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.

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