This needs to get written down

We had such an awesome day today.

Saturdays usually suck big time around here – the lack of structure, the whole cabin fever of this long winter of miserable stuck-inside-together-until-one-of-us-is-totally-going-to-go-The-Shining-insane – it just gets ugly. Fast.

But these are highlights of our day, today – a Saturday – a RAINY Saturday:

1) We went to the movies for the first time today – but the theatre had technical issues, so it started over 30 minutes late. Nathaniel sat on my lap pretty calmly almost the whole time (though he got bored & antsy & we had to change seats at one point). AND, he asked to try popcorn. I didn’t care that it was over-priced – hello, NEW FOOD! He liked it too! Unfortunately, once the movie FINALLY started, there was a scene almost right away that was too intense & loud for him & we had to jet. (Theatre gave us a refund).

2) He asked to go to the potty at the movie theatre – but it was too scary in there, so he HELD IT until we got to the mall & to the first bathroom we could find there. (We’ve been working on potty training for like 2 years – he’s willing to do it at school, daycare & grandparents’ homes, for the most part – but has put up a much more stubborn wall when it comes to doing it with Mommy & Daddy.)

3) He walked almost the entire mall. He did ask to be carried from time to time, but wasn’t as whiny about it. Eric carried Nathaniel for brief periods, since he was being so good. AND, after we were at the mall for a good while & he’d consumed most of a soft pretzel, more than half a cup of frozen yogurt & some pink lemonade, he actually asked to go potty AGAIN and DID! (Even in the seriously gross food court bathroom).

4) Once we were home for a good while, he went potty AGAIN. AND, took a bath & got his hair washed with no fight! AND, when I mentioned that I was going to snack on some cheese (my biggest weakness next to chocolate – my fav reduced fat cheddar was on sale!), he wanted to try it! He ate 3 small pieces, no pressure from me at all! AND, he tried 2 new games on his iPad, both educational in nature & relatively boring (despite the rave reviews), but he did give them a good shot. AND, after saying that he wanted to watch something, but didn’t know what & we suggested Frozen (which we’ve had for over a week & he hasn’t wanted to try), he said okay! And he sat through the whole thing, despite not totally loving it! AND THEN, he went potty AGAIN!

So yeah, this day has got to get memorialized, because god knows how much tomorrow will suck – Sundays can be just as shitty as Saturdays, after all. I want to go back & read this & think, WEEKENDS DON’T HAVE TO SUCK! Hooray!

Now I’m going to eat some more of that cheese. Pissed I didn’t buy crackers though. You just can’t have it all.

At the movies(At the movies, chilling with Mommy, eating popcorn)

Check out my new plane, yo

(Mommy’s a sucker – bought me this plane for using the potty at the mall)

 

 

Yeah, so I suck at resolutions.

So I’m sick. Again. With a stupid, over-the-top sore throat from hell, endless post nasal drip & completely unreasonable fatigue. I’ve spent every evening for the past week on the couch, having done almost nothing constructive, and I’m probably taking a half day from work tomorrow, so I can spend more time laying about, doing nothing. I’d take the whole day, but I suddenly have a full plate of shit to do at the office. And I feel guilty for being such a whiner about this all because dude, it’s just a stupid cold. Why am I so tired with such a little blip of a thing? I should be out doing great things or something.

So while I’m feeling guilty for not getting anything done again and not exercising again, I thought I’d look back at my resolutions for the year & see how I’m doing. Well, I know I’m not doing well, but I was curious to see exactly HOW not-well I’m doing.

First resolution was (paraphrased): eat healthier throughout the day, more fruits & veggies & no binging on chips or cheese. Well…not a complete failure, but certainly pretty damn close to that.

Second (paraphrased): “I will cook more often.” HA! Yeah. But I’m going to the supermarket tomorrow to attempt to find stuff to cook for myself & Nathaniel because he suddenly wants me to make “dinner.” (Instead of him sitting on the couch, taking possibly a few bites out of a handful of his list of tolerable foods). He has also said he wants to eat “something different.” I don’t honestly have my hopes up too high on this though, as since saying so, he’s continued to turn down almost everything as usual, even those items not on his list of everyday foods.

Third (paraphrased): “I will organize the entire house.” We did organize a lot of the toys & Eric shredded some papers. I did my sock drawer awhile back too – which was totally awesome. Does that count?

Fourth (paraphrased): “I will buy a treadmill & cancel my memberships, use my stationary bike every other week (at least) and will do strength training at least every other week.” Well, I decided we don’t have the space or money for the treadmill. I have used my stationary bike at least that often. I have not done any strength training to speak of. I suck.

Fifth: “I will beat my race times from last year & I will cut my average speed to under 11-minutes per mile…To accomplish this, I will run at least 3x per week.” Well…I did beat my March 5K by a lot & my avg speed is definitely getting to about 11-minutes or under (not counting on hills). I have had some weeks where I’ve run once, some 3 or 4 times. But overall,  I definitely have not run as often as I’d like.

Sixth: “I will read more books.” Well, I’ve started 3 books. One, I decided I hated within the first chapter. Two, I’m still working on…very, very slowly, as my attention span for books has gone from endless to zilch.

Seventh:  “MAYBE, I’ll run a marathon this year.” Well, I haven’t done it YET, but I am registering for the Philadelphia Marathon this year – come hell or high water.

Okay. I’m tired now. Well, more tired. So I have no cool ending to this. Goodnight.

 

Remembering again

[Forgive me if I’ve written about all this before – I honestly don’t remember, but I think about it so much that it’s highly possible. Thoughts in this post came to me again after reading a blog post about postpartum depression and caregiver stress for special needs families and how similar they may be.]

I don’t think I had PPD after Nathaniel was born, in a strict sense, but I remember feeling extremely alone & stressed out for a long time. He had difficulty sucking from his bottles (and if anybody says anything about breast is best shit, I’ll freak). Trying to feed him stressed the hell out of my husband & I. We had to go for weekly weight checks for the first five weeks or so because Nathaniel wasn’t gaining back his birth weight. For a little while, we were encouraged to do 2-hour feeding intervals, all day & night – because he still needed to gain more weight. He had reflux. After each feeding, we’d have to hold him semi-upright for a half an hour. We’d have to wake him for feedings and we’d have to get him back to sleep & to stay asleep after getting back in his crib. Eric & I took turns during the night after I tried to do it myself for a short bit & couldn’t handle it.  For months, we’d cheer for every new milliliter line he’d reach. I still remember when he finally hit 3 oz per feeding, and then 4 oz. I was in such happy disbelief, I called my parents to tell them.

But mostly, the stress was from the crying and major fussing. The unearthly crying, punching at the air, back stiff & arched, icy cold feet & hands – the whole colic thing for over 3 months. I rocked him day & night, one special rock that was the only way to stop the crying and fussing even momentarily. My whole body would ache by the end of the night. He’d immediately cry if I sat down while he was awake. He’d cry if I put him down & then I’d have to work to soothe him again. During the weekdays, while Eric was at work, I’d avoid going to the bathroom or eating much until someone could come to help me.  Putting him down for a minute wasn’t worth the 15 or 20 minutes it might take to calm him again. The grandmothers came a few times per week for a few hours & I’d stand by the window desperately willing them to show up early, because he almost always slept in their arms & I could sit down & stop with the rocking. They’d ask me if I needed to do anything, but all I wanted to do, after taking a shower, was to sit, drink a huge cup of strong, Nutella-laced coffee & have someone to spend time with, even just to chit-chat about what was on the TV.  One of my best friends traveled here to stay several days – she frequently offered to help – and did in practical ways – but the biggest help was just having someone to spend the day with and not be just me & my unsettled baby. Eric & I couldn’t go out much, because of the crying, and it was so cold & grey that winter. He cried even more in the car for a long time, especially if we stopped. There are so many traffic lights. But sometimes, if desperate enough, once I felt comfortable enough with his floppy baby neck in the car seat, I’d take him to the mall & walk laps, just so he would nap. He’d cry on the elevator, so I did one section again & again. When it got warm enough, I was finally able to easily take him for long walks. I’d walk an hour or more, whatever it took.

I feel like my maternity leave was stolen. I’d had such a wonderful idea of how it would be. I feel as if Nathaniel was robbed as well. No teeny little baby should have to be that unhappy.  So many people I knew had babies around the same time – none of them had any problems that I knew of. They were chubby, smiling cherubs. Why did Nathaniel have to be so discontented? To this day, over 3 & a half years later, I read about others’ more pleasant first few months with their babies & I feel sad & a bit bitter. I don’t want for them NOT to have a blessedly sweet time – I want for every baby & mommy to live with bliss. But I still feel like Nathaniel & I missed out. I spent the majority of those 3 months stressed, frequently sobbing, wishing that the crying & even silent, clearly discomforted fussing of his would stop. I never ever wanted to harm him. I never wanted to leave him. I just wanted his pain to stop, whatever that pain was.

As I said before, I think about those first few months a lot. I feel like I have some kind of PTSD about it. I still get tense & shaky when I hear any baby or child cry. I have vivid memories of being almost frozen in place, hearing a baby cry while out shopping. I remember being in line while a baby cried in her infant car seat in the cart, while her family chatted & casually checked out their items, as if nothing were happening. I just wanted to take that baby out of that car seat & rock her. I remember being in another store, where a small child fell out of a shopping cart, the howls, the unbelievable sound of that crying, while the mother rocked him while sitting on a bench by the door. I still wonder if that child ended up being okay. Both events were probably at least 2 years ago. It’s better now, after a short bit, after hearing a baby cry, I’m okay and don’t hold onto the moment.

And sometimes I feel terribly guilty for feeling this way – there are so many children born with HUGE issues to combat. All Nathaniel had was colic, perhaps the beginning of SPD. Nothing terminal. Nothing life-threatening. He came home with no complications. Who am I to moan & complain?

It’s not that there were no happy times, or no baby smiles or or delicious baby giggles – there were, interspersed, those moments after he’d drink his bottle – we called it “Happy Baby Time.” My husband & I cherished every smile, every giggle, every quiet & contented moment. It was like the sun would shine & a rainbow of hope would appear.

So often, we’re told to just think positive, be positive, surround yourself with peace & joy, choose happiness. But sometimes, I just can’t help but ruminate. It doesn’t do any good. But there it is. Sorry, no tidy ending to all this. That’s all for now.

Some resolutions I may or may not keep

Anyone who says that they don’t make resolutions is probably lying. At least that’s what I’m thinking these days. Because I told myself, I’m not making any resolutions this year. At least not January 1st when it’s winter & cold & gets dark early & there’s all kinds of sitting on the couch while eating Christmas cookies to be done. Not early January when I’m still recovering from the amazing germs that you get from hanging out with people during the holidays. If I make any resolutions, I’m waiting until May, until my birthday, that’s a good date – the weather’s more temperate, sunnier, lighter later, I’ll be wearing shorts more often & don’t get sick as much. But I lied, even to myself. So many resolutions, ideas, plans are spinning around my congested head.

So here’s a list of things I think I’d like to give a shot this year. You never know, it could happen. My follow-through tends to suck, but once in awhile, I complete tasks that require major longevity & attention.

1) After all the Christmas goodies are gone (I can’t waste good food!), I will return to eating healthier throughout the day – not just one or two meals or snacks. I will eat more vegetables & fruits. I will not buy chunk cheese or chips of any kind unless it’s a truly special occasion. If my husband buys chips, I will not consume half (or more) of the bag in one sitting.

2) I will cook more often. Like, I will cook. Period. This has not been happening. Since it’s just me & Nathaniel from 5pm until 7:30pm five nights per week, I’ve not been much motivated to cook. He doesn’t want to eat 95% of anything I would cook (and that’s probably being optimistic that he’d even eat 5% of it) & why should I bother with the time & expense, as he’d probably whine & do even worse things for my attention throughout, not to mention that I want to hang out with him? However, I will give it a shot. Maybe I’ll find one food that he’ll actually eat. I have an entire bookcase of cookbooks, collecting dust.

3) Speaking of bookshelves & stuff: I will find a way to organize this entire freaking house. We will get rid of stuff & we will organize stuff so that we’re not so cluttered & messy all the time.

4) I will buy a treadmill & find a place to put it. I honestly don’t care if it’s in the dining room at this point. I will use that treadmill & cancel all my money-sucking gym memberships that haven’t been getting the use I’d planned. Sure, I won’t be able to swim, but I do that so rarely, it’s a crying shame. I will also use my stationary bike at least once every other week. I will also do strength/resistance training at home, by videos or otherwise, at least once every other week.

5) I will beat my race times from last year, especially the insane trail 10K & half marathon, & I will cut my average speed to under 11-minutes per mile. I’ve done that pace for a few short runs lately – I’m going to get it to longer runs by years end. To accomplish this, I will run at least 3x per week – starting next week (because by then, this ridiculous upper respiratory infection I’ve got should be totally gone – I’m hoping to run at least once or twice this week).

6) I will read more books – more fiction in particular. Starting this month – I’ve got a handful of audio books – I count that as reading. Time to get moving on them.

7) This is a BIG maybe – but MAYBE, I’ll run a marathon this year. I really like short distances, like 5 & 10K, but MAYBE if I can run as regularly as I hope to and MAYBE if life cooperates to let me be able to have 4+ hours to myself more than once to be able to do the long training runs, MAYBE, I’ll do it.

You never know.

2014 image(I totally can’t do a handstand, nor do I live close enough to the beach to go try it now).

 

New Year, New Blog (sort of, anyway)

I suck at resolutions, kind of like I suck at keeping up a blog. But I’m gonna give it another go. It’s a new year, I’m going to reopen this blog & maybe reinvent a bit.

Previously, my plan was to mostly write about my family & the ins & outs of living my life around the whims, moods, needs, wants & so forth of my son. I think started off trying to hard. I’m not that deep, when it all comes down. So why make this blog so deep, eh?

So, I’ll write about my son & family & will hopefully remember all the crazy, funny & complicated stuff that I really ought to write about, but I am not going to try to tie everything into a nice little bow, with themes & making some kind of point each time. (Considering that I often forget what point I’m trying to make, this is probably a good idea). I’m just going to write. And I’ll write about more than just my family life. I’ll write about MY life, perhaps about my running (or lack thereof), my obsessive love of chocolate & cheese, the amazing messy disaster that is my house, which I’ve vowed to figure out how to organize. Perhaps I’ll write a bit about social issues, you know, like how odd many people act in social situations like shopping at Target or the grocery store, or how many people seem to lose all their humanity once they’re behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle. I mean, I could write about privilege, poverty, equal rights for various groups, how much I despise the cost/availability/confusing web of healthcare & shit, but I have a feeling I’d botch that up with emotion too much.

So here’s hoping I actually write more than every few months. For more than a few months. Hey, it could happen!

Wish me luck, k?

Chocolate(Mmmm…chocolate)

 

 

A visit to the fire station

So tonight was “National Night Out.” I’d actually forgotten about it, but Nat wanted to go for a walk & we happened to walk toward the area of town where the firehouse is & where festivities were taking place. There were bounce houses that Nat initially said he wanted to go in (I was shocked – it was loud & crowded) – but then got close & naturally, he wasn’t going in.  (And I was relieved because the kids were bigger than him & it looked a tad too raucous). There was a DJ with loud music, which Nat handled pretty well. There was an ice cream truck – Nat wanted ice cream, but he’d just had frozen yogurt for a dessert treat at home & I didn’t bring my wallet. He handled that pretty well too. There was a spin-the-wheel for little kids, guaranteed prizes. He picked himself out a water bottle & got some free soft pretzels, which is what he really wanted.

It took a lot of coaxing to get him to feel okay about going near the trucks at the fire station across the street, set up for kids to be able to check out. He’d start screaming, “Too Scary!” each time we’d go in that direction. He was afraid they’d be loud – but I reassured him repeatedly that the engines were off. I had been paying close attention for awhile & no one was sounding the sirens.  After sitting for a bit chowing on his pretzel, he mustered up his courage.

We did okay for a little while. There was only maybe a handful of kids present in the beginning & at least one fire person was sitting or standing in or near one of the trucks. Nat sat briefly in two trucks & was just really excited, running around the trucks & checking them out.

But eventually, things go out of hand. It got more crowded. There was very little supervision. Kids were climbing literally all over the trucks. Is it me or is it not very safe to have children climbing on top of a fire truck? Maybe I’m just a tad over-protective & kids probably under the age of 10 should be allowed to climb several feet off the ground on top of a truck, parked on cement? Anyway. No one was taking turns about sitting in the trucks, except the few smaller children with very nice attentive parents. I have no freaking clue where the rest of the parents were, but they need to teach their children some freaking manners – or at least to notice if a smaller child is near them before they just push past & climb over & butt in. Argh. Anyway. The firemen/fire women were no longer really providing any guidance or order – a couple were hanging out on the outskirts, but none actually monitoring the activity very closely.

So Nathaniel started to get really overwhelmed. He became indecisive, was periodically crying, wanting to go in this truck, no not this truck, no the front, no the back! And then finally, when I was ready to carry him home if need be, he got himself together & was able to communicate to me that he wanted to sit in one of the trucks again – in an actual seat & not in some place that he thought was a seat, but was just an area for equipment that was locked, which he wouldn’t believe me about. So, he was climbing into a truck, about to sit on the seat – and he pretty much got trampled & pushed out of the way by two bigger boys. I lifted him out of the truck, scared & shaken. And then…someone hit the siren on one of the trucks. I had promised him it wouldn’t be noisy. He let out the most blood-curdling howl. I carried him quickly away as he cried hard into my shoulder, telling him how I was sorry that it was loud. That whoever hit the button for the siren shouldn’t have done that, but he was going to be okay. After a couple minutes, just a half dozen feet away from the firehouse, he stopped crying & just said over & over again how it was loud & someone hit the button & it honked & it was loud & it was scary over & over & over again, high speed. But he calmed down & was okay again & smiling by the time we got home – and then told Daddy again all about the loud horn & someone pushed the button, etc., etc.

He went to bed in a good mood, nothing further about the fire trucks, just telling me how he likes his new blanket, “It’s very comfy. And soft too. I like new blanket.”

But I’d still like to give whoever hit that siren a talking to – and a few parents & fire people too.

Mommy Guilt a la Autism

Up until Nathaniel was 2 & a half, I had my work hours set up so that I was home with him in the morning through about 12:30 p.m. each day. I worked from about 1 to 5 at the office & then at home for a few hours after he went to bed. I was tired from being up late working & up early with him, but I got to be there with him. I was active with his Early Intervention therapy. I took him for ABA once per week & he eventually had daycare two days per week for socialization. I knew his teachers at daycare, as he only had 2 at a time & they often were still around when he’d go to the next group, to help out. I felt like I knew what was going on in his life, even though sometimes his emotions & behavior could be mysterious.

Then things changed & I had to work traditional hours. But during all this time that I was at the office, Daddy was home, as he had been temporarily laid off as part of the restructuring at the office. So even after preschool started in February & daycare for two afternoons starting in April, with Daddy home, Nathaniel still had plenty of fun time, down time & nap time at home.

But the summer busy season at work came & Eric was needed back at the office. After that happened, Nathaniel’s weeks have been slightly varying, going between full days at daycare, a full day with Grandma & Grandpa & now 4 half-days per week of summer school, a mix of daycare time & Grandma & Grandpa time. His speech therapist also changed offices, as did her hours, so now he’s also having therapy one afternoon per week, with Grandma & Grandpa taking him – instead of me taking him on Saturday mornings & being a part of the therapy session.

Nathaniel is tired at night. He’s not napping during the week anymore. He needs nap time to be strictly sleep time – just soft wordless music (like they had at his old daycare, pre pre-school) or ocean sound type stuff (like he has at home). He’s not a kid to sleep with voices or lights. It’s different at his current daycare, as they have older kids who don’t nap. He can’t settle down enough at the grandparents’ to nap & having therapy in the afternoons doesn’t help. He’s busy. He’s active. He’s probably frequently over-stimulated.

Today is day 3 of summer school. Today was his day of school/grandparents/therapy/grandparents (briefly) & then me picking him up.  He was a testy mess when I arrived to pick him up. Within about 5 or 10 minutes of me arriving, he was randomly hitting, headbutting & wordlessly screaming/shrieking, crying & fighting against getting in the car. He even spit out his piece of chocolate treat that the grandparents gave him, in an attempt to cheer him up. Once home, he added slamming & throwing things & wanting to be picked up & held. He refused to take a bath – and he needed one. Baths have become our nemesis on weeknights – he starts whining about not liking his bath almost as soon as I pick him up & then goes into full out tantrums when it’s really time & acts as if I’m submitting him to medieval torture when I wash & rinse his hair or god forbid, clean around his neck, face & ears. Tonight, he was such a miserable kid that I couldn’t do it. He needed a break. Eventually, I think once assured that he didn’t have to have a bath, he settled down enough to quietly eat a half of a slice of toast & a fruit pouch. He then took about 20 minutes to poop (exiling me to the kitchen the whole time – he needs his privacy). So add that he was probably constipated to the definitely over-tired. After that release, he was all good. Downright content, just tired.

And tomorrow, it’s back to another day of summer school, followed by daycare. And he won’t nap. He’ll barely eat, since he has never eaten well in a school or daycare setting. And he’ll need a bath & I’ll just have to suck it up & make him suffer so that he’s clean.

I feel like he’s having to do too much for a little 3-year-old child. A little 3-year-old child who doesn’t eat a whole lot & needs a nap that he’s not getting. I wish I could be home with him. I wish I had another solution. If things don’t improve on Wednesdays, I’ll have to make a decision about his speech therapy, because it might just be too much on a weekday. And I want to be there. I hate not being there. I don’t know his summer school teacher or aides. I barely know his school therapists. I don’t even know the names of the people at his daycare, quite honestly. I’m terrible with names & barely seeing these people does not help.

I’m not really asking for a solution. I’m mainly just whining. I just want to be home with my son. I don’t want him upset & being so clingy to me when I am around, because he doesn’t see me until 5pm some days & even if he does wake up early in the morning before I leave, I don’t really get to spend quality time with him. It just sucks.

Sigh. Whine over. I think I need some real wine now.