Monday, July 22, 2013

Could she be too sweet?

I have the sweetest girl in the world.  That's not in relation to anything in particular, it just happens to be true.  She has been very affectionate lately and that may be because I get to spend so much more time with her or it's just her emerging personality; I'm not really sure why and I don't really care because it's the best thing in
the world.  I get hugs and kisses and smiles and it just makes my whole world better.  I'm really trying not to think about going back to work yet because I absolutely love waking up to her face.  We have this little game that we play when I walk into her room when she wakes up.  She usually smiles at me, then lays back down and rolls over not wanting to be picked up yet.  I stand next to her crib with my back to her and ask, "Where's Tera?" and she giggles and wraps her arms around my waist and waits for me to turn around to see her.  And then she signs "more" and we repeat the whole silly process until I finally just pick her up and I get a hug and a kiss.

She likes to snuggle with my arm while we're in the car and I reach back to play with her.  When I take her back to her room after a bath while she's all wrapped up in her towel she wraps her arms around my neck and doesn't want me to put her down.

And when she finally met her cousins this weekend and she saw her aunt and uncle walking up the driveway with their car seats she literally shrieked in excitement.  She absolutely loves "her babies" and I was so curious to see how she would react to meeting them in person.  I have to say for a two year old who's been the center of attention her whole life so far, she did pretty well.  She really just wanted to hug and kiss them and touch them and unfortunately the combination of their fragility and her toddler clumsiness made that difficult.  I did let her kiss their feet (the safest thing) and she just wanted to keep kissing them.  The hard part was when she wanted to be picked up by AC (Aunt Cassie) who can't actually pick her up due to the limitations following a c-section and because she was holding one of her cousins.  She just doesn't understand yet that they're so little.  We just have to be cognizant of the fact that it will take her a while to understand the whole situation and make sure if she starts to act out that I focus on her as much as possible when the babies are around.

In the meantime I'm just going to enjoy my own daughter's sweetness and every second of every hug and every kiss.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The ups and downs of being a parent

I'm sure I've said or alluded to this before, but being a parent has been the most difficult and most rewarding thing I've ever done.  And it's not been difficult for the typical reasons of not getting as much sleep, less time to get things done, or a million other things people warn you about.  I mean those things are hard to get used to, but the hardest thing has been when I can't make things better for Tera.  Whether it's trying to understand how difficult it must be for her to sit still in a doctor's office and wait patiently, or how there is a chance that when she fights me every second of doing her hair most days it's because it's a sensory issue instead of her just being stubborn (although until she can talk I won't know for sure that she's not just being stubborn), or how hot her little feet must get when she has all that equipment on them, or how it's just hard for her to sit still ever because of her low muscle tone.

But believe it or not, those are the easier things for me to handle.  The truly hard part is having to watch her be sick over and over and over again.  And having to get her to take so many medications (I can count at least four daily and that's when she's healthy).  And having to hold her down so that they can get an IV or a catheter in while she screams and uses every ounce of energy and muscle in her little body to fight it.  And mostly just not being able to ease her discomfort and pain when she's sick.

And then there is the rewarding part.  Being so proud I can barely stand it when she accomplishes something for the first time like walking.  Taking her up in front of a whole crowd full of people at the Buddy Baseball
game to help her hit the ball and watch her being cheered on by everyone there.  Seeing her truly enjoy something and watching her eyes light up while she shrieks with happiness and excitement.  And most recently, her growing empathy. She doesn't like to see people or kids upset and many times will go and give them a hug when she feels something is wrong.  Last week we had a few days of difficult moments between medications and trying to get her ready and more than once she simply looked at me while I was holding her, took my face in her hands, and gave me a kiss.  I swear I could not have loved that kid any more if I tried.  Today I watched her walk around a room with her grandparents, aunt and uncle, and Tom and I and just give each of us a hug and then move to the next person.  And then she repeated the whole thing several times.  We took her to the spray park this afternoon and for no reason she went up to at least three kids she didn't know and just gave them a hug ( and this was all after having only napped for about a half hour).

Parenthood means different things to different people.  Some think it's easy, some say it's exhausting, some say it's just something you do.  Nobody is right or wrong on their perspective.  I think it depends on your kid(s), your outlook, and your situation.  I don't think you need a kid to be happy and I don't think everyone that has one is happy.

This past Friday brought the arrival of my twin nieces; which means my sister and brother-in-law have entered into a whole new part of their lives.  I know they will be amazing parents; they already have been and the girls are only three days old.  But they will have their challenges too and some will be the same as ours and some will be different.  Some will be easier and some will be harder, but they will have many more joys along the way.  One of my biggest pet peeves about being a parent is when other parents tell you all the worst things that you'll have to go through.  Many people told us we'd never sleep again and Tera was one of the easiest infants I've ever known and slept through the night at seven weeks.  Nobody told me my kid was going to have Down Syndrome and she'd be sick so much of the time.  They also never told me that she would have a heart of gold and the face of perfection.

I'm so excited for my sister and brother-in-law and am already head over heels in love with those two little girls.  I'm excited for them and their two new beauties and I'm excited for me because being a mom is something that we can share also.  And I will be there for them during all those good and bad times just like they have been for us.  But really I'm mostly excited because we have two sweet, snuggly, soft little babies to hold and smother in kisses.  And soon Tera can meet these babies we've been telling her about for the past nine months and I can revel in watching her love them as much as I know she will.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When does the fun start?

Oh where to begin.  In the past few weeks I've been lamenting how much of our summer is full of appointments.  Doctors, specialists, and therapies all have their place on our calendar and it was really beginning to bother me.  I kept reading about all these fun things other people were doing like interesting day trips, spontaneous outings, trips to the pool, going to the movies on rainy days, etc.  Some of those times I've had to set aside several hours between drive time, wait time, and actual visit time to a specialist.  Or had a therapy session scheduled for the only time that week that our schedule and the therapist's schedule allow.  Or had to work around a nap time right in the middle of the day.  Or, like last weekend, had to spend several hours of the holiday weekend in ER for what ended up being a bladder infection that was causing a dangerously high fever in Tera.

The summer is really the easiest time for me to schedule many of these appointments because most pediatric specialists have limited availability and so the summer makes it easier to get in during the day when I don't have to take off of work.  We've either already had or have scheduled appointments with the pulmonologist, ENT, cardiologist, gastroenterologist, eye doctor, and pediatrician.  That doesn't include the unplanned visit to the pediatrician this week as a follow up to her ER visit or the testing we're going to have to get her in for when she's done with her medicine to see if she has kidney reflux.  It also doesn't include all the appointments I have to make for myself that I try and do during the summer because it's easier (eye doctor, dentist, ongoing chiropractor...)  Oh yeah, and Tom has to get his wisdom teeth pulled next month.

So I was thinking about and mad about of this for a while.  Then last weekend we finally got a chance to do some of the things we've been wanting to do.  Tera's been able to play in her sand box, we had a great time on the 4th July at our friend's house and she got to play in the pool with her buddy, we took her to Lambs Farm, and we went to a restaurant on a beach and she got to play in the sand and the lake.  Even Saturday morning before she got really sick we were able to go to a pet parade at our town's holiday fest.  Sunday we tried to salvage what was left of the weekend and went on a little shopping trip for some retail therapy that mostly involved buying stuff for the girl who'd had to endure so much.  We ended the weekend setting up her pool and having her aunt and uncle come over (unfortunately the pool was a little cold and she ended up spiking a fever again and throwing up, but she still ended up having a great time being silly with her aunt and uncle).  And then today WE got to go to the pool with some friends and we got to have more fun.

I haven't felt as bad since last weekend.  At least about that.