...And in the air, the fireflies, our only light in paradise. We'll show the world that they were wrong, and teach them all to sing along; singing Amen I, I'm alive. Amen I, I'm alive...

- Nickelback, If Everyone Cared

For All The Right Reasons Album



And I'm singing Aaa-ayyy-men, I'm alive!







William Leonidas November 12th, 2009
My only regret is that I cried so many tears while I waited for you.


"...I'll try ~ but it's so hard to believe. I'll try ~ but I can't see what you see. I'll try and try to understand the distance between the love I feel ~ the thing I fear ~ and every single dream. I can finally see it. Now I have to believe all those precious stories. All the world is made of faith ~ and trust ~ and pixie dust. So I'll try ~ because I finally believe. I'll try ~ because I can see what you see. I'll try, I'll try ~ to fly..."

Jonatha Brooke "I'll try"


Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10




Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." Jeremiah 1:4-5




For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalms 139:13-14



Monday March 5th, 2010

So Why Stinkerie?



It's simple, really. It's the first thing I whispered against my newborn little Dumpling's temple as I held him alone for that very first time. "There's my Little Stinkerie." And all was right with the world as I brushed my lips across his delicate dewy soft newborn-pink skin and sniffed at his sparse smattering of downy soft hair. Corny and sappy, huh? I can't help it when describing my new Little Puppy. But don't get used to it - I have been told I am "irreverent."



Anyway, it just came out and he's been Stinkerie ever since. As well as Stink Pie, Stink Pot, Stinkey Pete, Little Stinks, Stinks, Puppy, Ducky, Baby, Baby Head, Baby Head Jenkins, Jack, Jack-Jack, Jackie Boy, Jax, Snork, Snorkis, Snorkle, Billy Boy, Billy Bob, Bobby Sue, Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob, Will, Willie, Willister, and the name given by my mentor turned friend Beth - Snake. When I write to her I call him either The Snakester or Slither! And of course, Dumpling, because he is my Little Dumpling - warm and soft and comforting. It's alright to combine comfort food with baby names, right? Have you ever watched the movie Where the Heart Is? If you have, you'll know why I mention this in my defense!



Long story short, you're likely to encounter any one or more of these names in a single post. Because I can. It's my blog!





Something to Consider

Bad decisions make good stories.

Something to Think About

With any pregnancy, there are concerns. With any child, there are worries. When you have a diagnosis of Down syndrome, you know what to worry about. You know what to look for. You have a plan of action. With your typical child, there is no limit to the things that can 'go wrong' or 'happen.' There's no place to focus your worry and concerns. 'IT' will always be out there, waiting. You'll always be on guard. Even when the child is 55 and has grandchildren. With Down syndrome we have a battle plan. With Down syndrome, there is a finite number of things that can go awry. With a typical child, there's isn't. It's a crap shoot. I'm sticking with the Ds and taking the other two back to the hospital for a refund.

Head Above Water


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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tender Young Sweet Potatoes

For a tender young Spud. That's right, The Tater Tot had sweet potatoes today! And the jar says Tender Young Sweet Potatoes.


Meal time starts off with getting Jack set up in his chair. Today I didn't harness him in, just let him try to support himself on his own. He did pretty well, but I did have to bolster his shoulders for a little better head positioning. We start off with 2-3 minutes of the elephant jiggler and then move on to the frozen lemon glycerin swab.

Jack LOVES these swabs and gets very vocal while he chews up and down on them! See that lip closure? That's why we use them!

I tasted the sweet potatoes before I added the rice cereal. They're pretty tasty!

Jack thought so too, and by mid way through the meal he was opening his mouth for the next bite!

What you don't see in the pictures is better revealed in the lack of pictures. There's a whole protocol. After the jiggler and the lemon swab, I swirl the Nuk brush around in his cheeks, under and over his tongue, between his upper and lower lips and the gums. Then we do some lip and cheek tapping with my fingers. And then, he finally gets his first bite after I dart in with the Nuk brush to push his tongue down!

I have always known how to feed a baby. Babies were magical for me since I was just a little girl myself. This whole affair is very new to me, but it certainly is worth it! Jack ate the entire jar of sweet potatoes and about half a jar of bananas. And for a good six hours after every meal, Jack has excellent lip closure no matter what he's doing! Playing. Babbling. Chewing on toys. Lip closure! I've also noticed that since we've started the jiggling, tapping, Nukking...Jack's mouth is almost closed while he sleeps. Yep, it's totally and completely worth swabbing and Nukking his tongue between every bite!

Wouldn't it be nice?

Wouldn't it be nice if everything started out with the hard part first? "The hardest part of the journey is what you're going through right now." I read this in response to a man who had posted on BabyCenter.com about their FISH results being positive for Trisomy 21, Down syndrome. It struck a chord with me because it is so absolutely true. The man wrote about how both he and his wife were destroyed by the news. I remember that. That feeling of being destroyed. That look on The Beloved's face while I destroyed him. And that was the hardest part of the journey.

Feeling Jack kick and wiggle and roll around inside of me was incredible. Finding out months after he was born that of the 7-10% of Down syndrome pregnancies that are not aborted, only 25% of those babies live to be born was heady information. It made me even more in awe of this Little Bean and the God who gave him life, and decided to gift me with him. I love this little boy more every day of my life. Every second that I live. With every breath he takes. It was more than worth the months of terror, the hard part of the journey.

He Crept! Yes He Did!

This morning I put Jack in tummy time while I finished getting The Olders ready for school and out the door. Jack was enthralled with the laundry draping over the couch and kept staring at the legs of dark blue jeans draped over light beige pants. Contrast, ya know! And he wasn't exactly where I'd put him. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him inch forward! While I watched, he did it again. He used his elbows and arms to scoot himself toward the couch and the pants legs. And he kept doing it every ten seconds or so. Now I'm not saying he's ready to run a marathon, as he only traversed the space of perhaps a foot, but he did it himself! And when he got to where his view was satisfactory, he stopped. But HE DID IT! Maybe he will meet my goal of crawling by one year. Maybe not. But today, he has the power of locomotion! You go, Jack!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Hate Homework!

Way back in May of 2009, Mom and Dad were out here from Idaho and we were all having breakfast at IHOP. One of Dad's cousins was there with her college aged son. I remember asking her, "How long before you stop cutting up their food?" as I passed my daughters newly cut plate of food to her. I still had my little secret growing in my belly and I still had to cut my son's plate of food, but I was starving! The thought did cross my mind that if I could get The Olders to cut their own food before The Newest was ready to eat table food that maybe there would come a day that I was once again, even briefly, eating hot meals! So tonight while The Poddest of Pods was sitting at the table doing homework, I was reflecting on the very real shock I had one day realizing that when your kids bring home homework, they are really, in effect, giving you 12 more years of homework. 13 if you count kindergarten! And it gets old fast. And if you consider that Jack will go to school when he's 3, that's 15 more years of homework. I did my dues when I went to school. Why do I have to do it again? I guess because I'm The Mommy, that's why. Crap!

Fame

Turns out that Jack and I will be in an upcoming edition of Young Exceptional Children. The Beloved and I initially agreed to let Jack be in the professional journal when we thought it would be just his face showing proper hand/finger placement for oral motor stimulation. Dr ES made me aware that two photographs were chosen. One of me snuggling Jack that Dr ES had taken just because she thought it was such a sweet gesture, and one of my hands showing proper placement and technique on Jack's face. I haven't gotten to see the pictures yet, so I don't know if I will eventually link to it or not. Maybe not! I hope my manicure was in decent shape!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ummmm....

I need a full time nanny. Oh, and someone to look after the kids. I'm feeling overwhelmed. I want someone to make sure that I am warm, dry, fed, entertained. Instead I was watching Hoarders and I had to look around. The house is a mess. And I could possibly care just a little bit less than I do right now. The thing is, Jack's ST is going to be here in the morning and I have not gotten any work, so the house should be clean, huh? What else am I doing with my time? That was sarcasm. Actually, what I need is a wife. Wives are great at making pretty, making sure all the loves in her care are doing awesome, breezes through the house picking up here and there while encouraging little words of kindness drop from her lips to those in her care to motivate them to also keep things neat and orderly...and underlying it all is the aroma of something delicious and lovely in the oven to serve her adoring family. Remember that needle screeching across your favorite LP? Cue that sound here...

So...since I am stressed and can't sleep, since The Beloved is nursing his sick dad back to health, since I am as we speak eating a Parmesan bagel toasted just so and slathered in real dairy cream butter, when I am done I am going to clean. I have Coldplay on the iPod dock and it's good. I'll let you know of my progress, and when this manic phase ends things will return to normal. In the meantime, Jack is rockin' out to Coldplay with his bad little self at almost midnight. Maybe I'll scoop him up for a spin around the room on top of the vacuum!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reason #52

Reason #52 that The Beloved rocks! I was standing in the kitchen making dinner and he asks me from the couch, "Have you lost weight?" I look at him across the room to see if he's pulling a prank on me. Only he's serious. Seriously! Say I ask, "Why? What makes you think I've lost weight? Where? Where does it look like I've lost weight? Do you really think I've lost weight? I don't feel like I've lost weight. Do I really look like I've lost weight? Really? Where? Where have I lost weight...?" When I finally took a breath he says, "Well. All over, but most especially I really notice it right here," and he rubbed his hand over his body where Jack previously resided in mine! Basically the entire area from chin to knees! Yep! He rocks!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Let the Hostilities Reign!

So late yesterday afternoon I retrieved a message from voice mail from Miss F. She had been really lucky to find someone for us, since again she was working with such a limited time frame. That someone would be Miss S and she would be in our home to shadow Miss H this next Tuesday, if that's alright with you. So I let the clock tick down and waited until after 5 to leave a voicemail for her. After the day we'd already had, I simply was not up to more of her games, even though by her voice inflections, she was rarin' to go. Yes, that would be fine, and oh, I just knew you'd be able to find someone! Since you were so successful, I'd like to change some things with Miss H being here for four hours on Tuesdays. It doesn't really work for us anymore. I don't want Miss H to leave us until you can find someone for the other child for two hours, but I do want to change this arrangement as soon as you can find someone for those other two hours. Or maybe even all four, depending on what Heather wants to do. Thank you! Bye! All very cheerful and congratulatory in my tone, like nothing else in the world was on my mind!

So Friday I received a very stilted and curt call from Miss H to tell me again that Miss S would be shadowing her Tuesday, if that was alright. I told her that Miss F had already called and that I'd left a message saying that it was fine. And then for the next surprise. It seems that Miss H was talking about someone else other than Miss S. My desire to have Miss H here for only two hours represented a conflict for her, since she has another case at 6:30 right down the street from us, so she would be dropping us and she would be bringing another person on Tuesday to shadow us as well. If that was okay. So again with the overly cheerful response, like maybe I'd smoked a bowl and was perfectly happy that my head was on fire because I don't care - I've just smoked a bowl! (Do we have any nachos?) So I said, "Oh sure. That would be fine! I'll see you Tuesday!" I got the idea that she was trying to draw me into an argument or conflict because she kept asking If you're sure, If that's okay, If that doesn't cause any problems for you. "Nope! That will be fine and we'll see you on Tuesday!" And I hung up! I've had about a zillion conversations with Miss H over the phone. This one had none of the cooperative tone of any of the others, even though we didn't always agree with each other. Yep. Miss H is definitely a disciple of the Church of Miss F and her line of bullying and bullshit. To them I have this to say:


Post script: The Girlie was sitting on the floor playing with Legos while I related this newest development with the ART to The Beloved. When she realized that Miss H would soon be a thing of the past, a sly smile crept across her face. It quickly turned into radiant beaming when I confirmed that Miss H's days were numbered. We have not told The Poddest of Pods yet, as he will be much more direct and much more succinct in his happiness with this new development, and he will likely say what's on his mind directly to Miss H. No matter. She can reap what she has sown.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Be Still, My Heart

Yes, there are pictures!

So there's nothing quite like happily thinking that your Little Squee has a perfectly good ticker, then finding out differently. I'll cut to the punch. Willie's "pin-point" Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) ain't so pin point after all. Please excuse the 'ain't' as I've been exposed to many a bad influence lately. Just ax me.

So off we go to Willie's cardiology appointment bright and early this morning. 'They' said our appointment was for 10:30, but that if we wanted to arrive as early as 8:30 we could be seen and sent on our way. Good thing we went early as we were there for a little longer than 3 hours, even though we'd only waited in various waiting rooms for ten minutes at the most.

First up was a pissy medical assistant who by way of greeting told me to put Willie on the scale. I said that his diaper was drenched, did she want me to change him first? "Is it poopy? You gonna have to take him to da bafroom to change him." Having seen the Koala changing table in the 4'X 6' foot bathroom that also housed the toity and the sink in that small space, I asked if she had a liner to put down on the Koala table. She walked away saying nothing but did return to bring me a large sheet of exam-table tissue. Let me tell you, once that Koala table was folded out to a usable position, I was one with the wall. I think they must have installed that thing before the other walls were put up. Either that or it was installed by very skinny workmen! Next up, a naked boy on the baby scale. He promptly pee'd. But just a little. The pissy MA got a chuckle out of that, so maybe she wasn't all that bad. While the ME weighed and measured Jack, I signed papers. I saw his weight. When I asked for his length the MA volunteered his head circumference as well. She tried to get a blood pressure on Jack's leg, but Jack being Jack was not holding still for it. Literally. So after three tries, the MA kinda leaned her body over his legs a little and stroked his furry head, saying "Little Man, you so cute, but you hafta hode still so's I could git your blood pressure. That's right Little Man, you jis hode still for a minute mo and then we be all done." She she was bristly to me, but sweet with Jack.

Next we were taken to an exam room. As the MA left, I asked if I should dress him again or leave him naked with a diaper. Her gaze was steely to me, but softened as her eyes fell on Jack. "It's kinda hot in here. Jis leave him in a tee-shirt." It was less than five minutes before we were seen by Dr Kim, a resident. He introduced himself and said he was going to gather all the preliminary information before the cardiologist came in. I liked him because he listened to me and didn't interrupt every other word out of my mouth. He asked for the details on my pregnancy with Jack and my prenatal care, his immediate post birth info, his length of stay in the NICU, and growth trends, moving on to what and how much Jack eats, his feeding issues, hospitalization, and all the regular baby stuff you'd expect a doctor to want to know. He listened to my frustrations about feeling that Jack's regular doctor turned a deaf ear to my concerns.

He listened to Jack's heart, but again, Jack being Jack, he had a lot to see in this very visually interesting dark haired, light skinned man hovering in his face and would not be quiet! He kept looking from his black hair to his white face and chatted the doctor up quite loudly. When he got to Jack's didee and felt the pulses in his groin I felt comfortable enough to just blurt out "Is that really a 'micro-penis?' " There. I said it. Jack's medical records from birth said he has a micro-penis. "Because I don't really think that qualifies." He checked over Jack's package, all the while shaking his head no. He finally said that he didn't have the stats on what qualifies as a micro-penis, but that he could look them up for me. "I already did," I said. "And this doesn't quite fit, does it?" he asked. Then he chuckled at his own pun. "No, this looks like normal male anatomy to me. A micro-penis is usually quite remarkable in that you just see it. You can't miss that it's very, very small. You know, it's strange phenomena among some doctors that if they have a diagnosis, like Down syndrome, they try to pull out seldom found conditions and dictate little used jargon in their reports. It's like they're trying to brush up while they have the opportunity." Since he was so willing to discuss Jack's 'junk,' I asked him to see if he could determine if Jack truly does have an epispadias, another topic I've been reluctant to blog about my son's parts. He was also unable to manipulate the foreskin enough to determine if he's got one or not. He said to ask for a urology consult from his regular pediatrician.

Then Dr Kim left and came back within a few minutes to say the cardiologist would be in soon. Next up was Dr I'll-never-be-able-to-pronounce-his-name, a fellow, and he discussed Jack's specifics with Dr Kim. He also listened to Jack's ticker. They both agreed that an EKG was in order. I pulled out Jack's bottle thinking that a sleepy full tummied boy would yield a much better EKG than a fully alert squirmy pulling off all the leads boy. Then before I knew it, Dr Owen also arrived in the tiny room. He was a large older man and smelled of a woodsy incense that gave a very comforting and calming ambiance to the room. I liked him.
"Mom. This is a totally bad angle! I'm going to look fat!"

"That's better! Be sure to get my good side! Oh! Wait! All of my sides are good!"

Dr Owen agreed that if Jack had such a gaping cardiac defect that it produced no murmur, he would be symptomatic with very little energy expenditure. "However, I have seen one, and only one, baby with Down syndrome in my entire career who had a huge VSD and was up and active like the wind. But only one!" And after Dr Owen listened to Jack's chest they all agreed that Jack's VSD is at the very least, moderate in size. They were all able to appreciate a murmur, but not of the high squeaky pitched sound that a small defect would produce. No, they heard more of the low thrumming sound of a moderately sized hole. Unfortunately, the echo tech was on vacation. We'd have to return for the echo, but first we were sent to another department for an EKG.

Once in the cardiology department proper, we again sat in the waiting room for less than ten minutes. The gal who called us in cooed over Jack as we walked and several ladies and staff said sweet things about Jack as we walked down a long hallway. The EKG tech got Jack all wired up and ready to go. And Jack was certainly ready to go! All those wires all over him were just too, too tempting not to grab, touch, play with and try to stuff into his mouth! The tech was quite patient with him and stroked his belly and tried yet again to get him to hold still. "This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys!"

Apparently my sleepy full bellied little boy who would hold still for his EKG lives only in my imagination. Finally, as I held Jack in my arms and swayed back and forth, he stared up at me and was starting to give me the sleepy-dreamy look. Success, at last! The gal was kind enough to print a copy of his EKG for me.Jack's tracings

As the EKG tech gingerly peeled the sticky pads off if Jack's skin, I glanced over the EKG findings: ATRIAL FLUTTER/FIBRILLATION, A-RATE 280 CONSIDER LEFT VENTRICULAR HYPERTROPHY. At which my stomach lept into my chest, but a cursory glance at the tracings told me that was not right at all. He had nice regular uniform p-waves, not the bumpy chaotic line seen with atrial fibrillation and certainly not the regular, uniform saw tooth shaped bumps seen in atrial flutter. Each p-wave was followed by a QRS complex, the taller compressed spike. The QRS looked a little wide to me. I said as much to the tech, "This doesn't look anything like a-fib or flutter." She smiled at me and said that she was not allowed to comment, but she smoothed her hand over Jack's belly and said, "But I don't disagree."

Next we went back to the pediatrics department so the MA could sweet talk Jack into holding still for serial blood pressure readings. I chatted her up a bit while she worked and the frost started to thaw. Two of Jack's blood pressures were a little elevated, but not alarmingly so. I asked the MA, "Aren't those two a little high?" To which she said, "Usually Downs babies always be's really low." Well, I wasn't going to educate her on people first verbiage, nor was I going to say anything about her grammar. She was finally regarding me with something just a little less than contempt and she was sweet to my Little Baby Head.

Next in, Dr Kim, the resident. No he did not have A-fib/flutter. As Dr Owen joined him he said there appeared to be some degree of right ventricular conduction delay, evidenced by a slightly widened QRS, which basically means that the electrical impulse that starts in the top chambers of the heart in the right atria was reaching the right ventricle at a slightly lower speed than the left. It was certainly consistent with a moderately sized VSD. Take him home. Treat him like a baby. He's stable. He's a healthy growing boy. Come back in a month for an echocardiogram.

Jack's 9 month stats: 16 pounds, 6 ounces, length 26.4" head circumference 17.3"
Serial blood pressures: 102/39 Left arm 95/52 Right leg 107/56 Left leg

EI with Anna later in the day...

Jack liked the tambourine!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Excuse Me????

I would have titled this post, I Beg Your Pardon? However, that would have been a gigantic misnomer, as I will not now, nor will I ever be begging anything, much less pardon, from the woman who is the source of my ire.

As I re-read yesterdays' post, I found myself getting angrier and angrier. Had I called a spade a spade yesterday, I would have thrown Miss F out on her ear after Beth arrived. Certainly after the first, "We need to wrap this up" went unheeded. Why I let the two of them run over me is beyond me. Maybe it was my fatigue, my three day headache, or the high I felt from shooting down their line of BS excuses every time it reared it's ugly head. I just hate it when people either do something wrong or fail to do the right thing, and then try to lay the blame at the one who was wronged. I was also a little ticked at myself. So while I was still sufficiently pissed, I decided to take the bull by the horns and call Miss F, rather than wait for her to call me.

First I had to dial all the wrong contact numbers for Miss F listed in The Olders' folders. Then I tried her cell phone, left a voice mail, which I assume will remain unanswered due to her broken phone, and then realized that she wouldn't respond anyway. So I called our SC at RC and left a brief message for her, then I called Miss F's agency directly. While I was on the phone with the receptionist, I wrote the names of her supervisors on The Pods header page, just in case this situation sizes up the way I think it will. Next I was told that Miss F was not in the office today and I was transferred to her voice mail at her office. Only - surprise - she answered!

So I said who I was, asked if this was a good time and then asked what she had wanted to discuss with me yesterday. She put me on hold. I think she was gathering her wits, deciding what she wanted to say. Outlining her attack. From my previous dealings with her, I know she is not in the habit of being vulnerable and I firmly believe from my experiences in life and with her in particular that she is much more comfortable being the aggressor in any confrontation. She likes the upper hand and since I called her, she had lost the position of control.

So, when she finally came back on the line, she made some small talk. I wanted to get to the point and asked her again what she wanted to discuss with me yesterday. First she said that she had, "Spoken to my supervisor about this case. I'm trying to get another staff out there for you. It's going to be a difficult task, considering that you've given us such a rigid and limited time frame to work with." Wow. She's good. Tried to put me in my place right off the bat for being so difficult. So I said in a very nonchalant tone, "Well you've already succeeded in finding 6 therapists so far, and this has been the time frame for the entire year you've been in our home. In fact, from what I understand, this is the typical time frame for the average school aged client that your agency provides services to. At any rate, I'm sure you'll do your best." She made some end-of-call comment designed to stop conversation and get the caller off the phone. You know the ones: alright then, I'll be speaking to you later, okay then.

So I asked again, what it was she wanted to discuss with me yesterday. It went something like this. "Well I had some concerns about the way you handled things yesterday. I was concerned that you chose to air your grievances at the team meeting when your children were present in the home. I think it would have been much more prudent to the children's welfare to discuss this with me privately instead of just blurting it out in the open like that. I thought the way you handled the whole situation was very inappropriate. I was very offended by that." Wow. Bring on the buzz-words. Concerns. Things. Chose. While your children were present. Prudent. Welfare. Situation. Inappropriate. Offended.

So I took a deep breath and said, "Well. F. You are coming into our home. Our children live in the home. This is our arena, not yours or the ART's. And the team meeting was to discuss the children in question. My daughter was in her room. My son was deeply involved in drawing. There was no shouting or hostility. I've already conveyed my distaste that you do not respond to my phone calls and that it's pointless to call you. And I don't see how the issue was so emotionally charged that the children needed to be secured elsewhere or secluded from the discussion. Since the situation arose that day and had a direct effect on the events of the meeting, I think it was perfectly appropriate to discuss it then, as it happened. And frankly, since this is our home, and you are the service providers to my children, I find it offensive that you would choose to rebuff and correct me for discussing my concerns about my children directly with you." And knowing that predatory people feed on emotion, I said all of this very calmly and made certain to not show emotion but to certainly inflect certain words. I love throwing a controlling person's buzz-words back at them. It takes the power out of their words. Levels the playing field. Hey, look at me, I can use those words in a proper sentence too! This whole discussion, this whole power struggle was about ax versus ask. She knew it and so did I, but hey, some people nurture and protect their right to maintain their ignorance. And I am more than willing to have a verbal spar with her. I know the power of my vocabulary. And I know the weakness in hers. Funny thing about people. When someone knows they are right and cannot be defeated in their views, they can often be nasty, go on the attack, exact their pound of flesh. I've learned the hard way to preserve the facade of the relationship and when I know I am right, I can be so sweet I'm sticky. I prefer not to. I hate sticky people. But when I know I'm right, I can play nice all day long.

So instead of addressing any of my comments back to her, she chose another line of attack. She said she felt I'd been very rude. I'd been very aggressive and hostile. She was put on the defense and had felt personally attacked because she hadn't expected to be spoken to like that. Okay then! Another deep breath. I said, "I was neither rude, hostile or aggressive. I aired my concerns, illustrated my points, offered a solution and then waited for your response. I neither shouted nor so much as raised my voice. If you recall, my son felt at ease enough to interrupt us several times to comment on the picture he was drawing at the same table with us. I voiced my concerns yesterday in a tone of voice every bit as calm, level and polite as I'm speaking with you now. There was no hysteria, no aggression, no hostility. Again, I'm at a loss as to why you think it's inappropriate to discuss my concerns about my children at a meeting about my children. What other purpose are these meetings designed to serve if not about and for their welfare?" I was tempted to pull out the old Well I'm sorry you feel that way, which is neither an apology or a concession, but rather another slap in the face. But I refrained. That's her style. Not mine. She did say that in the future she would make certain that meeting times were not changed without consulting with me first.

And she started doing the closing salutation thing again, so I said I had an additional concern. And I aired it. I spoke nicely, but I said my piece. She'd been late, once again, to the meeting. She was well aware that Jack had therapies that my active participation was required for because I'd made her aware of that at the beginning of the meeting. Still she dragged what should have been 30 minutes, 45 at the most, into 90 minutes. And still she didn't leave. She did not need to sit there where Jack's therapies needed to take place and complete her paperwork. She seemed incredulous that I had expected to her to leave. She asked, "Well, did you want me to leave the home entirely? I was trying to get the programs put together for your children." And I said, "What I did expect was for you to wrap up and be finished when you said you would. Beth arrived at 3:15. She did Jack's entire OT without me. At 4:00 she asserted herself to get the ball rolling with you. At 4:15 you still weren't finished and I removed myself from your meeting. I certainly did feel that at the very least you could have relocated yourself to the front room or living room so that we could do Jack's feeding therapy at the table. You being late and running over your allotted time does not equate to Jack having to lose out on his scheduled therapies. I do not want this to happen again. It's not acceptable and it's not professional." I did not point out that the 30 minute meeting took a total of 2.5 hours. I wanted to, but I didn't. I guess I finally killed her with civility (I really was civil and calm) or she finally got tired of denying the facts. She sounded sincere in her apology for having run over her time and said that it wouldn't happen again. Maybe I finally just got it through to her that I wasn't going to be bullied and trifled with. I don't know what the magic trick was. So don't ax me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Frustration & Advances

Since I have actually gotten to work these last two days, I was doing my usual of leaving the cell in the kitchen where I wouldn't hear it and keeping the home phone in my bedroom in case either of The Olders' schools needed to reach me. On one hand, The Middle Littles' teacher did call to tell me that he's doing well so far this year and that she's seen some remarkable improvement in his behavior. On the other hand, she was mainly calling to address a concern I'd had, written a note two weeks ago, and The Pod had finally just delivered to her today. So, that was a good call.

Next I fed The Butter Bean and got us both down for some brief but much needed sleep, setting the alarm for 10:15. Unfortunately, when Anna arrived to make up an hour of EI, I had to turn her away because the pounding in my head had reached down to my stomach. Then back to bed and setting the alarm for 12:15 for PT. That went well, but my head was still pounding and my stomach was still a little flippy. Jean was pleased over and over again with Jack's progress and said so repeatedly! Plus I love the way she talks to Jack, cuddles him, and tells him that his head is big, huge, even! She sings to him between "sets" and moves his limbs to the rhythm of the song. And Jack likes Jean!

Next up was a meeting with the ART team, at one o'clock. Only there was a message from Miss H that was very garbled, and a following message that since she hadn't heard from me, she was just going to arrive at her usual time of 2:30-6:30 for the meeting. Not good. I'd arranged our whole day around the one o'clock time and I let her know that when she arrived, and that she still had to be finished at 5:00 today because we were leaving shortly after. "Well, the team meeting is just to go over the books so that part shouldn't take long at all." Yeah, right.

Miss H from ART arrived at 2:30, and the manager, Miss F, who was also supposed to arrive at 2:30, didn't. Eventually I asked Miss H if Miss F was coming, that Jack had 2 hours of therapies starting in 30 minutes and that I would participate in his therapies. The manager finally arrived 15 minutes late, for what should have been a 30 minute meeting. When she arrived at 2:45, took five minutes to settle in and wanted to start right off with The Girlie, I asked instead, "Why exactly was the meeting time changed?" To which I was met with stoney silence. That simple question set the whole stage. Then Miss H said that since I hadn't answered the phone or returned the garbled and unintelligible phone call, even though she was aware that I don't answer the phone when I'm sleeping, she wasn't sure I would be home.

That got us off to a bad start. I essentially said that if I'd scheduled a meeting, I would be here. I've never not been here for our appointments. So let's not cancel or change times based on my not answering the phone, especially since you know I am a day sleeper and do not answer the phone. I retrieve messages, yes, I do not answer the phone. If I suddenly start flaking off and not being home for meetings we can revisit this rule, but for now, let's not change times, especially given that I have never missed a meeting. They were a little pissy at my assertiveness, and tried to make it my fault that they were uncertain. I'm not sure why this is. Since every BS excuse they had was met with a firm and resounding response from me, the meeting got off to a rather bad start. "Well you did ask me to call you and remind you," Miss H offered by way of excuse. Yes I did ask you to call and remind me. Not change times. You are in our home for 16 hours each week, from four different people, Miss F counting as 5. Jack has 5 or 6 hours of therapies each week from 5 or 6 different people, depending on the week. I work nights and sleep days. A reminder call is helpful, but it's just that. A reminder. Not a confirmation of what has already been decided. We simply have too many people coming and going to arbitrarily decide to change times without actually speaking with me. One change influences the whole days' events, and I already told you last week that 1:00 was great because Jack had two back to back therapies that I had to participate with and that they would start at 3:15. So, let's move on and not let this happen again.

So on to the next topic. The Girlie has not had 4 hours of services for each of the last two weeks, this week being #3 that Miss J has not shown up. Miss F said that she was unaware of that fact. Miss J stopped coming without notice and even though all three of The Pod's therapists, including Miss H, had texted and emailed you for each successive Wednesday and Thursday of missed service, there has been no response from you to either myself or them. Was Miss J coming back or was she to be replaced? What followed was another stone wall pause and then some noise about how Miss F's phone had been disabled after an untimely encounter with water, Miss H flatly denied having any knowledge that Miss J had not been showing up, Miss F said that if The Pod's therapists had texted her, she had no phone to receive them on, she denied having gotten any of their multiple emails, and why hadn't I called her directly to tell her? As far as she knew, Miss J had been showing up on time every day. In short, it was my responsibility to keep track of her employees, essentially. She also said that when Miss K left for the summer, I'd said it was fine for Miss J to fill in for her until Miss K came back. I knew it wasn't permanant and that eventually Miss J would be returning to her job at the school, and that she'd already been assigned to another case they same days and time as The Girlie's. Her entire attitude was that she'd dropped the ball and it was somehow my fault. And the usually assertive and aggressive Miss H just sat there all meek and mild with her nose firmly wedged into the crack of Miss F's backside. Great, the case manager is on the defense in her voice tone and attitude, and the kids' advocate, Miss H, was acting like a whipped puppy at the feet of her master. I was getting less and less mild mannered and civil by the moment.

So I said, Yes, I was aware that Miss J was temporary, but it's not my job to manage her schedule of working with your agency and arrange her departure to return to her previous position at the school district. There still should have been some sort of notice given. On the one hand you said that you were unaware that she had not been showing up, but then on the other hand you said that she had gone back to her previous job and that she had been reassigned with your agency to another case at the same days and times she's supposed to be here for The Girlie. That's a little contradictory, don't you think? As far as your phone issues, that's also not my responsibility to manage difficulties in your personal life. I find it hard to believe that you got none of your emails, especially when I saw them after they were sent, and Miss H, I did discuss this with you and you also texted Miss F, whether or not you choose to remember it. I've had quite the history of making phone calls to you that go unanswered. If your staff, while they are here in the home are notifying you of events, I see no need to jump right on the phone and tell you again. You don't return my calls, so I don't make them. I let your staff do that. But back to the matter at hand, Miss J's been reassigned and Miss K isn't coming back to work for you, but the Girlie still needs her hours of service. To that, Miss F didn't even bother to deny that she doesn't return calls or to acknowledge that she had just admitted to dropping the ball, and that she was unaware that Miss K wasn't coming back. I said I'd known about it for over two weeks, but again it wasn't my job to report Miss K's comings and goings and job choices. "Well you said that you didn't want Miss J to replace Miss K, so I didn't find someone for you." That was her new excuse. Yes I did say that, when you and I both thought Miss K was coming back to us. Now that we both know she isn't, they need to be replaced. "Well that's why I didn't find someone else for you." Really, F? Is that why? Did you not notice that Miss K didn't rehire with you or that her replacement now needed replaced? Is that what you're saying, that along with your phone excuses I'm supposed to manage your staff as well? There was so much tit-for-tat trying to shift the blame to me for her poor management and lapse of services to The Girlie that it made my head spin. By this time I was quite annoyed and watching the clock tick down so I said, Well, regardless of when you found out, you know it now. The facts still remain that it's not up to me to monitor the comings and goings of your staff; We're the consumers, the clients, not the service providers; Miss J or Miss K, one of them, still needs to be replaced. It was tense, and even though I was met with some frosty responses when I held firm, I stood my ground. Why it had to be so confrontational still boggles me, but I think it had to do with their first BS excuse and that I deflected it without letting them make it my fault.

And then Miss Beth arrived right on time for Jack. I told her to go ahead with Jack's OT, that we should be done with our meeting in a few minutes, looking to Miss H and Miss F for confirmation. They both nodded their heads at 3:15. So for the next 45 minutes, Miss F and Miss H went over The Olders programs, with them both belaboring every point and with me trying to participate in OT and the meeting at the same time. At about 3:30 the phone rang and I mistook the number on caller ID for one of Jack's doctors and excused myself to answer the phone. Having realized it wasn't his doctor but someone else, I proceeded to quickly take a message for myself. I was standing at the kitchen sink with my back to the table when the caller said, "Ax her to call me." And that set me off. I said, "Excuse me, but did you say 'Ax her to call me, or ask her to call me?' " When I hung up and turned around the atmosphere was arctic. I made an off handed remark about bad grammar and then greeted The Beloved coming into the kitchen, and chose to ignore the fact that Miss F bristled at my ax vs ask question. Her bad grammar is not my concern, but due to what happened next, I just may call her on it the next time she axes me a question.

Side note: Jack is sitting in my lap shouting "I do! I do! I do!" at the top of his lungs! Did someone offer ice cream?

And what happened next was this. It was 4:00. Beth finally said that Jack was starting to get hungry, looked at the clock and said we needed to move on with his next session. I said to Miss H and Miss F that we needed to move on, that his next session was ST and it was to teach me as well as him. Five minutes later I gave Beth Jack's elephant jiggler to start working his mouth, and I prepared Jack's cereal and squash and opened a jar of bananas and heated a bottle. Five minutes after that, when it was clear that Miss H and Miss F were not moving on, Beth stood up and began swaying Jack back and forth in her arms in the middle of our meeting. And five minutes after that, at 4:15, I took Jack from Beth's arms, got busy setting him up in his high chair, and informed Miss H and Miss F that we were finished. Beth wound up sitting on the ottoman in the living room, while I sat in my rocker in the living room, since Miss H had moved on to the The Pod's session and Miss F sat on her butt at the kitchen table doing paperwork, and clearly wasn't going to budge even though we were preparing to feed Jack. So I essentially ignored her and moved on with ST in our living room. Never mind that stepping 2" from the kitchen puts you in our living room, still, it would have been nice to work at the table, where most people usually eat.

ST rocked! I love our new ST, Dr ES, but Beth filling in for her today was absolutely awesome! Beth, as an OT, knows about million times more oral motor stuff than our previous ST, Miss Nervous. Beth brought a Nuk brush for us and after slaking Jack's initial hunger with 3 ounces of formula, Beth showed me how to use it in Jack's mouth and how to use the Nuk to prompt that little pink tongue back into his mouth where it belongs! Next we moved on to butternut squash with a tablespoon of cereal mixed in, alternating with a thinner consistency banana. He did great! I gave him little breaks to have knock back slugs of formula, but he was always happy to go back to the spoon food! With Beth, The Dear Daddy and I cheering every successful spoonful of food, Jack finished the whole 4 ounce jar of squash plus cereal, 2 ounces of bananas and still had room for his beloved bottle! It was a very successful meal! There was much cheering and applauding going on! At the end of the meal Jack had perhaps two 1" smears of food on his outfit. And he did have some on his forehead and in his nostrils, but he'd swallowed the rest! Yeah Jack! You go, baby boy! And yeah Beth! Because she rocks!

At the close of ST at 5:15, Miss F was finally packing up her paperwork to leave. She said in an ominous tone, "I do need to speak to you about some things, but you have stuff going on." And she finally left. The Beloved caught her tone and waited until she was actually out the door to raise his eyebrows waiting for my story. Since Beth was now doing her paperwork, I told him the story, starting with putting a stop to changing meeting times without actually speaking with me, the BS of trying to redistribute responsibility for dropping the ball for The Girlie's hours, and moving on to the eventually civil, then jovial atmosphere right up until my "ax" remark on the telephone. Beth said, "Oh that's what happened! I could have heard a pin drop when you hung up but when I first arrived all three of you were laughing about something, and then all of the sudden it was tense in here!" So we chatted about how the meeting had gone from bad to worse, to okay, to good and winding up at very bad and me frustrated with them dragging their heels for far too long. Beth said, "I hope you didn't mind, but after you already told them several times to move along, that's why I stood up with Jack in my arms and started swaying in the middle of every one." I said I'd noticed that and was glad she had, that I thought the malingering was passive aggressive retribution for my "ax" comment, with agreement all around. I guess the ax hit it's mark.

Do Not Read This...

...unless you are prepared for heartbreak. I've been praying for this baby. I hope that you will pray fervently as well. Sienna is struggling for life until birth. Please pray for her and her family.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's Official!

The Beloved was snuggled up with Jack on the couch this morning when he started doing the "Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm," sound which translates to "I'm hungry. Feed me now!" So I, being the Mommy, prepared a bottle. When The Beloved dropped the Little Snooks into my lap, he beamed up at me with a jubilant smile and said, "Mama!" The Beloved and I exchanged big silly-stupid grins with each other.

"Mama!" Such a simple yet profoundly beautiful little statement from such a profound and beautiful little boy! How I love him.

As a side note, The Dear Daddy is just a wee bit pouty that Jack has yet to even approximate anything that sounds like "Daddy." Hahaha, I say. Both of The Olders said Daddy first. This one's mine!

Some other things on Jack's mind today...all with long vowels;
"eeee-dwi-dwi-do-do-do-do"

and with soft a's and long o's;
"ba-ba-ba-ba-no-no" and "wa-wa-wa-wa-oooo!"

It makes me silly happy that he combines sounds in a stream of babble. I never dreamed a year ago that I'd be typing my baby's babble onto a blog so that it sounds like what he says. I'm sure I documented The Olders first sounds too, but I doubt I did it to this extent! Maybe senility is visiting me early!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jack said "Anna!"

Call me crazy, but I'm telling you, he said it! Read on if you are doubtful!

Since Jack was about 6 months old, the general consensus is that Jack says "Mama." I finally believe it, now that he's 9 months old, because he says it when I enter or leave a room, or if he can hear me but I'm out of his line of sight.

I've also been feeling tremendous guilt for not being more proficient at signing. So...I have amped up my signing skills. Today when Anna, his EI gal, arrived, she scooped him up and sat on the floor with him. Once he was over his initial giggly-wiggly-chatty excitement at seeing her, I got his attention. I patted her shoulder and signed and said "Anna. Anna." I signed and said it repeatedly. As I was signing "Teacher" Jack said "Na-na-na-na." So I signed and said "Anna" a few more times, finishing with the sign for "Teacher." This time he said, "Aaaa-na-na-na!"

So Anna gets on with the business of EI with him, and after about 15 minutes she scooped him up onto her shoulder for a little moment of rest. So I got Jack's attention and signed and said her name a few more times while patting her shoulder. And he said "Aaa-na-na" and looked right at her! She said "Aaaa-na!" and Jack said "Aaaa-na!" Anna continued his EI while we mulled over the validity of this new verbiage. He sealed the deal when I was walking Anna to the door with him in my arms. I always say the same thing when someone leaves, "Say 'Bye Anna. Thank you for working with me!'" And when I did, Jack chimed in with "Aaaa-na-na! Aaaa-na-na!"

I'm telling you, The Boy Genius said "Anna." You can tell me I'm delusional when I claim he recited a sonnet.

Sleepy Headed Boy



Jack is not a morning baby!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Playing With Daddy!



I love the above picture of Jack. He's giggling up at his Daddy and despite the blur, I had to post it. They adore each other!
Jack spends hours playing with his thumb, but I swear it looks like he'll pull it clean off or break it into pieces!

I took some really beautiful pictures of The Dear Daddy with Jack. The Beloved won't let me post them. "We agreed," he said. And so we did. Dang it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ST Tuesday & PT & OT

This is Jack's first taste of butternut squash! It's also the only picture I took of this new dish as I was really busy figuring out how to stimulate his mouth and shove the spoon in there just so, as Dr ES coached me on the process. It was a little tricky getting into a rhythm, but once I had it down we were good to go! Jack ate a half jar of squash mixed with a tablespoon of rice cereal, then polished off 8 ounces of formula! He was a hungry boy!

It turns out that Dr ES will not be able to see us on Tuesdays. We've compromised and have come up with Mondays at 10 am. I'll get home from work in time, but still be able to get some sleep to return to work that night. Now I just need to get some danged work! The work thing is really getting scary!

Next up was PT, but I didn't get pictures of that. So...here's Jack reading a book with Beth, his OT!
He really likes this book!
It lights up in the middle!
And he's learning how to manipulate the little slidey things that make the lights flash!
"Hey Beth! Those are my toes!"
"Oh! There you are! Hi Beth!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

New 'Words'

Jack's new sounds are:

Abwabwabwab Aaaaaabwabwabwabwab

bwob bwob bwob bwob

mob mob mob mob

am am am am am

uhah uhah uhah uhah

uhab uhab uhab uhab

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Not Posting. Not Cleaning.

I'm sure I have more stuff of questionable import rolling around in my noggin, but I'm supposed to be sleeping for work tonight. And I have a headache. And I'm hungry. And I need a bath. And the house is a mess. But I am not asleep. I won't eat unless the restaurant fairy visits the fridge and leaves something yummy. My head still hurts. I won't shower until about ten minutes before I'm due to leave the house. And well, the house. It ain't gonna get clean today! Nope! I'm going to go read blogs! Bye!

Oh yeah...I can't post 'cuz I haven't taken any pictures. I suck. Bye!

Glasses & Homework

A few weeks ago we finally got over to the optometrist to pick up the kids' glasses. But they'd put The Pod's prescription into The Girlie's frames and vice-versa. No good.On the Thursday before school started Monday, the office called to say the glasses were in. Could we get there before 5:00 to pick them up because they are closed Fridays and weekends. Considering that it was 4:45 at the time of the call...uuummmm, no! Not all the way across town, we couldn't.
So we picked them up Tuesday and I took these pictures Wednesday. They are thrilled with their glasses! The Middle Little looks like George from Stuart Little!
The Girlie likes to have The Pea-Pod in her room while she does homework! As I look at this photo, I'm wondering where the Battenburg lace bed skirt is. You know, the one that's supposed to hide all those bins of crap under the bed and give her room a fresh, neat appearance? Yeah...that one. I suspect it's all smooshed up between the mattress and box spring. I'll have to investigate.
He's watching Horton Hears a Who!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Well then...

I'd planned on posting more, but The Girlie is sleeping in my bed tonight since The Dear Daddy is working. She's lon-el-yyyy. So I'm going to give in just this once and go to bed before midnight. I promise to post pictures soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th & the JBA

Friday the 13th - oh dear! Nah...I don't ascribe to that superstition. I'm more the toss spilt salt over my shoulder kinda gal. Cuz it's fun. Especially when you toss the whole shaker. In a crowded restaurant. And then sit back and looked equally horrified as every one else when one patron leaps to his feet clutching his noggin. But it's only to be tossed over the left shoulder. Otherwise it's just wrong and nullifies the whole superstition vibe.

Laurie was here today from The Junior Blind of America. I still like her every bit as much as I did on her previous visits. It doesn't hurt that she looks and sounds very much like my friend Auntie Dee Dee. Even the Pod Pie said, "Mom? That lady with Willie today? You know. The nice lady. With the light up toys? She was wearing a blue dress with a big busy pattern. She was nice. Mom? Well...that lady? She reminds me of that other lady. You know, with Auntie Bits and all the kids?" Do you mean Auntie Dee Dee? "Yes!!! Auntie Dee Dee! She reminds me of Auntie Dee Dee! That's what I wanted to tell you, Mom!" So it's official.

Laurie did more assessment today. She said she isn't overly concerned about Will's vision in any particular area, but she'd like to continue to see him and work with him, since his vision will be crucial to all other areas of his development. Did this sound like a good plan to me? Well, yes. Yes, it does! Okay then, same time next week? Yes, yes, that would be good! So there you have it. 1 hour of vision therapy every Friday!

Mum-Mums

He's probably a bit young for Mum-Mums yet. By the way...who named this product?"Hmmm. What's this?"
"Am I supposed to eat it? Is it food? It's weird!"
All in all, Jack wasn't terribly impressed. It wound up on the floor without any bites and one soggy sort of floppy melty end. Next time.

A Confession

So I'm not really super fond of bathing babies. Sure it's fun the first time. Maybe even the second and third time. But really, by the fifth time, one of two things have happened. Either you're so skilled at this task that you get the baby stripped, bathed, clean, diapered and into a new outfit in 1/8th of the time it takes to prepare the bathing paraphernalia, or option two, you realize that you are so inept and dangerous at handling a wet, slippery, squirming little fish that you rush the job and finish, clean or not, in roughly 1/8th of the time it took to gather the bathing paraphernalia. Either way, it's not my cup of tea! Anymore I just toss a towel in the tub and in he goes!

He starts off up here...
...with some chin lifts and tummy crunches......see that ridge along his abdomen...weak abs, strong connective fibers...But with more chin lifts and tummy crunches......and some of this action......he winds up......all the way down here!Snug and dry!Better get him off my bed before he pees!"Mmmmmm, tasty towel!"And now that his protective layer of dirt has been removed, he's ready for his bottle!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reaching

Willie reached for Anna's outstretched hands not once but four times today and put his little hands into hers to play the lifting game. I often reach my hands out to him and wait a moment to see if he will lift his arms to me, but so far nothing. He was laying on the floor with Anna and when she reached out her hands, palms up, Willie put his hands right into hers and hung on tight to prepare to lift! It could have been a fluke the first time, but certainly not all the other times! Yeah, Willie!

Darling William

Darling Boy, you are 9 months old today. You are also, by far, the single most wonderful being to grace my life, ever. My sweet boy, saying I love you just doesn't seem enormous enough to contain how I feel for you. It's not that Daddy and I love you more, it's just that there's something about you that is divine. You are deliciousness itself. And sweetness and attitude and humor and light, starlight, moonlight, sunshine and lightning.

But I have to tell you, I'm getting pretty tired of your crap! As in CRAP! As elated as I was to see your very first poopy ever - because it meant your bowel was intact - I have seen quite enough of it in recent weeks! When I switched you from Similac to Prosobee, you went from a 14" hard rope every five days to a 6" hard rope every other day. Adding the Simply Thick had you pleasantly producing a big soft squishy poop every morning. I don't know what you're doing lately, but it's not fun. Your diapers fit, and yet, we've had far, far too many blow-outs of the un-fun kind! So while I was not planning on writing your 9-month letter about poop, here we are. Let's illustrate:

Last Sunday, you had 7 huge poopies. Huge. Seven of them!

Tuesday night your Big Sissy was snuggled into bed but I had to summon her for help. I'm not sure how you did it, but you left two large egg sized poops on my thigh while I was holding you. I didn't notice them until they started getting cold. I was shocked to find another goose egg sized pile o' poop in the chair next to me, two little hen's eggs sized blops of poop on the carpet under my chair, and of course, the rivulets of glop that they left while sliding down the metal piping of the chair to the carpet. It was phenomenal. I wish I had taken pictures, but to be honest, I was overwhelmed with poop and The Girlie was too busy alternating between hysterical laughter and mortified horror to think about the proof that photos would provide.

Then there's the sneak up the back and into the linens of your cradle poop.

Or the slip out the side and down into the leg of your sleeper to your foot poop.

And the ever popular slip right up the front of your diaper and into everything while you're swinging poop.

And then there are the really fun leak-out-of-every-opening poops.

I am sick of poop! And the laundry, and that fact that inevitably, I do not discover the extent of your little bombs until they have leaked through your clothing and into mine...which happens right about the time the raw sewage odor assaults my olfactory centers...or about 2.5 seconds. It also coincides with my realization that you're doing that devilish little wiggle you only do when you've left me some "doo."

So stop it already!

At 9 months you have quite the repertoire of sounds! The general consensus is that you are indeed saying "Mama," mostly because it happens when I leave/enter the room, or when you can hear me but can't see me. You say: buh, dadadada, eeehhh, aaaahhhh, and a surprising array of consonants and vowels, including a,e,i,o and u, and quite frequently combine the b, m, p, and d sounds with multiple vowels in one long stream of vocalizations. You make this funny little sound quite often that I can only describe as "birp" but I am not certain of the vowel. You do it too fast without prior notice! I am told that this bodes well for your future speech abilities. I don't know about all these things, just that it makes me really happy to hear your cooing lilting voice and that you're such a happy little guy that you "sing!"

So far you've eaten rice cereal, fresh avocado (don't wanna think about that in a baby food version!) applesauce, fresh and jarred bananas, pears, peach yogurt and carrots. Tonight I gave you a few tiny bites of green jello. You swallowed it down and opened your mouth for more! Next up will be butternut squash. Oh...and I gave you a Mum-Mum, but you were not impressed! Your Daddy gave you about 1" of RC cola via straw last weekend. You shook your little head and arms like a tremor, your whole body really, but swallowed and opened your mouth for more. Next taste, same tremor, swallow, mouth open. Third taste, the surprised look persisted, but the tremor like shaking stopped, and you grinned after you swallowed! And again with the mouth opening for more! I also gave you a dessicated Red Vine last week for your chewing strength. That was a big hit with you, but the red slobber trails down your chest were not a big hit with me! You are eating 8 ounces of formula on average of 7 times a day.

You can wear a few 6-9 month outfits, 9-12 if you're in a "tent" mood that day, but 3-6 months clothes are still your best bet. You are still in a size 3 diaper. Your newborn socks still fit, but you can also wear the next size up as long as you don't move your feet or legs and there's no strong breeze.

You can sit in a supported position for up to an hour. You have logged a full minute and a half of hands out front sitting. You no longer have a bloody fit for tummy time. You clap occasionally. You transfer toys from one hand to the other, but still drop a toy you're holding when presented with another toy (Just a month ago you were holding two toys - not sure if this is significant). You bang toys on whatever surface is handy, your chest and tummy if nothing else is available. You spend a lot of time playing with your feet. You reach for your reflection in the mirror. You will pull to a standing position anytime you have the opportunity! Your weak neck/head flop is more of an indicator of you being tired now than anything else. You roll onto your side to reach toys, and sometimes completely over if it suits you. That tongue still spends far too much time out of your mouth but you also spends minutes to hours during your day with full lip closure. You curl your tongue (inside your mouth, thank you!) into a tube quite often. Sometimes you suck air in through the tube. You don't have the prominently deep fissure on your tongue that many with Ds have. Your tongue will form a nice bowl shape inside your mouth while you vocalize, and it cracks me up when the little tip sticks up pointy and tremors with vibration, usually when you are "yelling!"

Your day usually starts when you coo loudly from your cradle to alert me that you are up and ready to eat! You smile big and happy when you see me! Off to the nursery for a diaper/sleeper change and mini-bath. Trip to the laundry while you lay on the floor and play with the baby in your mirrored closet doors. New gown for me since the one I was wearing is now pooped. Then for a snuggle in the rocker and a bottle for you, coffee for me. You are usually still eating by the time the Two Olders are out the door for their buses. When you're finished I try like mad to pat/pound/rub/bang/beat/bounce/jiggle/hammer a burp out of you. Eventually it's usually a position change that brings up the burps! Then it's a diaper change for you and nightgown change #2 for me. You play for about an hour and a half, either in my arms or in your swing, and then you start making the "Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmmm" sounds that mean you are hungry again. Midway through bottle #2 you get spoon food, finish bottle #2, more 'elicit a burp activities' then you tucker out for a 15-30 snooze in my arms. I try to lay you down, you wake up immediately bright eyed and ready to play. Late morning sees bottle #3, more burping, a diaper change, and a nap for both of us in the big bed. You also spend a good 20 minutes charming me with your baby antics, smiles and coos, rolling toward me for snuggles, until your lids won't stay up and you fall into a deep sleep. Sweet nap times, ours! Afternoon sees The Olders home and bottle #4, more burping activities. Diaper change. Often an outfit change. More play. Therapies of various nature. Adoration from the gals from the ART that come to see The Olders. Lots of hugs, kisses, snuggling. Swing time, floor time both on and off the tummy, play time in the high chair. Play time when Daddy gets home. Late afternoon brings bottle #5, burping and a short nap. Play time with The Olders. Diapers. Cuteness. Dinner time around the table either has you playing on the floor or being given a bottle in my arms. Soon you'll be at the table with us, playing with toys, eventually eating! Hopefully, one day, holding your bottle and sippy cup. Either way, bottle #6 is on the horizon, and the inevitable burping Olympic games. Nighttime sees The Daddy all to yourself. Bottle #7. Diaper changes. Pajamas. Snuggling. A tuck-in in your cradle by our bed. Sweet dreams until morning. Sometimes you will wake up in the middle of the night and coo for a few minutes. You put yourself back to sleep nicely.

It's hard for me to believe it's been 9 whole months. I was so worried. And we've all done fine. Really, really fine. I simply adore it when I pick you up onto my shoulder and you immediately start patting my back! And while I will likely modify this post a million times, remembering things I wanted to write, for now, let me just say, I am so glad you came to us! We love you darling boy! But seriously, enough with the poop already!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Posts

Okay...so I have ten new posts (if you count this one) since August 1st. Some with pictures! So get off my back already! But keep coming back...I have four drafts with more pictures!

Our New ST!

Today our PT was out of town, but we were very happy to see Beth, our OT in the afternoon! And today, she would be joined later in her visit by Dr ES! Willie had quite a good time showing off for Beth today! He cooed to her, stood up for her, transferred toys for her and held his head up nice and high during tummy time! He even let her hold him in a crawling position while he reached for toys! Yeah Willie!

The minute Dr ES arrived I was immediately at ease. I liked her instantly. And then The Girlie came out of her room and asked, "Do I know you? You look really familiar, like I've seen you before." Dr ES said she looked familiar as well. Turns out Dr ES had visited The Girlie's first school to do evaluations and do ST with students. The fact that The Girlie said, "It's nice to see you again," meant that it had been a positive!

Beth stayed while Dr ES worked with Willie and she continually bragged on his abilities and new skills. Willie was his charming self, of course. When it was time for his bottle Beth pulled out a star shaped oral vibrator/teether and touched it to Willie's lips. At first his expression was "What the heck?" but he was quickly grabbing Beth's hand to shove it into his mouth! He mow'ed on it for quite some time and forgot all about eating! Next up was an elephant shaped oral vibrator and it was an even bigger hit! Plus, the Little Pea-Pod could hold it himself! Beth wound up leaving it for us to use until ours can be shipped! Then it was finally time to get on with that bottle!

Dr ES approved entirely of the feeding position and burping techniques. We stopped Jack in the middle of his bottle to do a little more stimulation with the elephant for 3 minutes, then he sucked his bottle down and I beat a burp out of him! He charmed Beth and Dr ES while we talked "grown up stuff."

And the grown up stuff consisted of me explaining that I felt I knew more than Miss Nervous and that it wasn't until I voiced an opinion or expressed a concern that Miss Nervous returned the following week with printed information and more knowledge on my previous weeks' concerns. Was she researching after the fact? I also wanted her to direct me, not just watch what I was doing, and explain the why of certain activities instead of waiting for me to ask or not. In the end, Miss Nervous will not be back, and Dr ES will take over! Not only that, Tuesdays at 10:00 am are perfect for her! All in all, it was a great session and I will post the pictures Dr ES took when she forwards them to me!

I Felt Kinda Stooopid...

The end of July saw us visiting with Auntie Bits and Auntie Dee Dee. I was relating the story about the ST thinking that Will was wearing a good size clothing, 3-6 months, even though he was 8 1/2 months old. True the outfit he was wearing was a 12 month size, it was big and loose and drapy. I felt a little dumber when the outfit the kids changed him into was a 6-9 month outfit. Was I exaggerating? No...but I was thinking that the Carter's brand just ran big. Here he is this morning in a Disney Babies outfit...3-6 months! And to prove that I have not lost all of my marbles...
...here he is in that Christmas outfit! It's by Mini-Wear and it's also a 3-6 month outfit.
I think the pattern will wear out before he outgrows it!
He may well be sportin' this outfit for this Christmas!
Yes his eyes are closed...it's the red eye flash. It functions by making Jack close his eyes altogether, thus eliminating the red eye effect. I included this one because he just looks so tiny!

And yes, he is wearing footed rompers in the middle of August. It's currently 63* in the house. But hey, I am 45 and if I do so much as breath deeply my head will break into a sweat and it won't be pretty. This way, he's warm and comfy and I do not feel as if a blast furnace has been lowered over my head. I LOVE the technology that has brought us Central Air and evaporative coolers! Love it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lysol No Touch Hand Soap

Is it just me, or this this the stupidest new product to hit the market? Seriously. I think it's a tremendously ignorant product designed to bilk people out of their money. Plain and simple. You run the water, you get soap on your hands, rub your hands together, and then rinse. And the germs, having been subjected to mechanical abrasion and removal, go down the drain with the soap and rinse water. Who goes and puts their clean hands all over the germy soap dispenser when they're done washing their hands? And really, you are so much more likely to re-germ-ify your hands on that hand towel hanging there that every one else has used. Can we get an economical version of a paper towel dispenser instead? One that won't cost a fortune to refill? That's what I'm waiting for! Anyway, the commercial just ticks me off every time it airs. The dispenser at Wal-mart is about $6.00, and refills are about $3.50, for eight ounces. With three kids, One Daddy, One Mommy and five various therapists wandering through our bathroom every week, we'd be going through about four refills per week! For my money, I'm going to pocket the $20.00 (+ tax!) and use some common sense instead. When my house is clean enough that the condition of my soap dispensers' hygiene keeps me awake at night, then I will revisit the idea of ridding my household of "germy" soap dispensers. Maybe I'll just issue an all out ban from germs entering the house. It makes about as much sense as Lysol's new product. Until then, I'm going to continue to call this a stupid product. Okay. I'm done. For now.

Oh Yes I Did!

I did it. And it felt good. Really, really good! And I'm not sorry. Not. One. Bit. In fact, I think I'll do it again. Soon! Let me explain...

Last week I received a call from the bus company that picks up The Littles. They left me a message letting me know what time The Middle Little should be ready. Nothing about The Oldest. Neither of them are going to schools in our actual district, which ironically is about ten miles farther from home than the schools they are attending. Go figure. So, they take the school bus. So I started calling. Yes, she was bussed to and from the same school to and from the same home last year, but she was not on their schedule for this year. Contact the school. So I did. And the school contacted the district. And the school let me know Saturday morning that the district notified the bus company and faxed over The Girlie's authorization. The bus company called Sunday morning to let me know that they still had not received any paperwork for The Girlie, therefore she would not be taking the bus on Monday. And that was Sunday, so while the bus company was in the office, neither the school nor the school district would be.

So...how to get two kids to two different schools at exactly the same time. More importantly, how to pick up two kids from two different schools at exactly the same time as everyone else in the district. Dang.

Well obviously I can't wait at home for The Middle Little to get on his bus and still drop the Older Little off on time. So I took them both to school. And knowing this process had to be reversed in the afternoon, I couldn't take the chance that I'd be stuck in traffic picking up The Oldest while The Middle Little's bus was at our home. So I picked them both up. Early.

And at the The Girlie's school, I met a little resistance. The gal was new and unaccustomed to the fact that I have already established the "Don't piss me off or say anything stupid to me and I won't hurt you" attitude. So I calmly explained for the third time about the busing fiasco, the inability to be in two places at one time, why I was picking The Girlie up at 1:30 in order to get to The Middle Little's school to retrieve him and still get us all home in time for the ART to arrive at 2:30. She still didn't "Understand" what the problem was. So I said, "I have a medically fragile infant. He's not supposed to be out in this heat." Magic words! I swear the structure of her face changed. The Girlie was summoned and we were out of there! At The Middle Little's school, encountering the same line of questioning for the umpteenth time, I uttered those magical words, and we were off campus and on the way home before the final bell rang.

Yes, I think I abused the power. I also think that the clerks at their schools were being overly pragmatic. I also have the words from Jack's pediatrician, delivered in a solemn doom and gloom voice: Keep him out of the heat. Do not take him to crowded places. Do not take him to the grocery store. Do not take him where there are other children. Keep him home. Yes, he had pneumonia. Yes, he had a dual ear infection. Yes, he has some minor cardiac defects. (Does that even work in a sentence, minor and cardiac defects, especially in relation to an infant?) So does that make him medically fragile? No. Would I do it again? You betcha!

I Know, I Know. I Do.

I've been negligent of my blog. I know that. I am working on it. Right now, in fact. So if there are posts between this and "I Didn't Know I Liked Monkeys" then I have succeeded. And if not...well I suck eggs!

Back to School

The alarm went off this morning and it took me a few minutes to gather my wits and figure out what was happening. Then I shut the danged thing off! God bless the man or woman who invented the snooze button, and all of his or descendants for the next several generations. My particular model will provide the sleeper with 9 additional minutes of bliss. And I love it!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Train Museum

Next stop was the Train Museum!Willie was a happy little traveler the entire day!

After about six successive sneezes The Girlie said, "Bom...I thing I'b allergic do duh horses."