First Day Feelings

This morning my baby started preschool.

We are extremely lucky that Elijah was already enrolled at an amazing preschool that is one of the few places that takes non-potty trained 2 year olds, so it was a no-brainer to move William at the start of this school year. We went last week and met the teachers (Elijah’s is the same as he had all summer, so it was a sort of non-event for him) and we absolutely adore Will’s teacher.

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And today was just, it was a delight. William was happy to check out his new room, he was thrilled to take his big kid lunch box and walk in like his brother. I’m not sure he realized that I was leaving him there, since for a year he has come with me to drop Elijah off and then we’ve gone to his daycare, but you couldn’t tell.

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And as the boys walked out to the playground, Elijah grabbed William’s hand and said, “William, do you want to come play with me?” Will of course said yes and just as I thought my heart couldn’t possibly be any more full, Elijah turned back to me and said, “Mom, don’t worry. I won’t let him get sad.”

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They ran to the sand box and I burst into happy tears. Happy because we’ve found a school that we just adore, that we feel safe dropping our kids off. And happy because of the incredible generosity of our older son, to his brother. I have never felt luckier to be their mom than in that moment.

By all accounts, both boys had great days. Elijah played with his friends and William enjoyed his new classroom, his new friends and was a delight all day. The preschool director saw me at pick up and said it was as if William had always gone there. He acclimated that well.

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Hopefully the coming days will be every bit as delightful as the first.

What a Difference 2 Years Make

I am still just not over the fact that my baby is two. My baby. Two. It’s almost like he’s not a baby except shut your mouth he’s a baby. Forever.

1 day!
1 day

6 months and 1 day!
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1 year and 1 day!
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18 months and 1 day!
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19 months and 1 day!
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20 months and 1 day!
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21 months and 2 days!
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22 months and 3 days!
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23 months and 1 day!
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24 months and 1 day!
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William: Year 2

Will-

Today you are 2 years old. My baby. My sweet tiny boy. I cannot believe it. It has gone so fast and suddenly here we are. Two.

Month 24

You are loved far and wide and proclaimed by all as the sweetest little boy. And it’s true. You have the gentlest, sweetest heart. You love to snuggle and hug and you would love nothing more in this world than to sleep in my bed every day of your life. You are my tiny buddy and though you have a big personality, you’re also sensitive and cautious and it’s easy to forget that because of your tendency to slip into toddler hysteria from time to time (time being a word for minute).

Month 24

You are also just the chattiest. I mean it. You are still a little tough to understand, but you have SO much to say. You regularly confuse strangers with 5-6 word sentences. Your daycare teachers are always astounded at what you say to me at pick up because we have full conversations about your day. You are so very bright and I’m almost afraid of all the things you’ll learn this year. Your capacity for mischief seems pretty large.

Month 24

You love your brother so fiercely that it overwhelms you at times and frustrates him as well. You think he is the coolest and later this month you’ll start preschool (WHY TIME, WHY?) and get to go to his school, too. I think you’re going to like it and I think having your big brother around is probably the best bonus for you.

Month 24

Your likes this month include: Mommy, Daddy, Eyijah, Thomas the Tank Engine and his pal Percy, Toy Story (the obsession. It is a thing.), the cats, bubbles, your grandparents, buckling your car seat buckle (except, funny story, you can’t say k sounds, so you always yell “I DO MY BUTOLE!” and say that several times out loud quickly and you will understand why we die laughing every time we get in the car. You parents are not mature.), pouches, chocolate milk in a cup (never a box, always a cup), having us drape your blanket on you for sleeping, sliding things down your brother’s car ramp.

Month 24

Your dislikes this month include: being told no, not getting something you want, walking (“me me up, mom!”) any distance greater than about a foot, when your brother “trades” toys with you, eating (generally), fruit, vegetables, naps, being told to do something you don’t want to do (basically, not being in charge).

Month 24

The past month you have really changed from a baby to a boy. You participate with others, you seem to understand bigger things more than before. I can see the wheels in your head turning, see you solving problems and making connections. You are a lot like me, both as a child and now. You’re easily frustrated and I can see you trying so hard to do things or fix things, but your emotions are just big. They’re just bigger than your sweet tiny body right now.

Month 24

I am anticipating that this next year will be a tough one, even tougher than last year. You are desperately searching for boundaries and I’m trying my best to stay patient and calm while you struggle to understand the world around you. I adore you, even on your most difficult and scream filled days, I love you in ways that would be completely impossible to explain. I remember every moment of your life, the way it felt like my heart would explode with joy the first time I held you. The way I feel each night when I tuck you into bed.

Month 24

Month 24

You are my second baby, my second toddler, but you hold such a piece of my heart that you would never know you didn’t come first. You are not without struggles, but these struggles are more than worth it for all the sweet moments and abudant love you bring us. I feel lucky every day that of all the moms, I get to be yours. That I get to help you grow into a child and a man, that I get to be your cheerleader and your teacher. That I get a front row seat to all the amazing things you’re going to do in your life.

Month 24

Month 24

Please know that whatever next month and next year bring, my love for you, my sweet little love, is eternal. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do in this life, my love is constant, and you can rely on it whenever you need to.

Month 24

Month 24

Happy birthday, my sweet little William. I love you to heights that words cannot reach, in ways that sentences will never adequately describe. I am truly the luckiest because I am your mom.

Love,
Mom

One of those very random catch up kind of posts

I have opened up the blog several times this week to write and then the allure of laziness takes over and I don’t. Things are basically good. And busy.

The boys are ending their summer school sessions this month. Eli ends this week, Will has one more, then they both have a week off together. And the last week in August, Will starts preschool and my children, for one golden, beautiful year, will attend the same school. I am so excited about this I can barely contain myself. It helps that I deeply love our preschool and know that Will is going to be in such good hands there.

Speaking of Will, he’s in the middle of a bout of enterocolitis from something we can’t quite pinpoint. I’ll spare you the details, but we’ve cut out dairy and apples on suspicion that one or both may be the culprit and now we have to wait a few more days to see if things change, diaperly speaking. He’s not bothered, which is good, but it’s not pleasant for any of us at the moment.

He’s also hurling headfirst into the terrible twos like a man on a mission. Everything results in a hysterical screaming fit- not fight is too small for him to pick. It’s going to be a long few years with this child of mine. And it’s just a really, really good thing that he’s very cute.

Also, we got a kitten. And she is lovely. We (foolishly?) let Eli name her, and thus we have an adorable long hair/Maine Coone mix named Featherfluffy. Not Feather. Not Fluffy. Featherfluffy. So.

Sweet little Featherfluffy came home from the shelter with a wound infection (from her spay surgery) and 3 different viruses that have cost us several thousands of dollars to treat and have resulted in the sweetest little kitten on earth, who also happens to have a persistently runny nose (months. Months of snot) that she sneezes all over the damn house. I love her, but there is just so much snot. And! Because this isn’t good enough! She will have this virus for her whole life. It may, hopefully, go dormant, but she in times of stress it will re-emerge. So when (heaven forbid) we lose our older cat (not for MANY YEARS) we won’t be able to get Featherfluffy a companion because she will just give that cat the same virus. she’s already given it to our older cat, who thankfully has a much milder version.

Starting later this month, I’m picking up an extra day of work each week. Eli has to attend school 5 mornings a week (it’s part of the pre-K program), so since I would already have to pay for 5 days, it made more sense for me to add more work. Will will attend 4 days and I’ll get to have one day of just mom/Will time, which I think will be good for my insane nearly 2 year old. He could use some attention. It will also allow me to pick Eli up early one day a week so he can have a little break from school.

Other than that, there’s just not really much at all going on. We are happy, we are healthy (even Will is doing pretty good) and life is good. And hopefully we will continue to be this way. And maybe I’ll even remember to write occasionally. No promises.

Summers of Love

Nearly every summer of my childhood, we spent a week with my family in Ventura. We crammed 15+ people into a three bedroom house. We showered outside, often in pairs to save water and keep sand out of the house after hours at the beach. We collected shells and wiped tar off the bottoms of our feet, knowing we’d track more in the next day. We spent hours upon hours in the ocean. Stopping only to eat a snack and catch more sun before diving back into the murky seas. Some of the best (and admittedly worst, but that’s a different story for a different time) memories of my childhood were made here.

I remember, with great clarity, waking up early in the morning, when all my cousins were sleeping, and finding my grandma outside. She was an early riser and the two of us would go for walks alone to search for sand dollars before everyone else woke up and found them. I remember fondly taking short cuts to the donut store through the wall by the liquor store to bring back breakfast for the family. I even remember the time my grandpa told me that if my cousin and I walked the recycling all the way to the recycling center we could keep all the money we earned. It ended up being less than $2 for a half an hour’s work. My grandpa had a great sense of humor.

Last week, for the second year in a row (the third time in 4 years), we made our way to Ventura with a segment of my family- my mom, my aunt and her family, my sister and her family and our family of 4.

My boys spent 8 days with their cousins, who they rarely see, but adore. We made our way onto the beach every single day we were there and we spent hours upon hours in the sand and in the ocean. The boys squealed with delight as waves washed over their ankles. Eli cried actual tears when we had to leave because he, like me, never wanted to go back home. I barely saw my kids outside of the ocean because they were so busy spending every spare moment with their cousins that it was almost like I was childless, but in a good way.

And all I could think was how much my grandma, who started this tradition, would’ve loved to see it. Family was paramount to her. It was the reason she woke, the reason she lived and breathed. She only met one of the cousins that was at the beach this year because of her sudden death 14 years ago, but I know without hesitation, that she would adore all of them. She would love, like we all do, Eli’s sweet nature and his gentle spirit. She would love Addie and Will for their endless spunk and persistence with all things. She would’ve practically levitated with joy hearing her family sing together at church, her 12 year old granddaughter leading the entire church in a psalm. Everything about it would’ve delighted her and I think we all felt that.

It felt so very appropriate that we were there for what would’ve been my grandparents’ birthday (they shared a birthday, which also, oddly always seemed appropriate). On July 26th, they would’ve been 91 and 90 years old. My grandma has been gone for 14 years, my grandpa for 2. My heart stills aches with their absence, but I was just so deeply happy this week, living the memories that they gave to us, the traditions they started.

For my grandparents’ birthday, we walked to my great aunt and uncle’s house, which is where we stayed in the summers when we were kids. We ate piles and piles of spaghetti and laughed about the memories we had made there and about our big, wacky family. It was joyous, but I think we all felt exactly what was missing. It was a strange conflict- the joy from the family that was gathered and the sorrow from those who couldn’t.

We are home now, rejuvenated and relaxed. Tan and a little chubby. But happy. I hope that someday my boys will remember this trip and the ones before and after it, the way I remember my childhood beach trips. I hope that each summer they will count down the days until we leave, the way I always did. And I hope that the legacy of love that my grandparents left us will take center stage for decades to come.

What a Difference 23 Months Make!

We finally did a month on time! Woo! Go team. It helped that Will was healthy and happy today and it was Saturday, so we had all day to get it done. And I really love this picture because it captures his spirit perfectly. He has universally big emotions, and thankfully a lot of the time, the emotion is happiness. We just adore this kid.

1 day!
1 day

6 months and 1 day!
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1 year and 1 day!
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18 months and 1 day!
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19 months and 1 day!
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20 months and 1 day!
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21 months and 2 days!
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22 months and 3 days!
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23 months and 1 day!
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William: Month 23

Will-

Today you are 23 months old. Please know that I’ve never told anyone that you are 23 months old because that’s the kind of age specificity that crazy people use. You are almost 2. Every time I say it my heart breaks a tiny bit because there it is, there’s the end of babyhood. It’s 1 month away.

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Unlike most months, I picked out pictures for this post before I wrote it (my computer had issues) and what I noticed was how many happy pictures we took this month. You were sick once for a few days and that was miserable, but otherwise, we had a great month. We had a ton of family time, which you (and I) love, we celebrated the 4th of July and we started a swim class (well, two swim classes, but that’s a long story).

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Your personality is changing more and more each day. You are becoming less persistently upset and much more independent. You still get frustrated when things don’t go the way you want them to or when you can’t have the exact thing you want, but you are so much slower to get upset. It is a relief, let me tell you. Your speech has improved a bit this month, which I think is helping, and you are receiving speech therapy now, and I think in a few weeks/months this is likely to improve even more.

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Your newest phrases are “I do it myself” and “Weenum (which is what you call yourself and it’s THE BEST) hurt” whenever you have even the slightest discomfort. If you report pain and I ask you where it is you’ll just look at me and go “On Weenum!” like that answers the question. While it’s not very helpful, I secretly hope you never learn how to say William because I think Weenum might be the cutest nickname ever.

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Your likes this month include: your brother, mom, dad, the kitties (much to their frustration), swimming (as long as you get to do what you want), cars, Toy Story, grandparents, Aunt Claire/Uncle Scott, Addie and baby Asher, Thomas the Tank Engine, rice and beans, and Mr. Potato Head.

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Your dislikes this month include: having restricted access to the ipad/phones, not being able to watch Toy Story all day every day, not being able to wear only Toy Story shirts, wearing shoes for almost any duration of time, when the kitties run away from you, wearing a diaper.

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I cannot believe you’re going to be 2. I mean, I can because you already are basically a professional 2 year old, but I can’t believe you’ve been here for almost 2 years. You are suddenly this big kid and you’re starting to engage even more with your brother and with Addie. You follow them everywhere and try so hard to do what they’re doing. Often this ends in disaster because you’re a tiny little bull in a china shop, but it’s always very cute before the big kids get frustrated with you.

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You are the sweetest, snuggliest little boy. You are excitable in the most delightful ways and you speak with exclamation points punctuating almost every word. You have big feelings and you are learning more and more how to tell us about them. You remind me so much of myself and the memories I have from when I was a preschool/elementary aged child and I can only hope that I’m giving you the same love and boundaries that my parents gave me to help me learn to manage the magnitude of my emotions. I know that as you transition from a baby to a toddler, like, full-fledged toddler, there will be a lot of bittersweet moments, but I’m just so excited to get to meet the kid you’re becoming. You are not always easy, but you are always, always worth the work.

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It would be impossible to tell you how much I love you because just like how you have big emotions, this is a big feeling for me. It defies explanation, but I will say that my favorite time of day is when you first get up because you want to snuggle on the couch and you just melt into me. And if you knew me 5 years ago you would understand how insane it is that I am actually enjoying anything at 6:15 in the morning. I know that someday you won’t want those snuggles, and so each day I savor those moments, just in case tomorrow is the day you’re too big for it.

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There is much on the horizon for you, my sweet boy. I’m so excited that I get to go along for the ride. We love you so very much and can’t wait to see what next month brings.

Love,
Mom

Willing the Way

I intended, as usual, to write this last week, but…life. There are a lot of things I want to write and well, they’ll all wait. Also, as usual. (Spoiler alert: we got a kitten!)

Two weeks ago, Will had the pediatric GI appointment we had waited almost 4 months for, and let me tell you, it was 100% worth the wait.

The GI we were seeing was someone my husband had worked with briefly at various points in his residency. After introducing herself to me, she told me that she knew J and that she was so glad he was back working at their hospital, and also, she remembered that during his residency I was having terrible headaches, and were they better? I had a good feeling from that moment on, because someone who remembers a detail like that and asks about it is the kind of physician I want on my team.

We spoke about William’s GI history- the severity of his reflux, that it’s still a problem (the kid still spits up from time to time and he’ll be 2 in August) and the very strange diarrhea he had the several times I dieted while nursing him.

As for the reflux, she said some kids just have persistent reflux and that we should continue with his medication and try weaning him from it at age 2. She’s not concerned about him staying on the medication as long as is needed, which was nice to hear. We’re basically just going to treat it until it’s gone.

The diarrhea was a major point of concern for her. Her first thought was potential food allergies and that he must have been allergic to one of the “whole” foods I was eating when I dropped the junk and upped my meat, fruit, veggie and nut intake. But she said there was another possibility- that it wasn’t a food allergy, but something called FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome). It’s sort of like an allergy, but, different (helpful, no?). Foods are all made up of different proteins and kids with FPIES can only tolerate very specific amounts of those proteins and when that threshold is met and exceeded, they experience inflammation of the GI tract. For some kids it presents as SEVERE vomiting, for others, like Will, it is mild diarrhea and, wait for it, reflux symptoms.

To test this, we had to do a mess of blood work- both general blood counts and a ton of allergy tests. The GI felt strongly that it wasn’t a true allergy, but she had to test basically everything I ate while on those diets, to confirm. Will was…not fond of that. As expected, the blood work showed that Will does not have food allergies (yay!), so she diagnosed him with mild FPIES and said if he hasn’t already outgrown most of it, he will by the age of 5. We have a plan for identifying and testing foods, but it’s really not a huge deal. And this is not the most interesting part.

Will’s general blood tests showed several things that we weren’t expecting. He is rather significantly anemic, which was surprising to all of us. Most kids who are anemic at Will’s age are that way because they drink a ton of whole milk and don’t eat enough meat. Will drinks precisely no milk (and had been weaned for over a month at the time of his appointment) and eats meat several times a day, often at every meal. He also eats pouches with kale and spinach and I sneak spinach into his spaghetti sauce as well. There is absolutely no reason why he should be anemic and when he was tested at 9 months, his iron levels were totally normal, so this isn’t something that has been ongoing since infancy (which can happen to breastfed babies). So we’re doing more bloodwork (poor Will!) to find out more about why this is happening and how to best treat it.

But, that’s not the only thing that came back off. Several of Will’s blood cell counts were out of range, including several that relate to his immune function. We are still waiting to run more tests, but it is looking more like Will may have an immunodeficiency of some sort, which, hi, fits him to a tee. I was going to get his bloodwork done last week, but Will spiked yet another random high (holy shit high) fever and so I thought it would be better for him to get healthy first.

So that’s where we are now, waiting for Will to be healthy enough to run more tests and trying to put together all these remaining puzzle pieces. I realize that I sound legitimately insane, but I am just so pleased that someone has listened to us, has finally run the tests and that we’re actually getting somewhere. I have felt like I have been screaming for 22 months about all these things and no physician will take me seriously. They all want to wait until the next check up and see if he gets healthier or if he gains weight and on and on. My voice is hoarse from all that screaming, but I have finally found someone who is willing to listen and we might finally be able to find a way to help Will stay healthy long enough to start growing again and to maybe even lighten up his flair for the dramatic. I’m not holding my breath about that last part, but I can dream. And hope. I’m doing an awful lot of that. I think we’ve finally found our way.

Lip Service

One of the major reasons we decided to have tubes in Will’s ears, besides the constant infections, was the impact the chronic fluid was having on his hearing. And in a child Will’s age, any change in hearing has a significant impact on speech. I wasn’t concerned at first because Will has always been A TALKER. I attribute this to him being a kid who has always had wants, but regardless of why, this was his thing. He was a talker. Things changed at around 15 months.

He continued to learn and speak but while his receptive language and cognition grew, his articulation didn’t just not keep up, it got worse. Where it was cute to mispronounce things when he was tiny, it stopped being as cute when no one could understand him and subsequently he spent hours on the floor crying in frustration.

So after the tubes were placed we had his hearing rechecked and thankfully it had normalized, and so at the recommendation of a speech pathologist, we decided to give him time for his speech to catch up. I had high expectations because everyone talked about the speech explosion their kids had after tubes. But that just didn’t happen. Partially I think it’s because not hearing did not stop Will from talking like it does with some kids, so it wasn’t like we went from no words to hundreds. It was like we went from a lot of unintelligible words to a few more unintelligible words.

We waited 6 weeks. And I will say that it definitely got a little better- a few things got clearer and some of his new words are more intelligible. But his vocabulary is continuing to grow far beyond his articulation skills. And that creates just so much frustration for everyone.

This is from today.

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I have watched this at least 5 times and I *think* he’s saying “I want Jacques Imo (the cat) in the box” but I really don’t know. Without context you would never in a million years understand him. He’s trying to say a 7 word sentence and it’s like verbal mush.

So tomorrow he has a speech evaluation. Several members of my family, who adore Will and only want what’s best for him, think we’re rushing things, but it’s hard to care for him right now. It’s hard for him to want things so badly, to think he’s telling us, and for us to have no idea what he’s saying. I feel terrible for him. I’m very hopeful that a short burst of therapy will help him get a few more consonants and learn to use his mouth properly (he doesn’t move his lips much).

I hope that this is the right thing for him and for our family and I hope that this, along with another recent Will health discovery (more on this later this week), will help us keep moving towards making Will a happier kid. He really deserves a break.

What a Difference 22 Months Make!

And 2 days late this month. This month it was a fever that had Will completely miserable to the point that he could barely be put down for even a moment and I just completely forgot. The night we were supposed to do it, I held him while he fell asleep sitting upright in my lap. The next night was similarly terrible and the picture was just a low priority. So, sorry Will. It’s not a reflection of my love for you. And also, the difference between 20 and 22 months is amazing and gives me all the feelings about my baby growing up.

1 day!
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6 months and 1 day!
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1 year and 1 day!
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13 months and 1 day!
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14 months and 1 day!
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15 months and 1 day!
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16 months and 1 day!
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17 months and 1 day!
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18 months and 1 day!
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19 months and 1 day!
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20 months and 1 day!
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21 months and 2 days!
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22 months and 3 days!
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