Costumes

This post is intentionally not titled “Halloween”.

I have decided that I don’t like Halloween.  In the past, I have enjoyed pumpkin patch pictures, carving jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin seeds, making fall treats, dressing up and trick or treating!  All of the above!

This time around, though, all I’ve done is stress about candy, HFCS, dyes, gluten, soy, and how to keep all of that to a minimum.  I’ve felt guilty about not feeling up to going to the pumpkin patch.  We didn’t even buy a pumpkin to carve.  I have had so many negative feelings about this holiday that I decided to hate it.

But that’s okay!  I’m NOT going to beat myself up, because there’s always next year, and we still had fun, and not every holiday has to be perfect.  That being said, I will continue to dislike Halloween in the future.  Intensely.

I didn’t get many, but here are a couple SOOC pictures of my Ironman and my Cupcake.

Ronan is 3 years 8 months.  Ruby is 1 year 8 months.  I am 38 weeks pregnant.

Happy Halloween.

 

Rope.

No sleep. And no patience. And no energy.

I’m so tired. I’m tired of being a bad momma, and a bad wife, and a bad housekeeper. I’m tired of being a bad friend.

I can’t remember ever having a day as bad as today. I love my kids, I do… but something has to give soon, before I have a mental break.

I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to move beyond this. I feel like we’ve sought help and asked all the right questions, and nothing changes. I feel like there is something wrong and no one is noticing. I feel like this is NOT NORMAL, and everyone keeps brushing it off as normal.

Ronan is not a normal kid. He’s sweet, and funny, and kind… but he also is very strong willed, and doesn’t ever want to veer from the path he has chosen. He has no regulatory ability, which means when he starts getting over-excited, he can’t calm himself down. When he’s over-excited, he loses his ability to discern what may or may not be appropriate, what may or may not be safe. He becomes very dangerous, to himself and others. But he doesn’t see it, and he can’t calm down. He also has no inhibitions. You can’t interrupt his “go” mode. If he is in the middle of reaching out his hand to touch the hot stove, it doesn’t matter how hard or loud you yell, you can’t interrupt the process once it’s in motion. He’s always immediately sorry afterwards, he genuinely regrets his action – but he’s unable to stop once he’s pushed play.

I feel like we have tried everything possible for sleep. Earlier bed times, later bed times, melatonin, different blankets, different rooms, different lighting, chiropractic care and reiki. We’ve tried skipping naps, longer naps, more physical activity, less TV, letting him stay up in his room until he’s tired, leaving the door open, letting him sleep with us… we have really tried everything short of drugging the kid.

Ronan’s occupational therapist believes that a night-time disruption of this nature is likely neurological. It’s not behavioral – he’s not rebelling or being awful – he can’t help it. With all of the other systems that he seems unable to regulate, it doesn’t seem like a stretch that he’s also unable to regulate his sleep cycle.

Moving forward, we’ve had some blood work done to find out if there’s anything physical going on (like low iron, or environmental factors.) Ronan’s OT is recommending a neuro consult. I guess that’s where we go from here.

To top it all off, Ruby is coming into her own. She has figured out that she is in control of her own body, and we can’t force her to do anything. She wants what she wants, and any “no” is met with an all out, back-arching, tonsil showing mega-fit.

Pregnant mama with no sleep is at the end of her rope. There is no more rope. We have exhausted all rope.

Please send rope.

Blog It Out.

I’ve been blowing up on Twitter, and several people have made the suggestion to “blog it out.”  I think it’s time.

I am not having a good go of it.  Nothing has gone well for a long time now, and it’s getting overwhelming.  I am twelve weeks pregnant with a 3 year old, a 1 year old, and an international vacation.  I flew with my very young children to Canada to spend some time with my parents and to “get a break” from it all.  It hasn’t, unfortunately, been much of a break.

One of the things I greatly underestimated was how difficult it would be for my children to adjust to SO many changes all at once.  Different place, different people, different sleep schedule, different beds, different food.  Seriously, so much.  And every single person here is so in love with them, all they want to do is get the chance to spend some time with them.  I don’t blame them, these kids are great.  But it is so overwhelming.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to a 3 year old brain.  The tantrums have been epic.  He is lashing out, and I’m safe, so he lashes out at me.  I understand it, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Sleep has been at a premium, and no one is getting any.  Ronan has been unable to settle himself and has been awake until after 10pm every night.  Waking before 6am.  And I have been Losing. My. Shit.  Over and over again.  I think I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation.

I have hope that once we get home – to a shiny, spanking new house that Brock has been moving us into while we’ve been gone – back to our beds and our routines and our life, that things will get back to normal.  That bedtime wont be a struggle, and I wont have to worry about what Ronan ate today.  That we’ll spend less time fighting and more time playing.  That I wont feel so guilty about being such a terrible mom ALL OF THE TIME.  I’m ready for that kind of change.

Ronan having a bit of a grumpy… week.

Ruby’s first chocolate cookie.  Hey, it’s vacation.

Halloween.

No, YOU didn’t write a post about Halloween until 16 days after the actual event.

*side eye*

So, whatever.  We had costumes that were passed on from friends.  Ronan had the choice of elephant and Buzz Lightyear.  Ruby was going to be either a Ladybug or a unicorn.

Fastforward to moment of dressing.  I had decided on Ladybug for Ruby, complete with black tights and black dress shoes.  Ronan had picked Elephant.  When it came time for him to step into the costume, he suddenly refused.  Instead, he picked up the “BUG!!” costume set out for Ruby, and tried to pull it on over his head.  What would have fit Ruby like a full body costume fit perfectly like a shirt for him… and he was enthralled with the antenna.  Add one pair of black striped “bug” pajama pants, and you have yourself a little boy Ladybug.

All gender issues aside, he loved his costume.  And we had a ton of fun.  Ronan’s speech therapist Emily came with us.  I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of trick or treating, but Brock and Emily kept assuring me that it would be great…. it really was great.  Ronan got the hang of “Ti-o-tee!” amazingly fast, and was so overjoyed to say hello to people giving him candy.   We spent an hour walking to houses, laughing, and enjoying the evening.  Only ONE person thought Ronan was a little girl!

When we got home, Ronan walked very seriously to the front door and asked for “More ti-o-tee pees.”  I mean really, who wouldn’t want halloween to happen more than one night a year?

 

 

 

It’s blurry, but I couldn’t resist.  Such a cute shot.

Another Evaluation.

Ronan had a follow-up evaluation yesterday.  It has been 6 months since his first evaluation, and the county department wanted to find out if we’d been seeing progress with his speech therapy.

Ronan gets therapy twice a week, which is relatively unheard of, and what they really wanted was to find a reason to bring him down to one session a week.

Ronan had his first evaluation in April of this year.  He was 26 months old.  He had delays across the board, although his speech was definitely the most affected.  At 26 months old, Ronan’s evaluation looked like this:

Gross Motor Skills:  20 months

Fine Motor Skills : 20 months

Self Help Ability: 20 months

Social/Emotional Skills: 24 months

Speech/Communication: 12 months

As you can see, Ronan was more than a year behind in verbal communication.  He has been receiving speech therapy for nearly six months now, with a one month break in services because we moved to a different county.

Yesterday, at 33 months old, his evaluation looked like this:

Gross Motor Skills: 30 months

Fine Motor Skills: Age appropriate (33 months)

Self Help Ability: 30 months

Social/Emotional Skills: 30 months

Speech/Communication: 24 months

The evaluator, when she was giving us this information, seemed very guarded.  She seemed to feel like she was telling us awful news.  And yes, it is sort of awful to hear that your child has such a broad array of delays.

However.

However… we were thrilled.  Ronan went from an 18 month speech deficit to a 12 month deficit in 6 months?  He closed the gap in his delay by 6 whole months.  Sure, he hasn’t caught up yet.  But catching up isn’t what we expect; it’s not the way apraxia works.  What we’ve seen is HUGE progress in a short period of time.

We know that this is going to take a long time.  We know that we have a very long road ahead of us in all areas.  But it feels AMAZING to see how far he has come in such a short time, thanks to Miss Emily, our incredible speech therapist, and the ways she’s helped us teach Ronan to grow.

It’s going to be hard work.  But he is so worth it.  And we are so, so lucky.

Please excuse any and all errors in this post.  It’s late, I’m tired…and I’m not proofreading before bed.  Boom.

 

Pool Disaster.

I had been thinking for the past few weeks that it would be really great to take Ronan to the YMCA pool.  He loves to swim, and since it’s gotten colder, we haven’t been getting in the water. (Who am I kidding? We have barely swam despite living at the lake in MONTHS.)

Anyhow.  I called the Y and found out the first 3 swims at the pool are free.  I decided to pack up the kids and go while Brock stayed home.  Just as we were about to leave, Ruby started fussing and rubbing her eyes; instead of taking her, I left her with Brock who put her down for a nap.

Ronan and I got to the pool and changed into our suits.  He was very excited and kept saying, “Poo!  Poo!”  (Yeah, he meant pool.)  We swam around for a while when I realized that I had left our towels in the car.  It kind of put a damper on my level of fun – all I could think about was how cold we were going to be.  I started trying to stay mostly out of the water because I had nothing to dry off with.  Ronan had a life jacket on and is a very confident swimmer, so I let him float around the pool playing.

I was standing in the near side of the shallow pool, and Ronan was about 5 feet away from me.  He was floating on his back and swimming very well.  He turned and kicked his way to the far side of the pool where he started trying to climb out.  One of the lifeguards went over and pulled him out of the pool, took his hand, and walked him around to me.  I laughed and said, “Thanks.”  He looked pissed and said, “When he’s wearing a lifejacket, he has to be within arms reach.”

“Oh.  Sorry,” I replied.

I took his hand and lead him out of the pool feeling like a terrible parent, even though it was quite clear that Ronan was a very strong swimmer and had no trouble turning from front to back, and didn’t get upset when he submerged.  We walked into the changing room and started getting dressed.  I stripped Ronan quickly, dried him off with my sweater, and put on his underwear and pants.  He wasn’t dry enough to put a shirt on yet, so I turned and started pulling my pants on.  I heard his footsteps walk away and watched him as he walked into one of the bathroom stalls.  I reached down to put on my bra, and heard the door to the pool open.  Since Ronan was in the bathroom stall, I waited to hear someone enter the locker room.

I waited about 3 seconds before I thought, “Maybe Ronan ran out there.”  He wasn’t in the bathroom stall as I walked by.  I went out on to the pool deck and didn’t see him anywhere.  I turned and went back into the dressing room and yelled his name.  No answer.  Back out to the pool deck where I notice his little head barely above water half way to the deep end, and VERY much over his height.  He was holding on to the wall and pulling himself deeper and deeper.

As I ran towards him, I saw the lifeguards on the opposite side of the pool, pointing at him and yelling at him to stop, get out.

When I reached him, he looked up at me, smiled, and let go of the wall.  I grabbed his hand just as the top of his head sank below the water.  I yanked him out of the pool and yelled, “ARE YOU SERIOUS, RONAN?”

I made him walk to the car in his soaking wet clothes.  I had no towel, no extra change of clothes, and nothing to put on him.  He kept saying, “Cold.  Co-co-co-cold!”  to which I replied, “Yeah, I bet you wish you hadn’t jumped in the water with your clothes on, huh?”

When we got in the car, I wrapped him in the towel I had forgotten, buckled him into his car seat and began driving home.  It was dead silent.  No radio, no talking, no little boy babble from the back seat.

Finally, I said, very quietly, “Ronan… you could have drowned.  You could have died!… You could have gotten very, very hurt,” I was trying to find something to say to a two year old in a manner that he would understand.

A very quiet, very hesitant, “…kay,” made its way up from the back.

“Mama isn’t mad at you, Ronan.  Mama was very, very scared.  Mama yelled because she was scared.”

“… kay.”

“You can’t jump in the pool, buddy.  You can’t do that.  You just can’t.”  At this point, I was crying.  My adrenaline had started to wear off, and I was more upset than I realized.

“…sah-ee baba.”  (Sorry, mama.)

Cue sobbing.

All in the same moment, I felt like a terrible mother, and like everyone at the pool must be talking about us, and lucky that things didn’t turn out worse, and angry that the lifeguards had let him get so far into the pool, and like the luckiest mom in the world that I have such a sweet, serious, loving little boy.

Summer Smiles.

Trying to keep up with getting pictures off of my camera.  That is all.

Bed head, crummy face, bug bites and all… I just love this guy.

Baby Led Weaning!  BANANA FACE!!

The post-bath silly smiles. She is stunning in blue.

I love the softness of this.  I think it accurately conveys his sweet nature.  I want to kiss him!

World’s Best Hug.  That is happiness right there.

She is this happy!  All the time!  We are so lucky.

Little man.  Little man pants.  Suddenly so grown up.  Potty training at 2.5 years old.

Ruby is 6 months old, bouncing her way to crawling.  Ronan is 2 years and 6 months.

Shew.

I have thought of a different thing I want to blog about every single day for the last few weeks.  I haven’t had a computer to write one!

Now that I can sit here and write a blog, I don’t really know what to say.

I guess a few updates?

We moved.  Or, we are moving.  We found a renter for our home and moved in with Brock’s parents while we look for a new home.  However, the renter isn’t moving in until July 28th, so it is taking us forever to get OUT of our old place.  Sometimes I wish we’d had a shorter deadline just so we could get it all done at once.  I feel like details are slipping through the cracks, and I’m losing track of what needs to get done.

Besides that, I just love being here.  I love waking up on the lake, and hearing the birds.  I love how much time Ronan spends outside, and how much he loves it.  I love sitting by the dock with Ruby, and all of the light through the windows, and the amazing amount of help having family around really is.  I never knew how nice it could be.

Ronan hasn’t had a nap in 4 days.  It’s frustrating like crazy, but he’s also in a new place, not in his bed, dealing with fun new stuff all day every day.  Hopefully he will return to napping soon, because he’s not ready to go all day without a nap.  We have been melt-down central around here.

His speech therapy is on hold, which is incredibly frustrating.  We had seen so much progress, so fast.  New words every single day.  New sounds, new attempts, new excitement.  It felt like Ronan was getting used to the idea of speech therapy, and what we were trying to do.  Now, two weeks from his last session, I’m worried that it’s going to have to start all over again.  I really, truly hope that wont be the case.

Beyond all of this, Ronan is such an incredibly smart and sweet boy.  We’ve started seeing lots of 2 and 3 word phrases.  He knows what he wants, and how to ask for it.  He loves his trucks and cars, he loves to be tickled and chased, he loves squirting everything on the deck with grandmommy’s squirt bottle.  He asks questions.  He figures things out.  He eats EVERYTHING IN SIGHT.  He loves his baby sister, and hands out hugs and kisses even to people he’s just met.  He refuses to sit on the potty with no exceptions.  He laughs when he farts, and yells “TOOT!” when he hears someone else.  We’ve continued his Gluten free/Dairy free diet and very little television (sometimes going many days without any TV time at all) and it has done him a world of good.  He’s an amazing boy.

Ruby has been Ruby.  Incredibly sweet and cute, smiling all the time – except when she’s crying.  Brock and I tried to go out to anniversary dinner last night, and apparently Ruby screamed the entire time we were gone.  She was exhausted when we got home, and fell asleep almost immediately after I took her.  I hate it for her, and I hate it for whomever we leave her with.  I know she’ll grow out of it, but it doesn’t make it any easier while we’re going through it.

Even though I have been mostly pumping, I still haven’t been able to totally give up nursing.  Sometimes I’ll attempt a few sessions in a day, sometimes we’ll go multiple days without nursing at all.  There never seems to be any change – her behavior always stays the same.  I really feel like there just HAS to be someone out there who has gone through this, who has some sort of idea how to help, so I keep searching.  I keep looking for a way to get her to nurse comfortably.

I took her to a speech therapist to have her suck evaluated, only to find out that she has a very strong suck and no suck co-ordination.  The therapist said that normal babies will stop sucking to swallow and breathe every 5-8 sucks, while Ruby continued sucking like a maniac all the way up to 27 before she took the bottle out of Ruby’s mouth to give her a break.  We have begun paced bottle feeding and seen a pretty impressive improvement on the bottle.  We give her up to 7 sucks to take a break on her own before we remove the bottle from her mouth.  All in all, feeding is a lot more relaxed… but it doesn’t seem to be helping us get back to breast.  I felt the whole time like I was telling the therapist over and over that my goal was to return to breastfeeding, not to have a great bottle-feeder… but I felt like she wasn’t listening to me.

Oh wells.  I miss getting to sit and blog.  I have about a hundred amazing pictures on my camera that I want to share.  I think about things I need to say all the time and never get a chance to say them.  I feel like ‘mommyblogging’ is an oxymoron… if you’re a mommy, you’ll never have time to blog!