Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye-bye, 2008

I can't believe how quickly this year has passed. I spent the first half of it pregnant, and the rest of it feeling like crap. I'm hopeful that 2009 will bring nothing but good things to our family. We're starting to head in the right direction financially, which is a huge weight off. Progress, albeit slow, is starting to be made in terms of my mysterious health issue. I've been referred to a third - THIRD - neurologist after a VNG revealed that my chronic vertigo is most likely the result of a CNS issue. Fab-u-lous news, no? Good news is that things like tumors and aneurysms have been ruled out several times over. I think my PCP's still thinking that I may have MS. This new neurologist is (allegedly) an expert, and *the* doctor to go to for MS symptoms and treatment. So we'll see. Not that I want a diagnosis of that or anything in that spectrum, but an answer, if it ever comes, will be so nice. My PCP is also arranging for me to be seen at The Cleveland Clinic should this new neurologist not have any new insights. That also leaves me hopeful that an answer will be found.

2009 will be the first year out of the last few years that I won't be pregnant during some part of the year. Bittersweet realization.

2009 will bring our 7th wedding anniversary. Hubs turns 38. I'll turn 33. My babies will turn 3 and 1. It will also bring my 10-year college reunion. Yikes.

2009 will hopefully bring nothing but great change for this country. I look forward to 1/20 with both excitement and trepidation.

2009 better bring with it some pretty serious weight loss. Hashimoto's be damned - I vow to lose 50 pounds by the end of this year. That's baby weight from both babies and will bring me back down to my "ideal" weight. I have no idea how I'm going to do it. Finances and lack of any real time prevent me from joining a gym. Well...back up there. We could most likely do it financially. But I feel guilty taking out time for myself to go exercise. Weird, isn't it? It's not enough that I stay home all day with them, but I feel like I'm doing them a disservice by not being around all. the. time. They're going to grow up to resent me for that, aren't they?

2009 holds the promise of everlasting memories. I wish nothing but health and love and happiness for my little family of 4, and to all of you.

May you all have a very, very happy new year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

WWACD

What would Annie Camden do?

Nat has become an incredibly picky eater. He rarely eats what I put in front of him. I'm not a horrible cook. Quite the opposite, actually. He just has set in his mind what he wants to eat, and it's usually not anything near what I've made for lunch or dinner. In his mind, the four basic food groups include bread/pretzels/rice, chocolate, cheese, and noodles. A kid after my own heart. Or stomach. But I can't go feeding him these foods over and over again.

Can I?

Not the chocolate, of course. Chocolate (and any other sweet) is a treat in this house. Not readily available, and not distributed even on a semi-regular basis. But the other stuff? Breads and cheese and noodles? He could eat those every day for every meal.

Perhaps I've been making a mistake in trying to get him to eat what the adults eat. My dinners consist of a protein, a veggie, and a starch. Nat has transformed from a child who would eat anything healthy to a child who takes one bite of everything on his plate and announces that he's done and would like to get down. Put a hot dog or buttered noodles in front of him, though, and he'll clean his plate and ask for more.

So what do you do with a picky toddler? I'm posing this question to the thousands of readers I have (ha), some of whom I know are veteran moms. Do I make two dinners, one for the adults consisting of "real" food and one of which I know he'll eat, or do I continue serving him the balanced choices? My dinner table rule is that he has to try everything once, and if he doesn't like it then he doesn't have to eat it - in that case I'll make him a PB & J or grilled cheese. But he often flat out refuses. So I'm at a loss. Hubs says that he'll eat when he's hungry and to not push him, but I'm the mom - it's my job to push and to make sure I give every effort to take care of him. He's such a little peanut and he needs to eat.

I wonder what Annie Camden would do?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Through the eyes of children

This will be Nat's third Christmas, but the first year he really has much of an understanding of anything related to the holiday. He gets Santa, though, and understands that Christmas is also Baby Jesus' birthday...as much as a two year old can, I guess.
We took the kids to see Santa at a small country store in the area that has the best Santa I've ever seen. Santa comes down the chimney every night. Savannah, obviously, doesn't understand anything beyond the sparkly lights, but it was fun to see her enjoying the twinkling lights on the trees. Watching Nat's eyes light up as he spied Santa's boots dropping from the chimney was enough to melt my heart. His anticipation was very apparent as we waited in line. He was so excited to tell Santa that he has been a good boy and that he'd like some more Cars things for Christmas. He's been spoiled in that he's my taste-tester for every holiday cookie I'm baking, and he'll also get the occasional treat of staying up "late" to watch a Christmas special in his jammies, snuggled up with mama while eating some popcorn we've popped on the stove top. I wonder if any of these things will serve to become one of his first memories. I hope so. I can't recall many annual Christmas traditions from when I was little, so I hope to create many for these kiddos that will help make each holiday extra special. I know, though, that I'll remember enough for the both of them.

I made the decision to move Nat into Savannah's bedroom, which happens to be his old bedroom. He's been having an awful time sleeping lately, and I wondered if he missed his old room, or if he just wanted company. I was a little nervous about the two of them sharing a room, thinking that one would disrupt the other, but so far it seems to be a success. He loves to look across the room and see his baby sister.

In medical news, my PCP has reached out to medical staff in Rochester to see if anything of my case rings any bells with them. Apparently some doctors at the large teaching hospital in Rochester are quite interested, so I'm wondering if I'll have to travel a bit in my continued effort to find out what's going on. Travel + WNY winters = fun.

I'm at an impasse with Christmas shopping. I would love to buy and buy and buy, giving the kids everything they want, but we also want to instill in them the notion that they don't need to be knee-deep in material possessions to be happy. After all, it's not the amount of things that we have that makes us truly happy. So I'm wondering how much is too much. I know some families who give one gift per age in years - so Nat would get 2 following that rule, and Savannah would get - what, half of a gift? I know some families who have their kids make a list, ranking the top 5 items on the list, and more families who save and save and save during the year and then go crazy at Christmas time. Hubs and I don't exchange gifts, so that leaves some extra wiggle room to spoil the kids, but I don't want to raise spoiled kids. It'll be fun to see what ends up happening.

Lastly, I have the Facebook virus, and nothing we do seems to get rid of it. We've tried a gajillion different antivirus programs, including that one we pay $80 a year for, and nothing works. Anyone have any insight?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pure, unadulterated HELL

That's what our house has been for the last 48 hours.

I decided on Tuesday, after a trip to the pediatric dentist, that the time had arrived to bid adieu to Nat's beloved pacifier, affectionately known around here as "suckah." The dentist revealed that his jaw was becoming slightly misaligned, rated it a 7 out of 10, and told me that if I took it away that day that his jaw would return to normal. If I didn't? His adult teeth would have white spots, his jaw would be unable to return to its original position, and...the worst part? He would shpeak like thish. Okay. 'nuff said. Her advice as to how to deal with it was simply suggesting that the sucker was lost, making a huge deal out of finding it, and telling him that it was gone but reinforce that it's okay to go to sleep without it. Sounded easy enough to me, and he only used it at night anyway, so I didn't figure it would be all that bad.

Oh, how wrong was I. Nat's bedtime is 8 p.m. He didn't fall asleep that night until right before midnight, and then was up again at 2:10, 3:12, 4:30, 5:17, 6:15, and up for the day at 7. He was in an ugly mood all day yesterday, and we figured that he'd pass out at bedtime last night. Not so. Last night? He was up ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

He's upstairs now attempting to nap, wailing for his sucker. I know if I cave in and give it to him he'll immediately fall asleep. It's killing me to hear him like that. I feel like an awful mother, because I took away his biggest source of comfort outside of myself, but it's time, right? The boy has been speaking in complete sentences for many months now. He can recite his ABCs and count to 10, draw a perfect circle - surely he doesn't need his sucker anymore. Right? He'll get over it. He won't hold a grudge against me. He'll still be my baby.

Thankfully Savannah loathes her sucker unless she happens to have a rough night, so it's easy to keep hers out of sight. I feel like I've been run over by a cement truck, though, and can't take another sleepless night. I'm hopeful that tonight will be a little easier, and by the weekend, all will be forgotten. If any of my hundreds (ha ha) of readers have any insight as to how to make this any easier, I would appreciate your feedback. He has his other beloved object, his blanket (Binky), and I thought that Binky would just take over, but I was wrong. I'm at a loss.

I've also realized that my studies and degrees in psychology and all of the knowledge I've acquired is 100% lost on my own child. He knows when I'm trying to psychologize him, and he'll give it right back to me in his own psycho-toddler way. Smart guy.

Savannah is babbling, and she has a sweet, adorable voice. She says dada, but we're not sure if it's intentional or not. She'll say it while looking at Hubs, so it's entirely possible. She also says gee-tee while looking at the cat. Cute.

We had a swell Thanksgiving. Spent it with my parents and younger sister. In a moment of insanity, I decided to go shopping on Black Friday. Both kids were up for most of the night, having been thrown off their schedules by the turkey day travel, so at 4:12 a.m. on Friday I decided to head out to see if it truly was a crazy day. After spending 2 1/2 hours on line at a certain store I've decided that I'll never do BF again. Ever. I had the fortune of witnessing a man punch a woman in the face over a vacuum cleaner. White trash at its finest.

I'm continuing to baffle doctors with the medical stuff. My PCP will now be contacting specialists in every area of medicine to see if something about my case rings a bell with them. He's thinking some kind of chronic autoimmune issue or the possibility of having contracted a virus during my c-section or while in the hospital. So now I have to sit back and wait. It's not fun, but at least I feel now like he's actually doing something more than just throwing random drugs my way. He gets it. Last week he prescribed the Medrol Dosepak to see if it would create a break in the symptoms. I felt 100% better on days 2 and 3 of the prescription, but immediately returned to how I was feeling once I stopped taking more than 1 pill at a time. To me this would indicate that these symptoms are being caused by some kind of inflammation, but I'm not the MD, and I've learned through all of this that most doctors don't appreciate having their knowledge questioned. All I want for Christmas is an answer.

As we're getting more into the holiday season, I can't help but be grateful for what I do have, though. I love seeing Nat getting excited over the prospect of Santa. I love that he gets it this year, and I'm proud that he also knows that Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. For as much as I lament over what I don't have, I'm so incredibly grateful for my little family here. And really, that's all that matters.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

...and to all a good turkey.

Wishing all of my readers a very happy Thanksgiving. Make you all have plenty to be thankful for. I know I do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tagged

I was tagged by my friend Elisabeth. These are fun.



8 things I’m passionate about:
1. Being a good wife
2. Being a good mother
3. Making sure my family is happy and healthy
4. Napping children
5. Getting enough sleep
6. My faith
7. Holiday traditions
8. Cooking



8 things that happened yesterday:
1. Disconnected the Holter monitor and turned it in.
2. Went to a cake decorating class.
3. Went to Target.
4. Made fabulous towers with Mega Blocks.
5. Read some of my new book.
6. Reconnected with a few old friends on Facebook.
7. Made a fabulous dinner.
8. Watched Private Practice.


8 things I do now:
1. Stay at home Mom
2. Battle with my children to get to sleep
3. Worry about way too many things
4. Spend way too much time on Facebook when the children are asleep.
5. Manage the $$
6. Wish I had more $$ to manage.
7. Do a happy dance when both children are asleep
8. Relax when given the opportunity in the afternoons

8 things I can not do:
1. Talk to doctors on the phone. I have some kind of phobia, so I make Hubs do it.
2. Clean the bathroom. It makes me gag.
3. Get through a day without worrying.
4. Get through a day without checking my e-mail and/or Facebook.
5. Eat pork.
6. Drink Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness. Never, ever again.
7. Win at Scrabble, despite my extensive vocabulary.
8. Let a baby truly cry it out. I've tried and failed.

8 things I often say:
1. Go to sleep, Savannah.
2. Don't touch that, Nat.
3. I SAID don't TOUCH that!
4. Hubs, could you (fill in the blank).
5. I love you Hubs/Nat/Savannah.
6. Dude
7. What?/Excuse me?
8. I'm hungry.

8 favorite TV shows:
1. Lost
2. Grey's Anatomy
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. Big Bang Theory



8 favorite foods:
1. My mom's cinnamon buns
2. Lobster
3. A good salad
4. A good bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce
5. French onion soup
6. Any sandwich from Carluccio's in Brooklyn
7. Pizza from Lombardi's in NYC
8. My grandmother's pizza/white bread. :(


8 things you may not have known about me:
1. I used to be quite funny. One of my greatest accomplishments, other than birthing 2 beautiful children, was performing on the stage at UCBT in NYC on the same stage as Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and other fabulously funny people.
2. I've never felt more free and more alive as I did when I lived in NYC. I miss it.
3. I have an inferiority complex.
4. I'm not adept at making and maintaining friendships. I wish I could be.
5. I once marched with Nancy Regan in a Just Say No parade.
6. I sang with Mitch Miller when I was in the fifth grade, and believe there's a record album out there with my voice on it.
7. I was cast in 2 films when I lived in NYC. One was a bust and probably never made it beyond the cutting room. The other was a huge hit, but I wasn't in it.
8. I will never forgive myself for not being able to adequately breastfeed my children.

I quit

I'm depressed. I feel lousy. Every. Single. Day. I was hopeful that a diagnosis of Hashimoto's and an increase in my medication would cure everything, make me feel 100%. Not so. I started at 125 mcg of levothyroxine and wound up with chest pain and palpitations and had the dosage dropped to 100 mcg. I feel worse on 100 than I did on 125. I am still having daily headaches. I've had a headache all day every day for the last 6 months. Add to the mix vertigo, nausea, and the occasional palpitation and shortness of breath, and there you have it - my day. I have so many -ologists under my belt that I'm sure I must've beaten a record somewhere. I'm currently wearing a Holter monitor to see if there is any indication of atrial fibrillation, which is apparently common in patients with thyroid disease. I also have a congenital heart defect which makes me prone to headaches, but one would think that I'd have had these symptoms long before having Savannah.

I'm scared. I'm sad. I feel like I'm being let down. I would love to just wake up one morning and feel good and not be scared and actually have the energy to sit and play with my kids the way any good mom would do. I'm so scared. A good Christian would give up her fear to God and be assured that He was taking care of her and would ensure that she will, in fact, be around for a long long time to see her babies have babies. But I can't do that. I don't know how.

I can't get through a day without crying. Without imagining a horrible scenario that includes my kids but doesn't include me.

My thyroid ultrasound came back negative. That's a good thing and I'm thankful for that. Hashimoto's is really wreaking havoc on my body, though. My hair is so brittle that it's breaking. And falling out. I once had thick, long, luxurious locks. Not so much anymore. My skin is so dry that it hurts to clench my fists. I'm fat. Post-baby fat, and I'm not gaining weight, but the fat isn't going anywhere. From what I've read, it's terribly difficult to lose weight when you have Hashimoto's, despite exhaustive efforts. Fabulous. I feel ugly. I'm forgetful. I usually stop mid-sentence to try to remember what point I was trying to make. I can't remember simple words. Once upon a time I was intelligent. Today? I'm lucky if I can get through a sentence without transposing words. I feel stupid. I'm having horrible mood swings. Worse than those that come with pregnancy. I feel like a bitch, and a horrible human being. I'm pretty sure it's making Nathanael hate me, because he loves to say "No love Mama" and tells me "no kiss" when I try to kiss him. Never did I think he'd break my heart, and never did I think my heart was capable of hurting the way it does when he says those things.

I don't know what direction to turn to next. The PCP says it's out of his hands. The neurologist says that there is, indeed, suspicious material on my brain, but it's not a tumor, it could be MS, but he just doesn't think so. The endocrinologist confirms that I do, in fact, have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, but tells me that it's incredibly unlikely that it's the reason behind the headaches (despite the fact that I've read on many message boards that people with HT suffer from chronic daily headaches) and says that he's not comfortable blaming the cardiac events on the thyroid. The cardiologist straps a monitor on me, hands me some samples, and ignores my question about a relationship between thyroid disease and mitral valve prolapse syndrome, a condition I happen to have every single symptom of.

I feel lost. I feel disappointed. I know this is not in my head - blood tests and radiological tests are confirming that for me. Why can't we figure this out? Why does every single day have to be spent feeling awful? I can't remember the last time I felt truly happy and was truly able to just sit and enjoy the day, my family, life in general. I pray every day for answers. For a sign that I'll be okay. For some kind of reassurance that I'm not going to leave my children without a mother. But I don't feel like I'm getting anything in return. This is why I left my faith on the back burner many years ago.

I just want to be okay. I want to know that I'm going to be okay. I want to stop being scared and sad and feeling sorry for myself and be the mom that I know my babies need and deserve. I just need things to be normal. I just want to be okay.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

6 months

Dear Savannah -

Is it possible that half of a year has flown by so quickly? How can you possibly be 6 months old today? This time 6 months ago, I had just sent you back to the nursery with your daddy for the night, in pain and uncomfortable from surgery, and floating on Cloud 9 from finally getting to meet my baby girl. We hadn't picked your name yet, so we were just calling you "Baby Girl." I had my heart set on naming you Norah, but when you came out you looked nothing like a Norah, and that threw me for a loop.

You amaze me, Savannah. How you function on so little sleep is beyond me, and you are always smiling, always happy. You adore your big brother, and you so badly want to do everything he does. You want to get down and play with him. You want whatever he's eating. You are obsessed with his cup. You watch everything he does, and you look at him with such adoring eyes that it melts my heart.

You are a wonderful eater. Overnight, it seems, you have taken to solid foods with a liking that I've never seen in a baby before. You can't pile in the squash and carrots quickly enough, and you let me know that you're not happy when I don't move fast enough for you.

You are getting so close to crawling already - you can scooch yourself in every direction but haven't officially taken that first crawling move yet. Any day now, though, and Mama's not sure that she's ready for you to be mobile yet!

You love the song "There Was An Old Lady..." and "Hush, Little Baby," and you love for me to sing the chapi chapo song to you while you're eating. You're so silly and so much fun. You're a hit every week at church, constantly amusing and drawing smiles and laughter from the people around us, most often the result of the fabulous raspberries you blow.

You're such a joy, Savannah. You frustrate the living daylights out of me in a way that only a daughter can to her mother, but you have completed our family and I'm thankful every day for you and I love you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mourning




The 70-degree weather is finally gone. The above pictures were taken on Friday - today is Monday - and the high had reached 76 in this part of the state. This morning there was snow on the ground when we woke up. Gross. I'll carry fond memories of the warm months of 2008 with me for always. Memories of watching Nat discover bugs and the fun of digging in the mud and playing in his water table and coloring with chalk on the driveway and learning to ride his little bike. Of playing on his outside toy from Gran and Grandpa's Mustache. Of his obsession with spiders and crickets. I wonder if he'll enjoy these same things next year, or if a little bit of that sweetness, a little bit of that innocence will be gone. I'll remember Savannah dozing in the hot hot July heat, outside on her blanket, with the warm summer breeze blowing around her. I'll remember the look of wonder on her face when she first noticed leaves blowing on the trees. The look of determination on her face when watching her brother play, wishing that she could get down and run around with him, too. These kids will never remember the joy they brought me this summer, but I will. For always.
I've gotten some more answers as to what has been causing me to feel awful since having Savannah. I have Hashimoto's Disease, as well as Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 deficiencies. Fun times. I have an ultrasound of my thyroid scheduled for this week because the endocrinologist feels an abnormality, which may or may not be the result of Hashimoto's. This ultrasound will rule out a goiter, nodules, and thyroid cancer. I'm nervous, obviously, but don't appear to have the classic symptoms of a goiter or cancer. I'll just be glad when it's over.
I'm excited that the holiday season is fast approaching. Although he doesn't fully get it this year, Nat will have more of an understanding of the season, and I imagine a lot of fun will be had. We plan to spend Thanksgiving at our home, and then to my parents' home for Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day. I remember being horribly morning sick during the holidays last year, so it will be nice to just be able to relax and have fun and enjoy everything this year.
On a side note, please don't buy Yogi Tea Green Tea with Pomegranate. It tastes like feet.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Birthday weekend

How a 2-year-old's birthday can turn into a weekend-long event is beyond me, but it did. A good time was had by all, though, and that's all that matters. The actual birthday was on Halloween, and he was greeted by Cookie Monster blue streamers hanging all over the house. After a breakfast of homemade birthday waffles, it was time to open presents. If there is a diecast Cars car he doesn't have I'll be shocked. It looks like Disney-Pixar threw up in my house. Mack the Truck was a favorite gift as well. We went to Chuck E Cheese for lunch - our first time there - and seeing his little eyes light up when we went in was worth the obscene amount of money they charge you for food (and I use that term loosely) and tokens. Dinner was at home, followed by cake #1, and then we sat outside and handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters.

Birthday party on Saturday, held at a children's museum that he loves and that we have a membership to. Family and friends came from all around to help us celebrate. Nat had a blast, but I have to say that the highlight of the day for me was displaying the Cookie Monster cake I baked and decorated. :)

The celebration seemed to continue yesterday when we decided to bid adieu to the Zanzibar jungle themed bedroom and turn it into a Cars-themed big boy room. Oddly enough, it was that process that made me realize that I can't really call him a baby anymore - even though I will - and that he is, in fact, a big boy.

Some pictures:
Last day as a one year old!
The cutest scarecrow ever
Mmm - birthday waffles!

Quite possibly the best pumpkin I've ever carved.


Cookie Monster cake for party day

The favorite CEC attraction.
Digging in the rice table at the museum w/ Auntie Alex
Making a wish while blowing out the candles on party day.
Savannah and Daddy at the party

Friday, October 31, 2008

And today you are two

Happy second birthday, Nathanael!

I can hardly believe that you, my baby boy, are already two - you're not a baby anymore. You're growing up to be such a big boy! You've been so excited about your birthday all week, proudly announcing to anyone and everyone that you were turning two.

I hope that this next year of your life brings you as much joy and happiness as this past year seems to have brought you. You are so loved, and I want you to continue to know and feel that every day.

You are such a blessing to our lives, Nat. You are sweet, kindhearted, sensitive, loving, SO smart and SO very funny. You bring a smile to my lips and heart all the time, even through your tantrums and emphatic strings of telling me "NO!"

I love you. You're so very special to me, and I love you more and more every day. Off you go, and off you grow....but stay my baby a little longer, okay?

Happy birthday, my Natty. My lovey dovey. My handsome handsome. I love you.

Our first family picture

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The stuff my nightmares are made of

Or, my own personal Arachnophobia.

These dudes were living on my mailbox until my brute of a husband came home and made them ex-spiders. I hate, loathe, and despise spiders. They scare me. As Nat would say, they give me the "heebie jeebies" and "creepin' willies." So when I walked outside the other day to retrieve the mail, imagine my horror when I saw these 2 evil creatures guarding the mailbox. It made me throw up in a mouth. My skin is crawling as I type this while looking at the pictures. Creepy.





Friday, October 10, 2008

Seriously, Calgon, please take me away.

I'm pretty sure I've been in hell all week. The children are driving me nuts. Remember when I wrote a few posts ago about having an occasional bad day, the kind of day that made me wish for a job again? This has been that day. Times 7. All week. Every last minute of it.

The "terrible twos" have officially arrived at our house. I'm so over it. I'm tired of being told no by someone half my size. I'm tired of watching him throw himself on the floor when he doesn't get his way. I'm tired of having him shove his plate at me when he doesn't approve of what I've cooked for dinner. I have no idea where the attitude came from, but it got to the point this week where I was giving it back to him. Counterproductive, yes, but I reached the end of my rope by Monday afternoon. I'm ready to check myself into rehab just to get away from my kids.

The girl child? Forget it. She's at the top of my list. She discovered how to whine this week, and while it was cute for, oh, the first five seconds, it's annoying now. To the point where I want to rip my ears off just so I don't have to hear it anymore. She's currently refusing to take her bottle unless she's sitting in her car seat. That's fine, unless of course I'd like to be doing something with my other child so that he doesn't feel alienated or neglected or like I don't love him anymore. I saw a doctor this week who asked if I planned on having anymore children. I laughed like a maniac. She probably thinks I'm nuts. Truth is I'd be nuts to have another child. I don't think I'm a capable mother. I don't think I'm a good mother. How can I be? It's not normal to feel this way.

Speaking of not normal to feel this way, the answers have begun to arrive as far as my health is concerned. After having 19 vials of blood drawn a few weeks ago at the order of my new neurologist (he was, I'm assuming, testing for everything under the sun), the doctor tells me I tested positive for thyroid antibodies, which most likely means that I have Hashimoto's Disease. No big deal to me, as I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism last year. I'll now be seeing an endocrinologist to confirm the diagnosis and he'll dig a little more to see if there's anything else auto-immune going on. A few other things popped up on the results, but I'm not sure what, if anything, it means. I have a brain and spine MRI scheduled in a few weeks, and we'll see what, if anything, those show. In any case, I'm thankful that we're finally figuring something out. I'm so done with feeling lousy.

I'm addicted to Facebook. Seriously, OCD-addicted to it. If I'm lucky enough to have both children napping at the same time, I'll be on Facebook looking to see if everyone I've ever known in my life is on there, too. On Facebook and want to be friends?
E-mail me at mama_worrywart at yahoo dot com. For those of you who have my other e-mail address, please continue to use it, as this is just my blog-related e-mail.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm no maverick, dontcha know. *wink wink* You betcha!


I worry about the future of this country. Not for myself, but for my children. Oh - and hers, too.




Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Inspiration, aspiration, consternation

Nat is 23 months old. Tomorrow, actually. I can't believe he's almost 2. Maybe if I don't think about it it won't happen, and he'll stay my sweet boy forever. Poor baby has a bad cold. Both kiddos do, but he's especially cute because he's so stuffed that "mama" is coming out "baba." Yesterday, he was pleading, "Baba, fix duffy dode." Translation? Mama, fix stuffy nose. Cute.

I'm in a bit of a state of confusion lately, hence the title of this post. From the day I found out I was pregnant with Nat it was agreed upon between Hubs and I that I would be the primary caregiver, the one who would forgo furthering a career to stay at home to take care of the children. I planned to return to work when Nat was in school full time. Getting pregnant with Savannah delayed that plan by another year or two. I have days on which I long for the opportunity to return to work. I don't have a specific job to return to because I've not worked since we moved to the Buffalo area, but on the occasional rough day I would run back to an office and try to mend the hearts and minds of troubled youth in a flash. Until recently.

My children are inspiring me to become a better person. I am told that this is not uncommon. They've inspired me to become reacquainted with and more involved in the Catholic church, and in doing so I've become even more inspired to be the best wife and mother that I can be. I love circular effects.

I've had many aspirations over my lifetime. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina, a nun, and a teacher. When I was in high school I wanted to be a psychiatric social worker. Once I was in college I wanted to change the world. When I hit graduate school I just wanted to make a fat amount of money. It wasn't until I became a mother that I realized just how much I wanted to be a mother. To raise a baby to be a good, well-rounded, honest, loving, faithful, and caring person. Having a second baby doubled this desire and cemented the fact that I was put here to be a mother, specifically a mother to these two children. In the first few months of being a new and first time mother, I lamented over not having gotten as far as possible in my chosen field. I had given up on thinking that I'd change the world. Oh, how I was wrong. I realize today that I'm changing the world in the best way possible - one heartbeat at a time.

I love staying at home with my children. I get looks of pity and disgust at times when asked what I do and respond that I'm a SAHM. They've chosen what's best for them, and I've chosen what's best for my family. It means not having our own home right now. It means having debt. It means not wearing fancy clothes. I wouldn't change it for the world.

I aspire now to be the kind of mom who is always there for her children, physically and emotionally. I'm sure I'll get eye rolls and "OMGs," but are you familiar with Annie Camden, the uber-mom from 7th Heaven? That's what I want. That's what I want to be. Supermom, I guess. Soccer mom and PTA mom and best-bake sale-mom and cool mom all rolled into one. Would my kids love this or hate this? Would they resent me for not working? Would they be embarrassed? I can see it now. Hey Nat, my mom's a doctor or Hey Savannah, my mom's an aeronautical engineer. What does YOUR mom do? My own mom will tell me about my peers who are in the process of becoming doctors or this and that, and after a fleeting moment of wondering if she's as proud of me as those mothers are of their children, I sit back and remind myself that I endured two awful pregnancies and gave birth to two beautiful children, and am doing my darnedest to ensure that they grow up feeling and knowing that they are loved, cherished, supported, and protected. That has to count for something, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Isn't there ANYTHING for worrywarts?

It's no secret. I worry. I worry a lot. Also? I'm a big what-if-er.

I think I've always been a worrier. When I was a little girl, I used to pray hard every night before bed that my parents wouldn't die. Morbid, no? As I got older my worries were typical for my age. Would I ever get a boyfriend? (I did.) Will my skin ever clear up? (It did. Thank you, Proactiv.) What if I don't get into my first choice for college? (I did.) What if I DO? (I hated it.) What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life? (Still trying to figure that one out.) Am I marrying the right guy? (Pretty sure I did.)

Peanut butter just made me gag. Last time that happened was when I was pregnant with Savannah. Those damn tests better have been accurate!

But I digress.

Where was I? Ah yes. Worrying. An art form I've perfected. My worrying didn't hit OCD levels, though, until I had a pulmonary embolism 5 years ago. Then it hit a high, and drugs and CBT didn't do a damn thing for it.

I have a mysterious health issue right now. It scares me. I sought out a new neurologist, and was directed to a man who appears to be the best, in the best practice. I only wish I started out with him. He seems to have an idea of what may be going on. He's running extensive tests - bloodwork and MRIs of the head and spine. Where the other neurologist was only hearing "headaches" and automatically jumped to the conclusion of migraines, this man took nearly 2 hours on our first visit going over my total health history and wanted to know every nook and cranny of my current symptoms. At the end of our visit, he took my hand in his, looked me in the eye, and said, "I don't want you to worry. We'll figure this out." He's got a few suspicions of what this all might be, and while it wouldn't be great news, I am beyond confident that this doctor will take care of me and help me to live a long and healthy life, long enough to hopefully see my babies have babies.

What about when it comes to your babies, though? When is it okay to worry? How much worry is okay? My Nat? He's tired. He's tired a lot, despite his solid night's sleep and 3-4 hour nap. He occasionally has swollen lymph nodes in his neck. We've had him checked by his doctor who wasn't concerned at the time but wanted to keep an eye on him to make sure they don't change. But it's hard for me not to go....there. I know that growing is a tiresome process. Kids get tired. But I know what excessive tiredness and swollen nodes could mean, and it's hard for me not to get into a panic. Hubs gets annoyed with my worries and then makes "promises" that things will be okay. I'd go on, but he reads this blog and I don't have the energy to fight. But it's on blah days like this, though, that I wish I had some real-live girlfriends to sit and chat with, to cry with for a few minutes, and then help me put my happy face on and pretend like I don't have a worry in the world. I've gotten pretty good at doing that lately.

I hope I don't pass my worries onto my children. I'd never forgive myself.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Size 5

Is it bad when your 4-month-old and 22-month-old wear the same size diapers? Eek.

I feel like crap today (hence the pregnancy tests). Going to see a new neurologist tomorrow. Need to figure out what the hell is going on with my body. Prayers/good thoughts would be welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A collective sigh of relief, please

2-pack of Target brand pregnancy tests - $7.49
Finding out that I would not, in fact, be a mother to 3 under 3 - simply priceless.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Adoration


I'm afraid he'll be carrying Binky down the aisle with him some day. This picture makes my heart ache. I love you, Natty, more than you'll ever know.

4 months old


Sweet baby girl, how can you be 4 months old already? Weren't you just locking your foot into my ribcage for the first time? Weren't you just a tiny dot on the ultrasound screen? Slow down, would you? Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. And while you're at it, make sure you tell your brother the same thing. At this exact moment, four months ago, you and I were most likely being wheeled to the recovery room from the OR, sharing our first moments together, having the opportunity to size each other up.
You are an amazing little creature to experience every day. You love your daddy. You love your daddy so much, and it's evident in the way your eyes light up whenever he walks near you. You have a special goofy smile reserved just for him, and I have to admit that it makes me a bit jealous. You also love your big brother. You think he's the greatest thing ever and you love to watch him and make faces at him. You can't have your precious blanket out of your sight. It's funny how attached you've grown to it already. You'd rather do anything in place of sleeping. You don't fancy sleep much, unless it comes to nighttime. A solid 8 or 9 hours is a great gift from you to mama and daddy, and we thank you. But I hate to break it to you, kiddo - you have to sleep in your crib eventually. You're outgrowing the pack 'n play! You're not crazy about the pacifier - you'd much rather have your hand or my fingers, or, I imagine, a steak in your mouth. Your two little teeth need some buddies, cutie - it freaks mama out a bit that you only have fangs. You find my rendition of There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly to be the cat's meow, and you're even more amused when I run out of air singing it. You adore being sung to. Maybe you'll grow up to be an opera singer? Or the first female president? Look out Sarah, here comes Savannah!
I love you lots, Savannah. I can't wait until you're a bit older and we can start having lots of mama-daughter fun, but please - stay my baby girl a little bit longer, okay? I know you're in a hurry to be a big girl, but slow down, just a little. You might not want to hold onto being an itty bitty, but I'm not ready to let it go.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Love you. Miss you.

My grandmother passed away exactly 9 years ago. I can remember getting the call from my mom like it was yesterday. It was the first time I had experienced a loss of a family member. She had been sick for a while, so we were all expecting it, but still, it hurt and it made me sad. She died about a week and a half after I moved away from home for my first job after college. I moved almost 4 hours away from my hometown for a job I really didn't want so that I could live in the same town as my then-boyfriend (now my husband). I went to my grandmother's home on the night before I was to leave. I went to say goodbye, but I didn't realize that my goodbye would truly be my goodbye. The last thing I had said to her was, "Bye, Gram. See you soon!" I didn't even tell her I loved her. I hope she knew.

On the night that my grandmother died, my mom went to her home and found a dragonfly on the ledge directly outside of my grandmother's window. The dragonfly was dead, but it was still beautiful - completely intact, light green-pearlescent body whole and unharmed, and its wings still spread, looking as though it was simply resting a spell. My mom took that dragonfly and saved it, and I like to think that it was a sign from my grandmother letting us know that she was okay. You see, my mom and I, at the time, were big into collecting all things dragonfly, and I'm pretty sure Gram knew that. I think my mom found some peace in finding it. I know I did.

Every time since that day that I've seen a dragonfly, which isn't often, a mere handful of times, I like to think it's Gram saying hi and letting me know that she's looking out for me.

This morning, Nat and I were playing outside while Savannah napped. It started out a perfectly blah, grey day. Cloudy, overcast, and a light drizzle, but muggy enough that I was comfortable with him playing outside. As we started walking onto the grass in our back yard, a huge mosquito buzzed by my face and I swatted it out of the way. I hate mosquitoes. They give me the creeps, especially the big ones that look like they could suck the very life breath right out of you. It came back, and I swatted it again. Persistent little fellow. It wasn't until I approached Nat's Little Tikes castle that I realized I hadn't swatted a mosquito. It was a dragonfly - a beautiful dragonfly with translucent wings and a green-pearlescent body, and it had landed directly in my line of sight on the top of the castle. I called to Nat to take a look, and as we walked closer, the dragonfly fluttered its wings once and took off, flying right by my face, and went up, up into the sky until it could no longer be seen. It was only a moment later that I remembered.

I've read that dragonflies are attracted to water, particularly running water (lakes, streams), flowers, and things that are shiny. We don't have any of that in our back yard - just grass and the muted colors of several oversized outdoor toddler toys. So was this just a coincidence? I don't know. I'm not a big believer in signs, but I haven't seen a dragonfly in years.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hello, Anne Rice?

Savannah, at 3 1/2 months old, has cut her first tooth. Two, actually, only they're not the teeth that most babies cut first. They're not even the second most common teeth. Nope, not my baby. Her fangs top two canine teeth have broken through the gums. Last night they also broke through the skin on my finger. I'm scared.

We are also officially beginning potty training today. My goal is to have him fully day-trained by his second birthday, so this leaves us two full months, as his birthday is on Halloween. My reason behind this has nothing to do with wanting to rush him out of his babyhood. It has nothing to do with being sick of changing diapers (I'd rather change diapers than scrub poopy undies). It has everything to do with the fact that a box of Size 5 Pampers Cruisers now costs $39 and change. And yes, I do know that there are other brands out there, but we have tried EVERYTHING and Pampers, while draining on the wallet, are the best fit for him. So -now it's big boy underwear during the day at home, diapers at night and when we go out. Progress so far? Pee in the potty once. Pee in the underwear once. Poop in the underwear twice. Dry heaving as I scrub the poop out in the bathroom sink - continuous.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary


Dear Hubs -

Happy 6th anniversary! I know it was yesterday, but we were busy yesterday and I didn't have a chance to sit down to type out my (very) public declaration of love to you, so I'm taking the opportunity now while both kiddos are sleeping.

Six years. There are some days when it feels more like a hundred and twelve, and there are others when it seems the cah-razy events of the day just happened. It's been an interesting six years. We've seen lots of ups and downs, we've(I've) had our(my) fair share of medical issues and crises (who would've thought 'in sickness and in health' would come into our lives so early), lots and lots of laughs, lots of tears, and a ton of memories. We've moved a zillion times, we've been close to broke, we've had rough periods with our families. We've had great holidays, a few not-so-great holidays. You stuck with me during some pretty awful times.

I was pretty miserable before I met you. I had had my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces and was sure that I'd never fall in love again. In retrospect, I know that what I had before you walked into my life wasn't love. You taught me what love really is.

"And I think it's kind of funny that you say you love me, you tell me that I'm crazy then you smile."

Thanks for being a smartass and taking a chance on someone you didn't know.

Thanks for the mixed tape and for the poem.

Thanks for being a gentleman on the night we met.

Thanks for not being a serial killer.

Thanks for asking "is this okay?"

Thank you for taking care of me - when I was sick, when I was pregnant, and every day.

Thank you for indulging me when I wanted to move to NYC. While it turned out to be a huge financial stress, I believe we wouldn't have our beautiful baby boy if we hadn't moved there. And thank you for throwing caution to the wind on our anniversary last year - we wouldn't have our beautiful baby girl if you hadn't brought home a bottle of champagne and indulged yet another crazy idea of mine. :)

Thanks for working hard every day so that I may stay at home with our children. Besides your love, it's the best gift you could've given me. I can't imagine letting someone else raise our babies, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the one who spends their days with them, who teaches them, who kisses their boo-boos and wipes away their tears. I know we sacrifice a lot and we struggle a bit with the lack of a second income, but I want you to know that I'll forever be grateful that you support my decision to be a stay-at-home mom.

"I'll be the greatest fan of your life."

Thank you for being an amazing father to our babies. I tell them both very often that their Daddy is a wonderful man.

You and our children are my world. You have my heart forever. I thank God every day for bringing you into my life. I look forward to many, many, many more anniversaries with you. I love you.
And Hubs? You had me at hello.

Friday, August 22, 2008

G'day, blog. Remember me?

It seems as though all of my humor and wit have been sucked out of me this summer. Not like I ever had anything real and worthwhile to write about, but honestly - my brain is devoid of content.

I can't believe the summer is nearly over. Someone once told me when I was pregnant with Nat that once you have children the time seems to pass by ever-so-quickly. It's sad how true that is.

Savannah is 3 months and 1 week old.














She appears to have "the look" perfected already. She's going to be a pistol. She's such a happy baby, although she does have quite the temper at times. Her face lights right up whenever anyone bends down to talk to her, and she doesn't hesitate to "talk" back. She has an adorable little voice, a beautiful smile, and such a goofy little laugh. It lights my heart right up to look at her and know that she's my little girl. She adores her big brother and her daddy. We moved her out of our room last night and into her crib for the first time - it didn't go so well. She let us know that she wasn't terribly thrilled with being in her own room by herself. She has one tooth that is going to break through any day now. Her hands are almost always in her mouth, and if it isn't her hand, then it's my finger. She sleeps through the night about half the time. She's such a joy, and I can't believe she's already 3 months old. Where'd my tiny baby girl go?


Nathanael is about to turn 22 months. I'm in denial that he'll turn 2 on Halloween. Maybe if we don't celebrate it this year he'll stay 1 forever.

He's incredibly smart. Witty. Hilarious. Weird, but in a good way - marches to his own drummer. He talks nonstop from the moment he wakes until the moment he falls asleep. It's fun to actually be able to carry on a conversation with him. He loves to go to church. For some reason, he thinks that the organ is some kind of giant trash can, and he inevitably yells "BIIIIIG CACA!!" during a quiet moment. Every week. He loves playing with his cars. He loves digging in the mud. He loves to pick up crickets and spiders outside and bring them to me, with a look of adoration and love on his face that only a little boy can have for his mama. I have to keep myself from getting the heebie jeebies and graciously accept his gifts. He adores his baby sister, although he'll never openly admit it. When no one's looking, though, you'll find him fingering her hair or sharing his snack or stroking her hand, saying, "Hi, Semanna." He STILL loves his baba and pacifier (Sucker) at nap time and bedtime (don't approve? bite me), and won't go anywhere unless his cherished blanket (Binky) is in his hands. He pees on the potty like a pro, and lets us know when he has to go. No poop yet, though. My plan is to stop using diapers during the day starting on September 1 and start the process of potty training officially. We have to find some snazzy underwear for during the day. He has almost a routine of how and what he plays during the day, but he could spend the day reading. Doesn't show any interest in watching television unless it's Make Way For Noddy on PBS or diving and gymnastics on the Olympics. He loves to color, paint, draw, and glue. I've started stocking up on arts and crafts supplies for this winter so that he can make as many creations as he desires. He makes my heart swell, and I'm so lucky to be able to call myself his mother.
We visited my parents earlier this month for a few days. It was just me and the kids, as Hubs had to work, and they seemed to have a great time. My parents were, of course, the typical doting grandparents. My younger sister was home as well, and Savannah could not take her eyes of off her Auntie. Nathanael is enamored of my parents, but especially my father. I loved watching him interact with the two of them. Nat slept in a big boy bed for the first time while in Geneva, as my parents don't have a crib there. We threw 2 mattresses on the floor, and he and I shared the "big bed," as he called it. He loved it. He did really well and had a hard time going back to his crib once we got home. I'm not quite ready to transition him into a big boy bed yet, but I think I'll consider it a bit sooner than I had originally planned.
So while we haven't done anything spectacular this summer, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we've all enjoyed our first summer together as a family of 4. I look forward to the upcoming fall and winter seasons and the holidays they bring. I foresee many great memories being made.
Me, I'm just trying to keep my head above water. This mother-to-two thing is hard, much harder than I imagined. No matter how hard I try, I always feel as though one of my children is getting ignored, and that's a bitter pill for me to swallow. I strive to be a perfect mother, and because I try so hard I set myself up for failure and become hard on myself when I don't succeed. I've begun getting reacquainted with my faith lately, hopeful that it'll help me in being the kind of mother I'd like to be to my children (and the kind of wife I know I'm not to my husband). I've corresponded several times with my favorite children's author and I'd like to say that I credit him for having the desire to be more involved with my religion. I've actually joined a women's book group/Bible study though my church in an attempt to make some friends and incorporate my religion into my life a little more than just attending church every Sunday. I'm anxious for it to begin, although the first book is (so far) a bit of a snoozer.
Hubs and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary this Sunday. There are some days when I feel like it has been about a hundred years, yet there are others when I sit back and remember everything associated with that day and wonder how in the world six years have gone by so quickly. Last year's anniversary involved a bottle of champagne that ended up being partially responsible for conceiving Savannah. This year? I think we'll safely celebrate with a Pepsi and a game of cards while wearing long johns or chastity belts. Or both.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hello, blog world. I've missed you.

Not really. I've received several e-mails in the last week, though, inquiring as to whether or not I've fallen off the face of the earth. Nope. Just busy. Crazy busy.

First and foremost, thank to those of you who sent well wishes regarding my health. I did in fact get the lumbar puncture results back and they were negative for cancer and multiple sclerosis, thank God. So the brain lesions are most likely the result of migraines. The bad news is that I'm still having the headaches and the medication the doctor was sure would work isn't working. I have a follow-up in a few weeks, so we'll see where to go with that. I also had an ENG done to determine if my vertigo is caused by an inner ear issue, and we have confirmed that it is. I apparently have a vestibular disorder, the cause of which is unknown, but the thought is that a few sessions of PT will resolve the vertigo.

Savannah is doing very well. She'll be 3 months in a week or so - hard to believe that much time has gone by already. She's all smiles most of the time, and is extremely fascinated with the domed kitchen ceiling light which seems to identically resemble a breast. She doesn't fit into 3 month clothing very well anymore, and is already into Size 3 diapers. I've got a big girl on my hands! She loves to look at the television - particularly baseball and Lost - holds her head up like a pro, and she can sit on her own for a few seconds at a time. She adores her daddy and brother. I think I finally have her on a sleep schedule, thank goodness. "They" say it can't be done until a baby is around 4 months old, but I did it. She seems to be very smart, and she's going to grow up to be a sweet and beautiful little girl.

Nat is doing well, too. He turned 21 months last week. Talks nonstop - literally - from wake to sleep. He has well over 200 words an speaks in complete sentences 99% of the time. He uses the past tense correctly, uses "I" and "me" and "you" correctly, excuses himself when he burps, knows some of his ABCs, can count to 11 - although not always in the correct order, but he's getting there - and, like all boys, is obsessed with cars and bugs. He loves to pick up the rolly polly bugs and squish them. I've begun using time-out sessions with him to try to get him to stop saying the 2 expletives he comes out with on occasion, and it seems to be working. At the moment, for time-outs, I'll take him to a quiet area, sit him on my lap, and count to 60 - the last few times he's slipped and said one of the words, he immediately starts counting. It's actually pretty funny, and my husband and I have to keep ourselves from laughing when he does it. He's such a sweet boy, and I hope he retains that sweetness. He's absolutely fearless - he loves to climb the highest slide at the playground (which I'm a little leery of myself) and go down by himself. I hope he retains that, too. He's still painfully shy around other kids his age, and it makes me sad to see that he'd rather play by himself. He marches to his own drummer, though, and I admire him for that. I just pray that it doesn't cause him any social discomfort when he grows older. He's so smart, and so handsome, and I can't believe he'll be 2 in a few short months.

Me, I joined a gym recently. The last time I had worked out was the day after I found out I was pregnant with Nat in 2006. It felt so good to get back. I'm aiming to lose 49 pounds - that's about what I gained with both pregnancies combined. I say 49 because 50 puts too much pressure on me. I'm taking the kids to visit my parents for a few days in a couple of weeks. A two-hour drive with the two of them. I must be nuts.

That's it in a nutshell. I haven't had much to write about, or the time, really, so that's the reason for my absence. I hope to start posting regularly again soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

8 weeks old


She rolled over for the first time on the 4th of July. Talk about a true independence day! Her brother didn't roll over on his own until he was 3 months old.

She pushed herself up on her arms and legs and rocked back and forth for about 30 seconds a few days ago.

She has been able to hold her head up on her own pretty much since day 1, but she can do it for a lot longer now.

She still hates the pacifier. She'll only take it when she's too tired to protest.

She coos. She laughs out loud. She melts your heart with her smiles. When she's angry she yells, "Gee!"

She usually gives us a 6 hour nighttime stretch of sleep. Unless you expect her to. Then she's up every 3 hours.


She's impatient.

She's melodramatic.

She's one hungry little baby.

She loves to look at her big brother. She loves to be naked. She loves to toot and poop in the tub. She's frustrating at times and she's one half of a team that makes me exhausted to the point of wanting to die, but she's my baby girl and I love her with my whole heart. It's funny to think back of my worries over not having enough love to go around. Happy 8 weeks, Savannah!

Shoot me in the face

My husband and I believe in the importance of exposing our children to music. Listening to music is cathartic. Music enhances learning. Music is enjoyable. Nathanael has enjoyed music from the time he was in the womb. He would be-bop in utero every time Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone was played loudly enough for him to hear it. He responded to a very powerful classical music piece when I was in a vintage music store in Manhattan. So much so that I purchased the cd, played it for him when he was a newborn, and he would immediately calm down as though he recognized and enjoyed the piece. We have music going quite often here at home. I've never really had him listen to the classic kiddie songs cd's, lest I go crazy. Instead I've exposed him to folk (Tom Chapin, Elizbeth Mitchell) and, one of my faves, Trout Fishing in America. He loves this music, and actually turns his nose up when he does hear the more traditional kid's music with the tinkly toy piano sounds.

Until this week.

My son discovered Raffi. One song in particular, actually. Aikendrum. Google the lyrics. It's a song about someone who plays upon a ladle and has a nose made of cheese. What the HELL is this song about? And why does he insist upon listening to it over and over AND OVER again?

*************************************************************
I had my spinal yesterday. It took the doctor 4 tries. He hit bone the first two times. He hit a nerve the third time. Fourth poke was a success. Good Lord. Color and pressure of CSF were fine (there's something creepy about seeing a vial filled with fluid from your spinal column), so now we're just waiting on test results. In the meantime, he's having me try something else for the headaches - something that is FDA-approved for the treatment of migraines....as well as bipolar disorder. Interesting. This medication also carries with it warnings of hepatic failure and pancreatitis. In other words, my headaches should subside, but there's a chance that my organs will become inflamed and, consequently, shut down. Sweet.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Three five moppa

No, I didn't just have a stroke and type some random phrase in the title box. My son has been saying this ALL DAY LONG, and having a mighty laugh about it every time. I'm dying to know what it means. I've run a few possibilities through my mind, and each one makes me nervous. He laughs a particularly sadistic laugh, too, which makes me question whether or not he'll grow up to be a serial killer.

I don't blog much anymore. I've developed too much of a life and have formed a huge social network of new friends, and I simply have no time to devote to blogging.

Oh come now, dear readers. You didn't fall for that one, did you? Me? With real-life friends with whom I'd actually have to interact? Please. The mere thought gives me an anxiety attack.

I just can't find the time to sit down, or conjure up the brain power to write a witty blog post worth reading. The kids wear me out and keep me busy. As soon as one falls asleep the other one wakes up, and vice versa. In the rare moments I do have to myself I'm either picking up or resting because I (still) feel like crap most days.

I have my spinal tap tomorrow. I really thought I was done with sharp pokes in the back (save for my husband in the middle of the night) and I'm really not looking forward to it. I hope the neurologist doesn't overdo it on the coffee in the morning, or have too wild a night tonight, or develop Parkinson's between now and tomorrow afternoon.

I'm also going for an electronystagmogram next week to determine if my chronic vertigo is due to an inner ear issue or if we need to assess other avenues for that as well. Not so much looking forward to this, either. I'm ready to be done with the various testing procedures and just get to the bottom of all of this. I'm tired of feeling this way. I'm tired of not being able to fully enjoy the summer and the joy that it brings my son. I feel like a walking lab rat. Someone's poorly executed science experiment.

On a higher note, Hubs taught my 20 month old son to say "How YOU doin'?" a la Joey from Friends. It's the funniest thing ever.

I've decided that the Count from Sesame Street is a pervert, perhaps even more so than those Noodle "brothers."

I watched an entire episode of Reading Rainbow yesterday. I didn't realize it was RR at first, because there was a segment on cake decorating showing when I landed on the channel, but once I did I was slightly embarrassed as I had been enjoying the program. We don't have cable so our program selection is limited, but when the show continued on to highlight the entire process of making a wax dummy of Lavar Burton for Madame Tussaud's in NYC, I had to watch. Lavar Burton has a scary amount of teeth in his mouth. Other-worldly even.

I've been embracing my inner Donna Reed lately. I'm currently obsessed with the concept of freezer jam. I feel like a loser, but secretly I love it. I'm determined to give my kids a wholesome upbringing, and if I have to go back a few decades to make sure it happens, so be it. I partially blame Wondertime Magazine. I love this magazine. I wish someone from Wondertime would contact me to do something for them, for free even. The latest issue had a few articles in it about memorable family vacations - roughing it-style camping, renting cottages in a beach town for a week - we never did this when I was growing up, and I would love to start some kind of summer tradition like these with our kids. We did other fun things, of course, so don't get me wrong - I don't feel slighted by the kind of summer experiences I did or didn't have, but the thought of taking off somewhere every summer, and having the chance to anticipate the familiarity of it all - it's very appealing to me.

I'm ending with a song suggestion for you all. Songs don't usually have an impact on me emotionally (that's a lie), but this one struck me a few weeks ago when I heard it for the first time. Five For Fighting's The Riddle (You and I). The lyrics are below, but I'd suggest finding a way to listen, too.

There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him

Wait, what's the sense in life
Come over me, come over me

He said, "Son why you got to sing that tune
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see... You will see."

Then he said, "Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I..."

Picked up my kid from school today
Did you learn anything cause in the world today
You can't live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said, "Dad I'm big but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child seems to know this song
So play with me, come play with me"

And hey dad
Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

I said, "Son for all I've told you
When you get right down to the
Reason for the world... Who am I?"

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see

He said... You're looking for a place I love you free...

The batter swings and the summer flies
As I look into my angel's eyes
A song plays on while the moon is high over me
Something comes over me

I guess we're big and I guess we're small
If you think about it man you know we got it all
Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Nothing beats brain freeze on a hot summer day




Baby boy turned 20 months this week. The big 2-0. The countdown begins to 2 years old now, I guess. Kind of hard to believe that this is the same little boy who, at this time last year, was this little boy:




Our latest accomplishment is counting to 11...usually leaving out #4, though. Doesn't like the 4. He speaks mostly in complete, 4-5 word sentences now, something that isn't usually seen until age 3, apparently. My boy's a genius. Look out, Mensa - here comes Natty! Still the doting big brother, he loves to shower his baby sister with kisses, and asks for her as soon as he wakes up. He can't get enough of the outside, and loves playing in his pool and sand and water table. Loves the dirt and mud - he likes bringing mama gifts of mud and worms - and thinks it's hilarious to splash people with water. He has such a big heart and he makes me proud every day. We have to be very careful with what we say around him, as he seems to pick up the most inappropriate things we say. His extensive vocab is made up of some not-so-nice things. It can't be me that he gets these things from, no no no. The terrible twos are definitely here and I'm very ready for them to go away, but he's still a ton of fun to spend my day with.

Baby girl is doing well. Smiles and laughs and coos. Doesn't like to sleep much during the day, but is giving us nice 6-hour stretches at night so I can't complain.

I have the pleasure of getting a lumbar puncture done next week to either diagnose or rule out MS. I can hardly wait.




Friday, June 27, 2008

Wait and see

That's what we're doing. Taking the wait and see approach. I can deal with that.
Saw the neurologist this morning. Was scared out of my wits as I walked into his office. Shaking, actually.
I have about 15 lesions on my brain. I got to see them on the MRI films. I want to name them. I should, I guess. They're not going anywhere.

The doctor is saying that he's not overly concerned about MS at this point. We're going to go ahead and treat me for migraines. I'm on one medication to break this cycle of headaches. I have another to take if they come back. If neither medication works then I'll be set up with infusion therapy. Infusion therapy for headaches - at this neurological institute, at least - involves being hooked up to an IV for a couple of hours in a comfy chair in a quiet, darkened room with an eye mask. SIGN ME UP! Sounds like a vacation to me at this point. If THAT doesn't work, then we'll take another look at things - reevaluate symptoms, perhaps another MRI.

I can wait. I can see. Am I worried? Sure, a little, but it's not going to affect my every day living. It'll be back there in the darkest depths of my mind. I know MS is still a possibility. But I can be thankful for today, and thankful that the first few words out of his mouth weren't "I'm sorry to tell you...."

Thanks to all of you who commented and who sent me private e-mails wishing me luck and sending good thoughts. You'll never know how much they are appreciated.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This or that

This week seems to be taking forever to pass. I need it to be Friday. Not because I can't wait for the weekend to start, but because I feel like I can't wait any longer to find out, for once and for all, the current state of my health.

I saw my primary doctor for a chronic headache several weeks ago. At that time, the headache had been present for about 3 weeks. Slightly concerned, he scheduled a brain MRI. I had the MRI done last week - it was a real bitch. Not something I'd like to do again anytime soon. I'm not claustrophobic, but having to endure what sounded like a woodpecker on steroids for 25 minutes wasn't my bag, baby. I left the testing center thinking that the whole thing had been unnecessary. Apparently it wasn't.

I received a call from my doctor earlier this week with the results and a referral to a neurologist. Apparently the scan showed "numerous lesions" on my brain that are typically consistent with two conditions, one being migraines. The other? Multiple sclerosis. Bam. Just like that, my world turned upside down. I'm seeing a neurologist later this week to determine which of the two is causing these lesions. The lesions themselves are no big deal - apparently most people have lesions on their brains, and lesions can be caused by many things, including ingesting artificial sweeteners. It's the number and pattern of lesions causing the concern. I feel like I've been handed a death sentence, though, despite the fact that we don't know yet what's going on. MS, while manageable, is unpredictable and can be nasty. The thought of winding up in a wheelchair and becoming a burden to my family is sickening. The thought of not being there for my babies, or being there but not....there...that's even worse. I feel like I've been dealt a shitty hand with my health. Why me? When do I get a break? Can't I just be left alone to enjoy my life and my children...leave me alone!

I'm asking for prayers. For good thoughts. For an encouraging word or two. I'm not sure if I'll find out anything concrete on Friday, but the process of narrowing things down will begin.

'Til then...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Oh mama, Angelina Zooma Zoom

I fear my girl crush on Angelina Jolie may be coming to an end. She had to go and piss me off.

I recently read this article, and in it Angelina is quoted as giving the following response when asked why she thinks so many movie stars seem to be children of movie stars:
“Artists raise their kids differently,” she said. “We communicate to the point where we probably annoy our children. We have art around the house, we have books, we go to plays, we talk. Our focus is art and painting and dress-up and singing. It’s what we love. So I think you can see how artists in some way raise other artists.”

What the HELL? Why, Angelina, you hit that dang nail right on its head. I's neveh read MAH boy no books. And hell, I ain't neveh had a conversation with him. Art, well that's for them museum places - we ain't got no art here in our home. In our house, we watch the picture box nonstop, and the only books are the Reader's Digests we steal from our neighbor's trailer.

Come on now. In all honesty, I don't know any other mother who has spent more time talking to her child. I talked to Baby Boy nonstop from the day I found out I was pregnant. From the day he was born I would hold conversations with him - telling him what I was doing and so on and so forth. I did this in an effort to interact with him, and later on, to begin to teach him words, phrases, and concepts.

Books? Baby Boy has more books at the tender age of 19 months than I've had in my 31 years, and I love to read.

Talking? The boy probably wishes I would shut up once in a while.

Art? Well, we're certainly not the proud owners of an original Renoir, but I appreciate art and I'm sure my husband does as well. I'm sure we'll visit museums and galleries when he's older.

I'm not sure what she was implying here. Maybe nothing - maybe pregnancy brain got the best of her, but to me there's a hidden element of "we're more educated than the average parent" in there somewhere, and I bet she catches a lot of criticism for it. I love to read. If I had the time I would read more. I love theater. I love theater so much that we blew a ton of money on Broadway shows when we lived in NYC. I've had the pleasure of seeing a certain musical 5 or 6 times.

So Angelina, though it may break your heart, I think I might have to quit you. Your statement hit a nerve for some reason, and I don't know if I can forgive you.

Besides - I've started watching Lost, and I totally have think I may have a
girl crush on Evangeline Lily now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Back to sleep

I would love to go BACK to SLEEP, but my daughter refuses to go back to SLEEP when I put her on her BACK to SLEEP. Thank you, Back to Sleep Campaign, for ensuring that no one in this house will ever get back. to. sleep. Ever again.

I realize that this campaign was started in an effort to drastically reduce the incidence of SIDS - and my heart goes out to anyone who has ever lost a child to this awful phenomenon, so please don't mistake my exhaustion and and annoyance for lack sympathy - but the fear of God has been instilled in all parents now, making anyone afraid of bedtime for babies.

S hates to sleep. I think she's a wee bit colicky. She currently dislikes her swing, her pack 'n play, her bouncer, and her infant seat. Loves to be on my chest (can you blame her?) or Daddy's. If she were my only child I'd have no problem toting her around all day, but with Baby Boy, it's just not feasible. So, being the rebel that I am, I put her on her stomach in her pack 'n play a few days ago, and lo and behold, the little angel drifted off to sleep herself. And she's still alive. Sure, I checked on her eighty million times to be sure that her face wasn't down in the sheets, but she survived. I've put her down to nap on her stomach several times since then, and each time she settles right now. She's a tummy sleeper, just like her mama. So now the question remains - do I try this at night, potentially putting her at risk? I have a pretty spot-on mommy instinct. I'd say my instinct is correct 99% of the time - has been since I found out I was pregnant with Nathanael. Do I trust this, or do I listen to the AAP, the pediatricians, and everyone else screaming at me to not put my baby to sleep on her back, or else?

Do YOU follow every piece of advice given by the "professionals?" Or do you tend to go with your gut and trust yourself?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

End of an era

I had my post partum check today. The good news is that I've lost 14 pounds. About a zillion more to go, and then I'll be good. I have to admit, though - it made me a bit sad. I think we're probably done having kids. My pregnancies are awful. Being pregnant takes too much of a toll on my body, and I don't know if it would even be healthy for me to ever attempt it again. We're a one-income family for now, and while I hope we'll get to the point of being financially comfortable at some point, we're not there yet. Hubs is 37. He thinks he's getting too old to have anymore kids.

For as awful as my pregnancies have been, though, there's nothing in the world like knowing that your body is playing hostess to an amazing tiny creature that was, hopefully, created out of love. Nothing like those first faint bubbles of baby's movement. Nothing like seeing your belly pooch out, knowing that the little bean is tucked safely away, nestled and warm and being protected by your body and your love. The thought of not being able to experience that ever again tears me up inside a bit, despite the fact that I have two beautiful children here. Even through the depths of my exhaustion in the middle of the night, I find myself holding S extra tight against my chest, knowing that these moments of snuggling a newborn this tiny and this close won't last forever, and she'll likely be my last baby.

My doctor and I discussed long-term birth control options today. Because of my clotting disorder I'm not a candidate for anything containing hormones. Because of my uterine anomaly, she won't insert an IUD. Because the part of my brain that controls spatial relation is defunct, I don't trust myself with a diaphragm. So what's left?

What's that I hear? Snip snip.

Unfortunately, Hubs works for a Catholic company, and our insurance won't cover sterilization procedures. Pretty lame, eh? So I guess it'll be back to the ol' latex. Not sure if I trust my ability to track my own cycle by counting days - that's how I wound up pregnant both times.

Que sera sera. If I'm meant to have another baby, then it'll happen. For now, though, I'm enjoying the two I have, and trying not to die inside a little bit more every day as I watch them grow before my eyes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

He-wo Guy

Okay. Sesame Street.

I grew up watching Sesame Street. I learned to read watching this show. I learned basic Spanish watching this show. All before I was in kindergarten. I love the fact that my children will be able to have a similar experience with this show as I had - the educational experience.

Unless, of course, you count Baby Bear.

Baby Bear is one of the newer muppets in the hood on the Street. He has a speech impediment. A bad, BAD speech impediment. I don't know what the hell he's saying half the time. I understand the importance of inclusion on this show. There are characters of every color, and the real-life inhabitants of this happy place in Brooklyn are from every race and ethnicity known to man. Except a Pakistani. I don't think I've ever seen a Pakistani saunter up to Oscar and ask how life in the can has been.

But I digress.

I even understand the importance of having the "brothers" Noodle on there. You know, Mr. Noodle, and his "brother" Mr. Noodle? I'm sure many of the young kids watching the show these days are being raised by two "brothers." Hey - who am I to judge? To each his own. His own noodle, that is. Ha ha.

Why, though, do the powers that be feel the need to include segments led by this bear? What is this teaching my son - that baby talk is normal? That it's cute or funny to speak in a way that no one understands? Honest to God, Sesame Workshop - send the bear to speech therapy!

And how 'bout Baby Bear's friend that he draws - Hero Guy, or, when pronounced by the bear, "He-wo Guy-eee." He-wo Guy-eee even has his own theme song, sung by Baby Bear. And it goes a little somethin' like this:

He's a he-wo, he's a guy-eee, he's a HE-wo, he's a guy-eee....he's HE-WO GUY-EEEEEE!"

No shit. A hero AND a guy, you say? Get outta here.

Hero Guy has the same inflection, cadence, speech impediment...what have you...as Baby Bear, making it equally, if not more, annoying to listen to. Baby Boy looks at these characters like they're crazy. I made it perfectly clear from the beginning that we wouldn't do the baby talk thing, and made sure anyone who tried to do so with him understood that we were teaching our son to speak normally. As it is, if someone speaks to him using the baby talk voice (our pedi does it - drives me nuts, and BB thinks he's a wacko), Baby Boy will look at the person in such a way that you know he's thinking Man, this person's an idiot.

I urge you, creators of Sesame Street. Give Baby Bear the yank. He's not doing anything for the educational value of the show, and that's what you pride yourselves on, right? If you insist on keeping him, though, why don't you chronicle Baby Bear's experience with attending speech therapy, with a special episode following his teachers writing up an IEP/inclusion plan?