Weaning Day 21

Wonderfully there isn't much to report today.

We went to breakfast this morning at the main hotel. Ordering was as hard as ever, they were as rude as ever and the walk through the woods was as magical as ever. They could have sworn I ordered bacon in my omelet! hmmm (I even apologised for being rude yesterday).

Nissim ate so much food this morning even we were amazed.

Orla, Ben and Lucy came to visit and feed the animals this arvo. Lucy is having a hard time with eating. Not sure what they are going to do. I am glad we are here for them and that they are here for us.

Tova isn't eating much, but she is eating. I have been giving her some water in her PEG about twice a day at the moment as she has been so sick and she drinks so little. Other than water she doesn't 'eat' with her PEG at all.
She is thin, even her anklet is falling off and her size 1 trakies are so big that when she stands up they fall off. HOWEVER, she is happy, energetic and in good spirits.

Feeding Tova takes up our entire day at the moment (still with a syringe not spoon). We feed her anything from hourly to every three hours at the most. I know it is going to be very hard to keep that up at home when Yuval returns to work, but I would much rather be doing that than tube feeding my princess every 4 hours with no end in sight (please remind me that I said that when I am going crazy at home).

Yuval and I are counting down the days till home. We will be back this time next week and we are so very much looking forward to it. There is so much we love about home, lovely water, sunshine, friends, family, our house, gym, and so much more.


Weaning Day 20

Tova is back to her new normal self. Grumpy, frustrated, demanding and happy! She has even been eating with some persuasion. Yuval and I are so relieved!

Nissim, who had stopped falling so much this past week, made up for it today. It is horrible to see him fall on his head so much, a helmet is the next option.

The weekend in Graz with a healthy Tova and an as always happy Nissim! What to do with ourselves? Everything in the universe (universe of Austria) is closed on Sunday, so anything we want to do that involves consuming has to be done today, Saturday.

I thought that finally I would get a chance to do some retail therapy! I went to have a warm shower (never any hot water here) but alas there was only freezing water. I called the main hotel who after much fussing around I ended up hanging up on (perhaps I am a bit fragile after such a crap week?) - I just wanted a shower! Eventually Yuval convinced me to get dressed with out a shower (I hate that feeling)..

The mall was ok, it was nice to see something different even if we didn't buy anything (other than food). The kiddies were so well behaved, I wish they were like that when I went to Chaddy (in Melbourne).

NZ start their journey home today. They left us heaps of food and odd n ends that they didn't want to take back. I suppose that we will be leaving an array of things at the end of the week too. It would be great if new weaning families moved in before we leave, so we can donate our 'extra' stuff.
We are going to have lots of extra room in our bags now that we don't have to cart around all Tova's PEG milk!

I am so excited about things being good again.
Tova has been loving what my friend Bec (hi Bec) calls 'magic pudding'! Chocolate is the key! And fruit, Tova loves fruit..

Perhaps we shall do the old 'walk thru the woods for breakfast' thing tomorrow morning. I am thinking that they might not be so happy to see me after I was rude to them today. Oops. Sorry my Yuvie, maybe I killed breakfast?

A big thank you to all the supportive emails while we have been sick and scared!

Weaning Day 19

Well thank God! Tova seems to be feeling much better today. No blood test because it is obvious that she is improving. Spots are going and Tova seems to be coming back to us!

Thank God!

Tova has spent the last 7 days sleeping! The next 7 days she is going to have to work hard as most of the other families have gone home now, freeing up the physio and OT; look out Tova, therapy twice a day!!!! That is what you get for taking a week off!

For me it has been a week of worry and sickness. My mind went to stupid places and I was feeling quite down.
Yuval and I both get down when T is down, and up when she is up.
We are all feeling up today!!!

We rushed to the hospital this morning for our 9.15am appointment with Eva (and even made it almost on time) to show off our almost normal Tova. Eva was impressed too!!

We even went to Play Picnic today. Tova LOVED it, I put her on the floor she smiled from ear to ear.

Of course Nissim enjoyed himself, first thing he did was polish off a plate of cake (4 pieces). I am so proud of his strength and his happiness. What a little champ! He is such a delight. We are enjoying him so much.

The NZ baby had his PEG out today! Wow, well done Ollie and happy birthday!

Next week it is just us and Lucy from the original group, not sure of other families there full time.

Weaning Day 18

Today... Pretty much a completely crap day. This is quite possibly our lowest point so far.
Tova has more spots today, much worse than yesterday.
I am feeling scared, angry, helpless, scared... She is still tired and feeling sick. She has a sore throat and a cough.

I wish we had never come here (But in reality I wouldn't have done anything differently). Very confusing.

Little princess Tova didn't eat anything for breakfast, we think her throat hurts too much and she generally feels too sick to eat.

Back to PEG feeding to give her the power to kick this bug in the f*#*ing arse! OMFG, I don't want this to be happening. I want Tova to never suffer again. She has suffered enough in her little life. Stupid sickness! Leave my baby alone idiot virus!

After a second opinion on the spots we are slightly reassured that they are 'only' to do with the virus she has..... hmmm..
Eva was with the doctor when he examined Tova, it was nice to hear her common sense and compassionate words. She is extremely lovely to Tova, talking to her in a soothing way (in German) and showing us that she truly cares.

Tova was admitted to the hospital as an inpatient today as she isn't improving fast enough to make everyone 'happy'.
After another blood test coming back 'normal' we all decided that Tova would be better off at home with us. No admission. What a ride!

We are home now with our spotty Tova (spots aren't C.pox looking, more rash like).

The NZ baby has a fever and has been admitted for the night. Happy birthday for tomorrow!

Basically it has been a week from hell and we are tired, scared and sick of wishing that tomorrow will bring us new hope.

Finally this evening there has been a small change in Tova, she is less vacant and a touch more focused. We even got some magic smiles from her. Is she coming back to us? All of a sudden PEG feeding isn't so bad!!
We haven't been feeding her full PEG feeds, just what we feel is enough to give her some fight.

She still isn't wanting to eat more than a couple of mills at a time.

Today has been emotional. The entire week has been emotional. The entire TRIP has been emotional.

New ticket booked for a little bit later than original. Home, we miss you!


Weaning Day 17

I woke up this morning feeling heavy and drained, however this is a billion times improvement to how I felt all of yesterday. I felt grateful for the relief.

Tova is still feeling sick and today is covered in spots, not chickenpox looking spots, more like an allergy rash. We took her to the doctor, who agreed the spots aren’t anything to worry about.
Tova had another blood test day. She is normal according to her blood.

She isn’t normal according to Yuval and me. Today is her 3rd day of not eating much and 5th day of being sick.
All Tova does is sleep and be floppy, it is scary and upsetting.

We gave her milk via the PEG today as she has only had about 50 mills of food over the last two days. Hopefully the PEG milk will give her the energy to fight the bug she has.

The doctors have asked us to stay for an extra week, so there will be a week 4 for us. I have to change the plane ticket. It is hard because I am missing home so much, but of course, I wouldn't have it any other way. This is the best place for Tova to be! We are lucky.

I weighed Tova today, she is now 7.83kg. Perhaps that is because of all the work the laxative did the other day (and that she isn't eating).

Nissim is great, though he is teething with 4 teeth at once, last night he woke about 5 times. Tova also woke many times. Yuval and I are tired.

CNN has finally come back, giving us one TV channel in English.

Seriah the princess I wrote about last week seems to have vanished, not sure if she was eating.

Lucy, the Irish girl still isn't eating, she has however started drinking a fraction of chocolate milk. My heart breaks when I see her and I find it hard not to cry. She looks so sweet and innocent and thin. It will be worth it though, she will eat and no one will ever look back!

The NZ family are going home on Sat morning (the day after his first birthday), with an eating baby.

There are three new families in the group. I haven't been in the picnic the last few days to know much about them. One family are Brittish/Bulgarian and their child doesn't have a tube, but the doctors at home are saying that is the next step, not if Graz has anything to do with it! Incredibly the mumma found out about the website http://tubefedkids.ning.com/
last Sunday and started Graz weaning program on Monday.

Mum, we are missing you and all your help.
Playzone girls, we miss you!

I hope, as I do every night, that tomorrow will give us back our normal Tova! PLEASE!
She did manage to eat a meal tonight, about 60mils all together perhaps. So, that is a great sign.

Thanks for all the well wishes too. As I keep saying, we are pretty lonely here, so all emails and messages are very helpful and appreciated!

No photos again, as all I have been doing is worrying.

Weaning Day 16

This is the worst week ever.
We are very worried about Tova.
I am sick with what Yuval had the other day.
We didn't go anywhere or do anything today. Tova and I have been in bed all day.
The boys just went to the shop and got me some lollies and Tova some chocolate pudding. Thank god for the boys, Miss T actually ate a little bit of the pudding.
Please god let this be a sign of things going back to good.

Weaning Day 15

Little Tova is sick and has a temperature. No wonder she has been so flat all weekend.
We also asked the nurse to give T a suppository, it worked, but Yuval and I suspect there is more in there. She is now on Panadol and laxatives. I want her to be well and feeling fantastic. My heart breaks when I see her suffer!

She is sleeping now. All she wants to do is sleep. Last night she slept for 13 hours.
Hopefully sleep will fix everything.

We went to physio this morning, we had another lady (not Eva), who is equally as lovely. Tova fell asleep in Physio while they did some cranial therapy.
We missed Music therapy.
In OT the therapist put T in the swing but Tova just couldn't get into it, she ate and fell asleep.
We canceled Speech and went and had her temperature taken, that is when we found out she was sick (not just adjusting to eating).
So home we went. No play picnic today, well Nissim went in for about 10 mins before we went home.

We are giving Tova magic water in her PEG as instructed by the doctors. The doctors aren't worried.

This evening Tova isn't interested in food. But she isn't as hot as earlier. The laxative has worked. I really hope that tomorrow she is perfect!

Einstein is on, she is almost enjoying watching it.

The sun is shining today. The snow is sparkling and looks pretty.

Weaning Day 14

Sunday in Graz means boredom, at least that is what it means during the winter with no car and two babies.
Not sure what is up with little T but she is tired again today. She spent the night in bed with us pushing me around as she likes to sleep sideways. Maybe she is tired from bugging me all night.

During the night Yuval gave her some magic water via her PEG, first PEG use in a week. She settled after that, but woke up this morning sad. I just gave her some laxative via PEG (while she is sleeping), maybe that is her problem.. We wait and see.

I am pretty ready to come home. The snow, once beautiful and exciting, has now become cold and restrictive. It is hard to do anything because it is so cold out side and difficult to take the pram through the snow. Would be nice to have a babysitter so Yuval and I could go do something fun.
I know we aren't here for fun, but it helps one to stay positive.

It isn't all bad, we are warm and up here at the guest house the falling snow looks pretty.
We fed the animals this afternoon, Nissim and Tova like watching that. The deer thingy got upset with a goat and they hit horns, it made a great clanking sound (like two ninja poles).
Yuval tried to 'ski', fell over and became freezing, that was the end of that.

Both babies are asleep now at 6pm, I must be dreaming.

I hope Tova is back to normal tomorrow. We worry when she is so flat, it is almost as if she is depressed. She has eaten a good amount of food today, which is a relief, she is so clever. I discovered that she LOVES pureed peach with passion fruit, she ate about 100grams of it. I love watching her eat, the little mouth looks so cute with food in it and the little lips smaking together. Yum, I could eat HER!!

I am happy it is the end of the day. Looking forward to tomorrow and all that it will bring.


Weaning Day 13

Not the easiest day.

All the babies stayed up way past their bed times last night, which was annoying as we all love our time out around here. Tova woke up tired this morning and wouldn't snap out of it. So after play picnic she had a blood test, didn't cry at all (I sang to her). The blood tests came back all normal to my relief.

Yuval also woke up feeling tired and also couldn't snap out of it. He and Tova are both having a shluff now we are home (it is about 3pm). Nissim and I are eating everything.

Breakfast wasn't it's normal fun self. The grumpy waitress was on duty today and when we asked for 4 orange juices (there were 5 adults, so not really a big ask), she only brought us 1, when we asked the owner who speaks English to ask the waitress in German for 4, again she only brought us another 1. The same thing with the eggs, and the few that she did bring were still raw.. hmm.. I ended up not having breakfast; not really a problem as I haven't stopped eating the entire time we have been away.

Play picnic was uneventful, Tova had no energy, Nissim was asleep in the pram and I was worried something was wrong. Tova ate, but not as much as normal (we all have those days apparently). Anyway, her blood test shows that she is a normal healthy little girl.

It was nice being reassured by Marguerite that everything was ok.

We got a taxi from the hospital to home as Yuval was feeling like all his energy had been sucked out of his body (Marguerite said 'it is just Shabbas', perhaps she is right).

We possibly won't have the PEG taken out here in Austria, not because Tova isn't a superstar, just because it is a long flight home with allot of time adjustments once home too. No big deal, it will come out sometime in the near future.

Tova had a big sleep this afternoon, I am hoping that doesn't mean a very late night as I am ready for bed now at 7pm, Yuval is already asleep. I have a feeling this is going to be a long night. Even Baby Einstein doesn't work these days with our new Tova.

Nissim is a good boy and fast asleep.


Weaning Day 12

The simple fact is that Tova eats food only with her mouth. She has NOTHING via PEG!!! Is this a dream? Miss T is maintaining her weight (even if it is a low weight), she was something like 8.10 today, Nissim is quite possibly 9 point something. Yuval and I are probably 9 point something more kilos than when we left Melbourne, I had to get Yuval to help me do up my jeans this morning.. hehe.. Fat!

Tova eats and drinks with her mouth, like the rest of us! I know I just said that, but holy cow, I might just be saying it over and over again for the next ages to come! If we had stayed in Aus it would have taken years and years for her to eat. My brain doesn't understand and I have no words for my lack of comprehension how the rest of the world don't have eating clinics. Seriously it isn't complicated. Come on Australia, you are renovating the RCH, why not include a weaning clinic?

So our second week hasn't been harder than our first (thank god). There are families that are having it very hard this week. I feel so much of their pain and admire their strength. I haven't seen anyone cry in public (I have been close on a daily basis).

We had lots of therapy today, PT (with our to-be-kidnap-victum Eva), Speech (quite good today), not OT (she is sick) and play picnic.
In play picnic today, I sat back and watched. I was sitting with the Irish mumma, Orla, mum of Lucy, they are having a tough week and Orla is amazingly strong (at least in front of me). Yuval was being magic with Tova as usual and she ate heaps.
Nissim made his record amount of mess, he went to every single bowl and plate and experimented with spilling, tasting and touching. He trashed the place!

We are going to play picnic again tomorrow (sat), recommended by the doctors as Marguerite wasn't there today and would like to talk to us tomorrow. Perhaps she will talk to us about removing the PEG? We can only hope.

One little boy left today as he is eating perfectly. I think he is a local (from Europe at least).

Next week is our last week.
We are starting to miss home.
The only thing we have bought so far is food, so anyone expecting presents, sorry, all we have to show for this trip are our new larger sizes and an eating Tova.

We will probably come home with a Tova eating from the syringe and take some time to transition to only using a spoon to eat. That is ok, the goal of eating has been met! Tova eats!!!

We are going for breakfast with the NZ family tomorrow morning. It is even more fun with them and even more eggs ordered!!

Home in just over a week I suspect. Ahh, no more hotel cleaners doing most of my house work!

Tova eats!


Weaning Day 11

Day 11 already, that went fast.
Breakfast in the main hotel was fun. Between us we ate 7 eggs. The staff always look at us a bit funny when we order so many. There isn't really much else to eat, there is usually a small buffet which has some fruit (the standard of the fruit isn't what we are used to in Oz), cake, cheese, yogurt and ham; so eggs it is.

On the walk back through the woods Nissim fell asleep in Yuvals arms (no pram access along the track in the forest) and remained asleep when he was put in his cot. So Tova and I went to play picnic alone. It was fun to walk to the hospital and back alone, the hill was a bit hard, but not too bad as there was only one baby in the pram.

Play picnic was good, Tova ate a little with the spoon and lots via syringe (close to a jar of baby food). She also had a good go of the sippy cup with water.

Tova has become more demanding (and loud) and has made quite a few changes since eating (developmentally), Hannes (one of the specialists) said that she has to discover making her own fun. We have spent so much time and effort doing so much for her because she has needed it, that our next challenge is to help her help herself.

All the other children are making progress. I think one already has his PEG out. We look forward to that day and hope it comes very soon! It all still seems so unbelievable.

When Tova and I got home Nissim had only just woken up, giving Yuval a nice break while we were gone. I don't remember ever spending so much time with another adult in my life. Yuval and I have been together 24 / 7 for over 2 weeks or is it 3? It has been good, we are a good team. However, it is always nice to have some personal space.

Today I asked about how the weaning program started. Apparently it was Marguerite who started it because of a child in the hospital (about 20 years ago) who wasn't eating and therefore tube fed, she weaned the child and that was the start... That simple. The hospital realised the need for it. The rest of the world will follow for sure! Eventually!

Tomorrow we have more therapy and play picnic, we might cancel speech again tomorrow (we canceled today) because we have been so spoiled at home with our speech therapist Mary, no one else can compare.

There hasn't been any new snow, but the old snow doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It is still freezing out there and very hot inside.

No photos of play picnic today, I didn't feel like it. There are photos of the kitty cat that lives here, he has become my new mate (even slept on my bed, and rolled in the snow for me) as I miss my cat lots, and Zev even a little bit. I hope they are coping with the heat in Melbourne.

Nissim needs to stop falling off everything before I kill him. He is the clumsiest boy in the world, I can't believe he doesn't have a brain injury from all the head crashes.

We are all pretty happy as Tova is doing so well. Our second week seems easier than our first week, I hope it stays that way.
Tova lost about 10grams since yesterday, I'm not worried, I think it is just because she ate earlier than usual before the weighing.

Tova is eating so well. What a brilliant girl!

Weaning Day 10

This place is incredible. The entire place looks like magic fairy land, with white lab coated foreign speaking people that cast spells on children whom are PEG fed.
Lucy is one of the three older kiddies that simply refused to eat. Lucy wouldn't even touch food, until today. Today this amazing little girl ate 8 spoons of baby food! She has some very proud family today, my eyes filled with tears when they told me.

Tova hasn't had any PEG feeds since Sunday night. She is getting better eating with a spoon, today she ate a good sized portion of mash and gravy in the play picnic (yep Beck, we have LOTS of washing each day).

Her weight today was 10g more than yesterday.

The doctors cooked pancakes for the parents today, Nissim thought he was a parent. He had about 10, no kidding! People have been pointing at his tummy, because it is MASSIVE, he is such a little clown.
He has been falling over allot the past few days, today he even managed to fall off nothing and hurt himself, not sure what happened, but he just kinda plonked on the floor. Poor little man.

Tova had a bit of a hard night last night and woke a few times. We aren't used to that, so we are all very tired today.
She is allowed to eat 24/7, meaning, if she is hungry at 2am, someone has to get up and feed her.. Maybe the PEG wasn't so bad.. hehe, only kidding of course. Eventually she will eat enough so that she sleeps through the night (perhaps tonight).

We only have play picnic tomorrow, so we will go to the main hotel for breakfast, that is always fun and chaotic. It is nice to have to walk for breakfast and then home again after eating too much.
It is all about food!!!

Tova eats!

Weaning Day 9

Miss T has put on 30 grams!! Tomorrow I suspect she will have put on more. She is eating HEAPS!
I knew we would get Tova eating, but I didn't know it would be so fast and relatively easy. Maybe only steps forward from now on and an easy second week? Let's hope so.
We still need to introduce the spoon as the only eating method, but for starters she is doing great things eating from a syringe.
For dinner tonight she had an entire jar of baby food (approx 100mills) and for second dinner another one a few hours later.

Not much else to report. Nissim is cute as ever, Yuval is wonderful as ever. It is still freezing in Graz. I think our pram is going to fall apart by the time we leave here, it wasn't designed for snow.

Thanks again for the emails, I get excited each day to see if I have new emails. It is a bit lonely here with no friends to visit or gym to attend. I miss understanding everyone and wish I listened more in German class at school. Yuval is still inventing his own version of German and I am sure he will be speaking it for months to come to bless the ears of everyone back home.

Enjoy the photos of much the same.

Weaning Day 8

Nissim is almost a walking boy. He has been transitioning for the past week or so and now mostly walks with the occasional crawl. He does lots of falling still, but more coordinated falling than a few months ago. He has also started to bite everything including me, mostly me actually. People have commented that he is a happy boy and he gets lots of laughs from his audience and fans. It is nice to see him so happy.

We had an early start today, we were late.
Physio, Occupational therapy and Speech. Music therapy was canceled. Of course there was the play picnic at 12 too.
Physio with Eva was fantastic. Eva is a remarkable therapist and person. Apparently Tova and Nissim (Nissim is almost always included in therapy) speak fluent German, as they understand every word Eva says.
Eva has a special way with Tova, firm yet compassionate. We would like to take her back to Australia with us (we would have to fight the NZ family for her first though).

Tova has been in great spirits all day, almost her normal self. Big news is that she maintained her weight over the weekend. Friday she was 8.12 today she is 8.12! This confirms that she is eating. Tonight we give her NOTHING via the PEG, we gave her 50 mills of water and 50 mills of milk last night.

Eva showed us how to feed Tova with just one of us. Much easier than the crazy process we have had to do together every two hours. Perhaps now we can take it in turns, all though, Yuval seems to have taken the biggest role in feeding Tova at the moment. I suspect that is why Nissim has been a bit jealous; he had become accustomed to being Yuval's number 1 man!

Seriah still isn't eating, but walked cautiously into the play picnic and picked up a chocolate today. Oh and that reminds me, Nissim stole a chocolate off a baby today, and tried to take the sandwich from the NZ mummy.. he is so funny.

Yuval and I have bought more food. We are all eating heaps, that is the idea. Apparently babies of dieting parents take longer to eat than those of piggie parents. This is why Tova is eating so fast!

So, Tova is eating! From a syringe, but eating! We will slowly (or quickly) move to using a spoon, but who really cares how she eats.

Weaning Day 7

Today has been good.

We went for breakfast at the main house today. It is a fun walk through the woods in the snow. We can't take the pram so we carry a baby each. The owner of the hotel is always happy to see Nizo and gives him a gift each time we see him.

Again today was a focus on Tova and getting her to eat. We didn't do much else. However, the day has gone pretty quickly and Tova is a happy little girl.

Both Yuval and I are feeling much less stressed as we both get a hang of the rather involved feeding Tova Process.
We lay Tipi on Pillows, I hold her head and sing and Yuval squeezes small amounts of pureed food from a syringe (3 mill) into the little mouth. This is working very well.
Tova has had about 30mills of food every 2 or 3 hours. We also spend time playing with spoons of food and the sipi cup. She lets us know when she is finished by crying and trying to get away. We don't force her.

I made mashed potato for dinner and some fish, Nissim loved it. I was being a piggie with a massive dessert spoon of potatoes about to put it in my mouth when a little Tova (whom I was holding) leaned forward and took a mouth full. WTF? This is the first time Tova has ever eaten anything I have made and the first time to take a mouth full. Who is this eating child? Truly amazing.
I feel like my mind is playing tricks on me and for every good thing I keep reminding myself that we are in a roller coaster and who knows what tomorrow will bring. The hospital team have said that the second week is very hard and for every step forward there are usually two steps back.

When I bathed Tova this evening I nearly vomited from seeing how thin she is. She is eating, but not enough to sustain her weight.

Last night we waited for Tova to fall asleep and then gave her some magic water and a small feed of pediasure via PEG. I think we may do the same tonight, even though for dinner Tova had about 30 mills of water (via Mouth) and 50 mills of puree veggies (via Mouth).
I am sure that after Marguerite hears how well Toki is doing she will tell us to stop the night feed again tomorrow night.

Tova has a new game with Yuval now, she demands to be put in her high chair to play food games. Food seems to have become something fun for her. Wow, what a relief.

The NZ family upstairs are also amazed at the progress of their little bubba, who is also eating little amounts.

This entire week has been unbelievable. I can't believe we are in the snow in Austria. The other side of the world from home.


Weaning Day 6

Snow, snow, snow, snow and more snow.
Baileys on snow.

I have had fun wandering around in the woods (snow up to the top of my boots) taking pictures and feeding the farm animals apple.

Nissim hates the snow, and shoes. He cries if I put shoes on him and cries if I put him in the snow. I have a fantastic picture of him with shoes on and in the snow! Not happy at all! I am mean! hehe.

Yuval and I haven't bought anything in Graz so far, other than a massive amount of food. I hope to change this and eventually go to the indoor shopping center for some retail therapy. We may go to Vienna one weekend with the NZ family. This all depends on Miss T and how she is feeling.

Nissim is enjoying watching TV in German! He is also an expert volume controller and channel changer.

No hospital today. It is a nice break not having to schlep through the snow with the double pram. Nice not having to talk to anyone too. Today has been a focus on Tova at home.

Tova has actually opened her mouth for water today. Astounding. She has also been in a great mood, laughing and playing with her Aba. She has eaten about a teaspoon of pureed food every 2-3 hours today and had quite a few sips of water. It is mind blowing to see her actually open her mouth for water and put her lips around the sippy cup.
Even with all these positive things happening, today has been hard. Tova is very skinny. I keep thinking to myself 'What the fu#k are we doing, and by choice?'.

I got an email from a friend today that reminded me of when we watched Tova learn to breath in the NICU. That took five and a half months and was exhausting, yet learn to breath she did (thanks Laura)!
I remember when Tova was taken off the tube and put on CPAP, we were so proud and happy, only to be crushed a few hours later when she had to be intubated again. This eating process is right up there with that. We worry now because food sustains life and we are depriving her of that. But, yes we know the success rate this Graz clinic has and are confident we won't bring their stats down.

I am also anxious to see them break Seriah (the princess that can't even have food touch her). She is completely normal in every other way, not delayed in her development or anything, just a fruitloop when it comes to food. I just can't see how they will get her eating.

Again I have to thank everyone that has written to me. The emails I am getting are helpful and very much appreciated.

So now I drink my Baileys on snow and relax as my children go to sleep.


Weaning Day 5

A new velvety blanket of snow greeted us this morning, and to Yuval's delight, it was still snowing. It actually snowed for the entire day and is still snowing now in the evening. I just went outside to take some night shots and the snow has become so deep it is up to the top of my snow boots!

Nissim is living off chocolate, cake, candy and biscuits. He had never eaten any of these foods before Austria. I hope it isn't hard to get him back on track once we get home.

Tova had Physio with possibly one of the most incredible physiotherapists in the world, Eva. That was a great session. She got Tova to eat about 10 mills of pureed fruit. She also was concerned about Tova not eating anything so ordered a blood test. OT next and then we went to speech therapy. It is incredible having therapy every day.

The blood test was a finger prick, it wasn't as bad as I imagined.

The specialists were concerned with Tova's lack of energy and gave her 150mils of energy water in her PEG, and fed her another 10 or so mills of pureed fruit (via mouth). Tova fell asleep on the picnic floor.

She had a second blood test done.

Comparing blood tests showed that Tova was feeling particularly crap in the morning and the magic water in her PEG had made her feel much better in the afternoon.

We have some magic water for the weekend and if we want to we can decided to give her a night feed (PEG) of milk. I think we will.

Our new plan of action is to use a little 4 mill syringe filled with her puree and slowly get her to eat about 3 syringes every 2 to 3 hours (via mouth). This seems to be working so far. It is all about trial and error.

It is a pretty horrible feeling, but we know that in about 3 weeks our blog will read 'PEG out, Tova eats! Coming home!', so it is worth it.

Thank you again to everyone who is emailing and facebooking us with such support! We all appreciate it.

Not sure about going to shull tomorrow. The snow makes everything difficult with no car. It was nice having someone say 'Good Shabbas' to us in the hospital (Jewish doctors).

Most parents are looking exhausted already and it has only been 5 days. Next week it is supposed to get harder. They say that it is 1 step forward and 2 steps back. But by the end of the three weeks, it is an eating baby!

There are rumors that Australia will be the next country to have this clinic!!

Yuval has been eating cups of snow with cordial. He is in much better spirits today. We all are after Tova having magic water and little amounts of food. Thanks to Eva the physio.

There is a long road to go.

My husband and my kids are incredible!

Weaning Day 4

It feels like we have been here for all eternity. It is cold, dark, slushy and wet. Yesterday the snow was beautiful on the roads, today it just looked dirty and got in my way. I don't mind it on the trees and in gardens, it looks beautiful there, but it was annoying to have to try push the pram and walk through it.

My soul is having a bit of a headache today. I knew that starving my child would be hard, I mean I knew those words, and I had said those words many times in preparation for this process. But now I feel them.

Tova has eaten tiny amounts of food and little sips of water today, but we can see her energy levels going down. She still has smiles for us, but she isn't the same. She hasn't lost too much weight, about 200 grams. Nissim is heavier than her now.

Yuval has had a very hard day today.

I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the specialists are very happy with Tova. They say she will eat. She is ready!

Tova isn't getting any PEG feeds tonight. Her last PEG feed was last night at 8pm. Tonight after she goes to sleep she is allowed to have up to 200 mills of water with sugar in it. That is it!

They are lucky they have a 97% success rate or I would be on the first flight home.

The hospital specialists are amazing and supportive. We are lucky to be here!

Nissim had fun as usual eating everything we don't want him to eat. He again was complimented by the specialists who said he was worth an entire team of specialists! He is amazing. Such a cute little man. His walking is getting much better too.
Nissim made a friend with a baby girl his age today, they met some clowns and laughed together (photos below).

The walk up the hill to the house is getting easier every day. The goats that bleat at us at the top are getting louder and more desperate for us to feed them, they are so funny looking. I will take some pics soon and upload them.

Tova is in bed watching Einstein, her favorite show.

It is a few hours later, Tova can't sleep because she is too hungry. I can't give her sugar water till she is asleep.

Yuvie and I just tried to feed her, she isn't really interested. She had a few sips of water.
I just gave her 40 mils of sugar water (PEG) to settle her. I hope she sleeps now.

Yuvie and I have swapped moods now. I was strong and happy today and Yuvie was falling apart. I am the fally one now and he is feeling fine!

Good times!

I am sure Tova thinks we are idiots, she is telling us what she wants, we have done it a billion times before, yet for some reason, unknown to her we have all gone stupid.

She is sleeping.

Ok, so after a peaceful night of sleep Tova has woken in a good mood. She had a tiny sip of water, but isn't interested in eating.

There is a fresh blanket of snow out side. And it just started to snow. This is our first snow during the day. It looks beautiful.

I hope today isn't going to be as hard as I imagine it to be.

Weaning Day 3

Jan 6th  2010

We woke up to a silent and motionless snowy white public holiday in Graz. Waking up and looking out the window felt like someone had been up all night wrapping the world in magic white velvet, waiting for someone to go outside and unwrap the amazing present that lay beneath. I went out first, well actually I was second, I found the fluffy kitty cat sitting on the stairs waiting for someone to let him in. The snow was pure and other than kitties paw prints, untouched. Stunning.
Yuval enjoyed touching the fluffy cold snow for the first time and the kiddies were pretty much indifferent.

We offered Tova food and water (via mouth) for breakfast. I think she had some sips and ate a little. It is really hard to tell as lots gets spat out. But she is letting us put food IN HER MOUTH! That is incredible.

The NZ family and the Sibony family wandered off through the snow white forest to the main hotel (it is about a 5 minute walk up the back of the property and literally through the forest) for breakfast. Nissim was his usual self and ate everything, this was his third breakfast for the day (and it was only 9am). It was a lot of fun and really nice to have a talk with the NZ family. Oh and on the way Yuval fell over in the snow holding Nizo. No one was hurt and it was kinda funny.

Play picnic was at 12. Both babies slept most of the walk to the hospital which was cute (see pic).
It is simply incredible to see the dramatic changes in many of the children. It has only been 3 days and other than cutting down feeding via the tube, NOTHING has been done, yet so much has happened. I can't understand how this extremely simple and amazingly effective process can't be done in Australia. There is nothing fancy about the hospital, the picnic is just done on the floor of an an empty room on bed sheets. Anyway..

Yuval and Tova sat down at the picnic and did their thing. The head doctor, Margureite was completely impressed by Yuval's brilliant way with children and told him he shouldn't be working with machines, his calling in life is to work with children! He is a fantastic dad, my kids are VERY lucky.

Tova has been astounding with food. She ate today for sure. Slowly, slowly it is happening. She isn't eating like Nissim yet, but she is on her way!

Today she hasn't had any PEG feeds. Her next PEG feed is at 8pm tonight while she is asleep. We now have to hide anything and everything tube related around the hotel, she isn't to know about any of it anymore! OMFG I have this overwhelming feeling that Tova is actually really going to eat, like for real. Also, she had real sips of water today too. This is madness! How can this be so simple? There has been not one tiny second of suffering... Hopefully it will stay this way! And to think that some really f*$#ing stupid therapists in Australia (not ones we see now) have said that Tova will never eat. IDIOTS! Scary to think these people are telling other parents that their kids will never eat and those families actually believe that to be true. I am glad we didn't fall for that nonsense!

Oops ranting...

The little princess I have previously mentioned, who hates food touching her was holding a piece of cake today. She wasn't actually eating it, but holding it is good. Apparently when she checked in she introduced herself to the doctors as "the princess that will not eat". She isn't tube fed, but she has never in her life eaten any solid food, she has only ever had small bottles of milk and uses dummies as a substitute. Today the doctors took all her dummies away, she got so mad she bit her self and is now covered in band-aids. Even though she is somewhat nuts she is absolutely adorable.

Nissim was too full from all his breakfasts to eat much today. Just one chocolate. He had fun watching other children play with food.

Well, we spent some time aimlessly wandering around in the snow then back to the Hotel as everything is closed in Graz on a public holiday and cafes aren't much fun as everyone smokes in them.

Margurite said there is a service at shull on Sat morning. Perhaps we will go to that.

I hope it snows again tonight.

Tova is amazing!

Weaning Day 2

Jan 5th 2010

Nissim had chips, chocolate and cake for lunch today! All I could do was watch and shake my head. The doctors say that 3 weeks of this won't hurt him one bit. I recon we are all going to go home quite a few kilos heavier!

Day 2 of weaning. Tova skipped breakfast and lunch tube feeds today. She didn't seem to mind too much. She signed for food and drink a few times and was promptly presented with cups of water and spoons of puree fruit! She licked and tasted everything.

10am we had OT, Tova loved it, she played with some beads in a tin and a toy she could drop wooden balls into and watch them roll down little ramps to the bottom.

11am she had Physio. The physio did some craniosacral therapy with Toki and we talked about needing more kinesiology to help bring Tova's spirit into her body. She also mentioned some therapy for families of Holocaust victims, I am going to have to look into that. Something about there being unfinished business and unhealed scars. We will try anything, as long as it doesn't hurt!
The physio also had some ideas that go against everything we have been told by our Australian therapists, we will try the new methods for the time we are here and see how it goes. She wasn't saying the Aussi way doesn't have its place, just that we should try this other way for a bit. It can't hurt.

12 was the play picnic. Again the Sibony babies made the most mess. Nissim was showing everyone how to eat (he can stuff an entire piece of cake in his mouth in one go). I don't think he will be very impressed when the other kiddies start to eat 'his' food!
I noticed changes in the other kiddies already today. The princess from yesterday who couldn't deal with having a spot of food on her hand, today asked for a chocolate to eat! She has never eaten anything in her life (she must be about 4). Another child that wasn't interested yesterday, today was playing with some chips and laughing at the packet. It is just crazy to see such a massive change in ONE DAY!

Tova! This baby is amazing! Yuval spent a lot of time playing with Tova and food at the picnic. She was opening her mouth, letting the food go in, holding the spoon, taking the spoon to the bowl and her mouth, trying to feed Yuval and very much enjoying herself! I am not sure if she actually ate anything, but that isn't the goal at this stage. The goal is for her to experience everything about food, texture, flavor, temprature, smell etc.

LOGO (speech) at 1pm and swimming at 2pm. Tova hates the swimming pool!! We gave it a go anyway, she hated it! Nissim loved it and tried to drink the pool dry! I dried my poor exausted Tova and put her in her pram. I think she was asleep before her head hit the 'pillow'. Nissim on the other hand was so hypo, he kept crawling away from me laughing up the corridor! Such a cute little man!

We fed Toki at 4 when we were back at the hotel. It was quite a relief to feed her water and know how much actually went in (the only good thing about PEG feeding).

Everything is about food, thank goodness for the walk to and from the hospital. I got so hot walking up the hill today that I was only wearing a T-shirt in -3c... crazy.
There was light snow today and the river was frozen along the edges. Maybe it will snow for real tomorrow! Yuval has never seen snow!!!

It is a public holiday here tomorrow, so no therapy, only play picnic.
Everything is closed in Graz on public holidays and Sundays, the only thing to do is wander around the forest and hills and EAT! So we are going out for breakfast with the NZ family (we have to walk through the forest up some hills to get there).

Tova is still in good spirits and seems to be enjoying food to the max! Yuval is feeling less stressed because of how amazing Tova was with food today. I am feeling great, but very tired as I keep waking up at bloody 4.30am for some stupid reason.

Not sure how much sense I have made today, I have written alot of this with my eyes closed as I can touch type... my brain isn't working well from tiredness. . . .  .

I am loving the warm messages from lovely friends on facebook and in email, thank you! Sorry if I am a bit slack in replying, but please know, I do read them and love reading them.



Weaning Day 1

Jan 4th 2010

Tova and Nissim were both exhausted and asleep at 6pm! My eyes are also shutting as I type and it is only 7pm.

So, today was interesting. We met the other families, there are about 6 kids in our group. Some families don't speak English so I don't expect to get to know them too well with my very limited and mostly useless amount of German. I can say very helpful things like 'Good dog' and 'Sweet small child' oh and 'OUT!' in German.
Other than the NZ family there is one other English speaking family from Ireland. This family have 18 month old twin boys who are at home. I can't imagine how hard it must be for them to be away from their boys.

We met all the specialists today in a little room, Nissim enjoyed playing on the floor with toys and was extremely impressed when the doctors brought in trays of food and put them on the table for the kiddies to do what they pleased with. Tova rained lots of food on Nissim, who graciously vacuumed the floor with his mouth. No other bubbas touched the food. Tova touched everything, as the playzone girls know, Tova loves to 'cast', and cast everything onto the floor she did.

After this meeting we went and had Toki weighed (8.5kg), measured and fat content assessed by Petra one of the PhD students. Then a meeting with another doctor to talk about the history of Toki, then to the play picnic!

Play picnic happens every day at 12pm until 1pm. It is in a small room where they put sheets on the floor and place plates and bowls of food all over it.  Nissim was driving me crazy so I set him free in there first. The rules are 'the kids do what they want', so I took his pants and long sleeves off. See photos for the damage this little boy did!

Tova played with food in her hands (lots more casting food aside) and licked a few things. But most of the time she was absolutely mesmorised by her little brother. Nissim ate EVERYTHING, and even stole food from other babies.

One little girl got some food on her hand and FREAKED OUT for the rest of the hour, the Irish mumma said her daughter would be the same if food touched her.

After play picnic we cleaned up the kiddies as much as possible and went to see another doctor, Marguerite. She told us to skip the mid day feed today! Tomorrow we skip the breakfast feed and the lunch feed!!

At home around 3pm Tova was feeling hungry (her feed was due at 4pm). Yuval told me he had a headache, so I asked him if he wanted a drink of water. I looked over at Toki, who signed (makaton) 'drink, more, more, drink'...... poor bubba. So I gave her a drink from a cup (using her mouth). She had her normal 'sip' and seemed to be happy enough, her version of a sip is really just licking the glass and getting water on her lips.

Yuval is starting to feel a bit of stress for Tova, I think reality is starting to hit home for him. His little princess may suffer a little and possibly lots, over the next days, that is very hard for him to see. It is very hard for any of us to see.

Tova didn't tolerate her 4pm peg feed so well today, I think because her stomach was empty for so long and I possibly put the milk in too fast. Tomorrow I will do it slowly.

I can't believe Nissim hasn't vomited after the amount and variety of food he has eaten today. I am so glad that he is involved in this adventure. The doctors say that he is worth two specialists. Little man!!!

The head doctor, Marguerite is Jewish and has told us that the Shull doesn't have a  service every week, she is going to get some dates for us. It is nice to have someone understand some part of our culture.  They have arranged it so that the play picnic will never have any piggie meat just to make things simple for us all!

So here we are on day one. Wow. The reason we are here has begun, it still feels somewhat surreal.

Tomorrow we have Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Swimming, something called LOGO and play picnic. Each day there is therapy for Tova (I wish we had this at home). If nothing else Tova is going to get some amazing therapy while we are here.

It has begun, we now wait, watch and work hard!

3rd January 2010

Ahh, the first day of feeling normal.
As many of you know, I am a seasoned international traveler and have never suffered jet lag, until now!
Wow that was hard work. I am happy to say that Tova and I have caught up to the boys and we are all on the same clock.
Yuval, you have been amazing holding us all together for the past few days, thank you!

We did allot of walking again today, which feels good. The kiddies were good in the pram for such a long time.

We found the shull, it was closed. Perhaps we will go there another time during the week. Maybe we will get invited to shabbat lunch somewhere!? The shull is fairly new, from what I understand it has been rebuilt on its original location after being destroyed when the Jews were banished from Graz many years ago. All the buildings around it are old and it is on the banks of the river that runs through Graz.

Just up from the synagogue is a building that looks like a slug, we had lunch there. Yuval was in heaven because there was a buffet. Nissim crawled around the floor, cut his hand on some broken glass (didn't cry) and ate half of Yuval's lunch. Tova cried and fell asleep in the pram.  The restaurant was filled with kids and smokers, a very strange combination after living in a country where you could be in trouble with the law for such things. We sat in the non smoking section.

Because Tova had fallen asleep we were able to go to the tunnels leading to the elevator that takes people up to the top of a mountain plonked right in the centre of the city. Tova has a big issue with dark underground places (I never park in the underground carpark anywhere). So we did that, had a walk around up the top and saw how grand Graz really is and  then went home.

We just met the NZ couple who arrived last night with their 11month old little boy who is also here to learn how to eat. They are staying up stairs, they are smart and brought the nanna with them. I wish my mum was here!

Tomorrow it begins!



2nd January 2010

Tova and I are feeling almost normal today. I think tonight will be the first full nights sleep for us all.

Yuval and Nissim haven't really had any problems adjusting.
We said goodbye to the NZ family who are on their way home via a well-deserved family holiday.

We went for a long walk today from the hotel to the edge of the town and back, via the supermarket. There is an amazing supermarket called 'biomart', it is everything like a supermarket but is in actual fact a massive health food store! We got a few things but it is a bit out of our league (price wise).

Yuval has been inventing his own language and calling it German, people seem to understand him or perhaps they are tolerating him, whatever it is, it is funny!
My very tiny amount of German (from school days) is helping a little. I understand allot more than I can speak, knowing how to count is extremely helpful. Anyway, everyone speaks English.

Our walk to the shops is mostly down hill but on the way home we have a massive walk up the drive way/street that has been very interesting with the double pram and shopping. Yuval and I were going to get gym memberships while we were here for the month, but have now discovered that we won't need to.

There is a NZ family arriving tonight with their baby for the weaning program, they are staying in this hotel too. I am not sure how many other families are going to be in our group but I am looking forward to Monday and finding out.

No snow yet, no rain and not that cold. Yesterday was actually pleasant with a bit of sunshine and no wind. Tassi gets colder, perhaps because Tassi has freezing wind?


Yuval's blog


Home for 2 weeks


Home for 2 weeks

It has been 2 weeks since we returned home from the weaning program in Graz. It is the best thing that we could have done for Tova and her development.
Apart from the readjusting to Melbourne and the stinking hot days and nights and recovering from jet lag things are fantastic. Everyone slept for so long.
Tova eats alot of food and sometimes she eats 200 mils in a sitting which is a huge amount. Her average is 150 mils. When we ask Tova if she wants food or a drink her face lights up and she makes excited sounds like she would if she wanted to indicate excitement for a bath or favourite toy. Its very cute and she is a pleasure to feed.
Her taste has developed too and now Tova likes almost anything, like vegetables and meat and avocados. We are fortifying her meals with vitamins and minerals,calorie rich supplements, cream, bran and yogurt - ( not all at once). She still loves chocolate pudding but does not get it too often
She is much better at drinking now and can easily have 60 mils of drink anytime in between meals. At the start she found it difficult to swallow without chocking or coughing.Tova has changed since being introduced to food. She is soooo happy, she has also become more demanding and definite about what she want which is a positive change from her passive nature beforehand. She has a new sound that she makes as well.
At the moment most of Tova's food is taken via syringe with Tova lying down with her head on a pillow and must be administered while singing songs and doing hand movements. If she does not like the song or your hands are not moving than she will stop eating.. Its like a game Tova is playing - if you do the right things she will eat and eat and eat. It makes it difficult for other people to feed her but we will see how we can change things around.
Tova is very interested in eating while in a high chair with a spoon but again is particular about what has to be happening before she will accept food in her mouth. She can eat 60 mils or more like this and then she will have more by syringe.
Meanwhile Shoshana and I are very good at keeping Tova interested and finding new and exciting song variations. When Nissim started eating he would eat and eat and eat huge volumes and would cry if we didn't get the next spoon in quick enough, but after a few months he started to become more fussy and started eating less. We expect that Tova might also eventually stop eating so much which is fine.
She is putting on weight and is very happy - so are we! Shoshana removed Tova's peg button after we had been back for a few days. It looked gross but came out pretty easily and Tova cried  for 20 seconds. The site leaked a tiny bit for a few days and is healing very well after a week and has stopped leaking all together.


Friday – yuvi


This morning Nissim and i went for breakfast in the usual place alone.

The waitress remembered my entire order from the day before so the service was really fast. No slipping this time either.
2 therapies this morning and then the play picnic. Tova weight is stable.
Nissim has many friends in the play picnic who delight in giving him heaps of chocolate and biscuits. He was an absolute mess today, and was pretty hypo for the rest of the evening too.
Tova is eating very well and eating a few carrot based pureed stuff and also some risotto baby food but she still prefers sweet food.
Shosh has been packing and the kids went to sleep without much fuss quite early.
Tomorrow we have play picnic and a meeting with the head professor of this group and say good bye.
Its hard to believe we have planned this trip, come over and done the hard yards and succeeded, and now its all over and its time to go home.
It feels really good.




I cant believe how quickly the end of our trip has come.

2 more days and 1 more night. We did it.! Set out to accomplish something massive and succeeded.
Pushed prams through freezing snow filled streets and up great big hills.
Today was a really good day. Got woken up early and Nissim and I went through the forest to have breakfast..
The ground was pretty slippery and i was thinking i should be careful and woops.. i slipped holding Nissim. I slipped side on like on my hip and made a loud yelp ( not a cry ) and Nissim got scared and cried for a little bit - he's such a baby. I thought i may have crushed his little leg but he was just scared of my reaction.
Breakfast was good with just the boys. We ate bread and cheese and soft boiled eggs and OJ and grapes and strawberries.
Shosh fed Tova in the meantime at home and enjoyed the quiet I'm sure. I brought her some cake and bread rolls.
We only had one therapy today, occupation therapy, and Tova and Nissim had great fun. Tova was swinging around and playing games well that require hand eye coordination.
Its nice having therapy everyday. Tova looks forward to it and gets excited when we get close to the rooms.
Tova had a great day of eating. Perhaps she even outdid herself again.
She has lost a fraction of weight but it really does not matter. She is comfortable and happy to eat.
At the play picnic i fed her. I tried spoonfuls of mashed potato and gravy which she was having fun eating but soon got sick of, its hard for Tova to eat sitting up with no high chair. Then heaps of fruit puree and also vanilla pudding.
She was letting me make a constant stream of puree come out of the syringe while she swallowed. This way she can eat alot in a short time.
Before her bath i fed her a small tub of chocolate pudding, 100mls, which she ate with a spoon.
Before bed tonight Tova ate the largest volume she has ever eaten. Maybe double what she normally does or more.
We are so happy and confident that Tova will eat and drink orally. She will have to get stronger and eat with a spoon and then with her hands and eat foods that are not all pureed.
All this will happen in time.
Tova time.




Hello again..

We are just wrapping things up in Austria so there is really not much more to say. Tova is not receiving anything from her peg site. She would benefit from some water in there but we are not giving her any. She has to learn to drink it and she has to be thirsty in order to want to drink it.
All the exciting and stressful stuff has already happened and now we are just holding steady. Originally we had planned to leave on Thursday and we really could have but we were not sure that Tova would bounce back so quickly.
Hopefully we will be able to get a few meals into Tova by spoon instead of syringe and then slowly but surely wean her off the syringe. The main thing is that she is eating with her mouth and that her throat and stomach are experiencing new textures and sensations instead of peadiasure vanilla peg formula for every meal.
Still feeling guilty that it seems we are always trying to hold Tova down and put food in her mouth. At least she gets songs during her meal times.
It snowed heavily all day which feels nice because we are heading someplace very hot soon.
What a temperature difference - tomorrows top temperature will be 1 degree and the over night low is -8 degrees.
We will be the pasty and pale, fat family.. look out for us.Could not sleep for many hours last night. I lay and thought about all the little things i have to do in Melbourne. Unpaid builders and work and phone calls to make and things that i have to chase up or change.. I had buried all those thoughts for almost a month. My huge pillow didn't help much either, its 3 pillows worth in 1...
Looking forward to getting back home and seeing the new renovations and getting back into a routine, eating vegies and fruit from our garden and watching Tova develop.
After all this is the year of Tova!!
Tova is still eating large regular volumes and is still getting annoyed at us for not being able to understand exactly what she is trying to communicate with us.
I hope she is happier at home where she has more things she loves to do.
Wednesday morning was freezing cold.. not snowing but much colder than when it was snowing.. Alot of the running stream on the way to the hospital had a top frozen layer.. It looks amazing. The sun was out all day and melted patches of snow that have been there for weeks.
I have never seen the snow before and now i can say i have lived in it for a month. What a great experience this has been.
Tova and Nissim had lots of fun at the therapies they had today. Tova is much livelier and responsive and a pleasure to watch.
Play picnic is quiet, many of the families have already left and the main people who run the clinic have the whole week off too.
We meet with the chief professor on Saturday at 12 before we leave Austria.
Tova is really into Shoshana tonight.. Shosh has better food songs with more movements and i am old news. I am so yesterday.
Hope to hear from some of you before we leave even though all the exciting news is over - its very boring when there are no emails or comments to read.
Its been a long month with no real TV or old friends around or places to escape like the gym or work or family dropping in.
I not sure how Shoshana puts up with my constant babbling but i know she will be especially happy once we are home and we have some space from each other and she can finally get some peace and quiet.


Day 22



Everyone woke up happy and slept in until 8.30.. It seems to be getting later every morning.
It was gently snowing again.
Had breakfast and went to 1030 appointment.. that's more like it. No rushing around like mad chickens. We have a very limited schedule this week. 1 or 2 therapies a day, plus the play picnic.
Tova was happy at her sensory therapy and Nissim had a chance to run around exploring and being cute..
Then we went to physio where Tova played and explored new toys. She is concentrating on eating now and not really on crawling or bigger movements.
She is eating lots of syringe food too, not the greatest variety but her volume intake has increased..
We bought lots of fruity puree baby food and different vanilla pudding and fruity yogurt.
She has put on a fair amount of weight over the weekend, about 150 grams, and we hope to fatten her up before we leave.
Tova is very happy to eat as long as you read her signs and know when to have a little break and burp her or when to change songs, also if you are Shoshana you have to know when not to walk past Tova and let her see you.. Tova stops eating and cries "save me"..
Play picnic was good.. 4 kids needing therapy and Nissim who shows them all hows its done.
Nissim was a grub.. eating all sorts of junk..he had the whole room looking at him and laughing with him by the end of the session..he was interacting with lots of people. He is quite independant too, spending most of the session away from us all together.
Shoshana and I tried to give Tova mash and gravy - not interested.. but she ate pudding!
She eats every 2 or 3 hrs and we now use this massive 60 ml syringe which she usually finishes and sometimes has another one.
This evening i sat her in her high chair at her request and spoon fed her 100 mils of vanilla pudding..We were amazed.
We played a few games but the game which she loved the most, and opened her mouth wide and smiled for, was the classic aeroplane game.. starts here - then there.. vroom in her mouth.. she ate more than half the tub playing that game.. Pay attention Saftas and Sabas because you will need to learn and develop these skills when we return.
It felt great to feed her so much by spoon.
What was interesting was that Tova was able to swallow while sitting up which we were not sure that she could do with her low muscle tone.
Shosh has been emailing the professor of the clinic who is not working on site this week until sat. The professor is up to date with Tova's progress and wanted to know if we would like to remove the peg this Thursday.
I think we will not remove it and fly back to Melbourne with the peg intact for peace of mind. Its a long flight after all.
Its very easy to remove once we are confident she can live without it.. and it can be removed in 2 minutes.
So we have only a few days left and we are feeling great about the program and therapy progress, especially after the extreme low we had all of last week..
When Tova is down we are down..




Saturday and Sunday...

This weekend was pretty uneventful. The New Zealand family left very early in the morning. Too early for me to catch them, and say goodbye again. It is much emptier in this guest house now.Before they left we were given a huge box of left over food and drinks from their stay. Lots of chocolate and biscuits and coke and other stuff, its hard not to eat it all at once. Their Graz portion of the journey is over.
Congratulations. Ours is drawing to an end.
We had a lazy start to day, the kids slept in again, we could get used to this sort of life. Back home its between 630 and 715 am everyday.
Tova was in a good mood and accepted Shoshana syringing food as long as songs were sung or games were played.
Around midday we went to Mur Park shopping centre by bus, tram and another tram..It was a very nice ride with not long to wait for connecting transports. We saw different parts of the town that we had never seen. We also travelled past fanatic handball fans wearing crazy team outfits and drinking and shouting and cheering. They are just as gay here as back home.
At Mur Park we looked around but didn't buy much. It was a medium sized shopping centre but we have been spoilt with Chadstone shopping centre. Mur Park would be like Chadstones left arm. We sat at a cafe and drank coffee and saw lots of people ordering huge over sized glasses of coffee with cream and topping and straws. Next time I'm getting one of them.
The kids were mainly unhappy for most of the time. Tova didn't really like the roofing of the complex and was the saddest.
She didn't eat much in the day time but still ate something regularly. We went to some buffet style restaurant and the kids sat in high chairs and had lots of fun. At this restaurant you grab a plate and fill it with whatever salad you want and at the cashiers desk they weigh the plate to determine the cost.
Tova was watching Nissim and Nissim was eating heaps and trying to feed Tova. He also offered her his finger in her mouth and drink bottle. He is very gentle and accurate.. Very cute.
After a few hours me and the kids were over it - long trip and a long time for kids to be in the pram..
We public transported 2 thirds of the way and walked for 20 minutes to get back home.. Nice to breathe fresh air and work hard..
Getting back to the gym in Melbourne is going to be a killer.
Nissim fell asleep before we got home but woke up an hour later very upset. After dinner and a bath he was set for bed.
Tova ate heaps of food, had a bath and then ate heaps of food again. She fell asleep quickly being stuffed with food.
Tova diet consists of chocolate pudding, pureed fruits, olive oil, milk brie powder and yogurt, she doesn't like any potato or spinach type baby foods. We will try some carrot puree tomorrow.
She is not drinking much so we are still giving her water a few times a day through her peg site.Nothing else goes into her peg.
On Sunday everything is closed so its a very lazy day. we went and had breakfast at the main house. Nothing special. I think next time I'm going to order everything i can imagine and make a bigger pig of myself.. Its boring ordering soft boiled eggs all the time.
Tova ate her proper amounts throughout the day and slept for about 3 hours in the afternoon.
I feel bad for Tova because so much of her awake time is spent by us piping food into her mouth. That's what we are here for though. This week she has 2 therapies everyday as well as play picnic so hopefully they will drum some life into her..
6 more days until we leave.





Today marks the end of the third week and the end of the therapy clinic for most of our group. Congratulations to those families that have new hope and return home with a changed child.
Both kids slept through night. Tova just took a long time to get to sleep. Shoshana and i went outside late last night and took heaps of photos because it was snowing.
Tova woke up happier but she slept in quite late and we left home for the hospital without feeding her. She looks and acts better.
There was a thick layer of fresh, fluffy snow outside and it was much colder than usual.. I grabbed a sleigh and shot passed Shosh and the kids down the long, steep driveway. Crashed, ran back up and did it again.. Good start to my morning. You have to be quick because the maintenance people come up every snowy day and clear the whole driveway with a tractor and lay down tiny stones for tracking. Once they do that you cant slide down anymore til there is a good snow down.
Tova ate some syringed food in the morning thanks to our therapist but mainly thanks to Shoshana. Tova has not been letting me feed her lately. She only accepts food from Shoshana.. I used to be the king of feeding Tova.... i will regain my status before too long.
We have 9 days to try and demonstrate to Tova that food is fun to eat before we leave Austria.. Tova is such a champion that i am sure she will make us proud..If not we may trade her in for a newer model when we get home.
Tova gets annoyed and frustrated often nowadays. She is learning new behaviours and manipulating us to do what she wants - like most normal little kids.
Her spots have almost disappeared and her throat is much better than yesterday..so its Tova time.
At the play picnic Tova was very happy and interested in watching Nissim eat. Nissim tipped over so many bowls of spinach and potato slush and soup and yogurt and ate heaps.. We have not been to a play picnic all week so it was a treat for the kids.
Tova ate a decent amount of syringed food and a few spoons of potato and gravy.. a good start.
The New Zealand couple and their son Ollie have succeeded and are leaving tomorrow. Their boy can now eat orally and sustain his weight. What a champion.
We did another food shop, which is the highlight of our days here,  and came home. Earlier in the week we said that we had too much food and that we would just eat what we had here and not buy anymore. That did not last 24 hours.
Shoshana continued to syringe feed Tova throughout the afternoon and evening. I even got a few feeds in, which makes me feel good.
Tova is on to chocolate pudding or fruit based purees.. That's what she likes so that's what she gets.
Later on after eating has become normal and pleasurable again we will start feeding her food that is healthy..
At 4pm Hayden, the New Zealand dad, and I went up, up and up to Mt Schlossberg and had a beer and celebrated the end of this fantastic journey. You can see all of Graz from this vantage point and it looked amazing when its gets dark ( 5.30pm ) and all the lights come on. Its such a beautiful city.
Shoshana stayed home and fed and bathed the kids. Tova ate a record amount and stayed up past 10 pm.
We have definitely got our Tova back. I am positive that tomorrow she will be more active and more jovial.
I hope we achieve our Austrian goals

Day 18



Today is another one of those days... the kind we have been having lately..
Restless night for Tova and Shoshana, while Nissim and i slept like logs.
Tova is much the same as before.. not interested in eating or moving around at all.Very interested in being uncomfortable and crying.  Everyday and night we have been telling each other that we hope she wakes up tomorrow feeling better.. One of these days it will be true..
Not today.. we have a sad Tova and we are stressed too - naturally.
We headed to the hospital and missed our only therapy session of the day, it was a 9 am session and today there was no chance of making it... Plus with Tova all broken it seemed pointless. She has reluctantly been eating abit and we are back to peg feeding her formula to give her enough strength and fluid to fight what ever it is that is knocking her around so much.
While waiting to talk to a doctor Shosh showed me Tova's neck which was much redder and spottier than yesterday, it looked terrible and alarming.
I went up and interrupted a meeting with all the therapy people and they sent down a new doctor who checked Tova over.
She has many more darker spots, some of which have joined together forming patches,  covering her little body and a sore red throat. We were sent for more blood tests for Tova - she does not cry anymore when the prick her or draw blood which is a good thing. The doctor seems very smart and thorough..
While waiting around, chasing Nissim and stressing we were told that we would be admitted as in patients to the hospital for one night of observations, one parent would stay with Tova - they really cant say what is likely to be wrong. I asked what they would be serving me for dinner and breakfast.
They say Tova might have a virus and that the red spots are a normal symptom of a virus and not a reaction to a food allergy. They say that an adults immune system would be able to destroy the virus before it got to this stage.
Most people in the hospital are very unconcerned with Tova's symptoms or the fact she has been floppy for almost a week now. We don't know what to think.. In the past we have learnt that if you wait too long and are too easy going that things can escalate unnecessarily.
Her blood tests came back and we were told that her blood is better today than her test yesterday revealed and they do not recommend a course of anti biotics yet in case it gives her diarrhoea which will make her loose more weight..
As far as something to sooth her sore throats or spotty body - they had nothing to offer or suggest.
An hour later after talking to the head professor we all concluded that Tova will not benefit any more from staying in the hospital than she would being at home with us..
So its back to the guest house we go.
One good thing is that Tova's breathing sounds and appears to be fine..
After lunchtime Tova seemed to brighten up a bit.. It all started with a few special smiles..She is also more active and can hold her concentration for longer..Maybe the peg feeds are kicking in.
This is the first time for so long Tova is showing some real signs of improvement..
She is still covered in a rash but her temperament is getting better.
So glad we did not stay in that hospital tonight it would have been cold, lonely and depressing..
Tova still actively rejects food and drink orally and even all the old songs which used to distract her while the syringes pumped food into her mouth don't work anymore..
I think Tova wants new songs with more pizazz, more up beat.
Suddenly eating orally seems much less important than a healthy, happy Tova.
She will get more peg feeds and fluids tonight and we will see what tomorrow brings.. I am not going to write it...........


Day 17



Last night i thought that when we go into the hospital today they would do some tests on Tova and tell us she has been aspirating and has an infection on her lungs...She might be hospitalised and we may be stuck here for some time.
Things were not great this morning, we are desperate to have our angel back. Tova woke up after 830 which is very late and unusual. Nissim was happy to amuse himself in his cot until 830. They were both up many times during the night. Nissim is teething and Tova is sad.
Tova seemed a little happier at first but still would not eat  or drink, she gave away a few weak smiles which were nice to see though..
Same story - floppy and tired - its getting a bit scarier now, when will she snap out of it???
An hour later Shoshana noticed that Tova was totally covered all over her body and face with lots of tiny pink spots. Shosh and I were stressing out a little more now.
We quickly got ready and headed down to the hospital to have Tova looked at... expecting the worst - like chicken pox or who knows some type of Austrian super bug.
Shosh is feeling better but not 100%. Neurofen helped - thanks Raewyn.
The chief professor of our therapy group looked at Tova straight away and said the spots were a reaction to food or washing powder and not to worry about them at all...pheeww. .....NEXT
She ordered blood tests again for Tova which came back as normal so there is no infection in her blood and we were instructed to feed Tova some peg formula to give her strength back. Maybe the tests came back normal because of the magic water Tova has been getting over the last few days.
Tova ate a small amount at her physio therapy which was a relief. The physio said when we are sick we eat less and want to sleep more and since Tova cant communicate so much she cries alot.. Its all seems logical - but why has it lasted so damn long????
It is apparent that she also has a sore throat which has been making it hard for her to swallow.
This afternoon and evening Shoshana has devoted a lot of time to offering Tova food, which Tova has been eating. Much less than before but its a good start.
Back to the food Tova first showed a liking to - chocolate pudding.
She will get more peg formula tonight while she sleeps and some magic water and more laxatives and panadol.
The New Zealand couple from upstairs are set to fly home on Saturday morning with a success story on their hand - Great news - Congratulations to Ollie.
Since Tova has been under the weather lately we have missed the last 3 play picnics so we have not seen how the others in the group are going and progressing.
I hope we are able to join everyone tomorrow again.
I really hope Tova wakes up tomorrow and feels better. Its almost been a week and we have had enough.
We should have been leaving at the end of this week too and we are just wrapping our heads around being here for just a bit longer.
The sun is starting to make more appearances the last few days which is very nice to feel and see. The left over snow is melting quickly and trees are returning to green instead of white.
Its 730 pm here and everything is quiet - all kids sleep peacefully - for now.. Oh i wrote too soon, Tova just burst into tears and Shosh is consoling her.
Today CNN is back on TV, it just decided to stop working about 2 weeks ago, yay some English speaking programs for background noise.

Day 16


This morning Shoshana is feeling like i felt on Saturday.. tender stomach, headache, aching bones and muscles no appetite. It is possible that Tova feels like this too but she has been feeling it for days..
It must be horrible to feel like that and have people pick you up and force food down your throat and put you on the floor with toys around you - while all you want to do is sleep. Poor Tova.
I took care of the kids this morning while Shosh stayed in bed, i know how she feels. When i was sick i stayed in bed for 13 hours while Shosh did everything so i can't complain.
Tova ate and drank orally in the morning which made me feel really good. She then fell asleep straight away and then i dressed and fed Nissim.
The NZ Nana Betty offered to look after NIssim for a couple of hours or so late morning which was great..When she brought him back he didn't want to let her go. He must really miss his Saftas.
We have decided to miss all therapy today and let Tova sleep and recover. Hope its the right choice.
I tried to feed Tova twice since breakfast which was very unsuccessful and made Tova cry heaps. Sleeping is Tova's new pass time.
She was still very tired and i was confused and beginning to stress.
I don't want to create bad and negative experiences with Tova and oral feeding and undo all the good work which has been done..
I am feeling stressed and unsure of what is going to happen with Tova, she has been floppy for 5 days already and seems to be getting worse .
We were hoping to leave at the end of this week with a brand new eating girl.
I think we are going to have to stay an extra week to ensure everyone is comfortable before returning home..
Tova refused more feeds before bed and had another uncomfortable night. Shoshana recommended putting some peg milk in Tova's peg but she was sleeping on her stomach so we could not.
Tova has surely lost weight over the last few days.
Send us strength..

Day 15


Finally and to our surprise the bubble of good fortune has burst.


Tova is still floppy and very very tired. We went to her physio and she confirmed what we already suspected - Tova is constipated and  possibly a little depressed.
We went and saw the main Professor and were issued hardcore laxatives which worked in a matter of minutes.
Soon after Tova ate a little more and then fell asleep for an hour.
Before the play picnic she was weighed and has not dropped much at all which is a surprise because she has missed a few feeds and had reduced feeds at other times. She felt hot and doctors discovered she was running a temperature too. She has been hotter than normal for a few days.
We packed up and went back to our guest house with instructions to flush Tova with lots of glucose water through her peg and give her another hardcore laxative later in the evening.. She hasn't had much to do with her peg for a week so it seems like a little step back but she needs lots of water running through her.
Tova craves and gets excited about food when she is genuinely hungry.
She has a sort of cough and she is hot.
With all the glucose water and stomach pains Tova is not really interested in eating anything orally which is fine, she has been so good throughout the whole time here that one day while she is recovering should not make any difference.
She had the next lot of laxatives which worked very well again.. With all of this backed up rubbish out of Tova's guts we are very hopeful that tomorrow she will feel so much better.
I tried to feed Tova a few times - she turns away and really cries - not fake cries.
Tova had an uncomfortable time in the evening but finally went to sleep ( again ) and slept through the whole night.
I really hope that Tova will spring back to her usual Tova self. Magic sleep time.


Day 14



Tova slept in our bed all last night.. Not happy at all, she twisted and turned mostly. One time she woke up very thirsty and we put 50mls of water in her peg just to ensure that she gets hydrated, its a bit of a worry. At least Nissim didnt wake up during the night.
Tova is still tired and floppy today with a diminished appetite and pretty sad. She has a cough too or maybe its just raspy breathing.
It is snowing steadily today and all the shops are closed around here so we are stuck inside..
Shoshana might have cabin fever. I am just happy that i feel better.
Tova had some laxative this morning so hopefully things will clear for her. She seemed to be in a better mood around midday. Poor princess, its seems her whole life at the moment is syringes in the mouth of food and drink with short bouts of time to catch her breath..
Finally the laxatives have worked and we could see why Tova was so uncomfortable. She is still no where near her usual happy self and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Can't really blame her though because we have just been inside the whole day with the same old boring toys and the same old boring Imas and Abas and Nissims.
Nissim also filled his nappy with a record volume while he was sleeping and the whole house was filled with his stench. He has got quite a little gut at the moment which looks even bigger because of his outie belly button.
Tova had her first little vomit it was only small and is nothing to worry about.
She had mashed potatoes and olive oil ( thanks to a tip from a budding chef we all know and love )and a tomato sauce for an early dinner and ate quite alot.. Maybe if her food is more calorie dense then she does not have to eat such a large volume.
Nissim and Tova had a bath together which looked like fun. Tova got out and was dressed and played on the floor for 10 minutes and then fell asleep on the floor.
She has been tired all day. Hopefully these extra sleeps are what she needs to regain her strength..
When Tova is happy we are happy.


Day 13



Tova is very floppy and unenergetic this morning. I feel like crap too. Queasy and  lingering headache hoping it will go away.
We all went for breakfast through the snowy woods and over the hill where we were served under cooked soft boiled eggs and cake and coffee. Despite my tender tummy i managed to eat 5 of these eggs which i would be regretting in a few hours. Shoshana ordered poached eggs which never turned up at all. We were told at the end of breakfast that they did not know how to make them ( even though they had served them the week before to the NZ couple )
We met up with the NZ couple and their son Ollie and their Nan after 10 minutes of confusion and half orders being brought to them they got hold of the manager who brought them Austrian variations of the foods they ordered.. Looked tasty. Tova ate a few mouthfuls at breakfast number two.
On the walk back to our guest house Tova fell asleep on my shoulder, I must have the most comfortable shoulder this side of Graz - ask Nissim, but we still had a play picnic to go to..
I was feeling terrible now.. more queasy and my body was aching but the fresh air and walk to the bus stop felt good..
Tova was still very floppy and and tired and was not her usual self.. She looked pale and over it.. I knew exactly how she felt.
I fed her a few syringes and she told me when she had had enough. She ate less than normal but she is feeling sick so I figure that is normal.
I was feeling so bad that Shoshana took control and did everything from that point on while i lay on the floor.
We stayed around for an extra hour after the play picnic was over so Tova could have a blood test to see whether she was allright..
The blood test came back very positive so we left with reassurance that things were not too bad. I think that Tova is constipated.
Tova went to bed as soon as we got back home. She is uncomfortable and sad and is crying alot.
Despite her unhappy state she is still quite happy to have food orally..
I also went to bed as soon as we got home and did not eat anything. I slept from Saturday afternoon right until 7 am On Sunday and woke up feeling heaps better.
I am glad that i did not get sick and that it was just a small bout of food poisoning..


Day 12



Tova and Nissim slept through the night.. Its great knowing that they are comfortable. Tova ate with the same amount of interest and enthusiasm and ate heaps.
When she was weighed  before the play picnic we saw she had lost a tiny fraction of her weight.
She now accepts food via syringe without any hesitation, she is calm.
I think she will be having her peg removed next week..
Shoshana and I are really happy that Tova is eating orally and can't believe how easily she has adapted to this new process. We are so grateful to be having this experience..
We are a little bit over being far away from home.. Not long to go.
There is an additional play picnic tomorrow and we have been asked specifically to go so we can see Margarette and talk about Tova.
Tova breathe now smells sweet from the foods she eats.. Its a nice change.


Day 11



Kids slept in this morning and woke up happy.. We don't have to be at therapy until 12 for the play picnic and that's all we have to do today.
It is a relief that Tova is taking these new skills on board and is happy and willing to eat so much orally. It really makes this experience enjoyable and less stressful.
We are more than half way through the therapy.
I gave Tova the same volume of food that Nissim would eat for breakfast and she swallowed it all. I gave her syringes because i wanted to ensure she gets a big meal at the start of the day.. Again the mixture was thicker than puree. Tova stomach must be stretching. Her complexion is better too, she has more color in her face.
We went for breakfast - up the hill and through the snowy forest, and made a real mess and ordered heaps of food.
Eggs for the oldies and Nissim, we ordered 7 softboiled eggs and got some strange looks, and yogurt for Tova. She didn't like the taste of egg yolk.
Tova is become more vocal and much louder. Its funny.
Nissim is waking everywhere and seems to going through a clumsy spell.. He has fallen over too many times and Shosh and I have decided that enough is enough and he will not be allowed to walk anymore.
On the way back from the breakfast buffet Nissim fell asleep on me and was put to bed as soon as we got home.
Shoshana and Tova went to today's therapy together while i stayed home and waited for Nissim to wake up.
He slept for about 3 hours and it had been the first time for more than 2 weeks that i have been alone in a quiet space.
Shoshana is a champion and had to push a very wide double pram up hills and along narrow footpaths covered in snow and deal with today's events without me..
Tova lost 10 or 15 grams.. no biggie.
Margarette the chief founder of this program told us yesterday that the protocol for removing the peg button is:
one week of weight gain, happy child and confident parents.
How exciting


Day 10



Today we had early appointments and were not well rested.
When we got there our first appointment therapist was a little sick so we decided not to see her, would have been nice to have known earlier and then we could have taken our time a bit..Its nice to run into other people from our group and talk about the therapy. Tova gained 10 grams since yesterday which is nothing really but at least she has not dropped weight. She looks pretty skinny. (I'll fix that)
Shoshana and Tova ate heaps of mashed potatoes in gravy at the play picnic with a spoon and no syringed food at all..Good effort since the mash potatoes are much thicker than the puree food she has been swallowing.
She had a good play around on the floor and was happy. We  came straight home after the play picnic and the kids stayed asleep in their pram for a long time..It will be nice for them to wake up and all ready be at home..
In the evening Tova ate a whole bowl of baby porridge with Cinnamon and squashed banana with a spoon.. This was the first real meal i have prepared and successfully fed Tova - - and it felt great..
Having a regular eating baby...
She was having fun in the highchair and asking for more food.
Tova cried alot before she went to sleep and woke up crying twice again during the night.. the second time she was very upset and was wheezing and needed ventolin.. The ventolin actually worked instantly for the first time ever.
Tova kicked me out of my side of the bed and slept soundly next to Shosh. She woke up at 8 am

Day 9



Nothing much has changed since yesterday. Tova is eating heaps via syringe. Getting angry and frustrated when we don't play games her way. She is changing and we haven't really worked out want she is trying to communicate yet, but it is a positive change. Before too long we will understand princess Tova more.
She ate well in the play picnic. By the end of our session she was absolutely stuffed and just lay on the floor motionless for 10 minutes with a face full of  food.
We did not play any highchair spoon in the mouth games yesterday but definitely will tomorrow. Its important for her to get used to spoon feeding and she will. It would be amazing if she learnt how to drink from a bottle but Aussie therapists have told us it is unlikely. It would make life easier for us because we could get more liquid into her and send her to bed with a warm bottle.
She had trouble sleeping and woke up crying twice during the night for more food and was restless for a long time.

Day 8



Today was a fantastic day.
A full morning of therapy and we saw that Tova had alot of energy and focus. When she is happy we are happy. Nissim slipped and slid his way around, falling of benches and crashing into mirrors here and there..people look on with shocked expressions when he stumbles and narrowly misses smashing his head on a corner of a wall or something... He is actually very coordinated and saves himself from the big accidents.. He will come home a fully walking little man. He has started saying a few more words too.
We are feeding Tova every 2 hours without a hitch...
My focus is on increasing the amount of food that goes into Tova's mouth every feed and sometimes i feel guilty because i push her until she is frustrated..
But every 2 hours she is eating more volume than before...
We weighed her before the play picnic and were delighted to find that Tova weighed the same amount on Friday as she Today..We would have expected a decrease because all that she has only had the smallest amount of peg feeding at night time..
The play picnic was good... Shosh began by letting Tova choose what to eat, so nuttella and custard  ended up all over her lips and chin..
We showed off our new skills in front of the whole room.. Singing songs in Hebrew and making up words that sound similar to what they should be because those are the ones that Tova likes ( Thanks to Saba ).
Our favourite and most caring and effective therapist is impressed by Tova's progress and showed us a way to feed Tova by with only one person.. very handy because Shosh and I have been working together to feed her over the weekend which leaves Nissim to fend for himself.. Yesterday he and Tova were playing together and he was extending his finger and putting it in Tova mouth which makes Tova cry.. He is copying what Shosh and I do.
Then she had a long play with food and plates and spoons and Nissim.
After shopping for more food we came home and continued the good work..We are making sure that Tova always sees us eating food and we are practicing when she is asleep...
I have fed Tova twice by myself and have really got so much food into her mouth. Now she opens her mouth and lets me know when to syringe the good food puree in. She is not frustrated and i read her signals and pause to hug her at times and stop before she has totally had it.
I hope she does not explode at our next feed..
I believe she is really happy to be eating orally and look forward to the next challenge that I'm sure is coming very soon.
As of today we stop giving Tova peg milk all together..
Tova has become more definite about what she wants and is looking more grown up..
This trip is amazing


Day 7


It did not snow last night or this morning but there is heaps of snow outside. Its not that cold.
The kids woke up in a good mood.. Shosh gave Tova big drinks of pediasure through a sippy cup.
We set Tova up on her pillow and started syringing after she had had some time to wake up and prepare.. Now i can syringe quite quickly and Tova is quite calm and happy. She looks good with food on her face. She has normal energy levels today
Nissim had porridge, banana, apple. sultanas. He has been better lately and when Shosh and i are feeding Tova which takes 10 or 20 minutes he looks after himself.. He has learnt to walk and is always practicing. 10 steps - then fall and so on. But he is very coordinated and doesn't really hurt himself.. But there are close calls.
We went up the hill and through the snow covered forest for a 10 minute walk to the other part of this guest house where we had buffet breakfast. Very unfit because we have not moved all of Saturday and have eaten EVERYTHING in the house.
Both kids went in high chairs and Nissim had his tray set up with all sorts of finger food. I sat near Tova and fed her yogurt with jam but spoon.. She is getting used to the spoon and enjoying feeding time..
We sat there for an hour and walked back.. No one fell over this time.
Tova had more syringed food, 10 of them and soon after wanted to go into the high chair for more food games.. She ate a little there too.
Tova still gets a bit sad and cries when we are playing games and she does not get want she wants and is not moving around as much as i remember she did back home..
Its going to take a lot of time to get Tova to consume enough to make her sustain or gain weight.
She is doing very well and swallowing big mouth fulls and things are going well right now.
Kids are having their afternoon nap and now its time for me to enjoy some quiet time

Write back!


Day 6


Hi ya..

This weekend we have had no official therapy which has been great...No timetables or appointments or treks through the snow and up the crazy hill which leads to our comfortable home.
It feels so nice at this guest house. We have rearranged furniture and swapped and acquired things along the way and it really feels like home..
Shosh wanted to take Nissim and visit a shopping centre but decide to stay at our guest house instead. It was snowing quite heavily on Saturday which is beautiful to watch from a warm room but not so easy to travel by foot with a pram. I wanted to stay in the guest house with Tova and feed her calmly and persistently. The pressure from feeding Tova every two hours was taking its toll and Shosh and i were a bit irritable in the morning.. Or maybe it was just me..
We have a new method to feed Tova.. Shosh holds Tova's head still and sings while Tova lies on a pillow and sings while i have a small syringe ( 3ml ) full of puree and squirt it in her mouth whenever i think she has swallowed her last bit..
The first few feeds Tova was not impressed at all.. She would become sad and cry every time the syringe and any food went into her mouth.. She would be sad for a few seconds and then process what was happening and swallow..
We started with 2 syringes, tiny squirts at a time and then Tova said she had had enough..
By the afternoon we had a great system going and were getting in 7 syringes with big squirts - Tova still not overly impressed but having fun interacting with Shosh. Shosh is brilliant..
Tova has not gagged or vomited at all since we have been here.. Quite amazing..
Sometime she asks ,in her own way, to be put into the high chair and i play with her and aeroplane spoonfuls of puree or yogurt into her mouth.
She wanted to be in her high chair last night in between feeds for more. Its great.. I have to let her want the spoon to be put in her mouth instead of just putting it there.. So its one spoon for me and then i ask her if she wants some.. I can tell when she does - arms go up, eye brows raise and a little grunt of excitement.
The kids go to bed at around 6 pm and then its cups of fluffy fresh snow and Baileys for us.


Day 5


It has been snowing during the night and for the first time since we have arrived it is snowing during the day. In fact it snowed and snowed all day. The roads are slushy and everything is white and fluffy. I have been awake in bed since 6 am.
Extremely worried about Tova. Waiting for her to wake up, imagining that she will be so hungry and thirsty and uncomfortable. When she woke up she was not keen on eating or drinking but in quite a good mood.. Happy enough for Shosh and I not to worry too much.. We know she is starving but that's part of the program..
We have therapy at the hospital from 9 til 10,... 10 til 11,... 11 til 11.30 and then the play picnic from 12 til 1..
a full day to take the pressure off us feeding Tova..
When we arrived at the first session the therapist was very concerned that about Tova's appearance and food intake and grabbed some food and showed us a calm way Tova can be fed through squirting small amount of food through a syringe into her mouth..We are to give her 3 syringes ( tiny ) every two hours.
We were relieved Tova had eaten something and we had a new method of ensuring some food gets into her belly..
At the play picnic Tova was accepting the new way of food delivery but not moving around much at all..
Concerned doctors decided she must have some electrolyte water put straight into her peg to pep her up and she was much better almost immediately..
She ate enough and fell asleep in front of Shosh and I in the middle of the play picnic.
Tova is so gorgeous!!!!!!!
We were told to feed her some milk while she is asleep and give her more electrolyte water during the night and also if she is very low on energy tomorrow..We are not due back at the clinic til Monday..
Feels like we are cheating but it give us peace of mind for the weekend.. THANK GOD...
Today we came straight home after the hospital and concentrated on feeding Tova. All went well.. Two good feeds.
Tova is a bit fragile all in all and cries at small things...
So many things have changed for Tova in just five short days of therapy
I had thought this program was not going to be too hard but i cannot even imaging what happens in week two

Day 4


Yesterday Tova had no feeds or water through her peg at all. During the night  she had her normal amount of milk through her peg.

Tova woke up sad and did not eat much, All the fancy tricks that were a hit yesterday did not get me anywhere. A few tiny spoons of puree and few tiny sips of water.. I had thought that she was a super eater and that all or troubles were not going to be so bad.. Two steps forward one step back.
I became stressed and worried and tried again an hour later with the same success - none.
Nissim is fantastic.. he is so warm and loving.. He makes me happy. He is getting jealous of the attention Tova is getting though, its a bit hard trying to focus on a delicate quiet Tova when you have a full on demanding Nissim close by..
I was still worried about Tova and not handling myself very well..quietly boiling up inside, We had one appointment in the morning which was cut short and a waste of time really and then 1 hour to kill until the play picnic. Stressed, no where to relax and a hungry Tova.
During the play picnic i hoped Tova would eat a few spoons like she had done the last two days and at least get something inside her stomach, but she did not accept anything i gave her. She turned her head away and put her hands up to push the spoon away and cover her mouth..
Shosh seemed much calmer and was feeding Nissim and had different ideas on how to make Tova eat.. Ideas which did not make any sense to my stressed little mind.
After a few more failed attempts i felt i was going to lose it and i got up to walk out the room. Margarette a leading professor of the study stopped me and asked how i was feeling and i sat next to her and almost cried. We spoke for a long time and she assured me Tova was doing well and needed time.. her own time.. to strengthen up and become comfortable with the new stimuli. Meanwhile i was able to sit back and watch Shosh and the kids..
Tova took and few spoonfuls and also spent alot of time on lying on her side licking a cup of chocolate custard..
We got a sippy cup too that Tova was comfortable having drops of water from.
Then we were told to cut out her final peg feed of milk that night which is a scary thought.. we were allowed to give her 200 mills of water with abit of sugar in it.
More stress and concern throughout the afternoon and evening - not much eating and minimal drinking.
Tova looked stunned to me. She was not moving much.
She had a rough time getting  settled in her bed and we ended up giving her some sugar water in her peg which made her happy and she went to sleep.
Nissim woke up twice during the night but Tova slept through til 7 am...


Day 3


Today is a public holiday in Austria so all other therapy was cancelled today except for the play picnic.. . Last night it snowed and snowed, everything looks so beautiful and fresh. The kids woke up early this morning - like 530 or 6 am..
Tova is on no peg feeds for the morning and lunch so it was more sips of water and spoonfuls of chocolate custard and apple sauce for her.
She has to work and she fights a little but she does swallow some food. I worry that she is not getting enough food into her body but the doctors say that even just a little bit of food can give her enough energy to be happy and responsive.
A few hours later we had breakfast at a restaurant up the road with another kiwi family and their great grandmother who are staying in the same guest house, but we had to trek for 10 minutes through the woods full of snow - its very exciting ( ive never seen snow before )
I slipped and fell on the soft snow on my back.. I was holding Nissim in my arms, he didnt care.. he just laughed at me...
Tova was not interested in any more tasting.
Play picnic is at midday every weekday and  was successful again.. I fed Tova small spoonfuls of potatoe and gravy, and some soup but i think her favourite ( or maybe mine ) is chocolate pudding and vanilla custard - one spoon for Tova one spoon for Aba.
I show Tova and over emphasis how i eat and then offer it to her..
She ate many spoonfuls, then had a break, and then ate many spoonfuls. I am very proud.
More spoonfuls for dinner and more an hour later with water too, ive worked out a system which lets me get more food into Tova, until she figures it out...
Tova seems to understand what is happening to her and will respond to questions for...... more food? or more water?
She wants to please us and wants to eat and gets excited during feed time, just like she would after sitting up by herself or crawling toward a toy and finally reaching it.
Tova looks different too, more mature or more grown up or something..
She is gorgeous and amazing.

Day 2


Hi everyone..
Things are going very well in Austria ..We have been here for 10 days and we are very comfortable - warm and our pantry and fridge are fullllll.
We had our second day of therapy.. Tova was only allowed to have food or water orally this morning, so she had a little of each. We went to the hospital with a hungry and thirsty Tova but her mood was still good which makes things much easier for Shosh and I..
The play picnic went really smoothly. Tova is very interested in food, you can see it in her eyes and body language.
Today Tova was focused just on me, watching me eat and being very responsive to spoonfuls of puree and custard and yoghurt being fed to her. Sometimes i feel like crying out of happiness. She wants to eat but never was taught how to. It cant be this simple.
She was swallowing food and having a good time...Tova is an amazing little lady. The specialisst are happy and positive about Tova's development..
After the play therapy we had a quick wash and change of clothes and went to the supermarket to spend some Euros ( i bought a spool of black cotton for AUD $5 )...
Tova had more custard ( small spoonfuls ) later in the evening but amazingly also allowed me pour water in her mouth slowly which she swallowed without gagging or choking. It is really important that she learns to drink.
I am confident we will be leaving Austria with an eating Tova.. I am sure that we have to jump many more tall hurdles as the therapy moves forward and intensifies..
Tova is ready and i am so glad we are here together.
Lots of love

First Day of Therapy


First day of therapy. I had a massive headache. It was the first day that we woke up with a definate purpose. Instead of walking around town and exploring we meet the team of people and other parents and kids who would be going through the same ordeal. Everyone has different hurdles to overcome.. No kid is just like Tova.
It was much colder than the other days. I saw ice build up on the banks of the running water stream and cars frosted up and frozen grass and if you look closely at the road you can see patches of ice around the rocky edges. Even with gloves on my fingers were sore. Tommorow is meant to be just a little colder.
Tova was poked and prodded and measured and she handled it all very nicely. Everything seems promising.
THEN was her first play picnic.. A big room with sheets on the floor and heaps of different dishes of food.. like yoghurt, pudding, biscuits, spaghetti, cold soup with dumplings, chippy things, cakey stuff, chocolate and other stuff too.. Parents can sit on the side lines and observe or go into a room with a two way mirror and look. Shosh and i will stay in the room with Tova and eat our own lunch while she learns to eat.
All the kids even Nissim are put down and can do what ever they want to do ( even eat ). Tova tasted a bit of food and then rolled around and tipped stuff over and slushed her way around the floor. The kids had all sorts of foods mixed together all over their clothes and bodies.
Nissim ate everything and got very annoyed and cried when his whole hand accidently was immersed in a bowl of spinach dip.. Tova spend most of her time after the initial exploring mesmerised by Nissim's eating capabilities..
After the therapy was over Shosh and I were stressed and not happy..i still had a mad headache.
I was thinking of how uncomfortable this process would be for Tova and was a bit angry and depressed . We will be cutting her peg feeds and water right back so she has to eat orally...
After a few hours my thoughts changed.. I feel that Tova will respond well to the therapy, she is interested in food and drink but just does not know how it is supposed to work.
Shosh and i will make her happy during her distress.
Today we have play therapy for Tova and then the play picnic again.. She has had to miss her moring feed and water but tasted a tiny amount orally. She is fine so far..
The real work starts now..

First Few Days


Dear family..
Well.. what a long set of flights we went through, stop overs and transfers and lots of food everywhere.. We had access to business lounges which has couches, computer access, TVs and food and drinks- as much as u like ( and boy did i like )
On the plane trips the kids were great but took turns in being awake... I was in charge of Nissim and Shosh was looking after Tova..Business class rocks. Big comfy seats which recline almost straight and heaps of leg room and priority service.. very nice.
The kids were good but towards the end we had all had it especially Tova.. poor princess.
We are staying in this very old style accommodation guest house with lots of space inside. Most things in our room are built out of sturdy wood . We have a kitchen, bathroom with a deep bath and a separate room for the kids..TV sucks all German and then there is CNN
Its like a farm here but much cleaner and smaller and it does not stink like a farm might -  There are animals around behind fences. Lamas, cows ducks peacocks a cat and more. Its at the top of a steep windy road. There are frozen bits of water and bare trees and old style houses with big roofs and its all very different and beautiful.
At the moment one other family is here and they are going home on the 2nd of Jan with an eating child..
They say there were 8 families in the group that just finished- all went home with an eating child..
This is a mind blowing trip... we start on the Jan the 4th.
So  far Shosh and Tova have taken a little longer to adjust to the new time zone and are jet lagged..
A few weeks ago it was minus 15 here.. the last couple of days have been have been cold but not bad at all.
Inside is full of heaters and very warm and snug.
Today we went into the city on bus and tram and bought lots of supermarket stuff and also bought Internet access which is great..
But we missed the tram on the way back and had to walk for ages with a pram and big load of shopping and then up this massive hill to get to our guest house. Lucky our kids are tolerant and forgiving.
We are all hoping that tomorrow will feel more normal than today...
write back

lots of love the sibonyz


First Days of Jet Lag

First impressions are that it is a beautiful city. 

There is so much history here. Yuval and I are very interested in going to the Shull and meeting some of the Graz Jews.

The guest house we are staying in is old, huge and so very cluttered. We keep finding collections of a families history, hidden rooms in the basement and attics and wondering if this is where they may have possibly hidden Jews during the war. Probably not.

The guest house is an old farm house. Our room is a self contained apartment with two bed rooms, a bathroom, reasonable sized kitchen and a meals area. There is plenty of room for the 4 of us.

A little old lady lives here, as far as I understand this was her farm and she lives here as the caretaker, there is a main hotel up the road a bit and can be walked to by following a path for about 5 minutes through the forest at the back of the property. The ladies name is Greta and she only speaks German. She lives in the front part of the house which is across the hall from our room.
The house is absolutely filled with various odds and ends. Every wall has at least one painting (most have 3 or 4), old Renaissance style, sketches, crusifixes and tapestries. There is an old iron collection, horse shoes, old pots and pans (some cake dishes made of ceramic), lamps, wine and ornaments from around the world all displayed on cloth covered tables all over the massive 3 story house. Our room alone has about 15 lamps and lights (they mostly match).

Outside there is an old barn and run down farm house that seems to be a home for many pigeons. There are ducks, peacocks, deer (one with big antlers), llamas, goats, donkeys, and a cat. Yuval and Nissim have been feeding them a few times. Gretta told me that the black Lama's name is Felix. She seems to love her animals allot which is nice.

There was an Australian family staying in our room before us. They were also here for tube weaning and were successful. Apparently they have been on the news in Australia - 'Ruby Taylor' from Coffs Harbour (yep Kellie, that is the one you mentioned to us the other day). The family raised over $68k for Ruby!! Well done!!! We didn't meet them as they left a few days before we arrived, but we met a New Zealand family who were also here weaning their daughter off the tube (also successful). Again another fund raising family and very inspiring.
The NZ family showed us the walk to the hospital and where we have to go for therapy. They also told us bus and tram numbers, but most importantly where to get the internet!!! They left today (2nd Jan 2010).
Yuval and I had actually watched a NZ 20/20 news story on the net a few months ago about this family, so it was really interesting to meet them in person.