Welcome to my blog! The posts are listed by date, with the most recent on top. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feeling Crappy About Preschools

Okay, that f 'ing sucked!!  Zach and I just went to visit a preschool that supposedly accepts kids with special needs.  The minute I walked in I wanted to cry, scream and run out of there.  The place is beautiful, filled with arts and crafts, a vegetable garden, books, everything natural, organic and perfect.  You could see the different projects kids were working on: clay, wires, watercolors.  It was aesthetically pleasing, it felt homey and like the perfect school environment for a kid.  But would it be right for our kid?  I started tearing up and that's when I wanted to RUN OUT OF THERE!!!!!

Miles is awesome, Miles is doing very well....for a kid with Ds.  Would Miles do well in this kind of environment that's child-led not teacher-led?  Would Miles be able to perform any of the activities with his poor fine motor skills?  Or are his skills good enough to follow along?  Would he run around screaming and pushing other children or would he be able to follow along?  Would he actually grow and flourish here or would he just flounder?  This would have been an awesome environment for me to grow up in, but is it right for him?

My gut told me no.  In my gut, I believe he needs more one on one attention to really do well.  He needs to be with other typical children, but have more close guidance.  But then I wonder, am I limiting him and not seeing his full potential because of my own fears and inadequacies? Or are Zach and I deluded in thinking that he could do well in this school just because we would love to see him in this school.  Maybe we want him to be something he's not.  I just can't f 'ing tell and I'm so sad and confused about it all.

After the lady finished giving us the shpeal on the school we went up to ask questions about kids with special needs, etc.  Well, as it turns out, they are open to having a child with special needs, but they have never had one...since 1978!  It's never been the right match.  The indignant part of me thought, "well that's because you haven't met Miles!" The other part of me thought, "there's never been the right match because our kids aren't ready for this environment."  Ugh!!!  We kept talking and I could feel myself alternate between being defensive and giving up on my child.  I wanted to be open and positive but I just felt....crappy.  I felt crappy. 

We walked out and both Zach and I had a little cry.  Why are we doing this to ourselves?  There are perfectly good public preschools with programs especially designed for our kids, why can't we just be okay with that?  Because we want more.  Because we wouldn't send our "typical" child to a public school so we need to see if there are other options for Miles.  But in wanting the best for him, maybe we are overlooking what is best for him.  Or not.  Argh!!  Crap crap crap. 

Yep, I can see that this is one of many challenges to come and I ain't prepared for this shit!  Not yet.  But I'll arm myself with information and use my intuition.  The answer will reveal itself....right?  right? Crap.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amazing Women

When I was little I often wished that I was a boy.  I didn't want to go through the painful things that women had to go through: menstruation and child birth.  I felt that boys were so lucky because they would never have to go through those two dreaded things and I thought my life would be so much easier if I was a boy.  I always had close girlfriends, but I loved hanging out with the boys.  They were so much easier to be with. And once I started having boyfriends, it was all about boys for a long time.  I still had my girlfriends, but I always hung out with the boys.  Now, eighteen years later I can say with all my heart that I am so happy to be a woman.  I feel lucky that I get to experience carrying a baby, having a baby, being a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend to other women.  And I am happy to say that although I still love men, especially my two main men (Zach & Miles), I love to hang out with women.  I prefer to be surrounded by that empowering, courageous, strong spirit of women.  And that's exactly what I did today as I participated in a Baby Blessing and Welcoming Circle for myself and eight other friends who are all mothers and the majority of us pregnant a second time.  I was completely moved and inspired by each and every single one of these brave women who opened up their hearts and shared their fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams, needs and inadequacies.  They all reminded me that I'm not in this alone and that I am enough as I am at this very moment. 

See, I've had a tough time truly connecting to the baby girl growing inside of me right now.  With Miles, it was a breeze.  I did everything "right".  I didn't eat cold cuts or soft cheeses, I took all my vitamins religiously, I did yoga four times a week and kept active while giving myself all the rest I needed.  I had so much time to luxuriate in everything he and I needed that I felt physically and emotionally connected to him and my spiritual self.  This time around, I feel like I've been neglecting myself and the baby in my belly.  I am disorganized, tired, and constantly racing against the clock to get things done.  I barely exercise, I often don't eat well, I forget to take my prenatal vitamins, I drink caffeine and I don't get enough sleep.  I don't sit and meditate daily or talk to my baby or take long walks by myself.  It's just a different experience because my life is in a different place right now.  And although I understand that, I can't help but feel guilty.  And I think the guilt stems from the fact that maybe I'm kinda being a little "bad" with this pregnancy on purpose.  Maybe there's a little bit of anger and resentment inside of me at the unfairness of life because even though I did everything right with Miles, he didn't come out "perfect".  Meanwhile I had friends who did all the bad things during their pregnancies and their babies came out fine.  So if I'm a little bad this time around, my baby will come out without any problems this time,  right?  Whatever, that's my messed up reasoning!!  And I know it's messed up, but somewhere in my subconscious I really feel this way.  Or do I?
I don't know, but that's why I've been feeling so guilty and like I'm not a good mother and being hard on myself for just about everything. 

Point is, being in this Baby Blessing Circle today reminded me that I am not alone in all my fears and anxieties, my feelings of guilt.  As women and mothers, we share similar feelings and thoughts and we need each other to find our strength and courage during those rough moments.   Being a part of the circle allowed me to reconnect with my love for myself and let go of some the negative feelings that can bring me down.  I feel incredibly grateful to this loving group of women who have supported me these last two years and for all the other amazing women in my life, including those who came before me and who helped me be the woman I am today.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Miles is a one lucky dude!  He's got six grandparents (my parents are divorced and remarried), who shower him with love and attention.  And he is soaking it up.   In fact, he's starting to be demand the attention quite a bit.  Uh-oh!  Three of the grandparents live in LA, near us.  One flies in at least once a month and the other two try to see him twice a year.  The grandparents play with him, cuddle him, give him ice cream and don't make him nap if he doesn't want to.  He loves it. 

Right now the Panamanian grandparents are visiting and have been with us for a week.  Miles is over the moon.  It's like my typically calm child gets an extra set of batteries and he's the energizer bunny.  He loves playing with my dad and hates eating or napping.  He's on high energy the whole time.  It's awesome to see him so excited, but winding him down is a problem.  He gets so defiant with me.  He'll throw his food in my face, yell when we're not playing with him, whine about anything, and kick me when I pull him away for a bath or nappy change.  It's frustrating and my patience has been tested severely! I just keep telling myself, "This too shall pass". 

I know Miles will be sad when my dad and stepmom leave.  And I will be too.  Although it's difficult to have our routine disrupted, it's worth it to have Miles bond with his grandparents.  Each one of them loves him dearly and they each share their own special bond with him.  It's beautiful and I feel so lucky that they are all able to be a part of his life, share in his growth and development and give us the support that we all need as a family.  Miles is not the only lucky one....

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Steps!

Miles has reached a plateau.  Or should I say had.  I'm afraid to say he had because maybe I'm just getting overly excited and in reality he's gonna be stuck in this plateau for another 2 months!  I don't know.  Okay, what am I talking about?  His first steps!!  He really seemed to be walking today.  More than 3 or 4 steps and without any prompting from us or his PT or his daycare teacher.  He wanted to practice his standing and walking today and so he did!!!  And he did lots of it.  And it was pretty good by the end of the day.  He wasn't just falling flat on his face after 3 steps, but walking up to 7 or 8 steps with graded control.  Holy crap!!!!!  Is he about to start walking?  Well, yes.  Obviously this is the beginning of it.  But how long until he's really honestly walking all the time?  That's where I'm getting ahead of myself and why I don't want to get too excited.  He's taking steps and I'm wondering when he's going to walk for real.

See, it's been about two months since he's been taking a few steps and standing by himself for 3-4 seconds.  So Two months ago, I thought he'd be walking.  Today he decided to stand up for longer periods of time, walk more steps and do it all because he wanted to!  So I'm getting excited all over again, thinking he'll be walking in two weeks...but it could be another two months.  And yes, that's okay, that's fine, I know he'll do it eventually.  But when you've been waiting for your child to pass a milestone for this long a time, trust me, you just want him to pass it!  I want to celebrate.  I want to catch it on video and post it up for the world to see just like all my other friends where doing a year ago when their typical children started walking.

And that's not the only milestone he seems to be reaching, he has also been a total chatterbox lately.  Not just using his sign language, but his words!!  Miles can say:  bird, ball, bubbles, dada, up, book, stop, go, hi and my two favorite words he can say: uh-oh and wow!  His understanding of language has also gone up dramatically.  I can tell him simple things like, "legs up" and he'll put his legs up.   I'll ask him,"Quieres leche o agua" ("Do you want milk or water?") and he'll sign the one he wants. He tells me when he sees a car or hears a dog bark.  He's constantly pointing at birds and signing while saying "bird".  We are communicating using sign language and words, both in Spanish and in English and it's just so exciting!  His babbling is getting more and more complex where he'll point at things and talk and ask questions in his babble and I know he's saying real things.  I just can't understand him yet.  How gratifying it will be when he can tell me what's on his mind and I can understand him.  I want to know what he's thinking and saying and boy those he have a lot to say!

Miles' PT told me a while back that most kids will usually walk first and then talk or vice versa because of where they choose to put their focus.  For some reason, Miles seems to put his focus on both things at once.  And so he has these huge breakthroughs both physically and cognitively, followed by long plateaus where nothing seems to happen.  But it is a pattern I've noticed and I just have to keep remembering that and having the patience to wait him out.  So maybe he is going to walk real soon, maybe he's not.  Either way, I know it's coming and it's close enough that I can taste it!

Here's a list of Miles' current sign language words:
book, read, bird, ball, bubbles, dad, monkey, dog, car, bicycle, more,
boy, all done, milk, water, train, music, bear, apple, stop, go, and fish.

There's a few others that are emerging and some which I'm forgetting, but it's over 20 words!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Something I've Learned

It seems foolish for me to complain about the little problems in my life when there are so many real problems going on around the world.  So I try not to.  I try to put it all in perspective and see that really I don't have much to complain about, but much to be thankful for.  I am incredibly blessed in my life and I do appreciate it.  And yet, I do find time to feel frustrated, stressed, anxious, exhausted by life.  I guess if I don't acknowledge my feelings then how am I ever gonna get past them to move on? 

Recently, a string of bad luck has hit our family and close friends.  My mom got attacked by a pit bull a few weeks ago and ended up in the hospital with a very bad wound and a serious infection.  Her recovery has been slow, but she is doing great and will have full function in her hand once more.  A couple of weeks later, my mom' apartment in Mexico got broken into (for the third time in 2 years!) and they took a lot of things that were very valuable to her.  She was heartbroken.  That same day we received the very shocking news that my 41 year old brother Sean has leukemia.  He started chemotherapy right away and his last bone marrow biopsy showed that there was no trace of the cancer left!  Yet, he is still in the hospital, away from his kids, getting pumped with drugs, and waiting for a bone marrow transplant.  Then I got sad news from a good friend of mine that her mother had passed away after her almost 3 year battle with another type of cancer.  And then Steve Jobs......

There's been a lot of crying and praying and meditating and giving thanks for life in the past few weeks.  What does it all mean?  Why do we have to suffer and go through all this pain?  Something I have learned through Miles and my experience over the last 2 years is that there is not an end all be all reason to why these things happen.  The reasons will change throughout our lives depending on our perspective at the time.  We make meaning out of each situation and challenge.  We alone have to explore our lives to find the meaning, the truth and grow with each challenge. 

I am nervous about Miles' future.  What kind of life will he have? Will he be a fulfilled person?  What about our daughter?  Will she be born healthy and strong?  Will she feel like she's always left out or living in the shadow of her brother who needs so much from us?  Will I be able to give them both the love, support and care that they need and deserve?  I don't know.  I have no idea.  But as nervous as I am about the unknown, I feel confident that somehow, somewhere I will figure it out.  It will all fall into place and I will find guidance if I just listen to my heart. 

So for now, I continue being thankful for my life, my mind, my current perspective.  And I pray, I meditate to bring peace and light to so much pain and suffering around me.