6 Things I Love About My 6 Year Old

My sweet little Tristyn Mikaela turns 6 today! Sometimes I can’t even imagine my life before she was in it, and other times, I can’t believe it’s been six whole years since the day she was born!

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What a happy day that was! I went to the hospital to be induced on a Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, she was here! All 7 lbs of her!

Tristyn's First Year

She was such a cute baby, and such an easy going one too, which really worked out for me since I got pregnant with Trini when she was only 5 months old!

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I am so happy to be this little girl’s mommy! In honor of her 6th birthday, I’d like to dedicate a post to her and share with the world (or at least the 10 people in the world that read my blog ;)) 6 things that I love about her.

Her Name

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I hate to start this tribute off with something negative, but because it’s such a part of her personality, I have to go there! We call Tristyn “The Wailer.” All of my girls can be dramatic, but no one gets quite as loud as Tristyn when she’s upset…or excited…or just talking! LOL! When she’s upset, whether it’s because she’s gushing blood from an injury or she just can’t find something she’s looking for, she wails. There’s just no other way to describe it. Imagine long, high pitched, ear piercing moans and shrieks: wails. It’s literally enough to make you want to stick pens in your own ears, but somehow, over time, I’ve learned to tune it out enough to calmly talk to her when she’s upset (instead of putting her out of ear shot until she stops so I won’t lose it). It’s an acquired skill that has come in handy in other situations as well. I can now eat lunch inside the enclosed McDonald’s playground for one thing! LOL! Oddly enough, the name “Tristan” stems from translations of words meaning “noise,” “bold,” “sad,” and “sorrowful.” Coincidence? I think not! LOL! I didn’t like the meaning of the name when I picked it (I named her after Brad Pitt’s character in Legends of the Fall), but man does it suit her!

Her Resilience

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When I got pregnant with Tristyn, I was working full-time as an Assistant Manager at Aldi. My job required a lot of physical activity: lifting, bending, walking, etc. Twelve weeks into my pregnancy, I tore my placenta and had to go on bed rest. I didn’t have any further complications with my pregnancy (other than not being able to work), but she was born with a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). I’ll never forget how terrified I was when the doctor at the hospital told me my baby had a hole in her heart. It didn’t make it any easier when he said there was an 80% it would close on it’s own (that left 20 whole percent that it wouldn’t!), or that the worst case scenario was she’d have to have open heart surgery at one year old. Of course, I had faith that she would be OK, and I prayed like crazy that the hole would close on it’s own, but it was still pretty stressful. We saw a cardiologist once a month to monitor her condition. She never had any issues despite having a “moderate” sized hole in her heart, and by the time she was 6 months old, they couldn’t hear the murmur anymore. At 10 months they confirmed via ultrasound that the hole had closed on it’s own! We were beyond thankful! But the fun didn’t stop there!

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She was diagnosed with Eczema herpeticum when she was 18 months old. We realized pretty early on that she had eczema, since her skin felt like sand paper despite all the lotion I constantly rubbed on her. Then we realized she had herpes since she started getting fever blisters around her mouth, which we had experienced with Taylor quite often during the first four years of her life. What we weren’t ready for was a combination of the two! The first episode was sooo bad. Her entire body was covered in blisters, she couldn’t stop scratching them, and everything I put on them made it worse. I had to take her to the children’s hospital in the middle of the night just to get pain medicine because they didn’t know what else to do. We started seeing a dermatologist after that. The dermatologist put her on a regimen of weekly bleach baths (1/4 cup bleach added to her bath water) and a topical corticosteroid to keep her eczema maintained, as well as an oral antiviral medicine for when her herpes flares up and an antibiotic to cure the infection. For a while, it got much better. Her skin didn’t feel like sand paper anymore, and her herpes was only flaring up once a month or so.

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Towards the end of last year, she started having more outbreaks than normal. We discovered she had mononucleosis after I insisted the doctor investigate. She’s still having multiple outbreaks every month, but not six like she had in November of last year! As bad as the herpes is, as long as we don’t let it go untreated, it doesn’t risk getting infected, which can be life-threatening.

Tristyn asthma

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She also has asthma, which is far scarier to me than anything else we’ve dealt with. Two years ago, my son ended up in the hospital for four days, unable to breathe on his own for two of those (despite a ridiculous amount of medicine). There’s nothing scarier than a doctor telling you they’ve done all they can do and it’s just not helping. Fortunately, in Jules’ case, it just took the medicines an extra long time to start working and the children’s hospital had machines that could force air into his lungs until then. He’s been on maintenance meds and has been fine ever since. With Jules, I didn’t even know he had asthma because I never heard him wheeze and I never saw him struggle to breathe (until it got really bad of course). With Tristyn, she wheezes and struggles, and it scares the crap out of me! I have a stock pile of rescue inhalers, and she takes 2 maintenance meds daily, but sometimes thoughts of the meds not working and my baby not being able to breathe creep in. Thankfully, God has given me the strength to endure. He has given me comfort that I cannot get from anywhere else, not even medicine (and I am one of those people who puts a lot more faith in science and medicine than I probably should). While Tristyn isn’t the only one of my kids with health issues (Jules and Ty both have asthma, and Taylor has chronic stomach issues), she has had the most frequent ones. And she seems totally unphased by it. She takes her meds and probiotics like a champ. She tells me anytime she gets an outbreak (sometimes it’s on her torso or thighs where I don’t really see unless I’m bathing or dressing her, which she’s able to do herself now). She even carries the topical cream we use for her herpes so she can apply it as she needs it. She’s one tough cookie!

Her Brain

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Tristyn is a lot like my oldest daughter Taylor: creative, social, honest (to a fault), and smart. When someone says their kid is smart, they’re usually saying that they “get” things before other kids their age, things like colors, letters, numbers, shapes, math, etc., “school stuff.” Taylor and Tristyn exhibit almost all of the signs (except the speech problems) for dyslexia and ADHD (although their cases don’t seem to be severe by any means), so they struggle in school. It took both of them longer than anyone else in their pre-k classes to memorize the alphabet, recognize and write their letters (including their names), rhyme words, count syllables, and they still both have trouble sounding out words and inverting letters, numbers, and math signs. When I say my girls are smart, I mean they understand how things work. The are both very good at watching someone else do something and then mimicking it.  Most people are highly surprised that they struggle so hard in school because they don’t come across as the type who would. They are both highly observant and well spoken. They could talk to you all day long about stuff they’re interested in, just don’t ask them to take a written test on it. I may not be able to brag about their grades, but I’m so proud of how hard they try and never give up! Despite all the challenges she faces, Tristyn has still learned to read this year in kindergarten!

Her Love For Everyone

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Tristyn, unlike myself, is a people person. She always wants to be around her sisters and her friends. She gets along with everyone she meets and I think it’s because she’s just so welcoming and sweet. She loves the people at church, at school, in our sports groups, and of course in our family. She even loves animals…like all of them (again, my total opposite! LOL!). I may be an introvert and avoid people most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I wish I could be more like Tristyn and love everyone!

What a Great Sister She Is

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Tristyn sisters

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Tristyn and Taylor

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Tristyn is slap dab in the middle of the kids. She has two older siblings and two younger siblings. She may be the middle child, but you’d never know it. She’s really great at being a little sister and a big sister. She’s the youngest in one “set of kids” and the oldest in another. She listens to Jules and Taylor and she looks out for Trini and Ty. I call her “The Ring Leader” because she’s usually the one coming up with the ideas for what The Littles should do next. She’s pretty much Taylor’s mini-me! LOL!

Her Personality

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Tristyn personality

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Tristyn is such a sassy girl! But she’s no princess. One minute she’s putting on my high heeled shoes, grabbing a purse, some sun glasses and a “cell phone” and strutting around the house with her hands on her hips. The next she’s in her underwear rolling around outside in the dirt. She loves to have her nails painted, but she enjoys fishing with her dad too. She’s very outgoing and energetic. She’s always singing and dancing (and not just at the house). She cracks me up! She is such a light in our home and I’m so glad to call her mine!

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Last night, I gave my five year old little girl Eskimo, butterfly, and regular kisses and hugs for the last time. Tonight, I’ll be snuggling with my six year old!

If you have a baby, don’t blink! It really does go by so fast!

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