Monday, November 15, 2010

The upcoming birthday festivities

Spencer's first birthday is coming up in a few short weeks.  He shares a birthday with my best friends daughter, in addition to having a birthday near Thanksgiving (and once in a blue moon--on) most years.  So, planning his birthdays will be tough for a few years.

For Elliott, we have always chosen to have his birthday's in our home town.  He has a summer birthday and occasionally his conflicts with the 4th of July holiday, but all in all it is simpler (for planning purposes) than contending with a major holiday like Thanksgiving.  

All of our respective family live in the same county.  Plus, Grandma was always more than willing to allow us to have the parties at her house.  They have a huge kid friendly yard and a pool with a water slide.  Elliott being our oldest (and at the time--only) child--parties were a pretty big affair.  Now that we have a second child--they seem less of a priority.  I now understand why subsequent children get the shaft.

The killer part for me is always the guest list.  Having the party in San Diego this year makes it a bit easier.  And in the same breathe infinitely more difficult  There is always the question of who to invite.  I don't want to leave anyone off the list lest I insult someone, but I also don't want to burden anyone with an invite if it's going to be drag.  Do I invite all my home town friends?  Do I invite Elliott's friends (who subsequently are my friends as well)?  Do I invite my friends who have kids?  How are we going to fit and feed all those folks into our house?  Since his birthday is in the winter--there is no telling if the skies will be cooperative or not.  

Then, there is the family factor.  If I have the party in our home town I can be assured that my family will attend.  It will be uncomfortable for everyone to be in the same room with one another--but they will do it in the name of my adorable son.  But, the fact that this year I have taken a stand and chose to have the event in San Diego sets my heart up for disappointment.  The last time I remember my Mom coming to San Diego was when Elliott was 2 weeks old.  My sister hasn't been to visit me in more years than that.  And my Aunt's last visit was my wedding--5 years ago.  In their defense, they are busy and traveling costs money.  I understand all of that.  But, it is still disappointing for me--it is only a 3 hour drive. One that I make 6-7 times every year with my kids in tow.  

Irrationally, I admit, I always position their love for me and my kids up against the excuse of not enough money and/or time--and my kids and I always lose.  Or so, it feels.  Now, I know that nothing is that simple or black and white.  But, it doesn't change the fact that I still feel let down and disappointed.  Keeping in mind the whole time, of course, that the party is for my son and not for me.

The invitation was sent.  The only thing left to do is wait, and hope that I don't feel disappointed when all is said and done.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hey, did I mention...

Spencer started walking a few weeks ago!  Just as predicted.

Coming around the bend

I had a post sitting in my drafts for the last 2 months.  I wrote it whilst feeling very emotional and vulnerable.  I didn't feel, at the time, that I should post it.  However, after reading it again I decided to go ahead.  My feelings at the time were real and therefore valid.  If you are a follower--you will see a new post with an old date.

Some days are still as frustrating as I earlier described.  However, many of the days are actually becoming enjoyable.  I attribute the change to a handful of things.

The first is that Elliott seems to be growing out of his defiant stage (I should say temporarily shelving as I expect it to show up again sooner rather than later).  He is becoming more aware of the daily expectations--get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast (sitting down), go to preschool or some other activity, etc. 

He is also working very hard at adjusting to life as a sibling.  He clearly likes Spencer, but still has a hard time sharing time and/or toys with him.  He also can scarcely contain his enthusiasm and sheer joy that comes from pushing him over, or angrily ripping a toy from him hands.  I suspect that Elliott is asserting himself over Spencer because Spenc is low man on the totem pole (so to speak).  As such, I have been working on navigating the two of them more carefully.  I have also been working on the language I use when correcting the other, making sure to say things to both Elliott AND Spencer.  That has helped facilitate their relationship with one another, and if I handle it correctly it should make them closer over the long haul. 

In addition to the normal growth that occurs when a sibling is added--I too, have been growing and adjusting.  I have always felt proud of the fact that I was very patient and took the time to explain things to my child.  And then there were two...and all patience went out the window.  I am slowly, day by day, regaining some of that patience.

As I slowly take back more of my body (less nursing on a daily basis) and I start to get more solid chunks of sleep I find that I am more patient and less irritable.  Both of these things attribute to a more patient and nurturing parent.

Lastly, I am learning more about redirecting my anger as well as my children's.  I am also working on easing up on them--they ares still so little!  Elliott is 3 and 1/2 years old--but that is still small.  He needs reminders and more reminders.  He still needs me to swoop him up and kiss his owie.  He still lets me hold his hand when we cross the stress. 

And, these days I relish each opportunity.  I try and remind myself daily how lucky I am to be able to spend my days with my adorable boys.  Very lucky indeed. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

9 months for number two

Spencer is almost 10 months old, and as you can tell I am delinquent in updating this blog on his stats.  What an awesome kid he is.  He is very independent, insists on feeding himself, doesn't like to be restrained or held back in anyway.

I would love to contain him in an excer-sauser or jumper but he will not have any of it.  In fact, he was so resistant that I have loaned all of my baby gear out to other moms because it was taking up too much space and just collecting dust.

I suspect that Spencer will be walking by 11 months, if not sooner.  He is content to crawl, but prefers standing and pulling up on everything he can.  His favorite activity this week is emptying any drawer his can get into and trying to climb up the slide at the park.

Since he is so mobile, I think that he is leaner than his brother was at the same age.  Spencer was only 20.2 pounds at his 9 months, which is the 50 percentile, his height though was 29 inches which puts him in the 90th percentile and similar to his brother.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

5 years ago

5 years ago tomorrow, my husband and I took a leap of faith.  Surrounded by our very closest friends and family we committed ourselves to one another.  8 years we've know one another, 2 adorable sons, and an entirely different life than the one we started with. 

Happy Anniversary my love. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

My wits end

I can not deny that things have been difficult these last 2 weeks.  I don't know if it's any one thing independently, or the combination of many things...but, there has been a lot of yelling from Mama this past week.

The hubby has been stressed with changes afoot at work, then he was travelling, and now entertaining business associates.  Elliott has decided that it is perfectly acceptable to be contrary, condescending, ornery, and down right difficult in every single aspect of anything routine or mundane.  Spencer, well, he's Spencer.  He is verbal, loud, and will not allow a single injustice to go unnoticed (I have no idea where he inherited that trait). 

Needless to say, I have firmly decided that 2 kids is enough, and often times over the last few days--TOO MANY. 

I am at my wits end for patience and loving responses.  Each time I pep talk myself into taking deep breaths and calming down, Elliott does something that causes my blood to boil and I loose my temper.  I am out of ideas for gentle discipline--he just laughs at me. 

I sound, and feel, pathetic and ineffective.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of Pre-school recap

A few months ago, I started to feel like Elliott needed a change.  He had been attending, twice a week, the same home based daycare since he was 6 months old.  We kept him there even after I was laid off from my job.  We loved the caregiver and over the last 2 years--he has blossomed and learned all of the basics of toddlerhood. 

As his 3rd birthday approached and his energy levels took another step up, we realized that he was ready for a change.  He needed a place with more kids (and different ones), and a space that had more room to run around.  We also wanted him to be closer to home, as his previous daycare was 15 miles east of our home.  Now that I stay home, all the unnecessary driving was beginning to take its toll on me.  It also disrupted Spencer's nap schedule as he would always fall asleep in the car on the way there and on the way home.

There is a preschool that many of the Stroller Stride Mom's in our neighborhood send their wee-ones, so we checked it out.  Of course, we loved it and Elliott started this morning.  I think I was way more nervous than he was.  I was totally worried we were going to be late and felt the stress of having to get my kids somewhere on time.  It was a preview of what is to come when they are both in school.  Arrgghhhh.

We did a quick walk through of the school on Friday so that both my hubby and Elliott could have visibility of the toys and expectations.  And so that everyone was on the same page verbally about what the school had.  The drop off this morning went great.  He was nervous and clingy for about 10 minutes and I stayed with him during that time.  Then he started to get curious and was looking around the room himself, testing some of the toys out.  Next thing you know...I was kissing him goodbye and leaving my sweet first born son all on his own at his big urban preschool.

I was loading Spencer in the car seat and I saw Elliott running in the play yard from tricycle to bike.  He was clearly so excited about each toy that he couldn't decide what to play on first.  When I picked him up a few hours later he was playing happily with another boy, totally engrossed in the cars and the car ramp.

He ran up to me, gave me a big smile and a huge hug.  He seemed to enjoy his day!  His teacher gave me the art he completed that day, and we said our thanks and goodbyes.  I only wish that he stayed there longer.  His previous daycare was 8-4pm! 
Lunch box-check!
I feel like this is our first big milestone.  It is bittersweet for me.  I want him to learn and grow, to become more independent and confident, and to experience other kids and various teaching styles.  But, our jobs as parents are also to coddle and nurture our children as well as ensure they aren't growing up to quickly.  I am excited, based on this first day, that he seems to have adjusted well.  I feel like that speaks to his personality and his self confidence.  Only time will tell how it turns out.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Spencer has been precrawling for a few months now. But this week he finally took the final steps and is now officially crawling.

Unlike some babies who take a few tentative steps now and again Spencer does everything with gusto. He goes 100 miles an hour. He started crawling Thursday and by Friday I could see his main goal was to pull up on whatever he could get close to. The next day he was pulling up to his knees in his crib and today he can almost get to his feet.

He will be sitting and then push up with his hands until he is in a down dog position. He balances there for a bit and either topples over or sits down. They he will quickly crawl away.

Some kids practice and practice until they get it right. Spencer seems to want to wait until he is certain he can do it, and do it quick. Then, and only then, does he take off.

His personality is really shining through these days. His laughter is contagious but just as quick as he laughs his feelings will change and he will get pissed off about an injustice with a toy and will start whaling loudly.

What a fun kid.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome to the preschool

Last night was the first night that Spencer slept most of the night in his crib.  We put him down at 7pm, he woke at 10:30pm for a feed, then went back to sleep until 4:30am.  Not only is the sleeping in the crib a big deal, but the amount of sleep without waking or needing a feed is a record.  Needless to say--I was a happy Mommy this morning.  Too bad Spencer doesn't mimic the sentiment.

2 weeks ago he broke ground on his first tooth, and last week a second one popped up.  Ever since then, my sweet and smiley son has been replaced with a whiney, fussy one.

There has been a lot of practice crawling and pre-crawling activity but nothing that is clearly real crawling.  He can more around the room though by lunging and spinning on his tummy and occasionally rolling over (something he doesn't prefer).  I have no less than 15 video's on my phone of him almost crawling.  I am not rushing it since I know that he will be a handful when he does become mobile.  But, I want him to start crawling simply because he is so frustrated by his inability to move!

On the food front, Spencer has started to take a more active interest in eating.  He doesn't care for fruits as much as savory baby foods.  His favorite jarred food is the organic rice and lentils.  But his top pick is any food he can eat with his own hands--puffs, cheerios, bread pieces, crackers and veggie's.  He will tolerate banana chunks and raspberries if he is in the right mood.

Elliott celebrated his 3rd birthday!  My little boy is now officially categorized as a Pre-schooler.  Sniffle, sniffle.  We had a small party is his Grandparent's house the last weekend in June for him.  We also celebrated by taking him to dinner on his official birth date and we celebrate while we were on our staycation with my in-laws July 4th week.

That is Elliott pointing out the fact that I did NOT light all of the candles.  In the midst of singing we had to stop, re-light the candles and start again.  I love that kid.  And of course, eating the enormous cupcake.

Elliott always enjoys spending time with his cousins, who are 6 and 8 years old.  There is a natural bond between them that seems to allow them to play together with very little fighting.  Elliott tries to keep up with the 8 year old, and is always exhausted by the end of the day.  As a result of trying to keep up he has to push himself and his physical limits, lest he be left behind!  By the end of the visit he has increased his independence and his self confidence and I have learned to let go just a wee-bit more--a win-win for everyone!

In other big news, we enrolled Elliott in preschool.  He has been going to the same home-based daycare since he was 6 months old and we now feel he is ready for a change.  It has been a huge decision for us since we LOVE the situation he is in now.  But, there were several factors that influenced our decision.  One was that it was 15 miles from our house.  Another is the space factor.  We wanted him to be able to run around and be more independent.  We also want him to start a small amount of structured learning.  He knows his ABC's by site, he can count to 15 and knows his numbers by site to ten.  He knows colors, shapes and speaks clearly.  Unless it is the "l" sound which comes out sounding the same as a "w' sound...  We believe in kids being kids as long as possible, but we also think that learning can be fun.  And since kids are little sponges that now is the perfect time to solidify the fun of discovering new things, ideas and concepts.  Lastly, the preschool we chose is close to our home and is very reasonably priced.

And that brings everyone up to date with the goings on of the wee ones.  As for the grown-ups in the house--the hubby is working and stressing like crazy.  We are both torn between wanting a bigger house and fixing up this one.  We have been house browsing on the weekends, and of course, everyone house I look at that is bigger than ours is 'the perfect house'.  And then we come home, and talk about our house and fall in love with it all over again.  And so it begins.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sloooow down already!

My sweet little baby...

You are growing and developing so fast.  Last week you mastered your abdominal muscles and began sitting up, and this week you are already practice crawling.  It is adorable to watch you grunt and groan whilst you slowing push yourself up onto your hands and knees.  Then slowly, ever so proud of yourself, you rock back and forth.  Elliott was 11 months old when he first crawled.  How different these boys are!

It will only be a short time until you are moving about the house.  Terrorizing areas that your older brother still has not discovered.

And then...we are all in trouble.  I can sense that your calm, happy personality is a simple disguise.  Underneath it all you are dead set on the things you want.  You smile and laugh at me all the while reaching for things over my shoulder that should be out of your grasp.  You never loose an opportunity to grasp for things in your reach and even slightly beyond.  

You have THE loudest voice.  I am certain that it was specifically crafted to ensure that I dont ever let you cry it out.  It is particularly shrill and piercing when you dont like what is being done to you (putting you to sleep, putting you down when you want to be carried or picked up, or forcibly removing you from my breast because you like to gnaw and clamp down on it).

You have an infectious smile and laugh, and LOVE it when kids or adults are right up in your grill.  The more activity that is going on, the happier you are.  When it is just you and I at home--you are bored and cranky.

At your 6 month appointment you were still getting over a nasty bout of Herpangina.  As such you hadn't eaten well in several days.  So, you dropped from the 90% for weight down to the 50%.  It was heartbreaking to hear the doctor sound concerned about the shift from one arch on the growth graph to a lower arch.  You are still tall at 27 1/2 inches (75%).  18 pounds 8 ounces isn't anything to worry about, but it is smaller than your brother at this age.

I have been trying to feed you solids for more than a month now, and you have little interest in them.  You will eat several bites.  Then gag down a few more.  Then refuse to eat more than that.  You have eaten banana, avocado, sweet potatoes, peas, apples, pears, rice and lentils.  Fruit seems to be your least favorite and rice cereal your top pick.  As soon as your get some teeth we can expand your diet a bit more too.

It is bittersweet watching my baby grow and develop.  I love you sweet boy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

6 months and many lessons

6 months.

Yesterday marked 6 months since Spencer's birth.

6 months since my vagina was intact.  Yes, we are talking about it again.  Vagina, Vagina, Vagina.

I have been forced to alter my life to accommodate my new physical limitations.  I had to suspend my Stroller Strides membership because I couldn't walk without major pain, let alone run.  I could no longer stand for extended periods of time.  I couldn't sit cross-legged, on uneven or hard surfaces any longer.  Wearing tight fitting clothes was out, and let's face it now that I have had 2 kids--all my clothes are tight fitting...

The first doctor visit was 10 or so days post delivery.  I felt like something wasn't healing right.  She said I was rushing it and to take it easy.

The second visit was for my 6 week follow up.  Again, I noted the pain and discomfort.  The GYN said take it easy.  Sometimes healing takes a while.  The pain was likely a result of the prolapse.  Come back in 4-6 months for a follow up.

During the last few months I have made adjustments.  I have been in almost constant discomfort in one way or another.  I have lost sleep over not being able to have anymore kids because of the pain.  I have contemplated surgery even though I wouldn't be able to pick up my kids for 6 weeks or more.  I have cried.  But, mostly I have been silent.  I shared on this blog and with a few people.  But, mostly I have been silent about it since that is what you are supposed to do.

You aren't supposed to talk about your vagina.

Yesterday, I went to a specialist whose emphasis is in pelvic floor disorders.  He took one look at me and was shocked.  He couldn't believe that I hadn't been diagnosed before.  He was shocked that I went so long without treatment.  He said that most of my discomfort could be eliminated with a procedure he could do right now.  He couldn't guarantee that one treatment would eliminate the problem but he was certain that it would make me feel better than I felt.

He said my prolapse was normal.  He said I could have 10 more kids if I wanted.

I started to cry.  My legs in stirrups - spreadeagled and I was crying.  The nurse put her hand on my leg and brought me the box of tissues.  I was that girl.

I felt so relieved.  A painless application of silver nitrate and I was good to go.  If I wasn't healed in 2 weeks to make another appointment.

I also felt stupid.  And angry.  And silly.  I endured 6 months of pain and silent embarrassment when all I needed was some silver nitrate and a competent doctor.

Exuberant granulation tissue.

All of this isn't to say that I am 100% healed.  I still have a minor prolapse.  And I may still need an office visit to surgically remove the extra tissue.  But, I already feel better today both knowing the true cause of my pain and knowing that it can be treated.

Lessons learned-  Trust my body.  Trust my instincts.  Trust myself.   Don't blindly trust doctors.  Don't be ashamed of my body--broken or not.

Is three a charm?

Up until 2 weeks before I got pregnant I never wanted children. When I was younger I would tell people I didn’t want kids. I didn’t babysit. There weren’t many babies or small children around while I was growing up. With the exception of my cousin who was born when I was in my early 20's all the other kids were my age.

When the hubby and I met I was still certain that I didn’t want kids. Then one day something inside of me changed. It was shortly after we got married that my inner clock started ticking. I tried to ignore it a first. But it wouldn’t be ignored.

After living together for several years, a good length engagement, and a wonderful year post marriage the hubby and I had a short, and I mean 5 minutes or less, conversation about if we should try and start a family.

2 short weeks later the pee stick said pregnant. I was in shock for my entire first trimester. I did not handle it well. We now have 2 awesome, gorgeous boys.

Most of my friends seem to be content and happy with one child. These days many folks start their families later. Some are less willing to give up their perceived freedom due to careers or simply the pragmatic choice of budgetary restraints and are therefore unable to stay home with their children and then, many people simply feel satisfied with one child (and some none) . Some decide on having two, but very few of our friends have decided that yet.

I am plagued.

I want a third child. Something in my heart is telling me that our family in not complete yet. There are so many reasons why a third baby would be impractical. We only live in a 2 bedroom house-1000 square feet people. 3 kids might put us over the edge financially. I might loose my mind with three kids. Where would the 3rd kiddo sit at our dinner table? Would we ever get invited anywhere again? When would we sleep again? Oh, and I would have to get pregnant again (I don’t love being pregnant, and my lady parts are still on the fritz).

There is also the global perspective and the planet to think of. It is really a good idea to populate our planet with more than ourselves as replacements? Am I being selfish wanting a third child when so many folks can’t even have one? Hubby has valid concerns too regarding how much time he would have to spend with each. Would he get the quality time with each of them that they needed? Would it be total chaos? Would we be able to give each of them the love that they needed. What would our house be like with 5 human beings living in it at all times. Plus a dog and a cat.

All things emotional and logical inside of me say yes.

The house logistics are simple. While I occasionally get depressed that our house is so small; most of the time I am content with our small, cozy quarters. I love the neighborhood, the centrality, and our yard. I know we could make it work. Moreover, I want to make it work. I like to be challenged. And living in this house is a challenge in terms of getting everything to fit. It forces me to think about things before I buy them. It also requires shared space which is a good lesson for everyone. It forces each person to respect the others space. Plus, we won’t live here forever, although the in-laws have lived in their home for 30-plus years. Hmm, we could always remodel-budget permitting.

We have the gear. I have the space in my vehicle. I know I have enough love (patience may be a bit short in the beginning and during the teenage years). I am not getting any younger and in many ways I want to be done with the childbearing part and move all my energy and focus to the childrearing phase.

I keep getting stuck in the comments of others. Am I crazy for wanting three? Will I put myself over the edge? Do I have the personality to handle three kids?

I still have plenty of time to ponder this idea since breastfeeding full time has warded off my period. But it is fun to think about. Unless we have a girl...then all bets are off.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Confession of an angry Mom

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away I had a problem with anger. I would get angry quick and unexpectedly. I would often over react and yell; many times saying things i regretted or didn't mean. Yes, I know you are thinking that everyone does this occasionally. And, yes, I agree. But, it would happen to me frequently and the rage associated with it was so unexpected that I deemed it a problem.

I put an end to a few bad relationships, reassessed my self-worth and finished college. After college I sought to eliminate the anger. I bought a book about anger management and realized that anger was a secondary emotion. It was the reaction to feelings about something else. Hmm, for me, at the time, that was enlightening. I also determined that I had what was called sudden anger. I learned some techniques, including blogging as a way to share my feelings and sort out my thoughts. The anger subsided, and I became a calmer, happier person.

However, in the last few months it seems that the anger has crept back into my life. My once rational, calm, reasonable demeanor is now short tempered, hot headed and worse yet...irrational. Arrgghhh.

I have been thinking and analyzing the reasons for my feelings and the cause of my anger. I have come up with this. And like it or not, these are my feelings.

Most of the anger i have been feeling is towards my children. In particular my older child. He is a good, kind kid. But, I realized that I was taking him to seriously. Especially when he would tell me no, or say he didn't like me, or just outright disobey something I asked him. Uh, hello, he is a 2 year old. Of course he is going to test his boundaries and limits. Especially with his new found confidence from swim lessons.

The thing that made me the most angry was when he would take a toy away from his younger brother or try to hurt him. I soon realized that the reason this made me so angry was because I was erroneously thinking he was doing it maliciously or on purpose. Of course, he is not even 3 years old and doesn't yet have the ability to be mean like that. Once I was able to wrap my head around that, I stopped reacting so over the top.

I am glad that I took the time to look deeper into my actions and feelings and find a way to communicate with my children in a more effective and productive manner.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The week for Milestones

As timing would have it, Elliott decided that he wanted to start wearing underwear and using the potty the Friday before our trip to Mexico. The first round of potty training didn't go well and after several months without success we decided to shelve the attempt. From everything I read we put to much pressure on him to use the pot. So he took control of the thing he knew he could-his bladder and bowels to resist the pressure.

After much parental guilt and discussion between the hubby and I - We told him that it was his body and that he needed to be ready to pee and poop in the pot. We apologized for pressuring him and told him to tell us when he was ready. And from then on we didn't mention it to him. If he would complain about the cold wipes during a diaper change we would remind him that TP wasn't wet or cold. Or if he would complain or fuss about diaper changes we would tell him that he could decide/choose to use the toilet anytime but until then we had to wear diapers.

I also decided to skip the pull-ups and the training potty and go straight for underwear and the big toilet. I wanted simplicity and less mess (counter intuitive but true!).

So 3 days before our 5+ hour plane trip plus countless airport hours we switched from diapers to underwear. He is doing great. We have had several accidents, of course. But this is a way different experience for us both. The timing is his and he is in charge. What an awesome feeling for him!

Elliott has also strongly resisted dressing and undressing himself. This is partly our fault as his folks. And partly his way of asserting himself. More often we would rather just do it for him and get out of the house than wait and wait and wait for him to get around to it-if he ever did. What we weren't seeing was the big picture as it relates to self confidence and independence. We were also short changing him as it relates to coordination.

However, since he started using the pot we have required him to start putting his clothes on and taking them off. This is especially important after he has an accident-he has to sit on the pot, then clean up the pee (to the best of a 2 year olds ability), then put his wet clothes in the laundry and get dressed again. All of these things are normal events-but act as a deterrent for him. The benefit is that he is so proud of himself afterwards!

I suspect that alot of Elliott's new found confidence is from the swim lessons that he took the 2 weeks prior to our trip to Cancun. There are several schools of thought as it relates to swimming. The classes we took we the life saving type and therefore they took a fairly hard lined approach to learning. Elliott hasn't been exposed to the tuff love method to much-so it came as a big shock to him. There were a lot of tears the first few days and a bunch of pool water swallowed.

The lessons were simple-they were designed to tap into our innate ability to swim. The instructor always orients the child to the side of the pool and then sends him on his way.
At the end of 2 weeks Elliott felt very confident in himself and had learned the basics of life saving swimming techniques. Many people think this method is mean and won't subject their children to this type of learning. And if my son had a fear of water I might not consider such a harsh method. But, Elliott has zero fear of water-he goes down the water slide at his Grandparents pool, jumps off the side of the pool into the deep end without a care for who will catch him, and last summer walked straight into the Ocean. I had to run in with all my clothes on and get him. So, these lessons taught him to swim as well as a healthy fear of the water.  A win-win in my book.

The finger saga continues.  Elliott has had 2 post-op follow up appointments with the surgeon.  Both appointments went well.  The doc thinks there is still something in his finger based on the swelling, but is hopeful that his body will be able to break it down and absorb it.  We follow up again in 2 months.  Again, as luck and timing would have it-the Sunday before we leave for Mexico I noticed that one of the stitch sites was infected.  There was a bubble of green pus.  I called the nurse line and she said to come into the ER and they would treat it--she didnt recommend waiting until we returned in case it was something more serious. 
The doc who saw him said it looked like a stitch was stuck inside, and was causing a light infection.  She took a needle and popped the pustule and sent a sample to the lab.  More antibiotics and we were on our way. I took the liberty of removing the other 2 stitches that appeared to be stuck myself.  Our medical deductible has almost been met.  Yes, that is $6k we are going to have to pay out of pocket.  We dont need anymore medical bills. I even cancelled Spencer's last PT session because I think it was more of a formality than a necessity.  

Since this is the week for milestones--Spencer took the hint and started rolling over.  I bought him a travel tent/bed for our trip.  I knew we were going to be spending a fair amount of time at or in the pool.  So, I wanted to be sure he was comfy and in the shade.  One day while Elliott was swimming, Spencer was enjoying some tummy time in his tent.  Next thing you know he was on his side then on his back again.  And so it begins--his active journey.  Since he can now move about, we are also allowing him to sleep on his tummy.  He seems to enjoy sleeping both on his back and on his stomach.  Neither position elicit more sleep than the other though.  Boo. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

4 months and growing

All is well here in baby land.

Elliott is recovering from his surgery.  His finger is still pretty swollen.  The surgeon said it could be from where they effectively broke it, or it could be that he still has a piece of the frond in his finger.  The good news is that the infection is gone.  The bad news is that if the swelling persists and his little body doesn't absorb the frond, he will need an MRI and another surgery to remove it.  I haven't received a hospital bill yet, but I cringe each time I open the mail box.

We also had him tested for allergies--and all things are negative.  What we may have thought were allergies could have been a chronic cold.  He still is having a facial skin reaction to something...but we haven't been able to nail down what yet.  All things considered though, Elliott is back to his joyful, silly, energetic self.

Spencer is awesome.  He is a very happy, easy going baby.  He is extremely vocal and will tell you when he needs something.  He, like Elliott is growing up to be a big boy.  I took Spencer to his 4 month appointment a couple of weeks late, but he weighed in at 17 pounds (90%) and 26 inches long (90%).  I looked back at Elliott's numbers when he was the same age and Elliott weighed more but they are the same height.  Spencer is also a WAY better sleeper than Elliott was.  Perhaps that is because we co-sleep with Spencer and we didnt co-sleep in the same way with Elliott.

As for me, I accepted a temporary part-time consulting position.  The office is too far from my home to consider anything permanent, but I like the flexibility of being able to work from home on occasion.  I feel like a productive member of society again.

I put my Stroller Strides membership on hold for a while because of all the medical issues we have had as well as the drama that SS has been dealing with regarding permitting with the City of SD.  I still need to find some sort of exercise outlet to help me lose 10 more pounds (if not more) and we are thinking of joining the YMCA.  I loved getting outside with SS and socializing with the other Mom friends I have made, but I also want to get a break sometimes, and the Y offers babysitting services.

This awesome photo of Spencer was taken by Jenna Rowe Photography

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hospital Breakfast in bed

Post op-breakfast.

The saga of the swollen finger

A Mom's work is worry...or so they say?  Well, I must be working OT.  Or so, I feel anyway.  While I recognize that this is small potatoes compared with many families medical issues, this was scary for our family.

About 5 weeks ago, Elliott was angry and struck a pygmy palm tree with his hand.  He cried for a bit, and was over it.  I looked at the wound and didn't think anything of it.  It wasn't bleeding, there wasn't anything stuck in his finger that I could see, and he was back playing fairly quick.  But, the fronds had spines on them and I knew that one must have poked his finger.

A few days later I noted that it was swollen and he wasn't using it.  I mentioned it to the hubby, who in typical hubby fashion, said not to worry about it.  I called the nurse line at the peds office and they had me come in.  By this time the finger was really sore and he was complaining about it.

The doctor noticed some redness and spots on the top of his hand, but no other signs of a problem.  She thought that perhaps it was infected and wrote us an RX for 10 days of Keflex, 4 times a day.  40 doses!!  After several days on the meds, I hadn't seen any improvement in the swelling, so I called the ped office again.

We went to a second appointment, and I ran through the whole story to a new pediatrician and resident.  They thought that perhaps he jammed it, similar to a basketball injury.  But, just to be safe ordered an xray.  The xrays were negative for a break/fracture.  So, the doc said, in a very dismissive, insulting way--to go home, take the rest of the antibiotics and call if the swelling was still there after we completed the meds.

I went home feeling like I was overreacting and started to question my intuition and parenting skills.  On top of that, I was almost out of medication and he had only been on it a few days.  I called the pharmacy only to realize they shorted us a bottle of the medication.  I had to walk through the dosage math with the tech to convince him that they did it wrong.  Some of my confidence was subsequently restored having discovered that it wasn't my dosing error but their mathematical error. But, having to go back to the pharmacy again bites.

During this same time period, I was finally able to get Elliott in to see an allergist.  He has had what can only be described as allergy symptoms for a few winters.  They did the skin prick test for environmental allergies and all of them come back negative...  I am now feeling extremely over protective and wondering if I am being a hypochondriac.  Not to mention that our insurance deductible is $6k--so all of these visits and meds are out of pocket until we reach our deductible Yes, SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Elliott finished the medication.  We celebrate hubby's 40th birthday party. Another week goes by and I notice the finger is still swollen.  I ask around to be sure I am not being crazy and paranoid (this occasionally happens), and I call the nurse line again.  2 days later the doc calls back and says they are going to refer me to an Orthopedic doc.  I ask him what his line of thinking is...and he says, that they are out of ideas.

Hmm, ok.  We go to the Orthopedic doc on Friday morning.  They don't have our appointment on the books, but take us anyway.  But, first we swing by the lab and Elliott gets his blood drawn for a RAST test.  He had 2 skin reactions to what both his daycare provider and I thought was peanut butter.  More worry and panic.  Needless to say--Elliott was not pleased to have a blood draw.  But all things considered he was fairly reasonable about it.  And stopped crying as soon as I released his arm.

We see the ortho doc, who is about as quirky as Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  In fact he looked in my diaper bag twice if that sheds some light on it.  Well, he ordered 3 more x-rays.  Urgghh.  More x-rays!!!  Elliott has had x-rays 5 times and 4 of them have been in the last 6 months--ankle (not broken-phew!), clavicle (broken), chest (Bronchitis), hand/finger twice.  He comes back and advises me that he has a bone infection.

Um, excuse me?  Yes, I heard him right.  Osteomyelitis.  He started saying things like blood work, hospital admittance, MRI, surgery.  I called the hubby and asked him to leave work and meet me at the hospital asap.I was very nervous and needed support.

The doc wanted to get more blood work to help confirm his diagnosis. Poor kid braved out one blood draw, but now needs a second one -- on the same day!  The blood came back OK, so they wanted to order an MRI.  Apparently for a kid to get an MRI they have to put them under general anesthesia.  So, we were looking at a hospital admittance.

Uh, not exactly what I had planned for my Friday. But, ok I am rolling with it.  Trying to stay calm for my son's sake.  He was hungry and thirsty and begging me for water--and since he was going under they wouldn't let him eat or drink.  We end up waiting several hours for a room vacancy, and by then the anesthesiologist for MRI had gone home for the night.  We finally speak with the surgeon who was confident that either way surgery was needed.  And by skipping the MRI we would save thousands of dollars (see above for insurance deductible)

So, at 6:30pm he went in for surgery on his finger.  They drilled 4 holes in his bone, released the pressure, took some samples of the bone and tendon fluid, and stitched him up.  It was heartbreaking handing him over to the OR nurse and watching him walk back to the OR with her.  Everything went great, and the surgery only took about 40 minutes.  We were out of recovery and back in the room by 8:00pm.

And by 9pm he was drinking water and eating Popsicles on my lap.  By 10pm he was fast asleep with Daddy by his side.  Only one parent can sleep in the room with him, and since Spencer wont take a bottle--I had to go home and the hubby had to stay.  I was back bright and early the next morning, and he was already running down the halls and eating a HUGE breakfast.

He received a few doses of antibiotics and some anti-inflammatory through his IV (which thankfully they inserted after he was already under--thanks to the strawberry scented 'special air').  By noon the doc had cleared him for discharge.  They re-dressed his bandage since it was already 3/4 of the way falling off...he is a 2 year old after all.  And sent us home with meds for pain, and another antibiotic.

There was a slight mix up with the RX--as in the doc wrote the wrong one.  We filled it, paid $179 for it, only to discover after talking between us that it was the wrong one.  The nurse verified our theory with the doc and the pharmacy reluctantly refunded our money.  They didn't have the new Rx, so the nurses called all the pharmacies in our area only to concede to an intra-pharmacy transfer (in-patient to out-patient)...sheesh!

$125 lighter and several hours later--we finally leave the hospital at 4pm.  Freedom at last!

Elliott doesn't seem to notice the bandages, hasn't complained about his hand, and has slept 2 solid nights without waking once (something that hasn't happened in more than a month).

What an ordeal.  But, I learned an important lesson.  You may have already guessed it.

It is to trust myself.  I know my son.  I know when something isn't right.  I know that even though he wasn't directly complaining about pain-that something was wrong.  And that sometimes injuries manifest themselves in other ways--like night waking or malaise.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Baby Love

Remembering back to when Elliott was a wee one--I recall not liking the baby phase AT ALL.  I suspect that my anxiety played a role in that.  But moreover, I suspect that my lack of experience and exposure to babies in general was more the culprit.

This time around, I am in love with the baby stage.  My wee one is the.most.adorable baby I have ever seen (of course!). And, granted there are several super duper cute kids around these days.  My eyes are fixated on mine.  He dishes out smiles by the handful, he laughs and giggles with ease.  He is a great sleeper (this is subjective of course).  He rarely fusses (again subjective).  What more could a Mama want?

My older son is adjusting well to life with a younger brother.  He hasn't tried to hurt Spencer yet, unless you count trying to give him water from a sippy cup or putting the corners of his lovie in Spencer's nose.  And he is only slightly jealous of him and his toys.  Elliott has clearly marked his territory though, by licking each and every teething toy that Spencer owns.  As well as taking several other non-teething toys and calling them him own.

I feel like we are finally finding our groove.  Things are getting easier and having two kids in more comfortable.  It was tough for the first 10-12 weeks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


We took our first of many trips to Disneyland and California Adventure.  

One of Elliott"s favorite rides.
This is how Spencer spent most of the trip.  

Fight your own battles

Everyone always says they don't want to end up like their parents.  And then, at some point in our parenting career, we do something that our parents did.

There is an Oh Shit moment.

I had that moment this morning.  My mother was, and continues to be stoic with her feelings.  She didn't express a lot of empathy or sympathy towards our childhood pleas. She despised whining.  She always told us to fight our own battles.  I understand that she was trying to encourage my younger sister and I to become independent and strong women.  I get it.  But, sometimes we needed the coddling.  We needed the support of our role model, our Mom--we were little kids after all.  We needed to be shown how to respond, how to behave, how to fight back.

So, I have found myself lately acting in the same manner towards my toddler. He is capable of doing simple tasks by himself-putting his shoes on, taking off his clothes, climbing up into his car seat.  But, he refuses and gives a fake attempt and then says-Nope, I cant.  Then he whines for me to help him.  Knowing that he can do things on his own, I have been strongly encouraging him to do it himself.  He will then cry about how he cant do it and whine more.  The cycle of whining and crying will escalate the longer I insist he do it himself.  I reach my wits end, and end up yelling, he cries because I have hurt his feelings and he thinks I am mad at him (rather then frustrated at the situation).  We end up in a no-win situation.

I realized that I was not being empathetic to my son.  I was looking at the problem and only wanting to move towards the solution; without allowing myself to feel for him and he plight.  I wasn't allowing myself to see that he was really upset over me not helping him.  I began to wonder if he was upset for the same reasons I was as a child?  Did he feel abandoned by my refusal to help him?  Am I do more harm than good by not helping him?

So, today I am slowing down.  I am taking it easy on him and myself.  I am lowering my expectations.  I am choosing not to yell, and instead I am trying to look deeper into him and look at the reasons he is refusing.  I want my boys to trust me and know that I will always be there for them.  My love is unconditional.  Yes, they will have to fight their own battles still, but I hope to be able to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Time does not heal all wounds

Now that a few days has passed (or is past) I feel angry about this whole prolpase issue.  Not only have I been in pain since the exam and more so since I went for a short run, but I feel like perhaps I could have prevented the whole thing.

Many times over my pregnancy I told the midwife I was severely constipated--which is one of the main ways to develop this type of prolapse.  I wonder if she would have been more aggressive in her treatment if I would have done anything different?  I also complained about pelvic pressure--something I am sure she hears about with each and every pregnancy--but, this felt different.  Could I have been more clear perhaps...

I am sure that anyone who is diagnosed with something that impairs their life goes through these same feelings.  I know that I am not alone in feeling angry.

I also feel guilty.  Guilty for not being more diligent about my wheat intolerance--the main cause of my constipation.  If I wouldn't have been so glutinous and greedy about what I ate--perhaps I wouldn't be in this mess.

I feel guilty about not wanting to have sex--because I know it is going to hurt.  I feel horrible for not wanting sex.  I feel bad for my husband.  I feel selfish.

So, there you have it.  All my vulnerabilities out on the internet.  I don't even feel better.

Friday, January 15, 2010

my who-ha is broken

About 4 weeks ago I started feeling worse in my post-partum recovery.  That is to say that my neather region was hurting more than after I gave birth, and something just didnt feel right.  

I saw my midwife again, and she thought that perhaps I pulled a stitch.  I only had one external stitch so that seemed a plausable option.  She also recommended I take it easier than I was.  While my recovery still was up hill for a while it eventually started to get better and the pain subsided.

But my privates still didnt feel 'right'.  It didnt look right down there either.

So, I made my 6 week follow up appointment with an idea of what my diagnosis was.  I, of course, had consulted Dr. Google for medical advice.  And was able to give myself a surprisingly accurate diagnosis.

The Gynecologist said that some of the pain I was having was caused by abrasions from the delivery.  She said it could be painful for a while.  But, sheesh, really?  7 weeks tomorrow is a long while to still feel so tender.  I can not fathom the idea of sex.  

The more pressing problem however, is that I have a stage 2 pelvic organ prolapse.  I am going to spare you the specifics.  It is embarrassing to admit and now that the diagnosis is confirmed I dont even want to talk about it.  I joked about it with everyone before it was real.  But, not that it is real--it isn't so funny.

I feel bitter in some ways about having a broken vagina.  When Elliott made his way into the world it was via Cesarean.  On a side note--my midwife attended, vaginal delivery cost more than my C-Section.  Same hospital, different insurance, 2.5 years later.  The C-section and hospital stay was $14K, and this delivery was $22K.  WTF?  The recovery from the C-Section was long, but not permanent.   I knew that I would heal and gradually day by day I did.  With the prolapse--there isn't any healing.  It can be managed, or it can get worse.  But, it doesnt go away without surgery.  The surgery is elective, and if I have any more kids vaginally--the surgery would be undone. Plus it is a 6 week recovery.    Yikes!

Most days it doesn't hurt.  Most days it is just there--annoying me.  But, today, I decided to start running again.  I haven't been losing the pregnancy weight as quickly or as easily as I did the first time around.  So, to jump start the weight loss--I thought running might help. It felt good to be moving around.  That is until after I was done.  That is when the pain and irritation began.  

My poor husband has been so patient about waiting the 6 weeks.  He wants to be sure I am recovered and pain free before we re-consummate our relationship.  But, from the feel of might just be a while longer.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

I grow 'em big

Elliott weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce when he was born (10 days early).  Spencer weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces (born on his due date).  Now, I am not petite or dainty by any means, but I am not obese either.  Unless you take my current weight...the extra pregnancy pounds are coming off far slower this time around than the first time.  But, this post is about my babies not my inability to fit into a single thing in my pre-pregnacy closet.  .

My point is that I grow big babies-both inside and outside the womb.  I suspect this was a contribution from my husbands side of the family, as they grow big babies too.  Having a larger baby has many positives associated with it.  They fit into their clothes sooner, they are heartier and less fragile, and they sleep better (I think).  They are also ready to eat, and eat they do!

The downside is that they outgrow many of their age appropriate things far too soon.  For example, Spencer at 6 weeks weighs about 14.5 pounds.  Yes, he is huge.  The Mini Co-Sleeper is only rated for 22 pounds.  Our infant carseat is also only rated up to 23 pounds.  By the time Elliott was developmentally ready to use a Bumpo chair, he was too big to fit into it.  Same went for the door jumper.

It is also embarrassing to have Mom's tell me that my 6 week old is bigger than their 6 month old.  Yes, this really happened to me yesterday in Ikea.  I am flattered that my son is growing with such vigor--all because of my awesome breast milk.  But, I wonder if there isn't something else they are trying to tell me...?  It wouldn't be appropriate for me to go around talking about how small a person's baby is--for all i know they may be struggling with breast feeding or having confidence issues of their own about their babies size.

And while I call my son a bruiser--please don't call him Brutus (as in the Popeye character).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

5 week update

Phew, the holidays are over.  I love being with family and celebrating, and gifts...but with a newborn and a very spirited toddler-well chaos isn't far behind.  In fact, I feel like I am either chasing or being followed by a little tornado.  Everytime I pick up one mess, another is being dumped out behind me.

Spencer, so far, is an awesome newborn.  He is now moving into the infant stage and seems to be getting more comfortable with life outside the womb.  I am doing so many thing differently with him being the second child and all.  Part of the differences are due to way in which he made his way into this world, many of them are because I am a more confident parent, and some are due to his easy going disposition. 

I was convinced that Spencer was going to be a hyperactive kid who never slept.  But, in fact, it is just the opposite.  While we are 5 weeks in, he is a great sleeper both at night and naps. He is rarely fussy with the exception being when he has to poop—which so far is every 3-5 days.  We have already had 3 poonami’s—which consist of him blowing his diaper, onesie, outfit and carseat out.  He loves baths and seems to just melt into the tub whenever we place him there.  He is starting the quiet alert stage—where he just looks around and takes in the lights and colors. 

Elliott is still an amazing little kid.  He continues to be great at sharing his toys and still has a compassionate side to him.  He is becoming a very good conversationalist and has an awesome memory for names and details.  Elliott loves all things trains, trucks, cars, diggers and airplanes.  He seems to have a preference for things that GO.  Although we spent over an hour last night together putting together puzzles (he only wanted to put together the train, drums, car and animals puzzles…go figure). 

Our battle with potty training is ongoing.  He was going pee in the potty with regularity and staying dry in between.  I was just about ready to move him to underwear full time.  He could even hold his bladder all night on most nights.  He has however decided to assert his own variety of independence and now refuses to pee in the pot, and won’t hold his pee at night.  His pull ups were getting so soaked through that 3 times they leaked.  Pull ups are just not meant to hold that much pee…  Plus, he now has a rash caused by the wet pull up and his refusal to pee in the pot (and our lack of changing it often enough).  So, he is back to wearing diapers until he decides he is ready to pee in the pot again.  We keep asking him, and we make him sit there still but it is a battle every time.  It makes me wonder if it is a battle I shouldn’t be fighting.  This is one of those areas where I am uncertain as to the ‘right’ thing to do.  Should I force him to sit on the pot even though it causes him distress?  Or do I just keep on keeping on, and hope that sometime in the future he will change his mind and decide he is ready?  The potty training experts say that you shouldn’t go back, and once in pulls up don’t go back to diapers…  But, he is a willful child and doesn’t like being told what to do.  Yes, like his Mama, he already has an authority complex.  The battle rages on.

I love being a Mom to two boys.  I feel like I am adjusting well to life with two children, although it has its challenges.  I had a small amount of free time with Elliott.  I now feel like I don’t have any free time.  Even something as mundane as a shower needs to be carefully scheduled and cleared with the hubby.  I can see how this lack of ‘me’ time could build resentment and frustration if you aren’t communicating your needs often and clearly.

Speaking of needs—nap time if over and mine needs a feeding and diaper change.