Wednesday, December 31, 2008

River Update - the bionic dog

I've noticed that this blog gets quite a bit of traffic headed not to the baby pages, but to the dog pages. And I thought I'd just post an update.

In '07, our dog River had her first TPLO surgery. That's right, I said first. She was running around the dog park, not even excessive running or jumping or whatever, no falling, nothing to indicate she had injured herself. We noticed some slight limping on her rear leg, with a strange clicking noise whenever she would walk around. After about a week, we realized she was getting a tiny bit worse every day, and took her to the vet. The clicking was essentially her patella (kneecap) clacking against her tibia.

She had the surgery, and we spent a lot of money at a holistic vet doing doggy therapy in the hopes that she would have a speedy recovery. A fast recovery is essential after a TPLO surgery. Due to the fact that after the surgery, a dog places nearly all of her weight constantly on the opposite leg, once a TPLO is done on the first leg there is a 60% chance she will need a TPLO on the other leg as well.

In January '08, almost a year after we noticed the symptoms the first time, River got off her leash during a walk and ran. We caught her right away, but not before the damage was done. This time, the limping was more severe, and the clacking louder. This time, she seemed to be in constant pain, instead of the intermittent limping we witnessed the first time around. We knew right away what had happened. We took her straight to the surgical vet (the Hope Center), bypassing our own vet completely. And $3K later, River had another TPLO surgery.

This time, we decided not to do the rehab. At that point, it was cost prohibitive for us, and we did not really feel that it had made that much of a difference. Watching her heal the second time nearly as quickly and as well as she had the first time, I do not regret forgoing the rehab.

We are coming up on January '09. River runs and plays and jumps, but she's not going through a metal detector anytime soon. She does not show any outward signs of being any different from our other dog.

She is no longer in pain, and for that I am eternally thankful.

We were blessed with the ability to afford such expensive care for our pet, but still needed help. We used Care First - a program that is essentially a credit card that can be used only for medical reasons at selected health care providers, which included the Hope Center. We were able to use the 3 month, no interest plan, and were able to budget the payments to have it paid off in time.

Her very first komodo dragon.

Month 7

Dear Sophie,

Today you are seven months old. You are growing up so very quickly, sometimes it scares me. You are more interactive every day, grabbing at everything in sight. Your coordination has improved vastly, and you grab hold of hair, necklaces, keys, purse straps, pretty much anything and everything. And it all goes in your mouth. Including your sign.

You are getting better with food. You will eat most of the vegetable purees, especially the 'orange' ones, like squash, carrots and -your favorite- sweet potatoes. You also love puffs, little crunchy things made by Gerber that dissolve in your mouth. I put them in front of you, on your highchair tray. And you reach out with those tiny little fat fingers and grab them by wee little handfuls, and bring them to your mouth. And then - who knows? Some end up in your mouth. Others get stuck to your chin, to your cheeks, or on the underside of your hands. I even found one behind your ear the other day. And most of them fall on the floor, where Janka, in a state of puff-induced bliss, sits waiting to gobble every wayward puff before it hits the ground.
Your relationship with River and Janka was truly unexpected, and is wonderful. River is more sedate, and gives you passing kisses as she walks by your exersaucer. You open your mouth in a wide smile, because, well, you love getting doggy kisses. Janka is constantly excited, and is our little troublemaker who runs insanely all over the house in endless circles, making little clacking noises on the wood floor with her nails. And you sit and watch this nutjob of a dog, running all over the place with a squeaky toy half hanging out of her mouth, and I swear this is the funniest thing you will ever see. Your father and I try all day to make you laugh, your huge belly laugh that echoes throughout the entire house, with hit-or-miss success. That dog, however, makes you screech with laughter, just by being her crazy self.

We moved into the new house this month, right before Christmas. Your room is much bigger, and you don't have share it with the computer anymore. None of your things are on the wall yet, but I'm sure we'll get around to hanging stuff really soon. But for now we go up and down stairs all the time, and your room has carpet so you roll around on the floor. You're not crawling yet, but you get on your hands and knees and rock, and I'm sure you'll figure it out really soon.
We had the whole family over for Christmas. Your Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Ashley came all the way from Illinois to stay with us for about a week. Your Grandpa and Ashley hadn't seen you since you were a teeny tiny baby, and marvelled at how much you'd grown. We also had your Abuelita, Abuelito, your Great-Grandmother, Tia Monica, and your cousins from Maryland over to celebrate and exchange gifts. You got lots and lots of loving from everyone.

You now have six teeth, and you are a chewing, teething monster. At a couple of resteraunts, you have gnawed on tables. Tables! One evening we went out to the Cheesecake Factory, where they have granite table tops, and you bent all the way down to give it a taste. But granite is really, really hard, and you hurt your mouth. And, my dear, that's why we don't chew on tables. Besides the fact that we're not a family of beavers. Who probably still wouldn't chew on granite.

Your favorite sounds to make are 'Yissssh' and 'Yeeeah', so we ask you questions, like 'Is your mommy always right?' and you say 'Yeeeah' and this is how I know you're really really smart.
Oh- and for the record, teeth and nipples are a pretty bad combination. We'll leave that topic for another day.

I love coming home from work. I look forward to that moment when I see you again, after a long day at the office, to your huge smile. Yesterday, when I held you right after coming home, you pushed your nose against mine in an Eskimo kiss, as if to say, 'hi! Welcome home, and I missed you.'
I missed you too, baby.



Just wanted everyone to know, we like the new carseat just fine. Well, after she's all tuckered out from the screaming.
And yes, we also like hats.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

She has teefess. Six whole teefess.

The better to bite you with, my dear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Table service.

Um, hi? I ordered my Ugly Doll with a side of Squeaky Echinodermata Ophiothela, NOT Squeaky Echinodermata Asteroidia. Idiot.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Does your father know what you are doing?

Monday, December 01, 2008

time: (n.) a limited period or interval, as between two successive events.

Month 6

Dear Sophie,
Today you are six months old. Happy half-birthday! This month, you started doing all kinds of fun things. You ate food. So far, you've tried bananas, cereal, avocados, peas, sweet potatoes and pears. And the only thing that you like is the sweet potatoes. Everything else you make faces and push back in your chair away from the spoon or just spit it back at me. Fun times! You also sit in a highchair when we go out to eat (and you throw all your toys on the floor), and you sit in the front of the shopping cart when we go shopping.
And juice! Apple juice is your favorite. The bottles are little enough for you to hold, so we just let you have the bottle and you drink little bits at a time.
You were very good at Thanksgiving dinner, sitting in the highchair we got for your Abuelita's house, playing with your toys and eating your sweet potatoes. You were also very good during Black Friday, when you and I went shopping for deals and steals all over town. So you know what everyone is getting for Christmas, but I know you won't tell.
You are getting so big. You laugh and giggle, and talk to your toys. You blow raspberries and stick out your tongue, and when someone puts their hand over your mouth you say 'ahhh' so that your voice reverberates as they move their hand. You are getting better at sitting, but still fall over a lot. You push yourself up when you're on your stomach, and when you are asleep you often roll onto your side or your tummy. You sleep in your crib all the time now. And when you are cranky and want to be held, you make a 'mamamama' noise that makes me smile. You like our dogs, and love it when they lick you. You hate putting your coat on, but 'cha know, it's winter and it's cold and ya gotta wear one.
It's getting pretty busy around our house. Daddy's trying to finish our new house, I'm getting ready for final exams and everyone's getting ready for Christmas and moving and... whew! But we will always take time. We will make time. Because spending time is important, and it makes a big difference. No matter how busy or hectic it gets, we will always make time. I can't wait for you to get bigger, and look forward to new milestones. I can't wait to hear what your voice sounds like, to see you take your first steps, to teach you to do your own laundry. But at the same time I miss those far away days when you were a tiny little thing content to sleep on my chest and who stayed where I put you.
18 pounds, 1 ounce, 26 3/4 inches.
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