Tag Archives: Halloween

Five months of great progress!

Connor’s first year was such slow development that I still can’t wrap my head around the last few months. I mean I vividly remember obsessing over him just lifting his head. It took forever. He sat somewhat independently around my birthday in October of 2012, and I thought here we go! But it was months before he could sustain it comfortably on his own. We put our old house on the market at the beginning of June this year. I vividly remember that his crib was still in the raised position as there was no worry that he would fall out. He could sit well, but couldn’t get into sitting on his own. It all started when he finally chose to roll from back to front. He went the other way on time, but refused to CHOOSE tummy time, leaving himself immobile. Since June 1, he

mastered pulling up to sit

become mobile through rolling and scooting

added consonants to his babbling

learned to crawl

pulled to stand

started cruising furniture

has shown recognition of more words

has become very (too) opinionated

and initiated his first game of peekaboo

Exponential progress.

His physical therapist almost cried when she saw him cruise. She had been away for a couple weeks as her granddaughter was having cancer surgery at CHOP for ganglioneuroblastoma. Ain’t life grand for our kids. Don’t worry. I’m aborting my angry Where’s God diatribe. (Side note: She said CHOP is the best for this surgery and they went in thinking they would be able to get 50%. They think they got over 90%!)

Cover of "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Ty...
Cover of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

He shows definite favorites in books — his two favorites are Click Clack Moo and Hand Hand Fingers Thumb. If I start reading from them, he comes crawling over. The other day I asked him if he wanted to read Click Clack Moo and he crawled out of the family room into the playroom to it and looked up at me expectantly (after a brief scrunched face short cry because we startled him with our enthusiasm).

I’ve given up trying to get the detailed results about his MRI from Boston. We got the standard report of no growth, but we were supposed to finally get details on number of tubers and locations so we can target potential deficits etc. But as no one ever gets back to me when I leave messages regarding that particular report, I guess we have to wait until we go for our next TSC study visit in February or March when we will schedule a visit at the clinic. Not very happy about that.

Connor still refuses to feed himself, and when we give him finger foods, he just destroys them. We’ve tried cracker type food items, but he crushes them, so his physical therapist suggested beef jerky. It’s easy for him to hold and he might like the taste. And wouldn’t you know, he sucked on that Slim Jim a couple times and bit it into pieces. He only swallowed one piece, and that was by accident, but still progress. Slim. Jims. If you had told me I would be feeding my toddler Slim Jims…

He also still won’t get off the bottle, which we think is another one of his stubborn things, kind of like refusing to roll over. His speech therapist has been pushing a straw with a squeeze bottle, since sippy cups get swatted across the room. He actually let me put the straw in his mouth without fighting me yesterday for the first time. Maybe we’ll get rid of these bottles some day after all.

I learned a valuable parenting lesson last week when we went to the North Georgia mountains with my parents. While we have had to deal with crazy TSC stuff, as far as the normal baby health issues are concerned, Connor has never really had any issues. He’s barely even had a cold. Well, last weekend we had a major bout of constipation. I never understood what the big deal was. They go eventually right? Give them some prune juice or whatever. My bad. Sorry about the flippant attitude. Almost two days of fussing and irritability. He went an entire day with no food or drink whatsoever. It wasn’t until the next morning when he willingly took his meds that I had the brilliant idea to give him milk, water and juice with the oral syringe. My mom shook her head at one point and said, “When people ask what we did this weekend I can tell them we waited for Connor to poop.” And so I deemed the weekend PoopWatch 2013. I’ll spare you further details, and only say that a couple days later I was looking for a cork.

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Toys are for chumps.

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Let me out! I promise not to try and make a break for the woods again!

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New cabinets to explore.

Our trip to the pumpkin patch a couple weeks ago:

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Please click on the Top Mommy Blogs icon to the right so I can move back up in the rankings!

Halloween Week in Pictures

Lots to blog, and it’s coming, but for now, Connor hopes you had a great Halloween!

Also, It’s November 1 so Epilepsy Awareness Month starts today!

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Connor was the hit of music class this week in his cow costume. I think it was the mystique of him crawling and his face barely being visible.

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We took a photo op tour of some of our decorations before they get stored for the year. He adored playing in the front yard so much that he was furious when I picked him up to go inside.

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And Connor’s first trick or treat. The only thing more adorable than a cow is a cow that drives. Since Connor isn’t walking just yet, he rolled in style. But I tell you, it was one more thing that drove home the challenges of people in wheelchairs when we had to skip homes that were just too hard to get to the door.

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I just wish my version of a peacock looked a little more like the one on the box. I choose to believe it was an unflattering cut.

Another milestone! And costume problems…

Last night Connor cruised the furniture for the first time! He took three side steps to move down the couch, and a little later, got up and did five in a row. I’m itching for him to walk! My back needs it for one. All his doctors concur that he’s right around the 27-pound mark, but apparently they all buy same defective brand of scale because I can tell you he weighs 80. There will be so many more places that we can go to fill our days. I mean, we have fun at the zoo and Tanglewood Farms, but it’s a bit of a work out. A few more months and I’ll be much more excited to receive invites to bouncy house parties because I won’t find myself facedown suffocating in the corner of a castle, being trampled by toddlers. We’ll probably go broke from me buying season passes to everything in a 50-mile radius.

Last week, Chris had to go to NYC for the day for a business meeting. He happened to stumble upon the taping of the Today Show — the last hour with Kathie and Hoda. They pre-tape Friday’s show on Thursday, and that is the episode you can see him wandering around the back, texting me to ask if he’s on TV and poking his head in to see what’s going on. It’s pretty funny. Here are some stills (yellow tie and briefcase strap criss-crossed):

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We had a busy weekend. Saturday, Chris and I made the day trip to Birmingham for the TS Alliance regional conference. I took this picture at the Alabama welcome center because it gave me the warm fuzzies.

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We got to hear about the latest in clinical studies, surgical techniques and dealing with schools and IEPs — having been on the other side of IEPs as a regular ed teacher, I dread the possibility Connor could need an IEP. Let’s say I’m just a little jaded in that area, having seen first hand what happens when the law requires schools to provide a “free and appropriate education” but doesn’t provide funding or support. Fingers crossed he won’t, but we have to be prepared for the possibilities. The reality is he will most likely start school with one, given his delays. It’s unlikely by pre-k that I won’t feel he needs one, but I can still hope that won’t always be the case. Only time will tell.

My parents got to spend the whole day with Connor from waking up until almost bed time. Everyone survived so I’m booking a trip to the Caribbean.

On Sunday, we met up with the Cruz’s and the Weathersby’s for Boo at the Zoo. We had two pirates, a monkey and a cow. The cow was SUPPOSED to be Cookie Monster, but the manufacturer and I have a serious difference of opinion on what constitutes a 2T. We had to make a last minute dash to Target on the way for a new costume, where we very nearly added a third pirate to our crew.

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I wasn’t really sure how the zoo would go with Connor, being that he doesn’t walk yet, and while he loves animals, I wasn’t confident that the distance between him and the zoo animals would intrigue him. For the most part I was right. But the one place I thought he’d be least interested was one of the best. He loved the aviary because every few minutes the birds would all swoop the enclosure together, which he found hilarious as they whirred past his head. He perked up again at the petting zoo, but getting him to look off into the distance to spot the gorillas and giraffes just wasn’t happening.

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Zoo Atlanta also put up a tent with a costumed dj, furry dancing animals and loud music. Babies first rave.

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This is what happens when you want a picture of all four boys together:

Where's David? Catch him!
Where’s David? Catch him!
Look at you? Ain't nobody got for that.
Look at you? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Next time I'll bring duct tape.
Next time I’ll bring duct tape.

Afterward we picked up food and went back to eat at the Cruz’s where Connor continued his doggy guilt trip on us by expressing his extreme delight over their dog Bacchus. And it was super adorable when David, who is one day older and fully mobile, got down on his knees to crawl along with Connor.

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I am extending the deadline to enter the giveaway for the four FREE online speech therapy sessions. Enter here. There is no obligation beyond the four free sessions.

It would be easier to come up with titles if I could stay on topic…

I love a good sunburn with such ridiculous lines, that most of my wardrobe will fail to hide my stupidity. But rather than take responsibility for my failure to apply sunscreen anywhere but my face, I will instead blame the organizers of the annual Miller Lite Chili Cookoff for moving it from the tree-filled shady location at Stone Mountain Park to the the black asphalt parking lots of Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. No trees. Just asphalt. I will give them credit for a larger space that made it easier to walk around, but I’ll push people out of the way if it means the return to the sheltered haven by the park.

We like to go every year, but we missed last year–the final year at Stone Mountain–for a most hilarious reason. My mom went to the ER. Yes, I just referred to my mom going to the ER as hilarious. You read that right. Ok, it wasn’t hilarious at the time–at least not for a few hours–but it’s an interesting story. It had been a stressful few months with Connor’s time in the NICU and diagnosis, and that morning, another stressful issue (nothing to do with Connor or us) came to light. I called and talked to my mom about it that morning. About an hour and a half later, we arrived at my parent’s house to drop Connor off. This was the first time we had ever come over that my mom didn’t come out to meet us at the car (something I often like to point out she never did when it was just me coming over). When she finally came downstairs, she looked surprised to see us. “What are you doing here?” I thought she was joking. I reminded her they were babysitting while we went to the cook off. “Did I know about this?” she asked, confused.

Forgetting Connor was coming over? Yeah right. Something is weird. She usually only blocks out memories that involve me as a teenager. She looks at Connor and says, “Oh, aren’t you cute,” in a way that indicates this is some random baby mysteriously propped in a chair in her sunroom. My dad and I look at each other. Then she asks why we’re there again. And when we answer her, she clearly doesn’t remember that we just told her. She also can’t remember what she had for breakfast, where they went for breakfast or what neighbors they ran into while they were there. She’s asking the same questions over and over, and clearly isn’t forming any new memories. And me? Great. I realize when I called her that morning I gave my mom a freakin’ stroke.

So rather than downing 900 samples of chili, we head to the ER. My mom keeps asking us the same questions over and over. She’s on a repetitive loop. Then she declares, “I’ve had a stroke! Self-diagnosis for you!” She repeated that roughly 647 times by the time we reached the hospital, and thought she was figuring it out for the first time every time. Once we reached the hospital, since she wasn’t able to retain new memories, she kept thinking she just woke up there and continued asking the same questions. It was the weirdest thing because she was looping like a tape recorder. Same comments and questions, same intonations, same jokes. Blood pressure was off the charts. Scans, an MRI, and a few hours of me battling the urge to video this insanity with my phone, and they come back with an answer. No stroke. In fact, everything looks great. Diagnosis: transient global amnesia. Lasts roughly 24-hours and can be caused by a stressful event. She will completely recover, and it is unlikely to reoccur. It is also extremely rare. Yay us and our predilection for weird rare medical crap. It’s particularly weird because though you forget a big chunk of time and events, you don’t forget the basics, who you are and the basics of your life. So sadly, I was unsuccessful in convincing her she had promised to gift us $25,000 and turn over the keys to her ’66 Mustang.

So then the rest of the day could be spent repeating what was wrong with her when she would ask every three minutes. “Well that will teach you to call and give me bad news again!” I heard that 87 times before we left the hospital. At this point I was embracing the hilarity of the situation since I knew I hadn’t caused irreversible damage to my mother’s head. Regrettably, I did not record her at all. Though you can find YouTube videos of other people with this, and they pretty much sound the same. Hilarious that is. Especially hilarious, since she was going home with my dad who would have to field the questions for the next several hours. I did write a bunch of stuff down in a notebook though so my dad could tell her to read it when she looped.

Some people will do anything to get out of babysitting.

We’re pretty settled in the new house at this point. The dining room is still a mess, but pretty much everything else is in place. Chris has informed me he will not be meeting my two-month deadline to paint the entire house. He seems to think a year is more appropriate estimate for completing all the rooms. “But Becky,” as my friend Cat said, shaking her head “you stay home. Can’t you paint?” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Have you met my husband? I paint like I vacuum, it would seem. Willy nilly without leaving straight lines. I am but a hander-upper of necessary supplies.

Connor now has his very own playroom downstairs. It is chock full of fun and goodies for him, and secured so I can get stuff done. So what does he do?

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How am I supposed to get stuff done when he looks at me like that?!

Then his favorite toy, his jumperoo, finally gave out after extended use past the weight limit. It was a sad day. This is how he uses it now:

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I also decided the room I initially chose to be his was too small, so Chris got the honor of disassembling the crib again to move it. I’m delightful to live with.

Connor recently had a 30-minute EEG at his neurologist’s office, just to check in on the general state of things. Lo and behold, he actually had a seizure on it. Seizures are famous for not cooperating with EEGs, so getting one on a 30-minute test! Whoa. His neuro now believes what we have been seeing are complex-partials, pretty much what we’ve always battled, aside from infantile spasms. They are decreasing since putting him back on vigabatrin and hopefully we’ll get the just-right doses of vigabatrin and Onfi soon. He had his first ERG in quite some time on Friday. I’m not sure if he’s planning to be Miley Cyrus for Halloween or if he’s expressing his distaste for the boring peach-colored gown (where are my rockets?!).

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I’m still on my fruitless quest to get a detailed report from Boston on his MRI back in August. We have the basic results of no growth, but we’re also supposed to find out how many tubers, SENs and specific locations. So I will continue on my 9,000 phone calls quest that every person who deals with a medical issue knows so well. Why does everything have to be so hard with hospitals, pharmacies, insurance, doctors… The only doctor’s office that I feel comfortable with response time is his neurologist. But I have to play games with:

the hospital in Atlanta

now apparently the hospital in Boston (which saddens me cuz I gave them props earlier this year)

insurance

the ophthalmologist

the pediatrician

the mail order pharmacy

I hate when I like a doctor, but staff makes life hard.

My parents just adopted two kittens, and they seem even more fascinated by Connor than he is with them. And he loves kitties.

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Sunday was my birthday. A lot has happened in my 23 years. (Shut. It.) Pretty mellow affair that started with brunch with Chris and my sister-in-law Donna and dinner at my parents. It ended festively while I was in the shower that night and heard Chris yelling “Becky!” Oh my god. This is it. We’re going to the ER. Connor must be having a status seizure–something we’ve never had to deal with. I run down in my towel…nope. He vomited. Everywhere. On himself. On Chris. On the floor. On the new couch. So emergency bath time and snuggling. He was fine. Fortunately it was only once and he was perfectly fine before and after. Which makes me wonder if this is the stomach of a toddler issue or a vomit seizure. Either way, he’s great now and expending his energy on keeping me from doing vomit laundry.

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At least he’s helping spread Halloween spirit.

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If you need me, I’ll be following doctor’s order somewhere:

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My sister-in-law knows how seriously I take my health so she gave me this bracelet for my birthday:

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Happy anniversary to my parents!

Reminder:

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Informational meeting on financial planning for your special needs child this week! Wills, estate planning, a chance to ask questions, etc.

Thursday, October 10 at 7:00pm
Mount Vernon Baptist Church 850 Mt. Vernon Hwy NW Sandy Springs, GA 30327
Please RSVP to me at pin.the.map@gmail.com.

First Halloween: Check

I did a bad, bad thing. I went to Target today to see if the leftover Halloween decorations were on sale. Actually, disaster was averted because it had been picked pretty clean. I, the woman who wore the same costume for like six years only to pull out a costume from my middle school days this year, had to fight the temptation to buy three costumes because they were 50 percent off. Fortunately, I needed a bathroom and had Connor with me, as well as a full cart, so I had to rush out. I came away with just this:

Who can resist 50% off?

I also may or may not have been unable to resist the impulse to buy him Santa pajamas. You can prove nothing. Target is evil.

Connor really enjoyed his first actual Halloween. We didn’t do the Trick-or-Treat with baby thing since he weighs 976 pounds. Or 22. Can’t keep that straight. But he took a nice long nap, right through the ringing of the doorbell, shrieks of young children, and me laughing hysterically as two small boys in awesome, if not particularly flexible Lego people costumes hobbled across the yard. I’m worried he’s going to pick up my poor moral character in that I find it hysterical when a kid faceplants in my yard and flails about immobile until Dad comes to the rescue. Connor woke up in time to enjoy his first viewing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Mommy enjoyed her own treat in the form of a Jack and Coke.

I also dressed up for the first time to pass out candy:

The leftover M&Ms have me in a good mood which is good for the pharmacy that provides Connor’s Sabril. Sabril is not available through regular pharmacies. It has to be fedexed to the house. Every time I have had to refill it’s been an ordeal because the prescription kept changing as we sought the ideal dose. Finally, this time was just a simple refill. No changes. Not to be. Not even sure how long I was on hold as I had them seek out the reason our prescription was flagged because supposedly the “directions were not written correctly.” Really? Because they were last month. Turns out some rep was confused because in one place the doctor wrote “at bedtime” and elsewhere “evening.” Ummm….what? I find it irritiating that it would be flagged due to someone’s apparent hangover, but even more annoying that some rep decides to flag it but takes no steps to look into it and clarify. Basically, he  or she left it to be my problem when it came time to refill. Had I not insisted it be looked into while I was on the phone, his refill would still be in limbo.

Obviously all my hopes lie in that Connor’s TSC will be a mild case, but regardless of its course, he will require more medical attention than other children, even if only for the annual monitoring. I’ve come to realize that a significant percentage of my life is going to be dedicated to repeated phone calls, sitting on hold, and writing nasty letters to billing departments because people are idiots.

Is Michael Myers in my house?

We have an eruption. The tooth has made a slight appearance. It’s difficult to catch a glimpse of it though since Connor pretty much always either has his fingers in his mouth or his tongue sticking out. That part of the teething process is charming. Slightly less charming is the “I’m being chased in a darkened parking garage by an axe murderer” shriek he’s adopted over the last few days.  Up until then his new sounds had been grunting and growling, which the pediatrician said is typical of boys. The girls, she said, like to shriek. I’m all for equal opportunity and eliminating gender based stereotypes (except in cases of guys I’ve dated), but at 5 am I don’t want to hear the Halloween soundtrack coming out of his room. His appetite has also decreased significantly, but I’m pretty sure my 7-month-old who is wearing 12-18 month clothing is gonna be alright. Losing a little weight will probably help him with his motor skills anyway, since the physical therapist thinks his rapid weight gain is a factor in his slight motor delays.

I’d post a picture of the tooth, but at this point I’m afraid he’ll chew up my phone.

We have a feeling he might just bypass crawling since that doesn’t come easy to chunky babies and he is pretty strong when you put him in a standing position. Plus, his answer to tummy time is to conk out after a couple minutes because he doesn’t like to work. He’s like his mommy. You want me to do what? Yard work?…mommy crawls behind sweaters hanging in closet and passes out. He might actually just resort to doing the backstroke on land. Lately he’s been scootching himself  several inches up when lying on the changing table and in the crib. So frankly, he probably considers it silly to go to all the effort of turning himself over.

I spent about 3 hours sleeping on the floor with him this morning when his shrieking started up. I’ve done that quite a bit when he gets loud enough. He’s not crying, but proximity to one of us usually quietens him down. So it’s either one of us on the floor, or Chris on the couch and him in the bed with me. Bet the baby book writers would love that. Way to teach him how to get what he wants instead of just putting himself back to sleep. But since he sleeps pretty well most of the time, we don’t care, and they aren’t here to assist me when I stumble into a wall because I can barely open my eyes. I barely consult baby books anymore because the normal every day stuff doesn’t phase me now. So he may not have the perfect nap schedule or all those other details that fill 500 page books. He’s a happy baby.

Besides, he’s gonna provide the sound effects for the trick or treaters.

Just because I wear the same costume over and over doesn’t mean I don’t like Halloween…

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Don’t think I don’t know what you’re thinking. Horrible mother! Horrible! Why is she doing that to him? Please. This kid was ticked that his pumpkin costume didn’t come with a machete. His only response to Creepy McPumpkinhead was to try and shove him in his mouth, presumably to keep company with the two teeth that are about to burst out of his gums Alien-style.

Connor also attended his first Halloween party yesterday, which was also the day of his 7-month birthday. It was thrown by my friend Claudia. Claudia is the reason Connor will eventually grow to resent me and think I’m totally lame because she loves to throw theme parties and has the inflatables rental place on speed dial. I’m gonna have to rent Cirque du Soleil for his birthday to compete. And the entire staff at Nickelodeon. Either that or we’ll just pretend he has the same birthday as her daughter Isabella and tell him the party is for him. Since it was a kids’ party, I was unable to wear the French maid costume I bought in, I don’t know, 2004? Fortunately, my mother keeps everything, so I wore my witch outfit from middle school instead. Look, I just prefer decorating my child and house to decorating myself.

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With Isabella at the party

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With Daddy at the party .                          My cats don’t cooperate, so I live through others…

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With “Uncle” Damien (costume got a little hot…)      With Ugly Betty

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Mommy found a cool wig for $5.99 the day AFTER the party….

Connor had physical therapy this morning and she continues to be very happy with him. We’ve been focusing on strengthening his core, but now we’re shifting to mobility by working with him in positions that will make sure he gets comfortable transitioning into crawling and standing positions. His independent sitting has improved since she saw him just last week.

And as I type this, I look down to see…

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I give up. I can’t keep anything on his feet.