Monthly Archives: May 2012

The times they are a-changin’

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Big changes happening over here; anxiety producing changes. But, really, isn’t that what makes life so exciting?

This whole Maddy-has-SPD thing has really thrown me for a loop. The path I thought I would be taking in life was completely flipped upside down. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do next. I felt as though I needed to be at home with Maddy where I could drive her to and from therapy, and work techniques into our daily routine to give her the best start I could, but I also wanted to use my education. I wasn’t sure staying at home full-time would make me happy… especially staying at home with the daily frustrations that Maddy’s sensory issues create.

My sister, Lindsay (whose son also has SPD), and I were just talking about how we feel as though having a child with SPD has given us some anxiety over things we truly believe wouldn’t normally cause us anxiety. Sending Maddy to daycare is one of those things for me.

When I was pregnant, I believed I would be heading back to my PhD when Maddy turned one. I knew that I would find it hard to leave her. I thought that I might find this more difficult than some, because, let’s face it, I’m an emotional kind of gal. But, I also knew that that would likely be my path, and that I would deal with it.

After having Maddy, it was a surprise to me how much I actually wanted to get out of the house… even before Maddy turned one. I just couldn’t handle the stress of being with Maddy all day, every day (as much as I love the sweet little girl). My patience was waning, and I knew it would be best for our entire family if I had some time away.

What’s not to love about my quirky girl?

Then we found out Maddy had SPD. I felt like the walls were crashing around me… like I would never be able to get out and start a career (I told you I’m an emotional gal). Since then, we have seen incredible progress. I actually enjoy being home with Maddy many days. We have addressed some of our major issues to the best of our ability at this stage of her life – colic, sleeping, eating, and she smiles and acts/is happy now. We know as she grows we will need to continue to address these and other issues, but our daily life has certainly gotten easier… even fun!

Because of these very positive changes, not too long ago our OTs suggested that it would be a very positive experience to send Maddy to daycare part-time. Mostly because SPD has created very strong separation anxiety for Maddy, and SPD is known to cause some social development issues. They told me that daycare would help Maddy to learn new coping mechanisms for social situations and unexpected events in a different way than I could ever offer at home. They felt that part-time daycare, combined with a therapeutic play group starting this fall, would address any social issues before she started school. You can’t argue with that logic!

I immediately started looking at job postings out of curiosity to see what would appear. Would it be possible to find something part-time? Well, not only was it possible, but I was so lucky to get offered an incredible opportunity. And the kicker, it’s a five to ten minute walk from our house! I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I get time to be me and start a career, and time to be Maddy’s mommy. This still allows me to incorporate therapy into our routines, and enjoy her as she grows. The thought of having three days out of the house already has my patience growing.

But, as I said before, I’m much more anxious about daycare than I think I would be if Maddy didn’t have SPD (though, I know I still would have found it difficult as a lot of mommy’s do). Intellectually I know it will be good for her, but I’m feeling anxious over how long it will take her to adjust. She still cries sometimes when Eric holds her if I’m in the room because she wants to be held by me. I’m worried about how patient others will be with her, though my sister reminded me that in her experience they are always much more patient than we are since they’re not their own kids. I’m nervous about how some of her quirks might be interpreted by others… will they think she’s misbehaving? But, I think what most scares me, is that all of the hard work we have done could start to unravel. We have worked extremely hard and put a ton of effort into turning eating into a positive experience. All it would take is for her to get fussy in a high chair, and forced to stay there, or be forced to eat the food she has said no to because they are busy with the other kids, or think she is just being stubborn. That being said, I believe that this won’t happen intentionally, but I still worry about it.

Our journey starts this week. First Maddy and I will spend a few hours there together. Friday will be her first day alone. I’m more than a bit thankful that we’ve only been able to find care in Waterloo, across from Eric’s work, so that he will be the one to drop her off.

I just need to keep reminding myself that the world is full of good people, and that daycare will be a good thing for both myself and Maddy. I know that Friday is going to be a tough day. Eric is already prepping me for it by telling me repeatedly how proud he is of me and reminding me that it’s okay and normal to find this stressful. He so knows that Friday is gonna be one of those big tear days… and I’m not just talking about Maddy. Isn’t he the best?

I’ve been soaking up my pre-job days with Maddy since I accepted my new position. We’ve definitely been enjoying the weather!

The times they may-be-changin’, but life sure is beautiful!

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Simple hem

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Yesterday evening while Eric had Maddy and Loki at the dog park, I finished a quick, little project – hemming a curtain.

When we moved into our 105 year old house, some of our closets didn’t have doors. We went out and picked up some simple, low-cost curtains to cover the space with… because otherwise we’d always be looking at this mess all the time:

Only problem was that the curtains were much too long for the door.

I was a bit nervous to try hemming these, because I was worried I wouldn’t do it straight and it would be very obvious. I finally decided to give it a go. I figured worst case scenario I could  sew a new covering for Maddy’s closet.

I measured how long I wanted the curtains to be while they were still hanging, and pinned them. Then, I folded up the edge, ironed it flat, and cut it with my pinking shears.

I then just did a simple hem, folding the edge up, and sewing it flat. The stitches are not straight at all, as the curtains were heavy and pulled the fabric down before I noticed it. I figure this doesn’t matter because it’s on the ground and nobody is going to be looking at it that close. After I had sewn the edge down (I did a straight stitch, and then a zigzag stitch on top), I simply trimmed the edge again to get rid of the excess fabric. Simple, simple!

The hem is not perfectly straight – you can see it’s higher on the left side than the right. But, I can live with that (sorry mama B, they’ll probably drive you crazy!).

The worst part of feeding

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You wanna know what the worst part of feeding a baby is? That you have to do it multiple times a day. Ugh. Eric and I are constantly trying to trick the other into starting meal time so we can avoid it ourselves.

I’ve talked about Maddy’s eating habits before, and I mentioned how much progress we’ve made. I’ll echo that sentiment, because we really have seen so much progress. The thing is, progress from such a low starting point doesn’t mean it has gotten easy for us.

We have a new trick – using a DuoSpoon. We were so lucky that one of our OTs (have I mentioned before how incredible these ladies are?? I just love them!) gave us one after Maddy took to it during a feeding therapy session. Briefly, it’s an oral motor tool that will help Maddy to accept different textures in her mouth. We let Maddy play with it, allowing her to explore it by mouthing. Once she was comfortable with it, we started adding purées to it. Now we use it all the time during feeding, as Maddy is more likely to accept food if it’s on the DuoSpoon versus a regular spoon.

The first day we brought this home, Maddy would not let go of it… she even had her afternoon nap with it!

Even when the camera was enticing her, she kept her grip.

I can’t lie – feeding Maddy is my least, least, least favourite thing to do. We still have meal times where she refuses to eat. In fact, she started using the ‘more’ sign awhile back, but she often uses it to indicate she wants to eat (since we always practiced it during feeding). She will give you the more sign, and when you give her food, she takes it in her mouth, swishes it around and spits it back out. She will then cry and sign for more. This process can last over an hour. It makes me want to scream some days.

Our go-to solution used to be to let her explore the food with her hands and to let her feed herself, no matter how messy. But, now if we do that, all she does is throw the food at us, at the floor, at Loki… anywhere but in her mouth. This also makes me want to scream.

The fact that she doesn’t eat doesn’t bother me in itself. What bothers me is the rotten mood it puts Maddy in because she’s hungry, because, let’s face it… when Maddy is in a rotten mood, we’re all in a rotten mood. On days when we simply can’t get her to eat a thing, we lift her out of her chair and she starts hitting us. We immediately put her on the floor but she quickly finds someone else to take her frustrations out on – she starts following Loki around, constantly hitting him. Sigh.

We’ve been tempted to just stop feeding her if she does these things, in order to “teach” her that if she doesn’t eat she’ll be hungry. The thing is, since it’s a sensory issue, it doesn’t really teach her anything – she just wouldn’t eat, which, as you can imagine, can produce other complications.

It also bothers me that every meal time takes us at least an hour and a half, sometimes more. You know what that means? It means that at least 4.5 hours of every day is spent with Eric or myself getting frustrated while we attempt to get Maddy to “eat”. I hate it. I hate it so much. Many days either Eric or myself end up storming out of the kitchen too frustrated to continue, and the other has to step in to finish up the meal. I so wish that I had a Maddy like this Maddie.

We’re still trying to make feeding easier in therapy. It’s the last hurdle we need to cross before we can reduce our sessions from once a week to once every other week. I hope we can figure something out soon, because our patience in the kitchen is running so, so low these days.

Learning something new!

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Wow! We’ve been very busy. Eric is in the middle of his paternity leave, and we’ve been enjoying our staycation. We’ve planted our vegetable and herb gardens, built a fence, put together a steal of a swing set I found on kijiji, built a patio…. and now we’re moving onto our flower gardens. And, when I say we, I mean, Eric did most of it (his friend Jay helped for a few days, and I gave a hand when Maddy was sleeping). For the most part, Eric worked while Maddy supervised 😉

In that time we’ve also managed to relax, hit up a carnival, enjoy a girl’s spa/shopping day (thanks, Ange!), and enjoy a baby pool/BBQ evening with some friends.

Evan & Maddy enjoying the hot weather

We’re pretty sure this is our longest vacation EVER. We can thank Maddy for waking every day between 4:30-5:30am for giving us this long vacation – silver linings.

I haven’t been doing much sewing or knitting as I’ve been focusing on spending time with Eric – I just love having him home. But, every once in a while I have been practicing something new. When I learned to knit, I always knew I wanted to eventually try crocheting, but I kept knitting since I knew how to do it. When I made these pants I was forced to learn a basic crochet stitch. So since then…

I’ve learned a couple other stitches! Lots of mistakes in that pile, but I’m getting there.

Mothers make the world go ’round

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I feel so happy and blessed to be celebrating my very first Mother’s Day. I know I have expressed the sadness, frustration, and anger I have often felt in these last almost-11-months, but today, I couldn’t be happier.

I recently saw this youtube video, a song a to-be-daddy wrote about his unborn child. It’s just beautiful, and fitting for a day like today:

To Madeleine, thank you for making me a mommy. I love your sweet smile, your soft giggles, and your love for Loki. I love how you sit with your ankles crossed. I love that you have your daddy’s ears, and his long eyelashes. I love that you slyly smile at me and shake your head no as you head straight for Loki’s water bowl, or the recycling bin. I love that when you sign ‘more’ and we give you more, you smile and clap for yourself because you are so proud that we understood. I love how you scrunch your little nose up and sniff loudly, and then giggle when we do it back to you. I love that your new thing is to try to pass things from one hand to the other behind your back…. and how persistent you are even though you’ve never successfully done it. I love that when I walk into a room you smile and giggle and start bouncing up and down with excitement. I love your chubby legs and bright eyes. I love you.

I can’t say your birth was an awe-inspiring moment. Frankly, I was terrified. But, the moment I saw you I started to cry. You were the most perfect little being I had ever laid my eyes on.

Our first family photo

We’ve had our challenges, but being your mommy is the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. Thank you for showing me what I’m made of. Thank you for teaching mommy and daddy the true meanings of unconditional love, patience, and strength. You have taught us so much in your short little life.

7 days old

Now, although this is my first Mother’s Day I am so lucky that I have been able to celebrate this day with my mom for 29 years, and my mum for 5 years.

Mom & Mum

To my mom, thank you for your unconditional love. You have always been there for me, whether it be after a tough day at school as a child, or a tough day as a mom. You have taught me how to love and how to be loved. Most of all, you have taught me how to be a mom. I can only hope that I can do half as good a job as you have done.

To my mum, thank you for welcoming me into your life as if I had always been there. I can feel your love and support in all the ways you have helped me over the past 5 years. I know that I can count on you during the toughest times. You raised who I think is the most perfect man around, and have given Madeleine an amazing daddy. I couldn’t have asked for a better Mum.

To all the other new and experienced mom’s out there – thanks for making the world go ’round.

Finally, to all of the expecting mommy’s, I leave you with this video:

Soya think you ate something you shouldn’t have

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Ugh! I am so annoyed right now. Really, pure frustration. I have had a challenging week with Maddy. She hasn’t been sleeping well, has had this non-stop whiny cry, and barely played. Most of the time she just wanted me to hold her, while I stood up and bounced her.

We wondered if her fourth tooth was making an appearance. We wondered until Eric happened to pull this out of our cupboard tonight:

 

I have been having a bake-a-thon the last week or so. It’s very exciting since I’ve successfully been able to re-introduce wheat into mine and Maddy’s diet. I’ve used a lot of cinnamon in the muffins and breads I’ve been baking. Not only have I been eating said muffins and breads, but I’ve been giving some to Maddy too.

Eric just happened to flip over that innocent package of cinnamon to find:

Really??!!? Soy in ground cinnamon??

The fact that Maddy has food intolerances barely phases me now. I haven’t eaten dairy, soy, eggs, beef, or chicken since last October (well, not on purpose I haven’t). I re-introduced wheat a month or so ago. I don’t even really miss eating those things. However, I am so frustrated at how many things soy is hidden in. I’ve had accidental exposures to soy through blueberry tea, lemon pepper, and now ground cinnamon. Now, soy is in about 80-90% of what you find in the grocery store. That to me is astounding in itself. But, it boggles my mind that it is found in things as simple as cinnamon.

Hidden soy has ruined many weeks not just for me, but for poor Maddy. I am curious to understand why soy has to be in everything… or does it?

Sewing is not baby proof

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I was prepping a quick project today while Maddy was playing in her room. I am shortening the covering to Maddy’s closet, and was just pinning the fabric so I would know where to hem it.

I placed a closed container of pins on her glider while I snapped a quick picture. In less than a minute I heard the container come crashing down.

Note to self: cheap pin containers are not baby proof.

After I picked Maddy up and moved her a few feet away, I had to hold her back with my legs while I scooped up all the pins that had scattered all over the place. She was so determined to get to them. Isn’t it always the things a baby shouldn’t have that they want the most? I wish she thought her toys were as exciting as a spilled container of pins.

Lesson learned: Keep pins out of baby’s reach. Sigh. You think I would have already learned this lesson after this and this.