Friday, October 21, 2011

"In those silent, happy seconds that surround the sound of this event..."

th_BFBlogHop06
Hop!
I miss breastfeeding. There. I said it.

I have blogged before about all of the emotions I felt when PJ weaned himself at just over 19 months. Those emotions came as a surprise to me- I figured that as much as loved nursing, I would be excited and happy for the freedom that not nursing would bring.

That idea turned out to be only partly true. As PJ grows, I am so excited for each new development even though I may miss the one that is ending. From smooshy newborn lump stage to alert smiling waving stage; from rolling to crawling to walking to running, each day brought something new and special and amazing from my baby boy, and I have loved every. single. second of it!

As each stage ended, I would find myself fleetingly giving it a backwards glance, happy that changes were developing but mourning a bit for the time past. Our babies are only babies for such a short time, how can I not be sad to see the moments fly by! Moving from nursing to not nursing, however, was a different emotional process. It was time with PJ that I cherished, seeing him grow from the nourishment my body provided, having quiet cuddle time for just the two of us. I was proud of my nursling and proud that I nursed him. Six months, a year, a year and a half- the time went on and I never got tired of nursing. I decided at about a year that I would not set a date as to when I would stop and instead, would let PJ self wean.

At 19 months I could see PJ was losing interest in breastfeeding and two weeks later, we stopped for good. His last nursing session was early one summer morning and through my sleepiness, I felt a little ache. The next morning, he bounced right up and heading into the kitchen for breakfast. He wanted a banana and a scrambled egg, but he didn't want to nurse.

PJ will be 23 months next week and so much has changed since that last summer nursing session. I joined the La Leche League, hoping that my positive breastfeeding experience could encourage other mothers. Pete has been at his RN job for a year now, our struggle from his job search almost a thing of the past. We got the news that PJ could be autistic. We are planning PJ's SECOND BIRTHDAY PARTY! Things have turned out differently then I thought they would during that last breastfeeding session.

They are different, but it's all good.

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(this post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop started by my friend Jen over at Life With Levi! Want to participate? then get to tapping on that keyboard and link up, mama! this weeks topics? checking in! where are you in your breastfeeding journey?)

Monday, October 17, 2011

"All down the line, we're gonna open up the throttle, yeah..."

So, PJ got to do this yesterday-

video
(please excuse my nerdy, annoying commentary!)

Sometimes, it must be awesome to be a toddler.


Friday, October 14, 2011

"Don't think twice, it's alright..."

Sooooooooo....

I am actually really, really glad that I got everything out about what's been going on with PJ in my last post. I feel a bit like a weight has been lifted and I didn't expect that- I really didn't want to talk about it at all. But it's out and my heart is full of the loving and encouraging words I have received!

Still, I learned a lesson. I can't blog and watch Parenthood at the same time!! One of the characters on the show is an autistic child, and I was literally sobbing at my keyboard as I wrote about PJ thinking, "And what if Max and Jabar don't make up??? And can he really write an apology note? WAHHHH!!!!!!"

I know that makes no sense if you don't watch the show. I just felt it was important to let you know where my mental status was when I was writing that post. Ahem.

I am still scared and angry and sad and experiencing a trillion emotions. I never knew the power of my feelings until I learned that there might be something wrong with my son. Still, PJ is healthy. He is funny and smart and active and strong! I have heard the stories of so many mama's who have gone through so much worse and I know how blessed I am because my baby is here with me, in whatever package he comes in. And it's just icing on the cake that the package happens to be a handsome blonde one! :-)

I don't expect any of this to be easy, but it'll be okay.

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Handsome dudes at the playground!
Today was a bit more relaxed after a really busy week! PJ had Little Gym and therapy sessions, playdates and visits with family! Pete was home today, so we all enjoyed a cozy morning together before PJ and I headed out for a lunch playdate with some of our favorites! My amazing friend Michelle is the mama of three, and her youngest, Ezra, is PJ's BFF and going to be TWO in less then a month! Ezra and PJ are only 26 days apart and I can't believe they are both going to be two years old! It seems unreal!

In the meantime, we are planning for Halloween and for PJ's 2nd Birthday party! PJ's costume from his first Halloween last year will be pretty hard to beat for me, I LOVED it! Still, we have some fun ideas! I can't believe he's old enough to walk from door to door himself this year! Pete and I are so excited to take him pumpkin picking for the first time! I have the feeling our little wild man is going to love it!

It's getting cold outside after a day that was alternately warm and sunny and dark and rainy! Fall in in her Sybil stage, where the weather changes at the drop of a hat! The park across the street, where Pete and I had our engagement pictures done, is starting to look amazing as the leaves start to change! Tomorrow is supposed to be cool and wonderful, so maybe PJ, my camera, and I will have to have a stroll!

I had better rest up- PJ likes to run! Good night, friends!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth..."

PJ has a new favorite hobby. I wish it was baseball or jumping or even needlepoint, but it's not.

He likes to drink the bathwater.

I have no idea what that's all about and it's superdupergross (doesn't he know his ass is in that water??) but he loves to float around the tub like he's swimming and, in the process, drinks ninetygajillion gallons of bathwater. Ew. Ew. Ew. It would be super helpful to me if someone else jumped in and let me know that their child is a bathwater guzzler, too. Otherwise, my nagging suspicion that PJ is the Weirdest Baby In The World will be confirmed.

Anyway...

In an attempt to distract him from his drink-y ways, we are introducing some new bath activities (aside from the usual washing of the hair, face and body). I found this fun idea on the Play At Home Mom website- turning out the lights and  filling the tub with glow-sticks, like the ones people wear on the Fourth of July! It looked like fun and it was a cheap enough endeavor (we got them at the dollar store!). So we filled the tub, turned out the lights, and plunked PJ in! And what do you know?


Biggest. Hit. EVER!

He loved it! He had a blast playing with the glowing toys! We linked them in chains, wore them an necklaces, waved them to make lights in the air, and made waves in the water to watch them bob about! It was such a simple idea and for $6 (and we only opened half of the glow-sticks!) we got to enjoy PJ's delight and wonder in the activity! He's such a funny boy and I love making him happy. If only it was always as easy as a few glow-sticks in the bathwater...


Parenthood is so all-encompassing, and yet so moment-by-moment. We have these vignettes of time where we're all laughing as we splash about with glow-sticks and times when I think I can see his whole life laid out before me. I don't always know for sure what's in the cards for my sweet boy. There's so much potential under that crazy head of blonde hair and all I want in the world is for things to be easy and simple and happy for him. He doesn't need to be president, he doesn't need to be a genius. He can be whatever he wants to be.

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Oh, God.

I didn't think for a second when I sat down to write this post that I would get into this. But PJ is not where he should be. His speech is terribly delayed- when he only had a few words at his 18-month checkup, we talked to our pediatrician. He suggested connecting with Early Intervention and consulting an audiologist. His hearing is fine, but when we had his EI evaluation all of the dreaded "red flags" were thrown out, and what I assumed was just a typical-boy trait of slow speech turned out to be flailing arms when he runs and poor fine motor skills and a lack of eye contact and imaginative play. And while he wasn't as his best for the therapists the way he is with people he is familiar with, I knew it was all true.

There's a deep suspicion that he might have autism.

I am trying not to freak the fuck out yet. He hasn't been formally diagnosed, and his presentation of symptoms are hit or miss. PJ plays with other children and engages in communication with them, as limited as it may be. He smiles and laughs and knows and loves his family. He's the most amazing son in the whole world and if he was rocking in a corner I wouldn't love him less and couldn't love him more. Most days I know that none of this matters- PJ is my son and I love him and he is the baby I dreamed of having all of my life. I don't doubt any of that ever. Ever. Ever. Autism or not.

This is the part when I admit all of the shameful, horrible feelings I have had. I don't want this to be happening to my son. I don't doubt my son for a second. He is brave and smart and funny and loving. We are completely unworthy of him. I don't know if I am brave enough to be the mother he needs me to be. Life is hard enough, and I don't want the things that are supposed to be easy, the day-to-day things, to be hard to my son. Will our marriage survive this? I know people who couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag- why isn't this happening to their child? Why is this happening to us?

Of course, a few minutes later, I get a hold of myself. This is happening to us because it's happening to us- it's how it's supposed to be. Whatever comes with PJ is part of what makes me love him, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. Anything. And we will do all of the things we need to. PJ is getting therapy a few times a week and is still my active little dude- he has friends to play with and books to read and people to love him and we will do everything possible on this earth to keep him from falling.

I haven't talked very much about this. Aside from Pete, I have only spoken to one or two people about it. I am not one to make my problems public anyway, and I hate to ask for help. Even in this passive-aggressive forum of airing my feelings, it's not likely I will even blog about this very much. It's hard to find the words sometimes when things seem hard. And I don't want people to watch PJ sideways and pick his actions and behavior apart. I want the people in his life to love him and be there for him the same way they would for any other child. But just because I don't talk about it or seek out opinions doesn't mean I don't know what's going on.

I know.

For now, we are doing everything we can do. We follow the advice of his therapists and doctors and are exhausting every resource we can find to get him help. PJ is still very young, not even two, and there are no definitive answers yet. We will hope that all he needs to catch up a bit is some help and if he doesn't catch up, that's okay (or, at least I know that, at some point, I will be brave enough to think it's okay).

I may not deserve him, but I count every blessing I have that PJ is my son.

(sorry this is such a huge clusterfuck of wordy words. I just started typing before I really thought about it and now I am just going to his Publish before I chicken out)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"...Amen."

Double Dozen, Senior Year. I'm the short girl in the middle.
When I was in high school, music was my salvation. Even though I was a fairly happy teenager, I still went through a healthy dose of Normal Teenage Angst mixed with the usual sadness that life can bring- illness, death, heartbreak, etc. I know a lot of people who look back on high school with a mix of bemused nostalgia and slight horror. Bad hair, bad boyfriends, bad jeans. In my case, you can also add bad acne. {shudder} Most people I know wouldn't go back to high school if their life depended on it.

Because I had music in my life, I can look back on high school with a full heart. No matter how hard things could be, there was a 40 minute period where I could sit down with my friends and sing every. single. day. It was like being on a therapists couch. I would walk in with the weight of the world on my shoulders and exhale it all out in an array of notes and song and joy. I remember every note of it, every amazing piece of music that my wonderful high school music teacher brought into my life. My favorite pieces are still with me- an incredible arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square"; an intricate, dizzy version of "Deck the Halls"; a powerful, gospel-y version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; and, of course, "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.

I took part in a few choirs, and my favorite was known as The Double Dozen. At the time, it was a select show choir (dancing and singing, very Glee-ish!) and it was my life. Even rehearsals- with my Bostonian music teacher fine-tuning every note and correcting our South Jersey accents in his thick Boston one (oh, the irony!)- were a rush. I think that every human, at some point, has danced and sang. Not everyone gets the chance to perform. It was the only time that my insecure teenage self reached my full potential, I think we all felt like that. The galaxy has an awful lot of blackness, but even the tinniest stars shine, are special.

We ended every show with "The Lord Bless You And Keep You". No dancing, just locked hands and sweet voices wishing our audience and each other peace. And really, isn't that what everyone needs more then anything? No matter what religion, everyone searches for a greater being to lift them up. It's a song that is as much a part of me as my kidneys, my eyes, my heart. The deep, strong bass, the warm tenor, the comforting alto and the lilting soprano, all distinct layers and still creating a beautiful sound. I find the last notes drifting out of my mouth before I even realized I was singing. When I need to be happy, I sing this song.

I couldn't find a version of my high school group singing "The Lord Bless..." but I did find this lovely version on YouTube. I hope it gives you peace today.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"And it would knock me to the floor if I wasn't there already..."

It's FALL! It's fall and I am so happy to see it!

The weather has been amazing, and life has been crazy! It seems kind of appropriate- along with the change of season comes a season of change. My thoughts have been swirling around in my head and I have longed to just sit down and blog it out, but often, I just don't know where to start.

Fall in and of itself has played a big part in keeping me afloat! The weather has been breezy and beautiful, with each day bringing just a little more crispy-ness and color. The leaves are starting to change and the days suddenly become so much shorter! Walks are taken, playgrounds are conquered, errands are run and everyone stays comfortable! And the truest sign that fall is here?

My Uggs are out! :-)

We have continued PJ's classes at The Little Gym and he is slowly getting better with participating the the group warm-up activities at the start of the class! This past Wednesday he did all of the exercises, but he sulked and cried until it was free time! Then, of course, he was full of smiles, laughs and energy as he climbed, swung, jumped and balanced! The tantrum-y behavior is still driving me nuts, but hopefully he will continue to improve! And despite the fact that the start of the class is a bit of a struggle, there are still plenty of moments that make me so proud! He loves to play with the kids in his class, uses the balance beam like a champ, and climbs like a squirrel!

And now that the Phillie's have officially ended their season, it's time for me to go to bed! This was a "nothing" post but at least I shook the bloggy cobwebs off!

Good night!