Friday, May 28, 2010

Potty training and Power Struggles and Monsters - Oh My!



















Can I just start with a sigh? The positivity and "reboot" that I mentioned in my last post held firm for all of about 8 hours (most of which was spent sleeping!) We started potty training Christian on Tuesday and I've been so impressed with how quickly he gets it, but we're definitely taking baby steps...well, I'm taking baby steps. When we go out, I've been putting Christian back in a Pull-Up because we never leave the house these days unless it's really something pressing. But, the cute underwear has been bought, the cheering squad (me and Charles) are in full glory and today we begin trying out the underwear so he can tell us when he has to go, and he can feel uncomfortable if he has an accident. Well, that is the idea. In theory. For the past four days I've had a naked-from-the-waist down toddler running around the house. It is a very cute sight! He had two accidents on Tuesday and that was all it took- he hasn't had an accident while naked since!!! Before I became a Mom, I would never have believed the amount of elation, excitement and celebration that a single bowel movement in a teeny, tiny potty would produce...


(Long pause for baby inhalation...I cannot stop kissing my littlest Peanut. I have to keep his toes covered because I can't trust that I won't just nibble them constantly. Charles laughs about how we're lucky that Christian has any appendages at all and that he wasn't made aware of my carnivorous nature prior to us being married. :)

So, now the part that has zapped my positivity: The Power Struggle. I am in a nearly non-stop head locked power struggle with Christian all day long. He is contrary just for the sake of being contrary. If I say, "Please close the door, Christian." He says, "No! I don't close the door!" If I say, "It's time to put your shoes on." He says, "I don't want my shoes on." ...And throws one. If I even say, "Let's go to the park. We're going to see Dylan and Lucas!" He says, "No. I don't like Dylan and Lucas!" (Which is, of course, completely untrue because he adores Dylan and Lucas and talks about them all the time!) I know he's testing me and I am failing big time. I find myself not staying calm. Not focusing on the positive. Not being consistent. It sucks. I know we're in a Power Struggle, but I don't know how to stop it. My hopes are resting on a recommended book called "Parenting Without Power Struggles". The name says it all- that is what I want but don't know yet how to achieve. I know a lot of it is this age, but I'm feeling ill equipped to deal with it and I have found myself being so impatient. I noticed this impatience growing throughout my pregnancy and has been sticking with me since. Sometimes I feel like maybe my patience is improving a little, and so I'm hoping that some of it is hormone related. I'm a big parenting-book believer, because I've gotten so many great approaches in the past...so, here's hoping for some more much needed wisdom...

Just to add a little fuel to the fire, we are also getting some fears popping up for Christian. He is suddenly afraid of the yark (dark). As he says: "Mommy, it's too yark. It's too yark!" And now, out of nowhere, he talks about monsters under the furniture. I literally don't know what to say or do. I never had this fear as a child, so I don't know what worked for me. Saying, "There are no monsters" doesn't feel right. I tried saying how Elmo and Tully and Zoe are all monsters (from Sesame Street) and that they are our friends. "Monsters are our friends." I could see the wheels turning in Christian's brain. He paused for a long time and then in consistent fashion said, "No. They're not our friends." O...Kaaay. I'm at a loss. I've gotten some suggestions to use a spray bottle of water as a Monster-Be-Gone spray. So, I'll give it a try. It feels a little counter intuitive to me, because then it seems as though I'm supporting the belief that monsters exist. But, I'm gonna give it a try anyway. I'll keep you posted. After all, we successfully broke Christian of cursing after the counter intuitive advice to send him to the bathroom where he could use potty mouth as much as he wanted. Turns out, he didn't want it, and the cursing was done in about 3 trips to the bathroom! So, just because it's counter intuitive, doesn't mean it won't work...right?!

For all of the fears that I had about having a baby with Down syndrome, he is certainly giving me a LOT less trouble than my very typical toddler these days. I know this won't always be the case, but for now I love the low-key nature of my littlest one. He is so accommodating and (I hope) content. I am content around him, and that is really something. Babies have a way of slowing down the universe, because when you're holding a sleeping baby on your chest there is not much else you can do...there is not much else you want to do...except maybe have a little nibble on some baby toes...


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And...Reboot.

I started writing a completely different kind of blog post tonight. I was complaining about my day at traffic court and how it's the drudgery of life that always seems to require the most effort. I re-read what I had written and it all just sounded so...exhausting (and it really was), so I hit delete and called my guilty pleasure: Happy Feet. Happy Feet is a reflexology massage place that has the best 1 hour, $30 massages in L.A, in my opinion. I needed a fresh perspective and a little time away from all of the responsibilities swirling around in my head. So, I made a last minute massage appointment and took off for a little mind, body and attitude readjustment. At the hands of my masseur, all of the stress and tension melted away and I remembered the last time I was there: 5 weeks and 3 days ago. I met up with a couple of girlfriends for a massage. I was 37 and a half weeks pregnant and had just finished my last event client before my official "maternity leave". While I relaxed across the room from my friends, I started having light contractions. They were so light at first, that I wasn't even sure that was what was happening. Sure enough, that was the beginning of Elijah's entrance into this world. It made me think a lot about my experience with his birth and the week following. It's kind of funny that when I tell people that I had a completely natural birth with Elijah- no drugs- they mostly say, "WHY??!!" How can I explain that it was so much easier than you think. It was easier, less painful and more beautiful than you could ever think. And that's the thing...it's the thinking that gets you into the most trouble. It's not that his birth wasn't hard and painful to some degree, but it's that I didn't think about those things. It was my attitude about it that made the difference. It's a reminder for life. Attitude is everything. And it's easy to get off kilter...life has a way (with traffic courts and bills and to do lists) of saying, "How are you going to see this opportunity today?" Tonight I got a chance to reboot. I started off kinda irritated and snippy and complainy (probably NOT an official word, but it should be.) Tonight I got to make a change with the help of a $30 gift certificate to Happy Feet and a one hour massage. It has me thinking about changing my perspective on some other things. I have been in crazy organizing mode and I've really made some great headway, but it's easy to see how much is still left and miss the miracle of what has already been done. So I am challenging myself to change my attitude whenever possible...at least for now. I still have a huge black cloud of responsibilities hanging over my head, but today I checked one off that list. Tomorrow I will aim to check one more off that list and start to reduce my black cloud. (My black cloud is always full of the things that I really need to handle but don't...or can't...or won't. This cloud is usually full of fear over these things. Anyone else relate to this black cloud idea?) The black cloud is usually of my own making. For example, my traffic ticket was just a fix it ticket that would have cost me minimally, had I handled it immediately. Instead, I made excuses about not being able to read the cops writing (it really was totally illegible) and not wanting to drive to West LA Court and not having the money to pay the fines, etc. Because I waited and let fear rule, my fines increased, my license was suspended, then I got pulled over again for the same violation and was ticketed again and will have to repeat this process a second time. I'd like to say lessen learned, but it seems like this is one of those lessons that I need to learn and re-learn over and over. However, I am going to enjoy this moment of reflection and readjustment. It is a huge reminder that having time for myself (even if it is just one hour) can reboot me back to a refreshed, happy person and a better Mommy. ...Just in time for continued Potty Training tomorrow...

...More to come on our Potty Training experience...:0

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Would You Do?

I saw a new show on ABC tonight, called "What Would You Do?" It sets up hidden cameras and actors portray different scenarios, hoping to get a reaction out of the bystanders. One of the scenarios tonight was of a young grocery bagger with Down Syndrome (really an actor) and a loud mouthed patron (also an actor), who criticizes the bagger and calls him names, taunts him, etc. Even though you know it is a set-up, it completely broke my heart. Many of the bystanders did and said nothing, even though they felt it was wrong to treat someone as the (actor)patron did. I cried. I cannot imagine ever having to defend my youngest son, and I hope I never do, but the fact that many people do have to defend against this kind of discrimination is so heartbreaking. But one bystander who defended the grocery bagger, said something that I thought was brilliant. She said to the patron, "Some people you can see their disability, and some people you can't. And sometimes it's the people who you can't see it that are much worse (meaning that the cruel patron was really the one with the worse disability!) I AGREE!!

I have also been in touch with another new Mom with a baby who has Down syndrome. She did not get her baby's diagnosis prenatally, but about a week and a half after his birth. She is still trying to process the news and it really brought me back to my own experience and feelings when the news was fresh. I am still processing what Down syndrome will mean for Elijah and for our family, and I have a feeling it will be an ongoing matter to process. I'm reading a book called, "Babies with Down Syndrome (A New Parents' Guide)". The book lists a lot of possibles for physical characteristics, medical complications, and developmental delays. I found myself silently checking things off the list..."Well, he doesn't have this, that, or the other." But, there are so many things that still surprise and shock me. For instance, I know many children with Ds are not walking until later than age 2. This still sort of has me reeling (Really? Age 2?) And that due to muscle tone issues and palate and tongue size, many don't talk until much later, and many have issues communicating clearly their whole lives (Sigh...how frustrating must that be- both for them and for us parents?) I know there is a large spectrum and that the range of development delay is huge, so I find myself thinking, "Well, Elijah won't have this problem or that problem..." But what if he does? Is it better for me to live with the rose colored glasses right now, or should I be trying to process the full range to avoid disappointment later? The good news is that all I can really do right now is stay in the moment, because Elijah is just a baby. He's a baby who just needs to be loved, held, fed, changed, and cleaned. Plus, there is Christian, who needs also to be loved, held, encouraged, disciplined, changed (hoping to tick this off the list soon) and cleaned (in particular because of the previous verb!). Charles needs love and support too. And lastly...though not lastly is what I need for myself, so I can continue to be a good Mom. A happy Mom. A rested Mom. A patient Mom. So, even though my brain occasionally meanders through all of the possible life scenarios it can think up, I don't have time to dwell on those. There is living to be done.

The good news for today, is that Elijah had his one month well-baby appointment with our pediatrician this morning. (One month already?? I can hardly believe it.) He has gained 10 oz and grown half an inch. He is in the 25th percentile across the board in weight, height and head circumference. So...so far, so good. Grow little man, grow!!! In the last few days I've been getting more comfortable and more confident with the amount he's eating- he nurses for a long time, my milk seems plentiful, he has good, heavy wet diapers and he's gaining weight. That's all that can be done. What he grows, is what he grows now- it's not for lack of milk or something I'm doing wrong. ...And on that note, I hear Elijah stirring for a feeding, so I'm back on Mommy Milky Duty! :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friendships

I love my friends. I have worked very hard over the years to maintain and grow my friendships with those I felt closest to. And while along the way, I sometimes had high expectations from my friends...maybe even too high of expectations...I always tried to be the kind of friend that I wanted in return. However, I'm a little nervous right now. Even a little insecure. I feel like I'm on the cusp of "everything is about to change." When Charles and I first got the news of Elijah's extra chromosome, we looked at each other and said, "Well, our lives are going to be very different now." Mostly, I think that was the fear talking. We imagined a life without vacations, without travel. I imagined having to give up my event business that I love and never getting to go back. Now that I have met a good handful of Moms of children with Ds, I am confident (or as confident as I can be right now) that someday I can put time and effort into my business, even if I am temporarily slowing down to adjust to the unknowns in life. The Moms I've met have a variety of lifestyles, and many of them seem to include fulfilling careers. I can see a future for my career, but I'm worried a little when it comes to my friendships. My friends have rich, fulfilling, successful lives- they are awesome and I am grateful for each and every one and grateful for their roles in my life. But, I also see my near future filled with therapy sessions for Elijah, work, school for Christian, and PAPERWORK. Luckily, the state offers great programs to help children with special needs (even though more programs and jobs for these programs are being cut as I type.) If these programs didn't exist, we wouldn't stand a chance of giving our son everything he'll need. We are a family of people who followed their passions in life, which in our case has not produced much wealth in the pocketbook, but an abundance of wealth in the heart. In order to get funding and approval for these programs, there is also an abundance of paperwork. (Shall we say that the government has a "passion for paperwork"?) I am filling out one of the many applications that will be necessary. This application is for the Regional Center, which provides early intervention programs and therapy for children who have a condition that delays development. This application is 14 pages long. Fourteen pages. So, here is where my friendship insecurities make sense: We all already have such busy lives. Will the fact that I have a life that my current friends don't relate to make a difference? Will the fact that our kids grow up and go to different schools (where they and their parents make new friends,) put a wedge between us? What about my friends who don't have kids...who already probably feel like our lives are going down different paths and now this path is even further from what they know? As it is, I have to put time for friends on the calendar or they get scheduled right out. What happens when my days become even fuller with the responsibilities of raising two boys- one with special needs? Will I be able to make the same effort? Will some of my friendships fall by the wayside as a result?

I have seen a morphing effect of friendships in my life, and it has mostly gone for the good. I've grown up and grown into the friendships I have now. And I have bonds now that are stronger than they ever were in my childhood, my teens or my twenties. So, I should trust the way they will go now, but change isn't always easy. This has really been on my mind lately and I needed to get it out. I've been meeting some cool people online because of the commonality of our children having Ds. I'm excited by the new people who I relate to in so many ways. It is a huge relief to talk or write and hear your own feelings about the situation reflected back in someone else. I cry every time I hear or read these complicated feelings I have, being reflected back by someone else. It is a huge relief to feel like someone else truly understands. As wonderful as that is, will that affect and change the friendships I have now?...This post is really just rhetorical, because I can't and won't know the answers yet. So... if I were me now talking to the younger me about friendships, I would probably say this: "Who your friends are and the role they have in your life will change throughout the years. But, remember the saying that "some friendships are meant for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime."

I'm a little nervous about it all, but you know what? If the "reason" is just for cocktails, then I'm game...even if I do have to schedule it in, cancel twice and reschedule once.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Dance around the chair"

When I first got the news that my baby would be born with Down syndrome, I decided that I would tell everyone in my life right away. In fact, the very first thing I wanted to do was to get this news out of the way, so I could find out who was with me, who was against me, and who I had in my corner to draw support from. It turns out, it was a great choice for me. Considering that no one ever really "knows what to say" in these kinds of situations, I had almost the perfect thing said to me by everyone who mattered most. Slowly, the responses that I got helped me to see that everything would be alright, and maybe...maybe everything would be better than alright. There were also the days while I was still pregnant, that I would come across a perfect stranger who would gush on and on about my pregnancy. (You know the type: She automatically touches your belly without asking and begins the series of questions like, "When are you due?", "What are you having?", "Is this your first?", and then follows up with the inevitable Advice or Fact.) I never minded these encounters because during them, I didn't have to be "the girl who is having a baby with Down syndrome". I always felt a little like I was pretending...that since I hadn't revealed all of the news, that I was lying (by omission) just a little. When I didn't tell the whole story, I didn't have to hear the awkward silence or the "I'm sorry" or even the perfect-thing-to-say-that-never-ceased-to-make-my-eyes-well-with-tears. I just got to be the glowing, pregnant chick.

I don't know if all newborns with Down syndrome start off looking as adorable and typical as my little Elijah, (Consider the bias here) but while I do see some traits of Down syndrome, they are slight, and other people say they really don't "see" it. All that this means for me is that I don't have to do any explaining right now. I get to go to the grocery store and just be the Mom-of-a-newborn. I can show off my baby to perfect strangers who ooh and aah and don't see anything 'different' about my youngest son. This is kind of a relief. I feel myself holding my breath about all of the possible scenarios that might come up... The cruel things that kids can say and my wanting to explain, protect and stand up for my baby because he is a little different. When I think about it, there really are only two things that I hold my breath about when it comes to Elijah: the medical complications that can accompany Ds and the fact that people can be cruel and/or ignorant. See, when I am in my cozy circle of trusted friends and family I don't worry about cruelty. It is only out there in the world of strangers. So, I'm feeling glad to have a temporary hall pass from strangers' responses. Is that weird? I wonder what it is about someone being different that triggers so much fear and uncertainty? This thought led me to a new awareness today: I was at preschool with my son Christian, and they did a little song and dance called "Dance around the chair." In it, a small chair is placed in the center and a child circles the chair while everyone else sings, "Chris-tian, Chris-tian dance around the chair...Chris-tian, Chris-tian dance around the chair...Chris-tian, Chris-tian dance around the chair..dance around the chair!" What I noticed today more than I ever have before, was how different each of these children really are. There was Wendy, who smiled a big smile and confidently but slowly circled the chair. Then there was Dash, who circled the chair really fast, and then would change direction just before he had completely circled that chair...making kind of half-circles in his wake. Charlie ran really fast around the chair only once and then ran straight back to tackle his Mom. My Christian circled the chair and laughed hysterically, as though he were being chased AND tickled at the same time. Each child was so. very. different. Deep, huh? It just really got me thinking about how we all fear different even though we all already are. As kids, we spend our days trying to fit in, and then we spend our adult years in therapy trying to figure out who we are. It might be a stereotype to say that kids with Down syndrome don't waste their time on this. But in the limited experience I have had with people with Ds, I have never once met anyone who spent their time trying to be someone they're not. I find that refreshing. And even if it is a stereotype, I hope that is a trait that my Elijah gets. And I hope it's a trait that my Christian can have too. Because I was very proud of my hysterically laughing chair-dancer today. And I hope that Life doesn't ever squash that part of him.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nursing & Paranoia

I am pecking away at the keys very slowly, because I have a nursing newborn attached to me. You are probably wondering why on earth I am trying to multi-task while nursing... It is simple: I get a little bored. While there is much beauty and bonding happening while nursing, I am getting my fair share of this quality time- nearly 8 hours of it everyday. That is more than a 40 hour a week job!! I get paid in sweet little mouse sounds & occassional funny faces along with the satisfaction of knowing I am nourishing my baby in one of the best possible ways. ...I think... And this is where the paranoia starts.

The words "Down syndrome" color everything. Things I wouldn't normally question, get questioned. Even though I tried to steer clear of too much medical research about Ds while I was pregnant, there are things that still stand out (both from the medical community & real parents' personal experiences.) Things like, "Babies with Ds tend to grow at a slower rate than other babies and tend to be smaller in general." Then there are the words of the NICU nurses ringing in my head: "If he sleeps more than 3 hours, you need to wake him up to feed him." What about the old adage, "Never wake a sleeping baby."? Waking Elijah up to nurse him (especially at night) feels really counter intuitive to me. He has been sleeping 5 and sometimes 6 hours at night. It's been fabulous for me because I don't feel especially sleep deprived, but then I'm back to worrying about all of the scary because-he-has-Down-syndrome-isms. We had our first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday and he hasn't gained back the weight to be at his birth weight (which is what most doctors want to see of healthy babies by 2 weeks of age.) Our doctor is not at all concerned. It seems that he has gained 2 oz in a week, but this is not even confirmed because the nurse at the pediatrician's office and I had to calculate and convert grams to pounds and ounces (the hospital only listed his weight in grams. He started off something like 3590 grams and then lost 80 grams. Where are we?? Europe? What good are grams going to do us, and if we're relying on my math skills (Which we were. That and my phone calculator,) I could've gotten it totally wrong. Hopefully not. Our pediatrician is my old next door neighbor. He is amazing. When I lived next door to him before I had kids, I thought to myself that I would want him to be my kids' pediatrician. And now after a rather fruitful set of circumstances, he is. So, I digress. Elijah has gained some weight and I've been assured that since he is having plenty of wet and dirty diapers, is sleeping well and nurses well that I can relax. But, I'll admit, it's sometimes hard to relax about this.

I started writing this post last night, fell asleep, woke up and took Elijah to his follow up cardiology appointment and just got back home. The cardiology appointment went a long way in relieving my paranoia. Not only does Elijah's heart look "perfect" (Oh how I love hearing those words!) but, the cardiologist said that his weight was good too. He reminded me that just as adults can have a wide fluxuation in weight depending on when and how much they ate and what they got rid of in waste- so can babies...up to 10 oz difference! So, essentially, he considered Eli's weight 'back to his birth weight'. I was doubly happy to hear that, but also to see that since our pediatrician appointment on Wednesday, he's gained another 1 and 1/2 ounces! Woo hoo- go Eli!!! (So many parents that I've met online have said that your children's (with Ds) milestones will be EVEN more exciting than your 'typically developing child', and now I already know what they mean! I feel like a proud Mama whose baby just came home with straight A's on a report card. :)

So, for now I am spending my days nursing (and occassionally multi-tasking) and battling (and conquering) the paranoia. I'm sure it will rear it's ugly head on and off again and some of it will simply be because I'm hyper-aware of "what CAN exist" in the life of a baby with Down syndrome. But, you know what? Who cares!? He has an extra chromosome...and so far that's the ONLY thing that is different about him. He has something EXTRA. How many people can say that?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My "I Love" List

When I was in high school, I used to make lists with a friend of mine. The lists were my "I Love..." or "I Hate..." lists, and they were always extensive and specific, including things like, "I love dancing in the living room with blaring music and no one around." "I love the sound of an orchestra tuning", "I love the way the sheets feel cold when you first slide into them after a long, exhausting day." And so on...Lately, I've been feeling such an overwhelming feeling of "I loves" for the little men in my life that I thought it was time to break out the old high school boredom-buster list. So here it is:

I LOVE...
that when I tell Christian to eat his broccoli, he says, "Okay! (Like it's the most delicious thing in the world anyway) and gobbles it up- in too big of a bite.

the way that Christian has been eyeing the cookie bouquet of iced sugar cookie animals, and chooses very specifically which one he will want to eat. (The lion yesterday, then the pink pony today. I wonder who he'll choose tomorrow?)

that during Elijah's first real photoshoot today, he refused to pose asleep, on his belly Ann Geddes-style. He did not like it. He did not like it at all. And I was charmed...

the little mouse-like sounds Elijah makes.

when Christian points to his baby brother and says, "That's Elijah, Mommy." I just love hearing him say his name as though Elijah has always been a part of our family.

that both of my boys (and even sometimes my hubby) light up when I come into the room. There might not be a better feeling in the world.

the soothing sounds giraffe that instantaneaously puts Elijah (and ME!) into a sleepy trance.

watching my boys sleep. The only bad part is that I want to kiss them and kiss them and kiss them...and this might wake them up, so I try to restrain myself.

the bond that exists from nursing my baby boy.

the train table that Charles built for Christian...and that he loves putting together unusual track combinations with Christian, who gets really into it!

the fleeting smiles that cross Elijah's lips- it is going to be heaven to see full-blown, intended smiles when that day comes.

staying up late and blogging about all of the reasons I love my boys...and knowing that I have only "touched the tip of the iceberg"...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Allergic to crying

The day after my dog Buddy died I woke up with bright red eyes and eye gunk. Since I'd had an infection of pink eye a few weeks before that, I assumed I was relapsing. By the next day, I could tell that it was NOT pink eye again, but probably allergy-related. I was going to try acupuncture for some allergy relief, but my OB asked me to wait a week to run it by her husband who is an acupuncturist. By the following week, I went into labor and had to cancel acupuncture. In the weeks since losing Buddy, I've noticed a strange phenomenon. I think I am allergic to crying. And God knows that I've been doing a lot of it these days!! When I was in the hospital and found out that I was going to be discharged while Elijah stayed behind in the NICU, I cried the entire night and woke up with red, swollen, gunky eyes. Each and every time I watch a TV show or read a book or a blog that makes me cry, I end up with red eyes...and I mean REALLY red, not just I've-been-crying-red, but more I-am-a-movie-vampire-who-sucks-people's-blood-red (These would be good names for nail polish colors.) Today, I tested my theory again with a cry-filled outing with the whole family. I decided to be brave and get out with our little family after 4 completely home-bound days. It was our first outing. We were on our way to church. I had everyone packed up, dressed, into the car and we were on our way! I was driving, and got about one block from our house when I see a police car camped out on a side street, waiting to catch someone doing something. I checked my speed and then held my breath as I passed them, because I have not renewed my overdue registration. The police car pulled out behind me and the officers let me drive about 2 more blocks before pulling me over. The last time I got a ticket for this nonsense (granted, my own self-created nonsense, as I need to take responsibility for not getting it handled) the ticket cost $1000. "Driver's license and proof of insurance, please." I suddenly realized that I had not printed out my newest insurance card showing the current dates of coverage, and what was even more frustrating is that I was 3 blocks from home where I could prove that I am insured! I started crying after the police officer took my info. It was 2 female officers and I just wanted to plea my case, but I also thought that I can't make excuses because everyone has something that makes life a little complicated. They showed a little mercy to me and only wrote a fix it ticket for the registration, but wrote a real ticket for the insurance. I broke down when the officer handed the ticket to me and told her that I felt like the lyrics to a bad country song these days. I could tell she felt pretty bad, and told me to plea my case to the judge and that if there were any fines, that with the economy the way it is, that the judges are really trying to work with people. I'm a mess. I can't believe I was a blubbering basket case to a police officer. I wasn't crying to get out of the ticket, I was just genuinely wondering why I can't seem to catch a break? I guess I didn't cry as hard as some of the other things that have gone on this past month, because I didn't get the eye gunk -but the extreme redness is back again. So, my conclusion is that I Am Allergic To Crying. That, and maybe I should never leave the house again... (And neither should Charles, considering that he left this afternoon to run an errand and ran out of gas. At this point, I started wondering where the hidden cameras are...)

The thing is, that I have quite a few Happy Crying bouts also. I am immensely proud of my sweet little man, Christian. He is surprising me left and right with his conversations and his observations. (He even asked when he saw me putting in eye drops, "Are your eyes red, Mommy?" Isn't that an expression? How would he know to ask that? I'm sure I've said it at some point and he remembered, but still. Or my eyes are so literally red, that it was just a factual question.) Mostly, though, he is already such a sweet big brother. He tells me if Elijah is crying, he looks at him and says "He's cute!" and asks where he is when it's not obvious. It warms my heart, and I get weepy thinking about all they will go through together as brothers...the fun they'll have, the fights they'll have & the times that Christian may have to stand up for his baby brother...Right now, no one seems to "see" Down syndrome in our baby boy, but one day they will. And it will color some of the experiences that we all have. My family is a little in denial, I think. I mention that Elijah's head and neck are just a little more wobbly than my experience with other newborns, and I get a response of how all babies have wobbly necks in the beginning. But, I do see and feel a difference from when Christian was a baby. It's not extreme, and I'm glad that Elijah does seem to have pretty good muscle tone considering that this is one of the things that seems to affect all babies with Down syndrome. Right now, though, I'm just observing and loving my littlest guy. He is such a sweet and easy baby so far. He is also a sleeper. I got a 6 hour stretch of sleep last night!! I hadn't intended to go that long, because I start to get paranoid that I really should wake him to eat. I try to just make up the feeds during the day because it just seems and feels so illogical to wake up a happily sleeping baby. But, I wrestle with paranoia- brought on by our NICU experience- to be sure that he is getting enough to eat. (He nurses for 25 min-1 hour each time, has a ton of wet and poopy diapers and sleeps well. I understand that these are all of the things that you want to be happening, but I still think I'll feel better after our first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday when I can see if he's gaining back any of his weight.)

This whole Mothering thing combined with the hormonal drop is really something. I'm trying to remember when I started to feel like "myself" again after having Christian....I think it took 2 years... I just want to drop these hormones off at Good Will and hand them down to someone else who might need a good cry. I am done. After all, I am allergic to crying anyway. I have no idea if this post even makes any sense- it's probably a mish-mosh of words and feelings, but I don't seem to have much control over my feelings or words these days. I'm working on embracing it, but meanwhile you might want to steer clear of any conversations with me that involve sadness...or happiness...or well, perhaps comedy is the only way to go...but nothing TOO funny, cuz that might make me cry too...And until they make an allergy pill for tears, I will be wearing my emotions on my sleeve...or rather, on my...eyes...

My boys this weekend:








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