Monday, August 31, 2009

Hollywood Kisses

I've got tons of work to do tonight, but I have a few quick thoughts:

  • Sam had a FABULOUS PT session tonight, so my spirit was soaring. I wish my spirit could just stay that way, and the PT sessions didn't have the power to make or break my day (depending on how Sammie B does). That's so unfair to her, makes me angry at myself, and makes me feel like the worst mother ever.
  • Tomorrow is the neurologist appointment. Anxiety. 'Nuff Said.
  • Saving the best for last - tonight Sam grabbed both of B's cheeks and pulled him in for a smooch. Bsaid, "Hollywood Kisses" and we all laughed. She was super pleased with herself, and after that, B kept saying "Hollywood Kisses" and she would do it again :o) What a charmer. Our FABULOUS SAMMIE B.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Long time, no blog

It's been a couple of weeks since I wrote much here . . . but its not because I haven't been thinking about blogging. I have been. I've just been a jumble of emotions again, and haven't been able to bring myself to type it all out.

First, the upbeat stuff :o) Two weeks ago, Sammie B and I met two new friends, the mom I connected with via the mommy blog and her daughter that is hypotonic just like our Sammie B. It was SO refreshing for me to see a little girl, almost three, who is doing SO well despite some movement issues/hypotonia early in life. But even more valuable than seeing that was connecting with a mom who truly understands my worries. Who has been right where I am today. Who has had to suit her daughter up in a therapy vest day after day, all the while loathing that damn vest and all that it represented, and just hoping it was worth it. Who has had days where it all seemed okay, and days she couldn't stop the "what-ifs" from creeping in. Such a wonderful connection, and we can't wait to hang out again :o)

Our little family of three had a busy weekend . . . swimming, dinner with friends, a day at the Farmer's Market seeing our friend's singing group perform (the second picture is of Sammie at the farmer's market -- she was watching the performance until I got the camera out and distracted her).

The week ahead is going to be a nervewracking one . . . we have our follow-up appointment with the neurologist (she wanted to see us back in 6 months; I can't believe that time is here already); we have an OT evaluation (we get one monthly) and our regular two PT appointments. The time leading up to these doctor appointments is always horrible for me. I just fear, each time, that we will get some kind of bad news . . . the the rug will get pulled out from under us. And, the anxiety kills me. I can't help but worry. I can't help but obsess. The waiting is the hardest part. And in the appointments, the whole time, I feel tense. . . the doctors/OT/whoever runs through the laundry list of "does she do x? what about y?" and I feel anxious and scared and afraid of what they'll say. I don't like it. Not one bit.

Some recent things that have happened have gotten B and I talking more and more about our experience with parenting. Everyone's experience is unique, I know, but B and I have dealt with adversity we never could have planned on. I've (unhealthy, I know) been allowing myself to go to the "what ifs" again - what if I hadn't worked 70 hour weeks while I was pregnant; what if I hadn't gone to lunch with a friend that day (the day that I went into labor) but instead had stayed home on the couch; what if I hadn't taken the medication to stop pre-term labor . . . what if I'd pushed harder when I was in labor and they hadn't had to use the vaccuum . . . what if what if what if. I KNOW that none of this matters now. I know that science doesn't even back up my irrational fears that I somehow caused Sam's struggles. That I could have somehow prevented them. But sometimes, the what-ifs creep in, and I can't make them go away, no matter how hard I try, or how rational I try to be.

B's perspective (and mine on a healthy-mind day) is that this is Sam's story, and we are writing it together. We don't get to change the beginning, and even if we could, then it wouldn't be Sam's story. I agree . . . I wouldn't change who she is . . . not for anything in the world. But at the same time, I wish I could make the struggling go away. I wish I could make things easier for her. I would do anything in the world to keep her from having to struggle (even though, as B reminds me, she knows nothing different; she's happy; she doesn't know, for instance, that sitting isn't supposed to be this hard!). And sometimes, I just feel so angry with myself for allowing all this worry and panic and anxiety to interfere with my happiness during this precious time that Bean is a baby.

It is Sam's story. I am lucky to be a part of it. But, as I've said before, living a story I don't know the end to, that I can't even really know what the next chapter is, is very very hard for me. So, I struggle. But, we struggle together . . . the three of us. Thank goodness for that. I probably don't say it enough (I know I don't) but I'm so lucky to have B to be the "daddy to my mommy."

I've started following a lot of other mom blogs. There are other moms who've faced adversity like us, and not ended up institutionalized. There are moms who've faced much much worse. And though I don't know them, I learn from them, and for that, I'm thankful.

Sam's been wearing her compression vest most of the time. We put it on her when we dress her, and unless we go somewhere super hot (like the Farmer's Market today), she wears it. We (me, B, nanny) think it's making a difference. Its so hard to tell. She seems to be sitting better, but maybe she's just getting stronger? See the first picture above --- sitting, playing, with NO HANDS!! (I also dig this picture because it captures her little baby mullet we love oh so much). Our feeling is that even if it only helps a tiny tiny bit, its worth doing, because we will give her every advantage possible. But, I hate that vest. Hate it. It's this stupid felt-like thing (made of patented material actually) that comes in three different pieces and is held together with SIXTEEN pieces of velcro. Sixteen. For $500 you'd think they could do better than that. It's a pain in the ass to put on. It makes diaper changes a pain in the ass, and I get irritated every time I do it. I'm not sure if my irritation stems from the "I don't want my child to need this" emotions or just the fact that the thing is really complicated and so not user-friendly. We've borrowed another vest made by another company and its MUCH more user-friendly, so we'll talk to our PT about that as a possibility when we see her this week. Perhaps then I could get through a diaper change with out cussing out the manufacturer of the vest in my head each time.

Our PT was out of town this week, and I'm surprised by how much I missed the appointments. Maybe we didn't plan on it, but the physical therapy appointments and our physical therapist have become a part of our lives. Part of Sam's story.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Growing Girl and a Mom Toooooo Tired for Words

We had a big, wonderful weekend filled with old friends and new. I'm way too tired to detail all the events, so I'll save that for another night. For now, I just thought I'd post a few pictures. The top is one that Sammie B's nanny took of her enjoying lunch :o) All smiles. The second is a picture that just amazes me. I'd noticed that our Bean's pants were getting shorter (case-in-point, third picture) so Sunday, I ran by the Gap to pick up a few pairs of the next size. When I held them up in the store, I thought, "these are so big, no way will they fit her." But, lo and behold, I came home and held them up to her and they were JUST RIGHT. I was amazed. So, I ran and grabbed the first sleeper she ever wore, to compare. And then I took a picture. I cannot believe how much this little girl has grown in her eleven months (today) on the planet. The next picture is just a picture that B took one day after he got home from work, and the last two . . . well, they are just of our Bean in the cutest, most appropriate t-shirt ever (from a fabulous friend!) - it says, "What are you looking at four-eyes?"

I'll save the more serious ramblings for another night. Must.get.sleep.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Missing my Bean

I'm traveling for work. Again. This is my third trip in less than three weeks. And, while all of them are short, I am still having such a hard time being away from my Sammie B. B keeps telling me "its just a couple of days." True. But, I still WANT to be home with her. Going to her crib and seeing her smiling up at me each morning is such a fabulous way to start each day. Waking up alone in a hotel room after just a couple hours of sleep and working 15 hour days -- not so fabulous.

I called tonight and talked to Sammie B on the phone. B said she was smiling at the phone. I told her good-night and I made kissy noises, and I told her I'd see her tomorrow. She squealed with delight at my kissy noises. Someday, she'll be a little girl saying back to me, "good night" and "see you tomorrow." For now, she's just a tiny little bean making her little babbles and squeals, and I wish I was there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A letter to my daughter

In law school, one of my favorite professors shared with the class a letter he’d written to his son the night before his first law-school final (the professor’s first final, not the son’s - his son was very little at the time). I thought it was the sweetest thing ever, and I can only imagine how much his now-grown son loves looking back at the letters his father wrote him over his life. I started this blog as sort of a letter to Samantha, but also just an outlet for me and my emotions as I navigate the beginning part of my journey as a mom. The blog has probably become more of the latter than the former, so I think its time for a letter to Samantha. Plus, I've been following a lot of other "mommy blogs" and the letter to the babes entries are always so touching and I feel like I write these letters in my head all the time, so its time to put one on paper (or a screen).

Dear Samantha (a/k/a Bean, Bug, Sammie B, itty-bitty, mini-b):

Just a few nights ago, you woke up (we think from teething, though you like to keep us guessing) in the middle of the night, and daddy put you in bed with us. There is nothing I love more than having you sleeping in bed with me and Daddy. I laid in bed and just watched you sleeping and thought, “I could lay here like this, watching her, forever.” I’m so head over heels in love with you, sometimes it overwhelms me.

This week, we moved you into a bigger size of diapers, and to bigger pacifiers. I’m also starting to plan your first birthday party. I cannot believe how fast time has gone. It seems like only yesterday you were born and we held you (all five pounds of you) for the first time. This first year (ten months so far) has been magical for me and daddy. We often look at you and comment to each other, “can you believe she’s ours?” Ours to love - FOREVER! Actually, tonight we sat and had dinner together -- the three of us, daddy and I at the table, and you in your high chair, and I said, “can you believe we have this little bean here with us?” And daddy said, “isn’t it funny that someday it will be you and me sitting here with teenagers at the dinner table with us?” Its fun to dream about those days in our future, but at the same time, we are so enjoying our time with you . . . and our little family of three.

If I had to explain this first year in one word (besides magical, wonderful, etc.) I would call it intense. We’ve had quite a journey. From your pre-term birth, to your short stay in the NICU, to beginning physical therapy, your eye surgery, mommy and daddy trying to figure out how to ‘do it all’ - work full-time and still be the best parents to you that we can be, etc., its been intense. I love you more intensely than I never knew possible. But along with that intense love comes intense worry, and each day, I work on how to grapple with that worry without being paralyzed by it. Maybe one day you will be a mommy and I will comfort you with stories of how much I worried during your first year of life, the way my mom has comforted me with stories of my first year.

So, there’s intense love. Intense worry. And there’s also intense joy. Seriously, you bring so much joy into every moment of your daddy’s and my life. Your smiles are infectious. All that daddy has to do is look at you and you burst into a gummy little grin. You do the same for Duder, your doggie. And then there are the giggles. Whenever we do something that earns one of your silly, girly little giggles, we will do it again and again and again, just to hear more. We never get tired of those giggles. And when something is so fun that it warrants more than a giggle -- then you squeal with delight. We love all of your little faces and your sounds.

I cannot always remember when you started doing certain things, but we’ve certainly watched your personality evolve over time. We think you have a fabulous sense of humor and we even love the little temper tantrums you’ve started having. When we take a toy out of your hand, you get so angry these days. Even in your anger, you are unbelievably cute, and we can’t help but smile. Last week, I bought you a book when we were in the grocery store (“B is for Bear”) and let you hold it in the store. When we got out to the car, I took it away from you so I could put you in your car seat. You immediately started crying and flailing around. I couldn’t help but smile. Of course, I gave that book right back to you, and then we shared a smile :o)

Right now, the things you find the funniest are us kissing your feet (and you holding them up for us to kiss), tickling your tummy, making you fly through the air like an airplane at either me or daddy, screaming (you LOVE to have screaming contests, and we’ve been lucky enough to catch one on video), playing peek-a-boo, giving high-fives, seeing yourself (and us) in mirrors, taking off mommy's glasses, and mommy and daddy running toward you making funny sounds or faces. I've read that this means you’ve figured out the feeling of “anticipation” -- you know that running at you saying “I’m going to get you” means you are about to get tickled or kissed. Regardless what it means, you love it. And we love it.

From the moment you realized your little mouth could make sounds, you’ve been a babbler. Those sounds have evolved over time (from only vowel sounds like “oooohhhhh” to consonants like “mmmmm” to combinations like “maaaaaa”) and we love hearing your babbling. Everyone that is around you for any length of time comments on what a little talker you are. Recently there’s been more “dadada” and “mamama” and these just melt our hearts. You have also said “bye bye” twice -- once when GiGi said “ready to go bye bye?” and once when your nanny said “bye bye.” You don’t say words often, but the makings of your first words are there, and we can’t wait to hear all that you have to say.

Besides noticing that you are a chatterbox, people also notice that you are an observer. Daddy and I love watching you look at and try to understand new things. When we show you something new, your little forehead wrinkles and you raise your eyebrows so that they peek out from above your cute lavender glasses and you study whatever it is we’ve shown you. Your little face is so expressive, and we love every expression you have.

My favorite time with you is the mornings. Since the very beginning, we decided daddy would be the primary bedtime person, and I would take mornings. I love going in to get you out of your crib first thing in the morning. Your face lights up when you see me, and you wrap your little arms around my neck when I pick you up and I swear, it doesn’t matter how tired I am in those moments, my heart melts. Every single day. You actually wake up babbling. In fact, when you (occasionally) wake up crying, I know that you aren’t really ready to get up for the day. Those are the days I just change your diaper and put you in bed with me and you go back to sleep for an hour or so and then wake up babbling. And that’s when we know you are ready to face the day :o)

I think your favorite places are your high chair and mine and daddy’s bed. I think you like your view of the world from the high chair . . . you always have plenty of smiles, giggles and squeals for us from there. And, you love our bed just as much as I like having you in it. I’d let you sleep in it all the time if we weren’t afraid of bad habits. But on special occasions (like weekend mornings) you get to sleep in our bed, and I think you sleep your most peacefully there. You love to sleep on your side, facing toward either me or daddy - like with our noses almost touching. We love it too, and we love to watch you sleep snuggled up like that! Sometimes, on daddy’s Fridays days off, he puts you in bed with him in the mornings, and it kills me to walk out the door and go to work and leave my two favorite people on earth snuggling without me. But, I know those days are special daddy-Sammie days, and I’m so happy you have them. You have a very special daddy, and even though I get a little jealous sometimes, I’m happy that the two of you get to spend those special Fridays together. Daddy loves those Fridays too!

That brings me to one last “favorite thing.” I love when daddy dresses you. I went crazy over baby clothes while I was pregnant with you. I thought I’d dress you in cutesy tootsie outfits all the time. But then, you were born, and I discovered I’m actually pretty practical when it comes to baby clothes. I generally put you in just a onesie. A cute onesie of course, but something simple. And, I never bother with shoes. On daddy’s days alone with you, I always come home to find you dressed to the nines my little girl. He puts you in these perfectly coordinating little outfits, complete with perfectly coordinating shoes. I love it. Like everything else you do, and all that daddy does, seeing the outfits he picks out makes my heart flutter! We are both so lucky that you have such a fabulous daddy -- I can't wait to watch as your relationship with him grows over time.

My little Bean. You are magical. You are beautiful. You are funny. You are perfect. You are mine. And I am so happy to be your mommy.

With more love than you could ever imagine,


Our Weekend

We had a great weekend. I tried something new this weekend --- when I left work on Friday I told myself that I wouldn't be sad or resentful or angry that I had to work on the weekend (which I knew I would) but that I'd just do my best to ENJOY every second that I wasn't working. And that's what I did. . . Friday night B and I had a date night -- a cooking class, which was SUPER FUN. We really had a wonderful time. The classmates were not very social or outgoing which was kind of a bummer, but B and I really just chatted through the whole thing, and had a great time. Sammie B was with our most fabulous friends Matt & Renee - though it was our first time leaving her at someone else's house, and she FREAKED OUT which is pretty sad, but all survived :o) And, I got the biggest smiles EVER when we got there to pick her up.

Saturday B had a meeting, so Sammie and I had a girls' day -- we met friends (old and new!) at the park and then hit up TJs for some groceries (cooking class inspired me). Then we came home and played for while before B got home, then the whole fam took a really long walk to another park before making dinner and sitting down to a nice family dinner together :o) It was a great Saturday.

Sunday, I worked -- but only after a cuddly morning with Sammie B in our bed :o) It sucked to work, but it had to be done, and I'm glad I enjoyed my Saturday. Maybe that's the answer to my struggle to the work/life issue -- try my hardest to just give 100% of myself to whatever I'm doing in the moment. If I'm at work, try to give 100% to that; if I'm at home do the same instead of constantly wishing I was at home with Sam when I'm at work; or fretting about work when I'm with her. The nature of my job is that it always comes home with me. I don't get to clock out and come home and forget about work until the next day because I'm always expected to be checking the blackberry, there's always more I could be doing, etc., and because there's spill over in that direction (work into home) its also natural that I find myself distracted by home at work sometimes. Always a struggle. But maybe if I can try to focus on where I am in the moment, I will find myself both more productive at work and happier when I'm home (instead of feeling resentful when I'm home that I don't get more time at home).

While I worked today, B took Sammie for a long walk, and then they went to Target together. She's in a total "smitten with daddy" mood lately. All he has to do is look at her, and she just BEAMS. It is SOOOOOO cute :o) Then we had another (home cooked, or grilled, actually) dinner before bathtime/bedtime.

Even with a little work thrown in, I had a fabulous weekend . . . so maybe if I can put this new attitude into practice, there will be more days like this, and less of the days full of the work/life balance struggle that never seems to end.

Sammie B's Therapy Vest

As promised, pictures of Sammie B in her therapy vest. If we purchase one, it would go under her clothes, but the jury is still out on that . . . . B and I are doing our due diligence first!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Strabismus Surgery Update and More

We took Sammie B to her one-month follow-up appointment with Super Doctor from the strabismus surgery. B and I were both worried that he'd say that she had to have the surgery again (always a 20% chance) because we felt like she was still crossing her eyes sometimes (though not as much). BUT, her doctor thinks her eyes look GREAT . . . and the remaining crossing is simply her brain learning the new position of her eyes (incredible how our brains work, right?). So that was GREAT news. SUPER DOCTOR was SUPER PLEASED and so are we!

Of course, Sammie B can't seem to catch a break, so in other news . . . there's the rash. A few weeks ago, she started getting these little bumps, which at first we just thought were pimples, but then she got a few on her hand, so we got worried. Our nanny took her to the doctor while I was out of town, but because our pediatrician is out (having strabismus surgery actually!) she had to see someone else in the practice. He looked the bumps over, and wasn't concerned. He thought she probably got some sort of bug bite at the park or something and had a reaction. So, he sent us home with instructions to use cortisone cream, and we did. It occurred to me that the bumps started right around the same time we added wheat and dairy to her diet (which we did within about a week of each other) so on a whim, I decided to just take them both out of her diet again. Rash cleared up, and we assumed it was the cortisone cream . . . until we gave her something with wheat in it yesterday and . . . bumps are back. SERIOUSLY?!!! A wheat allergy on top of everything else? I know, not a big deal, but another worry. When we saw Super Doctor today, he immediately noticed the rash, and we told him the story. He said it didn't look like bug bites or a food allergy to him but that we should keep wheat out of the diet awhile longer, add it back in after her rash is clear again, and see what happens. He said you should always do the diet change twice if you suspect a food allergy, to rule out coincidence. AND, if its not a food allergy -- he told us he'd get us in to see his wife -- who coincidentally is also a pediatric dermatologist, and he promised us -- there's no rash she can't solve! So, another specialist to the collection. I'm hoping it is a fluke thing and we don't need her. The rash doesn't seem to bother Sammie B at all. She doesn't notice it. But she does kind of look like she needs some Baby Proactive or something!!!

Last night Sammie B had a good PT session . . . but I didn't!!! The PT suggested a compression vest for Sammie to wear a few hours a day to help her with her balance. I don't know why, but it really upset me. She looked ADORABLE in the vest (and besides, it would go under her clothes) and I know this isn't about vanity, but for whatever reason, it threw me for a loop. Maybe because its a physical reminder that my Bean isn't "typically" developing? We aren't sold on going with the vest yet anyway -- though we THINK Sammie seemed more stable during PT while she was wearing it, we aren't totally sure since the vest wasn't her exact size AND she's been seeming more stable anyway. So . . . before we spring for a vest of her own (at the tune of $500!!) our PT is going to see if she can borrow one Sammie's size, we are going to talk to our doctor about her thoughts on it, AND we are going to talk to an OT we know about her thoughts. It is silly of me to get so upset - if its something that will help Sammie, of course we'll do it. I just had a moment. Cried. Whined. Said, "its just not fair that our baby has to go through this" to B (and he reminded me that many other babies go through worse, which is true and important to remember amidst my pity parties).

I also got online to my favorite LA mommy site and did a search for "compression vest" and found a post from a woman over a year ago that wrote that her daughter who had low muscle tone was doing PT and using a compression vest. I sent her a message, and got one back from her today with her phone number asking me to call her so we could talk. I did . . . and am so glad I did. Her little girl is almost 3, has done PT since she was 1, used the compression vest for about a year and a half, and is doing FABULOUSLY now. She no longer wears the vest. The ONLY assistance she uses now is a super low profile insert in her shoe to help with her balance. . . but she's walking. She does PT only once a week now and is in a gymnastics class to continue to work on motor skills and in the words of her mother "charms the world, and no one would EVER know that she has any developmental delay issues." SO SO encouraging. It felt wonderful to talk to someone that truly truly understands my feelings and worries. Who knows that there are good days and bad days and days where the worry just won't stop. We may even plan a play date, which is great. The mommy site I use has just been such an incredible resource for me, and I've met some incredible women through that site.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I choose you

I read this on another blog I read, and I think it is beautiful. I hope its true. I hope I'm worthy of being Sammie B's mommy . . . I will give all that I have (along with Daddy B of course) to help her fulfill her greatest potential and life's purpose:
"Did you ever wonder how a child ended up with a specific mother? According to Sufi mysticism, the soul of the child looks down at the world and sees every soul that resides in every woman. When he finds the one that will be able to help him fulfill his life's purpose, he makes his choice. The relationship between the mother and child is no accident."
I think I like the Sufis ;o)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Fun Day with Sammie B and Family

(These pictures should have posted in the reverse order . . . but you get the idea . . . Sammie playing peek-a-boo or "Where's Samantha?" as we call it. I can just hear her squeals of delight when I see these pictures).

We started the morning with a snuggly baby in our bed . . . Sammie B got up at 5 am b/c she was soaked through her diaper, and by the time I changed her jammies, she was WIDE AWAKE and giggling. She's been sleeping MUCH better lately, even with her new tooth emerging, but B and I always say we know we're in trouble when we have to go in to her in the middle of the night and her eyes are wide open . . . SO, at 5 am, we put her in bed with us, and slept together until just past eight. Best way to start a family day! Then, B took Aunt Stacey to the airport while Sammie B and I had a bath and got ready for my friend Amber's baby shower. I ran out to buy a gift while B and Bean played and then the girls went to the shower while B lounged by the pool. Sammie was a huge hit at the shower, and met many of my work friends (and didn't even cry when I passed her off to a friend so I could run to the restroom -- which is good -- sometimes she cries when new people hold her and B and I are both out of her line of sight).

Then I came home to FLOWERS and dinner! B made dinner!! And, I think for the first time since Sam was born, we ate at our dining room table. (Well, we've eaten there when people have been over, but not just us). Ever since Sam was born, the dining room table has become a repository for her diaper bag, my purse, bibs, toys, car seat, etc., . . . and we've taken to just eating dinner either in our den on the couch or at our breakfast bar in the kitchen, usually in shifts while one of us plays with Sam. We are both so busy, we've just sort of let "dinner" become solely about eating, and not about spending time talking about our day. With Sam eating food these days, it just makes sense to start working family meal time back in (even if its frozen meals, which I'm sure many many nights, it will be). She can sit in her high-chair next to us while we all eat together. First family dinner was a success! And after dinner, we all went for a walk with the Duder. More niceness! We've had SO much going on, its been hard for B and I to find time to talk. And, I think much of the time, we both have so much going on in our heads with Sam, our jobs, etc., and we are both so tired that it can feel like its too much work to say much out loud. But, over the last few weeks, we've really begun to talk more about what we see ourselves doing long-term and what our long-term vision for our little family is. The good thing is, we are totally on the same page. We both feel like having Sam has shifted what we want from life in ways we didn't necessarily expect, and has perhaps changed what we see ourselves doing 5 years from now. Because the vision is slightly different from what we would have predicted we'd want, we may have to re-define our path to get there. But, we'll work at doing that together.

While I was gone last week, B had a talk with our PT about what the instructor of that training class said after our session with her (i.e. what the follow-up discussion was) and it threw us both for a loop. She commented on how "shaky" or "jerky" a lot of Sam's movements are (which I think we know, but b/c there's been such an improvement over how shaky she was, we don't notice it as much anymore and plus, we've been so focused on the progress). I think both of our knee-jerk reactions was to worry (B didn't tell me until I was back from the work trip) and to think "shit, do we need to go back to the neurologist?" But, after letting it sink in, we remembered all the stuff the doctors have told us, and calmed down. But, I'm sort of back at "maybe Sam does have a movement disorder." No one has ever conclusively ruled that out, they've just told us they don't think so and that they'd wait to do any sort of MRI or anything . . . the difference now, as opposed to four months ago, is that when I think this, I don't feel like crawling under a table and sobbing. Instead I'm just kind of like, "hmmm. maybe . . . " and then I move on. I mean, even if she does have something that may have more long-term effects than just a benign low muscle tone issue, it doesn't matter. We are doing what we need to do to help her with her movement and the progress is there, even if some days it feels slow. And, we'll check back in with the neurologist in a few months. This is a tough journey we are on, with some unknowns. But, I think B and I are really starting to feel a little more comfortable with the unknowns, for a couple of reasons. First, there are ALWAYS unknowns in life, particularly as parents. I mean, my parents COULDN'T have known how my brother and I would turn out. That's part of what we sign up for as parents. Second, we are just learning to live life a little more day-to-day and not worry so much about planning five years from now. (This probably all applies much more to me, even though I'm saying "we" -- B has just generally been better than me at just living one day at a time through all of this). I think if you'd have asked us a year ago where we'd be five years from now, what our life would look like, etc., we would have told you with great detail, and thought we knew. Now, our answer is just, "who knows? BUT we know we'll be together . . . our little family . . . " Somehow, learning to live that way is much more freeing than constantly worrying about what five years from now will look like.

I'm getting better and more comfortable answering questions about Sam and milestones (the seemingly innocent, "is she crawling yet?" questions). If I don't feel like talking about it, I just say, "no, she was born early, so she's a little behind." That's an easy answer, because people understand it. Sometimes, when I try to say something about "low muscle tone" people think I'm off my rocker . . . because most people have no clue what I'm talking about. So, "born early' seems easiest. But, sometimes, I'm more forthcoming. A lot of people ask why we switched from daycare to nanny, and I no longer feel like crying when I answer . . . I am much more matter-of-fact . . . "Sam is delayed in her motor skills, so she's going through physical therapy with an early intervention program, and we wanted her to have the one-on-one attention a nanny could give." I think talking about "delay" scares some people, and I was uncomfortable with the word at first, but I will not deny what we are going through. It's our journey. It is Sammie B's journey. Its become such a part of our lives, and honestly, the actual PT sessions are something that I look forward to!

The pictures above were from tonight - a little game of peek-a-boo. While my sister-in-law was in town, she commented that we know so much about milestones. (i.e. I know that playing peek-a-boo is a HUGE cognitive milestone, and I cried the day that Sam first played it). We do. We know more about child development than we ever thought we would . . . and while there's a lot of fear and worry that's driven our quest for knowledge, we'll never take any of Sammie B's milestones for granted. [And, by the way, her newest "trick" is giving high-fives. She's pretty timid about it, but if we hold up our hand and say "high-five" she breaks into a grin and slowly brings her hand up to touch ours. Cutest.thing.ever. And, today I noticed that if I say "Dude" she turns to look for her dude - Thor - and smiles when she sees him. ] To many, these are all just cute little baby things. . . and they are that to us too . . . but they are also signs that our Bean, cognitively, is right on target, and that makes the worry about the motor skills a little easier to handle.

I'm not sure that I'm articulating my thoughts and feelings very well tonight. I'm in a good place. I had a great day with B and our Bean; we shared many giggles and smiles, a great family dinner/walk/talk. A fabulous day!

Too bad the weekend is ending, and I must trade the diaper bag in for the computer bag :o( tomorrow.

Playing in the Sand . . .

Our PT gave us official homework - to take Sammie B to the beach and play in the sand. So, while Aunt Stacey was in town this weekend, we did just that . . . and we all had a great time! And, of course, Sammie B looks adorable in her new tie-dyed onesie Aunt Stacey brought her from Cleveland.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Third post of the night . . . big times!

Sammie B's newest food --- COTTAGE CHEESE!!! She liked it!!!

And, in other news, which I forgot in my last post, SAMMIE B HAS HER FIRST TOOTH!!! B called me on Thursday while I was away and said, "Our little Samantha has a tooth!!!" Yep, mama goes out of town and she sprouts her first tooth. She hasn't been sleeping well, and we've been going 'round and 'round about what to do. B was for the "cry-it-out" approach. I'm opposed. Pediatrician thought it could be transition after surgery and said NOT to do the cry-it-out thing, but we were both exhausted and just beside ourselves (though its gotten MUCH better . . . we are back to getting up just once a night for a few seconds, instead of multiple times and staying up longer). BUT, I think the tooth explains it!!! It's not a full tooth yet, but you can feel and see it. I couldn't wait to get home from my trip and see it with my own eyes!!!

I bought homeopathic teething tablets today that many friends have recommended so hopefully, as this thing pushes further and further through her gums, she can get some relief AND daddy can get some sleep while I'm away! I can't imagine how much it must hurt her!!! And to think of how many MORE teeth we have to get in!!!

Sammie B's Loves an Audience!

Today, Sammie B was the model baby used during a PT training class that I mentioned a few posts ago. Per my usual, I worried leading up to it that the instructor would say something about Sam that would send me into another tailspin of worry. And, we (me and B) both figured Sammie B would fuss during the class. Even with our PT, she fusses at the beginning each time. Its HARD work for her!! Our PT likens it to a really tough trip to the gym for us. Sam's PT came to support us (how nice, right?!) and she told the instructor before it started that Sam sometimes takes awhile to warm up and stop fussing and that she's stingy with her smiles during therapy.

Well, in true Bean style, she shocked us all. She did AMAZINGLY. No real fussing. Moved well, and just generally did a great job. And, she clearly LOVES having an audience. We were in the center of a big play gym, and the 18 students were surrounding us. Every now and then, Sam would notice them, and just stop what she was doing and flash a huge smile. Such a little crowd-pleaser. SOOOOOO stinking cute. When she smiled, you could hear the "awwwwww's" going through the class!

After we left, the class & instructor were going to discuss the treatment session. For whatever reason, that gave B and I both pause . . . its just uncomfortable. Almost like if they are going to be talking about the Bean, OUR Bean, we WANT to be there. But, that's what we signed up for. Our PT stayed for the discussion though even though she wasn't in the class. I think that says a LOT about her . . . and her commitment to Sammie. Sam has her regular PT tomorrow, so B will get to talk to our PT about the discussion. We both feel like this was just a wonderful opportunity. We love our PT, but its always nice to sort of get someone else's take on things, and new/fresh ideas. So, we are excited that our PT was there, and that she stayed after to participate in the discussion about our Bean.

The pictures above are from the class -- Sammie B is wearing nothing but her diaper and her birthday suit so that the class could better watch her movements. And, let's face it --- Sammie's birthday suit is the cutest!

After the class, we went out to lunch, and then to Babies R Us for diapers. All in all a GREAT day.

I also had a fantastic day with Sammie B yesterday while B and our friend Matt painted our extra bedroom. I got in from Cincinnati late Friday after Sam was already sleeping. When she woke up Saturday am at 6:20, I put her in bed with us, and she slept (we slept -- all three of us) until after 9. It was fabulous. Then we all went to breakfast; Sammie and I took a long walk; then I had to work for about an hour to tie up loose ends from my trip so Sammie played in the floor next to me for a bit; then we took a trip to Whole Foods to stock up on babe food (where she proceeded to have the BIGGEST public melt-down we've had in months. I had her in the Ergo carrier on me, and she wanted OUT . . . I hadn't used that in awhile, and she kept pushing away from me b/c she just wanted to be FREE. Once I took it off, and just held her, she was fine b/c she could move around more, but it was quite an event - I heard people on their cell phones in the store saying, "I'll call you back," and looking toward me with my screaming Bean!); then home for more quality mama-baby time (including our usual mama-baby bath) before bed.

SOOOOOOO the bad news is that I'm headed BACK to Cincinnati tomorrow for three more days away from my family. Stinks. I cried (again) today about having to go . . . .BUT, (and it pains me to ever say that B might have been right about something ;o)) as B said it would be before I left, I think the time away was good for me in some very very small way . . . good for me to be in my "work groove" for a few days (to remember how when I hit that groove, I kick ass and take names) AND to be forced to sort of let go of a little of the control in the parental sphere and let B be daddy for a few days (yes, admittedly, me = control freak about 95% of the time; I'm working on it!). BUT, it was SO SO SO hard to be away, and its going to be SO SO SO hard to be away again this week. Last week, I noticed EVERY baby EVERY where I went, and just longed for my own little Bean. Tonight, I made a video of me and Sammie for B to show her each night while I'm away!!!

I'm flying out tomorrow at 3, so I'll stay home in the am to hang with her and have some good quality time with my Bean before I have to jet . . . . and I'm sure I will look at her pictures 8 million times while I'm gone, and my heart will ache when I pass babies in the airport, hotel, etc. just like last week while I was away (thankfully, our nanny is a frequent texter/emailer and keeps the pictures coming!). Such is life I suppose.

Sleeping Beauty

I snapped these pictures Monday morning before Sammie B woke up. How cute is she??? And oh my how much she looks like ME in my baby pictures!!!

The white thing next to her head is just a sock filled with rice. Our doctor recommended using it as a sleep positioner several months ago, but as you can see, it is pretty useless now since she moves herself off of it.

I see these pictures and I just want to reach into my computer screen and snuggle her!!