pne: A picture of a six-year-old girl (Amy)

So, the hand-over of Marek to his new foster family was this Tuesday.

It’s been… different without him. Quieter, especially. We’re adjusting to life as it was before him.

As for myself, I seem to be taking it fairly well. Stella seems to be, too, though I don’t know how much of that is “public face”.

She spent a lot of time with Amy in the past couple of days, partly to make up for how little time she had for Amy previously; Amy was at home for Wednesday until Friday. On Wednesday, they went to the deer park together.


In unrelated Amy news, she got accepted to preschool, where she’ll start in August.

I was a bit surprised that the note said that “for your child, attendance at remedial language courses will be mandatory, three days a week”. (I don’t remember the exact wording, but something to that effect.)

I wonder what they based that requirement on: the fact that I speak English? (Does that make her “a child with a background of migration”?) Or that she speaks fairly softly? Stella asked around a bit whether others thought Amy spoke unclearly but, as I gather, nobody thought she had a problem in that regard. (Though my father once said he has difficulty understanding her.)

Eh, we’ll find out soon enough what it is, and whether they still think she needs it after she’s been there a couple of times.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Marek has been waking up at two o’clock in the morning for a while now, and since Stella wants to get him to sleep through the night, she tried to feed him at ten in the evening and wouldn’t feed him until at least four o’clock—so he’d often stay awake for an hour or so until he’d finally fall back asleep.

The other day, Stella said she thought that might be because of a growth spurt; she remembered from when Amy was small that whenever she had a developmental burst, that was preceded by a time of exceptional crankiness, though she’d only recognise such phases in retrospect when she saw the development.

What Marek can do now is turn around from his back onto his side: he’ll grab hold of his feet and then roll over onto his side. If you help him, he can also turn all the way around onto his tummy, but he can’t (yet) do it all the way by himself.


In related news, I try to use some sign language with Marek, and I’ve decided to use basically ASL for that. I got a trial membership at Signing Savvy and use the videos there to learn.

And Amy has taken to that like a fish to water; she’s really good at remembering signs I’ve showed her, even some time ago, and I’ve seen her use the occasional sign to me or to him, too. She seems to treat it as a game, but I still find it interesting.

I imagine she must have inherited my talent for languages.


For a project in kindergarten, all children were supposed to take some pictures: of their home, their favourite food, their family, that sort of thing. So Amy did, too, and they turned out surprisingly well considering that that was the first time she had held a camera in her hands.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

So apparently, the "correct" way to address Marek is as "Marku"—at least in Polish, which still has a vocative.

So yay! I like the vocative case; it and the dual number are probably my favourite grammatical features.

It was also fun to find out that Czech has it, too—by watching an issue of Little Red Tractor on YouTube and comparing the title with what the tractor is called when he's addressed directly.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Stella called this morning and said that Marek's values were good enough that they were letting him come home today!

They had turned off the cortisone last night, which apparently meant that the child was as good as discharged already, and this morning, they said he could go home. So Stella called me and asked me to come with Marek's car seat.

So now all of us are safe at home. And Marek is really quiet; he seems to be happy just lying there in his bouncer without being carried around or fussed with—just as long as nobody's jabbing things up his nose or in his foot!

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Executive summary: better )


After Amy and I left the hospital, we went for a walk in Meyers Park, basically "right next door", at Stella's suggestion. She also said there was a little pony... thingy ("farm" sounds wrong) where you could ride ponies for a small fee.

We saw two girls in riding boots ahead of us and figured they might know where it was, and it was just up the path a bit. And theoretically they were closed on Christmas Day, but they were doing a few rides anyway, subject to the number of volunteers present. So Amy got to ride once around the place on a pony, and was happy as could be about that. Afterwards, we looked at the horses and ponies stabled there.

Then we ate dinner at KFC, and finally came back home.


Unrelatedly, when I connected my satnav to the PC with the USB cable and visited the "My Garmin" Dashboard, it said there was a new firmware revision available. I told it to update, but at about 40%, the Internet connection apparently cut out—at any rate, the progress bar stalled at that position, and shortly afterwards, I got an AIM system message telling me I was signed in at two locations, which typically happens when the Internet connection drops and gets reestablished, especially when it's due to the router rebooting itself.

Now I hope the device isn't completely broken; when I clicked "Cancel", it warned that this may leave my device inoperable. It did act a bit strange after I disconnected and reconnected the USB cable (the display lit up and the battery level meter went away, which makes sense since it was charging and connected to an external power source, but normally it switches to external storage mode when you connect a USB cable and you can't interact with it any more), but eventually switched to storage mode. So... acting slightly weird, but I hope it's still basically OK. *knocks on wood.*

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Marek's in the ICU now, so Stella called to say that she'll be coming home and staying till tomorrow—since she can't sleep in the same room with him now anyway, she sees little point to spending the night in the hospital. So the nurses will have to feed him and let him inhale during the night.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Marek's in hospital right now, probably with pneumonia.

A week or so ago, he got "vaccinated" (is that that the word? They didn't give him dead or disabled germs but instead antibodies) against pneumonia, since preemies are apparently at risk for that (and the shot cost on the order of €1000, apparently; thank goodness insurance paid for it).

On Saturday, he was drinking very little, only about half of what he "should" be, so Stella took him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with bronchitis and discharged hom again, with orders to report back the following day.

So Stella took him back on Sunday (missing Ireen's and Emily's birthday party... probably just as well, since with the snow on the roads, coming back took me an hour and a half and I was glad I just had a sleeping Amy in my car and not a possibly-cranky baby as well), but he seemed to be doing better so he came home again that day.

Then today at physical therapy, he had problems breathing and Stella took him to the paediatrician (where they snuck him in between appointments); then he got taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Stella was only home for a couple of hours this afternoon, and she'll be spending the night there.

If it does end up pneumonia, he'll probably stay in hospital for a week or so, and Stella will probably spend most of that time there with him; the nurses asked her to do so because they're too short on staff to take care of him properly (attend to him when he cries, that sort of thing; I don't think they'd let him die), returning home only for a couple of hours a day. She did say she'd spend the night of the 24th/25th at home, though.

So, we'll see. The antibodies (or globulins or whatever it actually was) will hopefully make his case of pneumonia an easier one, if that is what he has.

Poor chap.

And especially because he's been in hospital so often that they have a hard time getting a blood vessel for an infusion or a blood draw or whatever; much of the likely surface area (hands, head) is already covered in scars.

Marek

Thursday, 17 December 2009 20:13
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

I'm not sure whether I've mentioned this before, and I think I haven't.

Stella has a foster child (Pflegekind) called Marek now, who will be staying with us indefinitely. (Fairly surely at least until the end of January, but quite possibly longer, without a set end—depending on how the mother is doing.)

He's about five months old, but he was born about three months prematurely (at 27 weeks and about 900 grammes/32 ounces), so I tend to reckon he's two months old "net", since that's a better indicator of his progress (or in other words, his progress is more comparable to full-term babies two months old than to those five months old).

He came to use on a day-care basis twice a week or so at first, around the time that his scheduled birth date was, but they had already said that it was possible he might move on to a foster child relationship in the future, and that happened a week or two ago now.

So you might well be hearing more about him in the future.

It's been surprising seeing the progress he makes in a short time, such as gaining quite a bit more control over his hands' movements: he went from flailing around to being able to grasp things in just a week or two. He's also much more awake and alert now than at the beginning.

And we discovered another advantage of nursing compared to bottle-feeding: nursing lets you have one hand free so you can eat yourself while the child is feeding! (Or, if you use a cushion, you can even have both hands free to read a book. But bottle-feeding pretty much needs one hand to hold the child and one hand to hold the bottle.)

He's got some issues related to his premature birth (e.g. having to inhale medicine regularly and go to physical therapy), but he's making good progress and that won't be forever.

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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