Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ladybug is 1/2 a year (and more) old!

Ladybug!  I am so glad you have such a patient personality because you will most likely need it when you grow up and realize how long I go between blogging about all of your accomplishments.  You need to know always, that it is because our lives are so full with you in it and I don't want to ever take time away from you or your brother or your father in order to go sit by my computer to write these updates. we go!!

When we last updated you were 4-5 months old.  A LOT has happened since then.   But first, a picture of you on your 5th month birthday.  We had insulation blown into our house and it was SO LOUD.  On this day, they were working outside your window in your nursery, so you took all of your naps while firmly attached to me.  I set up my iPad with my iMac keyboard so I could get some work done!

Soon after that we headed to the Frozen Four Hockey tournament in Florida - we go every year to the tournament, it just so happened that this year it was in a warm place so we ended up spending a week on St. Pete beach in a beautiful cottage that we rented.  This was your very first plane ride and you were a rock star.

You loved the beach but weren't too sure of the Gulf waters.  

But you definitely loved being the cutest swimsuit model ever.

On our last day at the beach, you finally took a nap in the tent - we're hoping you'll be able to do that on our trip to the beach in July, but realize that might not be in the cards.

After we got home, we set up the bouncy-bounce so you could spend more time playing upright.

On Friday, April 13 you had a small accident.  Mommy had decided erroneously that she was too klutzy to carry you in one arm and the infant seat in the other arm from the living room to the she put you in the chair and picked up the whole thing.  On our 10' walk from one room to the other, I bonked the chair into the little peninsula and you came tumbling out onto your head.  It was very scary.  Mommy called 911 and they sent an ambulance so we took a quick trip to Children's Hospital downtown.

Turns out you were a-ok, which we were all so relieved to hear.  The nurses decided you were the cutest baby ever (though I suspect they say that to all the worried mommies)

The very next day you surprised us by rolling over for the first time!

Every morning, we run/walk/ride to drop off Little G at his school and walk/ride back.  Sometimes you fall asleep in the stroller, but most times, not.

At the end of April, you and mommy and Little G took a flight all by ourselves to Pennsylvania to visit Gram and Aunt K and Cousin W.  That Sunday you were baptized by your Aunt K.  It was a beautiful service and afterwards we had a wonderful party with lots of friends and relatives.  We didn't take any pictures the entire day...but I can promise you, the party was a lot of fun and you did a great job at the baptism.  Everybody loved meeting you.

When we got home, you surprised us by truly mastering the art of sitting up.  When I tell you that this has completely changed your life, it is not an exaggeration.  There is so much more to see when you can sit up and see it and you LOVE to be part of the action.

You also really love the kitty.

You've also gotten very good at rolling over and turning yourself around in circles.  Lately, you've been working hard to get your legs underneath you, but so far that hasn't happened.

Lastly, when we last wrote, we had decided to start you on solids a couple of weeks prior to your 5th month birthday.  We tried baby oatmeal and all manner of mushy foods with a spoon but you just didn't want it.  I didn't have the energy to fight you over it, so we forgot about solids for a while until you turned 6 months.  Mommy was eating some left over smoked chicken and you reached over to her plate and grabbed a piece and just started gnawing away!!  You still aren't a fan of being spoon fed and you definitely don't like sweet things like yogurt or prefer savory we've been feeding you all sorts of fun things like mustard roasted potatoes, steak and meatballs.  Here's picture of you demolishing your lasagna a couple of days ago!

You've been teething lately, so your night time schedule has been pretty sketchy.  We're hoping something will pop through soon enough so that you can be relieved of the pain.

Ladybug, you are such an incredible joy to be with and it is ridiculous how fast the time is flying by.  I am so excited to move into the summer with you so you can experience all of the joy of summer in New England.  We love you so much, you brought light to our family that we didn't realize was missing.

All the love in the universe,

Mommy, Daddy and Little G

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mama Called the Doctor

...and the doctor said she's retiring.


And I can either transfer to the other doctor in her practice or head out on my own.  The problem with that first option being that the other doctor in her practice is totally hot.  And funny.

So that's not going to work out for me.

Double sigh.

She did however give me the names of two doctors that I could call to hopefully start to get some help.  I haven't gotten up the courage to call them though. I did post on my local mom board hoping to find out what the protocol was for getting help and found out that I need more than just a therapist if I want to continue to take drugs to manage the darkness.

Baby steps.

In other news, a friend of mine forwarded a recent Dooce post.  We have a bit in common, that Dooce lady and I...what with the whole fired-for-blogging thing.  She apparently has a younger daughter that is almost three and she wrote a post about her daughter's current attitude and behaviors.  My friend forwarded it to me because she comes to our house every Wednesday night for dinner and to hang out and watch Modern Family and she has not only witnessed the crazy, but was the first person I finally opened up to about not having laughed in days.

You can read the Dooce post here: Dreaded Year.  I encourage you to do so.

The funny thing about parenting for me is that while I know it is an exercise in futility to compare one's kids against another, sometimes all I need is some validation that my kid isn't the only one in the world exhibiting behaviors like bibbity-boop.  I can get overwhelmed in thoughts of the future and convince myself that OUR kid is going to be an axe-murderer someday solely based on his need to pummel his sister with felt vegetables.

Of all my super-close friends/confidants here in the Boston area, only one of them has children -- her son is a year older than Little G and her daughter is 6 weeks younger than Ladybug -- so I don't have a lot of examples of the range of 'normal' behavior.  On top of that, I'm involved with a private Facebook board of women all over the country who are either already parents, trying to become parents or thinking about being a parent someday.  But I have one of the oldest kids of all the women on the board, so there really isn't anyone to commiserate with about the crazy-pants things that Little G's been up to lately.  While I'm trying to figure out if staring me down while blatantly disregarding my authori-tah is a precursor to high school bullying, most of them are still trying to figure out teething or what stroller system to register for.  Don't get me wrong, I was in their shoes not too long ago, so I'm not knocking them, I'm just in a position where I can't get as much out of the group than if Ladybug were my first child -- and I make it a point to not share too much of the crazy-awful because they are all in that honeymoon phase of having babies and no one wants to shit on that by saying 'you think things are awesome now, but I promise you it will start to totally suck someday' (ok...that's a bit drastic...but you catch my drift).  I wouldn't have wanted someone to do that to me.

All of that to say that reading Dooce's post on her daughter was very helpful to me because it was a small window into the world of another mom with an almost-three year old and validation that no, my kid isn't the only one who acts the way he does.  And just that little bit of hope, believe it or not, was like the smallest beam of light breaking through the darkness on a cloudy afternoon.

I still plan to call the doctor.  A doctor.  Some doctor, somewhere.  Not sure if I'll go with the referral from my PCP or go rogue at this point. But I made a promise to myself and my family and I intend to keep it.  In the meantime, I'm feeling a little bit better about the state of our union here.

That said, I hope you all have a fantastic Mother's me a favor and go call your mother and thank her for loving you and caring for you, especially for when you were almost three.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Holy Croup!

So remember this busy yet blissful day?  It supposedly ended at 11:30pm with me staring at my clock while laying in bed anticipating getting up at 5:45 in the morning to head to the airport and fly to Pennsylvania with both kids by myself.

Yeah...well, that isn't exactly what happened.

Little G had woken up earlier that morning with a scratchy voice. I thought about pulling him from school that day, but he seemed perfectly fine by breakfast, so off we went.

When I picked him up from school, his voice seemed to be weak again and I just chalked it up him having used it all day at school.

We put him to bed with his water, which we don't usually do these days to keep him from peeing in his bed overnight.  Around 10:30, when I was finally sitting down to write that one email that I needed to get to before heading to bed, I heard him start coughing.  It was a horrible cough that sounded very dry and painful.

By 11:00 I decided to go into his bedroom with some honey and a sippy cup of water.  My husband came with me and Little G weakly sat up in bed crying.  Before I could even ask him if he wanted any honey, he pushed me away and squeaked, "NO, I don't want that!".  So I suggested that we go sit near the shower.  But my husband misunderstood my intentions and asked Little G if he wanted to TAKE a shower.  Shockingly, he said, 'yes', so we headed into the bathroom but when we turned on the water, he started to freak out.  We tried to explain that we were just going to sit near the water, but he was beside himself and then he threw up.

My husband kept saying he was going to take him to the hospital and I was about to suggest that we just call the doctor when the scariest thing I have ever encountered in 2.9 years of parenting happened.  Little G stopped breathing and his lips turned bluish gray and his eyes glazed over.  It was only for a second, but I immediately shouted at my husband to take him to the hospital NOW!!

We got him downstairs and calmed him down by having him watch Thomas on the iPad.  His breathing was getting a little bit better.  Luckily, I had already finished packing for our trip in the morning so there was a bag already packed with water/extra clothes/entertainment for them to take with them to the hospital.  We carried him out to the car and loaded him in his car seat.

And then I did what was probably the hardest thing I have done yet as a mother.  I stood in my driveway and watched my husband drive away with my son in the back seat, completely unable to do anything further from that point forward.  The tricky thing with my son, is that when he is upset he does NOT want anyone to touch him or hug him or rub his back or cuddle with him, so there wouldn't have been much I could do anyway...but still, letting go at that moment pretty much wrenched my heart out of my body.

I went back inside and tried to go to sleep, but instead I lay awake desperate for any updates.  My husband texted that they had arrived and that Little G had gotten much better even on the car ride there; so much so that he felt a little silly taking him into the hospital.  But into the hospital they went.

In the end, it turns out he had croup, which is viral and causes your airways to clench up.  It comes on at night and the right thing to do is to either get to a place where you can sit near some steam, or wrap your kid in a blanket and take them outside to breathe cooler air.

Little G received two steroid shots in his legs to help his air passages stay open and they monitored him for a while.  They finally got home at 3:00 in the morning with instructions to keep an eye on him and permission to take our flight the next day.

After only a couple of hours of sleep we got up and got ourselves out the door and to the airport.

My biggest concern with flying by myself at this point was his penchant for having epic tantrums when it comes time to turn off the electronic devices while landing.  I was so afraid he would have another breathing episode.

Turns out, he was too tired to protest, so we survived the flight, landed and met my mom and headed back to her house.  Little G fell asleep on the way home in the car, which is pretty unheard of for him.

When we finally arrived, he took some time to greet the doggies and then we headed upstairs where he napped for four hours.

So now you know what last Tuesday was really like.  After all of the insanity of the day and all the things that had to get done (a good portion of which weren't included in the photo recap since they fit into the portions of the day that didn't fall on the half hour) the real excitement hadn't even started yet.

I am so proud of my Little G.  He was so brave and such a trooper.  And I am so thankful that he was feeling so much better so quickly.  In fact, the next day, you wouldn't have even known he had been sick save for a squeaky voice that lasted for a few days.

Have you had the croup in your house yet?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Finding the light

Back in December of 2010, just before I got pregnant with our daughter, I wrote this in a post looking back over the previous year:
One of my greatest fears of having another child is not that I won't be able to handle the logistics of it or that I won't have enough love for it - but I am scared of the emotional aftermath. I never wrote down the things I was feeling about Little G when I was feeling them because I was afraid that if, God forbid, anything were to ever happen to him, someone would look up whatever I had said in desperation one day on my blog and take it out of context and who knows what might happen. Maybe someone would toss me in a looney bin...maybe someone would take away Little G.  
But on the other side of the abyss I am realizing that perhaps it is important to write those things down so that should I ever feel that way again, I can recognize it and seek out help.
I always thought having a second child would send me over the edge because the only reference I had of how babies act was the first one I had weathered the storm with.  I never imagined that the reality would be that the first child would still be the one to send me over the edge.

I didn't see it at first.  I didn't write about it.  I didn't recognize it.  I was getting through our days but things were getting harder.  I felt slogged down.  I felt angry.  I was angry.  There was no light in my days.  There was no laughter.  I was annoyed by everything and everyone except my beautiful new baby. My biggest annoyance was my firstborn.  And I lashed out at him - with thunderous tones and mean words and loathing eyes.  I was angry.  I felt rage towards him and then I felt rage towards myself and then I fell into a rabbit hole of dark thoughts so black with anger and disgust that I could not see light.

And then a voice that barely knew me told me what everyone else had said; to talk to my doctor.  So I did.  I called immediately and whispered the words I feared the most to the receptionist: post partum depression. My doctor took me in that afternoon.  She embraced me in her mother's arms.  She supported me while I cried.  She listened to my dark thoughts. She explained to me the hormones in my body.  She refused to allow me to blame myself.  And she prescribed me three months of medicine.

It took a couple of weeks for the light to come back.  I was so afraid of losing who I was to the medication.  Instead, it allowed me to see myself more clearly.  It helped me pause to take in information instead of reacting in anger and lashing out.  It brought back joy and clarity and love.  It allowed me to forgive and move on.

My prescribed course of medication has come to an end so I have been weaning myself off at the instruction of my doctor.  I wish I could say I was healed. Instead, I can feel the darkness taking over.  I am losing myself again.  Days have gone by without any laughter.  I am angry. I feel rage creeping under my skin.  I am hateful towards my family and myself, the light is disappearing.

So I am writing this down.  I am recording it here fully accepting that someone could very well read this out of context down the road.  I am writing it down so that I can recognize the darkness and seek out help. I am writing it down so I can start to find the light again.


It's funny.  Well, maybe funny isn't the right word.  Interesting?  It's interesting?  Hmmm.

Anyway, I find the following interesting to me: I wrote the post above over the weekend and as I was writing it, I could feel the darkness creeping over me - quite like one of those Dementors from Harry Potter.

I didn't publish the post immediately thinking I would schedule it for this morning with the intent that the more people that read it, maybe the more I would be motivated to go get help.  Instead, I woke up this morning with a cheery disposition and feeling totally fine and thinking, "uh, I don't need to call the doctor...who has the time today, anyway".  And then I re-read this post and just in reading it, I was reminded of how important it is for me to write things down and get them out of me so that I can see them and observe them.  As I sit here staring at the sticky black tar of my mind that fills the page, I know -- today.  Today, I call the doctor.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A day in the life

I saw a really fun post recently where a woman took a picture every hour of her day and then assembled them all into a lovely collage of her daily moments, complete with the times of each picture photoshopped in, using only the most whimsical of typefaces.

I can't compete with that.

I can, however, take a picture every hour on the half hour one day and upload them to Instagram and then post them all here for your viewing pleasure sans lovely grid and trendy typography.

So let's get to it, shall we?

The day in question was this past Tuesday, April 24, 2012

6:30am - The Ladybug is up early this morning - so I feed her and bring her into our bed to keep her from waking up Little G with her squeals.

7:30am - Make lunch for Little G to bring to school.  Whole Grain Rabbits, left over sweet potato, chopped chicken fingers from a meal he didn't finish earlier in the week, and grapes - no, we don't cut them up anymore

8:30am - Drop off Little G at his new school...we walk there since it was a nice day.  Actually, he runs there, while I walk behind and then when he gets to a street he runs back exclaiming, "THERESASTREETUPTHERE!!!!!" and hops onto the piggyback, ride-on attachment of our stroller.  Usually we are at least 25 yards from the street.

 9:30am - a well deserved coffee break while the Ladybug is napping

10:30am - playing with Ladybug on the floor in the living room while simultaneously starting to write the packing list for our trip the next day to Pennsylvania.  I'll be traveling by myself with the kids for the first time, so I have (naturally) procrastinated on the packing in protest

11:30am - Famished, I scarf down my lunch.  Salad with left over chicken, goat cheese and the world's most awesome poppy seed dressing...but only 2 tablespoons of it because that sh*t will kill you.

12:30pm - Ladybug is asleep again so I try and get some work done at my computer

1:30pm - Ladybug is up and hungry.  Time for a bottle on the couch while I catch up on America's Next Top Model

2:30pm - Ladybug reeeeeeally needs to take her third nap, but is resisting, so I stick her in the Moby wrap.

3:30pm - The kids' wash is done so I can fold it and pack most of some point, still not sure when.

4:30pm - I have ground lamb in the freezer that HAS to be used before we leave so I decide to make meatballs to have for dinner later.

5:30pm - Just getting back to our house from walking to pick up Little G from school

6:30pm - I should have had dinner on the table earlier since Little G is exhausted, but I had to feed the Ladybug when we got home.  Now I'm finally cooking the pasta and hopefully we'll eat in the next 15 minutes.  My husband has to work late this evening, which we were aware of going into the day.

7:30pm - Bedtime for Little G and Ladybug.  Daddy reads a bedtime story.

8:30pm - FINALLY time to pack.  Good thing I made that list earlier.  Sadly, my husband still has a bunch of work to do, so he can't help with the process.

9:30pm - Packing's done, time to clean up dinner.

10:30pm - I sit down to answer an important email that came in earlier in the day.

11:30pm - Finally, bed time.  Or was it... (to be continued)