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Videos!

10 Nov

I know I’m the absolute worst with this blog lately. I think about what I would love to be writing nearly every day, but the sun rises and sets far too quickly lately.

We have moved to a new apartment.

Things are going really well.

Asher is the most precious 3 year old ever to have lived.

Phillip is wonderful and a hard worker.

I’m learning lots of German and feeling very settled and comfortable in my daily routine (which hopefully doesn’t mean something is about to be thrown out of whack!).

My parents will be here to visit us in a few days and we are SO excited!

And here are some videos:


This one cuts out because of my darn phone capacity, but he will often just randomly start “breathing” like this, which means he’s pretending to be Darth Vader.

And my current favorite:

Asher is super in to talking about dreams right now. He asked us not too long ago what dreams were (after hearing the word in a song). We explained dreams to him and then started giving him examples of dreams, which really just means we started making up ridiculous stories of things about which he “might” dream. The dreams usually start out with something that he knows and understands, and then something very strange will happen, and then the ‘dream’ always ends with us saying that he wakes up in bed and asks himself “Was that real?! Nooooo, it was a dream!” He has refused to try, but today he “talked about” two dreams for me. I got the second one on camera and I love it! I’ll write a transcript below, in case you can’t understand him.

“What if you have a dream that you were doing make-up on, and suddenly your make-up gets REAL. And your make-up talks to you real. And it says “hello Bre. Hi.” And you say “Hi…What?! That’s not real!” …and you say: “I’m in my room… was that real? Noooo, it was a dream!”

Wanguage.

12 Sep

This video cut out a bit, but all that you miss is me asking the question: “What language does your friend Mateo speak?”  Well, that and the ending where it cut off because my phone storage is too teeny.

And this was him at the glasses shop waiting while his frames were being adjusted yesterday. He is very in to playing pretend right now and this is one of his current go-to personas:

Hahahahahaha I love it! Whenever he hears someone say something he doesn’t understand he always asks “Hey… what he speaks?” He’s really become interested in languages lately. He knows that we speak English at home and that most of our neighbors speak German at home. Except for his little friend Nate, who is from the UK and, according to Asher, “Nate speaks Engwish wif an accident.” hahahaha He means an “accent,” of course. Though he typically responds to German in English, he responds appropriately which lets us know that he understands. He uses his teeny little voice to say “Gruezi!” to all the passers-by when we’re out walking and he says “d-d-danke!” whenever someone gives him something when we’re out. He also does one heck of a robot impression and likes to pretend that he is a kitten or puppy, who apparently have extremely high-pitched voices. lol Oh, Asher! He’s nothing if he’s not entertaining!

Another quick update!

4 Jul

I have a lot to do today, but I wanted to write another quick update for everyone since Asher met with a speech pathologist today and since we will be busy for the next week.

Phil wasn’t able to come with us this morning, so Asher and I went alone. we were almost 20 minutes early, which was a problem, since there is no waiting room. haha We went across the street and enjoyed some Spinatwähe (spinach quiche type thing, only very Swiss) and some freshly squeezed juice. It was actually quite nice to sit for a minute before the appointment.

I digress. So the lady we met with was really really nice. She’s not at all old, but definitely older than me. Maybe the same age as my parents or older. I’m not a good age-judge of Brits. She’s from the UK, which is nice, since going to a German-speaking SLP could get difficult. I’m already digressing, I think. I really need to just write what I need to write. *ahem*

She said yes. Asher has a problem. :/ She said not to worry about it for a few days and she will send me information on things to do with him at home. She said if after a few weeks we don’t see much/any improvement, then we will start going in to see her regularly for ‘therapy.’

I still have not replied to Erin’s comment that she left on my last post, but I really appreciated the thought(s) and I did mention the second language thing to the lady today. We plan on putting Asher in to a Spielgruppe (play group? The closest thing we have in the US to a Spielgruppe is a preschool, but there are no academics in Spielgruppen) to give him a chance to play with other kids and to help him strengthen his German. She said that since he has such strong language/verbal skills (other than articulating sounds, obviously), she said that, though that is a problem for some kids, the second language shouldn’t be a hinderance to him at this point.

So basically she confirmed what Phil and I already knew. I was both relieved and saddened to hear her say that he does need some help. I thought he did, but then that news that something is “wrong” with my baby just hits my heart hard, you know? BUT I am very glad to know that we have found a very kind, knowledgable lady who can help him. He is really struggling and the help is going to be a blessing. Here’s hoping we can apply the techniques she will teach us easily and that they will help him!

Oh, one more thing before I end this — she said that, as we move forward, if we are for some reason not making progress, she knows tons of great people who are able to take an even broader approach in order to target the root of Asher’s problem. Specifically, this came up when we were talking about his vision issues and the ways in which Phil and I have been uncomfortable with the Atropine drops that he received for over a year. Hopefully it won’t come to needing more help, but it’s good to know that there’s help out there.

I’m starving, so if this sounds a bit melancholy, that’s a large part of it. I’m super hangry over here. I am sad about how much Asher has been struggling lately, but I left the lady’s office today feeling encouraged and very hopeful. Right now I just need to eat. 🙂

AND — Asher was SO good and SO precious while we were with the lady. She offered him cookies, and he very politely said “Dhanks!” …and then asked for another “p-p-p-p-p-pwease?” …and another … and another. hahaha He doesn’t normally like cookies, but he liked whatever she was giving him. She complimented his behavior and manners and hilarious sense of humor and said over and over again that he is adorable. All things I already knew, but of course I like hearing that from strangers. He’s a good boy. 🙂

Quick update on Asher

25 Jun

Hi, all! This is an informal and quick update to let everyone know about Asher and the random things he’s had come up lately. I really don’t feel like writing right now, but I want to let you all know that we’re in the process of getting him sorted out.

First of all, he’s started stuttering really badly. We don’t know what exactly is “bad” for his age, since stuttering in general is fairly common among children ages 2-5ish. We first noticed that he started doing it a few months ago, maybe in February, but since he’s so young we really didn’t think much of it and decided to completely ignore it. He started to notice he was doing it and shortly after that he kind of slowed down and wasn’t doing it as much. But then about a month ago it came back full force! It was so bad that he could hardly say a word for a solid week and then just chose not to talk for about 3 days. He was miserable. Needless to say, it was both heartbreaking and worrisome. So we started looking in to what we need to do to help him through this. We got some pointers from some widely-known stuttering support organizations and set up an appointment with his pediatrician. His pediatrician said that, because of Asher’s age, they don’t typically suggest any type of therapy or anything unless the child really seems to be suffering. But after a short conversation with Asher he said it would be best at least to get him evaluated. Though Ash still struggles to get words out a majority of the time, it has definitely been better since that one terrible week. He still does it more often than not and, though he tries to ignore it sometimes he just has to scream or cry or something and say “I DON’T HAVE ANY WORDS!” He wasn’t composing sonnets or anything, but he was articulating himself extremely well for his age not too long ago. He was speaking in full sentences, using quite a broad vocabulary, and enunciating fairly well. We’re wondering if his brain is perhaps more advanced than his motor skills, thus causing him to stumble? I really don’t know. We do have an appointment for him to be evaluated by a speech and language pathologist, though. So that will be good. I spoke with her briefly over the phone and she said that she thinks it will most likely clear up on its own, but that it’s best to evaluate him just in case she thinks he will need some sort of intervention. This sounds perfect. I know that, because of his age, chances are that he’ll grow out of this stutter, but Phil and I both feel best knowing that he will be evaluated by someone who knows what to look for in a child who needs help.

So that’s the first thing. The second thing that I want to do a quick update about is his vision. First, the good news: He has binocular vision now!!! This is so so so so so wonderful since this is something that is often never achieved by a person who has amblyopia. I’m positive that he has developed this so quickly because he was so young when we found out that he wasn’t using his eyes correctly. I have said it before and I’ll say it again — we are so thankful that our pediatrician knew to check his eyes! Some more good news is that his visual acuity seems to be improving. Visual acuity is the way that a person sees, regardless of their eyeball’s ability to see. Visual acuity has more to do with how the brain processes the visual information that an eye sends to it. So a person with a weak glasses prescription may actually have a much worse visual acuity than a person with a stronger prescription (with glasses on, I mean), because the visual acuity depends on how well a person’s brain can use the eyes. I hope that makes sense. It’s a hard thing to understand and thus a hard thing for me to explain. So anyway, Asher’s prescription is still pretty strong, but he is learning to use his eyes much better and thus seems to have clearer vision. He first “read” the eye chart (they have easier eye charts for small children) in February and really couldn’t see much of anything. But last week and this week he read the eye chart down quite a ways! Still not to 20/20 vision, but to I think 20/80 or 20/60 maybe, which is great! That being said, he still must continue to improve his vision. While we have heard great things about our pediatric ophthalmologist (PO), I’ve heard that she is the only one in Switzerland who uses Atropine (eye drops) therapy rather than patching to treat amblyopia. I’ve never been happy about the eye drops, since they are a very harsh chemical and I just hate putting a dangerous chemical into my baby’s eye every day. Plus, the more I have learned the more I realize that they really aren’t a terribly common practice. It can be deadly if swallowed and can cause some terrible side effects  even when used appropriately, which is quite scary considering we were using it on a child who really can’t verbalize any negative effects he’s experiencing. We had noticed, though, that he seemed very stressed for the past several months. We kept thinking it was transitions, or him being tired, or growth spurts, or whatever else, but he just kept seeming stressed and agitated. Knowing what we know about the drops, we decided it was time to ask to try something different. So at our appointment with our ophthalmologist last week, when she told us to continue 5 days/week of Atropine and that she’d see Asher again in 6 months, Phil and I looked at each other and then I said “well, we’d really like to stop the drops.” The PO kind of seemed annoyed, and without really responding took out a piece of film and stuck it to the inside of Asher’s glasses. She said, “okay. You can try this film on his lens instead. Leave it in until December. I HOPE it will work.” It’s hard to tell if she was actually upset or not, since her default facial expression seems to be “furious,” but whatever. Of course I want to treat Asher’s amblyopia, but Phil and I are both glad that we will no longer be putting those stupid drops in his eyes. Okay, now I’m rambling. So we stopped the drops. Another thing, though, is that we wanted to get a second opinion. So after doing some research, I learned that we should try out a developmental optometrist (DO) and was able to find one semi-close to where we live. So Asher and I went to meet this woman today! It was great! She agreed that Asher’s current glasses prescription is appropriate. She said he actually needs an even higher prescription, but it is best not to give a small child a full prescription because you want them to work hard to use their focusing power so that they don’t develop their vision in a way that is dependent on glasses if they don’t actually need them. I was surprised to hear that he actually “needs” a stronger prescription, since I had asked our PO about that several months ago, but was really only given her “who the heck do you think you are?” face. The DO said that his binocular vision is excellent, which was wonderful to hear. She had Ash in 3D glasses and looking at all kinds of different things — it literally brought tears to my eyes to see him so blatantly grabbing for the 3D images! The DO said not to keep the film in his glasses, but instead to do light therapy every day with him. She gave me red and green glasses (like, the lenses are colored, I mean) and a little light and told me to shine a light in his eyes through the different colors a few times each day. I don’t completely know why I should do this, but I’m going to look in to it. She also said that there is very new research that suggests doctors have been treating amblyopia all wrong for decades by blocking the vision in the good eye. She said that the real cause of amblyopia is that the amblyopic eye actually has TOO Much light, rather than not enough, and so if one eye should be blocked, it should be the amblyopic eye and that it can actually hurt a person’s vision to block the good eye. I don’t know how I feel about that yet, but I’m going to look in to it.

Okay, I’m definitely rambling now. I hear Asher back there mumbling to himself, which means there will be no nap today. I’m going to go so I can sit for a moment or 2 in complete silence until he starts demanding to get out of bed.

Oh, no… I have to say that the DO will not accept Asher as a patient unless we stop seeing the PO. This is just because the practices are a bit different, so it would be dangerous to do 2 different types of therapies on the same person. So we have some decisions to make! Our pediatrician wasn’t completely on board with us seeing the DO as opposed to the PO, since more verifiable research is typically associated with POs and DOs often rely more on “unproven” theories. I get that argument, but I also am sure that Atropine is not what my son needs right now. The pediatrician said it was fine if we wanted to check out a DO, but also recommended a new PO for us to try since he understood that we weren’t completely happy with our current one. We’ll see! Hopefully that all makes sense. Phil wasn’t able to come with us to the DO appointment this morning, and there are several friends/family members that I’ve been trying to keep updated about Asher’s stuff the past few weeks, so I really wanted to write all of this out while I have a moment to do so.

Asher is back there shouting “Oh, MOM AND DAD!” “MOMANDDAD!” “MOOOOOM AND DAAAAAAD.” hahaha Before I go get him I’ll tell you something adorable that he did this morning.

At the optometrist’s office we were moving back and forth from room to room for various kinds of exercises and ways for her to examine him. The office was quite small, and for most of the time we were there, it was just me, Asher and the DO who were there. Near the end, though, a young man walked in because he was her next appointment. Asher was really interested in this guy and when the optometrist greeted him Asher went “ohhhh, dat’s her daddy.” The guy was probably less than half her age, so I’m guessing that’s not the case. hahaha then As I finished up talking to the optometrist, Asher walked up to the guy and asked “Whats yo’ name?” The guy said “My name is Lars, what’s your name?” And Asher went “Oh, my name ith Ashuh.” Lars said, it’s nice to meet you, and Asher, having walked past Lars by that point, turned around and stuck his hand out to shake Lars’ hand. hahahahahaha He didn’t smile and didn’t act silly, he was just introducing himself and shaking hands like a grown up man. hahahahaha It was really cute.

While I’m on the topic of Asher being cute, I’ll tell you one more funny thing. Though he seems to understand a good bit of German, Asher mostly refuses to speak it right now. But yesterday morning I woke up to him shouting from the other room “Peepee machen! PEEPEE MACHEN!” So I went in and asked him (in German) if he needed to pee. He went “Ja.” Then he said “Ich am speaking German!” hahahaha Hopefully that translates into written words as cute and funny as it was to me. hehe

He’s really freaking out now. I guess I should go tend to him.

 

Burned fingers, grocery store, and tight pants

11 Jun

More Asher videos! Now that I have a good phone, expect lots of videos. Life is so easy with an iPhone!

I know that Asher burning his fingers on the grill is old news, but I found this video from a few weeks ago and wanted to share it to show just how adorably pitiful he was. His face is stuff puffy from crying (for over an hour!) about his poor little fingers, and he was trying hard to make sense of what had just happened.

*Sigh* That was only the first or second time we used our new grill and, though we warned him not to go near it he just had to see for himself. It was a sad night, but we think he learned a valuable lesson. Thankfully it was not worse!

 

Okay, next — This one cracks me up. Asher was walking around the grocery store like a boss singing a little tune. Everyone was smiling at him as he strutted around, perusing merchandise as if he hadn’t a care in the world. I grabbed my phone to film him singing… and then he walked near some refrigerators and got a bit dramatic.

 

One more — He and I watched Jimmy Fallon’s “tight pants” videos with Will Ferrell and J-Lo this morning and then we both walked around singing “Tight pants” all day. For however cute I think this is, I just want him to say the word “on” at the end of one of the phrases — eeeeeek!!! I said it for him a few times and he got upset with me, so I just kept my mouth shut and let him sing the same thing over and over again as much as he wanted. Behold: Asher’s rendition of tight pants:

Songs

4 Jun

 

Guy night

26 Apr

Phil has done a few “guys nights” with Asher where they go into the city to get a bratwurst (which may change since Asher suddenly won’t eat brats anymore), and have a little guy time together. I get time with Phil when Asher is sleeping or playing sometimes, and I get plenty of one on one time with Asher, since he and I are together all day every work day, but the two of them don’t really have much one-on-one time because I’m always there with them. Of course we all enjoy family time, but it’s nice for them to take some time to be together just the two of them and it’s certainly nice for me to have a little bit of time to myself too. So anyway, they now go out together on regular “guy nights.” The first time was just before Asher and I left for California when Phil wouldn’t see us for a few weeks. Phil took Asher out for a brat and then to the toy store to pick a special car to bring on the plane with him. The second time they just went out for fun and walked along the lake after eating, and the last time was the other day when they went to eat together and then to shop for my birthday together. So guy nights are a relatively new thing, but they are already very special. The other day when Phil told Asher that they would have guy night “tomorrow,” Asher got SO excited! He laughed and said “YEAH! GUY NIGHT! I SO HAPPY WE HAVIN’ GUY NIGHT!!!” And then he danced around in between sporadic hugs for Phil. It was really cute and sweet. Then the next day Asher said a few times to me “I’m ‘cited about guy night!” hehehe It’s a sweet thing that I’m happy they can do together. I have taken a few pictures of them before their guy nights. I missed their 2nd guy night, but I have their first and most recent. I think I’ll try to start snapping a pic before each guy night from here on! I hope special time together is something for which they will both always make time. My handsome and precious Loves:

 

First guy night in February 2014

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Guy night April 2014

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Asher’s bike!

23 Apr

You may or may not know that Asher has asked for only two things so far in his tiny little life: A beard and a bike. There’s absolutely no way we can speed up the hormones that are necessary for him to grow a beard (and we wouldn’t want to — that’d be sad and super creepy!), and we did our best to hold off on buying him a bike until we thought he was big enough to use one. He was saying on practically a daily basis: “I want a bike!” “I need to have a bike!” and any time we talked about anything at all, exciting or not, he would respond with: “And then I can have a bike?!” We fought the good fight, but between his precious little looks of longing as he’d watch people of all ages wheel past him and the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having, we did it – we bought our baby a bike! We decided it would be fun to have it in the living room when he woke up on Easter morning. He has no concept of an item’s value, so we figured it was safe and that he wouldn’t realize that a bike is setting the bar high for Easter morning gifts. It was just sitting behind the table, which you’d think would actually be really easy to see when you’re shorter than the table, but he didn’t ever notice it. Phil and I were excited and got antsy, so we finally coaxed him over there “to see what the Easter bunny left.” He saw it and he immediately said “MEIN BIKE! I CAN OOZ (use) IT!!” and then he got right on and awkwardly rode down the hall. He was SO excited! Phil and I both expected our little non-daredevil to be too afraid to try it at first, but Asher surprised us. He rode it up and down the hall as we got ready for church. Then we were gone all day Easter day and he would randomly look up at us with a surprised face and shout: “HEY! I HAVE A BIKE!” When we got home he practically hugged the thing as soon as he walked in the door. He wrapped his little arms around the handlebars and said “I’m pwoud I have a bike!” And he is proud. I dare say I have never seen him express pride quite like this before. We took the bike to a big park the other day with some friends. As soon as I got the bike out and set it down for him he hopped right on and then rode all around in the wide open space, stopping to wave to every person he saw so that they would all know he had his very own bike. Whenever he’d catch me looking at him, he’d get a HUGE smile and HUGE eyes and pat his bike to say to me “LOOK! I HAVE A BIKE!” from far away. I think I speak for both Phil and myself when I say that this whole “making your kid happy” thing feels pretty darn good. Shoot, it could even be addicting. This is yet another reminder that being Asher’s Mama means that I will intensely experience his emotions right along with him as my sweet boy’s elation over “finally” having a bike makes my heart feel like it’s going to burst out of my chest.

His Daddy and I are proud of this very proud little boy:

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Asher videos!

11 Jan

It’s time for more videos of my precious Asher!

He doesn’t watch much TV these days, but he certainly enjoys the bits that he watches. In particular, around Christmas he was watching the How to Train your Dragon Christmas show on Netflix. There is a part where a girl makes a disgusting drink called “Yak nog,” and the main guy, Hiccup, accidentally drinks it. He holds it in his mouth until she leaves and then he spits it out. Asher watched this show several times and Hiccup spitting only seemed to get more and more hilarious to him. It didn’t matter if we were sitting watching it with him, or if he was alone in the room watching, he laughed HARD every single time.

 

He has developed quite the sense of humor lately. He’s big in to pretending to be asleep and then laughing about how hilarious it is that he was not actually asleep. He just randomly started doing it on the bus the other day and was quite pleased when people all around started laughing at his super loud teeny guy fake snore.

 

Here he is just being super entertaining to us. Lately anything dangly or wiggly he’ll grab and shout “it’s a seahorse!” and then he’ll play with it and be super delighted. He had already done that and I asked him to do it again, which you can hear I think, but his happiness is no less genuine. haha

 

We are all very proud that Asher can now put his glasses on all by himself! Phil and I were looking forward to this milestone so we wouldn’t have to worry about him so much with the glasses. Now he does it just for fun! …and instructs us to watch carefully when he does it…? hahaha

 

He’s vocal about which language he wants to speak and when. He’ll tell us that it’s time to read in German or English and he’ll tell us when he wants to or doesn’t want to speak in a certain language. Here we asked him something in German and, in true moody-dramatic-Asher-style, he just got mad and started making demands.

 

I thought I had one more but I can’t find it now, so I’ll try to post it soon. He is growing and changing and talking and making the world better and better with each little breath he takes. Enjoy these videos!

Dinnoh doot

3 Dec

Phil was out of the country for about 5 days last week. Though Asher and I missed him being home with us, I enjoyed having an excuse not to cook big (or even healthy) meals for a few days. Asher is always happy to eat anything but what I would normally refer to as “dinner,” so I fed him easy toddler-type meals and then rummaged around for whatever I wanted after he went to bed. Three nights in a row I had chips, salsa, cookies and Appenzeller beer and it was glorious. I also used the time I had to catch up on some of the super cheesy chick flicks I had on our Netflix list (“Pizza My Heart,” “The Decoy Bride,” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” [that one I watched twice because I enjoyed it so much!]).

One of the nights Phil was away I told Asher that we were going to have a super special Mommy-Asher dinner date. I built it up all day and told him that we could have whatever he wanted for dinner for our special date and that we could watch a movie while we ate. I offered up a list of his usual favorite meals and told him he could choose whatever he wanted for dinner. He didn’t seem to know what to pick, so I had several sure-things in the fridge and ready to go. He was so excited and kept saying “TIME FO’ MOVIE DINNOH!” When it was finally almost time for our date, I again listed off his favorite meals and then told him the choice was his for our special date. His response: “Swack dinnoh!” (Snack dinner) hahaha He is in a phase where he gets disappointed if we give him “breakfast,” “lunch,” or “dinner.” He ONLY wants to eat something called a “snack,” so this shouldn’t have surprised me. He was so excited when the idea came to him — how could I say no?! Snack dinner it was! I gave him a bath, then we both put on PJs and then “made” our food together before settling into the couch to watch Mater’s Tall Tales (his choice) and enjoy our delicious snack dinner. We talked about how yummy our dinner was. We laughed at Mater and McQueen when they did hilarious things. He kept looking at me and smiled, and I would smile back because smiling is both of our favorites. It was a perfect and precious dinner date.

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That was more than a week ago and the past few days he has literally started crying asking for more dinner dates! Well, not “dates” per se, since for whatever reason he can’t remember the word “date.” It’s more accurate to say he’s been crying for “Mo’ dinnoh doots!” hahaha It’s pitiful and precious. I am glad that he enjoyed our special date and I look forward to many, many more dinnoh doots with my sweet baby boy in the future!