Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another day, another refused dinner...

It was kind of a long rainy day today, I was late for dinner. Kate was in the 'pre-dinner and bed' I am going to whine a lot type mood. Other members of the family were in worse moods. Time to wrap up the day.

Nice pork loin, green beans and French bread. One screaming toddler. Not eating anything in front of her. Now, I know she is hungry because she was eager to get into the booster seat. She is signing for eat. A beautiful meal is in front of her, the family is around the table. And she is hysterical.

Next step is ignoring her. Talking to Ed. Still not eating, and crying continue. I hear in my mind all the people that say things like, 'don't give in or you'll end up being a short order cook.', and 'you have to set the pattern for the rest of her life.' Oh, she is starting to pearce the last part of my brain that is still functioning with a high pitched squawk.

Now, I am telling Ed that I feel that I have spent the last 20 some months trying to get her to eat. I am going to cry. Instead I am getting out the pineapple and strawberries that she eagerly takes and eats. And then some animal crackers are mixed in. I get to finish my meal even though she is sitting in my lap now.

I guess I will be a short order cook.

Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. ---Kahlil

Friday, March 18, 2011

Elizabethan collars aren't just for dogs.

Crazy toddler girl.

Grabbing, prying and pulling everything.

Climbing high, falling over and running here and there.

Crazy, silly toddler girl.

Tears, and laughs and wiggly giggly songs.

Thats our crazy toddler girl.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What NOT to ask a Preemie Mom.

I know that it really isn't that big of a deal. More like nails on a chalk board, a grinding of the brakes, or forgetting something on the table as you rush out the door to work. Unfortunately it is a conversation, that I have had so many times that I literally turn into somebody else when I am having. My cheerful assistant Kate, will demonstrate through pictures how this series of questions makes me feel.

It almost always starts out simple enough, but my stomach churns right as the words come out of their mouth. "How old is she?" Hmm, do I tell the truth (21 months), or do I tell the other truth (18 months adjusted), or do I just act like I didn't hear them? On this particular day, I was extremely unlucky. "Let me guess how old she is?" Really lady you don't want to do that. You are going to guess wrong. "I bet she is what about 14 months old, just learning how to do things."

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Geez, let me guess how old you are and I will say 89, or maybe I will say 15. Or if that doesn't offend you then I will guess your weight, height and medical history.
Oh, well simple enough. Relax they are just trying to make small talk. Now we will walk away or be done with small talk. Unfortunately most of the time depending on my answer, even if I just say 21 months. Thats when they dive into more personal questions, with a few benign insults along the way. Such as:

"Boy, she is a tiny one isn't she. How much does she weigh?"
"Is she okay, or is she sick or something?"
"Was she born premature?"

Now, my answer really do vary a bit depending on who and where we are. In the check out at Target, "She is a little cute peanut, thanks". Friend we haven't seen for long time, "She is doing great and catching up all the time." Medical office or specialist appointment, "She was born at 25 weeks, she has ROP, a resolved PDA, mostly resolved GER, minor delays and is currently on no medications."

At this point, I really am ready for the conversation to move on....
But, oh no! We most press on in our small talk. Now, even if I have attempted to not answer any questions directly. People will press on:

"How big was she at birth?"
"Was she in the hospital for a long time?"
"Do they know why you gave birth so early?"

I am squirming now, but of course only on the inside. From the outside, I calmly answer the questions with a small smile on my face. Almost as if this was the first time we've been asked them. Unfortunately the more polite I am the more people think they can pry and probe.

"What hospital was she at?" -- dreadful question since I was traveling and I then have to go into that whole portion of it.
"Could she fit into your hand?"--- ugh, she was long and skinny and I couldn't touch her for 6 weeks. And we tried not to make a show about how tiny she was because we thought she'd die at any moment.
"Are you going to have more children?"-- really, I just met you! Maybe you could buy me a drink before I tell you that one.

These are not my responses at all, just a nice simple answers from me.

But once the questions have stopped, the conversation doesn't. Now they will tell me about their insert any of the following into space (brother's sisters, stepfather's cousin, neighbor, friends distant relative) that was born as small as her and is now perfectly normal. Thank god, everything in life will be great now as long as your 6 degree of separation acquaintance of a premature child is doing great.

Again, I know people are just being people. We all try to make small talk and be supportive and friendly. Most people wouldn't even think much of any of our conversation. But, when you have this conversation over and over and over it just gets old. To have to tell total strangers about a painful, traumatic time in your life even when you just want to buy something at the supermarket just gets a bit tiresome.

I am always friendly, and maybe I should just lie. I know eventually nobody will ask us, though at almost 2 years we still get asked it at almost every outing. I just give this suggestion, next time you see us say, "That is one cute little girl, you most be so proud?" Because that is a question I will happily agree with.

Otherwise we are walking on!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reflections on March

Its been a strange week. I am so anxious for spring to come that I am ready to start painting the house in pastels at any moment. Unfortunately our winter gray rain just keeps going and going. I also have just had a lot on my mind, with the announcement of a prematurity prevention drug (progesterone p17) increasing in cost from $10 to $1500 and several friends going through difficult times.

I tend to look forward a lot. I am runner, and thus it is habit to look to the next mile. The next race, the next challenge. Sometimes though it is just a good time to look back, and remember how good it all is.

Enjoy my reflections on March.

March 2009- You probably can't tell, but I am pregnant in this picture. I was probably about 15-16 weeks along. I am in maternity running pants and a maternity work out shirt. I had just gotten home from a run and we were taking a photo of my little belly. I honestly didn't really remember the picture until I went looking to see if we had any during that time.

When your pregnancy only last until the 23 week (I was admitted to the hospital at 23 weeks and I didn't allow any pictures during the time I was upside down, on magnesium, not allowed to shower for 8 days, with a urinary catheter in... I wonder why?). There isn't a lot of pictures of you pregnant. I really never showed much either, and I had hardly any maternity clothes.

All the same, I love this picture. I had told people I was pregnant, and I was happy. You can see it on my face and now I am just happy that we did get a few pregnant pictures in.

March of 2010, my little bald baby is trying cereal. You can see the joy on her face, not really. Oh the battles of trying to get her to eat some baby food or cereal. Never did I win that battle. She never did eat a jar of baby food. I weighed her today at work, and she is just shy of 23 lbs! Thus even if we have spent a lot of time struggling with this girl to eat she is growing and eating somehow, of course it is what and when she wants still.

Look at those beautiful eyes. I stare at them everyday, and boy they make me happy.
March 2010, Kate was grabbing things and rolling around. Not to the sitting up stage yet, and we were still in total lock down in the house. It was great though because she was doing somethings and was starting to laugh more and more. She still has a butterfly fascination and I just realized the other night that it probably was because she sat and stared at them on her fun mat for hours.
You would die if you saw the living room right now, there is literally a toy on every surface, and absolute bomb of girl stuff. Crazy that just a year ago I could contain her on a neat little playmat. Ed actually found her standing on top of the coffee table today.

This was today. We don't let her watch hardly any t.v. but, Sesame Street is a lifesaver every once in awhile when you've got to cook. Here she is talking to the characters, and just thrilled when we turn it on. When she is tired of watching it she'll turn it off and close the cabinet doors, which is crazy since we never let her watch anything, but in general she'd rather just read her books.
Lastly this is her having a snack after to work the other day. I took it as she was dipping her crackers into some humus. I turned to look at her and was just in shock that there she sat (in her booster chair) eating a crackers like a big girl.

Immediately after this picture she decided to try and put both her feet on the table. Which lead to a small tantrum. But there was that brief moment that I thought, highchair your days are number.

There you have it a reflection on March. Who knows where we will be in a year, but I sure know it been a good ride to here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Inner Whiner.

On I go training for the Big Sur Marathon which is May 1st. We just booked our hotel rooms. Looked into toddler activities while we are there. Did some online research into the aquarium, children's museum and family friendly beaches. Unfortunately there is one member of this team that is just not making this easy.

That member is me. To be most specific it is my inner whiner, also referred to as the inner B or Big B. Let me tell you she is a royal pain in the ass. I know I am not the only person that has a Big B, in fact I am pretty sure I have met your inner B and she isn't somebody I like to talk to very often.

The Big B is just whining, complaining, and dragging me down. She has been in over-drive for weeks and I just wish she'd shut up. She has the worse suggestions for me. "No don't go for a run, just sleep. You work hard you deserve the rest." Or she points out the obvious, "You can't run in snow like that you'll fall down and get hurt."

She also has a way of tapping into my worst emotions: guilt, and self doubt. With this training the guilt is horrible. I just have such limited time (another item Big B reminds me of constantly), and to spend hours running means that I am stealing time from another aspect of my life. Combine that with that I really have to do my running during daylight, and that means that the time is stolen from my family. Silly as it may seem, but spending even one hour away from my daughter while she is awake kills me. It kills me at work, but I deal with that all the time and in general I don't have much freedom in not working. My inner B points out all these things over and over. She also paints a picture of my family doing wonderful things without me as I run in the rain.

The self doubt is brand new for both myself and the inner B. I have never doubted my ability to accomplish something as much as I have lately. And unfortunately negativity doesn't just stop in one area of your life, it spreads out and makes itself comfortable in all the corners and nooks you thought were safe. I just keep hearing over and over, "There is no way you can do this!" with the occassional "Are you crazy?".

In the Big B's (and my) defense, there has been some significant complications to the training for this marathon. Typically we may have a day of snow here in the winter, or even no snow. We have had weeks of snow this year, and two weeks ago we got 16 inches in two days. As well the last 23 of 26 days was colder and more wet than has been recorded in 10 years (I listen to talk radio on the commute). I have also been sick for what feels like December until now, with some type of sinus deal that just won't go away.

All this said, we are purchasing our plane tickets this week. Both my physical self and mental self better shape up here, or I am headed for an injury or an embarrassing long walk along the ocean. I am just keep hoping that the inner B will just shut up and go away, and not come back. I want to be my old determined confident self.

Above you'll see a picture of my support team. I didn't get in much running today (big run will be on Sunday), so after Kate's dinner we went for a quick jog before bath. It was great! The sun was setting, Kate was giggling at the silly terrier that was running next to her and even though the run was short it was upbeat. I really hope this is setting the tone for a peaceful amount of training to come.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Carly Henley Project.

On my way to work today, I was listening to the radio and I heard the following story:


To summarize a young woman took her life last year, and her family started a project after her death to help promote the music that she loved and wrote. Her words are very touching in her music and reflect the inner thoughts of many young women that struggle with confidence and insecurities.

What struck me even more when listening to this story was her father and his voice. The voice of a father who lost his daughter. In his own words, he said that he still thinks everyday if there was something different he could have done.

A wise mommy friend of mine once told me that 'little children, little problems', and 'big children, big problems'. This is one of those cases. For now I worry about when she will eat, when she will talk, but later I will worry why she isn't talking to me and who she is talking to. And how can I protect her from heart break. Your child's safety, well being, and life is always on your mind as a parent. Unfortunately there will be so much out of your control.