Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Spencer!

A childhood right of passage.  It's egg free, don't worry.

I am mentally planning and seed planting for Spencer's 4th birthday.  I went back through my pictures to remind myself what we have done in the past, only to realize that I haven't posted ANYTHING about his last 2 birthdays.  I suck.  I am reinforcing the 2nd child syndrome.

So, here is the synopsis.  We had a small birthday party at our (old) house.  I only invited kids that were Spencer's age, and only a small number of kids.  It was lovely and low maintenance.  We had lunch, ate cake and the kids played.  Fun times.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Language Development

For a long while I have been anxious about Spencer's 'slow' use of language.  He began saying a few words--Mama, Dada, cock-a-doodle-doo within the normal range of time.  However, after that he really didn't say much beyond screeching and yelling, pointing and gesturing. Perhaps we always spoke for him.  Perhaps he felt confident that his intention was coming across without needing to speak the words, or perhaps he just didnt want to.

Most important is the fact that he can very clearly communicate his needs and wants.  He signs about 20 things (milk, eat, more, water, bath, dog, bird, all done, get the idea), he pats or points to the things he wants, and he most often will insist you take his hand while he shows you what he wants or needs.  When he is hurt he points to the area that was damaged while whaling and puckering up his lips.

A good friend of mine is going through the cluster fuck of trying to enroll her 2 1/2 year old son in Speech Therapy.  Apparently some insurance companies will only cover it if your child has a greater than 50% deficiency in language development for their age.  And the state funded programs are impacted and few and far between.  Saying nothing of the fact that for many kids who do not attain help, their abilities will only get worse as time moves on.  Taking them farther and farther away from the 'normal' range.  Grrrr!  So watching her go through the ringer was not something I wanted to experience.

Spencer will be 2 years old in November so we have a little while before we really need to worry. Apparently language development really kicks off, for those who were slow to acquire it, at around 22-28 months.  And while I know I shouldn't, I am stuck comparing him to Elliott.  Elliott could talk in full sentences by now and was always being praised for his vast spoken if he would only focus on being quiet!

Last week, to my great relief, Spencer started saying some words and mimicking our words. He has a long way to go, since most of the words aren't very clear and most of them are the names of the cars from Cars: The Movie and Cars 2.  But, phew!  I am so excited to enter this new stage of development with him.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The time crunch

My 37th Birthday is just around the corner, and I am starting to feel pressured for time.  And by time, I mean reproductive time.  We are always pushing the clock around here.  Go, go, go.

My hubby and I decided that a 3rd child was not in our cards right now.  And, I felt at peace with that decision for a while.  I even went so far as to give away all of my newborn clothes (with the caveat that they return them to me).  It felt liberating.  I felt like a giant weight was lifted of my shoulders.  I felt happy.  I felt at peace.

That lasted for a several months.  Now I am longing again to expand our family.  My reasons in favor are numerous.  I feel like I am capable of managing another child.  Every day I become more patient, and efficient and loving.  I love watching the kids grow and explore their worlds.  I get an endless amount of joy and satisfaction from watching the boys play together, work out their battles and conflicts for space and attention, and I love the relationship they are building with one another.  I also feel a small longing for a girl.  I can not imagine how it would change the way I parent or love a child, but I am curious to know.

I am also becoming more aware of the fleeting nature of my childrens youth.  They grow so quickly, and change in the blink of an eye.  I love being around toddlers.  They are so loving and energetic and flexible!  They accept guidance and redirection.  They rarely throw tantrums when given the proper options and time to make a decision.  With a 4 year old and a 20 month old-my toddlers days are coming to an end.  My older son will be in school next year and my younger son will be in preschool a couple of mornings a week. And, I can feel the stress associated with this end.  I do not want this time period to come to a close.

On the other side of the spectrum I do not long, in the slightest of ways, to be pregnant again.  I was sick for the first trimester, plus.  I was depressed for the second trimester and while I was happy and thrilled the third trimester - I was also exhausted!  Couple that with parenting 2 small kids and I wonder if another pregnancy will break me.  37 years old is not young any more.  In terms of child bearing, it is considered advanced maternal age.  There is more lab work, more tests to worry over, and more midwife care and worries.  There is also far less energy than, say, when I was 27!

That takes me to the sleep factor.  Oh, how I long for the ability to sleep and wake on my own schedule!  I am not sure why this matters so much now.  When I worked I woke on someone else's schedule.  I have always been an early riser and I never was a late/long sleeper.  But, there is something about calling your own shots and not waking to the sound of crying that only you or your breast can soothe.  Then, there is the middle of the night waking that comes with a new babe.

The pain and recovery of the pregnancy and the birth.  Ouch.  The weight loss, the fitness level to be regained, the endless backaches, and the carrying and lifting of the babe for the first year plus.  There is a physicality to another child that scares me.  Is my body strong enough to endure that first year again!?!?!

But, even while looking over the pro's and con's, and notice there is nothing about my husband's feelings or desires listed here!  I still feel like our family is incomplete.  Try as I body is telling my mind to suck it up!  I am very logical and this is tearing me up inside.  The illogical (yet totally base) nature of physical desire mixed with reason and sensibility just doesn't add up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The results show

I work hard to be a good parent.  I quit working to be home with my children.  I read and keep up on the various parenting styles and the latest approaches to dealing with tantrums.  I listen to my children and try to be present.  I love my boys more than words can express.  But, boy o'boy do these kids frustrate me.

I am trying to reconcile how to let my kids be kids, while attempting to maintain my sanity and keeping our house erect.  Is it possible?

How do we put aside our quirks and personality nuances and allow the little people around us to exist and be happy?  I am struggling with this very idea.  Often times I am finding my rules and limitations are what is standing in the way of our families peaceful existence.  That is not to say that my rules and limits aren't healthy and safe.  I am just pointing out that I am usually the one with the limits and rules, as well as their enforcer.

I want my kids to express their true personalities, to be comfortable in their own skin, and to be confident with their decisions.  I feel like they wont learn these lessons if I am telling them "No" all of the time.  I am certain that I am over simplifying it, but I nonetheless feel guilty with the amount of times in a day I am saying No.

Redirecting 1 child was much easier than attempting to redirect 2 children.  Especially when the second child is often times in danger of hurting himself.

I am still working hard to be a great parent, but it is taking its toll on my self esteem these last few weeks.  I am slowly coming to terms with the changes that I need to make, the limits that I need to set and enforce, and rethinking the way I communicate with the kiddos.  I am dreading the work, but I long for the results.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pre-race self portrait

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Carlsbad Half Marathon race report

Yesterday I completed a Half Marathon, that's 13.1 miles folks.  I will pause for effect.  

I haven't run a race since Elliott was just a few months old and I really walked most of it being just a few months post surgery. 

In my former life I was a frequent runner and racer, and I posted a while ago about the races that I remember running.  I was never fast, but I do have endurance.  It took me 6 hours and 1 minute to complete my only marathon.  

This race was different though than all my other races.  The main difference was that I signed up for the race and the training alone.  I was lucky enough to run with some great women throughout the training period, but the decision to run and train was mine alone.  I also vowed from the first long weekend run that I would not allow myself to quit.

You see, I have a habit of letting myself fail.  If I find something to be difficult I judge whether I will be able to complete the task.  If there is a possibility that I may fail, then I will rationalize reasons not to try as hard as I could.  Then, I often end up giving up and failing at the task.  Therefore sabotaging my chances at success, even if they may have been slim to begin with.

I didn't do that to myself this time.  I tried as hard as I could throughout the season.  I accepted my defeats as they came (and they came on a 12 mile training run...ouch), and I pushed myself when I could.  The result was awesome.  I finished the half with a personal best.  My watch time was 2 hours 38 minutes (had to stop it for a potty break hence the 3 minute variance from the tag time).  The official results are here:

Half Marathon
Runner DetailsRace ResultsSplit Times
Hometown:San Diego, CA
Overall:5529 out of 7026
Women:3164 out of 4327
F 35-39:591 out of 768
Age/Grade:41.16% Place: 5622
Finish:2:42:03 Pace: 12:22
Tag Time:2:42:03
Gun Time:2:52:20
6.6 MI:1:23:21 Pace: 12:38

It clearly isn't a great time compared to others in my age group (591 out of 768 finishers), but it a great time for me as a runner.  And I ran 95% of the course, only stopping to catch my breath 3 times after I ran 10 straight miles.  My previous race times were around 3 hours, so my pace has improved greatly as well.  I feel proud of myself for giving it my all, and that is all that counts in my race book.  

Childhood Food Allergies

When Spencer was about 6 months old, one of the first foods he sampled was yogurt.  I bought the plain greek yogurt, and Spencer didn't love it.  He made a funny face and only allowed a couple spoonfuls into his grill before flat out rejecting it's milky goodness.

After eating a couple of bites, I thought I noticed a few red marks on his face.  They were so subtle though, that I attributed them to irritation from using the spoon to wipe or catch the extra food that ends up all over little ones faces.

I made a mental note of the redness and moved on.  It was a while still before I tried yogurt again.  This time I smartened up and bough the Gerber baby yogurt-strawberry flavor.  He loved it and gobbled it down.  The entire container in fact.  And, he wasn't even out of his highchair before he clearly developed hives on his face and around his mouth.

A phone call to the doc, some Benadryl and a vow to stay off dairy products until he was 1 year old--no cheese, no milk, no yogurt.  I never gave him formula, luckily, not that he would drink it anyway!  He is a very particular eater and drinker.  I wasn't checking every label to ensure that all milk proteins were absent from the foods I gave him.  Not until I noticed he would have a couple of very small hives after eating certain foods.  I then began to read labels more closely and discovered that he was more sensitive to milk that I suspected.  He was reacting to items where milk (or derivatives) was low on the ingredient list.

I discussed it with his doctor at his 9 month appointment, and they suggested scheduling an appointment with an allergist when he reached 1 year old.  We did just that.  Elliott went through allergy testing last year as well, so I knew what to expect.  Spencer was a champion during the appointment and testing.

And, before I left the office I had a Rx for an epi-pen and was reeling at the discovery that my wee lad had not only an allergy to milk, but to eggs and peanuts.

The first feeling I had was pity.  For my myself.  I felt disappointed that it was my kid who was going to ruin lunch for everyone at school.  It was my kid who everyone was going to have to cater their lunch boxes to.  It was me who was going to have to make all sorts of food modifications for.  Then, I got over it and moved on.

We have been navigation the food allergies for several months now, and it doesn't seem as bad as I had anticipated.  The main challenge is the peanut allergy.  Since he has never been exposed to peanuts, there is no way to know what type of reaction he will have.  It could be hives or it could be death.

The milk and egg allergies he will likely outgrow.  In fact, 80% of children outgrow their childhood allergies to milk and eggs.  While only 20% of children outgrow their allergy to peanuts.  We have eliminated peanut butter from our nut butter arsenal, as well as most products that contain peanuts.  But, we aren't so strict as to eliminate foods made on equipment with peanuts.

The tough part is still coming though.  He is only 14 months old, and doesn't have the language skills to ask why he cant eat certain foods, while his brother can.  But, he is beginning to show signs that he notices that we are eating foods that he isn't, and he knows that he wants them too, and he shows me his dismay that I dont allow him to partake.  Spencer is very particular and vocal about the things he wants and doesn't want.  He is my son after all.    Love that kid.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spencer's First Birthday Party

Happy Birthday, Spencer

Where is my cake?!?!

Like usual, I am delinquent in posting.  Spencer celebrated his 1 year birthday in late November.  I wanted a small party, but as is typical, we had a large gathering.  I am incapable of throwing a small shindig.  

It was a wonderful morning party with many of the kids he sees and plays with on a daily basis from Stroller Strides, and a few of my friends.  Along with the family that was able to travel to San Diego to celebrate.

We had a checkered flag themed party, and kept the decorations and fan fare limited.  I did make a 4 layer white and black cake.  Apparently black food coloring turns poop green.  Good to know.

It was a lot of work to have his party and then go full force into the December holidays.  Next year we are going to have his party the weekend before his birthday, depending on when the Thanksgiving holidays fall.

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