Checkups and milestones.

13072812_10154080260310883_1626076372513260510_oWe were finally able to take little miss (and her big brother) to the doctors for their checkups. She would have her 4 month checkup, while little man would have  his 7 year checkup.

I will be honest and say I don’t know what to expect when it comes to these appointments. We know she is running small still, but for a preemie we expected that. That being said, we have seen her grow, we know she is. Still would it be enough? Would they be happy? Time I suppose would tell.

We first had to checkup on little mans progress. As expected he is doing well, chatting with the doctor about his allergies, his karate practice and how he is learning to ride a bike (with a helmet!). He hoped he wouldn’t need shots, and was thrilled when she said he wouldn’t for a couple years. Then it was time for his measurements and to see how much he had grown. Turns out, quite a lot.

He is 48 and a half inches tall, and weighing in at 50 Ibs. She told us he is right on track, 42% on the weight an a little over average (52%) on the height.She said, she expects he will be hitting a growth spurt in the near future. Something tells me I should be prepared to go through a lot of pants in the next couple of months. Thankfully, with summer coming up he can live in shorts.

As he was finishing up, we were anxious to hear about little lady.  We listened as she went over things, during which she got to see little miss in action as she attempted to roll, she made it to her side. She smiled and cooed right on time. Yes everything is looking good. And now for her stats…

She is 22 inches long and 8 Ibs, 9 oz..Just about doubling her birth weight! And amazing for her standards. We were told once again that she is on her on track, her own path and that is alright by them as long as she is growing. She will eventually catch up, it just may not be as fast as the other 4 month old babies. But progress is good.

And while big brother didn’t have to worry about shots, it was another story with little lady. Is there anything worse than sitting and watching while your little one gets shot after shot? I think not.  I hated that she had to go through it, but at the same time know it was necessary.

Next up, an ultrasound to check out the birth mark on her foot before her six month checkup. But otherwise, my little lady, and my little man are doing well and are perfect in their own way.

 

Here’s to 7!

image1I am having a hard time with the fact my sweet amazing little boy turned 7 this week. When did this happen? He wasn’t supposed to get this old (yes  I know just wait for the years to come). But truly how?

I don’t know about you but there are certain ages that just seem so much older than others. 7 for instance is one of them. I realized he is no longer that little boy anymore. No, he is just now a boy. Those toys that were once cherished are now being replaced with toys that in the next age level. In fact he is quite proud that those Lego sets read for ages 7-14 now and he can indeed actually get them without having to worry that they may be to advanced for him. And he informed us that he is to old to say Daddy. He hasn’t mentioned letting go of mommy, though I will not be surprised if that too is gone.

And yet, as much as he may say he is older, he still remains that same sweet little boy. He still crawls in to bed with me in the morning to steal some extra snuggle time. He still cries when he skins his knees, and he still prefers spending time with us over his friends. I shall cherish it for as long as I can, knowing that eventually this will fade. And he still reminds me that I am his best friend, and he is my little boy no matter how old he may be and to remember that. Shouldn’t I be the one to remind him?

Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve such a sweet and caring boy.

But I will gladly take it. Here is to the next 7 years little man.

The two kid juggle.

Thus begins another week. Somehow we managed to make it through the first week back for Andy, and mine with just little lady and I. Though I confess my mom came over a couple times last week to sit with us. Even still with the visit I believe we are settling in quite nicely. While Andy and Logan are off to school and work, my days are spent enjoying time with Harper, attempting to clean during nap times-which depending on the day is easier said than done- and watching hours of endless junk TV. Yes I had forgotten how much crap is on in the middle of the day. But it is mindless and with a newborn I don’t need something that will make my brain hurt.

My evenings seem to be a little more hectic than they once were. We may have a newborn but we also have a nearly 7 year old first grader with homework that needs to get done.  Who still loves to curl up with us and  deserves just as much  of our time and our attention. I considered it a huge success when we managed to set up and get the invitations out for his birthday party in a few weeks.

I will admit trying to juggle between both of them and making sure I get to everything is some what of a work in progress still. We have however started a new tradition. Once a weekend after we put Harper to bed, Logan pulls out a board game that he wants to play with Andy and I. It may not be much, but it his time with us. A time when all of our focus is back on him and him alone.

I have also been trying hard to include him in on things, letting him know that we did a lot of the same things for him when he was a newborn. It is hard considering back when I was expecting with him and the first little while of his life Pinterest, Etsy and even Twitter were not what they are today. Yes I still did the hand prints, the footprints and have thousands of pictures but now with social media in the mix comes a thousand more creative ideas to do.  There is absolutely a certain amount of guilt when it comes to making things and keepsakes for her. Afraid that Logan will think I am going overboard for her and did nothing for him.

Though I am pretty sure if you asked him he would tell me everything is fine. Because that is the kind of kid he is.

Adjustment

1917085_10208342595581472_257251312139074414_nIt was a relatively quiet holiday season for this family. Unlike most of the winter breaks in the past, this one found us staying home a lot more than normal. No, we did not spend the two weeks locked away in the house entirely. We managed to see family, did a little shopping and celebrated the holidays and got out, even if it was just to drive around. Yes we were advised to take it easy, but at the same time we were told to enjoy the holidays and with a soon to be 7 year old, staying wrapped up in the great indoors for two full straight weeks is not as easy as thought.

Especially when Star Wars came out. There was no way they were going to miss it.

I have been asked how we are adjusting to being a family of four. How Logan is adjusting to being a big brother. So far so good (though ask me after this week when Anderson goes back to work) I will admit, you tend to forget how much stuff you have to lug around when you have a newborn and how much extra time it takes. I think that may be the biggest adjustment on everyone’s part. Logan is so used to just going going going, now that Harper is in the picture we have to plan things out. He has to wait for things a little more, put up with a little more.

Still he is doing really well. He has managed to get the whole pacifier thing down in the car when neither Andy or myself can exactly do it. And he adores her, I am amazed at just how much so. He is also becoming quite the protective one over her.

The one thing he doesn’t like is looking at anything girly. After years of nothing but looking at Star Wars, and trucks, cars and anything boyish, he doesn’t quite get the whole looking at things that aren’t the things he is interested in. But he says maybe they can come to some sort of compromise.

What that compromise is he has yet to say. But knowing my son as I do, perhaps I should be afraid whatever it is.

The age gap.

It is my last day in the office before maternity leave, since I have given all of my tasks to others to do while I am gone, it is safe to say I am not getting a whole lot done other than answering a thousand questions regarding leave, the baby and family.  Most are harmless, and simple questions answered in a couple of seconds, followed often by advice and well wishes. And then you get the ones you know is coming.

“Your son, he is a lot older right?”

I wouldn’t call a six year old a lot older. After all, he still believe in Santa and enjoys snuggling with us and needs help doing things from time to time.  Sure he is a lot older than most kids who have a sibling.”He will be 7 in February.” I state.

“Why did you wait so long? That is to far of an age gap, you will ruin your children.You should have had them closer.”

To which I cringe.

Look I get it, I understand that the trend these days is to have your kids a little closer in age. But what is ideal for one family isn’t ideal for my own. Life gets in the way. With the limited use of my right hand, Andy and I had always talked about having our kids a little farther apart than most. By the time we were ready for number two, health issues came up by the time I was cleared for baby #2, I was a year away from graduating. While having another child was important, so was that degree. And as much as I didn’t want to wait, I realized if we had another child, the likelihood of not finishing was that much greater. Believe me going to school, working full time and having a family is not easy with one child. I wanted to be able to put my time in effort in finishing.

I do not say any of these however. Because I do not feel the need to. How does she know we hadn’t been trying for years? How did she know what our battles were like? She doesn’t. No one knows. And I do not feel like I need to defend my choices. I did not ask them why they choose to have their three kids within 4 years of one another. Nor did I give  them my thought on it.

By no means do I think an age gap will ruin them.

No, maybe my son and daughter won’t exactly be sharing secrets, or giggling at the same thing all the time. No they will not be going to the same school at the same time. But they will each have their own time (even if at different points in their lives). We will be able to enjoy each stage differently. And just because they have an age gap does not mean they will not love each other, rather they can learn from one another. Logan is already looking forward to protecting her when it comes to dating, and being the big role model. As for her,  I am sure she will teach him to always have a childlike quality about him that he will soon forget.

Maybe it doesn’t work for others, but it works for us.

And I am OK with that.

Appointments, Showers and Snuggles.

We started the weekend off with our 33 week appointment to find out how much baby girl has grown and to check on her vitals once more. And again just in the past two times that we had gotten measured, she grew another 8 ounces, measuring now about an ounce or two shy of 3 Lbs. If she keeps up and continues to gain at the rate (which is still tiny by standards) she will be sitting at 4 Lbs if we are lucky when she arrives. Other than that, she looks good and is thriving in every other way. While we were there we got the final arrangements to check in to the hospital on the evening of the 16th of December. I am still finding it incredibly hard to believe that we are just about three and a half weeks away!  I am currently trying to debate if this pregnancy has flown by, or dragged on. At times, depending on the month I believe it has done a little of both. Of course now that I say this, and know that we are approaching the end, with Thanksgiving on Thursday and the holidays around the corner, I assume it will fly right on by. While I am ready to be done with doctors appointments, I am also trying to enjoy every moment while I can, knowing these moments will never come again.

12249973_10153415203923439_6069192554152156706_nSaturday was a quite the busy day, as it was Baby Shower day! It was amazing being able to share the excitement with so many friends and family. There was games, and good memories and a lot of laughter shared by so many. And while I obviously wasn’t able to participate and enjoy the Sangria, from what I heard it was quite fabulous! My sister who’s restaurant was the host of the party , should be really proud of that, a lot of people raved about it. And thanks to my mom, she did not forget about me and my love of Strawberry Daiquiri’s, even if it was virgin, I gladly enjoyed it. They both did such a wonderful job. Thank you to all my family and friends who came out of their way and took time out of their busy schedule to celebrate with us! We appreciate it so much.

12274308_10153721037680883_2412869695442624472_nNow, comes the hard (yet unbelievably fun) part, it is time to organize, clean and figure out where everything goes. Thankfully we are just about finished with the baby room, so we have that going for us.

With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming arrival of my little princess I try to make sure I spend as much time as I can with Logan, who is thrilled to be a big brother but I get the feeling he is beginning to fear he will be left out. As it is, with all these doctors appointments, especially the ones in the early mornings, he spends a lot of time with my parents so that I can make them and he can make the bus. So while my nephew asked if Logan could stay the evening with them, Logan opted to spend the evening with just mommy to get some snuggle time in, watching the Caps game on the couch. I do not know who enjoyed it more, he or I.

IMG_4754I know the time one on one and as an only child is coming to an end but I promised him we would not forget about him, and that he would still be able to spend some time with us just himself from time to time. I also told him that just because he is my oldest doesn’t mean he isn’t important. He has a big role coming up, and he is going to be fabulous at it, and that I am super proud of him! I think he really needed to hear that as he went to bed a lot happier of a camper. Once he was down for good I made sure to make a mental note to reassure him that he is just as big a part of my life as this little girl is.

After all, he is still my baby. No matter how old he is.

 

This is Halloween

Here is hoping you had a wonderful and safe Halloween! IMG_4708

Ours was rather busy as the day saw us finally starting to get the baby room in order. Probably a good thing seeing we are just under 7 weeks to go before little one is scheduleed to make her appearance.

My mother in law was gracious enough to help out, spending most of the day with him as they painted, trimmed and chatted away. I know now that his parents live farther away, the time spent with them oneon one is precious and welcomed. And we were shocked when the room got finished all in one day. So far we are thrilled with the outcome

As you can see we are opting for a light purple, a far cry from the blues, greens and neutrals that are dominant throughout the house,  honestly I think he was happy to have a paint palette that was not our typical norm.

Logan had been anxious all week for this day. If I wouldn’t know better I would think it was Christmas morning as he has been counting down on the calendar since the beginning of October.  His costume, had been patiently hanging on the closet door, itching for him to get a hold of. This year he choose to be a StormTrooper, which really is no surprise. The kid eats, sleeps and breaths Star Wars.  He had been going pretty strong all day and to no surprise by time it cane to actually trick or treating he was already winding down.  He managed to make it around our neighborhood and a good portion of my own parents neighborhood before deciding he had, had enough and called it a night.

IMG_4704The only causality of the evening was this BB-8 pumpkin. As we came home from trick or treating, we discovered that teenagers had hit our house, and decapitated him! A bummer for Andy who had worked really hard on it the past two days, but   he survived the good portion of trick-or-treaters and was around long enough for Logan to enjoy so at least we had that going for us. Still it is a shame to see that kids decide to do this, because really it isn’t necessary to do so.

Still, I know teens are going to be teens and when no one is around, well it leaves the door open for these things I suppose I should expect these things. Next year we just be ready for them!

And now begins the adults favorite time of year, the day after Halloween when we all sneak in to the kids candy bags to get our fixes. Admit it, you have done it at least once this morning. I am fortunate to say Logan immediately dove in and found the one 3 Musketeers to share with me claiming he wanted the baby to enjoy it and get her taste of candy..

She is a lucky little gal already.

A new chapter in raising a disabled mom

10603611_10152695610615883_6702773977255714590_nA couple years ago I wrote about what it meant to be Raising a disabled mom. The surprising advantages that it has–and yes there are advantages–and the fears. Yes there are those as well. I got a lot of reaction from the piece, and was one of my first heavily viewed posts.

It remains one of my favorite pieces I have ever written.

I came across it the other day, and as I reread it, I realized just how blessed I truly am. How that little boy still remains the same sweet empathetic little 3-year-old he was back when I wrote the piece.

You see just this past weekend I found him sitting around our living room, a hockey stick in hand. He had the contemplated look on his face and for a moment my thoughts weaved from should I be worried about him to he is up to something, and if he was do I even want to know? Still I watched as he pointed the hockey stick and started making blaster sounds around the room, which sound suspiciously like the Stormtrooper guns. He would stop every now and then to ponder something. What that was, I wish I knew. He would adjust his hands, shake his head and then move on waving the idea away. His mouth getting a work out as it flipped from side to side. Now would be a good time to figure out what is in his head.

I assumed of course it was just a game of imagination, of Jedi meets Darth Vader, clearly never figuring out what side he was on, as he was playing on his own. This is why he asks for a sibling. But as I watched him, I noticed he was using only one hand, the other balled up.

“Honey, is everything OK?”

“Well I was just thinking…” oh dear, this could be dangerous. “You know that laser tag place; well I know you can’t play or use the guns because of your hand. (The laser tag guns required two working hands) But I was thinking of ways you could shoot with one hand, Mommy.”

Even if I had no interest in playing, the moment was beautiful. Given the choice, I would absolutely play laser tag with him. We sat in the living room for a moment both of us enjoying the silence. “One day it will get better.” He finally states. It’s a moment I knew would come, just as I know I will have to eventually tell him what happened. But I love that he is so matter of fact, as if by saying it would make it so. Still I know I need to admit the truth, even if he is five.

“No sweetie, I will be like this forever.”

“You mean like always? It’s never going to?” Those grey eyes grow bigger with the realization of it all.

“Always.” And there it is, the silence once more. I do not fear rejection as I did years before when I told men. But rather I let it sink in.

“Mommy, if I had one wish do you know what I wish for?” I do not know where he is going with this, but we had just watched Aladdin, so wishes and Genies rank big right now. I’m thinking it’s to be a real life Stormtrooper perhaps or another trip to Disney World?

But what did my son wish for? “I would wish for your hand to be better, so you could be just like everyone else.”

“Oh Logan.” It is not every day a five year old would wish for his mom to be like everyone else. For a moment I do not know what to say. But then again, what do I expect this is the same kid that actually holds my right/bad hand while crossing the street. This is the kid that actually helps me in opening things if I have a hard time doing so.

“But you know what? Even if your hand never gets better, it doesn’t matter. Because I love you, just the way you are. And being a little different, well that is alright, too.”

Did I lose it then? Absolutely.

RAISING A DISABLED MOM.

From the moment we find out that we are going to be parents, worry begins to kick in. Doubts and fears we never gave even half a thought to creep into the back of our heads. What will the kid look like?Will I be a good parent? Will I know what to do in (insert situation) We worry about everything from feedings, to late nights to disciplining actions. And I am/was no different, except there was another worry that crept into the back of my head.

Will he love me for me? Will he accept me for what I am?

This may seem like an unusual fear, but believe me it was a legitimate fear. As a mother with a disability of her own I feared I wouldn’t be able to really provide my kid(s) with the kind of same love that others could. I know there wouldn’t be things I couldn’t do with him physically-like show him how to cut meat. Or tie a shoe. Yes I could give them unconditional love, and read stories to them. But sometimes late at night I stared up at my ceiling and wondered if it would really be enough.

I feared that they would grow up hating me because they would see all the other mothers in all their normalcy and wonder why they weren’t able to have a mother like little Johnny’s. Or Sammy’s. Will they get teased as they grow up because of this? Believe me kids are cruel. I know this first hand. I know what its like to have a staple gun to the face, to be pushed and shoved into things, down things. To be called names by classmates. They don’t understand, they will tease, they will torture and they will laugh. And will my own kids be the subject of such bullying? Because of me? I hated that thought.

I never once thought that my kid(s) would be the one to bully. To act out on those that are less fortunate than they were. I didn’t want to think they would be the kind to do such horrible acts on anyone. Maybe I didn’t think this because deep down I feared this. Yes, that’s exactly it. I would rather wish for them to be the kind of kid to stick up for anyone. To help those kids that remind me so much of myself.

Would he understand?

Explaining it to adults is hard enough. How does one explain it to a kid? Would he even get it? I knew I was years away from even really having to address this, and for the first few years it will be referred to as simply my bad hand, as it was referred to during the my years of babysitting. But I knew eventually it will have to be addressed.  And when it does, will he actually understand? How do I explain? Or will there just be this unspoken agreement that he won’t know.

Yes I worried about all of these things.

But something happened last night that I had never expected. Last night, I discovered that there was in fact a positive in being a mother with a disability. You see as I was walking him up the stairs last night I held out my left hand for him to grab on to when he stopped me.

‘No, no no mommy.’ He said shaking his head and looking up at me with those beautiful grey eyes. ‘I want to hold your bad hand. Is that ok? I can hold on to it right? I like this one.’ I stuck out my hand, which was stiff but still he grabbed onto it like it was soft and warm and as if it didn’t bother him in the least. The moment seemed to freeze as he looked up at me and smiled. ‘I don’t mind holding this hand mommy, do you?’ He held onto the hand the entire two flights of stairs and only let go when he hit the bedroom. I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had given that hand so much attention.

As I walked down the stairs, I thought about all those fears and negative thoughts I had, had a couple of years ago and how the one thing I hadn’t counted on was a positive. And here it is. My disability is normal to him, he is growing up as if its his every day life. I am raising him to be compassionate and understanding and loving. He is growing up knowing that beauty and ability and love comes in all forms.

I know there are other fears ahead, girls and dates. Getting hurt on the ice. And in the future I am sure they will have to be addressed. But being accepted for who I am, is no longer one of them