Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Part 2

The kids were finally healthy for Christmas, meaning we got to do all of the things we like with my family. We didn't get up to PA because we're going this weekend to meet the new baby (more on that later). Before we went to do the family stuff, though, we had to get a hair cut. It was semi-traumatic for me because... well.. look at him!!

He turned into a handsome little man in 20 minutes. He was an adorable baby! Look at this. And he knows it. He's so smug.

And this was a little before that, but I got him eating some table food. It's not any sort of huge revelation, but... a cracker is adult foo, and he ate it, and that was pretty cool. I really want to transition him to more table foods, so at least it was a start.

I just threw this picture of Evie in here because she's so beautiful.

I tried to get pictures of the kids in their Christmas outfits, but... yeah no. Evie was jumping around like crazy. .She was so good but so excited. I got her a basic knit dress, but it had a super frilly bottom that was so cute. I tried to add a picture of Andrew in his outfit but the firewall at work said no, so I'm going to put one in of him later. He had a bowtie!

Christmas Eve we got home really late after dinner at my brother's house, but Andy had to do our traditions with Evie. Andrew was way too tired. Here they are writing a letter to santa and setting up cookies. And maybe eating some. They also put out "reindeer food". Santa couldn't eat all the cookies because Evie tried to give him too many.

Santa brought lots of toys for the kids, and the sweetest little blanket for Andrew. It's a hand-made Chuggington blanket with his name embroidered. I'm not sure who likes it more - him or me. They got this Paw Patrol ball pit and Evie is so in love with it. She also got a Rapunzel tower that came with a little people Flynn Rider. Yay!


But Christmas is wasn't over then. On Christmas day we went to my aunt's house. The kids were super good and I got to eat! And my parents brought Evie another present, so she was happy. And Saturday we're going up to see Andy's family, and they're getting more presents. They're spoiled and it's ridiculous, but I'm glad they're happy. But the other cool thing is that Andy's sister had her baby, Hope, yesterday. So we get to see her on Saturday! I can't wait! She's so little and my kids have a cousin which was something I wasn't sure would ever happen. I'm so excited to hold her and love on her and for the kids to meet her.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Post-Christmas Update Part 1

Happy Holidays and I guess Happy New Year everyone! We all know I won't post again before then so I might as well say it now.

I wish I could say it has been quiet, but boy would that be a lie. The truth is, things have been nuts since vacation. Between the four of us we've had 2 cases of bronchitis, one broken arm, 2 pink eyes, 3 infected ears, 4 stomach viruses, and one virus that I'm positive came straight from hell. But, by some miracle, it was all cleared up for Christmas. And it hasn't been all bad. I guess I'll go kid by kid, and we'll start with Evie, because the thing you're probably wondering about the most is the broken arm, and that belongs to her.

Other things belonging to Evie include 1 of the infected ears, 1 case of bronchitis, and 1 stomach virus. Since this all occurred over the course of about 5 weeks, we really didn't sleep... like.. at all... for a while. The night before Thanksgiving I got a phone call on my way home from work. "Hi, it's [Evie's daycare]. We just wanted to let you know that she fell on the playground. She's OK! But she's babying her arm a little". I'm already on my way, so there isn't much I can do. But I did have 40 more minutes of drive to be upset about it. When I got there, she was laying down on a table looking a serious mess. As soon as she saw me she said "Mommy I hurt my arm. I need a doctor". And of course I could tell by looking at her that she did need a doctor! So I scooped her up and we went straight to the hospital. She wasn't crying, but she was clearly in pain. I couldn't tell where it hurt, so I just held her. The hospital was full... like.. patients on gurneys in the hallways full. The waiting room was full as well, and nurses were coming around to take vitals. Evie had fallen asleep in my arms, but she kept moaning and groaning, so one of the nurses asked me what was wrong. I told them, and they told me to hold on a minute. I did, and while I was waiting, people around me were saying things like "Oh that poor baby" because she's 3 and clearly hurt. So the nurse comes back out and motions for me to follow her. They'd somehow moved me up in line and gotten us an actual room. It only took a few minutes to get us to X-Ray, where I had to hold Evie's arm in a million different directions. She was so good I can't even explain it. Not ten minutes later we got the official word that it was broken. I was kind of infuriated at first that daycare wasn't more concerned. But I was also thinking "Oh it's probably a sprain or a pulled muscle" so I couldn't be that mad. You don't expect a person of any age with a broken arm to keep trying to play afterwards. It was a rough month trying to keep a sling on that child, but it's done with now and she's back to herself.

The thing that's strange is that her self-regulation abilities seem to have multiplied 10-fold  almost overnight. She hasn't had a meltdown in a while. I haven't had to carry her out of any public places, including doctors and hospitals, restaurants, etc. She had a huge tantrum in Target because I didn't buy her a toy, but we've been back twice since with no toys and no tantrums. She's been such a joy. She has days where she acts out, but for the most part she's just been a wonderful little person who wants to play and cuddle. I had a conference with her teachers at daycare (which they run like a preschool) and they said the same thing. She's been much more calm and willing to participate. I mean she clearly still has ADHD and sometimes wanders around, but less so than she used to. They also showed me some of her "tests" for letters and numbers and things and said she's actually ahead in math and literacy. And that she's hilarious, sings all the time, and wants to be a doctor when she grows up. It's amazing for me to think of her at 2, barely talking, not knowing how to play with toys, not cuddling, not singing... and then to think of her at almost 4, ahead academically, talking non-stop, and using all her toys as designed. She knows her letters and numbers by sight. She knows the sounds for some letters, but her teacher admitted she thinks she knows a lot more. It's hard to test E because she wanders off after a few minutes. Which we're working on at "big girl" school. She's just so funny and sweet and smart and every time I look at her I melt. I just want to kiss her all the time, and sometimes she acquiesces. Sometimes she looks at me like I'm a moron, but it doesn't matter. She's my best girl.

I feel terrible sometimes because she wants to play ALL the time, and sometimes I am just. so. tired. I can't explain to  a 3 year old that mommy's kidneys don't work right so mommy doesn't have energy. I just want to sit on the couch and I feel like a failure to my kids for that. She wants to play games and make up stories (she has the most vivid, wild imagination) and I... can barely keep my eyes open. I have no doubt she knows how special she is, and how much I love her, but I wish I could be there more for that kind of stuff.

And the same goes for Andrew. Only with Andrew, things are more complicated.

We saw a neurologist earlier this month. At the beginning of the appointment he was leaning in the autism direction, but by the end he said he was not comfortable with that because he was seeing too much eye contact and looking for affection, so he went with Global Developmental Delay. Which is such a scary thing because there's no way to predict an outcome at this point. Evie technically had GDD as well, and now she's ahead instead of behind. But she also had some words, which Andrew doesn't. There are a lot of similarities, but a lot of differences as well, so at this point we are looking for a cause for the GDD. He had an EEG last week which we're told was normal. So that's a relief and one box checked off. Next is an MRI and a SNP array (a basic genetic screen). If those don't show anything, and we're hoping they don't, we're... stuck. When there is a designated cause, there is usually a predictable outcome for where the GDD will end up. When there isn't, you just have to wait and see. Which is terrifying for me, but I'd rather he didn't have something specific. Because then at least he has a good shot at catching up. People keep telling me stories of their kids with language delays and things, and it makes me feel like I'm being kind of an overbearing jerk for putting him through the testing. But at the same time, I'm his mother, and I KNOW my son. I know something is not exactly "normal" and I want him to have every opportunity to acquire the skills he needs. I want my son to live a normal life. I want him to be happy. I want him to have everything he wants and needs in life. I'll do anything to get that for him. And if it turns out that it was a simple delay - well OK! Great! But if not, I want to know I'm doing everything I can.

The truth is, I love Andrew... I don't even know how to say it. I can't quantify it. I look at him, and just like with Evie, my heart swells and I think "You are the perfect child for me". Any challenges are really inconsequential in the long run because both of these kids have stolen my heart and run away with it.

Here are a couple of sick pictures :( He saw 4 doctors in 4 days. The bottom one was right before his EEG when he was feeling better.

With Andrew, I spend most of my time holding him, cuddling him, and tickling. We do hand-over-hand playing with toys, but it doesn't make him laugh the way he does when he's on the floor and I give him little tickles. He'll hold his arms and legs out for tickles and it cracks me up because I do the same thing to Andy. And he (the baby) will just stare at my face like the sun shines out of my eyeballs or something. Like I'm his world. And I think I am. He always runs to me, lunging for me with outstretched arms, burying his little face in my shoulder, giggling at my snuggles and kisses. He still loves Chuggington, but it's hard to get him to play with most toys other than chewing on them. We keep trying. He'll get it eventually.

Sometimes I feel like my time with these two has just gone by too quickly. If the first 4 years have gone this fast, what will the next 4 years be like? Pretty soon they'll be 18 and 16 and out all the time and not wanting to hang out with their silly old mother. And I am already trying to prepare myself for that. For the teenage years, for college, for weddings... for a time when they don't just want to be with me all the time. Part of me wishes I could keep them 2 and 4 forever because I love this age so much. Because they love ME so much! But I know they have so much to go out and accomplish in this world. I just hope when they're older and out doing their own things, that they still know I love them in this... unfathomable way. This solid foundation of neverending love that I could never express to them in a million years with  a million words. To say they're my everything is not enough. They're... everything and more.