Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

feeling like this



I was going to work out this morning, but B was not having it so I sat in front of the fire and had a hot drink and good conversation with a friend. Going to a gym with a cafe and fireside seating is dangerous. How is one supposed to work out when there's muffins and comfy chairs on offer? B is super, super, super clingy lately. He's napping right now and I'm enjoying a break from my little spider monkey.

Charlotte said a quick hello this morning. When I opened the front door I saw a hummingbird hovering over the lavender that lines the walk. I don't care for Halloween, but it would be nice to have a little ladybug darting around begging for candy (not that I would give her any)

If you are reading this from somewhere affected by Hurricane Sandy please stay safe and dry. I nearly had a heart attack when reading about the NICU babies in New York who had to be evacuated.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I want to remember ...


That B crawled at 8 months.

And walked at 11.5 months.

That he got his first tooth at 8 months.

And began solids too.

8 was a big month.

Our breastfeeding relationship. In the hospital after he was born B struggled with nursing, and then later, at home, we struggled mightily to figure it out. I would hold him with one hand and then tuck my hand under the side he was feeding on and hold my breast in his mouth so he wouldn't have to work so hard. To this day he reaches for my free hand, pushes it under his chin and holds on while he nurses.

I'm his security blanket.

That when B is tired he likes to curl up with us on the floor. It's how he tells us he's ready for bed, and how he shows affection. Sometimes I'll lay down on the floor just so he will come up and plop down next to me for a cuddle.



The way B babbles right now. He has the best language. I can't understand a word, but it sure is beautiful. 

That he loves lights. He points at any and all lights and says, "that."

The way he dances.

That I think he will be left handed.

The sound of him growling in frustration or anger.

That he calls Isabel, "Iza."

His creativity. 

His smarts.

That he loves to read.

That he can kick a ball (and his toys) really, really well.

How I look in this picture. Unguarded. Fierce. Like a mama. Like someone who will fight if anyone or anything - illness, bad luck, ill timing, fate - tries to take him from me.


Someday he may look back at this blog and be like, "Mom, seriously?"

And I'll say, "Yeah, kid, I want to remember."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

pumpkin patch baby


We had so much fun at Bauman Farms today.


A family friend has celebrated her birthday the past two years with a trip to the pumpkin patch followed by soup and cider at her house. It's a blast.

It was pouring rain, but most everything is covered so we were able to enjoy our time and stay dry. I love how many activities this farm has for toddlers. And I really appreciated the baby care tent when B needed a diaper change and some mama milk. Nothing better than a comfy couch, a nice rug and a changing station when baby and mama need a break.








 


Where is B?

 




I have no idea what we're looking at


 




Friday, October 26, 2012

morning


B is two weeks shy of 14 months. He is still up twice a night, sometimes more. I keep telling myself I will miss our middle of the night moments someday.

He is still in and out of our bed. If B doesn't feel well, or if I'm too tired to function he moves in with us for a few nights. Or three weeks. The night before the 13th he was fussy and not feeling well. I brought him in with us because I needed sleep and because having a little one cuddled close the night before the memorial walk was comforting.

My memory is shot. I've been forced to become a morning person. Though I'm so groggy not much parenting happens. I need a solid hour or so to wake up and be functional. 6 am is just too early.

These dark mornings and cold nights are good for my soul. They seem hard - they are hard - but there is joy in sleep deprivation. I have a sweet, kind, mischievous baby ... who doesn't sleep very well. And if I hadn't lost so much I wouldn't know how good I have it.





Thursday, October 25, 2012

are you talking to me?


A few weeks ago I was doing the monthly shop with Bennett. I've just started doing it on my own. It requires much planning and it makes for a long day, but I feel lame asking J to help me shop when he works full time (and then some).

I was proud of myself because I managed to get Bennett in the Ergo on my back without help. I often front pack him when I'm by myself because it's a lot easier. I'm always afraid I'm going to drop him on his head in a parking lot when I swing him onto my back.

As we shopped I talked to Bennett. I have very little idea of what is going on around me when I am out with Bennett. I talk and sing without thinking about who may be listening in. My hair was a mess and I was wearing my glasses and too big clothes that fit just after Bennett's pregnancy. I was bending over sorting through tuna cans when it happened.

"Should we buy tuna? Do you think you can have tuna? I wonder if you'll break out. What do you think? Should we try it?"

I reached out and picked up a can.

"Let's try it. Well, wait, I just don't know if you can have it .."

I was bending down to replace the can when I realized a man was next to me. He smiled uneasily, "are you talking to me, ma'am?"

"What? Oh! No, no! I have a baby, I'm talking to this guy." I shifted and pointed to Bennett on my back. Because of how I was standing he couldn't see Bennett. He thought I was having a very long conversation with myself about canned tuna.

He laughed and exhaled. I think he was sure I was absolutely off my rocker.

A few aisles later I ran into him again. He smiled at me and announced to the crowded aisle, "this nice lady has a baby on her back! She is not talking to herself."

I laughed. We continued on our way.

And I did buy canned tuna for Bennett to try. No reaction, but he didn't like it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

spoken world blog round-up TWO


Thanks to Angie from Still Life With Circles for hosting another round up. I hope lots of people participate this year. I've "known" some of you over two years now. It's good to hear you speak.



Last year's video.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"just a miscarriage"


Last Monday I huddled in the rain with a small group of people. Some I knew, some I didn't. We gathered to celebrate and remember our lost babies. I turned to the woman next to me, "Who are you here for?"

I was trying to capture the stories of everyone present. I wanted them to know their loss mattered and I wanted them to know they were not alone; that their story had been heard.

She turned slightly, "Oh, I just had a miscarriage. Years ago."

I wanted to say, "Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. You did not just have a miscarriage. Your baby died. And it still hurts enough that you came to an event by yourself years after the fact to connect with and remember your child."

I said, "I'm so sorry for your loss," and turned to speak with someone else.

In the past I have ranted something fierce when someone I know drops the "just a miscarriage" line, but I try to hold back when meeting someone for the first time.

Can we drop the qualifiers, please?

My heart aches when someone says, "I don't know what you've been through. I couldn't do that. My loss was so early. It's different. Not as painful. Not as difficult."

I don't think that's true.

Just because Charlotte lived long enough to be given a name and have a birth date does not make her any more human than a baby who died at 8 weeks.

I know I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again: your loss is the most painful for you because it was your baby(ies) who died. My loss is the most painful for me because it was my Charlotte who died.

I don't know what it's like to miscarry. I don't know what it's like to choose between miscarrying naturally and a D&C. I don't know how it feels to see blood when you least expect it.

I don't know stillbirth, or genetic disorders that make it impossible for babies to survive.

I do know what it's like to miss a tiny soul who carried unfathomable depths of hope and happiness within their tiny heart. All of us who have lost babies know that unique pain.


We create entire lives in the space of time between, "I wonder if ..." and "I am!!"

If you erase the labels - stillbirth, neonatal loss, miscarriage ... - you'll see what's really missing.

Boys and girls and dancing and jumping in puddles and first words and 'I love you mama' and brothers and sisters and weddings and laughter and tears and joy and comfort and a feeling of completeness.

Let's forget about stillbirth, neonatal loss and miscarriage and focus on what really matters:

My baby died.

Your baby died.

We're both heartbroken.

We'll always miss them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

remind me


Someone smack me upside the head and remind me how good I have it. I can't seem to shake this grumpy bad mood. I am beyond out of sorts and cannot figure out why.


I think I need to sit down and write all my blessings out daily, maybe even hourly, until I shake the black cloud riding on my shoulders. Poor J. Poor B. Mama is trying to snap out of the fall doldrums. I didn't know I could get the fall doldrums. I LOVE fall; I have no idea what is wrong with me.

On the bright side of things, B tossed a "cheese" face my way when I snapped his picture this morning. I thought it was a fluke, but I can't get a picture without it now.








Something about the drama behind his new smile makes me think the toddler years are going to be tough.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

feeding b


is challenging.

He cannot have wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts or seeds.

And his doctor wonders why he's on the smaller side.

Genetics + limited diet = a 1% baby.

I always want to know what other people eat. Leave me alone in your house and I will look through your kitchen cabinets. I'm just fascinated by other people's food choices. It's not a judgmental thing; it's more of a can we be food friends? thing. And if you have only healthy, organic food in your cupboard I'm sorry, we can't be food friends. This girl likes sweets and snack foods and (gasp) boxed mac n cheese.

There are days I wish I could whip up a box of mac n cheese from Trader Joe's for B (no preservatives!). Even though the moment itself would be wonderful he would break out in a rash and be miserable for days afterward. 

I cook a lot. Me, the queen of being lazy and lover of eating out (you can hear this every month in our house: "are you sure we used up all of our restaurant money, J?") has to cook nearly every meal.

I am so glad we haven't hit a picky stage yet. I am in trouble when that happens. Right now B will at least try anything I put in front of him. Some meals I end up giving him fruit because he won't eat anything else and he will always take fruit, but most of the time he eats what I give him.

If you need food ideas for your toddler, or if you have a very allergic toddler like me, or if you like knowing what's in people's cupboards - here's what B is eating:

Breakfast

Hardest meal of the day. I'm always so tired and barely awake enough to turn the stove on. I was getting in the habit of feeding B applesauce and a few gluten free puffs, but that's not enough food for him. His doctor wants him to be getting meat with every meal so I've recently changed our breakfast routine.

- Oatmeal with coconut oil (I mix coconut oil with a lot of things because he needs good fats)
- Hash (I am in LOVE with this new idea I stumbled across. I throw together a whole bunch of stuff and scramble it up. Example: Bacon, apple chicken sausage, apple, sweet potato. B and J love it.)
- Chicken sausage (good preservative free options from Trader Joe's and Costco)
- Fruit (blueberries, grapes, applesauce, plum, peach, pear, apples ... etc)

I usually make a big batch of oatmeal at the beginning of the week and then feed it to him throughout. I'm going to start doing the same thing with the hash. I add flax seed to his oatmeal too. Thanks to flax seed and lots of water B has never been constipated (fingers crossed, knock on wood).

Lunch

If we have leftover chicken or other meat from dinner I give it to him for lunch. Most days he gets lunch meat and a vegetable or three. I know some moms who won't give lunch meat to their little ones, but I feel comfortable with what Trader Joe's has on offer. I love Trader Joe's; I buy most of our groceries there now because they do super smart things like offer already cut up fruit and vegetables at a decent price and they have good food without a whole lot of junk added in.

- Ham
- Turkey
- Chicken
- Chili (homemade or Trader Joe's)
- Black beans 
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Carrots
- Sweet potatoes 
- Sweet potatoes and apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, roasted (B loves when I make him this)
- Potatoes (still working on russets from our garden!)
- Lentils
- Coconut yogurt 
- Gluten free bread with turkey and goat cheese on top - put under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese

Dinner

B usually eats what we're having, but when I get a craving and make something he can't have (like lasagna) he gets something else. I do some creative substituting too. The other night we had sweet and spicy stir fry with noodles. The noodles had wheat so I gave B mung bean noodles. He LOVED them.



Snacks

- Raisins 
- Rice cakes 
- Fruit (at least one snack time he gets a banana)
- Cut and steamed veggies 
- Gluten free, dairy free puffs
- Plum Baby dairy free snacks (coconut yogurt melts and other little treats. They are expensive, I'm trying to stay away from them)
- Fruit leather

I feel like I should make smoothies for B, but I've had little success on that front. I wish he liked avocados. I've tried hiding them in different foods but he can suss out even the smallest amount of avocado.

B only has water and breast milk to drink. He still nurses five times in a 24 hour cycle, which gives him a much needed nutritional boost. B eats every two hours. Some days he eats every hour. If I forget to feed him, or if he gets hungry, he goes to the first shelf in the pantry where we store his food, stretches up on his toes until he can snag something, hauls it off the shelf and brings it to me. B doesn't care if I feed him that particular food, he just wants me to give him something. I no longer let him breastfeed on demand because it was getting a little interesting in public. B has milk at 9 am, at 1 pm (or before nap), at 6:30 pm and twice during the night.

So tell me, what's your little one eating? Food ideas and suggestions welcome!

Friday, October 19, 2012

(mis)adventures in parenting


A few days ago B was running around like a kid possessed. We had been home a lot because he was sick and it was showing. If I don't get B out at least once a day he becomes a naughty whirlwind of destruction. I needed to get the dishes done but couldn't keep B out of trouble long enough to do so. Then I had a brilliant idea: I would let B help me with the dishes.

I filled the plastic pink tub from B's NICU stay with smugness, thinking about all of the amazing things I would be teaching him: sensory play, introduction to household chores, the importance of helping ...

The idea was that he would stand next to me and splash about a bit. I didn't want him soaking the dining room chairs (they're already ruined but I like to pretend they're still nice) so I grabbed a wooden chair from the garage. I pushed it up against the counter and set B up on it. He was way too short to reach the counter.

I picked him up and thought for a moment. Then I had a brilliant idea. I would put him on the counter with the tub. He could splash about gently and calmly next to the sink while I did the dishes. It was a lovely picture in my mind. I think I've been spending too much time on Pinterest.



The gentle splashing lasted exactly three seconds. B is a toddler. What is he going to do with a tub of water? Toss it, of course. Water cascaded over the counters, down the cupboards and pooled on the floor. Everything within a few feet of B was soaked.

This always happens to me. I have a brilliant idea that will foster learning and encourage development and two seconds after said activity starts it falls apart. Welcome to toddler-hood and a mother who does not think beyond, "this will be fun!" (Someday I'll tell you about the vegan cheese fiasco. Maybe. That was a bad one.)

I stripped B to his diaper, which was so waterlogged he could almost sweep the floor with it, and began wiping up the mess. B thought mama cleaning the floor with towels was hilarious so I gave him a rag to help. That kept him occupied for a while and I was able to do the dishes - thirty minutes after I set out to do so.




PS: Unexpected Goodbye postcards now available for hospital memory boxes! If you would like some please contact me. If possible paying for shipping costs (no more than $5) would be appreciated!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

lately



Annual neighborhood racewalk 
























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