It was two years ago this week that Jonathan completed therapy to treat his plagiocephaly and got to take his DOC Band helmet off! After three months of wearing his band 23 hours a day, it was lovely seeing his beautifully reconstructed head Thanksgiving morning!
Plagiocephaly (plagio) is a condition known as having a flattened or misshapen head shape, something I learned is quite common in multiples as they can be quite crowded in the womb and tend to be born prematurely, while the skull is still forming. Jonathan experienced both. I know the boys fought for space in my giant belly and the night before they were born, one of the L & D nurses told me I could no longer sit up in bed because I'd be sitting on his head. Can you imagine?! Poor thing.
I also learned boys who are considered "Baby A's" are even more likely to develop it. Jonathan was labeled Baby A because of how we was positioned in the womb ready and likely to be born first. His preference for sleeping flat on his back, arms straight out in a "t" also did not help matters. It's almost as if he was destined to develop the condition.
Fortunately, we noticed the problem early on and despite our best efforts to correct it ourselves through repositioning and increased tummy time, Jonathan's head shape remained unchanged looking oddly similar to something you could project home movies onto.
For anyone considering DOC Band treatment, I wholeheartedly recommend it. The merits for the necessity of treatment for plagio are still being debated, but Dan and I felt we simply could not deny our son the opportunity to correct his head shape. The window of opportunity to treat it is very short - within the first year of a baby's life - and is a pain-free, easy process. Many doctors and insurers view treatment as purely cosmetic, but we felt anything growing abnormally, especially around his brain, should be treated. Some members of the American Academy of Pediatrics go as far as to suggest that left untreated, plagiocephaly can cause developmental problems specifically in the area of verbal communication. To add even more justification for our decision, just last week, I read a new study that suggests skull deformity can lead to and increased number of ear infections.
Jonathan's treatment required us to take him in for weekly check-ups which resulted in the adjustment of his band as his head rounded out. The best part - it didn't hurt or even bother Jonathan a bit. The staff at Cranial Tech was incredible and in addition to the great therapy Jonathan received, they were more than accommodating, often reserving a corner of the waiting room for me so I could feed the boys before making the commute home.
So, this Thanksgiving, one of the MANY things I am thankful for is Jonathan's sweet little head, which is perfectly round, allowing that amazing brain of his to function and grow!
As you can tell by the photos, we had some fun decorating his helmet, reflecting the current mood in our household at the time - Notre Dame football!
It's rare the boys do anything or go anywhere without each other. In fact, I am certain I can count on one hand the number of times Dan has had one twin and I've had the other in different locations. It's not that we feel they need to be together 24/7, its just worked out that way. So when the opportunity arises for one boy to hang out with one of us alone-sans brother- it's special and oddly eerie, for both parent and child.
Yesterday afternoon, we'd decided to run a few errands. James happily complied with my request to go potty and get dressed while Jonathan on the other hand, threw a bit of a fit. He wanted to stay home. Not about to give into his naughty behavior, I gave him three chances to shape up or else he'd have to stay home with Daddy. He chose the latter and James and I were off on our merry way. (I learned later Jonathan FREAKED out when we left without him and wanted to go, too. Poor thing, I could just imagine him saying, "Mommy, James come back! Ja-Ja get dressed!" I'm proud of Dan for standing his ground, though. Lesson learned. I'm not sure I would have been as strong)!
James sat in the backseat kicking his legs to the sound of Muppet's Christmas music while we made our way to our first destination. From the rear view mirror, I could see the smile on his face while he said, "Just James and Mommy. No Ja-Ja. Ja-Ja act up and stay home." He was excited for a little one-on-one time.
After running a few "drive-thru" type errands, James and I were off to Michael's. As we walked into the store, I couldn't help but feel a bit of uneasiness in the pit of my stomach. I only had one kid with me, instead of two. It's like I was missing a limb or something. I couldn't help but double check the car to make sure I hadn't actually brought Jonathan with me and forgotten to get him out. It's weird toting around only one child!
James and I cruised up and down the aisles checking out all the holiday crafts and fun activities. James spotted a package of scrapbooking stickers with trucks on them and wanted to hold them for a closer view. I handed him the package and we talked about how he could ask Santa for them. He nodded his head slowly and told me he liked the cement truck sticker and Jonathan would like the red dump truck one. So sweet of him to think of his brother when we were really only talking about his Christmas wish list.
On our way home, I asked him if he had fun going out with Mommy. He smiled and responded with an emphatic "yes!" I asked him if he missed his brother and with the same level of enthusiasm, he said, "Yes...go home to see Ja-Ja." I couldn't agree more. I missed him, too.
Even before they were born, we joked the boys would be like Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. Completely different personalities, but best of friends. Little did we know, we were on to something.
Jonathan is the classic "Ernie" because of his silliness and ability to make James laugh. I swear, I think he's going to be a bit of a class clown someday.
James has a little bit of "Bert" in him because he can be quite uptight and particular about things. I'm just hoping he doesn't acquire an affinity for pigeons or collecting bottle caps.
I learned today that Sesame Street is turning 40! It's hard to believe such an important, educational show has been around as long as it has and survived the likes of Barney and Noggin.
I loved Sesame Street as a kid. In fact, when Big Bird visited China, I was absolutely convinced my family should move there and practically packed up my room before my mom stopped me.
While we watch some of the newer Sesame Street episodes, I think the boys enjoy watching the "Old School" DVD's better (Dan and I do, too). The martians learning about the telephone and "Capital I" song are among their favorites and we get regular requests for the "J song" ("J-Joe was wearing jeans. Got himself a pocketful of jellybeans...")
So, happy birthday, Sesame Street! Thank you for so many wonderful years of educational T.V. and for entertaining my own little Bert and Ernie.
Nearly every night for the past month or so, our family goes on a bike ride through the neighborhood. We strap the boys into the bike trailer, hitched to the back of my bike and we cruise through the neighborhood for about an hour before the boys' baths and bedtime.
It's been a fun ritual made even more fun by the fact the boys got such a kick out of seeing everyone's Halloween decorations. Their favorites were houses with "piggy lights" and we'd have to hit them all before going home. "Piggy lights" are those half-buried alive ghouls with their hands and feet/piggies sticking out of the ground.
I definitely have boys. Girls would probably be afraid of such a thing.
The boys anxiously awaited Halloween and trick or treating. About two months ago Aunt Amy taught the boys to say, "trick or treat, smell my feet" which I've heard about 867 times. Awesome.
For the second year in a row, the boys were "soup-heroes." Jonathan chose a Spiderman costume and James was Captain America. Our house was very well protected.
Our neighborhood really goes all out for Halloween - complete with fog machines, graveyards and adults dressed up as the living dead.
It was a far cry from piggy lights.
After trick or treating at the tamest houses, James decided he really just wanted to go home. Honestly, I think all of the excitement and strangers handing him candy frightened him a bit too much. I can't blame him a bit.
Once we were back to the safe confines of our home, the boys had fun handing out candy to the trick or treaters. Jonathan was hilarious because after he'd put a piece of candy in a bag he'd yell, "Have fun! Bye kids!" Many times, he'd blow them a kiss, too.
“You are going to want to sit down for this.”
That’s how we found out we were having twins. The ultrasound tech was running the probe over my already bulging belly at my 7 week appointment when she looked at my husband and gleefully recited those fateful words. We both burst out laughing as we realized we were officially "in" for it! Twins! How the hell would we handle twins?! From that moment on, our lives were changed forever and we wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Robert Frost once said he lived life twice - once when he experienced it and a second time when he wrote about it. I hope to relive the joys life has to offer through this blog.
Profile photo credit: Cameron Kelly Studios.
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