Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Goodbye,GG!

I lost my grandma just after Christmas. New Year’s Day I was flying back to Michigan to attend her funeral. Because of the new year holiday, tickets home we’re outrageously expensive. There was no way we would be able to afford tickets for all of us. The decision was made that I would fly back with Camille (who flies free) and my husband would stay home with Eli.

One thing I’ve learned about Eli, is he’s not too big on surprises (unless it’s something cool like popcorn or a new toy). As soon as I booked my ticket I explained where I would be going and why.

Disclaimer: I spoke based on my beliefs and the beliefs I want my family to follow. Everyone is free to choose to have this conversation any way they feel fit.

“You know your GG? The one with the kitties?” Nods head. “Well the other night GG was really sick and in the hospital and she died. So she won’t be around anymore. Do you understand? Does that make you sad?” Yeah. Mommy, I was happy when I came to mommy and daddy’s house but this makes me a little bit sad. “Do you know what happens when people die?” Um, no? “If you’re a good person you go to heaven. It’s this really cool place and everyone’s happy and nobody gets sick anymore. If you’re not a good person you go to another place, a bad place. Nobody wants to go there.” Oh yeah. Ok. “So after someone dies they have a funeral. You go and say bye to them because we won’t see them anymore. So mommy is going to fly to nana’s house to say bye to GG”

Everyone has they’re own way of explaining these things to their young ones and this is the way I handled Eli. Do I think he totally understood? Of course not; he’s only four. Do I think he understood as much as he could for his age? Probably. Every time I brought up me leaving that week he would start crying. My husband, during a breakdown, took Eli into his room and went over it again. And tried to make it a little more personal. (I wasn’t in the room so I’m just giving the gist of it).

“Mommy is really sad because GG died. What if daddy died? Wouldn’t you be sad? You wouldn’t see me anymore.” Yeah…. “so that’s why mommy needs to go back to nana’s house. So we need to be there for mommy” the boys came back into the room after a bit and Eli (still crying) said: I’m really upset you’re leaving. But everything is going to be ok. (Eli’s crying. I’m crying. My husbands crying.)

So New Year’s Day sister and I took off for Michigan. We stayed about 6 days. I said goodbye to my grandma and spent time with the family. Eli texted me everyday from the Ipad and we occasionally would video chat. He made it through the week unscathed. It was the longest I have been away from him ever in his almost-5 years of life.

This certainly won’t be the last time Eli and I will experience a loss like this. So for our first time, I think we did pretty good. And when we have to go through this again (hopefully a long time from now) we can get through it just as easily.

We love you GG!

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Burglary Blues

I’ve been a little silent the past couple weeks. Mainly because The kids and I finally made our move back out to California. Things have been pretty hectic to say the least. I’ve also been a little stressed out because while driving our car back, it gotten broken into at a hotel late one night and a bunch of our items stolen. Most can be replaced but there are so many things that I can never get back, or things that are going to be very difficult to replace. The constant fear that my children’s social security numbers are going to be used has had my anxiety levels to the max. To get out some of my anger I decided to write an open letter to whomever robbed us.

 


 

I hope karma catches you very soon. I’m not worried about the clothes, bags, baby items you stole. I’m not bitter that you left my son with 3 pants and 8 shirts to his name. I’m not hateful that you stole clothes from two beautiful babies. And the broken window was fixed within days.

What I am most upset about are the items I cannot replace because you choose to live a pathetic life of stealing from others instead of making an honest living and providing for your family in a way your kids will admire.

You could have stopped at the expensive yet replaceable items… but you took all of my families personal documents. My children’s social security cards, birth certificates, hospital bills, insurance information. Memorabilia from my daughters baptism. Photos of my children.

My daughter will never have the opportunity to reminisce on her baby foot and handprints from the day she was born because you stole her baby book and hospital documents. All I have left from her birth is one lousy hospital band and it wasn’t even hers. I don’t need to see my own name!!

You also stole my sons autism binder. You couldn’t have tossed that out when stealing the OPEN bag it was in? Now I need to call 15 different places to replace diagnosis paperwork, IEPs, therapy evaluations, referral paperwork, all my therapy and medical contacts.

The sad fact that everything important to me was absolutely pointless to you. Now all my heartfelt keepsakes and resources are sitting in a dumpster somewhere in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I hope the children you stole for enjoy the clothes, I really do. If you went through all this trouble they must have needed it. I also hope that they grow up and see you for what you really are. A pathetic excuse for a human being.

 

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Count Your Blessings

It’s easy to get down in the dumps, especially when life gives you lemons. I know there are a lot of positive people in the world, but there are also a lot of people that are pessimists. I myself, am a pessimist for sure. I often let the bad outweigh the good in situations. I could have a million things go right and one thing go wrong, and I will focus on the wrong rather than the right. I’m not saying that I’m living in a darkness or anything, but, for me, it takes a little extra effort for me to shake off my pessimistic views. My family, friends, and husband often put things in perspective for me, and for that, I’m grateful.

When Eli was first diagnosed, I was devastated. A million worries sunk me to a low and I did not have a good outlook for Eli. Looking back now, I realize how dramatic I was. I didn’t know anything back then, I thought autism would be a social death sentence for him. He would be so far behind his peers, kids would be mean, he wouldn’t fit in. It’s only been two years and he is damn near caught up to his peers and has many friends. One doctor’s diagnosis does not define my son. He is healthy, beautiful, and HAPPY. It just took me a while to realize that.

When Camille was born, everything was great for the first month. She was such a calm baby, never made a peep. After her one month things started going downhill. She was spitting up and throwing up constantly. She would scream all night long from her reflux pain. I was getting no sleep and doing it mostly on my own. At times I would have to give her to my mother and grandma just to keep my sanity. Difficult babies are hard on everyone and it’s so easy to go down the emotional rabbit hole. I was there. It’s hard to stay positive when your baby is hurting and there is nothing you can do about it. There’s times I felt like horrible parent, even though everyone around me was telling me how great I was doing. Now that we have hit her two month birthday things are slowly getting better. She’s screaming less and sleeping a little more. Looking back, I realize how hard I was on myself. I can see now that I am doing a good job as a parent and sometimes there’s nothing to do but ride out the storm.

Outside of my parenting, I am pessimistic about myself. I have always had self-esteem issues. I never thought I was pretty enough, skinny enough, athletic enough, etc. In high school, I thought I was gigantic because I had a little roll hang over the top of my jeans when I sat down. Now, as an adult with a mom body I question who DOESN’T have a roll when they sit down? Looking back on my childhood I see how good I had it. I had a lot of friends, I had boyfriends, I played sports, went to parties, did ok in school, and most importantly I always had food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over my head. Of course, teenagers aren’t really the ones to count their blessings. Even as an adult though it’s hard for me to look past my looks and weight and see that I am a beautiful woman. Even hearing compliments from my husband are hard to take serious. But I am learning to accept things the way that they are and that is including MYSELF. I am an awesome person. I’m friendly, sarcastic, funny, loving; who cares if I weigh more than I did before my two kids??

I’m sorry if this blog comes off as a pity party. That’s not really my intention. One thing I’m trying to do with this blog is connect with other people. I’m hoping this blog can resonate with some people out there. It’s easy to focus on the negative, but doing that keeps us from seeing all the positives in our lives. Every bad thing in life has a silver lining somewhere, it just takes some of us a little longer to see it. If I worry too much about my children or succumb to my fears and anxieties about them, I won’t be present to enjoy all the happy moments that are right in front of me. Life is too short to worry (this is way easier said than done, I know). And I’m trying not to be a hypocrite right now because I am still a pessimist, I just need to put towards the effort to make my glass half empty turn into a glass half full.

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Living in her Shadow

Getting a new sibling is hard for any child. They’re used to getting all the attention and now a new person has come into the world that takes all the attention while they get pushed to the back burner. I wish I could say that isn’t our situation but it is; to some extent, it’s inevitable.

While Eli’s dad was still in town with us, we tried to each give Eli one-on-one attention so he didn’t feel so pushed aside. Now that dad is gone, I’m still trying to give him alone time with me, although it’s a bit harder to swing by myself with two kids.

New baby Camille has been quite the handful and I can see the toll it is taking on Eli. Most of the time he is such a great big brother. Always wants to see her, gives her back a dropped pacifier, and when she cries he tells me it’s because her tummy hurts or she doesn’t like her car seat. Camille has really bad reflux and takes up so much of my time because she’s not sleeping, throws up, and cries a lot. Most of the day for Eli is being told to be quiet or to go into another room to play by himself and I know it’s not fair. He shouldn’t have to be shunned because we had another baby. It’s really hard to try and find the right thing to do here, especially because it is just me. If I could split myself in two so each kid could get my attention, I would.

I don’t want Eli to feel like the ugly stepchild in the family. If anything, compared to Camille, he’s my golden child. He’s so grown up, independent, funny, and kind. He seems to understand the situation and see why his sister needs more attention. This morning during a puking episode I told the baby we’d go get her juice (pedialyte, per doctor suggestion after frequent vomiting to prevent dehydration) and Eli was listening and came back into the room with a whole jug of orange juice. HOW CUTE IS THAT. Just because he may understand a little of why his sister needs more work doesn’t mean he will always understand or always be ok with it. He may be small, but his feelings are huge. He’s a very emotional boy and to see him sad when I tell him I’m busy or to go into another room is really sad.

Although it’s unrealistic to say that I’m not going to “shun” him ever again and give him all my time, I can make some changes. I think I’m going to try and set up one night a week, every week, that is just for me and Eli. We can go to the park, go to a movie, go out to dinner, anything we choose to do. Plus, let’s be honest, this would also be a break for me from the baby! As the baby gets older things will be a lot easier, more chaotic and messier probably, but easier to manage. Until then the only thing I can do is try my best. I just need to remind myself that my children are fed and dressed and I’m doing a good job.

fullsizeoutput_1989

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Tired Mommy Games

Being a mother of one is hard; you’re new to the game and have no idea what to expect. It takes a while to learn to manage your time, you need to get used to getting no sleep, and most women worry about getting their pre-baby body back. Now that I’ve got two kids I’m pretty good at multitasking, I consistently run off three hours of sleep, and I’ve given up on any hope of a tight body. But just because you’ve had a kid already doesn’t mean you’re not going to ride the struggle bus with your second.

Even as a (somewhat) seasoned parent with four-year experience, I still find myself a little lost and loopy with my second child. I haven’t had much practice with a newborn since Eli was born, aside from an occasional overnight babysitting gig for my sister. I’m sure it doesn’t help that Miss Camille is a little refluxy and a little colicky (jk it’s not a little, it’s a lot 😫). Eli is very patient and understanding with the baby; but he is also mostly his usual hyper/needy self, which is the cherry ontop of a no-sleep sundae. Sure, I only slept from 3am-6am but Eli woke up at 7:30 and he wants to eat cereal and play Mario party NOW. Nonetheless, these children are exhausting but I couldn’t love anything more (sounds cliché, but it really is true).

One thing that helps me keep what little sanity I have left during these long nights is the little games and self-competitions I play with myself. They’re not your typical games. Honestly, they’re not really even games at all but when you’re tired and delusional, anything is entertaining.

1. Guess whose shit this is

IMG_0106-2

“Whose poop is this?!” It’s the age-old question, isn’t it? ….no? …It’s not? Well it is in this house!

 

  1. Find the smell.

IMG_0126

What is that?! Is it dirty diapers? Did someone poop their pants? Who farted? Is it pukey baby neckrolls? Is it me? It’s usually me…

 

  1. Dirty Bottle Standoff

IMG_0047

I like to live on the edge. What’s more thrilling than having your baby scream bloody murder at 3am for a warm juicy bottle only for you to find out that there’s no clean bottles so you must power wash one as fast as your chubby little arms can work before your baby hates you forever.

 

  1. hide and go seek wipes.

IMG_0845

I don’t play this game with myself. The wipes play it with me. I swear they hide themselves. My wipes are never around when I need them!! Why would I have put the wipes in the dryer? How does this happen? Was I trying to warm them up?

 

  1. Dirty diaper basketball

IMG_0152-1

Fan favorite. It’s 3am. 4th quarter. 2.5 seconds left on the baby screaming clock. You’re obviously not getting out of bed for a layup, gotta shoot the 3. Bank shot at the buzzer. Everybody cheers (you cheer). You won the game (nobody wins).

  1. Pretend pumper

IMG_0104

The first time Eli walked in on me pumping, he asked what I was doing and I simply said that I was making milk for sister. Since then he has respectfully referred to me as a “people cow”. I find the name quite fitting because there a few things more tedious than sitting and being yanked for 15-20 minutes, so you might as well reward yourself with a secret break. This game can get carried away quite easily. It starts with “let me finish this episode of chopped” and ends with watching the entire chopped junior championship for 4 hours.

 

Whether you have one kid or 10, it’s important to have fun and relax. It’s easy, especially with newborns, to get stressed out and let yourself get overwhelmed. When you’re stressed out, they’re stressed out. When you start to feel yourself getting overwhelmed try and make it into something less horrible, then just have a glass of wine after your screaming baby finally passes out.

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Babycation

As some may know, my family welcomed our new addition, Camille, at the end of August. She came in like a freight train and over two weeks early at that! My husband only had a few weeks off work to be with us before he had to return to California, so we had a little “babycation” where we didn’t do much of anything besides hang out with our kids. I also took a break from Eli’s therapy schedule during this time. Admittedly, mainly because it was hard remembering an appointment after being up all night with a newborn; but also, so he could enjoy every moment he could with both parents together.

Despite my fears, Eli is actually adjusting quite well to being a big brother. Throughout my pregnancy, I kept Eli involved as much as possible. He went to a few doctor visits and an ultrasound; he really enjoyed listening to her heartbeat. I always made sure to reference the baby as much as possible so he could get used to the idea. I’m sure it also helped that my sister and cousin both have had babies in the past six months. Eli has spent quite a bit of time with them and has gotten used to being around little babies.

IMG_9182

He has always had a tough time being told no. Anything that wasn’t an immediate yes was taken as a no and he would run away crying. So you can imagine what I was expecting the first time I told him he had to wait because I was feeding the baby. I thought for sure he would run away screaming and slam a door like he’s done in the past. Instead, what did he do? He said “ok!” and walked back to where ever he needed the help and waited for me to come help him.

It was hard making the adjustment from one child to two. Now that my husband is gone and it’s just me with two kids, I’m a little in over my head. Staying up all night with your first kid was hard enough, but at least you got to take naps during the day when the baby napped. This time around I have a hyperactive 4 year old who I need to take care of bright and early. Last night baby didn’t go to bed until 6:30am but guess who woke up at 8:30? Since becoming a big brother Eli has becoming very understanding and patient, but he’s still loud as hell. I’ve been trying to lay down as much as possible today but between cleaning and fixing bottles and Eli’s ever so persistent “mommy come look!” I didn’t get much sleep in.

Babycation is officially over. Time to dust off my planner and dry erase calendar because Eli starts back up with his therapy next week in addition to his regular school days. I’ve spent too many days floating around being lazy with my kids. It’s time to get everyone back on a routine. We have a couple more months in Michigan before we head back to San Diego so we need to start utilizing all of our remaining time.

IMG_9346

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Soccer

It’s been a busy busy busy summer. It’s been almost 2 months since my last blog. I’ve been spreading myself thin between all Eli’s therapies and appointments, working, and my own doctor appointments. Now that I’m near the end of my third trimester it is time that I dial way back on my workload. Hopefully, for the time being, my blog is back up and running!


Eli just completed his first team sport! Back in June we started soccer and I’m not going to lie I was very nervous. Eli was just starting to get out of his shell with other kids his age and he has a lot of social issues that are still underdeveloped compared to other children his age. I was nervous he was too young; the league was for 4-6 year olds and Eli was the youngest on his team.

The first couple practices were pretty iffy. Eli (for the most part) did pretty well listening to his coach and wasn’t too bad with the other kids. There were, of course, a couple run ins that led to minor tiffs but nothing unusual for this age group. First game came and I couldn’t have been proud to see him running around with the other kids!

img_7788.jpg

Of course there were a lot of areas for improvement but that will come with age and experience. Most of the parents, and the coach, assured me that their kids were exactly the same way their first year. Starting something new, especially a group activity can be overwhelming for any kid. Even children who have played before were quite timid and nervous during the games. Eli picked the game up quite quickly, even score a goal his second or third game!

There were a couple areas of his distractions/tantrums that I know Eli’s autism played a factor. The first being that Eli HAD to use a white ball with a red stripe to practice with. One practice we had a substitute coach who had all black balls and Eli was so upset he wouldn’t participate in practice and we ended up leaving. The first few games we got lucky with the game ball being close to what Eli preferred which made him more willing to participate. Towards the end of the season he got a little more flexible and I think our last game we even used a color ball and he didn’t raise a hair about it! With the pickiness of ball color, came possessiveness over the ball. In the game yes, but more so during practice/free time. He had to have this specific ball and when someone came and tried to take it (in a playful, non challenging way) Eli would freak out until it was back. Definitely need to work on our sharing!

It’s difficult trying to explain to other kids why Eli cries so much. A couple times I heard some of the kids questioning it. “Why does he cry like that?” “He cries like a baby!” Kids are kids, they don’t understand that other kids have difficulties. It’s hard for young kids to understand that not everyone thinks, feels, or acts like they do. I will say however that this group of kids did great with Eli. Several of the kids even tried to cheer Eli up when he was upset. It was awesome to see that. Eli did pretty well interacting with his teammates. Running around chasing his friend Ben and “flirting” with his friend Joy.

We will definitely be putting Eli into more sports when we get back to San Diego. We’d like to do more team sports like soccer and t-ball and also some one on one sports like karate or taekwondo. I feel that sports and all the socialization that comes with it will be great for Eli’s development.

IMG_7772