Thursday, December 13, 2012

November into December

Much has happened over the last month. I've been quite busy but that's no excuse for neglecting you, my blog, again. I am not sure if I should return to where I've left off... voting... hmm... to be honest, I was not happy with how the vote turned out. I know that I am in the minority but I don't like the direction our country is headed fiscally. I hope things turn around, but I am not that hopeful. I do hope you all don't think I am crazy political. I am not. But that's my two cents on that.

Now November was a busy mix of sadness and change. The sadness was due to the effects of Superstorm Sandy. My extended family and friends had no power for two weeks. And while I was able to offer some comfort to a few, family circumstances hindered any more help. It's too complex to get into and probably I should not anyway. But I felt such sadness seeing images of parts of my home state of New Jersey decimated and parts of New York, as well. My niece's 5th birthday party had to be postponed due to the power outages. It was just a stressful time.

But there were some good things. My sister-in-law hosted Thanksgiving after getting her power back and I had a wonderful time with my husband's side of the family. Little Man adores spending time with his cousins. And he played so nicely with them. It's such a difference from his first Thanksgiving, at 3 months of age, when I was so worried about his head shape (before he got his first DOC Band) and he slept most of the day in my Baby K'tan carrier. Now he is 3 and is so big and talking up a storm—just one year after being in Early Intervention for a speech delay!

Also, I had several interviews for a marketing position. Now I've never worked in marketing and was apprehensive but I gave it my best shot. The Managing Director of the company must have seen something in me, because ... I got a job offer on Black Friday! It's interesting... I found out I was pregnant on Black Friday and now I got a job. Next year I have to play the lottery on that day.

So about the job... it's not for the marketing position I interviewed for. I think my new boss decided to change gears after interviewing me, as I was not really a great fit for that position. So I was hired to be the Executive Assistant for the company. I started on December 3rd and I am doing a lot of different tasks so far. It's interesting work and it's a good step in the right direction for our future.

Now getting that job did prompt some other changes. Little Man is now in daycare full-time. He's doing really well and seems to have adjusted instantly. He even naps again. I miss him immensely, but I do like the time away from him. I'm still adjusting myself, to the new schedule and commuting and coordinating drop-offs and pick-ups. But I'm getting there.

Otherwise, things are going well. My kiddo has a ton of new toys to play with and I'll give a Chanukah update (with photos) in a few days. I really am looking forward to 2012 ending and hoping that 2013 is a better year.  As long as the Mayans were wrong.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I don't care who you vote for (OK, maybe I do, but don't let that stop you) but VOTE.

Get out and make your voice be heard.  For all levels of government. Not just for a Presidential election.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Superstorm Sandy

Honestly, there hasn't been much going on the last two weeks. I spend countless hours on Indeed or Monster futilely applying for jobs (though I did have a phone interview and a follow-up request for in-person next week). And I play with Little Man. Help my mom. Survive my sibling. Spend evenings with my husband. Routine.

Then came Monday, October 29, 2012.


She started out as Hurricane Sandy. Headed right to New Jersey.

That never happens. Really. We don't get direct hits from hurricanes this far North too often. I haven't Googled to see when it last happened before now, but I know that this storm was unique and caused the most damage New Jersey (and New York, particularly New York City) has ever seen.

I'm not going to "borrow" pics that countless people have shared, but I'll pass along a link to a site that have lots of photos of the destruction in the area:


When Sandy hit near Atlantic City, and the Jersey Shore was decimated, we just had 70 MPH winds and some downed trees. Lights flickered a lot and I was certain that we'd lose power. But remarkably our house is on a strong power grid and we are one of the lucky ones. We never lost power (or cable or phones or internet). But my sister-in-law and her family are in the dark. Four nights and counting. They've been told it could be 2-3 weeks.

Yesterday when we stopped at the supermarket to get a few more things (last week we only sparsely purchased food, in fear power would fail and it would spoil), we noticed a LONG line at the Costco gas station.  And when my SIL's family came up, we had lunch at the Mall and waited in line at the food court. Hundreds of "refugees" from the area were camped out, happy for a warm meal (even if fast) and plugging power strips into every available electrical outlet.  Kids dressed in costume and trick-or-treated in the Mall shops. Trying to have just a bit of normalcy.

Halloween was cancelled yesterday. Postponed by Governor Chris Christie until Monday 11/5.  Though my down also issued a curfew for trick-or-treating, so the kids must be done by 6 pm. I will take Little Man out and about. And now I am very grateful that I took him to the town's "Trunk or Treat" on the 21st. He got to dress up and say "Trick or Treat!" for the first time. I mean, last year we had a freak snowstorm with nearly 2 feet of snow and Halloween was postponed then for similar reasons (no power, downed lines, trees, etc.).

Here is my Junior Space Ranger from the 21st. He'll wear the same costume tomorrow, at his preschool's postponed Halloween parade.

It will be weeks before my area of NJ is back to normal. It will be months for others. And years before the Shore is anywhere near where it once was. Be grateful for your health, for your family, for your homes. Whether you rent or own, it's the basics that matter.


Monday, October 8, 2012

"I'm Going to Halloween!!!"

Ah, October. The magical month for children of all ages. It's time for Halloween and my Little Man is VERY excited about the holiday. Only one issue: he thinks Halloween is something we are going to. He keeps saying "I'm going to Halloween!"

He definitely understands that you dress up in costume. And he gets the concept of saying "trick or treat" to get candy. In fact, he tried to do that earlier today. It didn't work.  But the fact that Halloween is October 31st and is a day and not a place is not something he understands.

We went pumpkin picking this past weekend and he cannot wait to "decorate" them. I was planning a traditional carving for two of the three we picked up, and the smaller one can be painted by Little Man (if I am feeling brave). Maybe sparkles? Do boys do sparkles?  And we decorated the outside of our house. I'm pretty excited about that, since this is the first time I've had lights out. It was really fun decorating. I think my husband would have liked to have gone all out, but it was a good first try.

Here are some pics from this weekend's activities.

The chair by our front door

Blurry iPhone Pic of the front porch

Little Man

In other October news, my father turned 70 on the 2nd. Due to my mom's health, it was very low key. My husband cooked filet mignon and asparagus. I made twice baked potatoes. And we got an ice cream cake for dessert. Sadly the disconnect in my family makes this milestone birthday quite bittersweet. A few years ago, things would have been different. A party perhaps? At least something more, that my mom could have been a part of. But my parents and sibling are not in touch with extended family due to a variety of reasons. It's quite sad. I try my best to keep in touch, but it isn't always easy when I live with my nuclear family and have to always go to them, as they cannot come to me. But it is what it is and hopefully things will change for the better soon.

I'm going to do my best to enjoy October. It's always a favorite month of mine. If weather cooperates, we'll see a friend of mine and her husband at the Bronx Zoo next weekend. Always a favorite for Little Man—he LOVES the animals.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feed Me, Seymour...

I have a big confession.

I feed my son.

I am weak and haven't just said to him "if you don't feed yourself you just won't eat."


Part of it is that I don't want to deal with the crying and whining and whatever tantrum he may throw. And part of it is that I don't want him to be hungry—which is ridiculous because he is in the 84th percentile for weight and is fine. I know I have to bite the bullet here. He is potentially the only three-year-old I know of who does not regularly feed himself. And he CAN! He just WON'T.


And there has been a poop backtrack with potty training. He flat out refuses to poop in the potty and prefers a diaper or pull-up.  Pee backtrack too, but he is more amenable to peeing than pooping. I guess it's more scary to poop in the potty. I'm not rushing things... even though he is 37 months...  not rushing them yet. But I guess eventually I'll have to press the issue.

I just want him to be more able to do for himself.  I am hoping I'll find a new job before unemployment runs out (I'd better) and he'll be in daycare full-time and they won't do for him like I do and he just SHOULD be able to now.

No more, Audrey 2. No more.

Friday, September 7, 2012


My son will be 37 months next week, and I usually do not think in terms of months now, but it's relevant to this topic, and he is NOT potty trained.  There, I said it. My 3-year-old son wears size 6 Huggies Little Movers and Overnites. He will pee on the potty if I put him there, but he has only told me and my husband twice that he has to go BEFORE he actually goes. As for poop... well he definitely knows he has to go, but he refuses to go in the toilet and insists for his diaper.

I know you cannot force this, but I am getting a bit anxious. I am currently unemployed and, therefore, have the time to potty train him. But if he isn't really "into" it, how do you do that? And when I DO get a job (had a promising interview yesterday for a temp to perm position), will those changes—going to daycare full time for the first time ever, me being gone before he wakes in the morning—ruin the small potty progress we've had so far?

At least he gets excited to have a new sticker on the potty chart I created for him, right?

Slow and steady...  he'll pee pee (and poop) when he's ready.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Balance

Lately I've been trying to find the balance. How to be me. How to be a wife. How to be a mother. How to be a daughter with disabled, Senior parents (who aren't even 70 yet). It's not easy and I haven't really found it.

Here is my nighttime routine in short:

  1. Get Little Man upstairs
  2. Sit him on the potty and cheer if he pees!
  3. Get him in his overnight diaper and pajamas
  4. Brush his teeth
  5. Give kisses and pass him off to daddy
  6. Go downstairs to my parents' suite
  7. Help my mom go to the bathroom
  8. Help my mom into her adult diaper 
  9. Help my mom out of her clothes/into her nightgown
  10. Kiss her goodnight 
  11. Go upstairs to sit with my husband and job hunt*

*Note: I am currently unemployed and seeking full time employment. It has been a rough month or so and hopefully I will find something before unemployment insurance runs out this Winter.

So finding the balance between caring for everyone and digging myself out of a financial hole that I dug myself for the most part, is not easy. And when I do get that new job, I'll have to balance full-time daycare drop offs and being a working mother as well as a part-time caregiver (my dad actually does most of it). Add to the mix my sibling living here and not contributing and adding to emotional turmoil... well, I don't know how long we'll last and then my mother will suffer.

It's hard being in the generation I am in and being an "older" mother. My situation is a big part of why we chose to be "one and done" because if I had two, I think I'd be having a breakdown. I just cannot split my attention any further. It is not an easy road ahead of me... I just hope I have the energy to get myself where I should be and our family in a better place.

Friday, August 17, 2012


So as I wrote earlier in the week, Little Man is 3 and today was his well  child visit so I have stats to share. I think my husband is a bit disappointed by his height (he isn't as tall as we'd expected) but overall we're thrilled by how well he's grown.

HEIGHT: 38 inches (65th percentile)
WEIGHT: 35.8 pounds (84th percentile)

He is such a sweet kid.  He totally amazed his pediatrician for correctly identifying an otoscope (thanks to Doc McStuffins!) and the fact that he is talking up a storm at 3 makes me feel that the year in Early Intervention was the best thing ever!  He went from no sentences at age 2, to 9 words or more on average at age 3.

My sweet, sunshine boy is just a blessing.

I'm glad that the one child I have is so remarkable. I think I made the right choice to stop at one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Yes, once again I have sadly neglected this blog. Only two posts in 3 months... I promise I will update this week as a LOT has been happening in my life.  However, the main thing I am going to share today is...


I can hardly believe how much time flies!  I blogged HERE about his birth back in 2009. I can't believe my 9 lb baby is now a 37 lb boy. He is so big. He is talking up a storm! (And last year I was panicking about all sorts of things.) He is a super sweet boy who sleeps in a BIG BOY BED and has given up naps about 95% of the time. He loves his mommy and daddy and his dog, Casey.  I have such a sweet, special boy.  Everyone who meets him, loves him. He is just that engaging. 

He doesn't go for his well visit until Friday, so I don't have any stats yet, but I can share his likes.

  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Little Einsteins
  • Doc McStuffins
  • Jake & the Neverland Pirates
  • Octonauts 
  • Toy Story (1-3)

So, basically, anything DISNEY!  He does watch far too much TV.  And he LOVES animals! We had his 3rd birthday party this past Saturday at the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, NJ. It's a great zoo and he had a fantastic time!

Here is the collage the Picture People created during his 3 year photo shoot a few weeks ago. (I bought the rights to the CD, so I'm sharing "legally". He is such a ham!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Man!!!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yeah... well... huh...

So I haven't written since May 22nd. Wow. It's been a LONG time, huh?  Yeah, well, I've been BUSY. Lots going on with me and tonight I'll keep it brief because Little Man has been in the midst of some sort of sleep regression/fear/phobia deal. He won't fall asleep unless myself or my husband sits in his room with him. He'll get up and SCREAM "Mama! Dada! Mama! Dada! MAMA!DADA!" until one of us comes back. This started about 2 weeks ago.

So for the updates since the end of May.

  • My nephew H turned 9.
  • My Dad had his hip replaced on June 18th and has been in a rehab facility since the 22nd
  • My nephew M turned 7
  • Our 4th anniversary was June 22 and we actually had a date night, thanks to my BFF, and saw the Pixar movie Brave.
  • Little Man stopped napping (last week of June) even though he still NEEDS a nap
  • Sleep has been royally fucked up for us all
  • BOTH of my parents are coming home on July 13th.

So big changes are ahead for my family.  I am anxious about this, even though I am glad my mom will be home because I know she has been extremely lonely in the nursing home. But so much of this falls on me. I already am caring for an energetic preschooler, working part-time for my family business, job hunting, keeping up with the house and caring for an elderly dog... I barely have time for myself or my husband. So add my parents to the mix without any help... it's a rough thing.

I hope Little Man starts sleeping again. We'll be doing the switch to the Big Boy Bed in the next week or so, so I figure I'll have more sleepless nights ahead of me. But he surprised me with the pacifier, so you never know.   And then he turns THREE in August. Wow.

So that's the update.  I keep saying I'll keep up here and I never do. I guess I should keep my word.

I'll try. I promise.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The "Me Me Fairy" and other updates

I have been extremely lax in my blog again. It seems like this happens more often than I'd like. And I don't think the last six weeks were THAT exciting, really. Well expect for a 10 hour trip to the ER with my husband who was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia.  Poor Dude was really sick for a while there. That was on May 1st. But I guess I'll update with the biggest news first and then backtrack and catch up.

THE "ME ME" (aka Pacifier) FAIRY CAME!

I don't know if I've really posted about Little Man's obsession with his Nuk pacifier. He was so attached to them that he named them after himself—me-mes—and he would sleep with one in his mouth and one in each hand. I slowly weaned the amount of pacifiers in his crib down to 2 and then to 1. The week before we decided to kibosh the pacifier, I told him that the Me Me Fairy was going to come and take his me-mes to a new baby (in China, because that's far away from NJ) and she would leave him a special present to comfort him. He was excited about the fairy coming but really didn't "get" the reason why. On Saturday night, May 19th, I hid all his pacifiers (haven't tossed them yet) and left a plush Dumbo in his crib.

He saw the Dumbo immediately when he went into his room (before bath time) and got all excited. After the bath, we told him that the Dumbo was from the Me Me Fairy and that he would have no more me-mes. He seemed to understand and actually lied down without much fuss. He tossed and turned a bit, but slept through the night! The next morning, I (or the fairy) gave him a Captain Hook toy as a second gift for making it through the night.

It's been 3 nights and so far, so good. I think I'm very lucky to have an easygoing child (overall, despite the ups and downs he's been more easygoing than not) and I am THRILLED the transition went so smoothly. Hopefully the switch to his Big Boy Bed (which is set up in his room) will go well later this Summer.

Strangely, I'm feeling a bit melancholy about this. I know it's for the best and I forced the change, but the pacifier being gone is yet another step out of babyhood. And with an only child, I tend to notice these things as they will never happen again for me.


April —
  • I had my birthday on Passover and the hubby got me a new lens for my Nikon, which I have yet to use. But I also am untrained in DSLR and need to learn how to use my camera.
  • Little Man's BIG BOY BED arrived from Pottery Barn Kids (Catalina Cottage Bed). We put it together but he refused flat out to sleep on it. He wouldn't even sit on the bed at first. So we have a tight fit in his room for a bit and will make the change later.
  • Little Man had double ear infections again when we had no health insurance (for just one month). Figures. Dealing with bills due to that.

May —
  • May 1st: I get a call from Dude and didn't realize it WAS Dude (weird phone number) that he was going to the hospital and felt weird. Rushed Little Man to Dude's sister's house (where he stayed overnight) and went to the ER. Thought it was a kidney stone but the pain was from pneumonia. Dude stayed home for 5 days to recuperate—he is doing well now, 3 weeks later.
  • May 6th: My BFF and I had a lovely afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday.
  • Mother's Day: was nice. A breakfast buffet at Maggiano's (which was not as good as I'd hoped, but OK) and then time with my mom. Then naps (for me and Little Man) and burgers.
  • The Avengers! We actually saw a movie this past Saturday. It was awesome.

I guess that's it. At least I can't think of anything else right now.  I will try to update the blog more frequently. Part of the reason why I hadn't was because our wireless router wasn't working correctly. But I think Dude fixed it (at least for now) and hopefully I'll be more on top of things.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fire Alarms and Road Trips

Ah, March went out like a lion for my family ... I guess I can't expect to have an uneventful life, can I?

Last Tuesday, March 27th, Little Man and I stuck to our usual routine. His OT came by at 10 am (he has sensory issues) and after his session we were both wiped. But for some reason, after he had lunch, I decided to sanitize his pacifiers by boiling them. You're supposed to let it boil for 5 minutes, so I left the pot unattended while I put Little Man down for his nap (around 12:15 pm). But instead of going right back downstairs, I sat down in my bedroom and started to watch TV. I was chilled so I put my space heater on. After a few minutes, I smelled something and shut of the heater, thinking it was a short. But then the fire alarm went off!!!!

Instantly I remembered that I had been boiling the pacifiers. I ran downstairs into the kitchen and there were FLAMES shooting out of the pot! I just panicked. I put a lid on top of the pot but it was too big and didn't fully put out the fire. There was smoke everywhere. Then the alarm company called and said to get out of the house (when I said I was having problems with the fire) and I ran back upstairs and grabbed Little Man, who was freaking out in his crib, and ran outside—no jacket for me, no shoes for Little Man. I tried to leave him in the car so I could go back to check on the dogs, but he freaked again. I got so upset thinking the dogs would be hurt. But the police and fire departments were there within minutes and my neighbor from across the street opened her home so we could warm up. I babysat for her kids as a teenager, so she's known me for ages. But it was nice, since I haven't really spoken to her since then. The fire was contained to that pot and it was put out quickly and the smoke dissipated after a few hours. But no nap for Little Man and I canceled his afternoon DI session.

I was so angry at myself for being so careless. But I've learned to forgive myself and I'll never leave a pot unattended again.

That week was also Dude's last week of working in NYC. I hope after he adjusts to the new job, he'll be much happier. Especially with the 25 minute commute vs. 2 hour (each way). He started yesterday, so I guess we'll see.

Anyway, we also took a road trip to NoVA to attend a wedding on 3/31. We went down on Thursday morning and met a friend for lunch outside of Baltimore, on the way down. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. It was amazingly kid friendly. While expensive, I highly recommend the hotel chain if you can afford it. (For us, it was a splurge.)

We met a friend of mine and her son on Friday morning and then took a trip to the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in the afternoon. It was pretty neat to see the Space Shuttle and the Enola Gay. Parking is $15 but free after 4 pm, which is when we got there.  And the 1.5 hours until it closes at 5 is definitely enough time to see most of the exhibits.

On Saturday morning I had a massage and a manicure. Dude took Little Man to a local park.  He refused to nap after lunch so we actually took a drive so he would sleep—since the wedding was that night. He fell asleep the minute we got onto the highway and we actually drove into Washington D.C. We saw, from the car, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and the remnants of the Cherry Blossoms (which had bloomed a week earlier than usual due to the early Spring). Then we headed back to Virginia and hit a grocery store so Little Man could eat before the wedding. It was a good call since he wasn't going to eat any of the items on the menu.  And he did amazingly well at the wedding. For a 2-year-old to be up late and overstimulated... I'm just amazed that he made it through the wedding cake (but not the other dessert) and that he even danced a bit.

The drive home was quick, which is a rarity for 1-95. I'm just glad that this road trip was much more successful than prior ones. We've learned that he cannot be in the car for much longer than 2 - 2.5 hours and that he has to be down for his nap BEFORE 1 pm or he won't sleep at all. No more trips for us for a while. We're saving and paying down debt. And hopefully I'll find a new job soon, too.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've posted. I'm behind once again with keeping up with my blog. Not sure why, since I've had the opportunity. But I guess it's because I've been trying to keep up with Little Man and my mom and have been feeling quite stressed and unmotivated.

But I have big news.

Dude got a new job and starts on Monday, April 2nd. The best part is that it's in New Jersey and is less than 10 miles away from our house. He won't be commuting for 4 hours per day and he'll have more time with Little Man (and me) and hopefully will feel more relaxed with all the extra time. It's also a promotion and pay increase. So hopefully this is the start of something positive for our family.

*I* also need to find a new job. It's time and with the economy as it has been, I really have to get my tush in gear to help better our family. I should have been looking more seriously for months, but I haven't.  So I've decided April 1st (Sunday) is the day to get myself back on track. It's going to be hard and it's very scary, but I'll do what I can to better secure our future. If I don't, we'll be in trouble. If I do, we'll be OK. It's that simple.

I'm not cut out to be a SAHM/WAHM combo. I need to be one or the other. I wish I could stay at home but even with the cost of living as it is in our area, I can't. Plus we have debt. More than I care to admit. So a new job is in our best interests.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What's That Sound???

The new thing that Little Man says to me every day since his myringotomy (ear tube surgery) last Thursday. I realize it's been a week and I haven't updated my blog. As you know, my mom is in a care facility after lung surgery and a feeding tube insertion from complications of Parkinson's Disease.

Anyway... last Thursday, March 1st, was the big day. Little Man was scheduled to be at the surgical center at 6:15 am. Since it was a half hour's drive, we had to be up at 5 am to shower and out of the door by 5:45 am. We got there right on time and found out that he was the first procedure.

The first issue was getting him in his surgical gown and these giant yellow socks (for a 2-1/2 year old). He did NOT like either. And even Daddy getting into HIS gown (to go into the OR with him) didn't make things better. What did?


"Dowa! Dowa! Emmo! Bappap! Boots! Spiderman!"

We were told it would be quick but didn't realize HOW quick. I think his ENT was letting us know it went well only about 10 minutes after my husband came back from the OR (he stayed with him as the anesthesiologist put him out). Apparently there was a LOT of fluid in his right ear (less in the left) but it went well.  And when Little Man was brought out to us, he was SCREAMING.  My Little Man was PISSED OFF.  Apparently a common reaction post-anesthesia. It took him a good 15-20 minutes to calm down. It was us asking him if he wanted to go home that did it. He said "Outta here!" And so we went.  After we got him dressed, of course.

The last week has had it's ups and downs. The downs were A) putting antibiotic ear drops in his ears 3 times a day for 3 days. But we got through it. And B) bathing him. His ENT said no water can get into his ears and suggested either cotton balls with vaseline to create a seal or ear plugs. We did the plugs and he FREAKED. He literally was terrified by them and was shaking and crying. After two baths, I can't imagine doing it again. I'm not sure what to do.

BUT... the UPS. "What's that sound, Mama?"

He definitely can hear better. He repeats what we say. His words are clearer. And he's become even more of a chatterbox. So I feel glad that we helped him when he had a hearing problem. Hopefully his speech will improve even more over the next few weeks—and months. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Little Bit of My Childhood Passed Away

RIP Davy Jones.

I'm quite sad about this. It makes me think of my mom, too, who is only 3 years older than Davy Jones and her mortality. I haven't seen her since Monday and I just feel so sad.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ear Tubes

So my son who never had chronic ear infections as an infant, though he has had three over the the last six months (and one sinus infection), is getting ear tubes on Thursday. He's getting them because he has "mild to moderate hearing loss" in both of his ears. I saw two different ENTs, the second opinion being a pediatric otolaryngologist. Both agreed that the tubes are the way to go, especially for a child with a speech delay.  I'm told he hears as though he has cotton in his ears. Muffled. So my husband and I agreed that it was for his benefit to do the surgery (with the pediatric otolaryngologist) and it's scheduled for this coming week.

This is the Mayo Clinic definition about the surgery: Ear Tubes

Little Man's speech therapist feels that the loss hasn't hindered his progress, but she also is interested to see if the tubes help with his diction. I'm not sure how it will help his speech—or even his balance, which is somewhat poor—and if the tubes will aid his development. Hopefully it will. But at the very least, we'll be fixing his hearing and that's a good thing.

The main things I'm worried about after this procedure are

  1. Little Man being in pain
  2. Little Man being scared
  3. Bathing him after the tubes, because he'll need ear plugs to protect his ears

I am somewhat prepared for the post anesthesia reaction since he, sadly, had surgery when he was 11 months old for an unresolved Hydrocele. It was rough. He was screamed and was inconsolable for quite a while. At the time, he still drank formula and he needed two bottles to settle down, after the fast and the surgery.  Little Man is older now and understands SO much. I guess I have to explain to him what's going to happen and hope for the best.  And have something for him to eat when he wakes up, if the nurses allow it.

I hate that he needs this, but I hope his hearing is much improved after the surgery.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Mom

I know I wrote a brief update last week about my mom's hospitalization and how the last few weeks have affected me—and my whole family. But it was brief and I have a lot of thoughts that I feel I want to get off my chest. Though writing them down, publicly, is somewhat daunting.

Six years ago, I'd never have thought my mom would be lying in a bed in a nursing home, trapped in her own body. Unable to speak. Unable to move. Destroyed by Parkinson's Disease. Six years ago we took a mother-daughter vacation to Walt Disney World. We danced along with parades and ate ice cream at midnight after seeing Circe du Soleil. 

This is what we looked like:

My mom will never travel again.  That makes me so sad, because she loved to explore new places and see the sights. She loved seeing Broadway shows... but I don't think she'll do that either. Not unless she surprises all her doctors with an amazing recovery and isn't ashamed to go to a show in a wheelchair. And that's assuming a lot of things.

I blame myself for a lot of how my mom deteriorated. I saw it but turned a blind eye to things and let my dad say that she was OK. That she had seen doctors and, despite the weight loss, they didn't seem too concerned. But when my dad went to Houston on business that last Thursday of January, I knew things were much worse than I thought.

Due to the Parkinson's Disease, my mom lost her ability to swallow. The food and Ensure shakes she was eating/drinking went into her chest cavity and brought on Pneumonia. She had two surgeries in less than a week and the result is a most-likely permanent feeding tube and the risk of aspiration from being unable to swallow her own saliva.

It's not easy leaving her alone there. But I have an active 2-1/2 year old son to keep up with. He has a lot of his own challenges—the most recent is hearing loss from the fluid in his ears and possible surgery (tubes) to fix it. So I am quite overwhelmed by it all and haven't found the balance yet. I hope I do soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brief Update

My mother was in the hospital for 13 days.  She is currently in a subacute rehab facility and I'm not 100% confident that I made the right decision pressing for that location. She communicated that she was disappointed by her care. I'm hoping things will improve but if they do not, I will look to see where she can be moved. I am extremely worried about her future. I do not see how she can improve at this point. She cannot talk. She cannot swallow. She cannot move her body. She is mentally fine but with all the physical issues, it's taking an extreme emotional toll on her.

And I don't think I can manage it all without having a nervous breakdown. I have a 2.5 year old to take care of and dog and dinner and myself and my husband... I'm not sure how I'll do it all. And nobody else can really help me with this. Everyone else has their own lives and I can't ask them to put them on hold indefinitely. So my poor mother only sees me for an hour here and there and she is alone and unable to communicate.

I know I am doing my best and trying to advocate for my mom, but it's overwhelming.

I am soon off to an ENT for my son and it's like the day is never-ending. I would have napped but I was afraid I wouldn't have woken for the appointment. I am THAT exhausted. It's a good thing that I'm not working full-time now or I'd have lost it completely.

More thoughts later.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mothering MY Mother

My mom has never been a strong person. She is more apt to let someone else take the lead. But she used to be stubborn and would not give in to someone else, if she didn't agree with them. Not so much the last few years. I was amazed that she put such effort into planning my wedding in 2008. But she did with enthusiasm. That was the last time she was so excited, I think.

In part, it's because of her neurological issues. She has had a tremor since she was 60. It was eventually diagnosed as an Orthostatic Tremor and she has been going to Columbia in NYC for her consults the last 5 or 6 years. In addition to the Orthostatic Tremor, she eventually was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This was also in 2008.

In the last 4 years, her condition has deteriorated beyond belief—most of the decline in the last 12 months, the last 4 in particular.  And in addition she is depressed. No wonder, considering how she went from an active woman who loved to travel to someone who can barely walk or eat, due to the cruel progress of Parkinson's Disease.

Last week, when my father and brother were on a business trip, I took my mom (along with her sister) to a Pulmonologist to consult on a chest x-ray that showed fluid in her pluera just outside her lung. He felt that it was due to her Parkinson's and she was admitted to the local hospital. Today she received a peg tube for feeding as she is unable to swallow (from the Parkinson's). This is a huge change in her life. It will be good in that she will have better nutrition. But the emotional change will be stark, I think. Even though she has not been able to eat, and the poor nutrition has greatly affected her, I don't know how she will react. 

And I've been exhausted from going back and forth between her room and home, to be with Little Man.  My best friend helped that first day and extended family has done so since. Tomorrow will be the first day I am unable to spend quality time with my mother and it upsets me, as there is a lot to figure out. My father also comes home tomorrow, so he will be involved from then on. I feel like I went around him, but it could not be avoided.

I hope that she will have a brief stay at a rehab facility and that, once she's home, she is in better shape overall. I'm not sure how this will turn out. I am very worried about her and her emotional state. I am praying that things will go smoothly, but I am not holding my breath. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trader Joe's and Food Woes

Many of my mom friends have suggested purchasing food at Trader Joe's for Little Man, so today I had some time to drive over to the closest one (which is about 20 minutes away) and I wasn't that impressed. But... I also had no idea what to try and what would be a complete waste.

What did I end up buying? Yogurt. Chocolate Cat Cookies (MY favorite thing there). Frozen vegetables for a future stir fry. And chocolate covered blueberries. Not for Little Man, but for me. My trip to TJ's is NOT going to help my diet plan. (I'm a Weight Watcher's Lifetime member, who is a few pounds over goal.) But I digress.

Anyway, I guess the yogurt was a good thing since it's all Little Man seems to want to eat lately. His eating habits frustrate me and I often wish I had tried "Baby Led Weaning" when he was an infant. Maybe he wouldn't be so picky a toddler. But I think of his oldest cousin, L, who was VERY picky and only ate pasta (at least in my presence) for the longest time. He's 8, nearly 9, now and apparently is a better eater now. So there could be hope. Plus the Occupational Therapist is supposedly going to help with this too. I'm looking forward to that starting but I haven't heard anything yet.

When Little Man got sick last month, it affected his appetite as a whole. He's lost a pound. That is SO weird to me, since he's always been on the higher side for weight. I'm sure it's fine, going from 34 lb to 33... but it was unusual. He even snacks less than before. It used to be he snacked TOO much and that was affecting his meals. But he's even refused Animal Crackers. Today was the first day he snacked and ate a relatively decent dinner.

As for me... my prior post about being overwhelmed is still true. So I'm making poor food choices and not tracking on my Weight Watcher's app. I don't *think* I've gained any more weight, but I'm not happy with how I've been eating. I need to get back to tracking this weekend no matter what!

Well, that was a bit of an up-and-down blog today, right? I do like Trader Joe's, however. I think next time I'll go alone and then I won't feel like I can't REALLY check out all their stuff. Though I'll definitely have to resist the baked goods—they looked delicious!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Polar Bears?

Little Man is becoming more and more verbal. Thank goodness for progress! And for some reason when it snowed this weekend he thought polar bears were living in our backyard shed.

Driving to school yesterday he asked me: "Where da polar bears house?" I think because he saw another shed. But it was funny.

As the snow melts, I wonder what he's thinking. And how to explain melting.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Overwhelmed by it all

There are days I just goof off on Facebook with a wonderful group of mom friends I met on a forum for parents over 35. Then there are days when I am like a hermit, avoiding everyone but Little Man and my husband. I've come to accept that I am battling a type of depression that I'm not willing to get help for because I feel like I have NO TIME for myself, and that's not just poor scheduling. I really don't.

My son takes up a lot of my time (and I'm not complaining, he's the light of my life) with ferrying to and from his daycare/preschool and being home for his Early Intervention therapy sessions, which will be increasing soon to address some gross motor and adaptive self-help delays. Then there is the dog(s). I give a plural because I invariably end up taking care of my brothers' dogs because he is too ill to do so himself. It's getting to be a lot to handle. Then you add my mom to the mix...

She is so depressed that she hasn't been eating and is practically skin and bones. She barely weighs 100 lb and while that is an improvement from the 93 lb she was last month (fully dressed, no less!), you have to literally feed her to make her eat. I am not that patient a person and I am completely fed up with her now. I wasn't last year, when we moved in to help with care and upkeep of the house. But now...

There's a difference between someone being amenable to being cared for and one who just lies like a log and doesn't leave her bed or shower or seem to care about her only daughter and only grandchild. She's not having another one because I'd expect a Powerball win before my brother has a child. And my dad is probably too overwhelmed by everything, despite his gruffness and shrugging it off, to really be of help. Or he is in denial. But I think my mom needs to be hospitalized. I don't have it in me to be a full-time caregiver to someone who doesn't HELP ME. At least my 2.5-year-old son is getting better with feeding himself and dressing himself (and EI will help that). My 69-year-old mother prefers being an invalid hermit to anything else. She has pushed everyone who cares for her away... her sister can't be there and I'm just too tired from doing it all. I wish I had a new, high-paying job and Little Man could be in daycare and away from the negativity that this house exudes.

I'm nearly 42 years old and am not THAT old but I feel older than I am.  My age and poor financial decisions are why we decided to be "one and done" but I think if I hadn't been convinced before, I would be now. I need a light at the end of the tunnel... a child who is potty trained, sleeps in a bed, doesn't use a pacifier and feeds himself. I realize I'll be caring for him for many years to come, but I guess I need some self-care too.

I wish I could justify a spa day... but I need to cut back the spending and start saving so SOMETHING will change for the better.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

And hopefully a HEALTHY one!

The last 10 days were rough here in the suburbs. Little Man woke up on Friday 12/23 with a fever of 102 and a juicy cough (he'd had one for a month, which I was told was due to teething). So off to the pediatrician I went, to be told it was likely bacterial after all this time. Sent home with a Z-pack and hoping we'd still be able to make a trip to Virginia on the 27th to see friends.

Nope. Christmas weekend was ROUGH. Little Man's fever fluctuated between 100.4 and 103.4 and he was just miserable. There were two afternoons when he only slept ON me. So on Monday morning we drove to the pediatrician for their walk-in hours (8-9 am on Mondays and Tuesdays) and waited to be seen. Apparently several children were quite sick.  When we did see the doctor, we found out that he had double ear infections and low oxygen levels (along with a fever of over 102). He was dosed with Advil, we did a nebulizer treatment (our first), and were sent home with a prescription for Omicef and Albuterol, and the nebulizer too. I was concerned re: Omnicef, since Little Man is allergic to Amoxcillin and I'M allergic to both Penicillin (Amoxicillin) and Omnicef. But his doctor said that it wasn't always the case and to give it a try.

When we got home, I felt terrible too and both Little Man and I napped. But Monday was still rough and we canceled our vacation. Tuesday was his recheck (of oxygen levels) and I made an appointment for MY doctor. The hubby dropped me off, took Little Man to the pedi, and I was quickly diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection (and given a Z-pack). I was picked back up and back to the pharmacy we went (our third trip in 5 days) for my prescriptions. We gave Little Man his 2nd dose of Omincef and a few hours later he had a rash. I wasn't sure if it was a reaction, since he was also sweating and it looked like heat rash too. So we gave it to him again on Wednesday and... HIVES.

So on Thursday, one week after our first visit to the pediatrician, we went BACK.  This time we were told to discontinue antibiotics, as his ears looked better—I guess 3 days of a Z-pack that didn't work and 3 days of Omnicef, which caused an allergic reaction, did the trick. But the pediatrician we saw (same as I saw on Friday, but different than Monday and Tuesday) this time, and I like them all in this group, gave a Rx for Prednisone. That was trip number 4 to the pharmacy in 7 days. Our pharmacist was so nice, and concerned about our health. We go to a national chain, but the people working there are definitely not big business.

Friday (12/30) we finally are feeling almost human so we head to visit my in-laws. But since Little Man and I are still coughing and exhausted, we head home after lunch. Both of us take late naps (after 2 pm) and when we wake, we feel somewhat better. Saturday was better still, but I was not up for a trip to a local zoo and we only visited friends. But it was a nice play date. I think New Year's Day was the first day we truly felt "back to normal" and Little Man had fun on his swing set in the back yard.  I'm still coughing, but I think finally on the mend.

So here's to health and happiness in 2012! And a pic of Little Man "swinging in the New Year."