Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah May Have Allergies

Since Sarah's surgery in August, and this is likely just a coincidence, her sleeping at night has been somewhat erratic. Considering the way Sarah has slept in her first 20 months of life this is not really too much of a shocker but a little out of character since she can sleep 8-9 hours in a row and not wake up. However, lately, she has been waking every night two to three times not hungry, not thirsty, not cold or hot. Her room is not too warm or cold. She's in the right pajamas. She has a blanket she loves to sleep with.

We are suspecting that Sarah may now have Daniel's allergies. We were told that it takes a while before a child may develop allergies of this nature. We think the time may be now. Daniel experiences allergies year round and often feels like he has an elephant on his chest. These past couple of weeks he has been feeling it more than usual, also because it's seasonal allergy time. Since Sarah had a head cold last week we thought it was just the cold running its course. The question of allergies never came up at pediatrician visits, even though we have broached it, but are starting to think this may be the case for her.

After, yet, another sleepless night last night, we have decided that we are taking Sarah to the doctor this week to get tests specifically for allergies. If she is suffering, clearly we want her to feel better and sleep well. I am just concerned that she may need to take medication regularly and really hope that she does not have to. If she needs to take medication to feel better then of course we will do what is best for her and gives her relief. But, we are keeping our fingers crossed it's just the bug that has invaded her body taking its sweet old time getting out.

Any experiences you can share, tips or advice for this questioning mommy would be great. Thanks.

Bless you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Toddler Not Sitting Still During Meals

Since Sarah started in her new class at daycare in September, eating for her has been somewhat challenging. This particular class she is in now has the kids in chairs for meals versus high chairs or chairs with trays. While I understand that this is a learning process, I just don't think Sarah is ready. Let's be honest, with a room full of toys and other distractions around her, how is any child to sit still at age 20 months during meals?

Not only has Sarah been challenged to sit long enough to eat, she continues to be accident prone. Let's see, day one I got a call from school saying Sarah fell off her chair. Later that week, Sarah bumped her head on the table. The following week Sarah overturned another child's breakfast on the floor. Today, I get a call that Sarah helped herself to another kid's food and got scratched on the face as the other kid retaliated.

Okay. You may deduce that my child is a klutz, and from previous blog posts this is not news.

I understand that Sarah is constantly learning and growing and getting used to her body as it changes, but come on. This is somewhat ridiculous. Don't you think? I guess, again, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Sarah just loves to be on the move. Should I be blaming it on too much Coca Cola or Arizona Iced Tea during pregnancy? What can I say, these were my pregnancy cravings. What is likely the case is that Sarah is extremely active and just loves, loves, loves to climb on everything.

Have I not described just about most children her age? Maybe not.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parenting While Sick - Part 2

It has now been three days since Sarah and I both got sick including two missed days from work, a visit to the pediatrician and several courses of Motrin to get down fevers. Ugh. All without the help of a babysitter or helpful aid, beyond my husband who is also under a major deadline to get a work project completed.

I know that I blogged recently that it's great to try and get support from friends and family nearby or babysitters who can come on a moment’s notice, but let's be real. While, in reality, this would be a good idea, who really wants to come and help care for a sick child, without the risk of getting sick, especially with H1N1 going around. Further, for the babysitters we have relied on, most of them are teachers at Sarah's school and work during the day. So, this doesn't help me either.

I just have to say it really sucks to be sick and care for a sick child at the same time.

So, gathering as much strength as possible and, yes, bribing Sarah with television where possible, I was able to keep her somewhat maintained, managed, occupied except for the 101 times she tried climbing on the couch over the side. It's amazing to me that a child even with a fever and chills could still have so much energy. I wish I had half her energy when I am sick.

One interesting thing did happen during this sick time. We discovered today that when Sarah had the flu earlier this year it was type A, which includes the H1N1 strain. Therefore, it appears that Sarah has some antibodies to help protect her should she get it again. There is no certainty as to the exact number of cases of this particular strain of flu. Likely cases confirmed are those that have involved either hospitalization, or sadly, death.

I digress.

The point I am getting at today, with just a little bit more energy than yesterday, is that it's never easy being out sick from work, or caring for a sick child especially if you are ill too. If at all possible you have friends, family or babysitters who can come by and help that would be great and very helpful. If not, just accept that it will be a tough time and know you will get through it eventually.

Continue to feel better. Any tips please do indeed share. Thanks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Parenting While Sick

Unfortunately, I am not feeling well today. In fact, I feel like crap and have been coughing, sneezing, and have terrible head and ear congestion as well as fatigue. Being sick, on top of parenting duties can certainly be a tough task for any parent. I am so thankful for my husband who has been doing most of the care giving today as I have barely been able to get off the couch. With a little bit of drug therapy I am able to sit for short spurts without my head spinning too much.

So, I dedicate this blog to my wonderful hubby.

I will say that parenting is tough work. Doing it when you are not feeling well is even harder. So, I applaud all parents going through this and especially those doing it on their own or with multiple children. It's almost as if you really can't be sick when you are taking care of a child unless you have family, friends and reliable babysitters nearby who can come by in a moment's notice who have strong immune systems and are not worried about getting sick.

I admit that I don't use babysitters much outside of immediate family members. It has nothing to do with trust but more so to do with finances and timing. Sometimes, the babysitter you need and want is not available or the short notice, and likely so, makes it difficult to get someone who you can trust.

So, as a parent, you are likely sleep deprived, running after a little one, and trying to get it all done in the allotted hours of the day. Should you get sick, try to have some family and friends on the ready to help out, if possible. Or, just hope that your loved ones can step in and do as much of the childcare as possible so you can get your rest. It's okay to ask for help when you need it.

Feel better!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Learning and Discovery - Through the Eyes of a Child

I know that I keep saying this, but I have to say it again. I am just so amazed at the development of children, and especially since I am watching the growth of Sarah right before my eyes.

Just the other day we were taking a stroll and talking about our surroundings. Every opportunity with Sarah is a fun and learning experience both for her and for me. So, by no surprise, we talked about the planes and boats and helicopters flying around and floating on the water nearby.

Sarah knows the words water and boats and says them often. During this walk as I pointed out the helicopters Sarah said "hopter." Okay, this was just too darn cute. What can I say; every new word that comes out of her mouth is fascinating to me. And, what is fascinating to her is part of her journey to learning and discovery and love being part of these mini and major milestone moments.

I absolutely love seeing life through Sarah's eyes. There is such a freshness, purity and playfulness to what she sees and experiences and it is rewarding, humbling and an honor to witness. It makes me realize even more how much we take for granted and how important it is, even when we are busy, and this working mommy totally gets that, that to just be in a moment with your child experiencing with them, even if you are a few minutes late to where you are going or just out and about without an agenda, enjoy these moments as they are indeed special and precious. I know they are for me.

So, until our next helicopter, I look forward to learning and hearing about the world through Sarah's eyes holding my hand help to guide her and teach her.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Size Does Matter, As Far As Diaper Bags Go!

I received my first diaper bag, a fun happy red Skip Hop Duo Deluxe Edition, as a gift right after Sarah was born. This bag has been used regularly for our jaunts around town. However, many times I feel I just can't fit enough inside. Also, this particular bag does not have a zipper top or front flap to cover up during inclement weather. So, I then bought another bag, a tad big bigger, different brand that could weather storms, but it ended up not being as comfortable to wear or lug around.

I then decided, even though my first diaper bag was relatively cool, and gender neutral (yes, I was considering my husband carrying this bag around too) that since I love purses, bags and pocketbooks, I would see if I could find something, not an actual diaper bag, that was big enough, fun and stylish to get in its place. Let's just say that now I have grown my bag collection with some fun new finds but none of these have worked well as a diaper bag.

This is really crazy. I know. I then came across a neat, recyclable bag by Reisenthal, which I actually like very much. It's roomy, hip, eco-friendly and easy to care for. However, since I bought it online knowing it didn't have a flap, I thought it had a zipper. To my dismay, it did not. I decided to keep this bag, which has been used a number of times, but still I feel that it doesn't quite meet my needs.

Then, I was in a baby store the other day returning yet another diaper bag, if you can believe it. I was convinced this would be a good choice until the front flap Velcro started coming off just one day into using it. I then saw a new mom eyeing a pink frilly diaper bag with some cutesy character on the front and in that moment thought, no way. Please. Come on. There has to be a decent diaper bag that's somewhat fun, hip, playful and roomy where you can fit what is needed for your growing baby. I refuse to get these bags. Sorry to anyone who has one or loves them, but I do not.

Let's just say that I have returned to using my original Skip Hop bag interchanging between a couple of other bags for extra room. This is nuts. So, right now, even though it will be sometime before Sarah is out of diapers I just have to make "do" with what I have. In hindsight, what I should have gotten but didn't at the time was the Skip Hop Dash Deluxe Edition, which I just can't justify right now.

As far as diaper bags go, size does matter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daycare and Drop Off

Sarah has been going to daycare/school for quite a while and enjoys it. However, lately, and it's likely an age thing, but drop off has been rather painful for all of us. I hate leaving her crying, and sometimes, howling, for Daniel or I not to leave. But, the teachers say that it's best to just leave quickly rather than linger on. This is just so hard to do. I understand this but, of course, I just want to scoop up Sarah and comfort her. I leave with my heart in my throat hoping that five minutes later Sarah will be feeling just fine, which she usually is, and then I can proceed with my day.

Sarah enjoys daycare. In fact, when we pick her she seems happy as she says good bye to all her friends and especially her teachers. She's incredibly happy to see us, which is a great relief, as the guilt for leaving her for the day has waned for us and her upset long gone.

I used to think when it was decided that when Sarah would go to daycare, or even be watched by a nanny, I was concerned that with so many hours away from us that she would have a tough time really bonding with us. Well, I can say that even though there are days when Sarah is being watched by others for a number of hours she still gravitates to Daniel and me despite us not being with her most hours of these days.

I have learned that you need to need to truly make the most of mornings, evenings, where possible, as that is the time to really establish and set the bond between you and your child even if you need to have your child watched by someone else to go to work. Just know that it's okay to feel sad when you leave your child in another person's care, it just means that you love your child greatly and want what is best for them and to be healthy and happy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sarah's Second "First" Fireworks

Last year on July 4, Sarah's first ever, she was asleep well before the fireworks started. So, Daniel and I did not get to see the expression on her face good or afraid about fireworks, until tonight.

We are fortunate to live in an area where there are often fireworks displays. Many times I can't determine why they are taking place likely due to festivals and such. Nonetheless, they are a cool benefit to where we live. And, tonight was no exception.

Sarah was actually about to go to sleep when we heard and saw some fireworks outside our window. We all proceeded to watch them together from her room. I think I spent more time just watching Sarah observe the fireworks with her expression somewhat in awe. Sarah is typically a quiet child one who likes to take it all in and process. She did not disappoint. She watched and pointed and smiled. She wasn't afraid, which was cool, and it felt like we were watching our second "first" July 4th fireworks with Sarah awake.

Sarah eventually fell asleep while the fireworks display continued. A fun moment by all tonight as the lights flickered and shined outside our window on a cool Summer evening.

Good night!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Remembered: A Heavy Heart But Thankful

At 9:11am this morning on 9/11, as I listen to Vivaldi playing, watch Sarah coloring and begin this blog post, I think back to this significant day in history eight years ago with such a heavy heart, sadness, tears and remembrance for all that happened. I also think of when the time will come when Sarah is old enough to learn about our nation's history and ask me personally about this inauspicious day.

I will, of course, share with Sarah from my perspective 9/11 and do my best to impart on her strength and wisdom of what has been learned from this unfortunate and devastating experience. While this conversation will likely not happen for a number of years, or without tears, I know as a parent I will need to offer hope and understanding in this important communication.

I think back to where I was eight years ago, just turning 30, being single and not fully happy with where I was career wise. I truly felt at this time, my world, like the Twin Towers, came crumbling down, but by no comparison to the loss others experienced after losing loved ones. Despite this incredible tragedy and lives lost I have to been fortunate to find a place of renew.

Volunteering, something I loved to do and did often, enabled me to become a part a of something extraordinary in the days post 9/11 helping others get their lives back in order after losing so much. Six months later I continued my quest to help others and become involved in a number of other cause related efforts including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where I met my husband Daniel, changed jobs, got married and had our beautiful shining star, Sarah.

So, if there is a possibility of seeing light from such tragedy and loss I intend to help Sarah understand. I also intend to encourage her to hopefully embrace and enjoy volunteering recognizing the powerful benefits it has in helping others.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sarah the Unicorn

Ever since Sarah was born, with a dermoid cyst on her forehead (see previous blog post "When Your Child Needs Surgery), complete strangers would ask what happened to her. As if to think that either I dropped Sarah on her head, hence the bump, or that she fell when I wasn't looking. Okay, this could just be my insecurity, but still.

I honestly feel that it's no one's business, specifically strangers, who don't know me from Adam, to ask these personal questions and expect to get a real answer. So, as you can imagine, since Sarah had her surgery recently still wearing a bandage and sporting a black eye, even more strangers, ask what's wrong with her. I have to admit I am even getting annoyed by this question from acquaintances who are not close friends or family.

So, my husband, the comedian in the family, suggested that we tell people, strangers mostly, when asked, that Sarah was a unicorn and had to have her horn removed because it was off center. Let's be honest, how can anyone really respond to this. And, I have to say it definitely leaves some people stumped and personally think it should. My husband handles these types of situations much better than I do. He would just ignore people who ask these questions.

So, to all those people who don't know me or have an intimate relationship with me, please mind your own business and don't ask questions you may not want to hear answers to. These matters are private and we would like to keep them that way unless we feel the need to share. Let this be my non-verbal scream.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breastfeeding, Nursing and Pumping, Oh My

I nursed and pumped breast milk for Sarah's first 13 months of life. And, while it has been well over seven months since I nursed or pumped last I realized recently that I have quite a bit to offer as far as tips and advice based on my personal experience that could possibly be of help to other new mommy's.

I must first start by saying that breastfeeding is indeed a wonderful thing to provide for your baby but by no means is anyone a terrible mother for not doing so. There are many reasons why women don't breastfeed and these mom's should not be criticized at all for their choices for whatever their reasons are.

On the day of Sarah's birth after 24 hours of labor, two epidurals, a marriage proposal to my anesthesiologist (with my husband present in the room) and dilating only seven centimeters, I developed a fever and Sarah needed to come out via emergency C-section. Once she came into the world she was whisked off to the NICU where she was then bottle fed because she needed to be on medication, and breast milk takes a few days to come in. Also, I was lying painfully on my back, incredibly doped up on drugs, crying my eyes out, and on a gurney that could not be wheeled into the NICU. With the realization that I could not nurse my daughter in her first moments of life (this really sucked) I insisted to my husband that he be the first person to feed her even if through a bottle if that was a must.

Flash forward -- Sarah is healthy and well and was only in the NICU as a precautionary measure. Thus, I struggled with nursing from day one since I was competing with a baby drinking from a bottle automatically getting food without work. I will say that the lactation consultant at the hospital was amazing, and another that I later hired to come to my home helped tremendously in my success at breast feeding. All of this coupled with a hospital grade breast pump were all my saviors.

If you are venturing to breastfeed please do it for at least a month, if you are able to, before making a decision to stop or continue. I managed through several breast clogs and mastitis, sleepless nights and crying tears beyond belief. I also read and re-read Breastfeeding Sucks (a fun and laughable book considering the circumstances) trying different feeding positions thinking I was doing everything right. But, when the feeling of shards of glass went through my spine every time Sarah nursed on my right breast all I could think of was could she just feed on the left and leave the right breast alone? The answer to this was unfortunately, no.

Please know that while this was my experience this is not the experience of all moms. Every one's experiences are different. Mine may be a more extreme situation. So, please don't be scared to give breastfeeding a try. I am so glad that I did it.

Having a lactation consultant come to my home, a worthy investment, helped me to latch Sarah on properly. My little barracuda sucked so hard it hurt that the consultant helped me to position her a certain way where I wouldn't feel her biting even without teeth. I really couldn't believe the change. Nursing became fun and the bonding was extraordinary.

The good news is that Sarah and I got into a groove. I loved nursing. It was great to feed her anywhere I went, and I did. We always covered up with a cool nursing wrap. In fact, during the warmer months when stores would have out their lawn furniture, instead of sitting in a bathroom on top of a toilet seat or covered up in the aisle we sat on the furniture as if we were having an outing.

Breastfeeding was a learned process. And, while all the books and advice I received from friends was helpful the support of my husband who wiped my tears and told me day after day that I was doing something wonderful for our child motivated me more and more to continue. Also, it's imperative to laugh often because you likely will experience breast leaks squirts for your little squirt.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Klutzy Toddler, Klutzy Mommy

Sarah is truly a child who loves to get into whatever it is that she is doing. At the playground, for example, she's the child that loves to climb up the slide or push the swing with the likelihood of it coming back in her direction and potentially knocking her down on her feet, even with constant supervision. She's quick. And, we need to be even quicker.

Sarah is extremely active, and sometimes not for her own good. While I joke that she is accident prone just like me it's likely because she is still becoming familiar with her feet and legs and ability to get around much faster as she grows.

Recently, on her first two days of her new class this week at school Sarah first fell off a chair during lunch and banged her lip. The reason was because the chairs she is now sitting in for meals don't have straps as she is used to and; therefore, will likely be going through an adjustment period for a little while until these become more familiar to her.

And the accidents continued today. Just five minutes before I arrived to pick up Sarah at school it turns out that she walked into a wall and banged her head. It is nuts. I know that kids are getting acclimated to their new bodies but this is ridiculous. I am starting to think that Sarah either needs to travel in a bubble or wear a helmet and elbow/knee pads.

I just have to hope that tomorrow she makes it through the day without a bump or scrape or bang on the head but know that there is always the likelihood. Kids will be kids, right?

I have to remember back to when I was a growing tot and the many, many times I fell, bumped into things or got too overly excited playing on an outdoor apparatus. We just need to stock our first aid kit with loads of band aids and boo boo buddies. It's going to be a long haul while Sarah gets used to her growing form and the excitability to do it all. Oh, like mother like daughter.

Transitioning from High Chair to Strapless Chair

Gotta love it when you take your child to daycare or school or have them being cared for by a nanny to get a phone call only several hours later telling you that your child has fallen out of a chair and banged her lip.

Well, this is what happened to me today. Sarah at age 19 months still eats her meals in high chair or booster seat. We even moved the high chair out and are primarily using the booster seat. It just so happens that Sarah's new class at school / daycare for her age group does not use high chair or booster seats but instead chairs without harnesses or straps. So, knowing how Sarah is, clumsy and all, you can imagine that I wondered how she was going to eat at all today since she's so used to be held in and not able to escape.

Don't get me wrong. I am okay with this seating arrangement except for the fact that Sarah is easily distracted, like any 19-month-old would be in a new space with different toys and such. She just needs a lot of practice. Because of this more free-form sitting, it should come as no surprise that at drop off this morning, Daniel and I witnessed Sarah not only moving her cups and bowls around and eating on the go but she also decided to turn upside down another child's breakfast. Thank goodness the kid whose breakfast Sarah innocently toppled to the floor was done eating and off playing elsewhere.

I am appreciative to the teachers that are helping Sarah grow and develop. It just wasn't so great when Sarah decided for dinner tonight that the booster seat and high-chair were history. Thus, I spent an hour coaxing Sarah to sit in her chair and her table. Let's just say, Sarah ate some food, but not as much as she usually does.

Oh, gotta love transitions. As parents, we just need to be patient and understanding of our youngster's changes and milestones even when they come at a moment's notice and with not much preparation. Just go with the flow, hope for the best, laugh when possible and capture what you can on film for keepsakes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh How I Hate Snot

I am sorry to say that since Sarah was born I would rather change a poopy diaper then try to get snot out or off of her nose. Might I add that Sarah hates it too when we try to clean her nose of these pesky boogers of all different kinds and colors. This is gross I know, so you know what I mean.

Well, then it should come as no surprise why I blog about this now. Sarah had a booger that just would not budge tonight no matter what I tried. Yes, I tricked Sarah every chance I could get to get the little sucker out. Fortunately, during bath time, which Sarah's aversion has somewhat subsided, enabled me to work hard, several times, at her face, to remove this pesky mongrel.

For now, as Sarah sleeps, she is booger-free. And, for this mommy, I still think it is gross trying to get them out. I will continue to help rid these invaders to my daughter's nose while she learns to wipe it with a tissue or toilet paper, but I don't have to like it. I just have to keep control of myself and do it with a straight face, when possible, and not make any "ewww" noises. I certainly don't want Sarah to get a complex about her face, or her nose, for that matter. She is just too darn cute and loveable, boogers and all.

Back to School - 2009

Sarah has been going to daycare for quite some time. In fact, the place she goes to calls their establishment a school, and I love this. So, instead of telling Sarah that she goes to daycare we say that she goes to school.

Since her start at "school" Sarah has been in two classes growing and developing feverishly. Today, as expected, she moved up to the next new class. I have to say that today felt much different than the two other "first day" experiences. The reason, which I only just realized now, is that this is the first September that Sarah is part of the back-to-school craze. Her other moves to different classes were during the year. While I didn't need to get Sarah a whole new wardrobe, except a pair of shoes, or notebooks, pens and pencils, I did cross all the I's and dot the T's to make sure that her first day was seamless. So, I spent a number of hours over the past few days doing laundry, labeling clothes and transitioning Sarah's clothes watching the smaller ones be packed away for keepsakes, storage and donation.

I was glad to take off from work today so that I could milk the experience of Sarah's sudo first day of school and enjoy it. It also gave me comfort to know that I could spend more time with her and my husband while we settled her into her new class today.

I get choked up thinking how fast Sarah has grown in such a short period of time and she's only 19 months. She loves to read and learn, play with her stuffed animals and run around and be rambunctious with family and friends.

I totally get it when parents say, including my Mom, that your child will always be your baby no matter how old they grow. And, now I agree. My toddler is growing so fast and I am so excited by her development, but she will always be my baby.

Savor these moments, as I have been told often, and enjoy the journey you take with your little ones as they won't be little for long.

Have a great school year!!!

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...