Sunday, February 27, 2011

My DIY Project

The Hubs was in Germany this week. It has become a more frequent occurrence in the last year for him to need to travel for work. Neither of us are huge fans of this, but we try to make the best of it. In the past, my mom has been able to come visit to help me with The Chubs but because of the short notice of this last trip, I was forced to go it alone. As some of you know, I am an artist. Mainly of the graphic variety (read: computer geek), however, I do dabble in other medias as well. One of my favorite things to do is try to revamp rooms in our home on a very tight budget.

We have a room in our home that rarely gets used and was mainly just collecting dust that we decided would become The Chub's play room. This was my project while The Hubs was gone:

The theme of the room was centered around owls for a few different reasons. One being that I love owls. The second being that Lexi makes this owl hooting noise that is absolutely hysterical. And the third being that my father used to sing me a song when I was little called The Wise Old Owl, which was also the song my Grandma used to sing him. It is framed in the room. on the opposite wall. I drew the mural on the wall by hand and then used those sample cans from lowes to paint it in. They are only a few bucks a piece. I already had some cheapie paint brushes left over from when I did the mural on Lexi's nursery wall.

Toys are stored in the leather ottoman. This was an ottoman we already had in our basement that never got used. I thought it would be put to better use up here. It's soft so I know little heads won't be banged on the corners and the top is easy to lift. The most expensive thing in this room was the tv stand which was $70 from Target. I actually assembled it myself. I was quite proud. It took me 2 hours though. KIND OF PATHETIC.You may have noticed the pockets against the mural wall. They were wall pockets from office depot. They were advertised at about $5.95 a piece on the office depot website. When I got to the store they were priced at $10/piece. I wasn't super thrilled about that but I was pressed for time after waiting in line for over 10 min. and had a grumpy child in my arm so I didn't have time to hassle the lady at the counter. I'm still confused about the whole pricing issue. Next time I will order them from the site if I choose to get more. I purchased fabric, made a pattern and covered them using a hot glue gun and mounted them to the wall. They will hold books and were placed at a level where The Chubs can drop books in herself once she's walking on her own. I had extra fabric so I made these:

... two extra throw pillows. These were sewn by hand because I do not have a sewing machine. The ribbon on the argyle pillow was just hot glued on because I'm classy like that.

The tissue puffs were probably one of my favorites because they were super easy and super cheap. Literally they took about 5 minutes once I knew what I was doing. The tissue cost about $2, then I just had to buy some craft wiring, I put a small nail in on each side of the window, wrapped the wire around each nail, and then hung the tissue puffs on a string from the wire. It just added some extra color and texture to the room and Lexi loves to look and point at them.

And finally, the opposing wall to the mural wall, the "inspiration" to the whole theme of the room, is where I have the lyrics of "The Wise Old Owl" song framed. I couldn't get a good close up picture of the frame because there was too much of a glare. I used a brown paint pen to letter "The Wise Old Owl". Here are the lyrics to the song:

There's a wise old owl in the tree, in the tree,
And he sits quite still all the day.
His big round eyes peer at you and me,
In a most surprising way.

When all the world goes to sleep at night,
And there isn't a single ray of light,
Mr. Owl wakes up,
Spreads his wings for a flight,
WHO WHO says the owl in the tree.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will I ever fit in?

When I was single at my church in college, it was a smaller church filled with younger married couples. I felt left out of the group because I was not yet married. Once I got married, we were among the only ones without kids. Little did I know it would be years before we would be in that club. Many of you know our struggles with infertility that followed. I never fit in with the couples that would plan when they would conceive by the month they wanted to deliver in. Or all peed on a stick together and celebrated their planned pregnancies. I couldn't relate to these people, and still can't because I don't know what it's like to be able to have that kind of predictability in life.

Once we got pregnant, I couldn't have those types of conversations with woman who were pregnant with me. I couldn't share the stories of how I missed one birth control pill and "oops!" it just happened. I was a little embarrassed to talk about our IUI experience because really, how many people even know what that is, or have to take those measures in their 20's. And once you get into that conversation you open up a whole can of worms worth of questions.

Once I became a mom the same thing happened. I would hear people complaining about motherhood, or griping in general and not that I didn't have my own personal frustrations, trust me, but sometimes I would really want to give them a good old fashion reality check.

Then, all the medical stuff with Lexi happened and I'd get comments about how "oh, yeah well she'll eat when she's hungry" and other babbling word vomit that just fills the void when awkward silence is the alternative. Or other comments like "You are so lucky you have an immobile child! My child is into EVERYTHING! Enjoy it!" I don't really need to go into all the reasons these comments are irritating since if you've read my blog you already now since I've covered it.

But I've come to the point where I feel like I just don't fit in anywhere. There are women who are dying to have their second child at any given point, even from the moment their first leaves the womb. I am not one of those women, especially after the first year I have just gone through. However, after knowing my fertility history I would be thrilled if I was pregnant tomorrow. Does that make sense? Of course not! It is a complete contradiction. And that is why I don't know where I fit in.

Their are women who are made to be mothers and look completely natural at it. Their child has no issues, they nurse like pros, their children have no developmental delays and they get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I do not fall under any of those categories, therefore I feel like I can not relate to them, and honestly I envy what they have and am somewhat intimidated by them. There has always been some group that I want to be a part of but can't. And currently this is the club I feel like I cannot join.

So I suppose I have a choice. And I suppose I have always had this choice. Have these "clubs" ever excluded me? No. I have chosen to exclude myself. I can choose to continue to shy away out of my own insecurities or choose to jump in and overcome them. The question is... do I have it in me? We shall see.

Friday, February 18, 2011

15 Months and some answered prayers

I don't usually blog on Lexi's monthly anniversaries. It may just be because up until 9-10 months she really wasn't making a lot of progress and it was almost a little painful to realize how far behind we were. After that she was making strides but we were still far far behind lots of kids her age and to come up with a joyful list of all the exciting things she was doing was about the farthest thing from my mind. I always felt like those lists for for parents of healthy normal kids. I would do them few and far between just out of obligation because I didn't want to forget some of the things she did down the line and then regret it.

On this particular anniversary, I feel like I actually WANT to be writing down her milestones and for once, I looked forward to posting this.

In early January, I wrote down a list. It was kind of a wish list of things I hoped The Chubs would accomplish by the time she was 15 months old. She was doing none of these things at the time so I felt like it was kind of far fetched but nonetheless, I wrote it down and prayed to God that he would answer the following prayers of mine and she would reach the following milestones by 15 months. This is exactly what I wrote:

"At 15 months, my prayer is that Lexi would:

Be eating some table food without gagging, whether on her own or with my assistance
Be drinking consistently from something other than her bottle, on her own or with my assistance
Saying a few words other than mama dada and baba
Have much less oral defensiveness and not battling refusal nearly as much
Taking one good nap each day"

Let me reiterate that she was doing none of these things at the time. Let me also expand on all of these requests:

1) Be eating some table food without gagging

Lexi is eating mashed banana, blended cooked sweet potatoes, taking bites of veggie straws, rice crackers, mashed avocado (although she doesn't dig the taste), baked and blended squash, and other prepared table foods without any gagging. Although I still need to feed them to her she has made major steps in her texture acceptance and management.

2) Be drinking consistently from something other than her bottle

I've already blogged about this before, but Lexi takes all of her milk during the day through her sippy along with some juice by sippy as well. When I wrote this, she was not drinking from her sippy AT ALL, or anything else other than her bottle.

3) Crawling

Although Lexi is not crawling, she can crawl on her knees while scooting her push toy. She can also walk around the house independently with her push toy and cruise around furniture. She may never crawl, but I would say the fact that she is taking steps and walking with her push toy, that she is already exceeding my expectations.

4) Saying a few words other than mama dada and baba

Lexi can say:

Book ("Boooo")
Ball ("Bahhh")
Baby ("BehBeh")
Bath ("Baaa")
Duck ("Duu")

She also says "pppp" for "Clap", but we know what she means so I suppose it counts! :)

She can also sign:
All Done
Wash Hands
Brush Teeth
Thank You

And probably more but I can't think of them all right now. She learns more everyday.

5) Have much less oral defensiveness and not battling refusal nearly as much

She now lets us (and enjoys) brush her teeth every day a couple times a day. She puts toys in her mouth (finally) and chews on things. She even does minimal self feeding with biscuits and crackers. I never thought I'd see the day!

6) Taking one good nap each day

Recently her afternoon naps have been about 2- 2.5 hours long which has been wonderful considering she would only nap 30 minutes at a time from about 7 months until 14 months old. As long as she poops before her nap we usually can count on a wonderful long nap and I am beyond thankful for it!

Needless to say I am beyond grateful and so thankful to God for answering my prayers. I really thought it was a stretch when I initially wrote this list, but it just goes to show you that nothing is impossible for Him!!

Happy 15 months Chub Muffin!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Going dental and mental

Today was Lexi's first dental check up. Yes, it is recommended that your child see the dentist by their first birthday, but honestly, I wouldn't have taken her in unless I actually had a concern.

One of The Chub's front teeth came in looking like it had a small chip in it on the surface of the tooth. I wasn't really that concerned since it came in like that but over the last few months it's gotten a little discolored within the chipped area and I really just wanted to make sure it wasn't turning into a cavity or some other sort of issue that required attention or was causing her discomfort since she already has some oral aversion issues.

I was extremely nervous for the appointment because she absolutely hates anything around or near her mouth, and has extreme stranger anxiety. She even sometimes cries when I hand her off to The Hubs at night when he gets home from work. She is truly a mama's girl.

I specifically chose Dr. B after thoroughly reading through a dozen pediatric dentist websites in the area and seeing that Dr. B encouraged families to be a part of the overall dental experience and that he had experience working with special needs kids. Not that the chubs would be categorized in the special needs area, but because of her SPD (Sensory Placement Disorder) she does require some extra consideration when it comes to handling her oral region. Dr. B lived up to all my expections. He was warm, friendly and compassionate. His staff was very courteous and left the decisions entirely up to us. They asked us up front if we wanted her teeth cleaned. There was no pressure in any way to clean them or not to clean them. I told them that we really just wanted them to take a look at her teeth, especially her front tooth and make sure everything looked ok. They were perfectly happy to accommodate us.

Dr. B worked quickly and efficiently and although within the 10 seconds he took to look her over and smear flouride on her teeth, she worked herself up and threw up all over the seat, we were expecting no less. Let's face it, we know our girl and we have designated puke towels we bring to appointments like this. And really it was only one heave - so not terrible. She even got to pick a little prize at the end which ended up being a pencil because it was the only thing that wasn't a choking hazard.

The verdict was that it is just a malformation of the tooth that could've even been formed in utero. It's a chipping of the enamel and is not a cavity although we are going to continue to watch it to make sure it does not turn into one because it is more susceptible since the enamel is chipped in that area. He said it's nothing to be concerned about at this point. We'll continue to brush her teeth like we have and keep an eye on it. It shouldn't be causing any discomfort, although she could be more sensitive to hot or cold on that tooth. It's hard to say for sure. The rest of her teeth look good. She has 8 teeth now with a few more bumps he noticed (oh joy!). So overall it was a positive appointment, and I can stop worrying about it for the time being. We'll be going back in in about 2 months just to monitor the tooth and make sure it's not getting worse. One more thing to check off my list of things to do!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My little vegan

It's becoming increasingly evident that my daughter is in fact a vegan. She even borderlines a raw vegan because she only will eat foods at room temperature. I'm not quite clear on her spiritual or moral convictions concerning this life choice, but what I do know is that as time goes on, it is becoming an indisputable fact.

As an infant The Chubs was seemingly intolerant to dairy. When I tried introducing pureed meat to her, I think I saw her laughing at me, or maybe she was trying to perfectly time a projectile vomit all over my shirt. Either way, neither of these food groups went down in a successful manner. Since her first birthday I have tried to reintroduce some dairy into her diet. I think her system can tolerate small amounts but I really don't think she digs the taste of any sort of dairy. Either that, or as suspected, she is not a fan of animal products - and really when you say it like that it doesn't sound too appetizing I suppose.

Perhaps when she cries and points at our cats as they walk around the house she is in fact trying to say "Save the kitties, don't eat meat!", or when she shakes her head in disgust over a spoon full of yogurt she's saying "Don't milk the innocent! A cow goes moo!!!", or maybe it's a self image thing and all these months of referring to her as "The Chubs" has finally gotten to her. No matter what it is, though, we support her decisions and although we don't understand all of them, we will respectfully cater to her wishes for the time being and as long as she continues to tolerate large amounts of safflower oil in her fruits and veggies, we'll call it good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free preview

Today I took The Chubs to a free session of Kinder.musik. It was recommended to me by a trusted friend and seemed like a great idea. Lexi absolutely loves music. Every time she hears music she starts bopping up and down or rocking side to side. I've been wanting to get out and do something fun with The Chubs that doesn't involve therapy and give her exposure to other kids her age and give me the chance to meet other moms. I didn't really know much about it. I just knew they did activities that involved the kids and moms together and incorporated music into these activities. Then about 20 minutes before I was about to leave I watched this preview video:

All of a sudden I was worried that I was going to burst out laughing in the middle of the class because let's face it -it looks like a bunch of home school moms (seriously nothing wrong with homeschooling- really - just describing a type that sews their own skirts and wears burkenstock sandles with hair that goes to their butts*) doing tribal dances and chanting that take this class really seriously. Or another type that is stuck in the 80's wearing denim vests or jackets with spandex/stirrup pants. Not my thing.

So I was a little apprehensive before going to the class. The Hubs was planning on joining me so I was fearful that it would turn into the church syndrome... you know the one where you aren't supposed to laugh but because you can't it makes it even more funny and you just keep spurring each other on? What if they made us do interpretive dancing under a parachute or something? I just didn't think I could handle that kind of awkwardness.

So we get there and there are like 5 other little cute babies and their moms and a totally normal looking lady smiling at us. I already sighed in relief because she didn't smell of hemp and greeted us with a "hi" instead of "nomaste" (which really would be fine if this was a baby yoga class).

The rest of the class was just plain cute and I think The Chubs thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nothing like the video (Thank God...seriously). We're still contemplating if it's worth the $150 for 6 sessions but it's good to have at least trialed it and now know what goes on at one.

** There is nothing wrong with sewing your own skirts, wearing burkenstocks or having butt length hair, although it violates several fashion codes. I however, do not relate to these women, and that is mainly the point I'm trying to make. I would not fit in, in a setting like this. Please do not send me hate mail!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Things I wish I could've told myself before I had a baby...

These are particularly applicable to having The Chubs and to my experience as a mother to a child with special needs:

Definitely wake a sleeping baby if said baby will not ever show hunger cues or eat enough to thrive during the day.

Always dispose of a poopy diaper immediately or else the poop may end up in a tiny curious hand.

Let them get messy at meal time no matter what a hassle it is to clean up. It is so much more important for them to feel comfortable with food than to have a clean tray and an empty washer at the end of the meal.

Don't sweat over poor napping. If that's all they need, so be it. As long as they are content in their crib to just play and rest, it's a win-win.

A messy house comes with the territory of motherhood. There will be other lifestages to have perfectly kept house.

Every baby develops at their own pace. The important thing is to value each child for who they are and what they have accomplished. Savor every moment, every stage, and don't look at others for guidance on what your child should or shouldn't be doing.

Trust your instincts. If you think something is off, have it looked into. Everytime I have trusted my gut on something I have been thankful I followed through. Other times I dismissed something I have regretted it in the long run.

There is a difference between worrying about something and being proactive about it. Take a negative emotion and turn it into a positive outcome.

Patience is essential in parenthood. Anyone that lacks it will not make it out with their sanity.

Do not stress out about the things you cannot control. Not only will you become an unhappy person, but it will make your child unhappy as well.

You can read every book on the planet and still none of them will be able to tell you what your child needs. Only you can be the expert on your own child.

Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse. If you are frustrated or unhappy about something, let them know. It's better to work it out quickly instead of bottling it up and then exploding later.

When you have a child with special needs:

Nothing is achieved quickly or without effort. Keep pressing onward with diligence and devoting yourself to your child and eventually you, and they, will get there. Do not give up and do not get lazy.

Regression is a part of the process. There will be times you will be sailing by and making huge strides only to find yourself moments later, taking several leaps backward. Do not be discouraged. For every leap backward there will be 2 leaps forward.

Get out of the house and make time to just enjoy your child and be reminded of all the things you love about them. Do not get into the pattern of trapping yourself inside and shutting yourself off from the world.

Make time for yourself. Do not feel guilty if you need time away to rejuvenate so you can be the best you can be for your child.

Counting calories will not make your child eat more. Not counting them will not make them eat less. It is good to be aware of their eating habits so you can report to their doctors regarding their progress but do not become obsessed or let it rule your life.

Listen to the advice of others, but know that unless they have walked in your shoes, they can't fully understand the circumstances.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

As "Normal" As it Gets

Part of the slew of testing that all of The Chubs' doctors wanted her to get was genetic testing. It was basically just to rule out any underlying issues why she's small, has been slower to grow, and has had trouble hitting milestones. Granted, her OT and I both already knew the answer to those questions was related to her sensory stuff, but to satisfy the doctors we went through with it.

It started with a renal ultrasound and some x-rays. Then we did an EKG and echo of her heart. All of these things checked out completely normal. The lady at the hospital even rolled her eyes when she looked at the charts. "Genetics is fishing for answers again, huh?". I just nodded and kind of laughed. You could tell she was a little irritated with the department at Children's. "Well they are not going to find answers here!". I wanted to kiss her, but that would be weird.

Then the final thing that I had been dragging my feet about for ages was the blood test. I knew The Chubs would flip out and she did. She puked like 5 times during the blood draw and the nurse was in absolute disgust claiming she had "never seen a child do that before". I suppose she was new because seriously? Kids puke from crying all the time. I mean it's not like EVERY kid does, but a lot of kids, if they get worked up enough, they'll gag or vomit. Anyway, that's beside the point. We made it through (barely) and she even got a toy at the end that she was pretty excited about. It was Christmas time so every patient was getting a toy. Kind of fun.

The results said they would take about 2-4 weeks. About 6 weeks later in typical medical fashion, we finally got a note in the mail (so nice of them to call and ease our minds!), saying that all results were normal. So basically for being a part of THIS family, she's as normal as it gets. It was a huge relief just to know there isn't anything else that could be causing issues. Now if we can tackle this sensory stuff we'll be all set!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Big Steps

For 14 months I have had an immobile child. I know many people would go on and on about how lucky I am and how once they start moving, they never stop and blah blah blah. But seriously, I don't think many people stop to think about the inconvenience of having a child that can not move from one point to another for that long. Especially a child who is extremely social and won't let me out of her sight! It's frustrating for both of us because she wants to be wherever I am, but sometimes when I need to get things done, she just can't be. She also gets frustrated when she sees the cats and can't go after them. It's to the point where a lot of times I have to shove a cat in the basement or let them outside before she comes down to play because I don't want her to flip out and throw a tantrum because she can't go after the cat. I'm pretty sure she just hates everything about the crawling position. She has the strength to crawl, she is good at rocking on her hands and knees and weight shifting her arms, but at the end of the day she doesn't like that she is closer to the ground, when everyone else is up high. I have diligently been doing crawling exercises with her for months now. She is much better in that position than she used to be (read: she doesn't throw a tantrum and thrash around when I put her on all fours) but she is still not a fan. I don't know that she ever will be.

So when she started taking steps with her walker the other day, I was ecstatic. Even if the walker gets used for awhile before the actual walking begins, that is enough for me. The fact that she could start cruising around the house with a walker makes me feel like the end of this immobility will be here soon. It would not completely surprise me if she skipped over crawling and went straight to walking (much to her therapist's dismay). Of course I want her to crawl before she walks. It's good for building up the strength in her arms and teaching kids how to get in and out of positions. HOWEVER, you can't force a child to crawl. If you could, trust me, she would have been crawling months ago. So even if this ends up meaning all of my effort to get her to crawl was in vain, I am just thankful that my child may finally be able to get around ON HER OWN! I do have to say though, my arms are getting pretty buff from all this kid lugging. It's a pretty awesome work out to have an immobile child for over a year, but I'm ready for flabby arms. Bring on the walking!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Lately The Chubs has been really working on her fake cry. Her face looks so pathetic and she musters up a long drawn out whine that is shortly followed by a glance in our direction to see if we're watching. Even today in her crib, she's working on it. I can see the pathetic expression on her face and the effort she is putting into the whine but after each short outburst, her face returns to normal, and then she begins again a few seconds later after a much needed break. No tears, no sniffing, just a long dramatic "ahhhhhhhhhhh" with a few inflections here and there with a scrunched up pouty face. I have to admire her persistence.

She's been using this technique quite a bit lately. Sometimes she can get herself so into the part where she starts to form real tears, but she doesn't yet have the stamina to keep a consistent fuss going. There are usually several breaks in between her outbursts because faking it is hard work!

Even now as I type this, she's finally passed out from sheer exhaustion. She gave it her all, but was defeated. And although she is quite passionate, I don't think she should consider a career in acting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sippy and Drippy

The good news here is that we are almost 100% sippy cup these days. Today The Chubs had 3 out of 4 "bottles" from her sippy cup. Tomorrow I plan on transitioning to all sippy cup and getting rid of that ridiculous haberman bottle. Not only has she been doing great with the sippy for her bottles, she has also consistently been drinking several ozs of juice from them a day, during meal times. Remember my miracle blanket burning party? Well I intend to have a haberman burning as well (even though neither time will actual flames be involved - it's more of a freeing mental state).

In less fun news, we had a pipe burst in our basement today. It completely flooded one of the bedrooms down there that is considered the "poker room" or "man cave". We heard water rushing and when The Hubs went down to check on it, there was a few inches of water on the floor. We'll be spending the rest of the night soaking up the floor and ringing out towels. I can't wait. Thankfully we didn't have much in there, so there wasn't a lot of damage. It's mainly just a pain in the butt. I suppose this could've been anticipated since our temps have been hovering in the negative teens the last several days. And thankfully, my husband, being the handy guy he is, was able to fix the pipe, but had to tear out a lot of the drywall. All of that will need to be repaired at some point. You don't realize the value of running water until you have to clean up after a toddler without it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where did it go?

Today while playing with The Chubs, I noticed she was bearing down and grunting, and her face was turning red, so I figured she was working on something, which often happens in the late afternoon. After letting her sort things out below, I smelled a poopy diaper so I figured I'd just change her right there on the floor.

I checked her diaper and sure enough there was a pile of goopy poop. Sorry for the detailed description but it is important that you know the consistency for the rest of the story.

So I cleaned her little bum up, still keeping the dirty diaper under her, and then pulled it out like I normally do to wrap it up. When I pulled it out I realized there was no longer a glob of poop in it. I looked around her frantically to make sure it wasn't smeared on the carpet, or hadn't gotten on me somehow, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I actually looked up at Lexi and saw her holding the glob in her hand and mushing it around with her fingers while staring intently at it. I don't know how I missed it, or how I failed to see her grab it, but I took action immediately by wiping her hands vigorously, and then taking her to the sink to wash them. I'm just so glad that it didn't disappear into her mouth.