May 2010

Earlier this month, during the “great messageboard debacle of 2010,” I was ‘accused’ of being severely depressed because I mentioned feeling unable to handle taking care of my son alone. Sometimes one is not really able to express oneself and words can be misconstrued.  I can take care of Little Man without help, but it’s not easy and I’m glad I have Dude to co-parent.  I’m not depressed—I’ve suffered from depression and know the difference—but I AM feeling overwhelmed by stress.

Neither Dude nor I have high paying jobs.  In fact, Dude took a pay cut (mandatory unpaid furlough days) the week after Little Man was born. It’s 10% of his salary and the loss of income has hurt us badly. My job has been low paying but as it’s a family business, I have extremely flexible hours and can bring Little Man with me to the office.  Since our bills consume most, if not all, of our monthly take home income, it’s a necessity for me to have my son with me.  Daycare is so expensive and if I had to put him there, we’d just be putting it on a credit card and hoping we’d be able to pay it off one day.  So money woes is causing a LOT of stress.

In addition to those issues, I’m not certain my father will be able to keep the company running beyond this year.  And now I’m thinking: what can I do for a job????  I used to work as a desktop publishing editor for a major publishing company. But when I was laid of in 2002, I sat on my ass and let my career slip away. Thank goodness my parents actually needed me and I’ve been there for nearly 8 years. But, in retrospect, that was a mistake and I’m not sure where I can find work when I need to.  And Dude is not happy in his job and I’m not sure it’s entirely secure.  Job security in this day and as is rare.

Then there are my parents. Their health is … eh, they’re not doing so well.  My father is morbidly obese.  He knows he should lose weight but never does.  He’s 67 years old and I’m not sure he even wants to lose weight. But he can’t get a knee or hip replacement unless he does and he hobbles around on a cane that can barely support his weight. I’m worried about him but even more worried about my mother.  She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease last Fall.  She’d been suffering from a rare neurological disorder for years—something called an orthostatic tremor—where only her lower extremities are affected. She cannot stand still without trembling. And then she started to have weakness in her hands and a shake. So she went to a specialist in NYC and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s as well. My mom’s mother died in January. The business she helped my father build is failing. So she is extremely depressed. She feels like she can’t do anything and like a burden.

I have a wonderful brother who would help you out in a pinch. But he’s also very dependent upon my parents. He has chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia. So he’s in constant pain and has no friendships—it’s like whenever he tries, he gets stomped on—and he’s given up on people. He’s very intelligent and very few people share his interests. As he feels he cannot speak to anyone and share with them, I think he’s taken to picking arguments so he can debate and then exercise his intellect. Though he does not do this to prove superiority. He needs the stimulation.  But he’s not capable of caring for my parents and a lot of this will fall on me.

So I’m stressed. I’m very stressed. There’s more to it, but stress does not equal depression. That being said, stress can cause anxiety and I’m feeling a lot of that.

Little Man turned 9 months old on May 14th.  Nine months!  The length of a pregnancy. Longer than my engagement (which was 7 months). He’s three quarters of a year old! It’s going soooooo fast.  My little man is looking less “babyish” and more “boyish” as every day goes by.  I love watching the changes but it’s also bittersweet.  I’m not sure how to explain it. You want your child to become more independent and more “himself” but when you lose that stage of just being little and needing mommy (or daddy) all the time, you miss it. Of course I still have a long time before he won’t need me, but he’s crawling and trying to stand up. He’s becoming a BOY.

An online friend of mine—and I really do consider my mommy messageboard friends to be friends, even if not a close bosom buddy—Peeper has a wonderful blog. I love how she writes and the photos she takes of her darling daughter. (Note to self: if she doesn’t read my blog, let her know that!)  And her daughter is a bit older than my son, and she gave a 9 month stats and sort of quiz. So I’m “borrowing” it and will do this monthly thereafter.  Here is Little Man’s 9 month stats:

Age: As of this blog, 9 months, 1 week and 2 days.
Weight: 23 lb 6 oz
Height: 29.75 inches
Size (diapers, onesies, etc.): Size 4 diapers and 12-18 month clothing (though they are loose, but the 6-12/9-12 are too tight)
Eyes: They’re an interesting mix of green, blue and gray.  Some days they look very green and others they look blueish gray.
Hair: While still mostly peach fuzz, he DOES have hair. It’s a dark blonde color.
Sleeping: He’s good for his morning nap, usually. Afternoons are another story! As for overnight… better. Most nights he’ll sleep through the night. But not always…
Teeth: Four! The two bottom central incisors came around 6 months and, recently, the two upper ones came in.
Milestones: He’s a crawling fiend! And clapping, too! (See videos on my prior blog). And he’s trying to stand, too.
Words/sounds: He’s still just babbling, I think.  His favorite is Dada.  Though he’ll say Mama and other “ah” sounds. But his babbles have definite sentence structure. Though probably only another baby would understand what he’s saying.
What we are looking forward to: EVERYTHING! lol

I’m going to devote another entry to foods. But I will say that Little Man LOVES Cheerios! We gave them to him for the first time yesterday and he went to town on them! He’s liking most foods but is less interested in his bottle. Perhaps that will make it easier for him to be weaned off of formula? I don’t know. His pediatrician wants us to give him four 6 oz bottles so his formula intake is 24 oz. But he seems uninterested. And she also wants us to try to transition him (slowly) to using a sippy cup and taking water. Yesterday he took a little, which is a start.

Well, I see Little Man rolling about in his crib (yes, I’m spying on him with the video monitor again) and should probably free him soon. He likes to be on the move!

Little Man turned 9 months old on May 14th and the weekend before—on Mother’s Day, actually—he started crawling. It started off slow… he’d crawl a bit, stop, then sit and look at me or Dude. But by mid-week he was crawling quickly! Here’s a video of him in my office.

Besides crawling, he’s started clapping.  He claps and looks around for approval.  If you say “Yay!” he claps some more and laughs! It’s very fun.  So far, nine months has been quite fun!  Since I’m sharing videos, here’s one of him clapping, taken the same day at my office.

Last week was somewhat hectic for me, so I didn’t really update my blog.  But tomorrow, when I have a chance, I’ll share some photos from my first Mother’s Day.  I’m still somewhat in shock about that—I’m a mom!  I’m not sure when it will fully sink in, but after 9 months it really hasn’t yet. I guess I’m still trying to come to grips with the fact that I turned 40 last month.

Little Man is TRYING but he’s not getting anywhere yet.  He crawls backwards quite well, actually.  On his hands and knees, belly off the floor, but try as he may he isn’t getting where he wants to go.  Because of that, he’s been quite frustrated and he expresses that with sounds of anger. My happy baby is pissed off because his body isn’t doing what he wants. I hope he gets there soon, though if he does we’re in trouble because our apartment is poorly babyproofed. Dude and I need to get our acts together.

He is also trying to pull up.  He does this on the crib slats and on my legs. He somewhat lifts himself up but not quite.  It’s amazing how fast the changes come.  A few weeks ago he wasn’t even trying to crawl and then—BAM—it’s like something clicked and he knew what to try. Before I know it, he’ll be a year old and walking and talking!

As for talking, he’s still only babbling. But his babbles are recognizable.  He’ll say dada and mama and baba. He also enjoys saying rara and blah and la.   I don’t think he’ll be speaking as early as I was (9 months) but he seems quite verbal.  Little Man will be 9 months old next week.  He still only has two teeth and while he’s definitely teething, nothing is breaking through.

Big changes are coming.  I just know it.

Majorly so.  I post on the Bump. I mostly stick to a few quieter boards and that’s it.  But when Dude was away for a few days and I got a taste of single motherhood, I wanted to let the moms on the Single Parents board there know how much I admired them for juggling baby, work, life and doing it all on their own. I found it exceptionally difficult for just a few days so I can’t imagine doing it daily.  At one point in my life, I had grandiose plans on finding a sperm donor if I didn’t meet someone by the time I was 40.  It was SO unrealistic of me.   So I truly meant to be complimentary.

Big. Fat. Fail.

In my post, I mentioned how I left Little Man in his crib while I walked the dog.  The women there took my “walk the dog” comment to mean I took a long stroll around the block with the dog while my child was unattended and in danger in his crib. The part that I’m trying to wrap my thoughts around is that many of these women sincerely feel that I endangered the welfare of my child.  They feel that leaving him alone in the crib is tantamount to child abuse.

So my question is: what do you do when you are alone with your child and you have to pee. What if you have diarrhea?  Do you bring your child into the bathroom while you do your business?  Do you just plop them on the floor while you relieve yourself? The women there were saying they strap their children in bouncy seats.  Well, I’m SO glad that their children are small enough to safely sit in one.  My son is nearly at the weight limit and he’s figured out how to fling himself—and the bouncy seat—forward. So I’ve since packed it away.

I thought having Little Man in his crib while I shower is the safest place for him. It’s not like I’m taking 20 minute steam baths. But for 5-10 minutes I like to shower and shave my legs before I go to work.  If I go into the laundry room, I leave Little Man in his crib.  What else should I do?

But the main issue was that I took the dog outside to relieve himself and left the baby in his crib in the condo.  They all feel that child protective services should be called and that I endangered his welfare.  I asked mothers I know about this, and most concur that they have left their child in his/her crib while they a) went to the basement (if they have a house) or went to the laundry room (in an apartment complex) that is down the hall.  My mom said that when I was a baby, she left me in my crib while she walked our standard poodle in the front yard.

So this is actually weighing on me.  Those women got what they wanted. Their flames burned me.

Little Man outgrew his DOC Band last Sunday and had his “graduation” at Cranial Technologies in Paramus, NJ on Friday April 30, 2010. He wore two helmets, each for 8 weeks, and his cephalic index went from 100% to 86%. That was from a +5.3 standard deviation to a 1.2! Amazing results. Here are the final photos.

Little Man was NOT happy. He’s 8.5 months old now and is going through stranger anxiety a bit late (or possibly separation anxiety?). In any event, he was SOBBING throughout all the photos and measurements, but I really wanted to know where he ended up. I think many plagio/brachy parents do.

He also had mild plagiocephaly on his left side, starting out with cranial vault asymmetry of 6mm.  When he finished, it was down to 2mm.  I barely notice anything any longer. And while his head isn’t at the “mean” it’s definitely normal looking.

For anyone contemplating banding your baby, I think Little Man is proof that it works.  He started at 4.25 months and finished at 8.5 months, with an 11 day lapse between helmets. I think it was worth every penny and if you are lucky enough to have health insurance that will pay for a cranial remolding orthotic, do not hesitate!