Wednesday, December 29, 2010
And Little Man's mama has been a major slacker with this blog. I'll have to give an update later today or tomorrow on all the happenings in my life. Lots going on... this mom is glad the year is almost done!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Last year, on Black Friday, I slept as much as possible because Dude was home with me to share the burden of caring for a 3-month-old who still wasn't sleeping through the night (and that took time). I didn't go out, that I recall. I just remember being TIRED. Actually, I'm pretty tired today. But my sleep issues have nothing to do with Little Man.
So this past Friday, we actually WENT OUT. We stopped by my parents' house. We ran some errands. And when Little Man fell asleep in the car on the way home, we spontaneously decided to head to the outlets that were about a 30 minute drive--so he'd sleep longer--and if it was too busy, we'd head back. But by 4:30 pm, the crowds must have slowed down a bit. So we hit up Carter's and Stride Rite and got a few basics for the boy. His first pair of real sneakers (which he likes better than the leather shoes we got him) and a few pairs of pants and shirts in 24 month size. They're a bit big, but the 18 month stuff is a bit tight. He's right in the middle... almost out of one and almost in the other. But spending the little money we have on our son is worth it. Plus he needs clothes, right?
Maybe next year, on Black Friday, this mom can buy herself something nice. Here's to a better year ahead and perhaps a better economy and better jobs for my entire family.
Friday, November 19, 2010
They day before he turned 15 months, last Saturday, he just up and walked at my in-laws' apartment. We were there for my 3-year-old niece's birthday party and he started walking about an hour before they arrived. I was so excited. My baby was walking! Of course Dude's brother was a "Debbie Downer" and was like oh don't get excited because it's more work. I didn't know him when their oldest child started walking but I want to ask someone if he was excited. But he doesn't seem the gushy type to me. Oh well, not everyone can be exuberant, right?
Here's video from the Monday after Little Man started walking, taken at my office.
On Tuesday, Little Man had his 15 month well visit and it went quite... well. lol
Weight: 26 lb 9 oz (75th percentile, down from 90th)
Height: 32.5 inches (90th percentile)
Little Man is meeting all his milestones and is, thankfully, healthy. He does still have a bit of that umbilical hernia, but our pediatrician told Dude and I that some children have this until age 4 and not to worry. We only asked because his belly button is an odd looking outie and we weren't sure if it was just an outie or something else. And I have to say that we were glad to say he was walking. Both of us were a bit concerned that he wasn't just days before even though we knew that we were late walkers ourselves.
I don't know why we get stuck on "milestones" but I think parents inevitably do. I like Babycenter's chart the best. Little Man is ahead on some, on time with others and behind on a few. So that means he's probably average overall with development and that's fine with me. Though his word count is far ahead of what they think a 15-month-old should say. He's up to almost 40!
Here's the updated list. I may have forgotten a few, so it could be more (also a favorite word of his).
- Nana (for both my MIL and my coworker, Ana)
- Da Daw (the dog)
- Moo (cow)
- Baa (sheep)
- Dibbit (ribbit for frog)
- Dis (This)
- Dat (That)
- Ah Dun (all done)
- Mahr (more)
- Duck Duck (ducks)
- Donnuh Duck (Donald Duck)
- Lala (Elmo)
- Baba (bottle)
- Na Nok (he bangs on doors and says knock knock)
- Nap Nap (why twice, I don't know, but that's for nap)
- Bir (Bird)
- 25. Uh-oh
- Kuh (cup)
- Snack (sounds more like sna)
- Key (Mickey Mouse or Cookie Monster)
- Ma-la-lay (Marmalade, one of my brother's dogs)
- Buh (Book)
- Puh (Puffs)
- Mill (Milk)
- Meema (the name for my MIL's sister)
- Papa (for my FIL)
- Bubba (Other babies)
- Mew (for cats, meowing)
- Wubba Wubba (Does that count? It's for Grover!)
- Eye Color: Hazel. They turn greenish gray when he wears green and a brownish gray at other times.
- Hair: He's getting more, but it's still quite fine. The color is a dark blonde.
- Diaper Size: Still a 4, and generally Huggies
- Clothing: Mostly the 18 month outfits, but some 24 month
- Shoes: The few he has are in 12-18 month (Robeez) or 5.5 Wide (Stride Rite)
- Sippy Cups: He prefers the Nuby Flip-n-Sip
- Bottles: Unfortunately yes, for milk. And he won't hold them himself.
- Utensils: He likes to try to feed himself with sporks and spoons.
- Favorite Toy: Still his Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Learning Home
- Best Friend: Our dog, who he tries to play with all the time!
I have to say, this is such a fun age. The only thing I'm not liking is the temper tantrums. But I guess it comes with the territory, right?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family,
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family.
When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family,
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family!
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Cousins, friends, sons and daughters,
Uncles, aunts, and grandparents
I’m so glad you’re my family!
Oh, I’m so glad you’re my family.
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family.
Even if you’re far away
or if I see your every day
when you’re in my heart to stay
You’re my family!
When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family.
When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family.
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Cousins, friends, sons and daughters,
Uncles, aunts, and grandparents
I’m so glad you’re my family!
Oh, I’m so glad you’re my family.
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family.
Oh, I’m so glad!
I have several friends who I consider to be my family, because we're in each others' hearts. And I am so grateful that by marrying Dude, I have a wonderfully supportive family. It's like I have sisters, even though I don't see one of them too often, and I never realized I wanted that.
My sister-in-law, S, lives only 6 miles away so I see her more often than my other SIL, C. Because of that geographic closeness, I know her better and I think she knows me better too. She is such a lovely woman. S has helped me out by running to the store for me (when Little Man was a newborn) or fielded panicked phone calls. When Little Man was diagnosed with Torticollis and Brachycephaly, I had a breakdown and was home alone—she came right over.
My sister-in-law, C, is an awesome person, too. I wish we lived closer and were able to see each other more often. When I initially tried breastfeeding Little Man, C was almost 9 months along with her fourth (my niece who is 6 weeks younger than Little Man) and she went above and beyond the call of duty (by demonstrating) when she tried to help me figure it out. I was actually afraid of disappointing her when I decided to formula feed. And C has such an easy manner with her children. They are kids so they have their moments, but overall they're wonderfully well-behaved and I hope to learn from her example.
I'm less close to my brothers-in-law. I have more in common (interest-wise) with S's husband, J. A love of cartoons and Muppets and other juvenile entertainment. And a shared fondness for the Baby Blues comic strip. But I feel awkward around Dude's older brother (C's husband), M. It's probably more me. But I feel stupid around him. I'm much more comfortable with C. So lately I've found myself trying not to talk to him. That's wrong... I need to get over that. But I'm not sure how.
And I've mentioned that I adore my in-laws. They're great. And Dude's aunt is such a generous woman, who is great with all her grand-nephews and nieces. So I'm lucky. I hit the in-law jackpot. Most people complain about theirs... but not me. Thank goodness!
As for my family, I have mixed emotions. I've mentioned my parents, who are wonderful. And my brother, who is complex. But my extended family is harder to discuss. I love most of them. I no longer have emotional ties to my one male cousin. But I never felt close to my female cousins due to the age difference—I'm 6, 8, 11 and 14 years older than they are. Occasionally I am in touch, through Facebook, with my cousin's on my dad's side. But I seldom, if ever, hear from my cousins on my mom's side. I'm not sure if I want that to change or not. I hate getting hurt and it's easier to be distant than open myself up again to be rejected. And then I think I should be over these fears by now. I'm 40 years old... shouldn't I be past this? But I guess not.
So my family is Dude's and my friends. I'm so grateful that I have mended the one friendship that I almost permanently damaged and I'm doing my best to reconnect with friends that I have neglected due to motherhood and exhaustion. I hope they will accept my mea culpas, especially since they did that to me when their children were younger, but if not I will move on. I need to stop beating myself up for past mistakes. I really do.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I actually wish I made a better salary so I could enroll Little Man in daycare. The first year, bringing him to work with me was great. He slept a lot and I had my baby with me. I was with him. What could be better?
But now I realize he needs more socialization and would benefit from an environment that is structured around children. Not that I think he'd nap better. I actually would be worried he wouldn't. But he likes company when he plays. And most of his tantrums are because I'm sitting at my desk, trying to work, and he wants me sitting on the floor with him while he plays with his toys. He's quite social and I think would benefit from being around other toddlers.
However that's not happening any time soon. There's a lot of transition in our lives right now and no major changes, except for one that we've been discussing, will happen before next Spring. So for now I'm just going to have to "Make it Work" (as Tim Gunn would say) and hope for the best.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I barely remember a time when I wasn't teased and tormented. Perhaps not the first 5 years of my life, but I remember DREADING going to school when I was only 7 or 8 years old. The people who lived in my neighborhood were just cruel. The other children called me Cheese. Seriously. Cheese. Why? Because this girl who lived down the block from me, Alyssa, ate cheese on the bus and because she cried. She was Cheese 1 and I was Cheese 2. Then she moved away (good for her!) and I was the lone target of the bullies in our neighborhood.
The girls next door were a few years older. I remember they asked me to play hospital with them. I was SO excited. They wanted me to play. So I went over and they had me lie on the picnic bench like it was a table. They wrapped me in bandages. And then they poked sewing needles in my arms. I was only 8.
I was told I was ugly. I was told that nobody liked me. In the Winter, I was pelted by ice balls. In the Spring, I was shoved down into puddles. There was a school bus stop just across the street from my house, but I walked to the other bus to be with my friends Michelle and Jennifer as support. I remember in 6th grade that this boy, Russell was his name, had a big party and he invited ALL the kids—except for me and a few others, who were all my friends. I did have friends, but we were the misfits. It hurt so badly. And I don't remember ever telling my parents what was going on. Or if I did, I may not have told them everything. I'm not sure why.
Middle School was better. I made more friends as the 5 elementary schools in our town combined. So for two years (7th and 8th grade) I was happier. I met my best friend there and we're still friends today, 27 years later. But of course that didn't last and I went to high school, losing many of my friends since we had a regional district and most of the girls I liked went to the other high school. Great.
High School SUCKED the first two years, since the bullies who had tormented me were older and still there. I remember three of them flicking cigarette ashes in my hair on the school bus home (the bus driver was no help, they never are) and I ran screaming off the bus to my BFF's bus (she lived in another area of town) and went home to her house. That time I told my mom, who then told the other girls' moms what they had done. They never physically hurt me again, but the emotional abuse was torture.
So for years I was told I was ugly and undesirable. I believed it. So I never dated in high school and only barely dated in college. I gave a weak attempt at suicide when I was 16 (downed most of an aspirin bottle). Thankfully it didn't work. But I'm not going to give a "bio" of my life here. It will be too long. But it did get better. I made friends. I found my niche when I went to Hofstra. But I still felt inadequate. And I didn't have serious relationships and I sabotaged the ones I did have. My self-esteem was shot. And when I turned 30, I was clinically depressed. Thank goodness for therapy and my dog Casey. Seriously, both of them helped turn things around.
So there are reasons I didn't meet Dude until I was 36. I really didn't date seriously until I was 34... I had no faith in myself. And even today, I often feel like I don't deserve to be happy.
Bullying affects your life. And sometimes you're just bullied for being sensitive. Bullies like to make people cry.
If there is one thing I hope to do with my son, it's to teach him NOT to be a bully. It's to teach him to treat others with respect. And to tell me or his father if he's being bullied, so we can figure out ways to combat it. I pray he's not treated like I was. I started out like he did. All smiles and friendly. And while I'm still outgoing, there is always a knot in my stomach when I talk to new people. I don't want Little Man to have that knot.
There will always be mean people, but I do hope things can get better. At the very least, all the news on bullying have brought this problem out in the open. And perhaps as my son gets older, there will be more ways to combat it.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
But he does talk. Sort of. At least Dude and I and people close to Little Man understand him. He can say:
- UpDown (he knows what UP and DOWN means and says them both, but likes to say it as one word)
- Dada (though Dude thinks he doesn't say it or know who he is)
- Daw (Dog)
- Don Duck (Donald Duck)
- Maa (for Moo and Cow)
- Ah Dun (All Done)
- Dat (That)
- Baba (Bottle)
- Ah-wah (Agua, from my Dominican coworker who adores Little Man)
- Hola (He says it in Spanish but no Hello yet)
- Hah Daw (Hot Dog from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
I may edit this list as I think of other words. I want to be sure to remember this... since I forget things so quickly.
Little Man also got his 7th tooth on Thursday (bottom left lateral incisor finally broke through). He hadn't cut a bottom tooth since he was 6 months old! No molars yet, but you can see where they will eventually erupt. And I guess tooth #8 will show up soon (the other bottom lateral). He eats pretty well, but I still worry if he's getting enough protein. He loves his carbs.
In other stats, he's still in size 4 diapers and he's wearing 18 month clothing—unless it's cut small, like Polo or BabyGap for shirts. His torso is still longer than his legs. I'm not sure when or if that will change. Most of his wardrobe is from Carter's, which I find fits him quite well. But Gap and Old Navy has some really cute stuff.
So my baby is becoming more and more of a boy. 14 months... wow.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
She was always a better friend than I. She remembered everything I said and she was thoughtful in asking about people I knew and about my family. I'm not saying she was perfect, because she wasn't. But she gave more than I did. And a few years ago, I let her down by goofing off online when I was on the phone with her and just not being there for her. So she cut me out of her life. I tried to make amends, but I recently found out that my attempts were not enough for her.
She kept emailing me and sending gifts for Little Man. Very thoughtful, but we hadn't talked since I told her I was pregnant (and she quickly got me off the phone). I truly believed she wanted me out of her life and I couldn't figure out why she kept including me in her mass emails and sending my son gifts. So I wrote a note basically saying I was confused to why she kept in touch that way when it seemed she wanted me out of her life. And I asked her to stop sending gifts for Little Man if she didn't want our friendship to continue.
I don't regret sending my note. But I did get what I asked for. She sent a cold letter basically telling me off for my behavior. She was right, I let her down. But I'm tired of being beat up over it. And I'd rather her hate me and cut me out of her life than feel so uncomfortable when I heard from her. She does. It's gone. A friendship over.
I hope my other friend, who I recently hurt, will forgive me. But I'm a coward. I haven't called or written. I'm tired of being hurt. And I've been hurt way too much by others. All the recent news of bullying reminds me of my childhood and teenage years. So to think that *I* hurt people the way I was hurt... well, that sucks.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Before I was a mom, I'd drive all over the place to see my friends. And I had these grandiose plans to just take Little Man with me. But he's a fussy napper and doesn't necessarily travel well (beyond 30 minutes in the car). So I've canceled plans with friends at the last minute and now have probably ruined a few friendships as well. It's like I freeze and panic. I never did that before. But now, all of a sudden, it's like I'm unable to do things on my own because I worry about Little Man and how he'll react--or how I'LL react due to the lack of sleep (he wakes up early) if I'm out too late.
So I've changed. Not always for the better. And I'm not sure how to let my friends know that I don't mean to hurt them with my indecisiveness. I love my friends. But I know I've let a few of them down in the last several months and I'm not sure they will accept my apologies. Perhaps if I'd only done it once, they would. But you know that saying: Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me? These friends must feel like they are fools for thinking I'd be there.
It sucks. It really does. Because I know I'm making these poor choices and it stems from fear but I really can't convey this to my friends. I think my friends who are mothers understand (they say they do) and my best friend does (but we've known each other for 27 years) but a few of my friends may not.
So I hate that I haven't changed for the better. I'm still me. And I'm a good mother. And I'm not a bad person. But some of these changes have been for the worse.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
So the morning was busy and Little Man did not nap—not his fault, I had to wake him to take him to the doctor. When he doesn't get his morning nap (and I assume it's still relatively common at 13 months) he is crankier during the day. Usually it's his "better" nap (from around 8:30/9:00 am until 10 am) and the afternoon nap is hit or miss. Today he did nap at my office—for those who don't know, he accompanies me to work as I work for a family-run business—for over an hour but when he woke up he was very clingy and I think the lack of earlier sleep affected him.
Overall, he's such a sweet boy. He gives "kisses" to everyone (blows them) and gives me actual ones (open mouth on my cheek) and big hugs. He's trying SO hard to walk but isn't quite there yet. I often wonder if his larger size—he was 25 lb 12 oz today—is the culprit. He has a lot more to carry than a 20 lb baby. But I'm not really concerned about him not walking yet, since I didn't walk until I was 17 months old and Dude was nearly 18 months when he took his first steps. But he's getting much better at standing unassisted and actually did so for over a minute today. Progress!
Little Man just makes me smile. I am so grateful that he's my son and a part of my life.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
August 14, 2009 and August 14, 2010
My little man is not so little any more!
And Little Man's was NOT happy with his birthday smash cake. The feeling of the icing on his fingers made him cry. Maybe he'll like cake by his 2nd birthday?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
As my blog title is about my feelings and experiences about motherhood, I do want to mention that Little Man turned ONE on August 14th. I can't believe he's a "toddler" now—even if he's not walking yet—and that the first year went by so quickly. I'll post some photos from his first birthday tomorrow, but for now I'll just share a year of milestones. Most info is from his well baby visits but some months it was me weighing him. (Weight • Length/Height • Head Circumference)
Birth: 9 lb • 20.5 inches • 13.75 inches
2 Weeks: 9 lb 8 oz • 20.75 inches • 14.25 inches
1 Month: 11 lb 10 oz
2 Months: 13 lb 8 oz • 23 inches • 15.75 inches
3 Months: 16 lb 1 oz • 23.5 inches • 16 inches
4 Months: 17 lb 12 oz • 25.25 inches • 16.5 inches
6 Months: 20 lb 12 oz • 27.5 inches • 17.25 inches
7 Months: 22 lb (on UPS scale at my job)
8 Months: 22 lb 9 oz
9 Months: 23 lb 6 oz • 29.75 inches • 17.75 inches
10 Months: 24 lb 6 oz
11 Months: 25 lb 4 oz • 30.75 inches
12 Months: 25 lb 8 oz • 31.25 inches • 18.5 inches
For his entire first year, Little Man was in the 90th percentile for weight. He went from 50th in height (at 3 months) to 90th by 9 months. And thankfully for me, his weight gain slowed down after 6 months. But he's still quite heavy to carry. I have toned arms for the first time ever!
I can't believe Little Man is now 1! And I need to be better about keeping up with this blog.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Here's my cutie pie with his Tigger on July 14th.
I haven't been updating this blog again because of many factors but mostly because I've been tired and have spent most of my internet time goofing off on Facebook or The Bump. It's mindless, most of the time, and keeps me somewhat sane. I feel that I can connect with other adults without having to go out. And after writing that, I must sound anti-social, right? I'm not. But I'm just so tired that mustering up the energy to GO somewhere is difficult.
The weekend of July 9-12, Dude, Little Man and I went away. One day in Maryland so I could see some 'net friends and attend Nora Robert's book signing at Turn the Page Books in Boonsboro. The other two in Virginia to see Dude's best friend. We made these plans months ago and expected to spend the day with his friend but it was his girlfriend's sister's birthday and we only saw them for brunch. I'm a bit sad about that, but at least Dude was able to see him for a little while. Here's a photo of Dude and I with Little Man in Reston, VA.
The Friday after we got back from our getaway, Little Man had surgery to repair the Hydrocele he was born with. Dude and I were a bit worried about the anesthesia, but he did pretty well. He managed without food for a LONG time and, overall, handled the post op without much fuss. The worst part was when he woke up. He was STARVING and upset and the crying caused him to choke on his bottle. But once I got him settled, he finished off an 8 oz bottle. Don't keep Little Man away from his food.
The next few weeks will be busy. Dude and I are going to help my parents pack up the rooms affected by the remodel of their house. My parents are both disabled: my dad due to obesity and bad knees and hips and my mom due to Parkinson's. My brother helps, but his chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia make it difficult for him to manage in this humid heat. Hopefully my best friend will help take care of Little Man, who gets into everything. I can't work without some assistance. And I need to pack up things in my old bedroom so we can throw it in the dumpster—including old furniture and an old television that nobody will take.
I'll try to return more frequently to this blog. Though it's not like I'm a high traffic site. Next up, I'll update about Little Man's torticollis. I need to gather my thoughts first.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
So what's been going on with me? I work. I eat. I sleep. I take care of Little Man. I walk the dog. Occasionally DH and I will cuddle (or more). But mostly I just have been existing. I feel like I've neglected many of my friends—I know I have—and I'm not really in the mood to get together with anyone. It's like I've done nothing but run around for the last 3 years and I need a break. First marriage plans. Family gatherings. Baby stuff. It's as though I never have a moment to veg out.
And the other big news is that Dude and I are going to move in with my parents—who are building a handicapped accessible master suite on the ground floor of their house—to help take care them. And they, in turn, are helping US by giving us a stable home and less to pay per month so we can A) pay off our debt and B) save for the future. We'll be paying them monthly for the work that's being done on the house, but the monthly payment will be around $300 less per month than we're currently paying for rent. Our costs for utilities will probably remain the same, but we'll save on cable and internet. And by buying in bulk for food, we'll also save money. Plus my car will be paid off in June of 2011... yes, a year away, but something to look forward to.
It's going to be a huge adjustment. And, perhaps, my thoughts have been so preoccupied by all this entails that it has contributed to my lack of focus. But planning this. And also planning Little Man's 1st birthday party (in 5 weeks!) and dealing with some health issues (will update later on that) has taken a toll on me.
But Dude and I are doing OK. We're taking a weekend away—even though we cannot afford it—to see his best friend in Virginia this weekend. And since my Nora Roberts' message board gathering is nearby (in Maryland), we're also spending a day for me to catch up with some friends. It'll be good for us. We're taking Little Man, so please pray for us that he sleeps.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Little Man is FAST! And he's drawn to danger. He goes straight to the carbon monoxide detector in our condo. At the office, he is fascinated by the envelopes (which I've since moved) and crawling under my desk. When he does that, he often scrapes his head. I'm NOT a fan of that. Nor am I a fan of his newest talent: temper tantrums. Who'd have thought a 10-month-old (almost!) would have them already? I thought I had a year before that would start! So being a mom of an active infant is not easy. It's worth it... but it's a job.
While I've been busy the last couple of weekends, there really isn't anything new going on. I spent the day alone last Saturday when I went to a dear friend's engagement party. I almost canceled because I knew the trip would be too much (in one day) for Little Man but when faced with the reality of how my actions hurt my friend, I went alone—and had a nice time. I'm glad I went because my friend is a wonderful person and I'm so happy for her. Dude stayed home with Little Man, who apparently refused to nap. So I guess it was a good thing he stayed home, as he got cranky from lack of sleep. The next day, I mostly crashed. It was a long drive to the party (even though the traffic gods were kind to me) and then this week has just dragged—even though I worked from home on Tuesday afternoon.
I just want to feel rested again. I don't know if I ever will. I truly can't imagine having more than one child and running after two or more. For my mom friends who DO have more than one, you are superheroes to me. I'm actually quite content with my choice to have just one. He's wonderful but he's enough.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Neither Dude nor I have high paying jobs. In fact, Dude took a pay cut (mandatory unpaid furlough days) the week after Little Man was born. It's 10% of his salary and the loss of income has hurt us badly. My job has been low paying but as it's a family business, I have extremely flexible hours and can bring Little Man with me to the office. Since our bills consume most, if not all, of our monthly take home income, it's a necessity for me to have my son with me. Daycare is so expensive and if I had to put him there, we'd just be putting it on a credit card and hoping we'd be able to pay it off one day. So money woes is causing a LOT of stress.
In addition to those issues, I'm not certain my father will be able to keep the company running beyond this year. And now I'm thinking: what can I do for a job???? I used to work as a desktop publishing editor for a major publishing company. But when I was laid of in 2002, I sat on my ass and let my career slip away. Thank goodness my parents actually needed me and I've been there for nearly 8 years. But, in retrospect, that was a mistake and I'm not sure where I can find work when I need to. And Dude is not happy in his job and I'm not sure it's entirely secure. Job security in this day and as is rare.
Then there are my parents. Their health is ... eh, they're not doing so well. My father is morbidly obese. He knows he should lose weight but never does. He's 67 years old and I'm not sure he even wants to lose weight. But he can't get a knee or hip replacement unless he does and he hobbles around on a cane that can barely support his weight. I'm worried about him but even more worried about my mother. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease last Fall. She'd been suffering from a rare neurological disorder for years—something called an orthostatic tremor—where only her lower extremities are affected. She cannot stand still without trembling. And then she started to have weakness in her hands and a shake. So she went to a specialist in NYC and was diagnosed with Parkinson's as well. My mom's mother died in January. The business she helped my father build is failing. So she is extremely depressed. She feels like she can't do anything and like a burden.
I have a wonderful brother who would help you out in a pinch. But he's also very dependent upon my parents. He has chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia. So he's in constant pain and has no friendships—it's like whenever he tries, he gets stomped on—and he's given up on people. He's very intelligent and very few people share his interests. As he feels he cannot speak to anyone and share with them, I think he's taken to picking arguments so he can debate and then exercise his intellect. Though he does not do this to prove superiority. He needs the stimulation. But he's not capable of caring for my parents and a lot of this will fall on me.
So I'm stressed. I'm very stressed. There's more to it, but stress does not equal depression. That being said, stress can cause anxiety and I'm feeling a lot of that.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
An online friend of mine—and I really do consider my mommy messageboard friends to be friends, even if not a close bosom buddy—Peeper has a wonderful blog. I love how she writes and the photos she takes of her darling daughter. (Note to self: if she doesn't read my blog, let her know that!) And her daughter is a bit older than my son, and she gave a 9 month stats and sort of quiz. So I'm "borrowing" it and will do this monthly thereafter. Here is Little Man's 9 month stats:
Age: As of this blog, 9 months, 1 week and 2 days.
Weight: 23 lb 6 oz
Height: 29.75 inches
Size (diapers, onesies, etc.): Size 4 diapers and 12-18 month clothing (though they are loose, but the 6-12/9-12 are too tight)
Eyes: They're an interesting mix of green, blue and gray. Some days they look very green and others they look blueish gray.
Hair: While still mostly peach fuzz, he DOES have hair. It's a dark blonde color.
Sleeping: He's good for his morning nap, usually. Afternoons are another story! As for overnight... better. Most nights he'll sleep through the night. But not always...
Teeth: Four! The two bottom central incisors came around 6 months and, recently, the two upper ones came in.
Milestones: He's a crawling fiend! And clapping, too! (See videos on my prior blog). And he's trying to stand, too.
Words/sounds: He's still just babbling, I think. His favorite is Dada. Though he'll say Mama and other "ah" sounds. But his babbles have definite sentence structure. Though probably only another baby would understand what he's saying.
What we are looking forward to: EVERYTHING! lol
I'm going to devote another entry to foods. But I will say that Little Man LOVES Cheerios! We gave them to him for the first time yesterday and he went to town on them! He's liking most foods but is less interested in his bottle. Perhaps that will make it easier for him to be weaned off of formula? I don't know. His pediatrician wants us to give him four 6 oz bottles so his formula intake is 24 oz. But he seems uninterested. And she also wants us to try to transition him (slowly) to using a sippy cup and taking water. Yesterday he took a little, which is a start.
Well, I see Little Man rolling about in his crib (yes, I'm spying on him with the video monitor again) and should probably free him soon. He likes to be on the move!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Besides crawling, he's started clapping. He claps and looks around for approval. If you say "Yay!" he claps some more and laughs! It's very fun. So far, nine months has been quite fun! Since I'm sharing videos, here's one of him clapping, taken the same day at my office.
Last week was somewhat hectic for me, so I didn't really update my blog. But tomorrow, when I have a chance, I'll share some photos from my first Mother's Day. I'm still somewhat in shock about that—I'm a mom! I'm not sure when it will fully sink in, but after 9 months it really hasn't yet. I guess I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that I turned 40 last month.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
He is also trying to pull up. He does this on the crib slats and on my legs. He somewhat lifts himself up but not quite. It's amazing how fast the changes come. A few weeks ago he wasn't even trying to crawl and then—BAM—it's like something clicked and he knew what to try. Before I know it, he'll be a year old and walking and talking!
As for talking, he's still only babbling. But his babbles are recognizable. He'll say dada and mama and baba. He also enjoys saying rara and blah and la. I don't think he'll be speaking as early as I was (9 months) but he seems quite verbal. Little Man will be 9 months old next week. He still only has two teeth and while he's definitely teething, nothing is breaking through.
Big changes are coming. I just know it.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Big. Fat. Fail.
In my post, I mentioned how I left Little Man in his crib while I walked the dog. The women there took my "walk the dog" comment to mean I took a long stroll around the block with the dog while my child was unattended and in danger in his crib. The part that I'm trying to wrap my thoughts around is that many of these women sincerely feel that I endangered the welfare of my child. They feel that leaving him alone in the crib is tantamount to child abuse.
So my question is: what do you do when you are alone with your child and you have to pee. What if you have diarrhea? Do you bring your child into the bathroom while you do your business? Do you just plop them on the floor while you relieve yourself? The women there were saying they strap their children in bouncy seats. Well, I'm SO glad that their children are small enough to safely sit in one. My son is nearly at the weight limit and he's figured out how to fling himself—and the bouncy seat—forward. So I've since packed it away.
I thought having Little Man in his crib while I shower is the safest place for him. It's not like I'm taking 20 minute steam baths. But for 5-10 minutes I like to shower and shave my legs before I go to work. If I go into the laundry room, I leave Little Man in his crib. What else should I do?
But the main issue was that I took the dog outside to relieve himself and left the baby in his crib in the condo. They all feel that child protective services should be called and that I endangered his welfare. I asked mothers I know about this, and most concur that they have left their child in his/her crib while they a) went to the basement (if they have a house) or went to the laundry room (in an apartment complex) that is down the hall. My mom said that when I was a baby, she left me in my crib while she walked our standard poodle in the front yard.
So this is actually weighing on me. Those women got what they wanted. Their flames burned me.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Little Man was NOT happy. He's 8.5 months old now and is going through stranger anxiety a bit late (or possibly separation anxiety?). In any event, he was SOBBING throughout all the photos and measurements, but I really wanted to know where he ended up. I think many plagio/brachy parents do.
He also had mild plagiocephaly on his left side, starting out with cranial vault asymmetry of 6mm. When he finished, it was down to 2mm. I barely notice anything any longer. And while his head isn't at the "mean" it's definitely normal looking.
For anyone contemplating banding your baby, I think Little Man is proof that it works. He started at 4.25 months and finished at 8.5 months, with an 11 day lapse between helmets. I think it was worth every penny and if you are lucky enough to have health insurance that will pay for a cranial remolding orthotic, do not hesitate!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
But the trip was fun. Rhode Island was the only state on the East Coast that I had not been to, so that's why we chose it. The weather was GORGEOUS. Sunny and in the 70's for much of our trip. Very rare for the first week of April. Heck, it's even snowed on my birthday in the past. But not this year. Yay for me.
Little Man did very well on the trip. He slept in the car for most of the drive and was fine when he was awake. The main issue we had was sleeping at night—and it's continued since our return. The hotels provide a "port-a-crib" (a pack-n-play/playard) and Little Man does NOT sleep well in them. But we managed to put him down each night but then he'd wake up SCREAMING and would not go back to sleep. Finally, out of exhaustion, I put him in bed between Dude and I. That happened each night.
Of course when we got home on Saturday night, he would not sleep.
Dude, out of frustration, said to me: "That's what you get for letting a baby sleep with you!"
I sobbed. I was so hurt and upset and tired. I didn't know what to do and letting Little Man sleep with us allowed ME to sleep for a bit. I cannot function without at least SOME sleep.
The last 3 nights have not been much better. He keeps waking and it's not easy to get him back down. I'm not sure if it's the travel, teething or if he's having nightmares from being burned. But what I do know is that I'm seriously tired and am getting worried about commuting to work now. I'm finding it hard to stay awake in the afternoon.
But, overall, we had a fun vacation and I'm so glad we went away. Little Man was just so good and friendly at all the restaurants—he charmed everyone he met. And he loved the fish and the sea lions at the Mystic Aquarium—we stayed in Mystic on Friday night, yet another place I hadn't been. Plus he adored swimming in the hotel pool in Newport. I can't wait to start swim lessons with him.
Here's the one and only family photo from our trip (there are pics of Dude with Little Man and me with him, but just the one of the 3 of us) that was taken at night by the lighthouse on Goat Island, where we stayed. Self-timers are great things!
Friday, April 2, 2010
First off, Little Man is doing OK and should completely recover. He has a 2nd degree burn on his left foot. Here's how it happened.
Monday night we were at my MIL's home for Passover. The Seder was nice (too long for us, however) and after dinner the family brought out a cake for my birthday, which is next Wednesday. After we had cake (Kosher for Passover, by the way), my MIL was holding Little Man as Dude and I were packing up the diaper bag and gathering items to put in the car.
Then I heard the most AWFUL shrieking. At first I couldn't understand why he was crying so.
Apparently when my MIL wasn't looking, my SIL (Aunt S) put a cup of hot coffee in front of her at the table and Little Man pulled the tablecloth and scalding hot, black coffee poured on his left leg and foot. He was not wearing socks but was wearing pants. My SIL got the pants off and ran him to the kitchen and began to run his leg under cold water.
I took over while SIL called our pediatrician (we go to the same one). As I splashed cold water over his leg and foot, he screamed even louder and was in hysterics. Then his foot began to blister and I asked my MIL to call 911. They arrived within minutes, but it seemed like forever.
The EMTs agreed he needed to go to the hospital (a 2nd degree burn) so Dude loaded Little Man's carseat in the ambulance and I went with him—DH followed. We got to the local hospital (no burn unit) because it was contained to his foot. Little Man was hysterical crying the entire time. It was so awful The EMT kept the oxygen near him (from the tube, the mask scared him) and that helped a bit.
I actually knew one of the medical techs (from his day job) and the ER pedi was so good. But they basically just dressed the burn—put a cream on it and wrapped his foot (2nd degree burn) and leg (bad 1st degree) and gave me a sleeve to cover it. We were given the number of the Burn Center at another hospital and were told to make an appointment for Tuesday.
Before we left the ER, they gave Little Man Motrin and Tylenol with Codeine. He slept for the ride home and when we got into our apt. he was actually awake and pretty cheerful. He slept OK, only waking up once when his pacifier came out and I didn't have to give him more painkillers.
I slept terribly, of course.
On Tuesday morning, I called the burn unit at the other hospital and made an appointment for 2:45 pm. Dude stayed home from work to go with us. The doctor who saw Little Man said the burn was mostly concerning due to Little Man's young age otherwise it would be a minor 2nd degree burn. She basically told us to keep it clean (he can have baths) and to dress the burn daily. The cream that was prescribed is Silvadene Cream (Silver sulfadiazine) and in an odd twist of fate, I may be allergic to it so I have to wear gloves when handling it.
We didn't change the bandage on Tuesday, since the nurse at the burn unit had, but we did the last two nights and Little Man is NOT happy when we do so. It's so pitiful listening to him cry in pain—even more so because he seldom did before. When he cried it was hunger or "pick me up" but never a pained cry. But overall he is doing well and seems to be his normal, cheerful self. Only with a large bandage on his left foot/leg.
We go back for a follow-up visit on Tuesday before we leave for our family vacation (to celebrate my 40th birthday) and the doctor said it would take 2-3 weeks to heal and then 2-3 months for the new skin to lose its redness. She did not think he'd have a raised scar but he may have skin discoloration.
It's been a very stressful week. Beyond our fear for our son, we now have medical bills (ambulance ride, ER visit and burn doctor, even though we're filing a claim) and a baby who is not comfortable. The last week of my 30s aren't ending as I had hoped. But I am so grateful that it wasn't worse.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
But last night he couldn't find it and so I went into his room and moved him (he'd rolled on top of it) to put it in his mouth. But when I moved him, I felt that he was sopping wet. He'd peed through his diaper, pajamas and sleep sack.
He was ASLEEP. But I couldn't let him sleep in soaking wet clothes (sheets were dry, peed up front). So I tried to change Little Man in his sleep without waking him.
No go! He woke up SCREAMING!
He wailed throughout the diaper change as I fumbled in the dark, only lit by a night light. Then he sniffled and snuffled for about 15 minutes as I rocked him back to sleep in the glider.
I went back into my bedroom and Dude was like "what was that all about?" When I told him he'd peed through he was like well you had to change him and we both went back to sleep.
Little Man kvetched again at 5:45 am, but I easily popped in his pacifier and then he slept until nearly 7. I changed him, gave him his bottle and he was rubbing his eyes. He was still tired. So I put him back in his crib but he was having none of that this morning! He just wanted to be HELD! So I rocked with him in the glider for about a half hour. I thought, how often in life will he want me like this? So I held him and he's sleeping again and now I'll get my day started.
And he's teething, no less. Top right center tooth and two more bottom teeth (that I can see). Haven't poked out of the gums yet... but soon!
Friday, March 19, 2010
There is a look of pure joy on Little Man's face when he's in his exersaucer. He jumps up and down and almost cackles in enjoyment. I so wish I could get him a jumperoo... but, alas, the torticollis prohibits that (per his physical therapists). But he sure does love to jump. I'm sure he'll be jumping all over the place when he's older.
It's so hard to believe at times that seven months have gone by. My baby boy doesn't really look so little, since he's a big fellow at 22 odd pounds. He's wearing 12 month clothing, too. He WANTS to crawl. He creeps backwards as he tries to get to toys or other objects he wants (our TV remote) that's in front of him. And he's clever, too, as he rolls around the crib to get to a toy. He's figured out how to get what he wants.
I know one cannot spoil a baby, but it's become apparent he's playing me now. He knows too much... he knows he can get mommy to do pretty much whatever he wants. But I want to foster independence and I'll let him play by himself in the pack-n-play in my office while I attempt to get some work done.
His smile cheers up everyone who meets him. I think Little Man inherited that from my grandfather, who he is named for. Grandpa always smiled—and so does my son.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Of course that happened that very night.
So Little Man was going to be sans helmet for a week. As he now sleeps on both sides, rolling all over the crib, I wasn't too worried about regression. But I was a bit upset that if he had a growth spurt, he'd miss the opportunity to redirect the growth to the back of his head. We were scheduled to pick up DOC Band #2 on Thursday, February 25th.
Then it snowed. And Little Man got a cold. So we rescheduled for Monday, March 1st. Little Man didn't wear a helmet for 11 days and when he got the new one, I was all pumped. I'm thinking, he's only 6.5 months old and has lots of growth ahead of him. I thought some babies don't even get helmets this young and they see great improvement and this is my son's SECOND one. Well, the posterior (some call it "brachy") band he wears has stronger pressure than most of Cranial Technologies' designs. And I took him back the next day for a check. We were on a modified schedule at first but he slept in it by Wednesday night and wore it all day on Thursday (3/4). I took it off for his torticollis stretches and all looked OK. But during his hour off on Thursday night, the red marks didn't fade. So he slept without it.
Friday, March 5th, I called Cranial Technologies in the morning and told them what had happened. They had me put the band back on for a few hours and come by. I'm lucky that the one I go to—in Paramus, NJ—is only 30 miles from my office (a bit further from my home) so it wasn't too bad of a trip. The tech who saw me (not my usual one, though she stopped in) made some adjustments to the holding points and told me to let the redness completely fade before putting it back on. And after that, to be on a 3 hours on/1 hour off schedule through the weekend and to call on Monday. He tolerated it well during the weekend but did not sleep in it.
Monday, I called and we were on a 6 hours on/1 hour off schedule. Tuesday morning (3/9) was his first day wearing it 23/7. He did OK and when I took off the helmet on Wednesday morning to check him, there were red marks again. They faded, but it took around 2 hours. We saw our usual clinician on Wed. and she made another relief on the holding point and an adjustment to the back of the band (to allow for growth). He seemed fine last night. But, again, this morning, he had redness.
I spoke to our clinician and she feels for the next several days, to just give him more off time. If he doesn't adjust to the pressure of this helmet, Cranial Technologies will make a new band. But they're not sure if it's a fit issue or because of something else. Honestly, it is fitting OK but after he sleeps in it and rolls around, it shifts too much. I don't think I'm doing the wrong thing by not insisting they remake it immediately. This could happen again. So he'll have two hour breaks (in the AM and in the PM) instead of one. I don't think that 22/7 should hinder his progress.
So that's the saga. I hope we're on track now. I'll update next week after his appointment.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
So here's the most recent updates about me and Little Man.
Torticollis regression: This began after he outgrew DOC Band #1 on February 18th. I'm not sure if he was too used to the helmet on his head or if it was another reason, but Little Man's tilt came back. I don't have percentages and he hasn't seen a specialist. My pediatrician sent him to physical therapy when he was 2 months old and he's been going for 4.5 months now. I'm really frustrated and worried. More so about his neck muscle than his head shape.
He Got DOC Band #2: Finally! After delays due to snow and a slight cold, Little Man got his new helmet on Monday, March 1st. Because of the style of band (specialized for brachycephaly) it tends to tip forward. And the helmet was seriously rubbing on a spot on the bridge of Little Man's nose. I think it's fixed now, but I'm keeping an eagle eye on it.
Of course he's more "aware" of this helmet because he's older now (6.5 months) and he's often tugging at the band and the velcro. So I'm not sure how much that affects the redness. And I think it bothered him last night as he slept, since he was extremely restless.
Got his "Big Boy" Carseat: Since Little Man is a big baby, we moved him to a convertible car seat about two weeks ago. He seems to like it. We got a Britax Marathon CS in the Matrix pattern.
Not much else to report except that our dog, Casey, got his teeth cleaned. Another expense we just put on the credit card. Debt is SO not fun. But Casey's breath smells much better and as soon as his hot spot clears up (he was licking the shaved spot where his IV was) we'll be good.
Ciao for now!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We'll see how this goes for now.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
His second DOC Band won't be in until this Thursday, February 25th, so Little Man is enjoying a week off from his helmet.
I'm sad that he lost a week's growth and I hope the weather forecast of snow holds off until AFTER his appointment on Thursday. I don't want to lose any more time. Little Man will be nearly 6.5 months old (6 months two weeks) when he gets the second band. And while I want him to get as much out of it as possible, I hope he'll only be in the helmet through April. It would be nice for him to graduate before the warm weather.
And by going forward with a 2nd helmet, he'll be wearing one during our vacation for my 40th birthday in April. While most people have been kind and encouraging, I wonder how he'll be received. I hope in the same manner. I guess the decorations help. I'm not sure how I'm going to decorate this time. I'll probably just get stickers this time, from Michael's (does anyone know of any other places to get stickers?) and use the Modge Podge to seal. But I still feel that Coree at BlingYourBand does a great job and I'd buy a second design from her as well.
Not much else to report. I'm sleep deprived again because I think more teeth are coming. The first two are out and there are 18 more to come. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The newborn stage is so fleeting. And my baby was so big—9 lbs at birth—so I didn't really get that tiny newborn that I was afraid of dropping. I feel somewhat melancholy in part because of the fact that Little Man is an only child. I won't have this again. I don't really want to go through the sleep deprivation a second time, to be honest. I don't know if it's age talking—I'll soon be 40!—or something else. But that part was hard to get through and I'm so grateful that Little Man generally will sleep. The nights he doesn't, really sucks.
So half a year later, my darling boy is rolling over, sitting up and reaching out to be held. While I do miss seeing his sweet keppie, I know his helmet is doing its job in reshaping his head. I can handle two more months for a lifetime of results. Though I DO take it off for photographs. I take one every month using these stickers I bought from Picky Sticky. Here is my happy boy at six months—on Valentine's Day.
He's a big boy, my Little Man. He weighed 20 lb 12 oz (95th percentile) and was 27-1/2 inches long (80th). And thanks to the helmet, his head went from the 30th percentile to the 50th! He's happy and healthy (poo-poo) and I look forward to the next six months.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Then he gave me a 2 hour stretch and the 4 am cry only lasted a few seconds and he fell back to sleep. Another cry at 5 am. At 6 am I woke up to go to the bathroom and my DH to get ready for work (earlier than usual due to the snow). Little Man woke up at 6:30, as usual, because he was hungry.
I'm SUPPOSED to go to Cranial Technologies at 10:30 for his helmet adjustment and digital image scan for helmet #2. I'm barely functional right now—yet online, go figure—and am waiting for him to fall back to sleep (he's signing, a sure sign of impending sleep) so I can shower.
I truly feel for all you mamas who deal with this on a daily basis. I got so spoiled by the STTN. I'm shaky from the lack of sleep.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Here are the photos. Pics on the left were taken 3 weeks before he got his DOC Band (on 12/23/09). Something spooked him, so he was SOBBING and, thus, looks so sad in the second set of photos.
While the financial burden is going to be hard to handle, I know I'm doing the best for Little Man. Our future may include fantastic jobs and our situation can change. But there is only a short window of time to correct my baby's head shape.
I should try to blog about something else, but getting my son's head reshaped has been my main focus of late.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I don't have numbers yet, but I hope his Cephalic Index is much lower. I want Cranial Technologies to do another Photostudy so Dude and I can discuss the possibility (or probability, I believe) of a second band. I want Little Man to be as close to normal as possible.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The slope on the top of his head is less "pointy" and the back has really rounded out. Actually, after seeing these photos side by side, I feel more hopeful about his future progress with the DOC Band. However, I'm still concerned that he'll need a second one. Per his clinician at Cranial Technologies he has about 3 adjustments remaining in the helmet. I wish it was more, because I have a feeling I'll want him to get a 2nd DOC Band to further the improvement.
Here are photos from the top. The first was taken several weeks before his photo study.
It's not the same distance or angle, so the second picture is not a really good comparison photo, but you'll be able to see how it's filling in nicely.
So hopefully he'll REALLY grow over the next 3 weeks and I'll feel comfortable with having him in just ONE band. But if the progress isn't as much as I'd like, I may get him a second—if I can convince Dude that we should add to our debt to do so.
Here's one last photo comparison—Little Man now and when he was a newborn. Again not a great comparison, but I keep thinking of how oval his head was and this is why I'm not sure I'll be satisfied until it's more like this. And I realize a baby's head gets LESS oval as he gets older. But I want Little Man's head shape to be as close to the "norm" as possible.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
This is the eulogy I gave at her funeral today.
Most of you probably knew my grandmother as Sheila. But some of you knew her as Momma. My brother, my cousins, and, I believe, their spouses, as well as my husband and his family all called her that—and I’m glad that I gave her that name.
When I was little, it confused me to have TWO grandmothers with the same name. So I came up with mum-ma, pronounced the British way with a U, even though Momma spelled it with an O, and Grandma for my dad’s mom. My grandfather was Poppa.
Mere words cannot truly express how I feel or the impact that Momma had on my life or upon my family. She was a force of nature. When she wanted to get something done, she did it. And she would make friends with everyone—get their life story—from each waitress she met to every receptionist or doctor. I don’t know she did it. She was nosy in a charming manner.
Momma always said to me “I can talk to you” and that I “tell it like it is.” And that makes me feel good, that my grandmother was able to tell me things and know that I would give her my honest opinion. I think we had a special relationship. And Momma also always “told it like it was” so I’m glad I got that trait from her.
One of my favorite stories is when Momma and Poppa took care of me after my brother Andrew was born. Back then I was, apparently, a picky eater. I didn’t like my foods “touching”. So when I had meatballs and spaghetti, the meatballs were on one spot on the plate and the spaghetti on the other. But when we had that for dinner and Momma put the meatballs ON TOP of the spaghetti, I flipped out and cried (because I always cried) and refused to eat it. In exasperation, Momma called my mom and asked her “what kind of daughter do you have?”
I’m not sure if it was that same time, staying at the apartment in Queens, that Momma asked me if I watched Howdy Doody and I said “Howdy Whatdy?” because I thought she was making that name up. I watched Sesame Street, I told her. Now that I’m a mother, I am again.
I have wonderful memories of spending time with Momma—and Poppa—throughout my childhood. Getting my first manicure in Forest Hills. I remember walking in Chinatown and Momma and Poppa buying me a silk doll.
One of my earliest memories is actually when I was around two years old and Momma took me to visit her nephew Richie, who is a chiropractor. During the visit, she had him check my back and I SCREAMED bloody murder.
And when Momma used to mooch cigarettes off of strangers at restaurants—now this was in the 70s, when I was a young girl—I used to tell her, with Poppa’s approval, that they were yucky and that I wouldn’t let her kiss me.
As a teenager, my parents allowed me a lot of freedom in terms of self-expression. And I have to admit I did dress a bit unusually. Momma wasn’t a fan of how I dressed and she would let me know that. So I would deliberately dress in the most—shall we say—“avant garde” outfits I had when I visited her—knowing it would get a reaction.
When I was in college, Momma would call me all the time. My roommate used to pick up the phone and say “it’s your grandma” and I always knew it was Momma and not my dad’s mom. Actually, she had an uncanny knack of calling my parents’ house JUST when we sat down for dinner. It didn’t matter what time we ate—whenever we picked up our forks, the phone would ring.
Momma was actually a very good confidant. Perhaps it’s unusual to discuss dating with your grandmother, but she was a sympathetic ear during the years I was single. When I met my husband I really wanted him to meet my grandparents. We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, only a few months before Poppa died. It was a day I’ll never forget and my grandparents made quite the impact. They dressed impeccably—Momma always in heels, even with her arthritis—and the term grande dame comes to mind when I picture her.
That luncheon was quite memorable. Momma ordered Eggs Benedict and they were quite runny. She was not thrilled and brought it to the attention of the waitress. She turned to us and asked us “I’m not embarrassing you, am I?” And we assured her that she wasn’t.
And she and Poppa regaled us with stories about how they first met and when they were dating. Stories I’d never heard before. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Sadly Poppa died that Spring and Momma was heartbroken. Then my husband and I became engaged the following November and were planning our wedding and we wanted Momma to be a part of it, to share in our happiness. She battled long and hard with depression to be there for me. It meant so much to us that she was there.
Last December we were thrilled to share the news that we were to become parents. Momma cried with happiness. So I am very glad that Momma was able to see me become a mother. She knew how much I yearned for that.
Though my son had other ideas about that part … he needed a little shove to make his entrance into the world. I was induced. She wanted to be at the hospital—like she had been for my cousin when she had her children—but I didn’t want her sitting in an uncomfortable chair waiting for hours when I heard that induction could take a long time.
I went in the night before and Momma actually called the hospital early in the morning to check on my progress. She was upset that she hadn’t heard from me yet. The nurses couldn’t tell her anything but patched her call into Labor & Delivery for me to say “Nothing had really happened.” However things progressed quickly after her call.
I was concerned about how she would feel about my choice of name—Aaron being my dad’s father’s name, and not naming him after Poppa. I worried needlessly. Momma said to me that it was a perfect choice. That she remembered my grandfather with a big grin on his face and that she hoped that my Aaron be like that.
I hope that the time she spent with Aaron added to her joy of being a great-grandmother. I will forever treasure a photo I took of her, holding him with this look of love in her eyes. The last day I saw her was last Wednesday. I brought Aaron with me and we went into her room. I put him on the bed next to her and she opened her eyes and said, very quietly, “Tattie Shayna.” She tried to say something else to me, which I think was I love you. So I said “I love you, too.” I’m glad those are the last words I said to her.
Lastly, I want to share what my husband Jonathan and I did yesterday. I didn’t have anything appropriate to wear today. So we went to the Short Hills Mall—alas Nordstrom and not Nieman’s—to get something to wear. I got this dress and my husband got suspenders and a new tie. We figured Momma of all people would approve.
And, Momma, I’m wearing makeup.
(Momma was always telling me to wear makeup... she was quite upset that I seldom did.)