Thursday, June 30, 2005

Love My New Look!

Just checking in for all my regular readers - No, you're eyes aren't deceiving you. I've changed up the look of my blog for this brighter, bolder new set up. I love it! Much more "me" than the pastel-y pinks and purples. I LOVE corals and reds - even my wedding bouquet 5 1/2 years back was filled with reds, yellows, oranges and corals, reflecting the New England Autumn foliage around us.

Thanks so much to my graphic designer husband for figuring out the coding on my blog and adjusting the look to be more "me". We might fuss with it a bit more as we go, so don't be surprised if you see more changes along the way. It's still me - just better!

See you Sunday!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

She's a Pretender

I don't know what I want to write about today. A Good Sweetie story or a Bad Sweetie story. I've got a real good Bad story in the forefront of my mind. But I don't like how I've been ragging on her so much lately. Suffice it to say, I owe TV's The Super Nanny a great big "thank you!". I think I've only caught that show once, but it was the exact right episode to help my husband and I with our Break Out Queen. That's all. If you want to know the whole story you'll have to visit my husband's site over at "Being a Dad".

Over in "Good Sweetie" Land, she's been VERY imaginative lately in her daily play. It is so fun to watch and even to be a part of. Her latest thing is to assign herself and the people around her different personas. For example, she really likes the new Disney Channel show "The Doodlebops", starring Moe, Rooney and Dee Dee Doodlebop. Sweetie has spent entire days pretending that she is Moe, that I am Dee Dee and that Daddy is Rooney. It's impressive, and funny, to see how far she takes it. She'll address her Daddy as Rooney even in the depths of despair over not wanting to take a nap, take a tubby, or whatever the case may be.

She started this Doodlebop thing, I think, on the long car ride home from the beach last Monday. My brother and his family were up visiting from Texas and Sweetie and I went with them to visit our cousin who lives near the beach. (Side note - my brother was very proud of himself that he was the very first person to take Sweetie to the beach!) Anyway, on that ride home Sweetie decided, out of the blue, that she was Moe, I was "Deenie" (she's not so good at pronouncing Dee Dee), and my brother was Rooney. But what about Sweetie's Auntie and cousin? Who were they? My niece decided she wanted to be Dora, which Sweetie happily agreed to. That left Auntie, whom Sweetie decided was simply "Doodlebop". We also talked about the other members of our family, including my husband. I said "Who's Daddy?" I suggested that he be Caillou, as he does look just a little bit like him. Sweetie said "Yeah! Daddy is Caillou". That night when Daddy walked in the door he was greeted by a tiny person who was very happy that Caillou was home from work.

My mom said that this pretend play was continued for the entire next day. But this time Sweetie was Joe (from Blue's Clues), Nana was Steve (also from BC) and the rest of the members of the busy house all had new names as well. When we picked her up after work, I was still Deenie, while my husband's name had now become Rooney.

I had the next day off from work. I went through many personalities that day, including Deenie, Blue, Steve, Wags The Dog, Greg, and Anthony. She particularly got a kick out of herself when she decided that I was her and she was me.

I read just this week in my new Parenting Magazine that it's around her age when toddler's start to pretend they are other people. It mentioned that this is a major developmental milestone. Gee, and I thought she was just being silly.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mid Week Madness

Just a quick mid week note.... my first refer, and she's linked me TWICE! Lola, another nearly 30-something woman with Spina Bifida, married to a wonderful man, and itching to have a baby. Thanks so much! I'll be keeping track of your story.

I've also been asked to write an article for Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood international, a London-based organization for disabled people looking to become pregnant or who already are parents. I'll write a 1,000 word piece for the October issue of their DPPi Journal. I'll be discussing my experiences as a disabled parent and, of course, mentioning my blog. I've gone international, Baby! Check it out - on-line, in print, on audio and even in Braille!

That's it - it's been a good week so far in my blogging world.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

15 Minutes with Sweetie

Last Wednesday evening was, to put it mildly, a bit dramatic. The problems occurred during a 15- minute span of time when Sweetie and I arrived home before Daddy...

We pulled into the driveway and Sweetie complained that she didn't want her "Walkies" (her safety tether) on, to which I said she could take it off as soon as we got in the house. I successfully got her out of the car and we took the 7 or so steps up to the kitchen door. At this point she proclaimed that she did not want to go into the kitchen. As I leaned over her to get her to turn toward the door, she went and deliberately pushed me back, off the kitchen stoop and into our rained upon driveway! Now, I know she didn't do this with any malice intent to hurt mommy, and I didn't get hurt, just stunned and wet. I know her sole purpose was to keep me away from the door that she didn't want to go into. But she should not be pushing anyone, and especially not Mommy! I immediately set myself and her (as she came down with me - also unhurt) upright, took her under the arms, looking her square in the eyes and yelled "You do NOT push Mommy!" She met this with more demands that she did not want to go in the house. Every time I attempted to open the screen door, she pushed it shut. This went on for about 3 or 4 tries before I took her by the part of the "Walkies" that wraps tight around her body, so I could have better control of where she goes, and I finally got the door opened and her in, screaming the whole way. I quickly got our jackets off and again knelt down to her, took her under the armpits and repeated "You do NOT push Mommy - EVER!" Unfortunately, she has acquired this habit of yelling "Ow! I'm sorry! Ow! I'm sorry!" whenever we make her do things she doesn't want to do - like change her diaper, for example. We're not hurting her, it's just something she's picked up as a thing to say. So, of course, she was yelling this as I'm yelling at her, which made me think that the neighbors could probably hear all this and would think I'm beating her or something. Great.

I had to go upstairs to change - my pants were wet from the rain and the shock of the whole thing had made me have a small accident. Such is the life of me as a woman with Spina Bifida - a woman with SB who has delivered a baby, no less. So I set her up in the living room with her Magna Doodle and I headed upstairs to change. No sooner did I have both my shoes off and my pajama bottoms half-way on then I heard my daughter crying - no, screaming - downstairs. I was able to quickly put on one of my shoes, but the other one didn't go so easily over the extra lift I have on the bottom of that brace. So I grabbed my moccasin slipper (for the wrong foot, of course) and yanked it over my brace and onto my foot. Then I hobbled as fast as I could across the house and down the stairs to find out what Sweetie had done to herself.

So, I got downstairs and called for Sweetie, only to be met with silence broken by her tiny voice telling me "I'm fine". I asked her over and over "What happened? Why were you crying" and she would only tell me "I'm fine". There was no evidence of injury or upset furniture and she really had stopped crying. I still don't know what happened but she, evidently, was fine. I, on the other hand, had had yet another small accident because of the scary thoughts running through my mind of what had happened to my Sweetie while I was away. I had to change again - but I wasn't about to leave her. I was able to find some clean p.j. bottoms in the laundry, but no underwear. I decided that my husband would be home soon enough and he could get me the underwear. Sweetie followed me to the bathroom wear I changed, all the while telling me, quite forcefully, "I want yogurt!"

By the time I had my new p.j. bottoms on and we had made our way to the kitchen to get the much desired yogurt, my husband was finally walking in the door. I told him what the last 15 minutes had been like for Sweetie and I. He also told her "we don't push Mommy" to which she answered "okay". But he wasn't there to witness any of this and I didn't feel he told her as forcefully as he should have. I said how I wanted to punish her over it. He said she doesn't understand yet and she's still too young. I don't know about that but I figured, for now, she had at least been told. We'll see if it ever happens again.

The rest of the evening went well enough. I left the 2 of them to play together while I did some work on the computer. I cooled down and Sweetie's demands turned into giggles and songs. Things have been fine since.

I see her toddler defiance starting to show more and more these days. I find it embarrassing when A) I have to yell at her in public to stop doing one thing or another, and, B) she looks me right in the eye then goes about her own plan anyway. I realize that all parents go through this. I just don't want to see my Sweetie turn "bad". For the most part, though, she still is the sweet, well-behaved child she's always been. And even when she's "bad", all she has to do is flash her adorable smile or do something really cute and she's my darling Sweetie all over again. All kids are cute on purpose for this very reason, aren't they? Yeah, I thought so.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Happy (early) Father's Day

My husband gave Sweetie her bath the other night so that I could get some work done on the computer. This was his first bathtime with her and he did a good enough job, but I still felt compelled to help him out as best I could. I helped him set the water temperature just right, told him what washclothes to use for what parts of her body, encouraged him to use fresh running water to rinse her hair (instead of scooping up the bathwater into the rinsing cup), instructed him how to rinse her hair so that the least amount of water ran into her face - and if that happened, how to quickly fix that traumatic event as quickly as possible. And, once the bath was over, she escaped from him, running naked through our halls. Like I said - he did a pretty good job - but I can do it so much better. :)

I write a lot about how my husband is always "absent"; off to the far reaches of our home working on repair projects and/or yardwork or the like. I realized from the readers' point of view that it seems like he rarely is around to help me out or simply take part in my or our daughter's life. That simply is not true. In order to help me get through my day, making sure that Sweetie is well attended and taken care of, my husband does things for and with the two of us without even thinking about it - things that other men would balk at having to do.

He and I always go grocery shopping together - that, or he goes by himself. I am not able to push the heavy carriage around and I am certainly unable to go on such an "adventure" with just my daughter and myself. And then he transfers all the bags into the house and does most, if not all of the putting away. But he doesn't mind. In fact, I know that he prefers to be so involved in the food shopping because he does all the cooking in our house. That's right, ladies, I married a man who can cook! Yes, he is a vegetarian and that did not thrill me at first, but I have since learned to not only like but also really love many vegetarian recipes. He has even done what he could to find "regular" recipes and experiment with them to make them both vegetarian and as appealing to me as possible. He once even made me a completely vegetarian beef stew that was absolutely delicious!

The three of us often do all our shopping together, actually. Luckily, I married a man who doesn't mind shopping and I myself am not a huge fan of the activity. So together it works out perfectly. We always go with a purpose, find what we need and get out. Done. And, of course, he's right there to lug around the packages we buy and take care of Sweetie's squirminess.

My husband has, since birth, put Sweetie to bed every night. If she cries in the night or when she wakes in the morning, he's the one to go get her. Ever since she could talk she's been calling for Daddy to come get her out of her crib in the morning. They've developed a special routine, and formed a very loving bond simply from the time they share together at night and in the morning. If I ever do go to get her from her crib she is often upset to see me standing at her door instead of Daddy. I have Monday's off from work, so when I go to get her on those mornings I always have to explain to her that it's Mommy Day and quickly describe all the fun things we'll do so that she doesn't freak out in hysterics that her beloved Daddy isn't around.

Our daughter is a COMPLETE Daddy's Girl. She has been known to literally push me aside so that she can get to her Daddy first when we both pick her up after work. She had thrown herself down in her crib at the very sight of me because it is Daddy that she wants to retrieve her. And she has declared her love over and over for Daddy but, when asked if she loves Mommy, she falls silent or shakes her head. Does she truly not love me? No. I know this. We've definitely had our fair share of cuddly, loving times as well. But Daddy is the silly one. Daddy is the funny one. Daddy will play and romp on the floor with her, chasing her around and around the house. Mommy is the one she's around the most - the one who feeds, bathes, comforts, and disciplines her. Daddy can and has done many of these things too, but mostly Daddy is pure fun. Who couldn't love that so much?

I could think of a ton of other seemingly small things my husband does for me and/or Sweetie every single day. He helps me get her out of the tub when it's the last thing in the world she wants to do. He helps to "capture" and entertain her so that I can change her diaper. He buckles her into her car seat and helps her out, every trip. He gets things that I need without a grumble because he knows it's so much easier for him to quickly go upstairs or into the other room than it is for me. And all the work he's doing on our house is for all of us - improvements that will make our home more enjoyable and easier for me to manage. He loves to build, to construct, to create and he's very good at what he does. He wants the best for his family and he works hard to see that we get it. He's a wonderful husband and father and Sweetie and I think the world of him and love him very much.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Look Ma, No Hands

The impending completion of Sweetie's "pretty room" has set us all off schedule again today - no nap, and lots of room-decor shopping during "down time" (paint-drying time). Now we're finally back home. I've just put in her favorite movie, "Grease", so that should buy me some time to do a little writing now. (Lest you think I'm crazy for allowing a 2 1/2 year old to watch "Grease", she only likes it for its songs, like "Tubby More, Tubby More" and others).

I thought I'd write today about an incident that happened just this past Friday night. It's funny now, but at the time it was quite frustrating. Let me explain.

My husband and I picked up our daughter at my parents' house after work on Friday. She was her usual happy, post-nap-hyper self and was very excited to see us. We hung out for a few minutes and then set out for home. My husband noticed that as soon as he put Sweetie in her carseat she quickly put both her hands down by her side. She kept them there the whole ride home, not even taking them out to remove her shoes and socks, as is her usual car ride activity of choice. When we got home, she expressed her wish to stay in the car instead of go inside and she wouldn't reach for her daddy, as she usually does, when he went to unbuckle her from her seat. He ultimately carried her, kicking and crying, into the house and set her down on the kitchen floor. The only thing we could suggest to her to stop her screams were some cut up strawberries. When daddy went to offer her one as he cut the berries up, Sweetie took it from him - using her mouth only, just like a birdie. And this was the way it went for the entire evening.

I had to feed her the strawberries, as she would not unclasp her hands from behind her back to help herself. She even pointed to which particular slices she wanted - using her nose! After the berries, she wanted some veggies. Those I had to feed to her as we both sat on the kitchen floor because she would not use her hands to help herself stand up to go to her highchair. This continued on for the night. She climbed onto the sofa and chairs using the backs of her hands, and she motioned to daddy that she wanted "up" by going up on her tippy toes and thrusting her nose as high up into the air as it would go. I was able to get her to take a tubby - that worked out well enough. But she never likes to get out of the tub, so this time, after I had drained all the water and she was still in there, she got herself lying down on her belly, then wouldn't use her hands to right herself back up again!

For most of this time my husband was, you guessed it, working upstairs in the "pretty room". Meanwhile, I'm frustrated with Sweetie and yelling at her sometimes to just use her hands. She's frustrated with me and crying, determined not to use her hands. She told me she had an owie, but wouldn't let me see anything. She told me she was messy and needed to wipe her hands, which I did - still didn't help. Like I said, her daddy certainly heard all the commotion going on downstairs, but also knew how important it is, to all of us, that he finish the room as soon as he can. So he stayed where he was and Sweetie and I stayed downstairs to deal with each other, eventually coming to an unspoken agreement; she would use her one hand only and chill out and I would accept that she was a one-handed girl for the time being and help her to accomplish certain tasks as such.

By the very end of the evening, just before her bedtime, she was finally using both hands. I think she eventually just forgot about the whole thing.

Looking back, my husband and I can laugh at the situation and are even impressed with her sticktoitiveness and imagination. But, let me tell ya, in the moment it was no fun at all for me to have a no-handed child. I've got enough challenges on my own, thank you very much. It makes me so much more thankful of the healthy child we have and very appreciative of how well she usually behaves for us.