Saturday, January 25, 2014


Tonight I came home from a surprise party. You were sleeping so peacefully on the couch still dressed in your Repunzel costume dress I got you today. I've noticed since becoming a mom that your life can so easily flash before your eyes. Little moments can trigger all the other pivotal moments and store them into some emotional catalog.

I remember the day I found out you were a girl. Your dad and I were over the moon. Huge smiles plastered on our faces. The next day I drove around for awhile running errands and I had Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan on repeat. I would glance down at your ultrasound picture when I could. This whole life formed in mind. How you would look. How you would be. Things I looked forward to. What I would teach. In a hormonal pregnant state I cried the whole time.

I was so wrong. Not just about brown hair and brown eyes. I was so wrong.

It is so much better.

Tonight I kissed you as you slept in this make believe magical dress up dress and I realized how off I was. I cried thinking about how much I would love you, and it turns out I love you so much more. You are more than I could even dream you to be. You have changed me in ways I never knew I could be. My heart couldn't even begin to understand the hold you would have.

I hope some day if ever in doubt you can read these words and know that no matter what you feel you are more than I ever knew I could deserve.

I love you. Completely.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Doctor Appointment

Last Friday the receptionist at the pediatric behaviorist's office called. I was over the moon when she said there was a cancellation and they could move us up to this Wednesday. I tried to not let it overshadow Natalie's birthday so I didn't talk about it much.

This morning I felt like I could throw up as we were getting ready. I was just nervous for some reason. Not really nervous of what his thoughts would be. I was nervous if we were making the right decision. Were we being over the top? When I say "we" I mean "me."

Molly did great. She wasn't that shy with him. She played with the toys and made eye contact. He asked us a lot of questions and then pulled out a table and they played some games and she did all the things she asked. She warmed up with only a few moments of being shy. She missed a couple of the questions, but she was placed at a 31 month level and even for language. Which First Steps put her at 21 months so that's confusing. Anyway.

He asked me if she was in daycare or preschool. I said no and proudly told him about our classroom and all the stuff we do in it. Maybe I was wanting a pat on the back? Who knows. He asked how often we did it and I told him three days two hours each. I expressed concern that she wasn't picking up letters, numbers, colors but that she seems so quick to learn and is so independent.

She is not autistic. He doesn't give diagnosis on sensory processing, but did recommend some OT and said he would write us a request if they required it. These are his thoughts.

Quit the classroom. Play. During the exam she turned back to us to wave an smile after every test. Of course like most kids she is saying "hey look at me guys! look what I just did!" His concern is her Pica relating to anxiety and perfectionism associated with OCD. A cause for Pica. Not that she has OCD. I think she's too young to tell that. I can't think of a way that she is a perfectionist. He asked if she was, but what can she perfect? Her block tower?

He told us kids only need to know one color by the time they are three. Well shit.

I don't feel like I put an insane amount of pressure on her, but maybe I do? Maybe it's the times. Everyone is striving for perfection now that we are all out for the whole world to see. You can't get on social media without seeing the genius of your fellow friends children. Then you sit there and think well crap my kid can't xyz. Then you log off and say hey honey lets count to 20! Did I fall for it? Probably.

Molly is a smart girl. They all are in their own right. She is a problem solver. We can't pull anything over her. If we say no she'll find a way to do it herself. She can count "1,2,1,2,1,2" and at some point it will actually be an item that is blue and she is right. And that's ok. I'm going to do what he said. I'm going to step back and let learning be an experience in her daily life. I'm going to ooh and aww over it and when she's wrong I'm not going to stand there saying "noooo… it's"

She's looking to me for reassurance. Maybe the pressure comes from us wanting the best behaved kid in the room. The kid with the most to brag about on Facebook. The kid that has the mom that is always on time and everyone always looks presentable. The Pinterest mom has to have one well behaved kid to pull off that stuff without the house burning down.

He gave us several recommendations on OT's in the area. He wants us to be referred to this Doctor at the children's hospital who will know more about dealing with her Pica exclusively. He gave recommendations on some psychologists. I don't know if we are there yet. It seems a bit much at this point, but I don't know.

He assured me it was smart to come in. He did see her toe walking and hand gestures. He said some kids just have a typical behaviors or quirks.

He also gave some book recommendations that I want to read.

For learning:

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn-and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

For communication:

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

For sensory:

The Out-of-Sync Child

Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues

So are game plan is to have fun and loosen up. Read the books. Get a referral to the specialist at the children's hospital. Get the rest of the sensory items like a weighted blanket etc that has been recommended.

Friday, January 17, 2014

To Natalie: for your first birthday

It's so hard for me to believe that tomorrow we are all getting together to celebrate your first year. Just like it's hard for me to wrap my mind around you walking around, saying words, and your budding personality. There are so many times I look at you and wish I could just freeze time. Having you in our lives has created so many moments that I could just live in forever. I look at you and I can just see the future. See your gentle heart and excitable mind taking in the world more and more each day.

As moms we can get hung up on the milestones. We document in our little baby books the second you babble, or scoot, or get a tooth. We post about it, brag about it, and blog it when the years and half years come up. I'll admit to getting wrapped up in that with your sister. You have just taught me different. I could probably give estimates of when you started those little things, but now I know how little they matter to remember. I want to remember who you are. What makes you you. The little quarks that I just pray I'll never forget. So instead of going on about what you can do I want to just record the things about you in this first year that I never want to forget.

What sticks out to me about you is food. Your insane infatuation with food. We call you vacuum. Sure you like toys, but what you love is to cruise around looking for snacks. Anything left out or dropped that we weren't aware of. Since you could get around you have done this. Then your reaction when anyone brings out any food. You are on them in an instant. Hamming it up and begging for scraps. I swear you could eat and eat as long as we kept piling it on. It's the funniest thing.

Your wild hair. It really has a mind of it's own. It's so long in the front and just unruly. Your dark brown eyes just smile through a mop of hair. Your little grin shining. My favorite is right when you wake up and it's just in all directions. I don't think you've ever woke up crying.

You are so dramatic. I think 95% of your cries are fake tearless over the top sobs. As soon as you get what you want you turn it off immediately. My favorite is when you fold yourself in half and cry into the floor.

I hope it never goes away and I never feel like I have to remember this, but the way you look at your sister. When she is playing with you you just have this look like 'oh, me! it's me you want?!' You just get so excited to be around her. She can be so rough with you and you don't even care. I know the feeling being a little sister myself. It's so funny to see that maybe it's some universal sibling relationship. The older one is so cool and gets away with anything yet you're on thin ice with her.

Before Molly was born we got her this pink fluffy blanket. She never gave it much of a thought so it sat untouched. At some point you latched onto this blanket. As soon as you see it you get the biggest smile and just laugh. You'll reach out for it and just rub your face in it. Some times you'll get to playing with it and just throw it up in the air over and over and crawl around laughing.

When you were tiny you had such an attachment to me. You didn't want anyone else. You were even indifferent towards Adam for some time. I would hand you to someone and you would scream and cry. Then I would take you back and you would completely settle in an instant. Especially your aunt Bree. Secretly I loved it.

In the past couple weeks you have started this ridiculous fake laugh. It's hysterical. It's a deep throaty laugh and you get this crazed look on your face.

Natalie you are just the perfect fit to our family. You are so sweet and gentle. You are so different. Both of you are so different and I just love seeing it every day. Each of you your own person. You have such a sweet disposition. You are just this perfect balance in our lives. You make everything complete.

I love you so much sweet girl. I truly cherish every part of who you are. I cannot wait to see you grow and become the amazing person that I know you are. I am so excited for your life to unfold.

You have given us the most amazing year. Happy Birthday Natalie Sue.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Mistakes Of A 2+ Mom

Just as I know I'm not alone in these mistakes, I know that not every mom struggles to go from one to two. I'm sure many pull it off easily with no doubts. That wasn't/hasn't been me. I'm not sure if I'm writing this to relate, warn, or for my own children when they venture into these stormy waters. I'd like them to know they are not alone.

When Molly was a baby I never doubted myself. I would often hear my fellow new moms talk about people putting guilt on them and making them doubt every single thing. I never had that. I stood strong against older people warning me about co sleeping. Discouraging breastfeeding. Encouraging spanking and not letting her "manipulate." It wasn't until I became a mom of two that my head filled with doubt and my heart filled with guilt.

So here it is. My confession as a 2+ mom.

I did not let go and allow myself to enjoy the pregnancy and birth of Natalie. I was too consumed with worry that I didn't enjoy it. I worried how I would handle it. I worried it was too soon. I worried I'd miss just us three and then what kind of mother would I be? I worried the love wouldn't be the same. As time went by I realized this is so common it's more normal than shameful. I now know though that if we ever have another those feelings if even present will quickly be dismissed. I will never let worry for our future cloud the joy that is creating life.

Times of holding my sweet Natalie and combing over every feature and watching her sleep were rare. Hardly ever. The moment she went to sleep she went to her swing so I could give the attention to Molly. In fact I would tell my grandma "I don't know what she is affected by. She probably gets more attention now than pre Natalie." I spent so much time making sure Molly was ok that I lost time you just can't get back with my newborn. Making the older sibling feel special and loved is important in such a big event. Losing the early bond that is cuddling in the quiet and taking each other in is not something that should be sacrificed.

I have often thought this, but it wasn't until a conversation with another 2+ mom that I realized I wasn't alone. When Molly was a baby it was always the next milestone and the next clothes size. I looked forward to it. I probably dressed her in saggy clothes before it was time in order to say "She's in 6-9 months now!" We enticed her with our cell phones to get her to crawl. It was a rush to get older.

I'm not the only one. I've noticed that things Molly and my nephew did at Natalie's age were a major ordeal. They were gotten on too. More than they should of I feel looking back. At times I catch myself saying in the heat of things "You're two you should know better!" How dumb is that, honestly? She is two which is exactly why she doesn't know better. Natalie is given a luxury Molly never had. She is seen for her age. Her behavior is justified by the fact that she is a baby and learning and exploring. A couple days ago she was messing with my grandpa's scanner. We all laughed and redirected her. At her age that was a huge offense for Molly. I've held Molly accountable for things that should have been brushed off on learning and age.

I think these mistakes are so easy to make. We're so worried about making the right choices. We're so caught up in the potential long term consequences. I think that's what makes parenting 2+ so hard. Worrying that you don't have the balance down right in order to have multiple children grow up feeling equally loved and important. These are the mistakes I've made that have at times tipped that balance, but acknowledging something is the first step. I won't make these same choices again for the children I have now and for any future ones we may have.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sensory Integration

We have taken huge strides in the right direction for answers. I couldn't just wait six months for Children's Mercy. The other hospital hasn't even returned our doctor's call from three weeks ago. So luckily for us First Steps doesn't mess around and they sent someone out last Monday to come talk to me. 

She asked questions about her sleep, bathing, eating, etc. We both agreed that she probably wouldn't qualify for services because she had no delays, but that I needed to pursue this based on what I was telling her. She even referred me to a pediatric behaviorist  that has a private practice. They answered and called back two days later with a March 3rd appointment! We can't wait!

Then today First Steps came out again to observe Molly. I have worked with this woman for some time when I worked at Head Start. She is so knowledgeable so I couldn't wait to hear her thoughts. While this isn't a diagnosis it is a big step with a lot of answers that could lead to a possible diagnosis. Her doctor wants us to bring all the First Step findings to her appointment. 

She does not see autism. Based on her interactions with me. She was concerned that when she meets the doctor he may think autism because those interactions will be very different. She feels like Molly's behaviors fall into sensory integration disorder. Basically she does not process things the way most people do. While she was here we were very fortunate that Molly showed many of her hang ups. 

She tried to chew on things. She had tantrums when losing those things. She had positive reactions to her hard brushing. She sucked on her arm. She greatly calmed down when chewing and sucking on her sippy cup. So that combined with our concerns and answers to her questions she really felt like we were looking at a sensory issue. 

Her eating nonfood items could be a calming sensory to her. The hot and cold water. Noises. Food issues. Chewing. She may need that hard crunch.

So in the mean time of seeing the Doctor we are:

Chew tubs and the chewy jewelry for chewing. 

Carrot sticks and barely boiled veggies for eating. 

Brushing before getting dressed.

Calm down room with her space for tantrums. 

Vibrating egg and massage rollers. 

She is sending me links and books to start implementing and using with or without a diagnosis. 

It feels so good to have the ball start rolling!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Resolutions To A Better Mom

1. Back away from the phone. I plan to get this book when it comes out. I love her blog. I know that being overly connected to those outside of your family seems to really be putting a strain on families. While I think it's good that we can so easily check and see how our friends are doing. It can be so distracting and makes us lose out on so many little things. I am so guilty of this.

That being said I don't think we should all feel shamed that we check our phones here and there when 99% of a moms life is doing for others. We can take a break to do something we enjoy.

2. I will not say no to playing Barbies.

3. Weather permitting we will make a trip outside. The amount of time we spend outside for me staying at home is pathetic.

4. I will limit bookings to focus more on us. Family has to come first this year.

5. I will not buy a gillion toys. I am not doing you any favors.

6. Then of course there is the lose 15 lbs. Instead of that I would like to incorporate better foods into our eating and become more active as a family.