I used to go on walks daily with the kids separately, one kid at a time.  Recently I just feel a bit more icky about the area surrounding our house because of litter and irresponsible dog owners not cleaning up after their pets.  I dislike having always to remind the kids where not to walk on or touch.  A little while ago, one of our neighbors mentioned about a park in the next city that might be suitable for the kids to run around.  I finally drove the kids there a couple fo weeks ago. And I am so grateful we did.  This park is about 13 minutes away.  There are two parts.  One part has a big green field with beautiful and lush looking grass.  The other part has another green field with picnic areas and trees.  The two parts are separated by a little creek and are connected with two bridges.  Oh my goodness.  This is practically a toddler heaven.  The first time the kids arrived at the park, their eyes widened and their facial expressions told me what a right decision it was to go play there.  They freely ran across the grass field and arrived at the fence along the creek.  They watched ducks swim in the creek. They picked up all sorts of nuts and grass and leaves from the ground and put them through the fence to the creek.  They picked long and short sticks and pretended to fly airplanes, sword fight, or build a tent.  Bunny ran across the bridge while Okra carefully tiptoed his way across thinking that he was going to fall through the (tiny) gaps on the bridge.  They dug holes in the dirt and buried pinecones.  Basically, they were absolutely having a blast having all sorts of freedom to roam and explore a big open space.  The best of all: this place barely have more than a few people each time we go.  We have been returning quite a few times ever since. I let the kids decide what they want to do.  Every time they think of something different to do or explore.

It really beats going on our neighborhood walk with me shouting loudly from behind them “Watch out for dog poop!”  I honestly only saw dog poop twice in this new park.  It is so clean.  Last week in light of the wild fires in our state following lightning events, the air quality has been horrible.  Kids and I did not venture out to the new park, and we all miss it.  They have asked about it a few times and learned about things like wild fires and air quality.  I hope and pray for all the wild fires to be contained very soon, for the air quality to go back to normal, for all the evacuees to return safely to their homes, and for my kids to be able to return to freely roam around our new favorite park soon.  During this COVID time, a little outdoor time does our soul a lot of good.

MicroblogMondays: Sensory Play

In the last two months or so, Okra has developed some quirks.  He started disliking long sleeve shirts.  He would fight wearing a long sleeve shirt and if he did put one on, he would pull the sleeves up.  Since it has been warm, I let him be and let him wear his short sleeve shirts.  On colder days, I put two short sleeve shirts on him.  For pants, he often pulls his pant legs up to a point it is almost like he’s wearing shorts.  The town we live in is notorious for being foggy and cold in the summer.  He does need to wear a jacket when he goes out.  Of course he fights the jacket but knows that he has to put one on in order to step outside.  He fusses a bit by pulling down the collar part and pulling up the sleeves right away.  It was hard for me to determine if whatever he was showing was behavioral or sensory related.  Fortunately, a friend of mine is a trusted occupational therapist.  I described to her my observations.  She saw some photos of him and watched a few videos.  She thinks that it is more likely behavioral instead of sensory based.  However, she said that it really doesn’t hurt to introduce sensory or tactile play to him and Bunny as it is regulating and calming for any children.  She suggested a few tactile plays.  One is to just let the kids play in the dirt, which I do already.  The other is to let them play with shaving cream.  I was a little hesitant because of the potential mess that the kids could make.  However, I felt that this could be overcome by a little pretraining.  I went over with the kids what they are allowed and not allowed to do during this activity.  They agreed, and started playing.  Initially the kids looked apprehensive.  After I encouraged them, they started to move the shaving cream around the tray and seemed to have a lot of fun searching for plastic animals hidden in the shaving cream.  Clean up wasn’t bad at all as I just removed the plastic toys from the trays and wrapped up all the shaving cream with the tin foil that was placed on the tray.  The kids smelled the rest of the day like my husband after he has shaven, haha.

I follow someone on Instagram and learned about various sensory bins.  I had always wanted to try a sensory bin of rice with the kids.  Prior to learning about pretraining the kids on things, I was weary of the mess that it could cause.  But now that I know how to pretrain the kids, and they are a bit older with better self-control, I decided to brave it.  I bought a five pound bag of rice and a big plastic tub.  I dumped a few big and small spoons in there with various containers.  I went over the rules with them (no throwing and no dumping).  They went to town.  I have to say I am very proud of the kids.  They do so well with this activity.  They scoop and pour the rice in and out of containers in the confine of the tub.  I set a timer for about 30 to 35 minutes.  I know they can go on for a lot longer if I allow them.  They look so calm and seem to have so much fun just scooping and pouring repeatedly.  

A few grains of rice come out of the tub occasionally and the kids know to stop their activity to pick them up.  All in all they have shown very good self control with this activity.  Now that I know they can do it, I plan on getting some beans so that they can feel other textures.  I feel fortunate that these sensory play activities are a hit with them.  I know friends with twins who do not care for sensory bins.  Okra may or may not have sensory issues at all, but these activities could still be beneficial to both him and his sister.  They allow the kids to sit and play quietly for a long time.  Quiet time is so welcome in this household on days when two kids playing together could sound like five kids running around. Haha.

MicroblogMondays: Gastrointestinal Issues

It all started when my parenting coach and I discussed about Okra’s behaviors.  You can reason with him most of the time, but there are some days when he just doesn’t seem to be able to control his emotions with even a slight trigger (or no trigger at all).  He would suddenly throw a tantrum out of nowhere, repeatedly all day long.  My parenting coach talked about how the body, mind, and soul all affect a person’s wellbeing, so the body is an equally important part.  Okra has had mushy, diarrhea-like, or watery stool ever since he was a baby.  I can probably count the number of times he had well formed stool with all of my fingers.  I asked our pediatrician a while back and he said that this kind of stool formation was still considered normal for Okra’s age.  Now that he is almost three years old, I am a bit more concerned.  The parenting coach mentioned about some kids having food sensitivity, such as for wheat, sugar, dairy, or corn.  I was determined to look into all of that.  Our pediatrician referred us to a gastrointestinal specialist.  Surprisingly, she was available for a video visit within a week.  Apparently prior to COVID, it could take up to three months to see a GI specialist in person.  During the visit, she asked many questions.  She said that it seems like Okra’s daily fluid intake is insufficient.  His weight is borderline for his age, being 13th percentile which is down from his usual 20 to 25th percentile.  In fact, he was historically always about two pounds heavier than his sister Bunny but this week her weight has exceeded his by half a pound.  It has to do with him being a picky eater and with her eating more variety and larger quantity of food every single meal.  The GI specialist suggested a few things:

1) An abdominal X-ray to see what is going on with his intestine

2) Blood work to rule out various things including a Celiac screening panel

3) Stool samples to rule out various things

4) Increasing Okra’s liquid intake dramatically. For his age and weight, about 40oz of fluids per day

5) Increasing the fats in his diet, so putting butter or ghee in his rice or on his toast, and letting him eat ice cream occasionally as well as having him eat things with good fats such as avocado, eggs, etc.

Okra sounded apprehensive when I mentioned about getting an X-ray and blood work done at the clinic the next day.  He said he didn’t want to go.  I texted my friend who gave me some tips on how to pretrain Okra on responding to potential pain during the blood draw.  I prayed about it that night and the next morning, then I wrote down in my journal the exact details about both the X-ray and the blood draw that I wanted to talk to him about that morning prior to leaving for the clinic visit.  After Okra brushed his teeth that morning, I sat him down on my bed and the two of us had a heart-to-heart talk.  I told him about his digestive issues and what exactly would go down during his clinic visit.  I told him what would happen during an X-ray, and I would be there with him every single moment.  And I told him what a blood draw would be like.  He might feel a pinch when a technician puts a tiny needle in his arm.  We practiced him pinching me slightly on my arm and me reacting by saying Ow and taking deep breaths.  Then we practiced that on him.  He said Ow and took a deep breath.  I also told him that he would need to wear his mask and stay in the stroller for the whole duration of the visit except for the two procedures.  He looked at me, nodded his head, and seemed to understand what it all meant.  I was a tiny bit worried because he is usually the one that couldn’t tolerate needles and would throw tantrums easily.  However, I was also trusting this pretraining process that has been so instrumental in preparing the kids for many things we have been doing in our lives.

I am so pleasantly surprised by what actually went down.  First of all, despite pretraining with Bunny, she became sad when Okra and I were about to leave for the appointment.  She stood behind the living room gate with a sad face.  The first surprise was that Okra walked over to her, kissed her on her forehead, and stroked her hair!  How I love seeing tender loving moments between the two of them and particularly for Okra to show his caring side to his twin sister.  Okra sat in the stroller once we got off the car and had his mask on the whole time. He sat quietly to watch Little Mermaid that was shown on the clinic TV.  During the X-ray, he lay on the table without moving and let the technician take a picture of the inside of his tummy.  After we waited for a few more minutes, we were called to go into the lab.  I gave him his beloved Thomas and Nia trains.  He held onto them in his left hand and sat on me.  Without the technician even asking him, he extended his right arm to her.  I reminded Okra that if he felt any pinching or pain, he could say Ow and take a deep breath.  I am so impressed with my boy!  He watched the technician put a butterfly needle in his arm and start filling the 6 tubes with his blood.  He did not even flinch.  He sat there as still as a stone.  The blood draw was completed in no time.  No yelling.  No Ow.  No deep breaths.  No crying.  He was as cool as a cucumber.  I was just so amazed at how mature Okra handled the whole situation at the age of two years ten months.  Pretraining for the win as he knew exactly what to expect.

The X-ray shows that Okra’s intestine is full of stool.  Apparently he is quite constipated, and it presents itself as watery stool as water was probably leaking from the side of the stool.  The GI specialist put him on either Miralax or Calm Magnesium.  I opted for Calm Magnesium gummies for him.  All of his blood work came out normal except for low Vitamin D.  She put him on 400 IU of Vitamin D.  We also bought him gummies.  So everyday now he thoroughly enjoys chewing his gummies in the morning and in the evening.  Surprisingly Bunny hasn’t whined about not having gummies to chew as she understands that she doesn’t need them.  As for fats, I have been putting butter on toast and rice for him.  He and his sister both do not like the taste of ghee and refuse to touch food with ghee on it, so I have opted to put butter because the taste is milder.  I have been trying to figure out how to tempt him to eat cheese, eggs, yogurt, avocado, or drink milk.  These are all things that Okra doesn’t touch.  And you can’t force him to eat.  So I have to use some more thinking as to how to present food to him that is attractive.

Oh and for his water intake?  I took out a bunch of water bottles from the drawer so he has something new to drink from.  Whenever the kids drink from a cup that is different from their usual cup, they drink more.  I even let them choose a new cup on Amazon.  I think it is so awesome that Okra chose the unicorn one and Bunny chose the monster soccer one:

Who says that boys can’t use a pink cup and girls can’t choose monster and soccer?

They have been drinking so much more water!  I am hopeful that the increase in water intake is going to help Okra alleviate some of his digestive issues.  Hopefully he feels better in general and his behaviors will also improve.

MicroblogMondays: Morning Time

Like I mentioned before, I have been working with a christian parenting coach via weekly Zoom meeting with a group of parents since May.  In light of our current challenges with Okra, I have talked with this parenting coach separately couple of times on the phone to brainstorm strategies to work with him.  A suggestion from the parenting coach for Bob and me was to intentionally pray for ourselves as parents and for the kids.  We had been lacking a time to chat and pray.  We tried it before at bed time but we were/are often too tired to even talk and sometimes we are short or impatient with each other.  Once I told Bob about the parenting coach’s suggestion, he said, why not get up early together, read the bible, and pray together?  I have never been a morning person.  I love to sleep until the last moment possible before I get up.  But, since Bob suggested, I accepted the challenge.  That was exactly what we did.  We started on June 8th, which was 6 weeks ago.  We have been consistently getting up one hour earlier to talk, read the bible, and pray.  There were a couple of times we got into an argument, but we made a choice to make up and pray before the kids got up.  There was one time when Bob really wanted to go for a run so he did, but he got back in time to pray with me before getting the kids.  I love this morning time.  My mind is clear.  The house is quiet.  I make a cup of coffee and have five minutes of quiet time/meditation time when I pray to the Lord.  I then write down the things I want to work on with the kids in a little note book.  I also have a bigger note book that I labeled “Intentional Parenting and Marriage”.  I write down thoughts on parenting, on my kids, and on the bible passage that I am reading that day.  After Bob is done with his reading, we chat a bit about how each other is doing and pray specifically for the kids, such as peaceful obedience, joy and peace, or self control.  After prayers, we get the kids up to give them breakfast.  I have really enjoyed this time with Bob.  We are so much more refreshed first thing in the morning.  We are in a much better mood and have much more patience with each other.  I am confident that since we have been doing it for 6 weeks, it is a habit to continue on.  We start the day right, and feel the most connected to each other in a long time.  It highlights the importance of married couples to connect with and pray with/for one another.  I feel so blessed that Bob and I are willing to devote this time to each other.