Thursday, September 4, 2014

Little Man Hates Dentist, Vegas Loves Food

Little Man's dental appointment has been pushed back so many times it's embarrassing.  The first time we tried to take him was over a year ago, and while filling out the medical form I naively added "by the way, he has a shunt" line to the medical issues part.  Turns out with a shunt that they don't clean your teeth without prior approval from a doctor.  Whoops.  So his teeth were counted, looked fine, and I called it a dentist win.  I rescheduled and canceled several times because every time the appointment came up again, I'd forgotten to talk to his neurosurgeon.  After intense prodding from his social worker this summer, I re-re-re-scheduled the visit, only to forget again.  Sensing a theme?  But this time I got on the phone with neurology and got everything taken care of in less than an hour. Except it was 1 hour after his appointment time.  Sigh.

So finally yesterday was the big day!  We got to the dentist, and of course we had been mislabeled as a regular ole kid who can get his teeth cleaned by a nice little old lady.  After a gentle reminder (and 30 minutes), we got a strapping young doctor and strong dental hygienist who could help me pin the kid down while his teeth were cleaned. I still got kicked in the kidney several times, as I was designated "hand-holder". On the bright side, he was given a thumbs up on the clean, straight teeth. Then I was warned that six-year molars are on their way.  Yikes!

We raced back home to get Little Man off to kindergarten, which meant Vegas skipped lunch while Little Man ate a danish in the car. Mom points for that one, I know. I quickly realized that Vegas was not enjoying watching Little Man eat and not having lunch, but since Vegas is a little on the messy side, I was S.O.L. on what to feed him as we drove. A half-hour of wailing later, I caved and tossed an applesauce squeeze to him in a church parking lot.  I figured, what the hell, he'll either be covered in applesauce or get a bite to eat. Surprisingly enough, he grasped the squeeze and sip solo concept pretty fast, ate the whole thing, and was dying for more.  Two more parking lot pull overs later and he fell asleep as we pulled into Little Man's school.  Of course.

When we got home from dropping off Little Man, Vegas ate a hard boiled egg, 1/4 cup of olives, a cheesestick, and half a mango before passing out again.  That kid can eat!!

Today we are finally off to get the last few issues in my car looked at before I never shop at that dealership again.  I've had so much trouble with them I could scream.  And I have, several times. Wish us luck!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The First Day of Kindergarten... Er... Again

Yesterday was Little Man's first day of kindergarten, round 2.  We held him back this year for a few reasons, the main one being that he is still not able to sit and follow directions for any significant length of time, and he's still having a lot of trouble with transitioning from one activity to the next.

I met his teacher a couple of days ago.  She seems nice enough.  I'm hoping she is as fabulous as his last teacher, but jury's still out.  Open House was kind of my worst nightmare, because it was during the day and so with Hubs at work I had to take both boys in the double stroller.  I tore off a toenail and managed to bash into a doorjamb. Sorry Vegas.  He didn't flinch, but the parents watching me sure did.  Whoops.  Oh and also, Little Man threw an epic tantrum that lasted the entire 45 minutes we were in the building.  I was a sweaty beast by the time we left.

Quick story - In the morning when Little Man's bus turned into our neighborhood, we walked down to the end of the driveway per usual.  (I always watch from the shelter of the garage until the bus drives past us, because she has to U-turn at the cul-de-sac to exit the neighborhood/stop at our house with the bus door on the correct side.)  Our new bus driver drives right past us as I give my best "HEY WTF ARE YOU GOING!?" face and frantic arm wave.  So she brakes at the very end of the neighborhood, and I drag Little Man to the bus and push Vegas' stroller along side.  Apparently the paperwork was incorrect again and she'd been expecting to stop at the bus stop in the cul-de-sac.  Womp womp.  She got pretty snippy with me and it was a fairly stressful start to the morning.  As I tried to clear things up she waved me off and told me to call transportation to deal with the paperwork, she had no time for me.

Transportation's phones were all busy (first day of school must be awesome there), and after several tries over the course of the morning I got a machine where I left a terse message to please call me back to correct an issue with a bus stop for a special needs child.  Less than 3 minutes after leaving the message, the para (assistant who stays with the kids on the bus so they are safe) from the bus calls me to apologize and let me know she'll take care of all the paperwork and not to worry my pretty little head about it.  I might have paraphrased that conversation.  Which was great, because surprise surprise, transportation never called me back anyways.

So that was the start to our first year!  Today Little Man was shepherded onto his bus with four Target bags filled with important kindergarten supplies like glue sticks, crackers, and juice boxes - and it definitely stopped at the end of our driveway.  Here's to another great year!
Wiggly boy = Blurry memory.  Sorry kid.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Darling "Baby Vegas"

My littlest "bug-bug", Baby Vegas,

This morning you woke up cheerful - you always do.  You love to rock back on forth on your chubby little feet and give me a big grin to start the day.

We had a big breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt, and I turned on my phone to play some music from the Disney station on Pandora.  The first song that came on was "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and I cried because I knew your uncle was watching over you and wishing you a Happy Birthday.  I don't have the song saved on my phone and had never heard it on the Disney station before... so I knew it was him right away.  I had called your grandma last night missing him so much with your birthday coming up - he would have loved learning about you and being your friend.  I watch you growing into your name (your real name, my little Vegas), and I laugh sometimes at how much you honor him without any prompting necessary.

You are my explorer, you are the little boy who doesn't quite understand "no" yet.  You are sunshine and big hearty belly laughs.  You are my healing.  You are the spitting image of your Daddy, with a smidge of Mommy thrown in.  I have never loved any baby boy quite the way I love you, you are unique and special and brilliant.

Some days I can't put you first, some days it is all about your brother - and you already seem to understand this and accept it.  You already watch out for him, and you make sure his DVDs never stop and he always has a wrestling buddy.  You want to do everything he does - eat what he eats, drink from his cups, watch his movies.  You are patient and loving when he cries, and a bit of a pest when he is calm.  In other words - you are a great little brother, and it makes my heart grow six sizes when I watch you two together.

Every month as you grow up and get bigger, I think that I want to keep you this way forever.  I want you to always be snuggly and sweet and innocent and beautiful forever.  Then every time you change, and every time you surprise me with a new milestone - I know I can't wait to watch you become a little toddler, and soon a little boy, and then a little man.  I am so proud of you Baby Vegas.  Today you are not a baby any longer, and even though that breaks my heart a little... this next year is going to be magical.  I love you oh-so-much Vegas.  I am so glad I get to be your Mommy.  Happy Birthday buddy!

Love You Forever -

Monday, August 4, 2014

Getting Through Dinner

This video showed up on my newsfeed this morning.  If you're like me and don't enjoy clicking back and forth on a phone, I'll sum it up for you. The ABC program "What Would You Do" did an episode about a child being taken out to lunch with his family.  The child in the program behaved as if he had autism (repetitive words and wandering, among other things) and then ABC waited with their hidden cameras to see what diners would do.  When no one reacted to the boy's behavior, they used another actor to instigate some trouble - he acted offended and gave advice to the family (ie; take your kid home or discipline him.) The entire diner then rallied behind the family and the actor that was being rude was encouraged to leave the diner amid cheers and clapping.

I cried a few times watching the video.  Probably because I'm really over-tired from a fun yesterday of wine tasting and grilling out with my in-laws.  Also because I cry at commercials and kids movies.  But honestly I probably cried a little because it was great to see people doing the right thing by this family, whether it was a real situation or not.

Taking Little Man out in public is always risky.  We do our best to prepare for any possibility, but sometimes it just doesn't want to work. Little Man chooses seemingly on a whim the days where he will be a reasonable companion to our outing, and something that worked to calm him the week before will suddenly no longer work.  Our diaper bag has more distractions for Little Man than diapers and formula, and we are constantly finding new items to carry with us that might just help us during those crucial few moments before a tantrum becomes a full-out meltdown.

Last weekend we took Hubs out to dinner for his birthday to a crab shack that is way out in the boonies.  We'd been there a few times before, and it's great food and short wait times - basically a good place for dining with kids.  We packed up the diaper bag full of snacks, toys, and the portable DVD player and were all set for a great lunch.  Until we sat down and stuck Little Man in the highchair.  Nope.  Not having it.  He was screaming bloody murder, and we took out the Last Resort - the magic DVD player.  And it broke.  And because we were out in the boonies, there was no WiFi to stream a movie on our phones.

We were in the back corner of the restaurant, but the screams were loud and then he started hitting his ears and head (extreme meltdown mode).  So Hubs grabbed his beer and the Little Man and they went outside to cool down.  Ten minutes go by and we think we've got the DVD player working again, so they come back in.  The DVD player works for a few minutes and then it breaks again, leaving Little Man in tears. Not even the allure of fruit snacks is stopping this tantrum.  They go back outside and hang there until dinner arrives and we decide to try one more time.  For whatever reason, third time is the charm and we make it through dinner.  Crisis averted, I guess.  We got to eat dinner, and it wasn't cold.

When  I was waiting for Hubs to come back inside the second time, the woman from the table next to us stopped by our table and leaned down to talk to me.  "You're doing a great job", she said, and then just smiled and walked off.

As strange and awkward as it might seem to offer that sentiment to a complete stranger, I wish more people had the courage to say something.  Because it really helps.  It helps when you feel like everyone is staring, and everyone is judging you for not having your kid "under control" and not "disciplining him".  It helps in those horrible moments in the grocery store where you just want to melt into the floor because you know that it isn't "normal" for a six year old to be sobbing uncontrollably while wiping his tears into his mouth and chewing on his fingers.  It helps when you are watching your child slap his head and face, and you're wondering what the dozens of watchful eyes are thinking to themselves as they stare at your family in the checkout lane.

We live this situation in varying degrees all the time, and it is very, very real.  That horrible diner from the video that is judging that family is out there, and he embarrasses you and breaks your heart sometimes.  The "it takes a village" mentality about being able to shame all children (yours or not) into behaving while they are out in public is mortifying to a parent of a child with developmental disabilities.  People who know nothing about your child find it extremely important to tell you what you are doing is wrong and that you aren't parenting properly. Despite the happy message of the video, it is much more rare for me to encounter a person who simply supports us, builds us up, and reminds us we aren't alone and that even though it looks bad today - we are doing a great job and things will be better tomorrow.

Just think about it next time you see a family struggling out in public.  Think about how hard they are working to be "normal", or even to just get through this one outing, this one afternoon. Think about it before you give them a dirty look or roll your eyes because they are disrupting your life somehow.  I promise that most of those families wish you weren't inconvenienced by them as well.  I promise that most of those families wished you never even noticed them.  We're just trying to get through dinner too.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Now What Do We Do For The Rest Of Summer?

Little Man had his last day of summer camp yesterday.  I was thrilled at the idea of getting a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, but then reality set in - the kids wake up whether there is camp or not!  My alarm didn't go off this morning, but I still woke up at 7:15 on the dot to get everyone downstairs and our day started.

We only have two weeks until school starts, but I am not really looking forward to the weekdays. I know I won't get nearly as much done during the day. I also know that too much contact between Little Man and Vegas gives Little Man a case of the "ohmygodshutthatkidup".  Especially now that Vegas can babble and follow Little Man all around the house.  I don't know who to feel sorry for - the big kid who needs quiet and alone time without being overstimulated by a squealing toddler, or the little kid who thinks everything his big brother does is awesome and he wants to be right next to him all day long.

Speaking of toddler, Vegas is almost one year old!  Just in the last few weeks he's been making physical leaps - he now uses his Thomas train as a walker to toddle all over the house, stands alone for a few minutes at a time, and has mastered the sippy cup!  I found out the last one when I heard the familiar sound of milk being tugged out of a sippy, and realized it was Vegas taking a big gulp out of Little Man's milk cup. Whoops.  So yesterday we started weaning him off formula and I don't think there is going to be a problem there at all.  He loves his nighttime bottle, but I think that is more of a comfort thing than a nourishment at this point.  He eats so much food now too, and he has no dislikes yet - so his diet is pretty varied and healthy. I've also felt pretty strongly throughout his babyhood that I would let him help guide me in what he was ready to eat and how much he'd like - no rushing him into solids and when he was hungry, we'd eat.  He really preferred/could best handle purees for the longest time and just now has started being able to swallow and tolerate firmer chunks of food. I feel like we've gone from 0-60 in food options overnight!!!  Yesterday for dinner he had avocado, banana, broccoli, carrots, lima beans, and rice cakes and a half cup of water!
This was after a nectarine massacre.
Did you know it is really hard to peel a nectarine?!

Last month we found a sweet portrait deal online for a 16x16 gallery canvas and 40% off any additional sheets of photos for only $16.  So we scheduled some first year photos for Vegas, since Little Man is... less than enthusiastic about photo shoots (plus he will get school photos in a few weeks).  On the other hand, Vegas is always serious and contemplative when in a new place, so it was still really tough to get some smiles and poses out of him.  But we persevered and got several cute shots of him that should be here just in time for his giant birthday bash!! I can't wait to show them off -I'm such a proud momma.

A photo of the website storing previews of photos.
I'm so tech savvy.
We had arranged for the end of the photo shoot to be a cake smash. Vegas was not at all amused. He was very grossed out by the idea of smashing his hands into cake, and just tried to run away the entire time.  I tried to "help" by placing his hands in the cake and swiping some frosting on his lip.  No dice - now he was just dirty and trying to run away. Oh well - we've got another chance for cake photos at his party.  Little Man was such a pro at his cake smash, I think I got spoiled.

He was seriously the cutest cake smasher I've ever seen.

And that about wraps up the last couple of weeks.  Vegas' eczema cleared up with the medicated cream they gave us.  I was diagnosed with TMJ six minutes after walking into the ENT's office.  Little Man has been healthy and has the best suntan out of all of us - he looks like a little Coppertone baby commercial.  Camp kept him outside and wore him out every day, and I think it was a great experience for him.

Time to get back to organized chaos...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Someone Said The Magic Words!

Parenthood 102: A Lesson In Humility. When things are going smoothly, you can count on disaster striking quickly to put you in your place. It doesn't have to be an epic disaster, or even anything you can't bounce back from in a couple hours or days - but it always arrives right after that secret little thought you have. You know the one.  "Everything is going so well right now..."  Even if you're smart enough to not say the words out loud, just thinking them is a challenge to the powers that be, and they don't take kindly to challenges...

It started slow. I thought the words and then suddenly Vegas was waking up more during the night. Nothing we couldn't handle, and his wake ups are normally of the put-the-binky-back-in-and-lay-him-back-down variety.  But then the wakeups segued into harder-to-put-to-sleeps, nap-skipping, and a couple wake-up-screaming-until-you-rock-or-feed-me-back-to-sleeps.  We've attributed it to teething, since the poor kid is drooling worse than a St. Bernard right now, and four teeth seem to be poking through on top. Again, nothing major, but a little more exhausting than normal.  I thought the words again.

Then yesterday the little patches of eczema on Vegas' feet started morphing into little red blisters. We had a follow-up appointment to measure his head circumference again that morning (he still has a large head), and while he was cleared for that particular issue (whew!), the blisters had his ped worried. He wanted us to see a dermatologist "sooner rather than later", and so we squeezed in a time slot the next morning.  That of course meant that we had to split up, with Hubs taking Little Man to his therapy up north two hours away, and I would take Vegas to the dermatologist. Stressful, again, but we've got this.  Right?  I thought the words again, albeit a little less confidently.

I noticed as I was driving home from the checkup that my ear was starting to ache. The closer I got to home the more it felt like a giant needle stabbing me.  I got Vegas inside and waited for Hubs and Little Man to get home from camp and downed a glass of water and one of the giant ibuprofen left over from pregnancy recovery.  The pain seemed to dull a little so we decided to go ahead with our dinner plans and popped over to our friend's house for the night.  

As one of our friends put it - "Hanging out with friends changes so much as we get older." There was the usual wine and pizza we've loved for the last ten years, but really the evening was filled with relaxing and playing with all the kids.  Little Man was in rare form and managed to spill applesauce and red wine on two separate friends, and steal an unattended slice of pizza from a third - all while in complete control of the television. No one seemed too mad, but it was one of those parenting moments where I just wanted to face-palm and hide. Luckily Vegas was his usual serious but cuddly self, and so I used him as a distraction.  My ear started to hurt again though so I popped a few extra strength aspirin and drank half a bottle of wine. Self-medicating works, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  I dimly thought the words for the last time as I dozed a little on the way home, with my kids sleeping peacefully in the back of my newish van.  

We got home around 11 and tossed the kids in bed before passing out.  At 3:30 AM, my ear pain woke me up from a deep sleep. After tossing back another ibuprofen, I realized quickly that this ear pain was going from bad to absolutely intolerable, and we called my mother-in-law over to watch the kids so I could go to the ER.  Yep, it was that kind of bad.

Got checked in and out in a flash, they couldn't see anything wrong with my ear but I got an antibiotic and a prescription for (surprise!) ibuprofen. Also an appointment to see an ENT on Monday, enjoy the weekend! Before I left they offered me a stronger painkiller for the road, so Hubs decided to cancel the Little Man's appointment so I could take that and pass out for the day while he took care of Vegas' derm appointment. Can I get an amen for an amazing husband?

Vegas' appointment, as relayed from the Hubs, wasn't too scary.  They took a culture of his ankle rash and threw around a couple ideas for what it could be - but no diagnosis yet.  He has to take bleach baths once a day and has a prescription lotion for now, and a followup appointment in a week.  She did mention that he will probably have a chronic skin condition with flareups for the foreseeable future, since he's had the eczema for so long.  Sigh.  Keep us in your prayers that the culture comes back boring and quickly curable!

And to round it all out, Little Man has had an upset stomach all day, my ear still hurts despite the medicine (although not ER worthy pain) and now there is some neck and shoulder pain involved, and next week Hubs is out of town again while all the followups and appointments and summer camp are still happening!

Repeat after me: I will never even think the phrase "Everything is going so well right now", ever again.
Next class?
Parenting 103: Why Do My Children Sleep Best In A Carseat As We Pull Into The Driveway?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When The Time Is Right...

It happened in a magical, painfully long yet somehow a whirlwind of an appointment.  I am now driving a Chrysler Town and Country.  Holy crap.
There is so much beautiful, usable, delicious space, I can't even handle it.

With all this space comes the next big question for our family - when is the right time to add another kid to this mix?

I know...  Some of you are thinking, "slow down girl, you just had a baby!"  But this baby is turning one year old in just over a month.  He's starting to cruise along the furniture, feed himself chunks of food and hold his own bottle.  Things that took Little Man so much longer are coming easily to toddler Vegas, and I'm holding on tight to my little guy as he speeds past babyhood.  Each moment he is so little and needy is more fleeting, and I know that before I blink he's going to be racing around the house causing havoc. In fact, I just lost an entire blog post because he thought it was hilarious to yank the cord out of the laptop while I said "No no baby, no no."  You would have loved it, but that's another story.
Look at how big they are!
I absolutely love kids.  I love being a mommy.  I love being a stay-at-home Mommy.  But Hubs and I still spend time here and there on date nights and kid-free evenings.  We are lucky to have moms and a dad that will watch the kids fairly regularly.  Not to mention that my in-laws never hesitate to just pop over to watch them for an hour while I go to the dentist, or if we're running late and need someone to pick up Little Man from the bus stop. With three kids though... that would change a lot.  Asking our parents to watch two kids is tough enough, but handing them three would be asking a very big favor, and something we'd have to ask them for sparingly. Especially as Vegas gets older and is more of a handful.

I know Hubs never really thought a big family was in his future. But there have been quite a few changes in his life since I dropped in, and he always rolls with it.  When I talk about having another baby, he is totally on board.  He doesn't even flinch (anymore) when I mention that four kids might be a great number.  We've talked a lot about when the best time to start trying is, and really there is only one obstacle holding us back at this point.


Being pregnant is beautiful and lovely, and all that crap.  But it is also 10 whole months of your life. Ten months where you are waffling between misery and elation, exhaustion and excitement.  I'd really call it a full year of your life, because letting your body recover from the train wreck you just endured during delivery is no piece of cake either.  So one year of your life.

And selfishly, I don't know when I'm ready for that year.

I want the baby. I can even do the newborn stage again. But I'm not yet ready to give up my body for a whole year. I'm not ready to feel sluggish and tired and worried, interspersed with all the goopy love stuff you feel.  I like wearing clothes that fit and feeling cute and sometimes even sexy. I like (the idea of) vacations and going out on the town and all the things you really don't feel like doing with a newborn or a giant belly-to-be.

And so I don't know when we will add another one to this crazy household.  Because change is scary and I hate it and I don't know when I'll be ready for it.  Even if at the end of it all, I get a beautiful snuggly little newborn again.  Even then.

But I do like the van.
Fun at my godparent's on the 4th!