Milestone Concerns

Anxiety is not my friend, never has been. Nor is sitting at home with Felix day after day being totally immersed in his fussiness while Jarrod works to support our family. I see other babies in my birth month group on Facebook doing all the typical milestones for Felixโ€™s age either on time or ahead, smiling, giggling, going out and doing fun things with their families. I look at Felix… and heโ€™s behind. Not behind by far, but enough that I tend to dwell on it. And his fussiness generally keeps us home, making me feel trapped. Iโ€™ve spent many hours (most days) trying to keep him appeased. Usually with little success, until this past week. This past week I decided two things.

First of all, rather than be frustrated and resisting the reality of Felixโ€™s temperament, I decided to accept and embrace it. This is who he is and it wonโ€™t be changed. Heโ€™s my buddy anyway, no matter what. So Iโ€™m doing my best to go with the flow.

Second, rather than dwell on all my anxiety over his milestones, I downloaded an app on my phone called BabySparks. Iโ€™ve been using it to do developmental activities with Felix every day. Iโ€™m putting my worries to work by working with him to develop the skills in which he is behind. Just in the last five or six days Iโ€™ve already begun to see improvements. Which is keeping him active and happy with the benefit of also easing some of my fears.

Tummy time, cuddles, a popsicle, and a Bumbo seat!

I never really thought about milestones or any such thing with my older boys when they were babies. Iโ€™m not sure why Iโ€™m so worried about it now. Back then I just went with what they could do at the time and we were all happy. They all reached their milestones when they were ready and are all perfectly fine teenagers now. I think maybe all the online comparisons are getting to me, not sure. But Iโ€™m tired of being worried. In a few months it will be a distant memory and Felix will be just where heโ€™s supposed to be, after reaching those milestones on his own terms, when HE is ready.

As for some of the fussiness and tummy pains Felix still has lingering on, we have been referred to a specialist by his doctor. He sees the specialist in a couple weeks. Iโ€™m not terribly worried that something is wrong, but there are still things Iโ€™d like answers for. And hopefully it will makes Felixโ€™s life a little easier to have those answers and potential solutions.

But as for this and everything else, weโ€™re just taking things one day at a time.

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10 Years of Lessons

10 years has passed.

On June 14th, 2009, my boyfriend Jason died. I was making breakfast for my kiddos, and I heard thumping in the hall. I went around the corner to see him collapse and die. A massive heart attack at age 34. Far too young. I was 28, and my boys were very young. We all saw it happen.

I crumbled. I truly believed at that point in time that he was the love of my life. And in the months and years following, I always believed that my one and only chance at true love died with him. Not only that, but I didnโ€™t trust life anymore. I was terrified of losing my kids and others I held dear. A burning anxiety plagued me for years.

I decided that to honor Jasonโ€™s memory, and to be the best mom for my boys, I needed to get my shit together. I attended psychotherapy, took meds, and eventually even worked up to working a full time job again. It took years, but I was able to mend myself and become a whole person again.

Once I was finally happy with my station in life and my capabilities to provide for my family, I met the TRUE love of my life, Jarrod. Heโ€™s the only one to ever make me feel the way I do.

Jason was important to me. He taught me a lot in life, and taught me volumes in death. And after 10 years I can finally say I understand the purpose of everything and how it fits for me. The whole experience made me love deeper, cherish stronger, and appreciate so very much more, the people and experiences I have now. I will be forever grateful for those lessons. After all this time I feel like Iโ€™ve finally turned the page.

School Is Out

Itโ€™s officially summer for the kiddos!

Andy just finished his junior year in high school. Heโ€™s been messing around so much that he is not on track for graduation with his class, so he starts credit recovery with the start of his senior year. He can either go to the alternative high school to finish up, or he can take extra online classes in addition to his full classload. But he must pass everything. Heโ€™s fully capable of passing, even with exceptional grades. Heโ€™s just not willing to put in the work. Iโ€™ve been having conversations with him about it quite a bit, and Iโ€™m hoping at least some of it is sinking in. Also, Iโ€™m requiring him to get a job this summer. Heโ€™s 17, and itโ€™s time for him to start preparing for adulthood. I canโ€™t believe I have a baby who is nearly an adult!

Evan spent most of his school year at Orchard Place, where he refused to do much school work at all. When he came home he did very, very well for about a month, until I expressed how proud I was of him. Then he stopped doing work and eventually got expelled for the remainder of the year with the option of finishing online. He didnโ€™t take that option, so he will now be required to repeat his freshman year. Itโ€™s really too bad because he proved heโ€™s capable of getting As and Bs. He just refuses to do it, for whatever reason. It may be a part of his mental illness. Or it may just be defiant adolescence. Or both. But I sure hope he can pull himself out of it.

Cory finished his 7th grade year! He was trailing behind on a couple of classes until the day before the last day. He and I sat down and I told him (for the millionth time) that he is nearly 14, not 6, and he needs to start being responsible for himself. And that the only one heโ€™s hurting by not doing his work is himself, and he was about to have to repeat 7th grade. He pouted for over an hour, then got some work done that night. The next and final day at school he was able to find the motivation to get caught up.

Zoey, Autumn and Willow all did much better than the boys, as they donโ€™t avoid their schoolwork, and are all moving onto the next grade.

The boys definitely had a lot of struggles with school this year, but we made it through. Hereโ€™s hoping next year isnโ€™t quite the struggle for them… and congrats to the girls for doing well!

Felix is 4 Months Old!

Felix is 4 months old today! Heโ€™s still a big fan of baths. He loves being walked around outside and looking at the trees around dusk. He feels most comfortable being held by daddy, or in the wrap with mommy. He’s still breastfeeding with formula supplements, but shows a strong preference for the breast now. Also, he shares a bed with us most of the time still, but weโ€™re slowly transitioning him to his basinet, at least for part of the night.

He doesnโ€™t smile much and doesnโ€™t have too much interest in toys yet. We were a bit concerned about his motor and social development, and meeting milestones, but his doctor said he wasnโ€™t concerned just yet. Babies all develop and do things on their own time, not by dates on a calendar.

Heโ€™s still dealing with a little colic, but I think itโ€™s mostly because he doesnโ€™t nap much during the day. Only 15-20 minute naps rather than 60-90 minute naps. By the evening heโ€™s way too overtired and canโ€™t settle in, so he cries. Itโ€™s not every night anymore, but probly about 1/2 the time. Heโ€™s also had 3 colds now, with awful congestion. So all the colic, gas and congestion for most of his life could be contributing to him not being a super smiley baby.

Life has to get better from here, right?

Fussy Baby Life

As of next week it will have been four months. Four months since Jarrod and I have had even a moment alone together. Four months since weโ€™ve been able to go out and forget our worries for an hour or two. Four months since we have been able to relax and be husband and wife, best friends, and lovers alone. Four months since one or the other of us wasnโ€™t holding a baby in our arms while trying to go about daily life.

Felix does not allow us to put him down. If we do, he cries. And cries. And cries. We have toys for him. A swing. A bouncy seat. An exersaucer. Play mats. The most time we get out of any of those is about 5 minutes. Then heโ€™s crying again.

Many of our friends and family talked about how excited they were for Felix to be earthside so they could meet him and play with him. Even closer family members…. and here we are four months later and we have not had even one person around enough at all enough for Felix to get to know them. We donโ€™t dare hire a babysitter because Felix would cry non-stop and we are worried about him getting abused or neglected by someone who has less patience for his cries and neediness. Itโ€™s just Jarrod and me.

As for me, it has currently been a year since I was well and whole and able to do things for myself and my family. Last May I was diagnosed with a severe post-breast reduction infection and put on medications that made me very sick. I was on them until November, with 2 surgical cleanings and frequent trips to doctors and having nurses in my home during that time. Once that cleared I was in my 3rd trimester and quite uncomfortably pregnant. And then Felix was born and heโ€™s basically been tethered to me ever since.

Jarrod is admirably working his ass off to support us, his family. And I canโ€™t help but be a little resentful sometimes that he gets to get away most days and get a break from being home. I am at home, day after day, with Felix and the other kids. I try to make supper and keep up with at least some housework. But most of my time is spent with a crying baby in my ear so I canโ€™t even carry on a conversation. He wonโ€™t take naps while playing down in his basinet. He will in a wrap on me sometimes. But generally not for more than 20 minutes at a time. I have no visitors because we canโ€™t even talk. No going anywhere to visit. No grocery shopping. I canโ€™t make supper. The older kids typically fend for themselves for meals.

Then Jarrod will be home after weโ€™re all in bed and Iโ€™ll do my best to make sure he isnโ€™t woke up when Felix gets up 4x a night to eat (breastfed) and stays awake for hours in the middle of the night. He would gladly get up with Felix, but I know he needs rest so he can drive back and forth to work, and also work.

By the time he gets up, I generally barely have time to take a shower, wash bottles, and do a couple things around the house before he has to get ready and leave again and the whole cycle starts over.

We previously thought his issues were colic, but I no longer think that has anything to do with it.

When Jarrod has a day off, Felix doesnโ€™t get nearly as fussy usually. Probably because the frustration isnโ€™t such an issue on those days, because we can pass him back and forth. It is also on those days that some housework can get done, and we can go together and get groceries, and other necessities from the stores, and occasionally go out to eat. But always with Felix with us.

And to go along with it all, Felix is behind on many developmental milestones. He doesnโ€™t smile much at all, and NEVER yet a big, open-mouthed smile. Heโ€™s giggled once or twice staring off into space. He wonโ€™t often look at anyoneโ€™s face. He doesnโ€™t use his hands. Heโ€™s not remotely interested in toys, he wonโ€™t bat or grab at anything. So on top of everything else, Iโ€™m also worried about his development. I think in part, itโ€™s that heโ€™s generally unhappy and has spent so much of his life either in pain (colic and gas) or sick with a virus of some sort.

He does have moments of happiness. He likes baths. Generally for an hour or two in the morning heโ€™s happy. When we leave the house and heโ€™s already in a good mood he does well for a little bit and then just sleeps the rest of the time. He likes being carried around outside and looking at the trees. And he will have a few minutes at a time throughout the day of happiness. Occasionally (and I mean like once every 2-3 weeks) he will have an entire happy day. Those are absolute blessings!

I know this all sounds like one big complaint. Itโ€™s certainly a vent, but not necessarily a complaint. I love Felix with all my heart, and so does Jarrod. We would never in a million years regret having him. Heโ€™s a blessing. But this extremely needy crying stage cannot pass soon enough!

As a side note here: I acknowledge that I have postpartum depression. I am seeking therapy. Meds make me sleep and since Iโ€™m 100% responsible for the household most of the time, itโ€™s not possible to live with that side effect. Itโ€™s hard to feel better, even with therapy, when I never get a break from an extremely needy baby. All I can do is take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, until this phase passes and we can move on with life.

my life as a mom… again….

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