Archive | November 2011

A funny thing happend on the way to this post . . .

Motherhood got in the way!  Seriously I rarely have time to finish a thought it seems let alone an entire blog posting.  Even worse is if the post was about about a particular subject and might be time sensitive, like a holiday.

Yes last week we celebrated Thanksgiving.  And while I have much to be thankful for as always, at the end of the day I am often most thankful for just getting to the end of the day with all of my crew happy, healthy and tucked safe in bed!   We did enjoy a wonderful long weekend at my parents house and the kids had a splendid time be spoiled by Nonna, Gra-Gra and other extended family and friends.  TD actually ate turkey for the first time this year!   Yes there was ketchup on it, but the turkey was consumed and he clams to like it.  Though i am not sure he could taste it under all the ketchup.

As I worked on this post over many days and decided I would post about Thanksgiving regardless of how long it took I was reminded that we have entered the advent season.  We are counting down to the birth of our savior Jesus.   And while all the typical Christmas carols leap to mind another song has been stuck in my head.   Make a Joyful Noise from Psalty’s Kids Praise! 2  (track 6 if your wondering).  If your not familiar with Psalty, he is a giant blue singing song book.  I had the first Kids Praise album as a child and loved it.  I had all the songs memorized.  I have purchased some of the CD’s for my own children and lately when my house is loud and crazy but my kids are happy I try to remember that in their own way my children are trying to ” Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”   They are in their own way thankful for what they have.

In a very secular twist to the season we are welcoming back an old friend today “N” the Christmas Elf.  TD named him when he was 3 and still had limited language.  I am hoping he helps remind BK and TD to stay on their best behavior this month.

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On the 11th day of the 11th month

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?'” -Eve Merriam

I too wish my children never know the horror of war.  I wish they be spared living a day like September 11, 2001.  I wish that they know a world of peace.  But that peace will come at a price.  It would take hard work and communication on the part of our leaders and leaders around the world.  I can dream and wish, but with the state of the world today I fear it will only be dreams.  Today is Veterans Day.  Also known in other areas of the world as Remembrance Day.  This is a day to remember those who have served our country in the Military.  Those veterins of war who make the freedoms we have today possible.  It is a natonal holiday that was created by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919  as Armistice Day.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” – Woodrow Wilson

Though the original intent was to remember the veterans from World War I it was changed in the 1950’s to honor all our veterans.

For me the veteran who comes to mind for me every year is my Great Uncle “Nick”.  Dominick Dell’Erba served during World War II with the 101st Airborne.  It was something he spoke very little about.  He was proud of that service, but it was hard for him to speak of the things he saw and experienced during that time.  He passed away in January this year and I miss him very much.

Today I would like to thank those who have served our military and continue to serve.  They are true heroes.  A hero does not need a cape, the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or a multi-million dollar sports contract.  A true hero is one who has  courage, and who we admire for their brave deeds.  The brave men and women who currently serve and have served in our military are true heroes and should be remembered for their contribution to our great country.

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis

Can you say “Mama” ?

If you ask JK to say “Mama” she will grin at you, sometimes giggle and she will say “Dada.”  Nice huh?  Yeah, my girl really knows how to make me feel like a million bucks.   But then I got to thinking, why would I want yet another person in my house yelling Mama, Mommy, Mom or any other variation?  It seems like even my husband manages to yell “Oh, Mommy!” at least once a week.  But the reality is that there is some sort of validation in hearing your child call for you.  Not just anyone, but MA-MA!  You want her to say that it is you she wants, that only you can make her feel loved and secure.  And lets face it, while she can say Dada all day long, when she is crying its not what she is screaming.

Each of my children and most other children I know have picked Dada up first.  BK not only picked up Dada first, but she used Nonna (our term for grandmother) way faster than she used Mama or mommy regularly.  She even went though a phase last year of calling me Nonnie instead of Mommy.  And when my son is sad now its not me he is pining for, its Nonna.  After all this being overlooked one might wonder why I am still a stay at home mom?  I know some days I do.  And then I remember that these early years with my children are precious.  They change so quickly and learn so much that I don’t want to miss too much of it!  Even if they can’t say it I know they appreciate the time I have spent with them.

My top 10 reasons for being a stay at home mom. (this is mostly in good fun, please don’t be offended if you happen not to be a stay at home mom)

10. Lets face it the uniform is awesome.

9. My commute is perfect.  I have no desire to face rush hour ever again.

8. Flexible schedule.

7.  My customers are adorable, and it usually makes up for the mess they make.

6. When I come up with a neat idea everyone here at work thinks its awesome!

5. Nap time, yup some times for me too!

4. You can’t beat a good 10 minute conversation about imaginary friends.

3. I can take my work with me.  Some days it’s on amazing adventures and other days only on mundane errands, but we always try to make it fun.

2. I know that I will look back and have many memories to cherish, even if I don’t remember the current events for an entire decade.

And the number one reason I stay home?

1.  No one can replace this time, even more than the memories my children and I will always have I know that they are starting off life with a good foundation.  I love them, I teach them, I learn from them and we learn together.  We have good days and bad days.  But in the end I know that the time I have spent with them is worth it.

As a side note to my little list.  It’s also been a huge help for us that I have been able to stay home.  Our lists of specialists seen in the last 5 and a half years is long.  The number of hours I have spent at various therapies for the kids is also huge.  I am not sure that many employers would have kept me around with all the time I would have needed to take off.  I think there was some divine intervention helping us make the decision to have me be a stay at home mom.

To wrap things up I wanted to share another quote.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou

I do hope my children feel loved, cherished and inspired.  I also hope they feel brave and feel they have my full support to go out and do great things with their lives.

A little more about JK’s current situation

A little update on our current drama and struggle. I have put a little bit of this on Facebook and various “mommy” sites I am on. But I have not really put it all out in one place well enough. I need to put it all in one place so I can go back later and look at it. Some times for me going back to digest what it was like in the moment is important. But also I know one day this will all be something to just roll my eyes at, I hope anyway!

JK was exclusively breastfed during her fist months. She lost weight in the hospital, but only took about 3 oz of hypoallergenic formula total over two days before my milk was fully in and she had a more than enough to eat. She gained really well the first two months. At 4 months we went back for a checkup and she had fallen on the growth chart from the 50th percentile to the 25th percentile. She was nursing almost every hour round the clock and refusing to take a bottle. The doctor and I decided that rather than wasting my precious milk I had very little time to pump anyway we would use formula to try to get her taking a bottle. She encouraged me to use milk based because up to that point we had no indication that there was a problem with milk. Unlike BK her reflux was well controlled, she was not a projectile vomiter and her poops looked like textbook breastfed baby poop. We got her to the point that she would latch on to the bottle and take about 2 sips, then scream like she was on fire. at almost 5 months old we saw the pediatrician again for something unrelated and she asked how things were going with JK and the bottle. I think at this point I was looking rough and JK’s weight was still slowing down. She suggested that for everyone’s sanity we mix formula and cereal and see if she would take it via spoon. JK loved it, she sucked it down. However by about the third introduction of this mix of milk based formula and oatmeal we had a horrible night of vomiting. The pediatrician checked her out and she was constipated so we administered baby laxatives and got her cleared out, about 3 days later we tried the milk based formula and oatmeal again. Same reaction, profuse vomiting in the middle of the night (about 3 to 5 hours post ingestion). I was discouraged. That was the beginning of us avoiding oat and milk. She eventually did start taking a bottle. I offered the hypoallergenic formula and she took to it like a duck to water. I had my break, one bottle a day for someone else to feed. Her weight seemed to pick up and by this point she was almost 6 months anyway so I started introducing fruits and veggies. She did well with all but carrot, but my other two had struggled with carrot so I was good to put it on hold for a couple of months. Eventually we did introduce rice, wheat, barley and some other grains. Her last oat trial at 11 months resulted in a delayed vomiting reaction. She at that point had also had a soy reaction and so at her 12 month visit we were referred to allergy. In preparation I offered a cookie with baked egg two days prior to our allergy appointment. More vomiting, but like the soy this was almost immediate.

Our first allergy appointment with JK was kind of a shocker. She had skin reactions to soy, egg, peanut, walnut, pecan, cats and dust mites. Well out the window went our plans for a RagaMuffin Kitten. I still can’t talk about Genevieve without tearing up a little. Yes I was going to name my expensive cat Genevieve. Anyway, I took JK for blood work and waited to hear how bad her allergies really were. I cleared ALL peanut out of my house. I was terrified JK would have a contact reaction to someone accidentally not cleaning up well enough. Fortunately my kids eat SunButter just as well as Peanut Butter, so TD who eats a “butter sandwich” daily didn’t even notice the change. I went into our follow-up with the allergist ready to face the words “epi pen” and “anaphylactic shock” I was terrified but knew I could do it. I can stay calm while my then toddler daughter would lay on the ground having a seizure, I could call 911 and administer rescue medication rectally. I could handle this. I was a tested emergency management mom! The day arrived and JK and I set off for the appointment. I prayed in the car on the way there for the strength not to fall apart in the office. I am fine in the moment of crisis but the worry of the inevitable “when will it hit” sends me into a tail spin. The doctor came in and he said “all her blood work was normal, she does not have food allergies” I was in shock! WHAT? Two weeks ago you sent me out of here with a list of foods she skin tested positive for?! Apparently he now thinks her skin test was “miss read” by his office staff? yea I am confused. The reactions were “barely positive” and the blood work shows no allergy.

I went home and digested this info for about 24 hours and then immediately called our pediatrician and said “HELP” what on earth am I supposed to do with this kid? Her feeling was that usually a positive skin test was taken more seriously than blood work in an infant this young. She wants to see the report before we decide what our next step is. She said definitely avoid the eggs, soy and nuts since we have seen reaction to egg and soy and the nuts are typically not considered safe at this age anyway. The negative oat and milk are also perplexing. We will be avoiding those as well for now. But who knows a milk trial could be in our future.

So that’s where we stand with JK and her allergies or intolerances. We stand in one muddy puddle with a pan and some prayer for gold, I mean answers.

What is this all about?

The title of this blog comes from a quote.  I have a minor TV addiction.  I also love to read, I write poetry and I enjoy crafts.  All of them are escape mechanisms for me.  But TV is like a dirty little secret.  I have my DVR record lots of different shows and when I am folding laundry, taking down time to re-charge or doing any number of other things I will have the TV playing one of my shows.  This particular quote is from Grey’s Anatomy.  “You think that true love is the only thing that can crush your heart; that will take your life and light it up or destroy it. Then you become a mother.” ~Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy)  I love that quote.  It describes exactly how I feel about having my children.  They are my greatest joy, but they also bring huge amounts of stress into my life.  Yes having 3 kids can get complicated for anyone but ours like to keep us guessing.

Our oldest (TD) was a charming and happy baby, exceptionally easy-going and a real charmer.  But he was hiding a few things those first few months.  He was almost totally silent.  Yes part of it was because he was not big into crying.  He could cry, but he just didn’t do it often.  He also just didn’t babble much, if at all.  Then at about 6 months old one day I heard a rattle to his breathing.  It got worse over the course of two weeks.  He started to lose weight,.  He was headed down a road I didn’t want to go.  But like being the passenger in a car, there isn’t a lot of choice.  It was about a year of visits to various specialists and trialing various breathing medications and doing lots of testing.  Eventually he started to grow again and we got his breathing under control.   They never really could explain it.  It was like one day a switch flipped and he just was a very sick little boy.  In the same way it just flipped on it also eventually started responding to the medications magically one day.  Unfortunately the switch didn’t flip off, but it dimmed.  We now control his breathing with asthma medication and his weight gain with nutritional supplements and he sees a GI.  In the middle of all the medical drama the pediatrician and I noticed that TD was not progressing in speech.  In fact at 18 months he had no words and had only just begun to babble.  Fortunately early intervention is wonderful!  Now  you would never know he had such a significant delay.  Overall, TD is in good health.  He is also a smart little boy who is loving Kindergarten this year.  His teacher says he is very popular, and very funny.  She says he has a wonderful smile and can always make her laugh.  He does struggle with some impulse control and behavior issues, but we are blessed with a caring and amazing teacher who is really taking the time to work with him!

Our second child was a beautiful and demanding little girl (BK).  She came into this world with a bang and not much stops her from being that way to this day.   She was delivered via emergency c-section after a placental abruption during labor.  She had trouble maintaining her oxygen and almost had to be flown from our small community hospital where she was born to a “big city” hospital for NICU care.  Fortunately she stayed at our local hospital in the special care nursery and with a few days of oxygen support seemed to recover.  She nursed like a champ and all seemed well with her.  We noticed some staring spells and I tried to ignore them.  She seemed to have a gross motor delay, it had been a challenge to teach her to sit up, and she could not roll over at 7 months.  She started Physical Therapy (PT) with the Infants and Toddlers program.  They were coming out two times a month to work with her.  I had to cancel our second appointment though because we were in the PICU down in the city.  BK had a convulsive seizure one morning while I chatted with my mother on the phone.  I had to hang up on Mom and call 911.  She had 2 more seizures that day and we spent 3 days going though lots of testing.  They sent us home “hoping” it was a fluke.  It was not.  Two months later she seized again.  The neurologist we had seen for a follow-up visit after our PICU stay started her on the anticonvulsant Keppra.  She went on to have seizures several more times.  Unfortunately when BK has a seizure its usually the first of a series of them.  We usually have to give heavy medications in hospital to get them stopped.  The amazing and wonderful thing is that BK is now doing so well that she no longer takes Keppra.  Its still a wait and see game.  It’s only been a few months, but right now she seems stable with no medication!  She also is a walking, talking amazing 3-year-old who knows how to get what she wants in life.  Unfortunately since 3 year olds don’t unusually have much real control she usually tries to use tantrums to get her way currently.  I am trying to teach her the idea that you get more flies with honey.  She uses this to her advantage at school and they find her charming at preschool.  Unfortunately with Mommy and Daddy the tantrum is still her preferred means to an end.  BK is also no longer in PT.  After the first set of seizures we added in private Physical Therapy.  She had PT three times a week for months.  But it worked.  I admit she is a tad clumsy still, but most people would never know she had such a rough start or was so delayed physically.  She did not roll over till she was over 12 months.  She walked at 16 months and was running only weeks later.

Having a child with Epilepsy puts things into perspective.  I will always worry that something could happen to BK when we least expect it leaving our son alone.  Because of this we entertained on and off for a while the idea of having a third child.  We were blessed with JK just 13 short months ago.  It’s amazing how fast time flies!  It seems like just yesterday she was a tiny infant who nursed every 1 to 2 hours and needed my constant care and attention.  Now JK is walking.  However, she is not talking.  She has started to babble, but is definitely behind in the expressive language department.  Because of our previous experience we have her in weekly speech therapy.  She also seems to have some food intolerance or allergies.  But that is a whole post in itself!

As you can see life in our home is rarely if ever dull.  But each of our children is a blessing and the complications they bring with them are fortunately minor in the grand scheme of things.  One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog though was so I had somewhere to write about all my kids’ ups and downs.  I read another blog this week about the difference between the outside and the inside.  That amazing mom of two boys has a son that is a beautiful and adorable little boy, and looks totally normal on the outside.  However he is battling medical issues and on the inside things are not as wonderful as they seem on the outside.  She talked in her post about how things like Facebook are there it seems only for us to brag about how wonderful things are.  And I too find my self only wanting to post the good things.  I need a place to put the rest of it.  A place for those who love and support us to come and read about what is really happening here.  Is it all going to be bad news here?  NO WAY!  We are blessed, we have 3 funny and amazing children and a very nice life.  It’s not all bad, but it’s not all sunshine and roses either.