Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Parenting the Child I Have

I found this quote recently and loved it.

"Parent the child you actually HAVE. Not the one you "think" you have, the one you 'wish' you had, or the one OTHER people think you should have."

It reminds me of this quote from Joan Ryan, which I found here.

"Motherhood is about raising the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding he's exactly the person he's supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be."

Watching Raccoon play in the park tonight, I just can't get over how much like a big boy he looks, and how much he's changed this year. Each year I've looked forward to watching him grow, but I think the changes between three and four are going to be the most surprising yet. He's overcome so many of his fears, such as loud noises. He can even use the hand dryer in public bathrooms now without freaking out and he asked to leave a crowded area today for a more quiet one. Despite the bad moments (when will he sleep?!), I am full of hope for our future. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Words I Needed to Hear

Raccoon slept for four hours this afternoon. We have had a rough two weeks with his sleeping, more than our usual state of sleeplessness. So I should have been sleeping as well, but I woke up after an hour or so and couldn't get back to sleep. I am not a worrier in general, but I was feeling particularly anxious about some family things. I started to blog surf to get my mind off things, aimlessly wandering around from post to post. I finally figured out that I was looking for good news somewhere to cheer me up. Ironically, most of the posts I read were about waiting and offered no concrete conclusion one way or the other.

Raccoon woke up and I continued to feel on edge. I set him up with his afternap snack and cartoon and began to do dishes. Suddenly it came to me - what I really wanted was for someone to tell me that it's all going to be okay. My dad's large medical/financial need, this pregnancy, my ability to cope as a mother of two, the future of my children, and just life in general.

As soon as I was done the dishes, I called my dad since he was supposed to receive news today, one way or the other. Much to my surprise, he said that someone at his church had stepped in and provided the money he needed to go ahead with the surgery. I'd expected A or B, but this was a wonderful C. And I felt a quiet reassurance in my soul that no matter what comes, I am not forgotten. The Lord holds me in His hand.

Monday, October 29, 2012

So Much More Real

The whole pregnancy with Raccoon, it seemed so unreal to me that I would actually be heading home with a baby at the end. This time around, as I feel her kicking, it all just feels so much more real. Before I couldn't really imagine what having a newborn was like since I'd only ever had toddlers. I wondered what it would be like to be there from the beginning. Now that Raccoon is three, I have ample experience to imagine clearly what bringing this baby home will be like. Three more months and we'll have another little one. I wonder who she'll look like, what we're going to name her (!!!), and how she'll change our family.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sensory Issues - What?!

Up until he was about a year and a half old, Raccoon loved to be barefoot, take baths, get his hands dirty, etc. One day it was like someone flipped a switch, and all of a sudden I had a different son. Since then, getting him to take anything off once it's put on has been a herculean struggle. The only way he'll change his clothes is if he accidentally gets wet. Strategic water play anyone? Let's practice pouring! Come help me wash the dishes! ;) He loved to paint, then he wouldn't do it for months on end because it got on his hands and didn't turn out the way he wanted. (Besides sensory issues, we have a huge struggle with perfectionism too, but that is a post for another day.) Taking a bath, brushing his teeth, changing his clothes, washing his face, going new places, having family get-togethers, and many things more are - sometimes - just not worth the meltdowns.

Now I see the winds of change blowing again. It started a few days ago with Raccoon taking off his socks and going barefoot. I even took a picture of his feet because I've barely seen them in more than a year. If you had asked me last week what the odds were of Raccoon taking all his clothes off voluntarily and running around the living room naked, I would have told you there weren't any odds because it was not only unlikely (perhaps 1 in a million) but impossible.

Yet here I sit, writing this post in complete amazement because that is just what happened yesterday afternoon. Unless you're a sensory parent, you may think this is no big deal (don't toddlers run around naked all the time?), but for us, this is HUGE. It is not necessarily a behavior I will endorse long-term, but for a few minutes I see him enjoying a rare freedom from anxiety and fear. This gives me hope that Raccoon will not always be limited by his sensitivity to everything in the world around him.

p.s. I changed the title of the post from the original one.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Foody Friday

"What should we have for lunch?" I ask out loud as if my son is going to suddenly suggest a well-balanced meal, full of new and healthy foods. Because really, the question is not so much what can I make, but what will he eat? It is an unsolvable mystery to both of us, why some things go down and others do not. Often the same thing will have two opposite responses on two different days.

Is my son eating enough? This question haunts me all day long as I keep a mental list of what he's swallowed and how much. My husband spent the day with Raccoon recently since I had to do errands. When I got home, he commented, "Raccoon doesn't eat much, does he?" Other days that they've spent less time together, my husband has had pretty good luck getting him to eat, but not that day, and for the first time he saw what I struggle with almost every day. My husband commented that he'd made hamburgers for lunch, but after a bite or two, Raccoon found a piece of onion in his and wouldn't eat anymore. I was impressed that Raccoon had tried them at all.

His pediatrician isn't worried because his weight is okay on her chart, but he's tall for his age, so when I figure out his body mass index (BMI) he's only at the 3rd percentile. Anything less than the fifth percentile for BMI is considered underweight. If he were two cm shorter and the same weight, then he'd be at the 12th percentile. Or if he were the same height and two pounds heavier, he'd be at the 19th percentile. So I'm not overly worried, but I do keep a close eye on all things food in our home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


This may seem odd, but up until recently these were my three least favorite verses in the Bible:

Psalm 127:2 "...He gives His beloved sleep." Admittedly, it doesn't say how much sleep or when, but when I first read this a few months ago, in light of almost three years of extreme sleeplessness, my first thought (from the enemy I'm sure) was that God must hate me. Really feeling and trusting in God's love has often been a struggle for me. I have these amazing moments of faith, but I'm also quick to despair. My newest prayer when I lie down to sleep is that I will feel loved and rested, no matter how much sleep I get. I am coming to accept the truth of this verse even if it looks differently than I expect or would like.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." A show of hands please from those who wish that Paul had said "most" instead of "all."

But the one I struggled with the most up until today is Romans 5:5, "Now hope does not disappoint..." When I first took this verse to heart, I was hoping for a miracle, that God would restore to me the two foster daughters whom I'd lost. But He didn't, and I was bitterly disappointed and confused. And it is not only me who struggles with hope and disappointment in motherhood, but many going through infertility, foster care, or adoption. So how can this be true, that hope does not disappoint?

The amplified translation makes things a bit clearer to me. If you can believe it, I just looked up Romans 5:2-5 now, unsatisfied with only writing this post up until the last paragraph. "Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah. The hope of eternal salvation... that makes more sense. I can, and do, hope for a better eternity, even while I am learning to see "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adoption Stories

Reading all the stories of these families who are adopting, I can't help but tear up. I posted before about some children from Bulgaria, and three of them (Carson, Theodore, and Thad) will hopefully be going home with two of these families who are fundraising. As Adeye says, not everyone is called to adopt, but we can all help by praying, contributing financially, or spreading awareness.

It just so happens that Raccoon and I are going to an orphanage tomorrow, which I mentioned to him in passing this morning (I used to work there so he's been before). Later on, he found some paper money and told his stuffed friends, "You can't have any money, it's for the kids in the orphanage. They are poor and don't have any clothes or food or toys." I wish that the paper money was real and we could give it away. I still wonder if adoption is in our future, but for now, all I can do is pray for each of these families that they will be together soon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

14 Years Ago

...October 22 was a Thursday and I told a young man that yes, I would go out with him. We got married in June several years later, but our October day has always been special to me. Perhaps because of this, November is typically the "State of the Union" month for our relationship and we informally talk about how we are doing, where we are headed, and what needs to be improved or changed. My husband does not often remember dates - big or small - so I'm not expecting anything from him today. Perhaps Raccoon and I will do something special because I like to celebrate these kind of things.

Happy 22nd, my love.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 Year Old Milestones

As I've mentioned before, I like to check up on Raccoon's development every now and then using PBS' Child Development Tracker.

Under 3 year olds "Creative Arts," one of the items is:
*Chooses colors and media that match his or her mood.

Raccoon predominantly likes to color in black, although he's branched out to blue and green lately as well. He likes strong colors (that certainly matches his personality!), becoming easily frustrated with yellow because it doesn't show up as clearly.

Not sure about:

* Can describe what is pleasing about his or her own art (e.g., asks you to hang his or her art on the wall because it is a "happy" painting).

*Writing and Letter Recognition (Raccoon scribbles and says it's so and so's "name" but other than that has completely NO interest. Not sure this will be happening this year!)

Areas of strength
*Imaginative play (doesn't need any props at all, retelling/acting out stories)

Work on:
*The average child has the capacity to acquire four to six words per day, given access to new words in his or her daily experiences. OH MY!

*Perception of speech sounds that aren't used in native language continues to decrease. Exposure to a second or a third language helps children to continue to perceive a wider range of speech sounds, making learning a second language easier.

*What adults can do to nurture sound awareness in children of this age: expose them frequently to nursery rhymes, songs and poems that contain rhyming words; explicitly label rhyming words as "rhymes" for the child; point out words that begin with the same sound; and play games that encourage children to identify rhyming words and words that begin with the same sound.

To Be Continued.... Mathematics

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So Much

We are recovering from all of Raccoon's birthday fun last week. Three years old! There is so much that I want to say about this milestone and how I feel that I can't seem to write anything at all. I didn't plan anything for this year, so his maternal grandmother threw him a suprise party. It was fun but it's taken us three days to get over the effects of all the junk food (it interrupts his sleeping, digestion, and makes him cranky).

On the other hand, Baby Robin was quiet over the weekend but back to her normal activity today. We thought we had two names all picked out for her, variations on our mother's names, but my husband can't remember the name I picked. I can tell because he comes home, puts his hand on my belly, and says, "How's.... the baby?" :) And the one I picked also sounds like "mane" or "big hair" in Spanish, so I'm worried that people will laugh. Back to the drawing board, sigh. Good thing we have awhile still.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Confirmed! We're having a...


I had another ultrasound today and baby Robin is definitely a girl. No more doubts as the doctor got a clear view, and so did dear hubby and I. I feel at peace about it and am looking forward to buying some girlie things. We've had three girls, but no girl newborns so headbands and baby dresses, here I come! Raccoon was there too and enjoyed hearing her heartbeat.

My other good news is that she has also turned head-down, which I attribute to a big push Raccoon gave my stomach earlier today before I could stop him. Who knows, but I'm just glad she's settling in. The doctor moved my due date back to my original one, which puts me at almost 25 weeks, but I think I'm going to keep counting weeks as if I'm still 23, that way when I get to the end, time will fly by, especially if she comes "early" at 38 weeks. Raccoon came at 41 weeks, so I'm not holding my breath for a January 23rd delivery.

And our beach trip is back on! We had planned to go for Raccoon's birthday this month but couldn't get the lodging to work out, so we cancelled the trip. Then today at the birth clinic I ran into a good friend and we decided both our families should go in November. She's also pregnant and due in January, so hopefully it'll be a nice break for all of us. It's been a great day for good news. I am so very thankful.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baby Robin is Sideways

I know that my posts have been very up and down lately. Blame it on pregnancy hormones and extra sensitivity to the highs and lows. This one is a bit of a downer. Just warning you in advance. Not actual bad news, just thoughts.

When I went for my 20 week ultrasound, I noticed on the report that it said the baby is transverse (sideways) instead of head down. This explains why I can feel her kick so much more than I felt Raccoon at this point. I can actually feel her little head pressing on my left side just under my ribs, and her feet high up on my right. I didn't think much of it until my doctor also commented on it at my follow-up appointment. She didn't say much, but it seemed to be important for some reason. I am curious by nature, so I googled it.

I read a blog post called, "The baby who wouldn't turn" (I don't recommend it), and was impacted by this paragraph:

"Prior to safe C-sections, women who labored with a baby in the transverse position simply died, and the baby died with them. Nowadays, the standard method of delivering a baby in the transverse position is a C-section. Sometimes, though, you can coax the baby from the transverse position to the head down position. This is called “version.” It involves using your hands to literally turn the baby to the proper position."

Not for the first time in my life, I am so thankful to have been born in this time and place and not long ago. Before reading this traumatizing blog post, I probably would have considered trying to turn the baby and holding out for a natural birth, but now, I really just want to make sure that baby Robin and I go home healthy and safe.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


When my son only sleeps from 1:30 am to 6:30 am and wakes up ready to go, I compose ads in my head to amuse myself (remember, I've only had 5 hours of sleep!):

"Three year old alarm clock, willing to lend out for a few days. Very reliable. Setting stuck at 6:30 am. Slight whine. If anyone knows how to reset time to past 8 am, please advise."

Laughing definitely helps me cope, and exhaustion makes barely funny things hilarious to me, which I look at as a perk. Some of my favorite laughs lately have come from:

Fashion critiques from The QC Report, September and October, complete with illustrations from a popular magazine (check out October's monkey smuggling look, priceless). I have to read these when I am by myself because I laugh so hard that it scares my son, poor little man, he's never seen his mama so crazy.

Some "before" posts from Won't I Be Surprised When... especially My Body, Next on Animal Planet and Things that are never socially exceptable to say to a pregnant woman (Part 1). Then if you've been laughing too hard and need a little melancholy to bring you back to center, you can read her What to Remember post with an essay by Anna Quindlen on how fast kids grow up.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Foody Friday

This week has been up and down with food, but Raccoon surprised me by eating three pieces of sushi, seaweed and all (with lots of soy sauce, which turned out to not be a good idea). He also ate half of a hamburger on a different day. Usually he doesn't like anything with hamburg, but I smothered it in ketchup. Eggs are hit or miss, but I can often count on him eating one or two a week with gusto, so I just keep offering them in case it's one of those days.

Some other things that work(ed):

* Small portions - he likes novelty of asking for more.

* Offering him one "last bite" is a good way to get in just a little bit more.

* Counting bites - sometimes it's all about getting him started.

* Stretching out time between meals a little to make sure he's hungry helps.

I really liked this post about the different types of eaters over at the SPD Blogger Network.

Foody Fridays are a chance for me to record and share eating ideas that work with my son's sensitivities. One of our main challenges is that his food preferences (which are fairly limited anyway) change often, so what works one day will fail the next. But as I tell my son, we persevere.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Awareness & Reflections

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Perhaps this seems like an odd time to participate in a project called "Capture Your Grief," being 22 weeks pregnant and all seemingly well. But the years since our losses and after Raccoon's birth have been a whirlwind, with little time for reflection or letting go. The further I get into this pregnancy, the more I've realized that there are things I no longer want to carry with me. I know I won't be able to do all 31 days, but I hope to do at least one or two.

It is also National Sensory Awareness Month. Raccoon struggles with sensory issues similar to Sensory Processing Disorder, although the occupation therapist who evaluated him couldn't specifically give him a diagnosis because she works for a school. The areas where this affects us the most are: eating, sleeping, hygiene, people/crowds, and difficulty regulating/self-soothing. I have mentioned SPD on here before, but this month I'm going to embrace our official "coming out."

October is also Raccoon's birthday month. Three years old!

Ever since I was a teen, I had envisioned adoption as part of my story. It was, and is, but not with the conclusion I'd imagined. Somehow, if we had been told that baby Kitty (aka Robin) is a boy, I had a slight hope that there might still be a little girl or two out there who were meant to be part of our family. But if baby Kitty is indeed a girl, I have an inexplicable conviction that this is the completion of our family. Kitty should be our fifth, instead she(?) is our second. This has changed me. It has changed my husband. We are not the individuals, nor the couple, that we once were. I want to let go of guilt, regret, and grief over the kind of mother that I wanted to be and the life that I dreamed I would have.

With these things in mind, I want to accept and celebrate the life I have now, however it turns out. So for me, this project is broader, encompassing all of the losses and changes I have experienced in the last few years, beginning with and beyond SB. My life in the world of loss and special needs parenting has not included much time for reflection, but I believe the time has come for a little inner evaluation. I want to hold on to the good things and let go of the pain. I am ready to begin again. To figure out who I've become and where I am going. I hope.

1/31/14 ETA: Changed from Robin to Kitty. We now know she is definitely a girl. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


After Sunday, my next favorite day of the week is Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday we spend all day at home, which is nice, but on Wednesday, the car is ours and we head out for adventure. Our day starts leisurely around 7 am, then at 9:30 am we leave for playgroup which lasts until noon. Then we do lunch out (often a challenge with Raccoon's allergies, but we take it in stride), and later go somewhere special in the afternoon as well, like a park or playground. The day usually passes quickly and pleasantly, and it's a nice change for both of us to be out and about.

Happy Wednesday!