today, I painted my nails

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Today, I painted my nails.  They aren’t perfect but I keep looking at them and feeling happy.  I feel happy because I took a few minutes today to do something for myself.

The past few months have been heavily consumed with many things beyond my control.  My daughter has done amazing with her FPIES.  She has passed every single food we have tried– which is a tremendous blessing.  She can eat squash, zucchini, carrots, blueberries, pears, apples, and bananas!  When I think back to the night she went to the hospital with violent vomiting after eating oatmeal, my heart aches.  I feel such fear.  When she got the FPIES diagnosis I felt defeated.  I felt like the next few months would just be one anxiety attack after another.  Thankfully, my mind has calmed down and so has her stomach! haha.  She has done so well with her foods and I am so thankful.  This week we go to the hospital to trial a trigger food.  Chicken.  I pray that she passes this as it will be a big step for her!  She also gets her allergy testing and I hope that she has no traditional food allergies.  She is a healthy, strong, beautiful princess and I am full of hope.

As for my son– we are still dealing with… “is it autism? is it not? is it ADHD? is it something that will get better with time?” etc.  He was supposed to meet with a school psychologist this week to evaluate him further… but I’m not ready.  I will push it off for a month.  Sometimes we have to make selfish decisions.  Today, I painted my nails while my husband cleaned the kitchen.  Today, I decided to postpone my son’s evaluation for myself and for him.  I would like for him to get more familiar with his new school and teachers.  I would like to give him a chance in another environment.  His new school is full of supportive, loving, caring, kind teachers.  I want him to experience that support before potentially labeling him with autism.  And for me, I won’t have to deal with the possibility of my baby going to the hospital with a food allergy and my son being labeled with a developmental condition in the same week.  My mental health is fragile and though I am much better, stressful times are very triggering.  I need to be the best mom for my babies.

This week I’ve spent many hours crying.  I see my son riding his bike with such joy.  He screams randomly, “mommy!! I love you!” …I melt into a puddle of tears.  I’ll never tire of hearing such precious words.  I cry because he’s so wonderful and perfect.  I don’t want anything to be hard for him.  I want life to be perfect.  I want him to be care free and happy.  I cry because things may be harder for him and there is nothing I can do to “Fix” it.

This post is getting lengthy, but I just needed to get a little bit off my chest.  I could write for hours about my thoughts and feelings about both of my children… specifically with their health issues.  I am personally struggling with the possibility of my son having an autism diagnosis.  I don’t know if that makes me a bad person or not.  I’ve had crazy thoughts…selfish thoughts. I’m just trying to work through it all in my head.  My husband has been working nonstop and I haven’t been able to get to therapy so I’ve been trying to work it all out on my own.  It is hard.  Anyone else struggle with the possibility of an autism diagnosis?  How did you cope?  How did you get to a good place?

-c

 

avoiding the real world

another stupid love story

i was the ink in your pen

and you built me with every letter.

a single word and i could stand alone.

a sentence and i was complete.

but you added another, and another, and another

about someone i’d know all too well.

someone i’d spend night after night trying to forget.

why would you bind us line by line?

knowing that we’d never stay together in the end.

knowing that this poem would never satisfy you

or be a story anyone would want to read?

one single word and i could stand alone.

a sentence and i was complete.

a paragraph and i fell apart.

-a tale i never wanted to be a part of.

another stupid love story

that no one gives a damn about.

-especially me

your ill fated, heart broken, girl character

who would have been better off on her own.

 

I recently discovered poetry I wrote for a collection in college.  I think, at best, I was a mediocre poet lol.  I tried but could never really say exactly what I wanted to say.   It is so interesting to read these poems 10 years later.  My inspiration for this poem is now, my husband.  🙂  I guess it wasn’t a stupid love story after all haha.

I’m posting this because I’m avoiding real life.  Today was difficult. My son may have autism.  I can finally type it.  I have a million thoughts, a million feelings and I just stare at my screen and checkout.  I called my parents and I cried.  I thought about 5 hours ago and 5 years from now in a single thought.  I don’t really know what to feel or think.  I think I am going to postpone the thoughts for tonight and have a glass of woodbridge chardonnay.  (yes, I’m back on Chardonnay Charles- I’m sorry, it is just better- I don’t care if that makes me an old lady lol)

Maybe in the next few weeks I’ll have a real post about all this and stop avoiding it.  Maybe I won’t …and you’ll get to enjoy more 10 year old, mediocre poetry.  Until next time…

8 things to consider about preschool

Recently I went through the difficult process of withdrawing my son from preschool.  There had been red flags all along but I told myself that I was being neurotic, over-protective and crazy.  I went against my gut.  I think that because I was a first time mom I didn’t trust myself.  Now, a year and a half after he started he is out of that awful preschool and I have gained a good bit of knowledge about the whole process.  I would like to share these *red flags* that you may notice with your own children.

Potty Training
Perhaps one of the first situations I found to be very strange was this preschool’s potty training policy.  When signing my son up for school I was told that the preschool would work with my son on potty training and that most kids were potty trained within a few months!  I was excited about this.  As the months went by he was no closer to our potty training goal, in fact, he was more removed from it.  It was concerning.  I decided to try to send him to school in underwear since Pull-ups were confusing (they are just diapers) and he was actually allergic.  I was told that he couldn’t come to school in underwear because it was a health hazard.  A health hazard?  I’m not sending him to school with violent diarrhea.  He wasn’t going to go poop on people.  Sigh.  I strongly believe that his hiccups with potty training (at almost 4 years old) are in large part due to the way potty training was handled at preschool.  Make sure the potty training policy is clear at the school that you choose.  Make sure the teachers and staff are willing to work with you and your son or daughter.   Make sure they are encouraging as potty training can be a very difficult time!

Closed for every (no good) reason.
I believe my son was not in school more than he was in it.  Every time I turned around the school was closed for some reason.  Mostly this was due to weather.  This is understandable… however, they would drag it out as much as possible.  They wanted to go by the local school system, which is generally a pretty good rule, except public school students HAVE to go to school and they live all over the county.  We pay for preschool.  Even this I can get behind I guess… but the early dismissals.  If the school system dismissed early (even for just an hour!) …preschool would close at lunch.  Same with delayed openings.  They didn’t even start until 9:45!  If the local school system delayed (they start at 7:30/8), preschool would delay the same amount of time.  I’m sorry but your start time IS a delay!! Who starts at 9:45?!  ::eye roll::  Make sure, when looking for a school, that the school wants to be open!  The staff should love what they do, and shouldn’t look for excuses to shut down for the day.

Won’t let you observe
Listen to me.  If you get nothing else from this, please understand that if a preschool denies your request to observe… or just ignores it- as if you didn’t even ask… GET OUT.  There is a reason they don’t want you in the school.  You should ALWAYS be able to observe your own child, especially if there are problems.

Change in behavior
If there is a change in behavior in your child the preschool could be to blame.  Sure, kids grow and change and they go through different spells and tantrums, but if things get worse and the teachers seem discouraged or even mean… there could be more going on than is easily noticed.  For my son, he was a great kid the first year.  I always got a great report.  When he went to the next class with a different teacher, he was criticized from the very beginning.  Each day resulted in more troubling behavior from both my son and the teacher.  Our little ones don’t always know how to tell us something is going on… sometimes we just have to read between the lines.

What your kids DO tell you
Every once in a while your kid will pop up with a statement that makes total sense.  I hear my son tell me all sorts of stuff in a day.  “Preschool was fine and good.”  “Gigi’s house is far away.”  “I’m going to poop out of my head.”  “My paci’s name is Harold.”  Some things make sense, others don’t make a whole lot of sense and its easy to just say “oh okay… great… sure… that’s awesome,” at the ramblings and go about your day.  However, every once in a while if you really talk to your kid and listen, they’ll say something that you can’t just ignore.  I asked my son, for example, if he liked his teacher and he told me that he did.  I asked if his teacher ever got mad at him and he said that she did… when I asked him why… he replied, “Because she is pissed.”  I don’t know if she said those words to him or not… but I know that he felt that anger and disappointment and that was enough for me.  If you ask your child a question and they reply with “things are fine,” “it is good,” “I like it,” — dig a little deeper.  See if you can ask your questions in a different way.  Sometimes the answers are worth the extra work.

Discipline
The way a school handles misbehavior is very telling.  The first time my son was scolded at school he was removed from the playground and had to spend the remainder of play time in the director’s office.  He was 2 years old.  He ran out of the gate during recess and wouldn’t come back after being asked to.  I found out later that he was taken into the director’s office where they shut the door and had a conversation with him.  I spoke up at the time and have no regrets about the fact that I informed them that they would NO longer be having any closed-door conversations with my 2 year old.  It is always inappropriate.  As time went on my son was removed from more activities.  He was taken out of chapel, music class.  Eventually he quit making art.  I was paying for him to be removed from situations constantly, rather than redirected.  When searching for a preschool, please pay attention to how the school handles discipline.

Too Chatty
When taking my son to school I would chat with the teachers in the mornings.  Usually this was harmless chit chat.  Other times, I was shocked at how much his teachers were willing to share.  I was told in casual conversation about a child’s custody situation.  I was told that his mother had problems, he had behavior problems and he lived with his grandparents.  I was told about several children’s specific situations.  I always thought this was a bit odd as it was not my business…but then I realized that my son was not immune to this gossip.  As I dropped my son off in the mornings I wondered what the parents knew about us.  I wondered if they knew that my son had been struggling in school… or that I struggled with mental illness issues.  I was horrified.  Things I’d told to them in confidence were possibly on display for the whole school to know.  A child or family’s personal business should be just that.. their personal business.  I am sad that these teachers treated these matters as gossip.

Sick kid policy
When taking my son to preschool I was terrified of all of the illnesses he would be exposed to.  I knew this was inevitable and trusted that the school would take proper precautions to make sure illnesses were contained to the best of their ability.  Of course, without fail, my son picked up many illnesses his first year.  He got throat infections, URI’s, stomach bugs, and even mono.  It seemed he was ALWAYS out with something.  It started to become unbelievable.  I got to where I panicked when I saw a kid with a runny nose.  I was very cautious with my son.  I kept him home extra days just to make sure that he was recovering well and not a threat to other children.  I felt guilty thinking that I could send him to school with an illness that could spread to other children and their little siblings! I realized that I was seeing more and more children at school with very runny noses that were lethargic with hacking coughs.  I wondered if the school was abiding by its own stated rules in the handbook.  One child seemed very ill and he was allowed to stay.  Sickness in preschool is inevitable, but there are proper precautions that a school can take. If the school isn’t following their own policies, call them out on it.

Of course there are more things to consider when thinking of taking your child out of a school or choosing the right school for them.  I think the most important thing that I wish I had done was trust my gut.  I knew early on that my son’s preschool was perhaps not the best fit… but I ignored it.  I told myself that I was paranoid and that no school would be the perfect fit.   I should have listened to myself.  Turns out, a “mother’s gut feeling,” is a real thing.  I think it is a God given gift to make sure your babies are safe, happy and healthy.  I pray that I can listen to it more and doubt myself less.

A poem about Grace Elaine

Tonight I’ve been talking with my good friend Heather.  I am so stressed out and it is so good to get things off my chest.  Heather is great because you can talk about something silly like the hatchimal craze…. or something serious like our children’s health issues. Tonight, we talked about how much we would love to talk to our grandmothers just one more time.  There is something so wonderful about grandparents.  They have lived full lives and have this wisdom that is so far beyond our own understanding.  I often look to my only living grandfather for advice and wisdom.  When talking with Heather tonight I remembered that in college I wrote several poems about my grandmother.  She was such a strong, beautiful woman.  I am so thankful that I had 13 years to know her and love her.  I would like to share one of the poems here because I feel that it captures who she was accurately.  As I am going through so much as a mother now… I would love to just be able to talk about everything with her.  After she passed in 1998 she visited me in my dreams.  She sat on the edge of my bed and she told me that she was okay.  I found such peace in this– and am thankful that she loved me so much.  I named my daughter after her and know that Claire has inherited some of her salty attitude. ( I say this lovingly, as her salty attitude was my favorite thing about her).  Anyway, here is the poem I wrote for her nearly 10 years ago.

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War Veteran’s Wife

She spent most days behind that old apron
making our meals and providing for us.
Her weathered fingers wrinkled like raisins,
gripping the spoon and praying for solace.
Day after day in a house of discord,
protecting us from our drunken father
with her bones as shields but never a sword.
Her tired body we would never bother.
She grew old inside of that same old house.
Rocking back and forth in her chair thinking
about her life as a war veteran’s spouse,
who wasn’t enough to stop his drinking
before he died inside his “Sunday best.”
Leaving behind for her a day of rest.

 

 

a moment to myself

Today I witnessed my son’s first real panic attack.  He is 3 years old.  I don’t really have words for this.  He made the craziest face.  He wanted to cry but he was too uncomfortable to cry.  He wanted to “be normal” in a room full of kids that he didn’t feel okay around.  He wanted to be okay.  I could see it all in that face he made.  He wanted to cry but he didn’t.  He breathed rapidly… he told the teacher he was “all finished” and he came to me.

I have so much more to say and absolutely no energy.  That face he made has sucked away all of my energy.  All week I’ve been strong for him… and strong for my daughter.  My husband is sick ..and all week it has just been me.  I’ve had to cook, clean, take care of babies, etc. etc.  The only thing keeping me going is the 30mg of Prozac I am taking.  Tonight, I am crying… sobbing. I can barely make it through my work.

Blogger world.. if you pray- pray for me… and send me positive thoughts and energy.  I need to feel the good vibes you all have.  Thank you.

home from the holidays

I’ve been avoiding writing in this thing and the longer I avoid it the more I don’t want to do it.  Sometimes the words are scary.  Sometimes you have no idea where to begin.  I’ll try though.

Prozac is a wonderful drug.  Recently, I’ve been slack about my medication.  I keep forgetting to take it and when I remember I just think “oh it’s too late, i’ll do it tomorrow.”  Then, I don’t.  The level of Prozac in my body was not at a therapeutic level in the past few weeks and with my upcoming cycle… it was a recipe for disaster.

All I needed was one trigger.  That trigger was my son’s Christmas performance at school.  I was so excited to see him perform but also very nervous.  I saw him as he walked in the sanctuary.  He saw everyone and immediately turned to run away.  The teacher nudged him forward and he saw us and became more at ease.  He stood there with the other children and he performed like he was supposed to… however, anxiety set in.  He started to jump up and down, yell things randomly, sit down when he should have been standing, etc.  It wasn’t highly disruptive… but I was sensitive to it because of everything going on this year.  They had a teacher sitting beside him guarding him like a prisoner.  If he looked in the wrong direction she corrected him.  Side note: I haven’t decided if she just has a naturally mean resting face… or if she just really is mean and grumpy all the time.  I am not a fan of his teachers.  Anyway, with each criticism he seemed to act worse.  It was painful to watch.

Last year, his Christmas performance was a dream.  He did a perfect job.  He was so happy.  I cried… I couldn’t believe how grown up he was… how well he did.  It was magical.  This year, that joy was not there.  He was an anxious mess.  I knew in that moment that what my gut had been telling me all year was right.  He needed out of that school.  The teachers are not supportive.  They’re judgmental and critical.  They aren’t providing a nurturing environment for my baby… they’re stressing him out more.

It took some convincing but my husband is finally in agreement with me.  He saw the performance and knew that we should take my son out of preschool as well.  I am now talking with other preschools to find a place that is more understanding, compassionate and supportive.

In therapy one of the main things I talk about is trying to figure out where the line is… between the crazy stories my OCD and anxiety try to tell me… and what my gut is rationally telling me.  It is very hard to know which to listen to all the time.  When your gut is really telling you something… I think you know that feeling when you feel it.  Others can doubt you… disagree or tell you otherwise… but you know. I’ve known since September that this school was not the right fit.  I’ve known since September that is teacher was not the right teacher for him… (or maybe anyone?) and I’ve tried to talk myself out of this…but I haven’t been able to because it is what it is.  I know now that my gut is telling me to take him out of that school and I’m confident in the decision.

The holidays were especially hard for many reasons.  The performance was disappointing, the kids were sick, I was off my meds, we traveled and we’re exhausted.  We’re feeling better, I’m on my meds and I’m grateful for the newfound confidence in this specific situation.  I hope the New Year brings us some much needed rest, relaxation and clarity.

Thinking positive

I’ve been sitting here typing out several opening sentences to this blog… and just don’t feel it.  I think it is because the events of the past few months are just really hard to talk about.  Anything being “wrong” with my kid is extremely difficult to put into words.  Worries fill my head all day long and dread feels my heart.  I can feel the anxiety in my chest and in my stomach.  I just don’t feel like coming here and writing it all out.  Tonight, I feel like listing everything that I am thankful for.  I really need to focus on the positive right now.

My son is healthy.  My son is happy.  My son is starting to respond positively to discipline.  My son is hilarious.  My son asked me to hold him today.  My son said “I need mommy,” today.    He told me that I don’t kiss him too much.  My son loves the Beatles.  He loves music and singing.  He says hilarious things.  He makes me laugh.  He fills me with such joy.  He is tall and handsome and loving.  He has such a sweet heart and a sweet personality.  He loves meditating.  He loves learning.  My son is my perfect little man.

My daughter is healthy.  My daughter is happy.  She is learning to walk.  She babbles “mama,” “dada,” and I think she’s even babbling “Jack.”  She has daily talks with the Christmas tree and the ceiling fan.  She has learned to growl.  She officially has 4 safe foods– squash, bananas, apples and carrots.  She loves splashing in the bath.  She loves me and our bond has gotten stronger throughout the last 9 months.  She is wild and fearless.  She loves her brother.  She loves her daddy.  She is such a perfect blessing.

My husband is healthy, happy and smart.  He loves me with or without makeup.  He thinks I’m beautiful when I haven’t showered in 3 days.  He is encouraging and uplifting.  He deals with so much and handles it all so well.  He defends me when I need defending.  He loves our children so much.  He sees our marriage as a true 50/50 partnership.  He is supportive and wonderful.

I am healthy.  I am happy.  I am blessed with 2 beautiful children and a wonderful husband.  I am learning to love my naked face as I move away from makeup.  I am learning to appreciate my physical imperfections because they all tell a story.  I have rediscovered writing and it is a wonderful “me time” activity.  I will do anything for my children and they will always come first.  I have discovered over the past few months that I can handle much more than I ever thought and I can handle it amazingly well.  I am a good mom–even when dealing with my own issues.  I am learning to trust my gut.  I can recognize my blessings every single day.

I am thankful for the learning experiences that 2016 has brought.  I am thankful for the beautiful little girl I delivered this year!  It has been a long, trying year– but there is always something to be thankful for.