Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eight Crazy Nights

I don't think it's a secret that I'm of a religious minority but it's also not something I broadcast, either. Sadly it's because there are a LOT of Anti-Semitic people in the world. I've been told I was going to hell from more Christians than I care to say. I'm not even that religious... it's more cultural. But I identify with being Jewish and hope to raise my son in my (and my husband's) faith. Dude is much more lapsed than I am, so it will be primarily up to me.

So I'm starting small. Chanukah. The festival of lights. The eight crazy nights (thanks Adam Sandler) where we give presents to our children to make them feel less slighted about Santa not dropping presents off on Christmas Eve. Chanukah (or Hanukkah) is a relatively minor holiday and is not very religious. It commemorates a miracle where, after a war, oil in the temple lasted for eight nights when it should not have lasted for even one. At least that's what I remember and I'm too lazy to Google right now to find a better description.

It started on Sunday, with our family celebration (a few days early, but Dude's sister's family was off on vacation this week and we didn't want to travel on Christmas). Little Man, I think, was overwhelmed by all the chaos—his 6 cousins and aunts, uncles, grandparents and tons of presents. But on Tuesday night, he GOT it. PRESENTS!

We lit the menorah, and he started singing "Happy Birthday to you."  Not so clearly as I wrote it, but definitely understandable. And then he asked to "blow can-ell" and I had to say it wasn't a birthday cake. But it does make sense that he'd make that association.  And Dude and I presented him with his BIG present from us.  The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse play set, which is no longer available on Disney's website. He gets so excited. OPEN! OPEN!  So we do and set it up and...

There are several parts missing!!!

What do I do?  It was sold out? But I call Disney and, lo and behold, there are 5 in stock and they are sending a replacement along with a return label (or so I thought) for the broken one—which I cannot pack up now, as my two-year-old is OBSESSED with Mickey.  I am thrilled.  But today I was less so when UPS arrives at my door to retrieve the defective set before I got the replacement (which arrives tomorrow). I'm like: sorry! And I convince the UPS guy to give me the return label to send back on Monday. I hope the new one has all the parts.

Yesterday my oldest friend, who I met when we were in 7th grade, got Little Man a Huffy Mickey tricycle! I was so excited! Little Man didn't get a trike for his birthday, like I'd hoped (and thought, but I should never expect a present and know that). So he wanted that opened too. Thankfully I convinced him to wait (and hid the box in the garage) for daddy.

Here is Little Man "texting while tricycling" in my Family Room. (He's playing the Zoola app on my old iPod Touch, which has become his phone.) I love this boy!

Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

70 Years Ago Today

This 1941 photo shows the U.S. Pacific Fleet as it burns in its home base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii after Japanese warplanes made a surprise attack. / AFP / Getty Images

Friday, December 2, 2011

If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything. ...

I agree but disagree.  My friend from college, Dave, found out early last month that he has cancer. Today he is having an above-the-knee amputation of his right leg. And he is, to me, so brave and upbeat. I'm sure that a lot of that is only part of how he feels--because I can only imagine how scared he is. He has two amazing sons and a wonderful family to support him. Plus his many friends. And I'm not necessarily a close friend. The last time I saw him was at a mutual friend's birthday party two years ago, when my son was only 3 months old. But thanks to Facebook, I've "kept in touch" and have followed his ups and downs.

So while he may not have his health right now, I think he has everything--and I want him to have everything. I hope it's OK with him that I share his blog (as he's en route to the hospital for his surgery, I cannot ask at this time and will delete the link if needed). He's simply amazing, I think. And I am grateful that I know him.

Cancer sucks.  It really does. My late maternal grandfather battled lung cancer. My late maternal grandmother died from cancer, too. Breast cancer that spread. A childhood friend lost his first wife at the age of 30 to colon cancer. Another college friend lost his mother to colon cancer too. Sadly, several of my friends have lost parents, at an early age to cancer.

But I also know several cancer survivors. Most from Breast Cancer. But I am positive that my friend Dave will be one too--a survivor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Molar Mayhem

They're here!

Oy vey.

The two year molars finally arrived—and with a vengeance. Little Man was an absolute beast on Thanksgiving morning. I left him to Dude, so I could watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I pretty much disappeared with my coffee for an hour or so. Then I did some work around the house and it was lunchtime but it was too late... we didn't feed Little Man fast enough and he had a MAJOR meltdown. Then Dude had one and he yelled at our son, and put him to bed without his lunch.  I wasn't too happy about that, so I headed to the supermarket to pick up a fruit platter to take to my sister-in-law's house (for Thanksgiving dinner) and when I came back, I just went into the bedroom and took a nap.

When Little Man woke up, he was STARVING and, thus, even crankier than before. It took a good hour to calm him down and feed him some yogurt and blueberries. But he did calm down and we had a nice Thanksgiving with my husband's family. My parents and brother stayed home, since my mom's depression and my brother's chronic pain caused them to be hermits. I feel bad for my dad, but he wasn't going to leave them alone.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving?  When Little Man found my nephew's unattended piece of chocolate cake (for Dude's older brother's birthday) and just started chowing down! Nobody was looking... there was cake... why not?


Friday was BUSY busy BUSY.  We moved toys and furniture from my office back home. Since I'll need a desk and chair, we had to move it.  We also moved a bookshelf so I can finally, after 11 months, unpack my book collection. I miss my books. And Little Man's room was rearranged but he seems happy to have his train table and kitchen in his bedroom.

He was happier on Friday but still had some cranky moments. And LOTS of chewing.

Saturday he was COUGHING nonstop! And sneezing. And just miserable. And since he'd had a sinus infection only a few weeks ago, we took him to the pediatrician. She told us that he was cutting 3 of his 4 two-year molars at once!  Poor kiddo.  That explained a lot.

So since then he's basically had his "me me" in his mouth whenever he can get away with it (me me = pacifier) and he is eating apple slices like there is no tomorrow. Apples must be nice and cold and hard on those new teeth.

At least we're nearly done. Only one more tooth to come and we're all done with teething. Yay.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Not in my nuclear family--we are still one and done and a family of 3 (plus dog) but in my work life. For the last 8 years, I've worked for my father's business which imports and manufactures masquerade items and sells to stores and online retailers. Until two years ago, we were doing quite well and it was the ideal job to work and care for my son. But due to the state of the economy, the business has been doing poorly and we have to downsize greatly.

For me, that means some different things. I'll still work for my dad, but the plan is for me to work from home most of the time. I'm not sure how well that will work out. I also may be the only employee who deals with our customers and I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of this with an active two-year-old. And it's been very hectic packing up our current office (we have to relocate) and set up my home office in the room next to Little Man's bedroom.

That room, since Dude and I moved into my family home, has been like a catchall for junk. There are items there that my parents haven't even looked at in 30 plus years! I found a box of bank receipts from the year my parents moved into the house when I was 6 months old. It's crazy! And, yesterday when Dude pulled up the carpeting in the room (original to the house), we found there was a water leak and there is MOLD in the corner by a built-in unit, by the sole window, and I'm not sure how easy it will be to clean up--plus I'm not sure what damage the water did to the flooring (wood under the carpet). Otherwise we're well on our way to getting the room set up for me to work in and to FINALLY unpack my book collection--once we've put up new shelving.

Now this is the plan. But, since I'm not feeling too optimistic about the long-term potential for this career path, I'm also sending out resumes and hoping to find a new job. That would be a HUGE change. Little Man would have to go to daycare full time and I don't know how well he'd adjust. He'd have his EI sessions at school and I would be less involved in them. But if I do get a new job, I'll have an escape from my family and potentially a better salary and benefits. I've applied for one position that would be great (not a guarantee) and I'm very nervous about that. But nothing risked, nothing gained--plus I have no true risk since if I don't get the job, I'm still where I was.

So lots ahead of me. I'll have a quiet December overall as the office relocates since I can't actually do too much to help there. Only a few hours each day while Little Man is in "school." And come January, I'll either be at a new job or figuring out working from home--caring for my son and my mom. This won't be easy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November: Almost Gone

I've only blogged once this month. There are various reasons why. One is that work sucks and my career path is in jeopardy. Two is that I've been sick with two sinus infections. There is that Little Man has been sick with a sinus infection as well. Add allergy testing and familial issues to the mix... well, that equals one SweetNJMom with little time to blog. That would be me.

So the quick highlights of November... starting with the biggie from earlier this week. Little Man does not fall onto the Autism Spectrum and "just" has a language delay. We took him to a developmental pediatrician (cost to us to be determined later) and she felt that he was "delightful" and that while he does have some sensory issues, he should outgrow them. She did feel it was good that he was in EI and getting therapy but that, overall, he's a bright, happy child who should catch up given time.

Other November highlights...

  • Falling asleep on the sofa and waking up to see Little Man shirtless
  • Going to Nordstrom and finding out that Little Man is a size 9.5 medium now (his old shoes were 8 wide!)
  • Hearing Little Man say his name (sort of) for the first time
  • Getting a kiss from my son
  • Watching my child hug his classmates and dance to "Ring-Around-the-Rosie"

He's now 2-1/4 and time is going by SO fast! My Little Man weighs 33 lb and is firmly wearing size 3T clothing. He looks like a BOY more than a baby. I can understand why mothers yearn for a new baby around this time. It's there, a bit, in the back of my mind. But then I think of how much I love my child and how I want so many other things for his life—as well as mine and Dude's—and that thought passes quickly.

I think it's because November is an important month for me. I was engaged on November 1, 2007. Little Man was conceived in November in 2008. And November truly marks, to me, the change from warmth to cold. From light to dark. This November is bringing more dark than light to my life but I hope as the season changes, life will also do so, and for the better.

I'll try to be better with my blog. Not that I have many followers, but at the very least for myself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Little Man to English Dictionary

In the last two months, since starting therapy services through Early Intervention, Little Man's vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds. I can't really keep track of all the words he says—he's likely at a couple hundred individual words—but I want to start noting down the cute ways he mangles the English language. I know it's common in toddlers and I'm just enjoying the way he says things.

Here are what I remember off the top of my head. I'll post blog entries under Toddler Speak periodically and eventually mourn the loss when his diction improves.

Oh-In = Open
Puh-In = Pumpkin
Plau = Pluto
Donnuh Duck = Donald Duck (his favorite)
Me Mou = Mickey Mouse
(Goofy he says perfectly now)
Chee-Ohs = Cheerios
Baums = Teddy Grahams (not sure why)
Mal Crah = Animal Crackers
Caykee = Casey (our dog)
Gawaffe = Giraffe
Effent = Elephant
Wion = Lion
Ah-pull = Apple
Pee-Pah = Pizza
Pah-Tah = Pasta
Muh-In = Muffin (generally prefers corn)

And I love when he burps (whether truly or deliberately) and then goes: "Oose Me!"  He's being polite!  He's also said "Peese" for please and he asks for both hugs and kisses. He's such a sweet little boy and I'm so blessed to have him.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Impact of Bullying

I'm glad that bullying has been very present in the news lately. I'm not glad that it is, because I feel so badly for children who are bullied. But I'm glad it's being reported and that it seems to be getting more serious attention. Sadly it wasn't the case when I was a child.

I was bullied from the time I was 8 years old until I went to college. By then the damage was done and I was a mix of restraint and complete openness which didn't really serve me well. While I did have some very supportive friends, a few who I am still friends with today, I also chose toxic people who did my self-esteem more harm than good. I'm not sure why. But, then I had such a low self image that it makes sense. And I hardly dated until I was 35. Somehow, around that time, I got some more self-confidence back--or I just didn't care and was willing to take more chances than before.

I remember being teased in the Second Grade by another child. That child, whoever she was, just said something mean to me. And I started crying in the classroom. My teacher at the time was a nasty older woman (at least to my 8-year-old memory, I have no idea how old she really was) and she sent me to the principal's office for crying. And I think by doing so, I was conditioned to just "take it" from then on. I felt that I had no support. And I was only 8 years old!

Most of the children in my neighborhood were not nice to me. I remember being chased up a huge snow mound, during that Winter in the late 70s, and the kids--who lived next door or across the street--were throwing snowballs with rocks in them at me. My dad rescued me and spoke to their parents. And while it stopped any physical abuse, the emotional torture got worse.

For some reason I was called Cheese. It started because another little girl, who eventually moved away, ate American cheese on the school bus. She was Cheese 1 and I was Cheese 2 because I was friends with her.  After she moved, I was the sole target and the lone Cheese.  Maybe I got that name from the song with this line: "The cheese stands alone." I sure did.

I'm not even sure what else to say. I remember a neighbor girl asking me to play and I was so thrilled to be included. We played doctor (not in a sexual sense) and she jabbed me with real needles! Real needles! I was maybe 10 at the oldest.  Around that time I did have a few good friends, one girl named Jennifer was particularly sweet. And, oddly, in middle school I had a large circle of friends and I wasn't really tortured those 2 years. (At the time, middle school was just 7th and 8th grades so the older kids weren't around.)

By high school it got somewhat better as I went to a regional high school and the kids from the other town didn't have preconceived notions about me. But the kids who put me down were still there and their mental torment was overpowering. Just nasty comments about my looks and my hair or my glasses. A friend asked me to his Junior Prom (when I was a Sophmore) and his friends said, within my hearing, you asked HER?? She's an ugly dog!  He ended up getting the Chicken Pox that Spring and we didn't go. And I tried to kill myself by taking an entire bottle of aspirin with some vodka that I found in my dad's liquor cabinet. I was only 16.  So young. Too young to give up.

Thankfully it didn't work. And my best friend, who is my best friend to this day, was a big part of why. She kept giving me reasons to live. One simple one was a new Duran Duran album. Sad but true but my teenage crush kept me going. And by college I was seeing therapists for depression. I managed throughout my 20s to hang on, but the year I turned 30 I hit rock bottom. I was single. A virgin. No prospects. I felt I was ugly and unappealing. And I was having thoughts of harming myself again. So I got help. Antidepressants and therapy is what saved me. And my dog Casey, who I rescued that Summer.

Honestly, to this day, I still often doubt that anyone truly wants to be my friend or desires my company. Even though I KNOW in my head that I am well regarded by many and shouldn't care about those who do not like me. But there are days when it's really hard to remember that. And now that I have a son who has a speech delay, I worry about his future. Will this affect him? Will he be liked? Will he be able to get along with others? I want my son to have a better childhood than I did.

Not that my entire childhood sucked. It didn't. There WERE good times. But the memories of being called names, being hit and pinched, being told I was ugly and didn't deserve to live (yes, that happened once) sometimes overshadow the good memories. But at least I know about this and can be there for Little Man in any way he needs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boo at the Zoo

Every year, in October, the Bronx Zoo has "Boo at the Zoo" where the creepy crawly creatures at the zoo are featured and there are treat stations at various spots in the zoo. Kids (and adults) also dress in costume. Our first visit to the zoo was 1 year ago today (10/10/10) and we ended up going yesterday (10/9/11) during a gorgeous, sunny, Indian-Summer October day.

I wasn't feeling so great (see last blog post) having a nasty cold and feeling quite congested. But when I woke up, I took a Zyrtec D and felt well enough to head East. The drive from where we live in NJ isn't too bad. As long as you leave early you don't hit a lot of traffic. So we left a bit after 9 am and arrived a bit after 10 am (after a wee bit of a delay by the zoo entrance, on the Bronx streets).

The first thing we did was head to the Monorail by Wild Asia (basically the opposite end of the zoo from where we parked). The last time we did that, there was a long line and entertaining Little Man (who wasn't walking at the time) was NOT easy. Plus he was heavy. This year the line was short and we were on a tram car within minutes. Little Man still made my husband carry him. I think he was nervous. He's not very good about walking when there are crowds. I think he feels overwhelmed. But we managed to get him to walk by himself a bit.


Anyway, I digress. We saw lots of animals. He LOVED the elephants and was saying the word (pretty close to how it really says) often. He liked pretty much every animal. But what he liked the most were the ducks at the Children's Zoo. He LOVES ducks. So he spent a good 20 minutes just watching the ducks and quacking back at them. It was really sweet.

We're members of the zoo and I can't wait to go back. It's one of my favorite places now. Even more so now that Little Man is really into the animals. He was in awe of the giraffes and gorillas. He was thrilled to see ducks, drakes, goats, cows and alpacas. He loves animals. And even though there's a very nice little zoo closer to us (Turtleback Zoo), there's something majestic about the Bronx Zoo and I'm glad we're close enough to go pretty often.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

When Mom is Sick

She doesn't get a break like Dad does. I'm not sure why. Though, perhaps it would be different if the dad was the primary caregiver. But in my case, I still generally do more. This is NOT to say that Dude doesn't do a lot as father. He does. He's very involved. But it generally seems to fall upon me to do more.

I have a cold. It's just a cold. But I'm feeling pretty crappy and I want to rest and I CAN'T. I tried to nap and my sister-in-law called to check in on us. So no nap. Then Little Man woke up. Dude tried to take him out to play on the swing set but someone was mowing the lawn and scared him. I was trying to rest and watch Project Runway. That ended.

And I feel terrible for complaining. I love my son. I yearned for him. But I guess I'm selfish. I like me time probably just as much. I guess it's a good thing I'm only having one child. I don't think I'd be able to divide my time. And add my parents to the mix...

There's more to it. But even though I'm pretty open here on the interwebs, I realize that I should show discretion, too. Not all of my life should be an open book. Even though I find my blog to be cathartic. I know I need to keep some things private.

I guess that's the worse part of when I get a cold. My mind wanders. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Big Bear Chase Me

I live in Northern New Jersey. Many people view my home state as a place of chemical plants, urban areas or possibly think we're like the cast of Jersey Shore (most are from Staten Island, by the way) or The Sopranos. But where I live it's pretty much like every suburban neighborhood you've seen—with shopping malls, diners and small towns. But... we're close to wooded areas and we have a lot of deer, coyotes (that I find kind of odd) and bears.

Yeah, bears.

My BFF has seen them often, as she lives in a more rural area in my town. But they have meandered into more suburban areas, too. My office is also in the town where I live, only about 5 miles from my house—but closer to my BFF's—and there is a wooded area, almost a wetlands marshy spot, behind the warehouse and that's where we keep our dumpsters.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was heading home with Little Man and Casey (our dog goes to work with me, too) for his DI session. I was delayed by a stealth poop and was rushing out. I was NOT holding Little Man's hand and he was following behind me and Casey. I put Casey into the car first since Little Man was right by me. But then he started running back to the office. I dropped my bags into the car and ran back after him. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something moving by the dumpster. Initially I thought it was a car and I grabbed my son, worried for his safety. As I got closer to the car, my worry intensified because...

It was a BEAR!  A really BIG bear!!!

I quickly strapped Little Man down into his car seat. Before I drove home, I called the office to let them know to be careful. They all ran to the warehouse loading dock to get a better look at the black bear. I then drove a bit closer (but not that much closer) and, with my hands shaking, I got another photo with my iPhone. Both are pretty blurry due to my shakes and the phone camera not being as good as my Canon. But you get the picture.

I had an urge to watch the John Candy and Dan Aykroyd movie, The Great Outdoors again. This exchange always cracks me up. Though somewhat less so now that I'VE seen a big bear!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple Picking!

This past Sunday Dude, Little Man and I went apple and peach picking at Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ. It was a bit late in the season for peaches (or at least the ones we picked weren't great) and a bit early for many kinds of apples. But we got a nice mix of MacIntosh, Cortland and Honeycrisp apples and had a fun morning outside.  The weather was gorgeous! Sunny, low 70s, barely any clouds in the sky. Little Man was in his glory. See!

We took him last year, too.  What a difference one year makes. Last September, Little Man wasn't walking yet and he only said Mama and Dada. Now he RUNS and his speech is improving by leaps and bounds. I'm not sure if it's the therapy or his age, but he says new words daily and is starting to combine words (ie. "hat me") and it's just an adventure watching him grow.

Here's last year vs. this year.
2011 — 25 Months Old      

2010 — 13 months Old


It's amazing how much he's changed!

First of all, he now has HAIR. Not a lot but you can see it. He also has a lot more teeth (16 vs. 6). And he's lost some of his baby face. But, for the most part (and not necessarily in this photo) he still looks like he did last year. I somewhat miss 1-year-old Little Man. But 2-year-old Little Man is really fun to be around and when he says "My Mama" my heart just melts.

Apple picking (and peach and pumpkin) will become an annual tradition for our family. At least until Little Man can complain.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oh, Osh Kosh...

What B'Gosh were you thinking???

Why did you stop carrying size 2T in your stores?  I'm told you stopped making it all together but I see it listed online on your size chart. But I don't see it as a choice when buying clothing.

Size             Height           Weight
24 Month    32.5 - 34"       27.5 - 30 lb
2T               34.5 - 37"       24-29 lb  (why less than 24 month)
3T               37 - 39.5"       29-33 lb

Please explain your sizing? How does my son (36" tall, 31 lb) wear your clothing?  The size 3T is right for weight but he has short legs. So a 2T would be good for length. But since I can't BUY 2T in stores, he gets 3T — which runs very large on him.

It's funny seeing a jump from 34 to 37 inches.  What do kids who are 35/36 inches do? Get pants that are at least 2 inches long? I guess so.  That's what I had to do when I bought his "Mr. Conductor" overalls this morning.

I still like your product and eventually Little Man will fit into your clothes. But, in the meantime, he'll be wearing super long pants.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How do you deal with depression?

When it's not your own?

I'm not saying that I don't have days where I'm depressed. Actually, I probably am. But I'm getting by and I have so much I have to deal with that I don't want to think about myself right now. Caring for Little Man, keeping on top of his EI appointments, keeping the house neat-ish, walking the dog, being a good wife... then there's my mother and my brother.

Both of them are clinically depressed. There's a lot to their situations. Too much to get into here. And, since this is a public blog that (maybe) people who actually know me read, it's not my place to say more. But I am very worried about both of them.

I wish life were easier. I wish I could wave a magic wand and erase their pain. Cure Parkinson's. Cure chronic pain. But I can't. And I can't help people who reject my help either through tears or anger.

There are days when mothering a whiny (from possible two-year-molars, I don't know) toddler is the EASY part.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Just when you get used to something

Your toddler mixes it all up!

Tonight Little Man wanted to watch "Mou" (ie. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) and not get ready for bed. He climbed up the stairs, ran to my bedroom and made my husband put him in our bed and he pointed at the TV and asked, again, for "Mou."

I've said before that Little Man watches far too much TV. Part of it is laziness on my part. Part of it is because of how overwhelmed I am by everything in my life and it's easier to allow him to watch a few shows so I can get dinner ready, have a cup of coffee or even read a newspaper. But it's become a bit of an addiction when it comes to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

So bedtime tonight was rough. He did NOT want to go to sleep.

Dude got him down and for a few minutes, he was quiet. But eventually there was crying and calling out for Mama (and Dada). Please get me out of bed and take me with you. OK, he didn't say that because his speech isn't that evolved yet. But I knew what he wanted.

So I picked him up and rocked him on the glider. He snuggled in and I rubbed his head. When I stopped, he took my hand and guided it to his head and said "Head." He wanted more. After a few minutes, I said he had to go to bed (it was around 8:45 pm, later than he usually goes to sleep) and he resisted but eventually put his head down. It's been about 15 minutes now and I hope he is sleeping. I don't hear anything, so that's a good sign.

I know he won't always sleep well. Heck, I haven't slept well all week! But you get used to a "good sleeper" and when he's not, it throws you off.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to Blogger

I'm trying something out... I want to see if I prefer Blogger to Wordpress. I like all the ease of connection that Blogger has and the followers and other gadgets. I may not like it. And I'm going to be cross posting for a while. Once I decide, I'll let you know for sure.

The Evolution of Sleep

One of my very first blog posts, as a parent, was about my "Newborn Vampire" and how he had his days and nights mixed up. That was on my old blog and I've never figured out how to move the posts here.  This one started a few months later, and focused a lot on Little Man's helmet journey and my mixed up emotions. Heck, it still focuses on my mixed up emotions!

Anyway, I'm talking about sleep because it's a precious thing. I've driven around for an hour to keep Little Man napping--if he fell asleep in the car. Though I never drove anywhere to get him to fall asleep like some of my mom friends have. Thankfully I never felt that desperate.  At the beginning, Little Man was a terrible sleeper--particularly during the day. The only place he'd sleep was ON ME or in his infant carrier. The latter contributed to his brachycephaly.

Somewhere around 3 months of age, he slept through the night (STTN).  It was short-lived. And from 3-6 months, his sleep was erratic. Some nights he'd sleep from 10 pm (his initial bedtime) to around 5 am, then take a bottle and go back to sleep for 2 hours. Other nights he'd sleep from 10-2 and then from 3-6 and nap several times during the day. There was a dark period--from 6 to 9 months, where he was just a rotten sleeper. I blame that on teeth (got the first 2 just before/at 6 months and the second 2 around 9 months).  Thankfully, at 9 months, he began sleeping on his tummy. Once he did that, STTN was common and no longer infrequent. His bedtime was (and still is) at 8-8:30 and he usually sleeps until 6:30 am. So his average is 10 hours of sleep per night--I wish I could have 8!

Naps, however, took longer to get on track.  As I said, initially he'd only sleep in his infant carrier or ON me--until about 5/6 months when he got too heavy, I was fine with him sleeping in my Baby K'tan Carrier. He'd also sleep pretty well in his travel swing (once he had the DOC Band, I didn't worry about that). But he never slept in a Pack-n-Play and that caused some issues, as it was his "nap place" at my office until he was 9 months old.

At that time, my in-laws moved and I got the crib they had for the grandkids. Little Man would sleep there--but only after I had rocked him to sleep and transferred him to the crib. And the naps were short. Both weren't more than 45 minutes most days. And he'd almost always fall asleep in the car, on the way home, for about 20 minutes.

Finally at 11 months of age, I decided that enough was enough! I needed him to nap! So I let him cry it out (CIO) for naps. No Ferber checks. Just crying. The first day he wailed for about 30 minutes but eventually slept (sniffling in his sleep) for close to 2 hours). The second day was worse. But by day 3, he was napping within 10 minutes of being put in his crib. And until last February, when he turned 18 months, he took his first nap at home (at around 9 am, and I'd be at work by 11) and his second nap at the office, at around 1:30 pm.  Both naps were about 1-1.5 hours long.

Since he was 18 months old, he's been on a "schedule" of sorts. One nap per day. The nap usually begins at 12:30 after his lunch.  He'll sleep anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours, with 2 being the average until recently. Lately it's been 2.5 to 3 hours. But if he sleeps too long he's crabby.  But I think he is happier at night after his 3 hour nap. I know I can get much more done while he's sleeping. And, when I'm home, I'll nap too.  My husband doesn't understand--he's not a good napper. But I love naps and will nap whenever I can, especially while Little Man still does.

I'll miss the days of napping when he eventually drops them.  I hope it's not for a while. While it does limit my afternoon activities, I like naps.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Caught in the Middle

When the whole Charlie Sheen meltdown was happening and when the Bronx Zoo Cobra had "escaped," I decided to finally become a twit and join Twitter.  I chose the same screen name there as I have here: sweetnjmom. I'd like to think I'm sweet and I am a mom from NJ.  I'm not that creative.   The reason I mention this is because of my profile there. It says:

I'm a busy mom who is taking care of my toddler son, my hard-working husband, my neurotic dog and my disabled parents and trying to find the time to do it all.

It's pretty true. I'm trying to find a way to do it all.

My dad is technically disabled. He needs his right hip and both knees replaced. I think once that's done, he'll be in pretty good shape for a (soon-to-be) 69-year-old man. But, for now, he uses a walker and a cane and is in excruciating pain from his damaged hip and bum knees.

My mom has Parkinson's Disease and an Orthostatic Tremor. Two separate neurological conditions. She is also extremely depressed. Because this is a public blog, I won't go any further. But she doesn't really care for herself and she doesn't let my father or me help care for her. It's so hard when someone you love is hurting.

Add to the mix taking care of my toddler son and keeping up with his therapies through Early Intervention, I'm feeling very overwhelmed by it all.  Little Man is actually progressing quite well and his DI therapist is extremely optimistic about his progress. His speech therapist has only seen him twice, but has also noted his progress. So I'm feeling more positive about everything and I'm seeing a subtle change in his behavior already. He rebounds from tantrums more quickly. They're less intense. Less frequent. And shorter, too.

So I feel like I'm always in the middle and never getting anywhere.  And there are other family relationships that are complex and that leave me feeling like I can do no right. Finding a balance between being a mom, daughter, sister, wife and friend is not easy. I really hope there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or a light at the end of the tunnel. Because I'm feeling like I'm on a never-ending road, or going round and round in circles. I need a break.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Full Throttle

Today is the day.  Little Man's second developmental intervention session and the first full week of therapy. DI is Tuesdays/Thursdays and speech therapy will be on Fridays, but this week it's Wednesday because he's finally having his hearing test this Friday. (Of course he has ANOTHER ear infection... but this time it will be 6 days on antibiotics by then.) His initial session last Tuesday went well, I think. I hope his therapist is able to catch him up. And I'm very much looking forward to the speech sessions starting. Little Man is aching to talk, but he just can't get the words out. I think the shove will propel him and he'll be a chatterbox (like his mama) in no time.

Life is going full throttle as well.  As I wrote briefly yesterday, Little Man is now TWO!  It's actually the only number he knows.  (When he counts, he goes "two... two...") He finally needs a haircut.  And it's funny, it's not like he has a full head of hair.  Thus far, his hair is actually fine and somewhat sparse. But what hair he DOES have is long and crazy curly. So it's time. I'll miss his baby curls when they're snipped. But he needs that cut. And maybe it will help his hair to grow? I keep hearing that. Any hairdressers read my blog? Please feel free to pipe in.

Since I just linked my blog to Facebook, it's possible some of my friends will start reading this. I guess I tend to overshare and I'm working to make my thoughts more general and not specific. My husband is my opposite--extremely private--and I don't want to betray confidences. But at the same point, I don't think Little Man's speech and developmental delays are anything to hide. Nor do I think my fears should be hidden. There is nothing shameful about a child needing help or possibly having a problem.

Now I still think and hope that Little Man's tantrums and behavior issues are mostly due to his delays. And there are times when he is EXTREMELY good and well behaved for a 2-year-old.  And there are times when his behavior is just typical for a toddler. They have fits. They scream if they don't get their way. I also know that most 2-year-olds at this time are saying more than he is and are more advanced socially. But my son mostly has a smile on his face and he is so affectionate. I have a strong belief that by his 3rd birthday, he'll be typical and even more fun to be around.

I love my son so much. I'd do basically anything for  him. I realize that I've done TOO much FOR him--instead of pushing him to do things--and I'm working to correct that. I don't want my only to be a spoiled brat. I want him to share (whenever toddlers figure that one out) and play with other children. I want him to make friends and NOT be a "lonely only" and I want him to be happy. Childhood is so brief and I want him to enjoy it, without any obstacles. So catching things "early" is a good thing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Year Three Begins (aka Little Man is Two)

I had typed up my blog earlier tonight but the draft failed to autosave as the new version of Firefox crashed. So I'm keeping it short.

Little Man turned 2 on August 14th.

His stats were:

30.2 lb (80th percentile for weight)

36 inches (90th percentile for height)

19 inches for his head circumference, but I never asked about the percentile. He was at 50 consistently, so I'd guess somewhere in that ballpark. It was also the last time head circumference is measured at a well child appointment.

In other news, we finally had professional photos taken. Most were of Little Man, but we got a family pic, too.

And I think it's about time for Little Man to get a haircut!

More to come soon!

Year Three Begins (aka Little Man is Two)

I need to be more consistent with this blog. In the nearly two years since I started it, I've only posted sporadically. There are times when I think I should have hosted my blog on Blogger (and if I could figure out how to export it, I might consider returning there) because it's linked to Google and more easily found. But this blog isn't necessarily for readers but is more of an online journal.

Tonight I'm tired so I'm keeping it short.

Little Man is Two. His birthday was August 14th. I can't believe how FAST the first two years have gone.

Here are the stats.

Height: 36 inches (90th percentile)

Weight: 30.2 pounds (80th percentile)

Head Circumference: 19 inches (50th percentile, I think)

One year ago, he was 25.5 lb and 31.25 inches—so he's gained almost 5 pounds and grew 4.75 inches. It's interesting how it slows down. I'm told that the difference between 2 and 3 is more subtle. I guess I'll find out over the next 12 months.

In other news: we finally got family photos taken.


Friday, August 5, 2011

EI Update and First Ear Infection

Last Thursday I was supposed to drop Little Man off at his school in the morning and then come back home to have my IFSP meeting with Early Intervention.  But when he woke up, he felt quite hot to the touch and I took his fever with an ear thermometer and it was 100.7 and he seemed somewhat clingy, so I kept him home.   I still had the meeting (in the kitchen, while Little Man watched classic Disney cartoons on the DVD player in the family room) and the plan is set for him to have speech therapy once a week and work with a developmental interventionist (generally a special ed teacher) twice a week--that's 3 hours total per week.  We set simple goals (6 month) of speaking in 2 word purposeful sentences, saying his own name, responding to his name and following adult-led play for 10 minutes. I also want him to be less "dependent" on his Donald Duck toy. I guess more on this once the therapies start, by the end of August.

When the EI team left, I planned to give Little Man lunch and put him down for his nap. He just seemed not hungry, though he ate a little, and felt MUCH warmer. So I took his temperature and it was 101.7! This might not seem like a lot to those moms whose little ones have had fevers.  But this, honestly, was his first one over 101.  I managed to get some children's Tylenol in him (Dude had picked some up, since we wanted to have it handy) and he napped, badly, for short periods of time. Maybe two 20 minute stretches. When he woke he was VERY clingy and we just watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the DVR.  I managed to take him out with me, for a short trip, to Rite Aid to get him Children's Ibuprofen. Since his fever was still 101.5, I gave him Tylenol at 4 pm and then Motrin before bedtime.

The next day, Friday July 29th, he woke up feeling cool to the touch. But I took his temp again, in the ear, and he fought me like crazy. (Should have been a hint.) He was normal, but he was acting strangely. He kept crying and screaming and saying "Boo boo! Boo boo!" By 9:30 am he was spent, and I put him down for an early nap. I planned to sleep, too, as I'd had little sleep the night before, listening to Little Man crying in HIS sleep. But I called the pediatrician before I conked out and scheduled an appointment for 12:15, as his behavior was quite odd and I knew something was off.  We both napped and when he woke I gave him an early lunch (not that he ate much, but I managed to get some yogurt and blueberries into him) and we headed to the doctor.

Of course at the doctor's office, he was running around like crazy and giggling. It was like nothing was wrong. So I thought I'd taken him there for nothing. And after a HUGE fit when the nurse tried to get his oxygen levels (first on his finger, then on his foot) and a broken baby scale (we used the "big" one and he was 31.8 lb), we were finally seen by our favorite pediatrician in the group. He checked Little Man out, listened to his chest, looked in his throat (no 2 year molars yet), left ear... right ear... YEP.  He had an ear infection!  That happened to be MY first illness (at age 3). So he's copying his mama and earlier. Makes sense that he gets sick once he starts daycare/preschool, right?

We head home to get the prescribed Amoxicillin (pedi called it in) with a brief stop at my office (was there too long, but I had no choice) and I managed to "force-feed" him the bubblegum pink medication close to 4 pm. I thought he'd take a late nap, but nope. I think the flavors in the antibiotics are all sugar because he was so hyper after that first dose and I felt like a limp noodle. The second dose was easier but not by much. And Dude's train was VERY late so he was in a pissy mood and got home late. He didn't even want to see Little Man, which made me upset, since he wanted his daddy. But I put him to bed (around 8:15 or so) by myself and he slept mostly OK.

Now to add insult to injury, *I* came down with Bronchitis this week! So both of us are on antibiotics. Me, a Z-pack, since we're 90% sure I'm allergic to Penicillin.  And with a switch in our health insurance, I had to pay out of pocket and am canceling other appointments this week. But that's for another vent.

In less than 10 days now, Little Man will turn 2.  Time goes so fast. I'm grateful it took 23 months for him to get sick the first time.  And he's doing pretty well now (day 8 of antibiotics) and did much better in school this week. I, however, am EXHAUSTED.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Typical Toddler?

This has been weighing on me for some weeks and is a big part of why I haven't been blogging again, like I said I would. What is a "typical toddler?" Does your almost-2-year old listen at all? Do they participate in circle time at The Little Gym, Gymboree or your local library program or Y? When you call their name, do they turn their head to look at you? Can they speak in sentences, even if only two words. Do they say something to get your attention or do they point and grunt?

My toddler doesn't usually turn to look at me when I call his name. Though I'm pretty sure he can hear (and am having a hearing test on Friday to confirm that). My toddler says many individual words in response to something--like if Dora says "Who do you ask when you need to know where to go?" and he'll say "Map!"  Or he'll point out the hippo as the mouseketool in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartoon. But he won't TALK to me.

And the tantrums. He'll flip out if he A) Can't do something he wants to do, B) Doesn't want to do something, C) Is unable to do something (like put a square peg in a round hole) and D) if overtired or hungry. D doesn't worry me so much. But A-C do. And the lack of speech. And the NOT participating at ALL (or barely) in his Little Gym class. So on June 21, 2011, I called New Jersey Early Intervention.  They took a lot of information over the phone and an intake coordinator called me and after our phone conversation, scheduled a free evaluation.  That was on July 13th. Little Man qualified.

The two evaluators, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist, found that Little Man has delays in 1) Communication, Speech & Language (which I expected), 2) Social/Emotional Development and 3) Cognitive ability. I had my first meeting with EI last week to go over the plan in general and my cost participation, as it has not been free in over 7 years and there is a copay based on annual salary. My next meeting is to set up my IFSP (individualized family service plan) and set up what type of therapies Little Man will receive. Once I've signed off on the plan, services begin within 30 days. So by the end of August.

So since then a lot of thoughts have been going through my head.  Are there JUST developmental delays going on or is something else wrong? Little Man has, in my opinion, some red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Though it could be typical toddler behavior. Maybe? I'm no longer sure of "typical."  I've bolded the ones I'm worried about.

  • The child does not respond to his/her name.

  • The child cannot explain what he/she wants.

  • Language skills or speech are delayed.

  • The child doesn't follow directions.

  • At times, the child seems to be deaf.

  • The child seems to hear sometimes, but not others.

  • The child doesn't point or wave bye-bye.

  • The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn't.

  • The child throws intense or violent tantrums.

  • The child has odd movement patterns.

  • The child is hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional.

  • The child doesn't know how to play with toys.

  • The child doesn't smile when smiled at.

  • The child has poor eye contact.

  • The child gets "stuck" on things over and over and can't move on to other things.

  • The child seems to prefer to play alone.

  • The child gets things for him/herself only.

  • The child is very independent for his/her age.

  • The child does things "early" compared to other children.

  • The child seems to be in his/her "own world."

  • The child seems to tune people out.

  • The child is not interested in other children.

  • The child walks on his/her toes.

  • The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants.)

  • Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.

Little Man does line things up, but I wouldn't say a LOT of time. But there are a few things that worry me.  I'm on a wait list with a developmental pediatrician to evaluate him fully--not just for ASD but for his development in general. Though I'm hopeful that some of the behaviors are just toddler quirks or due to his delays.

Honestly, I am becoming bitter about how "typical" (because I won't say normal) others' toddlers are. I have lots of mom friends from the internet and I love their cyber friendship and counsel. But when I see how well they are doing. Talking. Interacting well with others. Even singing songs. I feel like I've failed. I feel so worried that my son will not go ahead in life. And he's not even 2!

Little Man is still SO affectionate--even though he won't give kisses. He likes to snuggle. He likes to play with me and his father. He loves seeing his cousins. He mostly always has a smile on his face. But he's not adjusting well to new situations (ie. daycare, that I started him in 3 times a week for a few hours) and the tantrums are getting worse, probably due to that.

I know I need to get over myself. There are children with REAL special needs and this could be NOTHING but a minor glitch. But I seem to obsess over things (always have) and it's hard to get past this.

Little Man is my only child and I want the best for him.  And I want him to be typical. Once he's there, then I'll look towards exceptional.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sh!t Happens!

Yesterday was July 4th and we have a friend who is a volunteer firefighter.  So Dude and I took Little Man to take a ride in a fire truck.  They sat in the front seat (I was in the cab) and they had a fantastic time. Dude mostly.  Men are just big boys, right? But I'm glad they had fun and it was a nice way to celebrate the 4th.  Here is Little Man wearing his new fireman's hat!


So after we left, around 11 am, Little Man fell asleep in the car!  We didn't expect that, and Dude needed new sneakers so we were headed to the Reebok outlet nearby. So I stayed in the car with our son as my husband shopped for shoes. After about 35 minutes (including the time to the store), Little Man woke up. So we decided to have lunch at Panera before heading home. We had yogurt for the kiddo and we got stuff there.

After our meal, Dude was in the men's room and Little Man turned bright red and started grunting. I knew EXACTLY what was happening. Oy vey!  He then started screaming in pain. So I got him out of the high chair and he finished pooping--or so I thought--on my lap.  Dude came back from the bathroom and I let him know that I had to change the boy.  So off I went, hoping for little or no struggle.




In the bathroom, the changing table was in the handicapped stall.  I got Little Man situated, putting a disposable pad under him, and I pulled off his shorts (left his shoes on) and opened the diaper to one of the biggest poops I've seen! He hadn't pooped since Saturday, so I guess it was 2 days worth. It filled the diaper and was still coming out of his tush. As I pulled the diaper back, more poop came out.   I managed to wipe a lot away but still saw some poop just hanging there.  Like half in/half out of his tush.

I had to pull away the dirty diaper, because he began kicking and put his shoe IN some poop. Ack!  Got more wipes and put the dirty diaper and used wipes in a plastic bag (for used diapers, Munchkin brand). They he PEES all over himself and his clothing.  Starts SCREAMING!

So I'm trying to wipe him off and he then shits all over the table.

There is crap everywhere.  I had to wipe it off the table and him--and ME, since it was on my hands!  Then a wipe, with poop on it, fell on the floor!!!  Ack!

I'm not sure how I managed to get a clean diaper on him and bag his dirty clothes in another scented sack and also get most of the poop and his diaper in another. But I did.  And I tossed the refuse in a trash bin and tried to wash my hands, while my screaming toddler was attached to my hip.  Then I walked out, with my son only wearing a diaper and shoes, to tell the staff at Panera that they have a problem in their handicapped stall (ie. poop all over the changing station and the floor.) The woman doesn't seem to understand, but I couldn't linger and walked through the restaurant to where Dude was waiting.

"Take him!" is all I manage to say at first.

Then I shared with him, what I've just shared with you.  Dude helps me dress him in his "emergency outfit" and Little Man settles down and actually eats a bit more. I guess he had room, finally.

I use hand sanitizer to make up for whatever I missed during my futile attempt at washing my hands.  And then I have to pee. I am mortified and don't want to go back to the bathroom. But I do.  And when I'm done--and have noticed the poop is still all over that stall--I let the manager know what happened.   Soooo embarrassed as I say it. But they're nice and say they'll take care of it.

We leave quickly.

So I'm not sure we'll ever be welcome in the Panera on Route 202 in Flemington, NJ. Hopefully the other locations don't know of my reputation.  Mom of the killer pooper.

Oh well, shit happens.

All over the place.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Dog

I'm sitting on the sofa, next to my husband and my sleeping dog and I think how much I love them both.  And it's funny how I am not really discriminating. Casey is a dog.  But he is MY dog and my first "baby."  He's very annoying at times. Ever since I had Little Man, he's been needy—even when I pay attention to him—and he's acted out by stealing food and barking.  But I adore him and lately, watching him slow down, I realize how much my heart will ache when he is no longer with me.

Hopefully he'll be around for a few more years.  I'd like Little Man to have memories of him.  Heck, I'd like Little Man to call him Casey and not just "Da Daw" (the dog).  But I do worry how it will affect him.  My friend's daughter still feels the effect of losing her dog at a similar age (almost 3) and she is 5-1/2.  And I know I should get these thoughts out of my head since he IS healthy. But I guess I realize that I've had him for nearly 11 years now and he's almost 12 years old.

I hate that I snap at my dog.  He's a DOG.  He doesn't know how annoying he can be when he's underfoot or barking up a storm or nudging me for food.  I guess it's because I'm under a lot of stress from caring for Little Man, trying to be a good wife and help out my parents. I lash out at the one being who TRULY loves me unconditionally.

I'm a dog person.  One day I'll have another dog—because I can't count my brother's dogs (formerly my in-laws' dogs)—that is MINE (and I guess my husband's too) but for now Casey is my only furchild and I adore him.  I loved my husband's late dog, who died when I was newly pregnant, and my heart broke for him when she died at the age of 15 (with him for the last 10 years). But for now I have to figure out how to just be calmer around mine since I do adore him.  He is such a sweet, fun dog—even if he IS neurotic.

He is.

But that's another story.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tech-Savvy Toddlers

I know my kid isn't the only one.  I have several friends, both online and in person, who comment how their 2-year-old (or older/younger) is flipping through apps on their iPhone or iPad. Obviously it's common or why else would all these developers make apps for toddlers?  But it's also kind of crazy how tech-savvy today's toddlers are.

Little Man doesn't really say much but he does know "on" and "off" and can name basically every character in The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Dora the Explorer cartoons.  He says map and bappap (backpack) and Mou and MeeMee and Dasiy and Duck Duck.  I've mentioned that I allow him to watch TV and have admitted that I feel I let him watch too much. But it keeps him busy while he's at work with me (my not-so-ideal situation) and it cannot be helped right now.

I actually made my iPod Touch toddler friendly. Basically Little Man has free reign with it.  Though if there is no Wi-Fi available, he gets mad when he can't get his apps to work. I've created a monster!

I guess that's it for now. I'm trying to get back into the groove of blogging.  I like writing and maybe one day I'll be more attentive to this site.  I've considered returning to another blog site (with nice follower links) but then I'd have to figure out how to move this one. Not gonna happen anytime soon.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making Vegetables Palatable?

I fully admit that I'm slacking on the veggie front. Little Man only eats peas. Frozen peas. Not fresh because I'm a lazy ass who hasn't bought fresh vegetables for my son. He used to eat vegetable purees and LOVED sweet potatoes. But since he started self-feeding, he has eschewed all vegetables for unhealthy alternatives like potato chips and french fries.

I know it's my fault for not offering him better meal choices and I want to change that. But how? And with what? How do I introduce new foods to my nearly-two-year-old? How do I undo what I have done? Will he ever eat well?

And don't even get me started on milk.  He LOVED milk when he first tried it and when it was in a bottle. But when we cold-turkeyed the bottle for sippy cups he refused to drink milk in it. I feel badly that he won't drink it. And it's not that he doesn't like the taste. I think it's the consistency. I'm going to have to try flavoring it again. I really want him to drink something besides water.  Not that he needs the empty calories of juice, but it would be nice if he'd try it.

Since he's growing and thriving, I shouldn't worry TOO much. I know of children who survived on pasta with butter for years and he eats better than that. Little Man likes chicken. Loves potato. Loves macaroni & cheese. But my goal is to expand his diet. I just need to come up with a menu and purchase the foods.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Joy is seeing your child's face light up when he sees you.

Joy is hearing him say "Mama, ___" when he wants to share something with you.

Joy is the cuddles you get from your loving son.

Joy is knowing you are doing SOMETHING right in your life.

Joy is watching your little one discover how something works.

This is me and my pride and joy!


Friday, May 20, 2011

What a month!

In the last month, I've had a lot of time to reflect on things. My father had surgery to close an abdominal abscess from a hernia surgery back in 2003. This abscess was infected with MRSA (now resolved) and the surgery was complex. My father is currently recuperating at home. It's pretty intense. The visiting nurse service is coming 3x per week as is a physical therapist. Though he has the go-ahead to get back to most normal activities, he cannot come back to work for another 3 weeks--though he may stop by to supervise (as it is his company). And my mother's Parkinson's Disease has also worsened. The day after my father's surgery, I took her to her specialist in NYC. The visit was good and bad. Good in that I have a better understanding of what's going on. Bad in that I'm not entirely sure my mother is completely lucid all the time.

So a lot of stress for me as most of this falls on my shoulders. My brother, who lives in the family home, is not able to help me. His business is not to share here, but I can say that I'm alone in this. And my husband has a long, stressful commute to his job in NYC and when he is home, things still fall on me. Add taking care of a chronically cranky toddler (maybe not chronically, but definitely often), I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Therefore I let a lot of my worries about Little Man's speech go for now. He is now 21 months old and he still doesn't say that much, but I have noticed an increase over the last week. I'm hoping that over the next 2.5 months I see a major language explosion so I can go to his 2 year well visit in August confident that he is progressing as he should. But if he is not, my focus WILL shift back to my son's speech and I will get him any and all aid he needs.

I'm still hoping he'll just suddenly say to me "Mama, yogurt please!" or "Dada, more berries." We'll see.

Little Man is my joy. He really is. Even when I complain about the tantrums (the ones for no apparent reason are the worst) and how hard it is to change his diaper sometimes, he makes my life complete. Not so long ago, really, I thought I'd never get married or have a child. I'm glad things turned out as they did. And even though once upon a time I thought I'd have two children--a boy and a girl--I am content with just my boy and hope that one day, he will marry a fantastic woman who will, in some way, become a daughter to me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Speech Worries

Dude is worried about Little Man's speech. He is very concerned that it is not at the level where a 20-month-old should be. I'm not really sure if I should be worried or not. He says words--about 10 to 15 with consistency--but he's not speaking in sentences and the only "new" word of late is rock.

I keep wondering at what point do you call Early Intervention? My pediatrician's office is great and I am going to speak with the doctor to discuss this before "jumping the gun" or panicking. And you keep being told, as a mother, not to compare your child to others. But I don't see how you CAN'T compare. I take Little Man to The Little Gym on Sunday mornings and while he IS the youngest in his class (Beasts: 19 months - 2-1/2 years), it seems at times that he's the only child NOT participating in the "circle" time and he's too busy exploring. But then he DOES come and run with the group and he climbed right onto the parachute last week, so he's improving. Maybe he just needs time.

I think Dude worries too much sometimes. And I think HE thinks I'm too Laissez Faire about milestones. I don't think I am. Usually I'M considered to be the frantic one. But I keep thinking that Little Man is progressing as he should. He's a toddler. He's still a baby in many ways. And he may just need time to get there. Right?

Heck, Little Man didn't walk until the day before 15 months. That wasn't a delay, but it was later than some children. (Though Dude didn't walk until 18 months and I was 17 months.) And I was told by my MIL that Dude didn't talk until he was 2. Neither did my brother. Nor my one cousin. So 20 months and only saying a handful of words isn't TOO odd.

I know that Little Man understands a LOT and hopefully he'll ease our fears shortly. I guess I can't help but worry a little, he's my first child. My only child. I want him to be where he should be. Not "perfect" but at the right level.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


My blog post yesterday about the woman who drove her car into the Hudson River was written prior to more information about this tragedy. Here's an updated article about it (as of April 14th at 10:30 am).

I made assumptions about this woman without knowing the full story. Though my initial reaction of horror remains. Because I cannot imagine murdering my children, no matter how distraught I may be. But I am lucky in having the support of a loving family. I know that, if I ever needed them, they'd be there for me. My aunts and uncles, too, even though my relationship with them has been damaged due to my brother's interactions with them. They love me, but because I live with my brother, I don't see or speak to them as often as I would had had I not moved in with my family.

People make assumptions all the time. About how well off one may be. About others' lives. And there is that saying about making assumptions: Never assume, for it makes an ASS out of U and ME.

I'm going to try to teach Little Man to make decisions based on fact. Or, at the very least, to be willing to let his mind be changed. But I want him to be true to himself as well. Teaching him to be able to find a balance will be my true job as a parent.

So those are my thoughts today. And I also still tend to track monthly milestones as today Little Man is 20 months old. In just 4 more months, he'll turn 2. And over the next 30 days I plan to keep an eye (or ear) on his speech. His pediatrician said if he wasn't speaking in 2 word sentences by 21 months to make an appointment to discuss his speech. I don't want to ASSUME he'll need Early Intervention, but I also don't want to dismiss it. Hopefully he's on track and will catch up. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mothers Who Kill

After years of longing to be a mother--thinking I'd never get married or have that child I'd always dreamed of--I cannot even fathom harming a hair on his head. Of course there are moments when Little Man's extreme tantrums drive me to yell at him and feel quite frustrated. But when I have those moments of human frailty, I will safely deposit Little Man in his crib and walk away for a moment to catch my breath. And if I yell at him, I apologize for losing my temper. But to even consider harming him... it makes me sick.

Today I read about a New York State woman who drowned 3 of her 4 children, only sparing her 10-year-old son. The story link is here: New York Mother Drives Minivan Into Hudson River, Killing 3 Kids and Self I cannot understand being so depressed (which is my assumption, PPD) that the only solution a woman finds is to drown herself and her children. I understand suicidal thoughts but not murderous ones--especially when at one's own children. But my bout of the baby blues was relatively mild, once I'd decided to formula feed. And I was worried about Postpartum Depression, because I've battled depression in the past.

But I think there must be something more to this. Why drowning? Is it biblical in a manner that I cannot understand, as my faith is different? Several women have done this. Susan Smith. Andrea Yates. Even last year, there was a woman who did this (I'd have to Google to find out who/where). Now this NY woman. I cannot even imagine how her surviving son feels right now. My heart breaks for him.

So today I will spend my time with Little Man reminding myself how lucky I am to have him. I always knew that if I only had one child, I would have a son. And I do have this AMAZING son and I am so grateful for him and would do whatever I could to protect him--even from myself. Thankfully I never had to worry about that. Sadly there are children who do.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yes, I let my toddler watch TV

Probably TOO much TV. But there you go. Sesame Street and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse allows me to have coffee and eat breakfast. Or at the very least try to eat breakfast since Little Man has decided he wants to have my cereal, from my bowl, in the morning. That habit actually stopped me from having Peanut Butter Captain Crunch today (yes, I eat like a kid) because Little Man hasn't had peanuts yet. But the TV often distracts him enough for me to eat, or empty and reload the dishwasher, or throw a load of laundry in the wash.

That being said, I don't want him to watch TOO much TV and am working to change this habit (if it isn't too late to do so) by spending a LOT of time with him, playing in his bedroom. And as the weather gets nicer, he will be OUTSIDE as much as possible during his waking hours--when I'm not at the office. Since he's still coming to work with me (hoping to do 2 days in daycare starting in June), I don't have as much opportunity to take him outside. But I did manage on St. Patrick's Day when the weather was hovering around 70 degrees.

Here's a photo of him from that day.

Cute, huh?

Seriously, he does watch too much TV but at least it's age appropriate. The aforementioned Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake & the Neverland Pirates (because it's on), Dora, Diego, The Wonder Pets, The Fresh Beat Band and, on occasion, Yo Gabba Gabba, Special Agent Oso and (my favorite) Jack's Big Music Show.

Little Man will reply to questions that are asked by Dora or Diego--usually with a "NO!" Or he'll say "Bap Pap" and "Map" if Dora asks her audience who do you ask when ___? So I guess he is learning. He even says "tip toe" thanks to the Hic Boom Oh episode.

So I guess there are worse things he could be doing, right?

But I DO need to cut back. I don't want him to become a couch potato.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mister Personality and Miscellany

I noticed that I tend to blog about the less appealing aspects of motherhood. The sleepless nights. Hefting a nearly 28 lb toddler around. The temper tantrums. The nap strikes. And I guess I write about that because I need a place to vent about this. But, overall, my son is an absolutely amazing little boy who has a fantastic, sunny personality. Dude and I called him Sunshine when he was an infant because his sunny smile lit up rooms. His nature is cheerful, overall. Even when he's cranky, he can be FUN!

This picture, I think, captures Little Man's personality.

He has such a joyous energy about him. Recently a post on The Bump discussed describing your little one in one word. I chose "Charmer." I think it suits him. The response he gets from people is amazing. Even from just photos online. I have many people I consider to be friends, of sorts, from meeting them on various message boards. I've reconnected on Facebook with some—along with friends from college and high school (or even elementary school). I find it nice, actually. Even though I thought I would NOT want to be in touch with anyone, considering how much I hated school overall (due to the bullying). Yet I'm glad to be in touch with everyone that I am and I actually wish I could spend time with my friends in person. But that's for another blog altogether, I think.

Right now, Little Man is actually napping. He went out with us on errands—buying a new sofa for our "family" room (small TV room next to our kitchen) and getting a birthday present for our oldest niece, Miss M. And, as an aside, it's not easy buying for a six-going-on-sixteen-year-old. So we ended up getting her a gift card per my sister-in-law's suggestion. I hope Miss M isn't insulted by the lack of actual present.

Again, Little Man is napping. He slept from around 8:15 pm to 6 am (he almost always wakes by 6:30). Then he napped early (9:15 to 10:30). I took him for a long ride around the block in his Little Tikes car. He was SO happy because he adores being outdoors. Then after lunch, we bought the sofa (because the dogs keep peeing on the current one) and did our Toys R Us run. Then Costco to get food for dinner. And basically the minute his head hit the crib (no pillow yet), he was fast asleep—that was at 3:40 pm. It's almost 4:30 as I type and hopefully he'll manage an hour and will be cheerful for the rest of the day. It seems that Little Man gets crankier when he hasn't napped well. Though I also think it's due to his inability to run around as much as he'd like.

Tomorrow we'll see Dude's side of the family. All seven cousins will be together. I'm curious to see how Little Man does, since he doesn't really interact with other children. And I'm actually taking him to The Little Gym for a free introductory class tomorrow. If he likes it, I'll sign him up for the rest of the session. I hope he does.

Until next time...
SweetNJMom signing off

Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Weeks Late... but 18 Month Stats!

Once again, I failed miserably at updating this blog. I don't know how other mom bloggers do it--especially if they also work. I spend most of my time with Little Man and trying to make our house a home (it is... it's just completely disorganized). So I have completely forgotten about blogging and mostly spend time on Facebook. Though I occasionally Tweet on Twitter. But I digress. Stats.

Height: 34 inches
Weight: 27 lb 9 oz
75th percentile for both.

So Little Man is doing well. He's talking more and more--though I don't always understand him. Our pediatrician is pretty laid back and answered all my questions. I'll keep an eye on his speech and if Little Man is NOT speaking in sentences by 21 months, I'll call for an appointment. Otherwise he doesn't go back until he's two. That's surreal. After the last 18 months of going either monthly or every 3 months, we have a 6 month gap. Then, I think, a YEAR'S gap between visits. My baby is such a BOY now.


The photo was taken on January 31st after a snowstorm. Recent enough, I think. Little Man hasn't really changed over the last month. And I ended up taking most of my recent pics on my iPhone. (LOVE it by the way.) I need to get back to documenting things with the little Cannon ELPH I have.

Other stats to share...

Diaper Size: 5!!!!! I can't believe how big he is!
Shoe Size: 6 wide (and he needs more shoes, all the donated ones from family are regular width)
Clothing Size: 24 Month (though he has a short torso and many pants are too long)
Tooth Count: 15 with #16 budding and nearly out (the last pesky canine)
Hair Color: Dark Blond
Eye Color: Hazel (Green if he wears green)

And he can count to two. LOL. Uhn. Do!

I guess that's it for today. Until later...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Challenge Fail

Been too busy to blog and I've failed my personal challenge. C'est la vie.

In other news, Little Man now has 14 teeth and will turn 18 months old on Monday. I'll blog after his well visit with updated stats on Tuesday. And my new personal challenge will be to blog at least once per week.

We'll see how I do.

Oh, and I joined Twitter. Why, I'm not sure. Same user name. @sweetnjmom (I think you use the @ but I'm a Twitter newbie and now need to read up on this).

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Torture that is Teething

A lot of my mom friends (see mom blogs link on the right side) will confirm what I'm about to write: TEETHING BITES!

Of course there must be some babies/toddlers who aren't bothered by a new tooth about to sprout. And I'm happy for their parents and caregivers. Because they are lucky. My son, however, IS bothered by new teeth and right now he is cutting FIVE at once!

Yes, you read that correctly. Five. All four canines (3 are almost out) and his last First Year molar (the bottom left). He has 11 teeth fully out--soon to be 16 and then, hopefully, a break in this madness until his Second Year molars show up. I really hope they wait until he turns 2, six months from now, because it would be nice.

Little Man is, overall, a happy fellow. He almost always has a smile on his face and a hello (or Hola!) to everyone. He waves and chatters. He likes to "share" his toys with you. But he's stubborn and if he doesn't get what he wants, he can throw a MAJOR tantrum. He throws his body on the floor and cries and kicks and squirms his little body like a worm and can occasionally (on purpose!) bang his head on the floor or a wall. I hate that part. Headbanging should only be done at a metal concert.

So the last few weeks have been interesting. We moved on January 19th. He adjusted pretty well, but the drooly, chompy, bitey phase has been rough. He even bites his clothing to alleviate the pain. But when you try to give him Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen ... well, you need two people to force that down his throat. Little Man is STRONG! And he has a rash on his cheeks from the drool and the cold. I try to put Boudreaux's Baby Kisses on it as frequently as possible, but with 3 dogs (mine and my brother's two) you get a lot of dog hair and it's not fun to have fur stuck to one's gooped-up face.

Hopefully these teeth will poke out soon. I see the tips of two of the canines (upper) and that last molar is being stubborn, but it's slowly emerging. The light is at the end of the tunnel--for now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blog Fail!

Remember my goal?

I didn't.

No post yesterday. No post on Tuesday. Here it is, February 3rd, and I'm only now typing away on my MacBook. Yep, I failed on my own challenge. Now the question is: Do I start fresh from today?

We'll see... I can't think of much to say today. I'm tired. Little Man is cutting his last molar and his canines. And I'm waiting for the cable company to arrive with my replacement DVR since the old one SUCKED and wasn't recording my shows. They have 50 minutes to show up within their "window" of 8 - 11 am. I'm not holding my breath. And they'll probably show up JUST as Little Man falls asleep.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Last day of January resolution!

Tomorrow is February 1st. It's the shortest month of the year, so perhaps I can use that to my blogging advantage. I'm going to TRY to blog every day in February. My blogs may only contain a photo or even a brief thought, but I hope to get back on the blogwagon again. Little Man will turn 18 months on Valentine's Day, so it's a milestone month. We'll see how I do.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wha Dat?

No?   Yes, snow.


And mama is showing off her Photoshop fun, too.