Friday, September 30, 2011

Hello?

I find myself walking around in a bit of a haze. Constant feedings...deciding who is crying louder and should get attention first...figuring out a new sleep schedule...lots and lots of therapy sessions...(I just added in two new therapists as I figured Addison now needed the extra attention due to my attention now being split. Plus she is really taking off in several areas, and I wanted to take advantage of that)

I feel like my aimlessness has been present a bit on my blog, and the lack of comments has confirmed that to me. (not that I live for comments, but after not many people comment it leaves me wondering...did I make sense at all?)

I'm trying to get us on a schedule to make room for me to start back work on my book soon, I've been taking the kids for very long walks every day in attempts to reclaim my body before I'm officially able to start exercising again, I'm following the steps from a new organizational book so as to not get overwhelmed with a messy house and overflowing laundry

and every once and a while when I get most overwhelmed I stop and say- it's been 4 weeks. I'm home alone trying to adjust to 2 kids (babies) on very little sleep- I guess I'll cut myself a little slack for not being able to keep up perfectly in all areas of life. My friend Holly has accused me of being an overachiever, and I guess in some respects I am, but honestly, that's all I know, why stop now?

I say all that to say- I have a bunch of pictures for you today. While feeding Carter in the middle of the night last night, I thought up a beautiful comparison between motherhood and swinging (because of Addison's swinging pics that are below)- the highs, the lows, the exhilaration, the fear...but then when morning came, not only could I not remember why I thought it was brilliant, I couldn't remember how I wanted to say it.

That leaves us with- pictures. One of the reasons why I have been taking and posting more pictures of late is so that I can look back and be able to remember these fun, fun weeks that are coming dangerously close to be erased from my hazy memory. lol.

I enjoy dressing Addison up for her therapy appointments. I think she performs better when she's all dolled up. (i.e. the purple cowboy boots allowed her for the first time to deliberately use her pointer finger over and over again YAY)
 During our afternoon walks, we stop at a nearby park and let Addison swing while Carter sleeps in the double stroller (I think whoever invented double strollers should win some sort of genius award)

I have learned that Addison LOVES to swing high. (-: Seriously never had so much fun at a park before. How can you not laugh back at her small gleeful chortles?
 Aaron discovered a way to get a cute sibling picture that didn't end with Addison attempting murder: place an awake Carter next to a sleeping Addison. It worked well, until she woke up.

"What's going on here?"
 "It's Daddy! I love my Daddy."
 "Wait a second. What's this?"
 "I've been tricked."
(notice Aaron's hands rescuing Carter. lol)
Sweet 4 week old:
 And last but not least...LOL. Addison's sense of imitation is strong these days...so don't judge me that I encourage her in her imitation growth:
In conclusion:

1. Happy Friday

2. Anyone still out there or have I alienated  my followers due to distracted postings and lack of response back on my part? (I hope to be returning 100% sometime in the next few weeks. Patience is requested)

3. If you haven't gotten the chance already, could you take a minute and vote for us? (We will owe you dearly)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Addison's take on Therapy

Dear World,

I have therapy 4 times a week. One might say that I need the extra help, and I let the world think that. Truth is? I let my influence brighten more days by allowing the presence of these 4 extra people in my house every week. It's truly an act of kindness on my part.

When these therapists come, I teach them how to read what the card REALLY says:
I cuddle if they look a bit blue:
I provide comic relief:
I throw a "look who's getting the attention now" look at little brother
I walk circles around my black boxes and rearrange the therapist's hair as I pass by (why have they all started wearing high buns???):
I imitate their extreme facial motions to help them feel better about themselves:
I consult my notes to see what else I have planned for the day:
and make sure that everyone present understands what those plans are:
I quite casually show off my brilliance and wait for the gasps that I know are coming:
I give courtesy smiles:
and request pick ups:
Yep, therapy these days is a highlight for everyone involved. It's all part of my plan.
love,
Addison

p.s. Did you notice that this blog was nominated for best Special Needs Blog? I clicked the link and noticed that mom's blog had been given 4 votes. That's just embarrassing....Show this blog a little love...for me????
-Addison

Monday, September 26, 2011

pumpkin lattes, thank yous, siblings

I'm feeling a touch disjointed today as I am still working to find my new balance, so today's blog post includes mere random tidbits.

1. I love fall. Especially fall in New England. A very fallish recipe for this beautiful day?

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte

I  made it over the weekend to share with friends and have been reheating leftovers ever since. Your mouth (and wallet) will thank you for making your Pumpkin Spice Lattes at home this fall.

2. It is very difficult to duck in and out of stores (especially that don't have carts) with two unwalking children when the store isn't large enough to maneuver the double stroller. My solution?
Part A:
 Part B:
My poor little car is loaded down with enough paraphernalia to cart around six kids...but when you want to get out enough, you have to have the means to carry around both babies. (-:

Anyone have an easier solution to this that doesn't involve a half hour of assembly and pack up?

3. My little boy is growing up so fast. I can't believe he's already working on his 4th week of life.
4. Big sister is starting to notice him more. And I've gotten more grey hairs as I have barely saved him from her on several occasions.




5. I'm starting to adjust to life with less sleep. (and yes, I have tried cutting out caffeine and it doesn't seem to affect Carter either way)

6. I have a stack of thank you notes that I need to get crackin' on. I love to write, but for some reason when pen is poised over that thank you note, words fail me. Have to get better at this. Nothing worse than appearing to be ungrateful when every gift/meal has meant so much more than I know how to express on a small thank you card.

7. Two more weeks until I can Zumba again. (YEAH!)

8. Carter has already done more dirty diapers than Addison, despite her 19 month head start. (so this is now a normal baby's digestive system works)

9. I'm so happy for the start of new TV seasons. As shallow as it sounds, HULU plus keeps me sane on the days when it is just me, two little babies and an absent husband who works long hours. Present favorite show: Castle.

10. Over the weekend, I was complaining about my lack of sleep etc when I ran across this blog...a wife who lost her husband while she was pregnant with their little boy, ironically named Carter. It really put things back into perspective for me. thankful for so many things.
I hear the babies rising from their naps, so it's time to go rejoin this circus. Perhaps I could get Addison to write some thank you notes for me? Nothing says "I am so extremely thankful" like a large scribble drawn by a small chubby hand.

happy monday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Newborn Manipulation

My newborn is an evil genius.

He knows that the minute I fall asleep, he is the farthest thing from my mind as I dream of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and perhaps a restful vacation. Preferring to have his tiny universe revolve solely around him at all times, this just won't do for his attention greedy self.

Without fail, every time my sleep starved body lies onto my oh-so-soft mattress, he immediately senses his loss of power over my subconscious and instantaneously screams awake.

Who would have thought that someone so tiny and innocent looking could be capable of such cruel mind games?

This is especially true during the day. After being up quite frequently with him throughout the night, a tiny little nap during the day can fuel me a long way. And I try. Honestly I do. Aaron comes home to a super cranky wife and well rested children and makes the poor decision to illogically wonder out loud why I didn't take a nap with them.

I try to explain, but he doesn't get it. He won't admit for a second that his sweet little son would manipulate my attempted naps in such a fashion.

He doesn't understand.

Scenario: Carter is in the middle of a very long, sound nap when I finally decide that it's safe to try a nap myself.

I drag my weary self to our very inviting bed. It calls out to me in a sing song fashion "We've missed you". My pillows harmonize with the bed while the fleece sheets shout in panic wondering where I've been the last few weeks. Climbing underneath the soft covers and positioning myself perfectly between the necessary pillows and blankets, I feel the mattress reach up and envelope me in a warm, welcoming hug. As I sink lower into the spot that perfectly forms around each of my still present post pregnancy lumps, I sigh and allow myself to relax. My breathing slows, the tension departs, a small smile appears.

This is what heaven must feel like. True bliss.

Just as I feel myself overtaken by the first vestiges of the sleep that I have been so desperately craving-without fail- a tiny whimper from the blue nursery quickly escalates into a wail that ends in a scream so blood curdling that I imagine he has flung his body out of his crib onto the floor. Surely he is laying on the carpet bleeding out. Why else would he scream so horrifically?

Sleep now the farthest thing from my mind, I run sluggishly across the hall into his room. The little stinker is in his crib, crying- sometimes for food- sometimes he's lonely- sometimes he has a burp that just appeared from nowhere and needs help getting out. Sigh. Really? He's just making up reasons to keep me from my nap. He sensed that I was about to fall asleep..and that would just not do. If I was up and doing housework, he would have slept for another hour and a half, easy.

He wants to be the most wonderful thing in my life right now, and he realizes that he is competing strongly with  that coveted nap. Silly boy.

Sometimes I'm naive enough to calm him, put him back down and attempt for the second time a power nap in the short time I have remaining until Addison awakens. Evil genius strikes again. and again. and again.

Most days I finally give up and go get another cup of coffee. The bold flavor combined with the sweet creamer blended pleasantly into a beautiful mug does a little to soothe my exhausted self. And while I sip the steaming beverage, baby brother sleeps peacefully, knowing that I am awake. and thinking about him.

They say not to have favorites, but little Miss Chubbs sleeps 12 hours a night and (mostly) takes a 3 hour nap every afternoon. hmmmmmm. It would seem that Addison has much to teach her little brother. (yes, I know I've been horribly spoiled)

Meanwhile, I am the lady with the giant bags under my eyes and the mug of coffee taped to one hand since my fingers are too tired to actually hold onto it.

Good thing my evil genius is so stinkin' cute...and cuddles so sweetly...It's hard to hold it against him...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Addison Advice on Dismounting

Dear World,

Addison here. Back with a bit more advice for anyone who wants to listen. Today's advice is about a therapy move I invented all by myself. You should have seen the look on my mom's and therapist's faces when I broke this out for the first time.

If you ever have trouble dismounting off of furniture, you might find this tutorial useful.

If you're at all like me, you find that sitting still and looking pretty gets dull after a few minutes seconds.
I think of all of the things around the house that still need to be torn up before naptime
and I prepare to dismount...Addison style.
Step one: Pivot body
Step 2: Lower one leg (while scooting body to the very edge)
Step 3: Free leg #2 from the couch by doing a slight leg stretch (if completed correctly, this step should award you some dismount style points. I, of course, top the style point chart every time.)
Step 4: Now that both legs are free and one shoe is mostly off (a happy byproduct of Addison style dismount), continue lowering one leg at a time to the ground.
Step 5: Find the floor with your foot, touchdown and then continue stretching for just a second so that you're adequately prepared for your next mission of the day: Destroy House
Step 6: Lower second foot down and stand contemplating your success.
Next thing you know it, you're free to wander again. Addison style dismount works on everything...although mom gets slightly nervous when I try to get off of mom and dad's bed (and once the dining room table) this way. No idea why. I can hop the extra height, no problem. Right?

So there you go. You are welcome, world.

Wait, how did this guy get in my blog post?
I'll have to speak with the management about this blogging breach. So he keeps his head raised for long periods of time to make sure that I'm not going to trample him, poke his eyes, or steal his pacifier.....big deal. I invented the Addison style dismount. Total win for me.

Off to spread the love,
Addison

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

don't compare them. don't compare them. don't compare them.

 This post is hard to write, yet one that I find myself unable to press forward without expressing. These past few weeks I have been struggling. Yes lack of sleep, yes trying to figure out a new tiny person, yes hitting survival mode and holding on for dear life...but the root of my struggles go far deeper than that.

The first baby placed into my arms, making me a mother, has an extra chromosome. With that extra chromosome comes a lot of different labels, one of the harder ones to swallow being "mentally retarded"

But as a new mother, once I overcame my initial shock of the diagnosis, I welcomed my extra chromosomed baby into my life with arms ready to operate her g-tube, feet determined not to trip over her oxygen cord that stretched the length of the house, eyes that saw only her beauty, ears that rejoiced in her babbles and never worried that it never turned into actual talking.

She was my normal. She was all I knew. I rarely thought of the mental retardation label or how different her babyhood has been because to me, she was a genius- every act that she completed was appropriately celebrated- she was perfect and just the way she was meant to be.

Enter into my life a brand new baby. Carter. A very average, normal baby.

When he lifted his head off of my chest and stared me in the eye when he was only a couple of hours old, I almost had a heart attack. Babies can do that without months of therapy? When he flipped his strong body into a roll over for the first time last week, I was even more amazed. When I saw him scoot forward in his crib the other day, I shook my head and wondered what I had gotten myself into.

He has already "accomplished" more in his meager 2 weeks of life than Addison had in her first 6 months (he can breathe and eat...so he already had her there)
I find myself subconsciously comparing them. I know I'm not supposed to do that. I realize that makes me a horrible mother. But I have found myself to be wrapped up in a bit of normal baby shock.

All of a sudden I realize, what exactly I missed out on with Addison. All of a sudden, her delays seem loud and glaring whereas before they were merely part of her uniqueness. I see the way that Carter looks at me with such clarity whereas Addison's gaze leaves me wondering if she's comprehending anything I say. I see how strong he is and I joy in the act of nursing my baby. I cuddle him and love on him and remember that at this point in Addison's life, I still wasn't allowed to hold her. He holds with a tight grip onto my finger while he eats, sucking with such ease. I worked nonstop with Addison for FOUR MONTHS to get her to be able to sustain herself by drinking from a bottle. When he wants something- he screams a bloodcurdling, over-the-top dramatic scream and waves his arms desperately. Addison's lungs were so compromised that she never truly screamed and her cries were weak and short lived.
For the first time, I realize how truly different Addison is. And that realization hurts.

She is almost 20 months old and yet she is still getting several bottles a day. She's not talking. She's not walking. She refuses to sign. She is very much like a baby still herself, her achievements belying her age. She is very delayed, and I'm noticing in a new way everything that she should be doing.
And yet, the more that I have pondered this, the more I know that this doesn't change how I love her. It doesn't change the extreme fierceness of my love. My protective nature towards her hasn't faltered.

It just seems like now I can step back and see her the way perhaps the world sees her. I envision the slowness that I'm now seeing creeping up into her girlhood, her teenage years, her adulthood...and it hurts.

Because to me she will always be my perfect Addison. Her almond eyes, rosebud lips and button nose scream gorgeous perfection. Her giggles and face swallowing smiles are the light of my life. But seeing it-really seeing her slowness...breaks my heart. Because while I know that it doesn't take away from my love for her, I worry how the world will treat her as she grows. I worry what this means for how functional she will be as she grows. What if she never talks? What if she can never truly take care of herself?
The pain from her original diagnosis from two years ago has come back to haunt me...in a weird way.

I hold no regrets in everything I've done for Addison. I would do it all again because she is worth every little thing that we went through to sustain her through her very difficult first year of life.

But now I remember why I was so scared of Down syndrome. After all, isn't this every mother's worst nightmare? Isn't this why they're coming out with new tests to tell sooner and abort faster? Isn't this why 90% of women with this diagnosis choose to eliminate the unwanted fetus?
Carter has come into my life as a flash of bright color. He has shown me how it is supposed to be- and I have only known him for two weeks. Addison is a softer color that has crept into every part of my life in a pleasant way and slowly changed the way I view the world.

The way I see it- my life needs both of these colors. The softer color will balance out the bright color. The bright color will bring out new hues in the soft color that I didn't notice before. They will both be better because of each other.

Even though the diagnosis and labels now scare me in a new way, I don't hate Down syndrome. It just happens to be part of who Addison is, but in no way defines who she is. Her amazingly unique personality can't be fit into any stereotype, and she certainly isn't any less worthy of life than any other child.

And I love her. All of her. She is seriously so amazing- she has changed me so much it's taken a year and a half of constant blog posts to barely scratch the surface of those changes.
Noticing the difference between my two children doesn't mean that I love either of them less. I love them both equally, but differently (is that weird?) I am thankful for both of them, and I can't wait to see them start interacting with each other. I can't wait to see him catch up to her and then push her to a new level of achievement as her competitive juices get rolling. I can't wait to see how they balance each other out in life...their respective colors blending together to create a happy sibling relationship.

I've noticed Addison's slowness in a new way, but I'm moving on. I'm not going to let this drag me down and depress me (the lack of sleep is doing that pretty well on its own)

After all, every child is different; every child is unique; every child is perfect. I wrote a book about it, remember? (My agent is currently has my book...I'm taking a maternity leave of sorts...in case you were wondering)

I love my two perfectly created children. My house is a bit like a circus these days as they are both crying and wanting attention at the exact same time. My nights are split into tiny chunks feeding my newborn and checking in on my big girl. I shed new tears over things that I thought were long ago resolved.

But I wouldn't change my life. I love my little family and I love my nurturing role.

Mother. Such a complex word....