|Ikey, Benny, Charlie|
As you know, Ikey suffered the most complications from prematurity and from being an identical multiple (double whammy...poor boy), with his vision being one of our longest lingering concerns. We knew from the beginning that blindness was a possibility, and spent months looking for any small clue that he could, in fact, see. Because his nystagmus is almost always present, it's difficult to determine where he's looking and what he actually sees. Structurally, his eye is remarkably healthy (thanks to somewhat-experimental Avastin injections?), so the lead theory behind his questionable vision was a possible delay in the brain. As months passed, we felt 100% sure that he could see, but "how well?" remained uncertain.
I mentioned in an earlier post that Ikey was scheduled for an important eye exam at UW this summer. After more than a year of guessing, we'd finally have answers...ready or not. Prior to this appointment we had long accepted the fact that our precious little boy might have the hardship of visual impairment. Obviously, every parent wants their child to enjoy all experiences of a "normal" life, and it goes without saying that the thought of Ikey not being able to do everything his identical brothers could do was a little heartbreaking. We know, as his parents, that he has many extraordinary qualities that make him unique, but never want him to feel less than anyone or short-changed in life. There's something special about Ikey that you can't quite name, and I never want him to lose that sparkle...particularly due to self-consciousness.
My mom and I sat in a dark room with Ikey during the test, watching his little face on the monitor, his big dark eyes roaming back and forth, wishing for good news but bracing for the worst. Visual stimuli flashed on a television screen while electrodes placed on his head measured his brain's responses. I'm THRILLED to report that the results were excellent. As it turns out, Ikey has 20/30 vision in each eye, which is PERFECT for a baby his age. No need to return for a full year. It's unlikely he'll ever outgrow the nystagmus (and I'm sure at some point he'll be a target for teasing because of it...ouch...that hurts my heart), but the very best news is that despite those wandering eyes, his vision is completely unaffected. Many people have followed the boys' health from the beginning, so we wanted to let you know that this boy sees just fine.
Ikey walked at 19 months and started climbing the same day. He's like a billy goat. Turn your back for five seconds and he's on top of the highest thing in the room. I've found him standing on the kitchen table, climbing head first over the back of the couch, pushing furniture to use as ladders...the boy is utterly unstoppable. He's a first-class rascal, but oh, so funny. That's part of the problem...how can you scold a boy who is SO proud of his accomplishment that he laughs the huskiest little laugh even when in trouble? Ikey pretty much loves life and doesn't see what my problem is...ever. Besides his physical endeavors, he's starting to talk! Mostly one syllable so far, "Ma" "Da" "Pa" "Gone", but also "Uh-oh" within the last week. Ikey loves books, loves to initiate the funniest, wildest games that usually involve raucous laughter, and loves to play outside.
|This was definitely Ikey's idea|
|Shaggy and shaggier|
|Christmastime at Grandma and Grandpa's in Sparta|
Ikey and Benny have always had a special connection. They came home together from the hospital (3 weeks after Charlie), and have remained close ever since. Those two are drawn to one another like magnets...pulling at each other's clothing during mealtimes, fighting over the same toys, kissing each other, and needless to say, in cahoots when it comes to mischief as well.
|Best buds. Obviously we have a lot of fun with empty boxes in our house.|
Benny started walking at 16 months and now runs through the house like a car cornering on two wheels. He is the sweetest boy, but can be quite the instigator as well. Benny is almost always joyful and laughs easily. He's the least shy in public and makes the most sounds. His "talking" cracks me up...jibberish sounding like a tape in fast forward. He's the worst at sharing and turn-taking, but the best at showing love.
|My love bug|
|I know we have a lot of pictures of bare kids, but in our defense, it was a hot summer.|
|Cars from Santa|
Charlie is still our biggest, most intense boy. Like Benny, he walked at 16 months and is talking the most of the three. Charlie will let you know exactly how he feels about something and is my little tattle-tale. Don't get me wrong...he loves to be right by the mischief, but will either tell on the others by running to me with a very wide-eyed "UH-OH!!" or will stand just far enough off to the side, letting the others take the fall for their collective shenanigans. Charlie loves food and loves William. You can always find him stalking someone in the kitchen or following William around, copying his every move.
|Look at that pretty face...probably the closest I'll ever get to a little girl :)|
|Big boy loves his Cheerios|
|I love his curly dark hair...post swimming or bath we call him our "big fat Greek baby." Doesn't it look like he should have a toga and a little laurel wreath?!?|
|Playing in Henry's rainforest. It must have looked like fun because Ikey and William both joined in after this was taken, causing a small baby brawl.|
|Carhartt makes the BEST boy clothes. I LOVE Farm & Fleet.|
|Group bath time is a blast! No one wants to take a bath alone anymore (except me). This picture reminds me of a Shel Silverstein poem from when I was little "Too Many Kids in this Tub!"|
|65 degrees on Thanksgiving...in Wisconsin!!! What a blessing! We were able to play with the kids outside and keep them out of the kitchen!|
|We're NOT going for the "Country Christmas" look! Two lengths of vinyl fence from Menards and some zip ties. THIS is how you keep triplets from tearing down a Christmas tree. Notice the bubble-wrapped ends to avoid trips to the ER.|
|Go Big Red! Oddly enough (given the decibel level in our house), Benny's a little intimidated by the megaphone's volume!|
|The boys loooove Uncle! My turn! My turn!|
|Fighting for attention|
|You know your standards have lowered when the boys spill a box of Kix on the floor and you let them "clean it up" themselves.|
|Apparently William didn't mind helping. Awesome.|
Finally, here are a couple video clips for you to see the big boys in action. As you can see, they are busy and LOUD! Crazy house!
I think that brings you up to speed on our 3 wild men! More to come in the New Year...it's one of my resolutions. Happy 2013!