not taking milestones for granted

As a new mom, I look for and forward to every single milestone. I probably rush things, which only frustrates me and Jackson. I so wanted him to walk well by his first birthday, but it wasn’t until the next week that he decided walking was better than crawling. Now I am working and working and working on getting him to talk more. And more with a purpose. I need to maybe relax a little – he’ll talk when he’s ready.

I can say that, because, as far as we know, he’s “normal,” average. But… what if he doesn’t talk? What if tomorrow I was told that odds were against Jackson talking? How would I react?

My friend’s baby’s scans were completed last week, and they got the best possible news – the tumor had not metastasized and they can avoid surgery and chemo for now. Re-scans every 3 months. But, the prognosis of her future walking was not made any brighter.

My friend is being beautiful and strong about it. But she is grieving and heartbroken, too. She’s an awesome athlete… and she’s basically been told that her daughter will not be a conventional amazing athlete because of a stupid tumor. That she’ll probably need a wheelchair. Therapy. Fight a stigma of being “special,”  no matter her intelligence. And while I absolutely foresee some version of walking at some point… it won’t be by or anywhere near her first birthday. Most of us don’t remember our own first steps, but she may very well know that memory. She could blow all of this out of the water… but the doctor made no promises of miracles, and they are heading into the future with open, realistic eyes.

Which brings me back to where I started. Our children are all different. They will all do different things with different levels of abilities. And we, as parents, have these expectations, crazy or reasonable. I expect Jackson to walk, and run, and talk, and be really smart, get a full ride football scholarship, and cure AIDS. He probably won’t. And I need to be okay with that. I need to stop rushing him. Keep encouraging him. And, I need to cherish each milestone as it occurs and quit taking them for granted. Because I love him no matter what.

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updates

Do you know those days when you have so, so much to do, but you are so, so lazy… so instead you watch DVR’d 19 Kids and Counting while your son destroys the living room?? Yeah, those days. I’m not getting much accomplished today, and that’s okay, unless you’re my pile of laundry. Sorry, laundry.

My friend’s daughter is having another scan this week to see if the tumor is spread beyond the one place by her spine. If not, they are going to watch and wait – so no chemo and surgery for now. This is great news, BUT they were told last week that the tumor, which was probably there since birth and had shrunk some already, has caused atrophy to the spinal cord that is mostly likely permanent. So, similar to a spinal injury, her sweet little girl may never have complete control over her legs, and in turn, may never walk unassisted, maybe not at all. I like to believe that at 10 months, one cannot be counted out of anything in life, and maybe there will be a way. I hope so. Time will tell. But for now, we are all praying for a clear scan to avoid any invasive and dangerous treatments.

Otherwise, it’s status quo around here. We’re getting a groove. We’re doing a little meal planning. We’re getting excited to go home for Thanksgiving. I’m starting to think about turning 30 next month… but not really bothered by it. I’m starting to organize Christmas in my mind. I’m trying to start budgeting, like, for real. Again. Bahahaha.

And, we had our first real, professional family pics taken… this is the only one I have for now, but I thought it was pretty cute 🙂

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fears of mothers

What is your worst fear as a mother?

Last week our lives were touched by a near-SIDS death that resulted in brain death and cessation of life support – the baby boy belonged to a family we never met, but he was at daycare, a daycare ran by a relative of ours. My heart broke for everyone involved, because that would be one of the hardest things to ever need to live through. Ever.

I am not sure I ever shared with you that one of my very closed friend’s daughter, who was born a little early, was struggling meeting her physical development milestones. At first we all chalked it up to her prematurity, but as she turned 9 months and still could not sit up without support, her mom pushed harder for testing. Her mom, my friend, is a nurse practitioner, too. She is an intelligent woman with multiple sources of information at her fingertips – information she understands. So, we texted a lot back and forth about Baby Girl. The blood tests were all good, so they did an MRI, which required sedating the baby. I am terrified of sedation in babies… but she did great. There was a spot near her spine… they did a CT… today I got a text to call my friend. She sounded so calm, so normal… asked about how my day was going even. Then she told me that they got Baby Girl’s results. The spot is a neuroblastoma. Cancer. Baby Girl, at 10 and a half months, is on her way to meet with a pediatric neuro surgeon to develop a plan to fight her cancer.

I am crushed. I am terrified. And she’s not my daughter… I CANNOT imagine what my friend is feeling. I can’t wrap my mind around all of this.

So please, as you lay you and yours down to sleep tonight, send up a request for Baby Girl and her family. And for Baby Boy and his.

learning a new normal

I started my new position as a NP in the clinic on October 1st, and it is all going well. I knew there would be a learning curve, and I’m riding it, trying to take everything in as best that I can. It’s been a lot of sore throats and broken bones, speckled in with some seriously sick patients who I referred on for hospitalization and surgery – true family practice, which is exactly what I wanted.

I haven’t had a 8-5 job since the summer after I graduated high school. I’ve never given much weight to Fridays, as weekends did not necessarily mean days off of work. It’s only been two weeks, but it sure is weird! I am used to my days off during the week to make appointments and run errands. In November I will start covering some Sunday and evening walk-in clinic, so I will get a day off during the week again, which is good, because I really appreciate that time. PLUS, it will give me a day to hang out with Jackson during the week!

I can’t say for sure that I have wrapped my mind around the fact that this is my new normal, for like, a long time. No classes to plan around. No big goals looming in the future. This is what I worked so hard for, but definitely not what I am used to. I need to find a new schedule, a groove. I can surely see the benefit of meal planning, exercise planning, general life planning, with both parents working fulltime jobs. I don’t know how I thought this would all come together, but I guess I thought some of those things would get easier, but they’re not. Duh, Amanda!

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I got used to having days at home with Jackson for the last 2 months after school wound down. I miss those days SO much. I feel like he’s falling behind in language, and I don’t really know how to make this better while he is in daycare. We LOVE our daycare now, and I have no complaints with her, but I miss my one-on-one time with my little guy, working on his skills. He’s tired, hungry, and cranky by the time I pick him up at 5, and it doesn’t always make for the best quality time together. More like, “FEED ME! BATHE ME! KEEP ME HAPPY!” time. Boo.

For example, he likes my phone, a lot:

But when I take it away anytime near bedtime:

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So fun 🙂

Any tips on smoother evenings during the week??

a first birthday

A year. I am actually in a haze of disbelief about this. In all honesty, I’ve been in a haze of disbelief since he was born. I just can’t believe I am not only a mom, but his mom. I cannot believe we were able to successfully keep this little, tiny baby alive (and that I was able to survive on such a small amount of sleep). It is all so amazing to me.

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We had a wonderful party for Jackson on the east side of the state, with about 50 people in attendance. Jackson was pretty overwhelmed, and so was I. In fact, I was so overwhelmed, I don’t have a ton of pictures from the party, just the ones that my sister in law took while he cake smashed. But we do have his first birthday pictures. And a few pictures from my brother’s wedding that was 2 days later. So, I think there was enough photography.

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At 1 year, Jackson is definately his own little person. He loves to throw and play catch with any of the numerous balls around the house, and he’s getting better at the one-handed throw. He will also kick at the ball, but of course, lacks the balance to actually kick it. At his first birthday he was taking unassisted steps – now, three weeks later, he is able to do the drunk monkey walk across the room consistently, and is preferring crawling as a main source of transpertation less and less. He waves bye-bye, claps, and makes a valient attempt at using a spoon or fork when eating. He can drink from a regular cup, but he uses sippies to avoid major messes. He loves to brush his own teeth.

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I pumped until a week before his birthday, and I kept breastfeeding him until 2 nights ago, when it was clear to both of us that the cow was dry. I am not as sad as I thought I would be, thinking about the end of that era, but I do already miss having that instant comfort card in my back pocket to use. I really had no intentions to breast feed past a year anyway. He also polished off his last bit of frozen reserve last week, so we are officially bottle-less. He’s taking to whole milk a little more, but still prefers water.  Food-wise, he’ll eat anything he can get his little hands on, but his favorites are greek yogurt and regular go-gurts, scrambled eggs, toast, cooked carrots, cheesy anything, and ravioli. He also likes to beg cold cereal off of me in the mornings. He does not like the easiest little person food ever, bananas. He used to like green beans, but he threw every single one I gave him on the floor today, so not anymore I guess.

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He has 6 teeth, the top front 2, the bottom front 2, and his first top molars on both sides. I’ll be making a peds dentist appointment soon, while I don’t really know what for besides that I just know I am “supposed to” and that I tell my patients to do the same.

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He sleeps pretty well now. He’s in bed by 8 most nights and sleeps thru the night until 6 am most of the time. He still does 2 naps per day, 1-2 hours a piece.

His favorite things are his pacifier (still, by far, the most favorite), balls, socks, books, the dog’s dish, the movie Frozen, and his Dusty ride-on airplane. Oh, and his daddy. Man, does he love his daddy.  Jackson makes a lot of noise, but does only a little organized talking – “hi, dad” he has mastered. “Mom,” not so much.

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Dear Jackson,

Your first year has been a wild ride. From the minute you were born, you’ve had your eyes wide open, ready to tackle the world. You are full of energy, sometimes more than your daddy or I know what to do with. You are curious and leave no cabinet unopened. You are a charmer and make every one fall in love with you instantly. You don’t say too much yet, but I know once you do start talking, you won’t stop.

I hope you grow up to be kind. I hope you grow up to be fair. I hope your daddy and I instill hard work and patience into your personality. You have come so far in this first year, but you have so, SO much further to go. I am so excited to see where life takes you.

We love you more than anything, ever, little Mucky-Moo. Don’t grow up too fast,

love,

mom and dad