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.