Wednesday, October 19, 2011

so, what did you do today?

Staying home is: fill in the blank.

wonderful, hard, rewarding, thankless, fun, days at the park, days in the laundry room, frustrating, easy, etc. Whatever you may think, it's a job and it has it's ups and downs. Some days are productive and rewarding, others you go to bed feeling like nothing was accomplished. During all the madness, there are great moments and challenging moments taking place constantly.

Not very often, but sometimes, I get a not so awesome question or comment from my husband when he walks in the door: "Looks like a tornado came through here!" "Still in your pajamas, I see. Rough day for you, huh!?" "So, what did you do today?" Sometimes it's not even serious and more of a joke because I know he kind of understands (kind of), but even in those times, it makes me think..."what DID I do today!?" I know I was busy all day. I know I didn't watch much tv and the only time I'm usually online is on my phone while I'm nursing Norah. (that's what my life should be called these last two months...Nursing Norah would be this chapter's title if my life were a novel) SO, my response to Jason's greeting is often, "You know, I should write it down sometime and I bet you'd be surprised".

Guess what I did this Monday!?!
You don't have to, here it is, my Monday at work as a Domestic Engineer:
  • 630a: Nurse Norah & diaper change (what is wrong with the darn remote? not working...hate directv!)
  • Unload clean dishes from dishwasher, load dirty dishes and put away air dried hand washed dishes while my coffee brews.
  • Boys wake up and come downstairs: supervise diaper and potty/hand washing.  Get them breakfast, cut fruit, make toast, etc. I clean up while they eat and alternate taking turns screaming some obscure sound that they have determined to be hilarious and I find brutally annoying. I try to stay sane as they eat and I attempt to make them use their manners or sit in timeout.
  • Diaper for Mason, leaked out of disposable diaper (I wasn't on top of the diaper laundry and he had to wear one) so I have urine-soaked sheets waiting for me upstairs.
  • Norah fusses in her vibe chair, so I need to change, swaddle and walk/bounce/shhh her to sleep now...she makes you work for nap time most days. Meanwhile, the boys are playing and watching cartoons (dumb remote, again). I attempt to pour and sip coffee as I stand in front of the microwave fan trying to get Norah to sleep in between trying to discipline toddler arguments of sibling rivalry and sharing pushing and shoving and yelling going on in the living room.
  • Once Norah is sleeping, I go back and forth several times trying to get her to remain asleep in her crib. The monitor is my enemy. During a couple trips to and fro, I throw together a crock pot main dish for dinner. I go back and forth several more times before she remains asleep in her crib. It has taken so long, that now she's due to eat very soon and will be awake in no time.
  • Wash diapers! Cycle #1 is going now.
  • Get boys dressed for the day...nevermind the fact that I'm in my pjs, I'm not going anywhere today, right? Just pray that nobody comes by unannounced or some boyscout knock on my door to sell popcorn to the loony pajama lady.
  • 1030am: Hurry up and get the boys lunch before the bus comes. Good think ham and cheese is a favorite. A cooked ham will supply weeks of lunches and he loves it.
  • Re-start the diapers for cycle #2 while the boys eat.
  • Wash faces and hands, put on socks and shoes, grab jacket and backpack.
  • Pack snack in Will's bag to send to school...good thing I randomly remembered the reminder that was sent home last week.
  • Change Mason's diaper while we wait for the bus... Will's off to school, now what!?
  • Attempt to sneak in some playtime with Mason - stack some cups and try to teach colors. 
  • Remembered the wet sheets - strip bunk beds and wash sheets! Hang the diapers to dry.
  • Norah is crying now, time to nurse...but I let her cry while I bring up a figure-8 of train tracks from the basement for Mason to play with in order to avoid more tv time. That was short lived.
  • Nurse Norah while Mason watches Toy Story...dumb remote!
  • Change batteries in the remote...success.
  • Charge the rechargable batteries...and line up the other dead ones to rotate through the charger today.
  • Make top bunk with extra sheets while Norah is happy. Top bunks are not fun to make.
  • Work to get Norah to sleep; fan, bounce, shhhh, swaddle, sway, etc.
  • Get online and order a birthday gift for my niece. Wow, look at that...Mason is playing with the train set I brought up...success.
  • Put away basket of clothes that's been sitting in the boys' room for days and pick up books, toys, etc.
  • Mason gets a snack, book, and nap. Both kids are sleeping so I have to go into super speed productivity mode...
  • Rotate bedding laundry. Hang the pictures that have been sitting on the counter for weeks. Put away baby books that I finally got caught up on. File random paperwork & bills that have piled up on the entry table. Call HVAC company about the free services we should be getting this Fall for being premier customers - scheduled visit. Call customer service at hospital to have them resubmit claims now that Norah is officially on our insurance. While on the phone, I keep an eye out for the bus to bring Will home - he's home now...that means it's 3:00
  • Will's snack time and 5 minute chat about school while I change out the rechargeable batteries.
  • Mason wakes up crying. Change diaper, get snack, little snuggles.
  • Norah wakes. Nurse Norah & change diaper - while nursing I read to Mason as he sits on my legs/ottoman).
  • Help boys put on socks, shoes, jackets, potty & diaper change before sending them outside to run in the yard.
  • 430p: Tone & zap Porter as he's barking at people and the neighbor dogs while I finish shredding the chicken and making the rest of what will go with dinner, set the table, do the lunch dishes, empty recycle can & check on boys.
  • Get Mason a small snack (hasn't ate since lunch at 1030 and is crabby when hungry)
  • Norah is up and crying, but I gotta rotate I rotate laundry one handed and give her a laundry basket ride in the clean laundry to the living room.
  • 500p: Nurse Norah while clipping coupons. Jason arrives home, says "IT LOOKS LIKE A TORNADO WENT THROUGH THIS PLACE!" (no joke. seriously said that on this day.) and vomits his workday to me and the biggest issues he came across. I quickly solve all of his work problems with what seem to be obvious answers...he then emails his committee members almost exactly what I told him as though it was his own idea (again, this really happened, seriously). As I finish nursing, Jason eats supper with the boys and goes outside with them.
  • I eat alone while bouncing Norah to sleep in her vibe chair with my foot (wow, that was easy this time!)...then, I proceed to clean up the leftovers and do the dishes again.
  • Rotate laundry again (now we're dealing with regular laundry also), fold & put away clothes, make bottom bunk bed after using the long kitchen tongs to retrieve several McQueen cars that have fallen in the cracks. Put on workout clothes in hopes that I have enough energy to at least go walk for 30 minutes. Forget running or anything...I'm beat and average 4 hours of sleep per night for the last 2 months!
  • 715p: Nurse Norah while Jason does bedtime with the boys. When he's finished, I run out the door to workout. I get home and shower as fast as possible before Norah wakes and wants to eat.
  • 1015p: Rotate laundry, rotate batteries, empty the dishwasher, make tea to drink as I now fold/stuff diapers.
  • Final laundry load, fold & put away and off to bed at 1135p.
  • 2a: Norah cries, change and nurse Norah.
  • 6a: Norah cries, nurse Norah.
Keep in mind, this does not include things like Dr appts, grocery shopping, cleaning the house in any way, picking up the yard, picking up toys, daily doggie maintenance, no bathtime, etc. I'm not even sure if I ate lunch that day. I know I've left out a million other things that fall under the Domestic Engineer job title, but that's not why I wrote this. I just wanted to prove to myself more than anyone else, that I DO DO things. (Ha, like in that episode of do, love that Chandler). I do little stuff and great big important stuff. So, if you think "what did I do today!?" just try to write down your every move...see, you do stuff...

If you actually read that, I'm sorry. I had to do it for myself...and you'd better believe that Jason will read through it once. :)  He truly does know that it's not easy staying home and will say it almost every weekend when he takes on more of the domestic/childcare duties and gets frustrated in the first 30 minutes...but I'm not sure that there's a true understanding of what goes on in the day-to-day and I don't think there ever will be...but I think this gives a glimpse!

Finally, I just want to clarify that all of this may seem like complaining - it's not. It just is what it is. Everything is necessary and done each day because I love my family and everything simply needs to get done so they can live the life we've come to know...batteries need to be charged so that Buzz Lightyear can zoom across the floor and diapers and dishes are a necessity. I try to do chores thinking about why I'm doing it - try to put a little TLC into it. Try thinking about that when you're rotating laundry next time! For me, I guess one or two of the 'ups' makes it worth it. I caught about 4 big smiles from Norah, tons of kisses from Mason, and great conversation with Will and witnessed awesome dance moves to Footloose on that Monday, also!

So, in closing...
Cheers to mi familia!
Love all you dudes, and of course, my little nursing Norah.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What!? You Use Cloth Diapers!? yep.

First, I want to say - I am not that hardcore, although I do believe in cloth - I will still be your friend if you use disposable diapers!  I did for my first child and still do on occasion.  Now that we know we can still be goes.

I receive inquiries sporadically on using cloth diapers and have re-written emails several times trying to sum up little issues, the washing, or even the whole deal – from surface inquiries to cloth converts with specific questions – so here, I’ll lay it ALL out.  First, the benefits, and if you like that, then you can keep reading…
Personally, I tried cloth because I had two long lost high school friends who were using cloth and I found out on Facebook – yes, Facebook.  I know.  But, I’m glad I did and I’m glad I asked about it and they were willing to help.  I’ve found that it’s very green and healthy for all in the family.  There are chemicals in disposable diapers that are toxic to your baby and the environment, have caused chemical burns on baby bottoms, aggravate asthma, etc.  I mean, diapers are necessary, but who actually wants a diaper made of woodpulp, packed with chemicals and finished with plastic?  Not to mention what we already know about decomposition time in our earth (makes me think of Wall-E).  In addition to the ‘green’ factor…we save a bunch of money…well, a bunch for us anyway!  More pros: In two years, we’ve had about 3 diaper rashes (which is very few for any 1st time moms out there) in the cloth.  We have had 0 leaks in the car on long car trips.  With our first babe in disposables, the piddle pad in the car was essential, then we’d have to wash the pad, the clothes, etc.  I don’t even pack a backup outfit for Mason, cause he doesn’t leak or blowout!  Ever had a blowout of poo up the back of your babe yet?  If not, you will.  Never in our cloth, frequent in the disposables.  I’m not saying it’s not possible, but much tougher for anything to escape the elastic of the bumGenius.  Another bonus is that they can be used as a swim diaper.  I hate disposable swim diapers and having to have different diapers on hand.  Just remove the absorbent insert from your cloth diaper and go!  Plus, they look cute!  People are always surprised when they get a close look at the diapers - first on how much easier they are to use than they thought, then on how cute they are.  I think so too.

Let me start by saying, there are many different kinds of cloth diapers, and I'm sure all are great - but I've read and heard the best reviews from bumGenius users, so - that's what I initially purchased, currently use and love!  So, here’s my experience mixed with the basic info on cloth diapering.  I’ve been at it for close to 2 years now and it’s been great.  I just ordered an entire new set (in GIRL colors this time!!) because I think they’re so cute.  I could keep using my 2 year old diapers, but I’m so excited for baby girl, that I had to get some pink!  Specifically, I’m talking about using the bumGenius, One Size pocket diapers – bumGenius 3.0 & 4.0’s – you can choose velcrow or snap closures.  The snaps are now the same color as the diaper, not white.  I will put links to a bunch of cloth diaper gear ordering and info sites at the end of this entry.
Most of my friends and I find that the diapers are a little too bulky until the babe is at least 10 pounds.  I started using them at 7 weeks when Mason was 12lbs...still a little bulky, but they rocked Pampers.  After a few months, they’re a great fit, and by 1 year old, they sag LESS than disposables, so they look trimmer!  Just the other day, I laughed when I saw a disposable saggin' & swingin' back and forth between a bay's legs!  Anyway!  The diapers come in a little one-pack bundle; you get the diaper shell/liner (the cute outer layer), the regular insert and an additional smaller insert.  The small insert is good for infants and to add to the regular insert for more absorbency if you have a super soaker baby like we do.  The small insert is referred to as a 'doubler' in cloth diaper lingo.  So, you get one full diaper set for $17.95 (or less on the buy 5 get one free sales).  Pricey, but worth it as it will last through potty training!  I found that 24 is the perfect number of diapers to keep on hand.  Every 2-3 days, I wash.  I ordered 4 at a time til I was comfortable with the amount I owned.  It was a little tough to determine if I liked them or could commit to using them when I only had a few at a time, but in order to afford it and 'test' them, I felt that was the way I had to do it.  I tested with the first 4 which was a good number for trial, but I just hated washing only 4 diapers (can't wash anything else with them).  But, we liked them, they were cute, they were healthy, so we dove in and became the crazy cloth diapering people.  How you go about this is clearly your call!

As far as daycare goes - they are just like disposables, in that after they're dirty, you can just fold/roll them up (like you would to throw away any disposable) and put it in your dirty diaper bag ('wet bag' in cloth lingo; $8-20 depending on size & brand) and that's it.  At the end of the day, you just pick up the dirty bag along with little Billy and bring new the next day.  This portable wet bag is also what you would use on shopping trips, etc in your diaper bag.  Often times, I don't even bring mine because rolling up the diaper is good enough.

At home, you keep a diaper pail; basically a regular 13 gallon kitchen garbage can with a lid (I think ours was $12).  For a liner, you use a cloth diaper wet bag/diaper pail liner (about $20, depending on brand).   Don’t worry, it doesn’t smell…I often think our kitchen garbage smells much worse…and we’re fairly clean people.  So, with your dirty diapers, you have to separate them as you put them into your diaper pail at home.  Don’t freak out!  I almost never actually touch any poo.  The way the diapers are made, you can hold the diaper so you just barely pinch the insert and pull it out as you drop it into your pail.  Sometimes, you can just hold the diaper and give it a shake to drop the insert into the diaper pail.  So, toss both the diaper insert and liner (separated) into your diaper pail and close the lid.  If you have a #2 on your hands, don’t worry.  If I can’t shake it off the diaper into the toilet, it goes into the pail…no pre-rinse in the toilet required.  However, they do have this funky looking sprayer you can get for the bathroom that sprays the gunk right off for you; if you’re concerned with the poo, that’s for you.  So, with #2, it’s shake in the toilet and toss in the pail.  If you don't think these are for you, you could maybe try some that are All-In-One's (AIO’s) that you don’t need to pull the liner out of, it’s all attached to the liner.  I've never used any like that, but I'm sure there are some good ones.  Keep in mind that AIO’s often only come in specific sizes (infant, s, m, l) - I like the One Size diapers because I'll never have to buy more or other sizes and I can adjust absorbency by choosing which insert I put in the pocket.   They have snaps on the front and on the inserts that allow you to adjust the size for your growing baby.

Sidenote: You cannot use diaper rash cream with these diapers!  Cream will stain the diaper and you cannot wash it out - this can cause the diaper to lose its wicking power also, leading to leaks.  They do make thin fleece stay dry liners you can use.  They will act as a barrier for the cream and still wick the pee right through.  I used these, but am not a fan - I might use a disposable in the event of a rash - which is rare when using cloth, so it's not much of an issue.  Gob on the cream and slap on a disposable and pray for no blowouts - then, as soon as the rash starts to clear, get them back in their comfy diapers!  You'll want to!

I’ll be brutally honest - initially, they may leak…maybe for a couple weeks.  Not even close to every time, but maybe once a day or so.  The more you wash/use them, the better they get, and the better you get at using them.  I think mine may have had a few leaks because I didn’t pre-wash them enough (only once).  So, pre-wash & dry your diapers (and inserts maybe a few times) before your first use.  If they leak a little, don’t be discouraged, it will get better.

So, when you have that first pail full of diapers to wash, you might feel clueless as I did.  But, it’s really simple once you get the hang of it.  I wash every 2-3 days, depending on use.  The easy part…  Take the whole diaper pail liner out of the pail, dump the diapers into the wash machine, and toss the pail liner in also, to be washed with the diapers.  Easy enough, right?  Then comes the tricky part that you will have to determine based on your machine, soap, etc.

Once I knew what I was doing, my regular wash pattern goes like this (our washing machine is a regular top loader, not a front loader HE machine like you fancy folks):
-Cold Wash cycle (wash w/soap & rinse)
-Hot Wash cycle (wash w/soap & rinse)
-Two cold rinse cycles
-Machine dry the diaper inserts and hang dry the diaper shells (no worries, they dry very quickly!)

You will read that you must use natural soaps on the diapers.  Anything microfiber-ish will tell you this and it’s true!  There is a list of soaps and rankings for cloth diapers (I’ll put a link at the end).  I find that Charlie’s Soap and Norwex soap work great.  You only use 1Tbsp for the first wash and about half that for the second wash so it’s not much of an expense.  The most important thing about washing is that you completely rinse all the soap out of the diapers – you should see NO BUBBLES in the final rinse of your wash routine, if you do, rinse again and lessen the amount of soap you’re using.  Don’t worry, your diapers will still get clean!  Any leftover soap residue will cause the diapers to be less absorbent and may make them stink.  Once they’re clean and dry, just put the appropriate insert into each diaper, put them in your cute little basket, and go on with your business.  It’s a good excuse to sit and watch tv for a few minutes.

After some time & use, your diapers may begin to have a musty smell regardless of how well you may be doing your regular washing routine.  It’s normal!  When you notice it, you can do several things; all of which are effective.   Add white vinegar to the second wash cycle, add some borax, use some bleach, a tablespoon of Dawn; not all at once, but try what you feel best about and add another if you’re not satisfied with the results.   Just be sure you rinse enough to get it all out.  I add vinegar to almost every hot wash and it works wonderfully.  Very rarely do I use bleach…but I’ve read that it is recommended if you have an issue (it won’t fade your cute diapers).  After this ‘stripping’ wash, your diapers will be fresh again.  The diapers are still bright colors and the insides of them are still bright white (no stains)…it’s kind of amazing.

Well, I think that’s it!  

Needless to say, I really like them and it’s something I feel good about using and using less of the alternative.  Rarely, I curse the load of laundry, but then I think of the $$ I'm saving for the 10 minutes of laundry & diaper stuffing twice a week.  It does take a little commitment and I can see why not everyone wants to do it - but, it's not nearly as hard or gross as I initially thought.  I figure it takes about 5 months to start getting in the black on the cost of 24 diapers.  That gives you at least 19 months of not having to pay for pampers.  I figure about $80/month on diapers…more when you have 2 in diapers, like we will soon!  The water/electric bills, I’ve read may go up less than $5, but I’ve never tried to track that myself.  The soap is inexpensive and now I use it on all our laundry (especially after reading about what they put in most popular detergents).  Some people ask for some info to help convince their significant other – I found that since I committed to almost all the work, he didn’t really care what I chose.  He likes all the green factors about cloth, but I’m not sure I’d ask him to actually do the laundry!  :)  Changing a diaper is not any different from changing a disposable, so it really doesn’t affect him in any way as long as I keep doing the laundry.  I did make him at least learn how to fold them though!

Feel free to ask more questions...
Happy Diapering!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

yes, Will, you can go poop

Turn volume way up, it's bad audio...but you can hear the last 10 seconds!

For the last 6 months or so, Will has been memorizing his favorite books and will recite them to us. Finally, I decided I should try to get it on tape...then, I get this! Awesome. Classic Will. Doesn't miss a beat..."Can I go poop?!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

can anyone do it all right? parenting guidelines

I've come to the conclusion that there are simply too many 'rules' in parenting; can anyone do everything the right way?  I know I can't.

This all started to snowball in my head when Will saw the dentist and has a cavity at 3.5 years old!  It has to be filled because he won't lose it until he's about 12...bummer.  I have to say, I was in a bit of shock.  We brush his teeth daily.  Rarely drink any watered down juice in our house.   Candy has never been an issue because he doesn't like most sweets.  Fruit snacks have been once a day for about 6 months now (not at all starting today - sorry buddy!).  People have made jokes about Will's healthy eating habits and I have had to tell him "no more fruit today" on a somewhat regular basis.  He chooses veggies over a cookie!  I thought I had the job of keeping my kids healthy a cavity at 3.5, geez!!  So, I learned some dental rules in addition to the: stay away from juices, sugary candy, brush and floss as soon as you see teeth and even, it's: first dental visit at 1yr old, allow at least 2 hours between snacking/meals/drinks (no matter how healthy the snack), no grazing, chew only gum with xylitol as a substitute for sweets if necessary, the list goes on...

I also checked out the new car seat regulations & recommendations - say what!?  I'm all about keeping my kids safe, but I can't imagine having just turned Will to face forward at 3.5 years old!  They say that you should keep your child rear facing, then as restrained as possible (5pt harness) until the car seats size limits are met/exceeded.  So, for our convertible car seat, Will should have been backward facing up to 40 pounds.  Wow, can you imagine?  Have you seen him?  He's the size of a 5yr old!  I have not turned Mason backwards again either, and truthfully, I don't plan on it.  These are not the new laws, just the new recommendations that I am not following.  Rebel Mom!

So, I've heard A LOT of guidelines for parents to follow while raising kids starting from pre-pregnancy, but I'm starting to feel like following all of them is impossible!  Here are a few 'rules' that I can ramble off from the top of my head:

  1. NEVER wake a sleeping baby (from a pediatrician)
  2. You MUST wake a sleeping baby to nurse every 3 hours for the first few weeks (yes, again from a pediatrician, contradicting #1)
  3. breast feeding is THE best (they almost make you feel guilty when you say the word formula)
  4. you must have a set schedule for sleeping, eating, playtime, etc
  5. a million rules on discipline and time-outs
  6. food allergies: don't expose to certain items until 1 or 2 years but now some say that early exposure may help decrease allergies
  7. never use a baby walker, they are not safe
  8. don't let your baby sleep in a car seat when unnecessary 
  9. never give tylenol, it can damage organs (if you do give meds, must be dye free)
  10. no pacifier and no bottle after 12 months
  11. little or no juice and absolutely no soda
  12. potty training has it's own book
  13. cut hotdogs lengthwise more than once to avoid choking (same with grapes and other round food)
  14. avoid foods with artificial colors, sweeteners, aspartame, etc (impossible!)
  15. avoid toys made with bpa or toxins in the paint
  16. no more than 30 60 or 90 minutes of television per day (depending on age)
  17. leave child rear facing and in 5pt harness until they physically outgrow the car seats height/weight restrictions.
  18. do not use chemicals around/on anything that has contact with children
  19. must eat nutritionally balanced family meals daily
  20. floss and brush twice a day for 1-2 minutes
  21. ignore tantrums, walk away, don't yell or get upset
  22. start with veggie baby foods, otherwise they may grow up to hate veggies and only like fruit
  23. you must be consistent and on the same page as your spouse
  24. discipline the first time and every time
  25. don't over-do the video games
  26. cover all electrical outlets
  27. keep all doors shut to bathrooms and stairs
  28. have carseat installed by fire/police dept
  29. Keep all small objects out of child's reach
  30. cover all sharp edges/corners
  31. use only flame retardant pj's, but wait, those chemicals are bad for them!
  32. always minimize sun exposure, reapply sunscreen often - but be sure they get enough vitamin D
  33. always dispose of any extra formula after a feeding
  34. use only a cool mist humidifier to avoid burns
  35. do not allow eating in the car, always be seated when eating
The list could be endless, and this is only the 'avoid negative stuff' rules - there are still all of the 'encourage the positive stuff' rules, like: remember to catch them being good, provide new and engaging activities, take parent 'time-ins', read a minimum of 30 minutes/day, sing lots of songs, narrate your every move to encourage good vocabulary, recognize what the child is good at/likes and expand/encourage on that, encourage children to assist you in everyday activities even if it slows you down, etc.....another endless list.

So, there you have it.  That's why I'm throwing in the towel on trying to stay in line and accepting that my best is just going to have to be good enough...cavities and all.  For some reason, the serenity prayer came to mind all of the sudden!  ha!

If you have any rules to add...please leave a comment...I can't promise, but I'll try to follow!

Monday, April 18, 2011

favorite snapshots

While gathering photos to upload to Jason's digital photo frame for his office, I found some of my favorites and thought I'd post them just because. Nothing extraordinary, but just some of my favorite moments of Gross Chaos.

Friday, April 15, 2011

don't forget calendar time!

Tonight Jason checked on Will a couple hours after putting him to bed.  He called me up and ran to grab his phone.  So, I peek in...there he was, sound asleep in bed, lights on, covered in red marker.  Every square in April on the Toy Story calendar had been X'd out!  Clearly, the little guy thinks we need to keep up on our nightly calendar routine.  We've slacked for about 3 weeks now and have not been doing 'calendar time' along with teeth, potty, books, song, and prayers before bed.  SO - Will did it himself.  I don't know what impresses me more - the fact that he could reach his markers in the top dresser drawer or his desire to keep up with the calendar.  Either way, I know Jason and I won't be slacking anymore! 
This was just his face...I'll see if I can capture hands, arms, calendar, etc in the morning!  Good Job, Will!  I wonder if he thought to himself - "Today was Friday, April 15th.  Tomorrow is Saturday, April 16th; There will be no school tomorrow and Daddy will be home all day to play."

So, it's been a while and a lot has happened since my last post.  Will is doing fantastic.  He loves school and is doing so well in all areas.  Three years old and using iPads and touch screen computers in school!  Funny...when his dad only had one computer with internet and 13 computers in their 'lab' (k-12 school) at the time he graduated high school.  He loves to recite entire books to us at bedtime and will substitute silly words to see if we catch his 'mistake'!  I've been meaning to catch him with the video camera as he reads to Jason.

Mason is growing like a weed; getting taller and thinner all the time.  Red hair is sticking around yet, which is fun for us.  :)  He can finally wrestle with Will and I catch myself routing for him sometimes simply because Will has used his physical advantage over the last few months and now Mason's catching up and able to hold his own every once in a while.  It's fun to watch!  He does his best to keep up with Will running around the backyard, but he's still a little clumsy when he has any speed - lots of wipe outs!  We love Mason's deep voice and his animated expressions (usually a serious scowl with a stern mumble).

Our next project is a playset for the boys.  I'm in the process of weather sealing 4 boxes full of tiny cedar boards!  I hope I can finish before the crew arrives to assemble!  I hate doing it, but I know they'll spend many hours on it, so I keep going even when I think I'm about to go nuts staining the tiny edges of another 1x3 board and labeling it 'B3' for the 26th time in an hour.  
After that, it'll be the arrival of new bunk beds and that whole transition into sharing a room.
I'm sure those events will come with their own stories!

Anyway, the boys are doing great! 

Here are a couple more I took in the morning...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

special, what!?

So, during the last few weeks, we had our 2 year old assessed for a possible issue with his speech.  We always knew he didn't 'use his words' quite as much as we'd like, and sometimes chose to whine instead of talk, but we weren't quite prepared for what the gals had to say when they were finished 'playing' with him that day.  After all, don't all 2-3 year olds whine sometimes?  So, when they were through playing - I heard, "blah blah, qualifies, blah blah, preschool, blah, ECSE, blah, speech therapist, blah".  Before they left, I understood that he 'qualified' for additional preschool because he was 'just under' the developmental norm in two of the four speech/expressive areas.  In my head I thought, "your kid flunked our test and has to go to school."  Okay.  That sucks enough in itself, but then again, that's why I had them come, right?  Why does it suck to know for sure what I knew myself before they came and told me?  Then, when they left, I'm so out of touch, that I actually looked up ECSE...yep, there it was, staring me in the face...Early Childhood Special Education.  Wha!?

*Now, I wrote a whole long blog about how I felt and what thoughts crossed my mind, but it's insanely lengthy and probably not at all politically correct.  So, I'll spare any readers that may have accidentally come to this site and are reading this.  I hope I didn't leave anything offensive in here...I'm new to this.  Jumping to the 'near' end...

The 'test-ladies' did mention the possibility that there can always be underlaying or additional issues.  As much as we want a guarantee that a little speech issue is all that's wrong and he'll be fine by the time he goes to school - they could never say that to us, even if it's most likely the case.  In the end, as much as we hope he'll be just fine - I have to trust that we'll all be okay...whether he grows out of it or if he requires therapy for years and years.  There's just no way to know what will happen.  I can imagine that this the same way millions of other parents have felt before and this is old news and old feelings to many.  Now, I know in my brain that our case is extremely mild in the world of special needs (we are grateful), and people might think bad of me for even having these thoughts or feelings about such a mild case.  People may think I'm crazy for thinking any of these thoughts about our 'special needs' 3 year old.  "It's nothing" or "Tons of kids need help to use language" - but, it is something when it's your child - no matter the severity.  In a year, maybe I'll think how ignorant I was today in writing/feeling this - but, does that make my feelings of the last week any less valid?  It's a little scary to think your child isn't 'normal' - and when we're scared, we do, say, and feel strange things that, in the end, didn't make much sense.  But like so many things, we just don't know until we've been there...there's no way to know and understand...everything is different and every situation is different...

In the meantime, I'm anxious for the 'school year' to begin for Will.  Both special ed preschool and mainstream preschool.  I'm grateful that there are special programs for Will to participate in and benefit from.  I hope he learns from all kinds of people and peers there.  I hope that seeing his classroom, meeting his teachers, seeing his progress (fingers crossed) - will put us at ease about his special ed.  It's hard, but I need to keep telling myself that special ed is a good thing...we're happy he gets to go...  I know it in my head, but it's still hard to accept.

Maybe we just needed a lesson from God on all of this...does everyone get a lesson like this?  They must, right?  I hope so.  and when I say that, I don't mean a lesson via the same know...just in general...any way He sees fit is fine!

"...and that's all I have to say about that."