Thursday, March 31, 2011

ABCs of Me

I’ve started myself on a handful of blog ideas that I’ll probably never finish writing and thus never post again, so I thought a quick distraction of the ABCs that my friend Meg posted sounded like fun.

A. Age: 29. And yes, for the first time.
B. Bed Size: King. Was very helpful for my pillow abuse during my second pregnancy.
C. Chore you hate: Oh dear god, is there an option where I can write all? Sigh, I judge me. I actually enjoy cleaning bathrooms. That’s a much shorter list. I guess chore that I really hate is changing the toilet paper roll.
D. Dogs: Two! Jack and Gretchen. Jack who will be eight on the twenty-first was even our best dog. Gretchen is his niece and is two.
E. Essential start to your day: Honestly, peeing.
F. Favorite color: brushed nickel – shiny!
G. Gold or silver: silver – shiny!
H. Height: 5’10” in the morning, 5’9.5” at night.
I. Instruments you play: played the string bass from 3rd grade to 9th when my schedule couldn’t fit it anymore including playing both Carnegie and the Kennedy Center with National Youth Symphony Orchestra (or some name kind of like that), but I tried hard rather than being really any good.
J. Job Title: I think it’s just Actuary.
K. Kids: Trajan was born in August of 2007 and Chiron was born in December 2010. Still not good at knowing what my answer to this question is yet though, because we also had a daughter, Aurelia, who was stillborn in December 2010.
L. Live: Austin, TX.
M. Mom’s Name: Melinda
N. Nicknames: Superbear is the most common
O. Overnight hospital stays: Those of you who actually know me just laughed, didn’t you? One night the day I was born, five nights when I was 17 and had jaw and sinus surgery, one night following an ankle and shoulder surgery that didn’t go as planned, two nights as a patient and two as a “boarder” when Trajan was born and 53 days between the preterm labor, delivery and mastitis readmit with the twins’ pregnancy.
P. Pet peeve: people leaving a car out of gas
Q. Quote from a movie: “Viet-&*%^ing-nam”. I’m pretty sure I’d never actually heard anyone use this particular profanity before Forrest Gump and I more or less missed the rest of the movie repeating it in my head.
R. Right or left-handed: my left hand is dominant, but I was encouraged to do things right handed. I do, just not very well. I have always claimed to be neither-handed rather than ambidextrous.
S. Siblings: one older brother Michael
T. Time you wake up: Between 5 and 6 since November, but I seem to be getting back to as late as I can get away with, aka 7:03.
U. Underwear: started wearing the Victoria Secret v-strings in high school and haven’t looked back. I actually had to order some new underwear (bikini) while in the hospital for extended lounging.
V. Vegetables you dislike: are olives a vegetable?
W. What makes you run late: Trajan is the most likely candidate
X. X-Rays you’ve had: can I plead the fifth?
Y. Yummy food you make: I can make guacamole and tres leches…
Z. Zoo animal: love sea lions.

No AA, so that’s it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Chiron is a pirate. Because he never brushes his teeth!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tooth fairy and death

I went to pick Trajan up from school to take him to the dentist. He was in the lunchroom and since we had a little time, I sat with him. On hearing that Trajan was going to the dentist, one of his friends volunteered that his sister had lost a tooth and the tooth fairy had brought her a dollar.

Trajan's response? My sister died. He then proceeded to explain the concept of an umbilical cord to his friend.

This played into a thought I had yesterday. He will never have the luxury of assuming a pregnancy will be fine. It seems unfair somehow.

Oddly, I don't have the same thought about Chiron. Yes, intellectually he will know babies can die, but he didn't actually live it.

Also oddly, I sometimes worry about him making other people uncomfortable talking about Aurelia. Intellectually, I think that's their problem and I care much more about his processing and understanding, but it still seems awkward to me at times.

Ok, now to watch the cleaning. "the chair is so soft and nice!"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 21, 2011


I don’t like the word catastrophic.

The appointment where the demise was found was different from any other I had ever had. My doctor was on maternity leave, so I was seeing a different doctor in the office. For the first time ever. Paul did not come with me. For the first time ever. Because I was seeing the different doctor, I was taken back through a different door and even to a different bathroom for the traditional urinary sample.

I am glad, because my associations are not with anything that is normal.

The doctor who was covering also had a resident working with her, another event I’d never experienced before. The resident came in first and tried to find my fundus, gossiped about her twins and was surprised and complimentary about my still having the ability to curl up to sitting from lying down on my own. There was something odd about her. I honestly can’t remember exactly what it was. I think it was that she had blue hair. It may have been blond hair with blue streaks, but I really think the odd thing revolved around blue hair. This seems highly improbable, but that’s what my memory has settled on.

The covering doctor came in and was chatting. She asked which flavor of the glucose drink I wanted to take home. Lemon-lime. That was my choice, I can remember that.

She honestly seemed like she was already moving on and essentially done by the time she started the ultrasound. They did this every visit to check the heartbeats.

She asked if we knew their genders. I said yes.

She started with “A” but made some dissatisfied type noises. Because of the gender comment, I at first thought these noises were because she couldn’t see the genitalia. I made some flip comment about misbehaving. She moved on to “B” saying something to the effect of “we’ll do this one first then and come back.” Everything was good with “B” and then she moved back to “A”. Having just seen “B”, I now immediately knew what was wrong. I didn’t believe myself, but I knew what was wrong.

There was no heartbeat.

I didn’t say anything. I just laid there and watched as she continued to hunt in silent desperation. I watched as the only motion came from the reaction following the action of “B’s” motion. I watched as there was no beating. Then she said the words. “I’m afraid something catastrophic seems to have happened.” I think she might have prefaced this with an “I’m sorry” or something to that effect, but it was the word catastrophic that I heard. It was the word catastrophic that confirmed to me that I was correct and Aurelia was dead. Until I heard that word, I really thought in my head that I was being an alarmist over-reacting freak crediting herself with more medical knowledge than she actually had. Nope, I am qualified to see still versus not.

I still hear the word catastrophic in my head sometimes, but it’s no longer a word that I chose to use.


An event resulting in great loss and misfortune
A state of extreme, usually irremediable, ruin and misfortune

It was the right word.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Heart Sounds

Chiron has had a murmur since around six weeks of age.  This never really worried anyone in the NICU.  It’s a grade II or III.  The explanation I was given for why they weren’t concerned was the timing of its appearance, relatively late, and the fact that he wasn’t exhibiting other symptoms that would go along with a more concerning murmur. 

We were told it was most likely a PPS or a peripheral pulmonary stenosis which occurs in as many as 50% of children and is “innocent”, “benign” and “normal”.  This murmur doesn’t even actually occur in the heart as it has to do with the size of the blood vessels that carry blood to the lungs.

No echo was done in the NICU and I was comfortably convinced that it wasn’t an issue we needed to worry about.  Got discharged and saw his pediatrician and heard pretty much the same thing.  Saw his pediatrician last Friday and nothing was said.

Tuesday, Paul took Chiron into the pediatrician for his Synagis shot and he saw the other doctor while he was there and she heard the murmur and gave us a cardiologist consult.  It is scheduled for first thing Monday morning.

My thinking is two-fold in response to this.  First response was kind of an argh, lots of people know about it and no one has been worried, so why are you artificially creating stress and worry in my life?  And then I wrapped around to a different way of thinking.  It concerned me when the murmur occurred.  I wanted a definite clear answer.  I got to the point that I was comfortable with a “probable” diagnosis based more on elimination and experience, but he was never confirmed as having a PPS.  So, now my thought is this will allow us to have an absolute, clear answer on why he has the murmur and we won’t have any lingering uncertainty.  If it is a PPS, apparently that doesn’t even need to be marked on dental forms.

So, why am I still a little anxious at the idea of a cardiologist consult? 

For full confession, I’m a little anxious about him at other times.  Definitely not regularly, but like at times.  Like when I hear a story of a kid not getting diagnosed or really showing signs of CP until 6 months or a year.  Honestly it’s the possible uncertainty that bothers me the most. 

Intellectually I know he has good medical care and we will do what he needs and we are lucky enough to have the family and friend support as well as financial support to confidently know we will be able to do that no matter what form “what he needs” takes, but I still just would rather know.  And intellectually I know that multiple doctors have indicated that they don’t expect any long-term issues with him, but who really does expect long-term issues?!?

Side grumble: as I went to type this title into blogspot, typing Hea in the line pulled up Heart and Eggplant.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"It's me first St. Patrick's Day!" is the text of the shirt

I need Trajan to get back to have a more cooperative model.  He is out of town enjoying time with his grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins.  Either that or I need to find the actual camera instead of trying to get away with taking pictures with my phone!

I actually thought St. Patrick's Day was yesterday for a good part of the day.  This is a fun week: Pi Day, the Ides of March and St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Size Comparison

So, we have friends who have a baby who is almost a month younger than Chiron (1.5 months older than him adjusted). They were over Sunday and we made a size comparison:

Chiron is on the right. Not too far off in size!

She definitely has his butt kicked in the head control department though.

Ok, when I reviewed these, she's a fair bit bigger than him and does look older too. But not as far as I had expected...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

Dairy Cow Express!

Much like the Pony Express, but with breastmilk.  I've been working at figuring out the logistics of shipping breast milk and it is complicated!  The excess milk is currently in our deep freeze, but we have to figure out getting it packaged so that it will arrive on the west coast still frozen. 

I'm thankful for surrogates, because websites dealing with surrogacy have a fair bit of information on breastmilk shipping.  It looks like the method we are going to try first is a styrofoam cooler lined with aluminum foil filled with the  breastmilk containers (I'm going to select out the ones that are full rather than half way to cut down on the dead space) and then broken up chunks of dry ice.  If there is any space at the top, I'm to fill it with newspaper.  Then the cooler gets packed into a cardboard box and shipped overnight.

Still need to talk to the UPS store to find out what time I should pack it and drop it off to achieve the least "extra" time the milk is out before being overnighted.

Dropping it off at the milk bank is much simpler.  How I wish milk banks had reciprocal arrangements like blood banks so I could donate here and they could extract there!

I'm hoping that only this first time is difficult and then it gets straight forward, because otherwise I can't see myself being able to pull this off going forward.  Particularly during the time that Chiron can't go inside places...

Friday, March 11, 2011


"I don't want to take a nap. It's not beautiful." - Trajan

Thursday, March 10, 2011

“Psst… got some breast milk, step into my alley”

I’ve got an oversupply.  In the time since Chiron was born, I’ve fed a stranger’s baby from an hour away who needed to fill a temporary lull in supply, I don’t know how many numbers of babies in the NICU or with prescriptions through my almost 20 gallons worth of donations to the milk bank and one baby who was born “too old” to get donor milk in the NICU whose mother really did not want her to have formula and whose milk came in slower than what the NICU wanted for her daughter’s intake (this was done completely under the table, i.e. she labeled it as her own).

I’ve been kind of hush-hush about this, but suddenly it hit me that I had no idea why I was!  Or why I was relatively (for me) hush-hush on the whole topic.  We don’t bat an eye at cow’s milk, why should breast milk be a big deal?  I am blessed to have an oversupply in that I CAN help others.  Why not celebrate and embrace this?

Similarly, why is breast milk a biohazard whereas spilling cow’s milk would just be an annoyance or a mess?  Only thing I can come up with is the slight risk of communicable diseases?

We have two friends who moved to another part of the country a few years ago.  They have a daughter who was born just a little after Chiron (full-term), and while the mom is supplying most of the milk their daughter needs, her supply just isn’t quite keeping up with the demand.  From Facebook she knew I was donating to the milk bank (see the relatively hush-hush comment), so she sent me a message that rather tentatively asked if we would consider sending them some of our excess if they’d cover the costs.  I hate that this was tentative.  Knowing that I had an oversupply, I wish she had been confident that we wouldn’t see this as a weird request and would be eager to help and share. 

Why is milk such a taboo?

As part of my answer to that, I must admit that I am a hypocrite.  I avoid discussing this topic, and in particular pumping, at all costs with my boss.  Actually, despite pumping with both pregnancies in the office, I have never once discussed it with him.  I just flip the lock on my door and shut it.  In fact, we have a conference coming up in a couple weeks and while it is in town, the hours are long enough that I absolutely will need to pump while there, so I have booked a room at the conference hotel.  I feel confident that the firm would reimburse for this (though perhaps ask that I attend the hospitality suite as long as I have a room there), but I’m so hesitant to discuss it that I’m considering just eating the $170 or so for each of the two or three days.  Sigh, I really think I need to man up on this.  And I’m this level of a hypocrite with a great firm behind me.

Similarly, I forgot a cooler this morning, so I ran home to get one.  It did not even cross my mind to just store them in the refrigerator.  Albeit, I live about a mile from the office and I needed to go home to trade cars with Paul at some point during the day anyway, but what amazes me is that I honestly didn’t even think of the possibility of getting through the day without a cooler until I was driving to the house.  I could easily have grabbed a grocery sack from the stash in the kitchen and stored the milk in the refrigerator.  But I didn’t.

My honest guess is the hush-hush nature is the result of two things.  First, it is a bodily function/fluid and generally we don’t discuss those much in society.  And second, it relates to BOOBS.  OMG, I just said BOOB.  BREAST, hehehehe.  I don't think wetnurses were Ishmaelites though, so it can't have always been this way.

So while I get it, I think perhaps we should get over it.  While it might be a bodily fluid, it’s also a food option for babies.  There is no problem talking about formula, so I’d like to see that courtesy extended to breast milk.  Perhaps even more so, because in some cases breast milk can be a life saving alternative to formula such as where it prevents the development of necrotizing enterocolitis in micro-preemies!

I’ve got no plan to make this happen other than to try to cut back on my own hush-hush behavior.  And honestly, I’m labeling that as “try” because I’m not sure I will pull it off. 

Random Short Thoughts

  • I heart Trixie Tracker.  Main reason is for the pump logging, but the sleep and intake/output logs are definitely useful as well. There are definitely some things they could do to improve and clean it up, but it's good enough to justify my use already (even after the free trial ended!).

  • What's the likelihood that both the delivering obstetrician (my actual one :-) ) and the last antepartum nurse that I had (who administered the last Terb protocol because L&D was full) would both be named Felicia?

  • My phone is back to correcting og to of instead of OG and this makes me smile.

  • Chiron's appearance no longer hints towards an alien chimpanzee and really not even so much a chimpanzee at all anymore.  He was cute as heck, but definitely open for a bit of humor.

  • I was looking at the few posts here and it seems disproportionately shifted towards Aurelia.  That's not because it's the focus of our lives, but because she does only exist in our minds.  The boys are a part of our every day.  That said, I'm working on something as a followup to a conversation with a friend that is Aurelia based.

  • On that note, I was told to guard myself against twins, but they haven't ever bothered me.  Saw a bunch in the NICU and seem to see them nearly daily.  I would say I'm more cognizant of them, but not bothered.  However, this did upset me a bit, proving that I'm totally random.  Just a moment of pause, but enough that I noticed it.  They are cute as heck though, so go look.  These lions were born the day after Chiron and Aurelia.

  • Wonder if there is any developmental effect on Trajan of all his work with breast milk.  How many 3.5-year-olds can assemble a breast flange including the membrane and getting the tubing in?  Know the location on a breast milk storage container where the NICU likes the label to be placed?  Practice their counting by putting 20 containers into each bag for breastmilk drop-offs to the milk bank?  He really is helpful though and it is great because it gives us something to work on together that also gets something that needs to be accomplished done.

  • I really want breast milk to be one word instead of two.

  • How does my boss magically know just when I have hooked up the breastpump two minutes before?  And then I can't bring myself to bother to set up again, so just stick with the partial pump.  Oh well.

  • Maybe I should be worried about my development instead of Trajan's considering how much time I spend thinking about breast milk!

  • On a final random breast milk note, Chiron actually ate enough at the breast yesterday to need no top off and to leave over a 100 mL deficit in my pumping on that side!  Woot :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Accomplished or Closure

It's amazing how getting something done leaves you feeling accomplished.  I ordered four dozen cookies each for the NICU, the 2nd floor maternity staff and my OB's office as well as a bouquet of flowers for my OB's wonderful nurse who drove me to the perinatologist when the demise was suspected, stayed with us during that exam and just provided support and help that was well beyond the call of duty. [She actually was even late to a doctor's appointment of her own because she stayed with us at the perinatologist]

It's an odd feeling of completion.  You would think bringing the boy home would have, but somehow thanking some of those people who were so critical to the entire process feels like the moment of closure.

Lake Austin Sunset is what they call them...
A sunset seemed fitting.  Cookies are less "fitting" and more tasty and able to have delivered around shift change!

Hospital Bedrest

If you have to be on true full bedrest, I think hospital bedrest is the way to go.  It's much better than home.  Main reason: people VISIT you when you're in the hospital.  Never had a day where I didn't have plural visitors and this included three visitors from other hemispheres! 

Not to say that hospital bedrest is glamorous, but it at least is interactive.  And another plus relates to the older kid.  Being at home on bedrest I am pretty sure I would be getting myself into trouble doing things related to the older child whereas in the hospital it was special time for both of us every day when he visited.  We had special hospital toys, games, books and more and I was able to really spend good quality time with him without compromising my medical restrictions at all. 

Just for my own memory, here's the basic hospital schedule:

4:00 - vitals
Wake up between 4:30 and 6:30 depending on which doctor was on call and/or noise level from the nurses at the end of night shift.  There was a cabinet that had doors that opened into my room as well as into the hall on the other side.  This cabinet is where they kept the chart, so often my waking up occurred whenever the night nurse went to get my chart to do her charting.
7:15 – Breakfast
8:00 (or whenever workload permitted the day nurse to make it in) -Morning assessment and one-hour non-stress test aka baby chasing
09:00- morning meds
10:30 - Priscilla, the food hostess, visits!
12:00 – lunch! And vitals
15:30 – Priscilla visits!  (Ok, it was only Priscilla 5 out of 7 days, but as Priscilla was one of the high points of the stay, I chose to remember her.  Actually she was such a wonderful feature of my stay that it is probably worthy of a post of its own.  Excellent policy Seton!)
16:00 - Vitals
17:30 - dinner
19:00 – evening assessment
Shower after fetal heart tones but before meds
20:00 – meds and vitals
22:00 or so – read and go to bed
00:00 – vitals
There was also a visit every day from an obstetrician.  If it was my actual OB, it tended to be around lunch time with the other eight typically coming between 5 and 7:30. 
I was lucky enough that I was able to work from the hospital, so I had a printer setup in my room and had Clear Wireless on my laptop.  I typically would work from about 5:30 to 7:00, then again from 9:00 to noon, then 1:30 to whenever Trajan got there and then one last bout from about 9:00 pm to 10:00. That doesn’t add up to as many hours as I did most days, but it’s close enough.
I also got a visit from Trajan every day either after school or at dinner time or most anytime on the weekend!  And every day I was blessed enough to have visits from at least a couple friends.  And my mom and Paul were both hard core enough to visit every day as well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

160 Medical Professionals Baby

A friend called Chiron the million dollar baby the other day (I think it's actually just in the 900Ks), but I don't think that is the number that best tells the story of his birth. I prefer:

9 obstetricians
3 perinatologists
30 antepartum nurses
14 labor and delivery nurses
1 anesthesiologist
15 clinical assistants
1 postpartum nurse (had had all the others as antepartum)
12 neonatal nurse practitioners
6 neonatologists
45 neonatal nurses
4 neonatal clinical assistants
3 radiology techs
7 respiratory therapists
4 occupational/physical/lactation types
1 pediatric opthamologist
1 hearing test technician
4 chaplains and social workers
160 itemized

Another few dozen stocking, housekeeping, food services (including the amazing Priscilla), pharmacists, lab techs and physical plants types.

And just as critical, approximately 200 friends and family providing all kind of support and help.

[if we add the thoughts and prayers, I know it is in the thousands from friends' prayer circles, lets say 3000?]

So, instead of the million-dollar baby, I propose the 160 medical professional baby or the 3,396 plus "village" baby.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Bite Me"

Trajan has been bitten reasonable regularly since he was about six months old, apparently he bears a sign saying "Bite Me" somewhere that only kids can see.

 At his first daycare, the kid he played with the most bit him about daily from around six months to two years.  It was to the point that the daycare basically asked us if we were okay with the other kid remaining enrolled.  He never bit hard and Trajan loved him, so our answer was yes.  He got bit by some other kids, but on more of an occasional basis.

Then we moved on to the spanish immersion preschool when he turned two.  He didn't have one regular biter there, but a number of kids who bit him when they went through a developmental phase.  "I'm considering biting someone, you look good!"  There were a couple times that he provoked the biting by grabbing a toy, but typically the teachers could not give us a good explanation for why it happened or what he was doing to provoke it.

I say he hasn't ever bitten anyone, but that's not true. He bit Paul on the shoulder about a year ago and just two weeks ago did this number on my arm through a sweatshirt.

He immediately released my arm, said he was sorry and then began to sob something to the effect of "my teeth did it!"  I barked, "no, sir!"  I figure for the range of possible reactions, that wasn't too bad! This picture was four or five days after the event.

What provoked this post is the new kid who was added to their class in October or so has taken to beating Trajan up.  It started with a scratching to the face that left him with a cool sword fight type cut under the eye.  Then last night I made him take off his shirt before drinking some hot chocolate and was shocked to see I substantial blue bruise between his shoulder blades in a perfect bite shape.  It was this kid again.  This kid is at least 3.5.  Am I wrong in thinking this should not be happening?  I don't care what he did (in the past when I've asked about events with this kid I've been told they were unprovoked, so I tend to believe Trajan's version).

We have a teacher conference next week (we missed the one for last trimester because we were at the peri getting the fetal demise diagnosis instead) and I'm thinking this is something that should be addressed. I know for privacy reasons, they can't acknowledge that it is this kid who keeps injuring Trajan, but they should still be able to deal with it, right?

And for a last "moment of zen", the joy of a boy and a dirt pile (we are getting sod and some other landscaping work):

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They wrote her name in the sand...

Somewhere in the blogosphere I came across To Write Their Names in the Sand and without too much thought, I filled out a request form. Amazingly quickly, some people I've never met nor spoken to in Australia took a beautiful sunset and wrote Aurelia's name in the sand.

She is real. The title of the book An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination pretty accurately fits my thoughts. Real enough to matter enough to someone else to write her name. I'll add the image to this after they process our donation.

Due dates really don't matter, and especially for those who are part of a multiple birth or who die before they are born, but somehow it getting written right at the time of her due date seems right.

Trajan as a Brother

I think I’m right.  It’s the habit of writing and thinking that needs to be developed.  If I have that down, I can fiddle with figuring out how to incorporate pictures or select colors or things like that, but there is no reason to improve the aesthetics is there aren’t going to be any thoughts.  So, I am going to attempt to just build a habit of writing.

Today’s thought: the awesomeness of Trajan as a big brother.  I’ve been firmly convinced for a long time that Trajan is a pretty cool person, but it’s been wonderful watching him in the role of a big brother.

The day they were born (December 23), Trajan was in Dallas to go to a couple of Christmas parties there before coming back to Austin.  He chose to head back immediately to meet his brother and made it to Austin about three hours after Chiron and AUrelia were delivered.  He must have scrubbed in a minimum of seven times that day because he kept going back to the NICU to ask more questions. Bless the patient nurses who explained grounding and the different color wires on Chiron's monitor leads.  The picture above is from December 24.  I was amazed how well Trajan followed the nurses instructions about how to touch Chiron without overstimulating him.

Trajan had come to the hospital daily during the six weeks I was there before they were born, and at first he seemed to want to do this while Chiron was there.  However, there isn't really much to do in the NICU and being closed from 6:30-7:30 really puts a damper in a preschoolers schedule, so we convinced him to just visit on the weekends.  But he did ask about his brother every day.  He also wanted to help with preparing and labeling Chiron's milk.  If Trajan was awake when either Paul or I was leaving for a hospital run, he always asked us if we needed to take milk.

Now that Chiron is home, the first question every morning seems to be related to where Chiron is.  And Trajan's just been sweet, gentle and helpful.  Yes, he still is a boisterous, energetic three-year-old, but he is a caring and careful brother.  "I washed my hands, can I touch him?" 

One evening, Chiron was in a bouncy chair in the living room while Paul was cooking dinner and I was cleaning up.  I went to go check the mail and Gretchen, our younger Irish Terrier, apparently went over and was licking Chiron's face which disturbed him.  Trajan moved the pack and play and a number of his toys to create a buffer around Chiron so that Gretchen couldn't get in!  Smart and helpful!

One last aspect of his brotherhood is Aurelia.  No one else mentions her.  To Trajan, she is as much his sister as Chiron is his brother.  When people ask him about Chiron, he always mentions Aurelia.  I have trouble using her name instead of referring to her as the girl or something similar, so Trajan using her name helps me. 

Love you big boy.