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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Confessions of a Modern “Housewife.”

Confessions of a Modern “Housewife.”

I don’t like waking my kids up early for appointments. I thoroughly enjoy my mornings with coffee and laptop. Alone.

I think Stay At Home Mom’s should be paid top-dollar for this career we’ve chosen.

I have gone six days without showering.

Sometimes I cut my bangs only to hide my eyebrows that desperately need grooming.

There are days I wish I could call in sick.

I’ve gone nine months without a professional haircut, 12 months without a professional pedicure, and have made a bottle of hairspray last nearly two years.

Sometimes I laugh hysterically at Ollie’s hysterical moments.

I tend to tell everyone about my day, because I haven’t been awesome at keeping up adult friendships.

Dinner is rarely made in time for Matty’s arrival back at home.

I am legitimately surprised when I don’t get skinny, but I eat cookies for breakfast.

I love caffeine.

My home is very rarely in order – if you popped by, I would likely be embarrassed by the amount of mess everywhere.

I have accidentally on-purpose farted on Ollie’s head.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

We’re celebrating All Things Ollie this week.

I’ve been writing a lot about my Ollie this week. Yesterday should have been Ollie’s second birthday, and this time of year, I remember how off the charts things went awry with him, his birth, his early days. I get thoughtful about his life since then and how we’re all learning about each other still, always. Forever.

Instead he wore his Birthday Boy shirt three months ago.

And while we deal with delays on a daily basis, it’s clear: those famous Terrible Twos are right on time with this boy.

A Parent in our little family has the quickest, tiniest temper. It’ll flare up for small things, then sizzle out as quickly as it came. No grudge-holding, just a one-second-and-done little fire of anger that’s as gone as quickly as it came on. Ollie may have inherited that trait and for whatever reason, pants are sometimes an issue. Last week I tried putting a pair on him, but he crawled away as fast as he could, and purposely slammed his forehead on the hardwood floor.

Not once.

Not twice.

Three times.

Three times he banged his head. Three times was sufficient to demonstrate how much he didn’t want to wear pants.

I just stared at him, unsure how to bring him back from that edge he just went over. He didn’t want a cuddle to erase the pain he had to be feeling, he was so mad at me. He just stared right back until he somehow got the all-clear that I wasn’t going to try to put pants on him.

He won that battle.

We’re dealing with other battles lately, too. The stuff Two-Year-Olds excel at, I’m sure.

My face has been significantly scratched when he didn’t want to settle down for a nap. My wrist has been pulled away while trying to wipe food off his face. I’ve been on the receiving end of an evil eye when I ask him to eat. A request for him to sign “please” before giving him something can end in a meltdown.

I’ve come to the realization in recent months that I can totally underestimate this kid. Especially before he was walking, and since he doesn’t talk, I still had it in my head that he was much younger than he really is. He felt younger, with only eating purees and needing to be carried around yet. I expected him to have the brain of a 9 month old, since that’s about where his language abilities lie. I am surprised on a daily basis at the things he does know and it’s funny to me that he has his own mind, can make his own decisions and can and will fight me on the ones I make for him. I still expect him to have the mental capacity of a child who’s other skills are equal to his.

His brain is fine. His wants are those of a typical two year old. He wants to be able to make up his own mind about his pants. He wants to eat what we eat. He wants – and is able – to help pick his toys up, help with Tucker, to be the big brother, to do it himself. And since he hurt himself in the slamming of his forehead on the floor experience, he’s only mimicked the act of slamming since – but not actually slam – when he’s frustrated. His capacity for learning is right on track.

So here we are, two years later from when he should have been born. For his adjusted birthday, he got to wear his Birthday Boy shirt again (how many kids can wear a Birthday shirt twice in three months? ♥) We had chocolate pudding and ice cream.

We’re celebrating All Things Ollie this week. The meltdowns and calamities, successes and victories. The getting to be everyday Ollie-isms that make him an awesome kid.

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Who knew he didn’t want to wear his bibs?

Ollie woke up on the wrong side of the crib yesterday.

Everything was a struggle. Every little thing caused a fuss. It may have been a difficult day, had we not had this little gem of his personality shining through.

Nearly every morning, he wakes up wet. Not a little wet, but down to his toes wet. Nearly every morning, when I get him up, I pick out his outfit for the day.

Yesterday, I went with bibs. Cute as a button engineering bibs. I was happy they were clean, he’s so cute in them. He took them from me and carried them out to the living room, sat down and started figuring out the buckles. Normal Ollie behavior.

Preparing to get him ready for the day, I started getting those bibs on him.

He cried.

Check that, he didn’t just cry, he wailed. Like Lucille Ball. Face to the sky, mouth wide open, eyes squinshed shut.

Thinking he was sad he was losing the buckles to play with, I got his other pair of bibs – with the same buckles – for him to play with. He was thrilled with having multiple sets of them to play with.

I thought this problem was solved.

I started again with the bibs.

Again with the wail. Again with the escaping my attempts.

There was a pair of regular jeans nearby. I asked him if he wanted to wear those jeans?

He nodded yes.

He nodded yes!

He calmly came over to me to put his jeans on. He wore them all day until he took them off in the evening and preferred pantsless playing.

Who knew he didn’t want to wear his bibs?

Obviously, Ollie knew.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Out of something like 40 skills, I was only able to check “YES” to two or three.

Out of something like 40 skills, I was only able to check “YES” to two or three.

Back in July, I received some mail from My City’s Health Department. It was a milestone checklist of what my (at the time) 18 month old should be doing. We’d been receiving these check-ins from the city every six months or so since Ollie came home and I dutifully and proudly checked the boxes “YES” to things like social smiling and batting at toys and sent them in.

This 18 month one set me off a bit. Call me hormonal – I was pregnant, remember – but this particular form was very heavy on Gross Motor Skills, Ollie’s main shortfall.

Out of something like 40 skills, I was only able to check “YES” to two or three.

I moped about Ollie’s inability to walk yet, throw a ball, traverse stairs. I was melancholy since a week earlier, having spent time with two other toddlers his age, Ollie was only able to watch them from his stroller at their walking and talking. I was irritated at the My City’s Health Department for badgering me about these delays and in a fit of having-a-preemie-sucks, I wrote a note.

I filled the questionnaire in and added on the back the specific details of Ollie’s early birth. Not just adjusted age vs actual age details, but heartbreaking NICU-based life-supporting details, too. Also added was the fact that he was at the time receiving four (underlined twice for emphasis) therapies to help him along and if there was some Miracle Cure My City had that no one knew about, please let me know. If there was no Miracle Cure, kindly stop sending me these questionnaires (underlined again) that on a good day, had the power to depress me, on a bad day could send me into a deep funk of hopelessness.

Clearly I filled it out on a bad day.

I received a phone call in the next few days from My City’s apologetic nurse. And she would stop sending me these questionnaires per my request.

I felt thisbig.

I sent her a Thank You Note, thanking her for her sensitivity in the matter. I let her know that Ollie was going to be a big brother in the coming months and looked forward to filling out these questionnaires in regards to Little Brother’s development.  I invited her to visit this-here blog to stay in-the-know about Ollie’s progress. (If you’re still reading, Hi, Diana!)

Anyway.  I never looked at another milestone checklist again.

Until yesterday when I found a 24-Month-Old Milestone Chart for Gross Motor Skills and get this:

Ollie can do everything on it!

  • Walk alone – CHECK!
  • Pull toys behind him – CHECK!
  • Carry a large toy while walking – CHECK! (although generally this “large toy” is his potty chair)
  • Stand on the tips of his toes – CHECK!
  • Kick a ball – CHECK!
  • Climb onto and off furniture – CHECK! (a new skill he’s ridiculously proud of himself for!)
  • Walk up and down stairs, holding onto the railing, or your hand, for support – CHECK!
  • Scribble spontaneously – CHECK!
  • Turn containers over to empty out the contents – CHECK!
  • Build a tower of four or more blocks – CHECK! (his tower building abilities are a-MAY-zing!)

Never have I been so excited to read a Typical Toddler Development Milestone Checklist!

I am so proud of my little boy. He’s so busy working hard to catch up, and he’s getting there!

I realize that sometimes I focus too intently on the things that Ollie doesn’t do yet. The delays and challenges he still experiences will get me down on bad days. My recent post about his speech lag is a clear view of a day that I wished Ollie would do more. Strangely, sometimes I sort of forget about his early birth, am less forgiving and want to stop giving him that excuse for his delays and start pushing him harder to be more like other kids.

But then there are days when I look at him and realize he’s making huge strides in catching up to his age-group in other ways. He’s been busy this boy, in other ways than figuring out eating or repeating things he shouldn’t have heard.

I not-so-often look back at pictures of his early days, those days when survival was all we hoped for, and I get it again. I get that while he may not be like other kids his age, but remember that he never was. His early days were terrifying in their reality, and instead of spending his first days snuggled and cuddled and passed around, he was on life-support.

It’s funny to think that I could “forget” that.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The First Haircut…

Ollie, Ollie, Ollie – how you charm me.

One day you’re looking like an older baby and the next you look like a little boy.

Ollie has a voice, even though he doesn’t use it for talking, he sure likes to use it to express his displeasure at the world, at what you’re doing to him, at what he doesn’t want to do.

He didn’t want anyone to comb his hair.

That swirly, curly blond bedhead was ultra cute, but when the bedhead morphed into all-day-head it was time to fully graduate him from babyhood to toddlerhood.

His displeasure at combing his hair was duly noted throughout the house and we decided the curly mop-top had to go, despite the comments that his hair was “awesome” and shouldn’t be messed with.

So we headed over to a hair salon that specializes in quickly snipping the hair of children.

His “stylist” had to work quickly, Ollie was not so much in the mood to sit still, listen to the reassurances that he’d be okay, take that all important step from older baby to toddler.

In short, he cried.

Even sitting in a chair that looked like a Mini Cooper, he cried.

Even when another stylist brought over bubbles, he cried.

I worried we’d have to abort mission.

It was only when we gave him Matty’s cellphone did he muster up his courage and turned off the tears.

He wiggled and giggled then. That little piece of distraction he could hold was all he needed to help him through it. Kid didn’t even realize what was happening anymore.

He didn’t notice when she sprayed his head with water. He didn’t care she had a comb too close to his head. He didn’t put up much of a fight anymore.

He was invincible with the cell phone.

He pulled through like a rockstar.

I collected some of his hair as a keepsake, like many mothers do. Like many mothers do, my eyes filled with tears that my little baby is growing up so fast. Such a change from when all I wanted was for him to grow, and grow fast.

He now has a certificate that he officially graduated from babyhood. I guess it’s his first diploma.

He’s growing up so fast. What a little boy.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

But someone else mentioned them to me.

This speech thing. It’s really starting to eat at me.

Ollie has a speech delay. It’s true. I hate writing it, because, like I said before, no one expects their child to be less than perfect. But he’s now 27 months old, or 2 years adjusted. He *should* be talking. He should be yammering and jammering up a storm. Telling us that his shirt is blue or that he is hungry. Repeating things he shouldn’t have heard.

But he doesn’t.

He doesn’t even say “mama” consistently.

He looked at Tucker and said “bay-be” three times in two days. Other people heard it; it wasn’t buried in a bunch of other baby jargon. Clear as day, we heard “bay-be” as he looked at Tucker. I thought we were getting somewhere. That was three weeks ago.

He hasn’t said it since.

There are things that worry me about this…

#1 – he never really mimicked. From early on, if I made a noise, he’d smile at the funny sound I made, but never really tried to recreate it himself. He still doesn’t.

#2 – his eating difficulties. He’s finally feeding himself, but still has issues with textures. This I always chalked up to being on a ventilator at birth and is now experiencing a texture aversion. But he was only on a vent for 10 days and that was two years ago now.

#3 – not able (or willing) to recreate a sound on demand, ie: the saying of the syllables “bay” and “be” together, but not continuing to make the sound days later, adding to his vocabulary, or saying it when someone points to Tucker and asks, “who is that?”

#4 – His receptive language is awesome. His list of words he knows is impressive. If you ask, he can point to nearly all his body parts, (even the all important “dupa”) different people in the room, knows the names of his toys (ask him where’s your tractor? He’ll go get his tractor), he will point to objects in every room, knowing the name for each of them.

And then there’s this new word his speech therapist started tossing at me today: Apraxia.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is, according to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.

A few symptoms of Childhood Apraxia of Speech? Oh, nothing big. Just eating issues, lack of mimicking, an unequal receptive to expressive language ratio, and the inability to form a word.

Shit.

Pardon my language.

What makes me worry that this isn’t just a speech delay? From the Apraxia Kids website:

In typical speech/language development, the child’s receptive and expressive skills increase together to a large extent. What is often seen in a child with apraxia of speech is a wide gap between their receptive language abilities and expressive abilities. In other words, the child’s ability to understand language (receptive ability) is broadly within normal limits, but his or her expressive speech is seriously deficient, absent, or severely unclear.

Some more red flags, again from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

A Very Young Child

  • Does not coo or babble as an infant
  • First words are late, and they may be missing sounds
  • Only a few different consonant and vowel sounds
  • Problems combining sounds; may show long pauses between sounds
  • May have problems eating

Potential Other Problems

  • Delayed language development
  • Other expressive language problems like word order confusions and word recall – This Ollie doesn’t seem to do. He learns new words quickly and understands simple requests
  • Difficulties with fine motor movement/coordination – His fine motors have always been just fine, too. Not worried about this one.
  • Over sensitive (hypersensitive) or under sensitive (hyposensitive) in their mouths (e.g., may not like toothbrushing or crunchy foods, may not be able to identify an object in their mouth through touch)

…and I haven’t even talked about how much he hates his teeth being brushed, have I?

I’m not sure how awesome the internet is. One small word tossed out by his Speech Therapist has me re-googling and finding things that Ollie fits into. It seemed like she was trying out this “Apraxia” thing on me to see

a) if I’d been researching speech delays (I have) and

b) how I’d react to this being tossed out there. She put it on the table for me to chew on by relaying her current Apraxia Kids Success Stories. To me, it felt like she might be preparing me for this bigger diagnosis, but reassuring me that we can work through it.

What sucks is that a few weeks ago, I really did start researching Speech Delays and came across this Apraxia thing on my own. In my head, I checked off those details about Ollie that fit both him and Apraxia. I didn’t mention those warning lights to anyone.

But someone else mentioned them to me.

A trusted professional. Who works with kids like this.

I hate the internet.

I hate playing armchair pediatrician.

I hate that I can’t just enjoy his childhood without looking for things that may be going wrong.

But there are ways to work with a kid with Apraxia. It isn’t like he’ll never talk. Kids with this diagnosis – and Ollie hasn’t been diagnosed with it, but the warning signs are disconcerting – have motor issues, like their brain doesn’t communicate well with the skills that form and use words, if that makes sense. Similar to his Gross Motor Delays, I guess, and we’d have to help that part of him develop…like we have with OT and PT all this time. And there is research that shows that Fish Oil and other supplements can boost that development if it’s lagging.

But he’s a two year old with the communication skills of a 9 month old. He obviously gets frustrated with his inability to talk and throws epic tantrums when it just gets to be too much for him. We’ve been working on signing, to help him communicate his needs with us, until we get his speech jump started and that’s helping.

He can tell us when he’s hungry, needs help, is all done or wants more. But true Ollie-style, it’s just not quite like the other kids.

Yet.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in Uncategorized