A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: developmental milestones

Orations of Consequence

Mr. Man had a speech delay, so didn’t utter his first word until about two-and-a-half-years-old, but given he is currently a bottomless fountain of chatter, no one would know. Warrior Queen was about five-months-old at the time, so perhaps not surprising that his first word was “baby.”

I began assuming my daughter would have a speech delay as well. She blew past fifteen-months in the rear view mirror and nothin’. True, she embraced language benchmarks her big brother did not…like movement and sound reciprocity games; but I assumed I misremembered or something even though I was quite positive I wasn’t.

A few weeks ago my increasingly toddling toddler said her first word, and she was quite confident about the assertion. “Down!” It isn’t as clearly articulated as an older being with a better developed language capability, but she is most definitely passionate about the word. Sometimes, but certainly not often, she’ll holler it within a snuggling embrace. Usually, however, it is a fun little game she plays with me…Well, she thinks it’s fun anyway. For me it’s cute within the first five minutes, but when her attention span continues as though she’s about to sprout pink ears and a drum and my arms become weary, I’m begrudged wishing each “down” will be my last for the duration.

Image result for olive oil popeye arms

(“Modest Fashion Network, hear me roar!”)

The crux of the game is her pulling herself onto the sofa, and yelling “down,” so that I’ll sweep her up and lay her on a couple of pillows I use to brace a potential fall off said sofa. It’s a funny exchange. She presents me with a huge smile, sometimes laughing…trailing giggles as I have to raise myself partway off the sofa to catch her crawling away. Sometimes she reaches for me after her assertion, ever present beaming smile expecting my reaction. When I’m ready to quit umpteen lifts ago, I remind myself the game will become forevermore stale for her sooner than I am willing to let it go…It’s an effective motivation. The best part, however, is the way she leans into my crook or resting against me in some way, snuggled in deep. It’s the telltale she is finished playing, and she remains as I run my fingers though her soft, dark curls. Occasionally she’ll lean her head way back and look at me…always smiling presenting her eight glorious teeth.

Image result for energizer bunny

(Okay, Wikipedia got me…I’m a sucker for a Warrior Queen smile…)

And, then there was her second word shortly following the arrival of her first, uttered with equal passion and commitment. “Read!” There’s never a game, but for weeks she’s frequented our bookshelves housing almost our full collection of stories. The same four or five are selected on almost every occasion, but she will also venture into new tale territory after her fill of favorites. I’d worried she wouldn’t enjoy stories as much as her brother. I don’t read them to her the way I did to him at her age. Mr. Man preferred leg bouncing to the rhythm of the stories. My fierce girl likes to bounce and dance to my cadence on her own…laughing and smiling….She seems to know when each story indicates something funny. I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but I’m relieved the second child wasn’t on the receiving end of the limited time and patience disparity when compared to her brother’s experience as a young toddler.

Image result for 80 fitness dancing

(Pinterest knows the delights of a barely toddler smiling and busting a move.)

Many of my posts are not exclusively reserved for Warrior Queen. She is so young that there isn’t much about her as an individual capable of consuming a post by her lonesome. But, I sense that is about to change because my little girl demands it.

Image result for woman scaling a mountain

(Warrior Queen plans to take over the world with her ferocity, and Positively Scottish knows it!)

Advertisements

Growing Relief

It’s always interesting to me that big events are buried among mundane daily experiences…easily forgotten if it weren’t for a conscious effort to immortalize them. We went to a small localish fair that included a petting zoo today. Usually such things are more appealing in theory, but this one was pretty swanky. There were oodles of chickens my son adored. Some had rather interesting head feather assortments that reminded me of my high school freshmen existence before I understood the purpose of gel and allowing thick curly hair to remain thick and curly.

Image result for puffy head feather chickens

(The Mama Load clearly knew me in high school.)

There was a mighty handsome turkey looking for a hook-up…all plumage and boisterous gobbles.

Image result for male turkey

(I bet you’re hard pressed to consider any other fowl with greater sex appeal…)

There were couple meandering goats within the small pen bumping into confused roaming children…a pony, some rabbits, ducks, and a pig. Hard to deny a good time had by all, and generally I’m a profound fan of any attraction that entertains a three-year-old Mr. Man.

I was wearing Warrior Queen. Currently, she lacks the gumption to walk…rather indifferent to cruising around furniture, but she is an ambitious crawler, so there’s that. I consider this stage of babydom annoying for outings. Warrior Queen isn’t quite mobile enough to be part of outdoor gallivants and some indoor diversions, but she isn’t the portable lump of last year either.

The site of this fair included an impressive playground. Warrior Queen isn’t old or sturdy enough to enjoy anything but the swings, but at least I had a few minutes to rest my shoulders. My fierce sprite loves a swing almost as much as her brother. But, to be fair, I don’t think anyone has a passion for swings like he. Most occasions it doesn’t matter how fabulous the surroundings for this exceptionally active toddler, often he wants to be pushed for forty-five minutes before going home. Warrior Queen enjoys the wind in her hair and the thrill of the pendulum, but unless the swing includes a snuggle on my lap with her gripping my shirt, she tires of the experience within ten minutes.

Surprisingly, we remained at the fair for an hour, Little Man trotting about with me and my husband maneuvering behind him. My son enjoying a shoulder ride on Daddy while returning to the car. I wasn’t even sweaty once I buckled into the passenger seat of my car…It was perfect!

Image result for woman face drenched in water

(That amount of moisture including an impressive amount of boob sweat is hot, right Daily Mail?)

Returning home I attempted to wait on my son’s bath until after Warrior Queen was fed…no such luck. Immediately upon entering the house, Little Man made his way to the upstairs bathroom, efficiently dropping trough in his procession. My husband was planning to mow the lawn, but there is no arguing with the pre-trantrum of a little boy in desperate need to shed petting zoo funk. Mild spritzing rain outside hinted at foiling my husband’s effort at exterior maintenance anyway.

I’ve been telling anyone who asks that I plan to have Little Man go to high school in diapers. It becomes an awkward joke because I’m not entirely kidding. There have been marvelous technological advances in adult diapers of late, and the prospect of potty training terrifies me.

Image result for adult diapers

(Diapersamerica.com agrees such a thing is totally reasonable and would in no way cramp my son’s emerging adulthood style.)

Generally, I see the process of potty training as a development milestone, rather than me formally and hard core teaching my children to use a toilet. So, per discussions with my children’s physician, we have a plan to include unpressured offers to use the potty periodically or enter the restroom for his required privacy while pooping. But, such actions are more about planting a potty option seed in my son’s brain than formally training him to use the toilet. And, really, there is no rush. In my state it is against the law to require children be potty trained to attend school…either private or public. The belief behind this mandate is that there is no way to determine if the continued need for diapers is due to a special need/disability. Depriving a child of their education for an inability to use restroom facilities is considered a discriminatory practice.

It, however, doesn’t matter my rationale. In increasing frequency I’ve been on the receiving end of judgment by family elders regarding my potty training approach. Apparently, if I don’t get on the stick immediately, my son will be ten-years-old, and still in diapers. But, family pressure aside, my friends with threeishish-year-olds are getting their heads in the game, which provides its own unnecessary guilt ridden head trip. Fortunately…or unfortunately…my son hasn’t had much interest in the potty…until today. Big Little Man used the potty for the first time scant hours ago. My husband following my son up the stairs for his post fair bath was asked to use the potty. For the past couple months or so my son declined when asked. Even on the rare occasion when he’s agreed to sit on our custom seated toddler throne, he’s never actually accomplished anything. But, today was the day! After his bath, my growing boy entered our multipurpose playroom beaming and telling me, “Daddy hold my peanuts.” He was so proud…apparently he hasn’t quite grasped that he needs to push down his junk when using the potty, but it seems Mommy has some new work cut out for her…decidedly before high school.

Image result for graduation

(National Retail Federation knows how to celebrate an official first toilet use!)

Socrates, Shakespeare, Ellison, García Márquez, and a Toddler

My a-little-over-two-year-old son is finally speaking.  Expectedly, some of his language is clear to anyone, and some of it only becomes clear to me after several renditions of the speech pattern and a lucky guess.  Receptive comprehension was never an issue, but my husband and I took full advantage of his inability to repeat our commentary, which I know is problematic moving forward, yet I continue to offer my invaluable insight on social happenings, politics, or random life observations peppered with a host of colorful and creative terminology to anyone who will listen.  Maybe it’s the hormones; maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, but I’m not all that motivated to censor myself.

Sometimes when an adult asks Little Man a question he will provide a quick, “Yes,” and sometimes he means what he uttered.  And, there are those times when the gravity of his agreement supersedes a simple affirmative acknowledgment.  When asked if he enjoyed his time at a park, for instance, he provides a low key and dragged out, “Oh,” accompanied by a concerned and serious facial expression appropriate for the conversational setting.  It’s adorable.  But, neither my husband nor I knew how he came to develop such a sweet and funny articulation…until last weekend.  I do that, but decidedly less cute and endearing.  So, I’ll remember this example when my luck finally expires, and my son joins the masses of toddlers expressing their unique identities…by expressing a parent’s.

Growing Pains

I lament my children growing older.  Even my warrior queen, short of three-months is aging too rapidly.  Only yesterday was she barely awake, now expresses preferences to be active, observing our household happenings.  My son asserts his increasing desire for independence.  It seems too soon he will no longer want me hovering, and perhaps that day is already upon me.  But, my humble plea to both, please, don’t hurry your current youth…I’m much too tired for the next step that approaches.

Three-years-old is supposed to be the earliest time for boys to begin their expressed desire to use the toilet like the rest of us.  Really?  My son is barely over the two-year mark.  It’s too soon for him to rip off his soiled diapers onto our carpet.  It’s too soon for Little Man to indicate he left a duce in his all-in-one undies for me to clean.  I am much to tired and ill prepared to begin the process of toilet training.  It was bad enough my son started walking and insisting on feeding himself.  The catastrophe left in his wake after those benchmarks will pale in comparison to trails of dung all over the house.  My kid is a seriously prolific pooper; I feel blessed if I only change his substantial diaper chips three times a day.

To make matters worse, my daughter isn’t sleeping as much.  Sure, her plentiful smiles are breathtaking, but they are sprinkled among strong stipulations to be cuddled.  I don’t think I have the energy and general wherewithal  to manage a potty training toddler in the midst of a sleep regression and an infant choosing to progress into consciousness in a timely manner.  It’s heartbreaking; they just grow up much, much too fast…

The Smiles that Launched a 1,000…Diaper Changes

I remember that very early morning when my son first smiled socially.  It was just summer, or maybe technically still spring.  The sky was beginning to lighten, casting its glowing hue throughout the room.  I’ve always loved that time of day…if only I weren’t so sleep deprived at the time…  I was holding my new little man who was kissing the unconscious from his feeding.  He suddenly awakened briefly, spied me, smiled, and drifted back to sleep for seconds before the process cycled several more times.  My heart melted, and I fell in love again.  Mr. Man was about six-weeks-old.

The Warrior Queen was six-weeks-old a week ago, and celebrated with her own social smile.  She is my daughter, so it was entering a feeding.  I give her a bottle, and she smiled around it, wide and wonderful.  My heart melted, and I fell in love again.  I tear up now thinking of it…maybe it’s still the hormones.  It was the late afternoon.  I’ve never liked that time of day, sleep deprived or not.  But, it was the start of so, so many smiles in a meager week.  My fierce girl continues to make her dynamic expressions, especially when she asserts her displeasure, but she routinely smiles to balance her edged communication.  For all those moments when she must wait to have her needs met, she is still so happy, and it gives me hope I haven’t scarred her because I couldn’t clone into two Mommies when my children synchronize their intense needs any given moment.

My favorite smile thus far wins its award for existing as so tragically silly.  In a week my husband has yet to see this new developmental milestone even though countless minutes elapse with him cuddling our Warrior Queen.  But, in this moment it was the awkward baby handoff.  As soon as my girl was in my arms, a smile erupts on her face with wide eyes looking at me.

There will be a rush of milestones accomplished in the next several months, all intended to amaze me with her sudden growth and maturing into a homunculus soon to be equally capable of destroying my house like her brother, but I want to burn every smile in my mind above all else.

Intervening Maybes

It’s been a frequent aside mention for months in this blog.  My kid isn’t talking even though he is almost twenty months.  He is certainly vocal.  He certainly communicates.  He most certainly understands everything I say.  His memory is fine.  He tells jokes and is surprisingly considerate of other people much of the time.

Last night was the long awaited behavioral assessment courtesy of a private nonprofit early intervention agency/program and federal/state social investment.

I’ve spent much of the time between the initial phone call and this appointment not feeling concerned, and, frankly, a bit curious about the process this entails.  I am trained and practiced in literacy intervention which has some components of speech and language, but my population is older adolescents or adults.  Even with the help of the expertise of Google, I don’t really have a good handle on early speech.  Little Man seems to do things that aren’t listed, but nowhere near the things that are in this area.

Of course, everyone has an opinion and suggestion.  I wish I had financial reimbursement for every time I’ve heard, “He’s a boy.”  Through this waiting process I continued to watch and interact with my happy and loving little man and turn a blind ear to the outside noise because it is just that, noise.

The afternoon arrived.  Three women would be conducting the normed assessment.  I asked a couple of questions as a special educator who has administered my fair share of these types of things; I certainly have my biases regarding normed assessments and what they reveal.  I’ve also cultivated a fine cynicism regarding interventions and the role of corporations.  This isn’t to say that I’m hostile or not open, but approach this process and its results with caution.

While the women were professional and seemingly ethical, it occurred to me that they were quite conservative in their conclusions of my son’s accomplishments in all areas tested.  While their determination wasn’t completely off base in grey areas, I could see the undertone of the most likely scores to receive services once everything was tallied.  I understand these places are a business, so this is not to say that there was an air of sketchiness requiring me to take a long shower into the early morning, rather an interesting note.  My son barely met the benchmark for receiving services in communication, but he did technically qualify.  He isn’t talking yet and no one can say why, so qualification is not necessarily bad or unwelcome news.

We will be contacted in a couple of weeks by a caseworker.  In the meantime we received a few recommendations to bridge the gap until our sessions begin.  Two I already do without results thus far.  The other won’t hurt, but I couldn’t help but wonder if all the recommendations were chosen because they sound like they would be effective or because research and data determined they are.  But, it isn’t worth the fight.  Their suggestions won’t do harm and aren’t all that cumbersome, so why not?  Such an interesting state of mind; imagine if other professional areas relied on the same guiding principles…

I sound rational and together right?  Then maybe you can explain why I broke down when I had a moment to lie down after returning home.  As much as I know my son’s language delay is not my fault; it isn’t anyone’s; it very much feels that it is.  I’m his primary caregiver, so shouldn’t it be on me to shepherd my wonderful offspring through his development?

I’ve had so many similar conversations over the years with families confronted with mental illness.  Often it isn’t anyone’s fault.  Bad luck. Bad genes. Whatever, it doesn’t matter…  But, now I’m on the other end sitting through almost two hours of a process I only vaguely understand.  While I knew some of the skills tested were well beyond what is reasonable for my son at this time, every failure of his to produce the desired result felt like my failure to him.  I had no notion of where each skill presented fell in the age range.  He happily played along, charming the room, but the constant ill ease through the assessment duration sat on my head, pressing down until well after the results were presented.

It sounds crazy.  Maybe because I’m pregnant.  Maybe because I began the week feeling delicate because of another issue occurring a mere couple days ago.  Maybe I don’t want my son to struggle as I did for so long.  At the end of the day the answer to “maybe” isn’t important, rather its existence.

 

 

What the Internet Doesn’t Tell You about Developmental Milestones

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that “developmental milestones” is code for, “sh*t your kid learns to do when you aren’t paying attention for the purpose of killing or maiming themselves.”

I’ve spoken of this a few times in my posts, but my latest experience was this morning.  Little Man rose for the day a good forty-five minutes earlier than he almost always does, and that’s a highly conservative calculation.  My internal clock (read:  bladder) notified me it was a reasonable hour to awaken…a good thirty minutes later than I normally would.  I figured I’d be lucky to knock off half my exercise regimen (read:  valued me time).  No dice, barely any of it was accomplished.  My morning disposition was unreasonably bitter as a result.  I blame pregnancy.  Regardless, my son beckoned.

His morning routine accomplished without incident.  I asked him to keep himself occupied so Mommy can exercise a bit in the other room.  He complied.  I figured I would maybe get twenty minutes, which would be fine.  At that point I can easily finish during his nap.  Mr. Man is clearly growing up because he was playing appropriately for a good amount of time for the most part.  Almost all of the sounds I heard were things I recognized, and, even better, they were sounds…  I say almost because there were two instances that took me by surprise.

I was peddling along, reading from one of the multiple texts I’ve downloaded; digital or not, I’m a bit of a literary hoarder savant.  Then I heard clanking that sounded like pans, but those are locked behind barriers designed to keep the wee ones from gaining access to various cabinetry.  But, if I’ve learned nothing else in his almost twenty-months of external existence, it is that Mr. Man is quite capable of opening anything that is a challenge for me.  I put nothing past him.  Right now I’m convinced that he actually can speak, and it is in sentence structures worthy of Faulkner, but he’s keeping it under wraps for the sole purpose of creating mischief and mayhem without the obligation of answering to a teed off Mommy.

I probably should have been in a hurry to see what horror was in store, but I spent the following thirty seconds trying to deduce what kind of pans these could possibly be…yup, definitely metal…and flat?  What could he possibly be into in there?

I step off our elliptical.  Really?  He managed to figure out there is a drawer under the oven?  I can’t even remember him seeing either of us open it.  But, who am I kidding?  My child is destined for a life of cat burglary and cookie stealing…He sees everything…  In case anyone who is a believer is wondering, God is a toddler who frequently misses naptime…

I can’t be mad because I’ve never redirected him for this type of thing, so I casually place all the various seldomly used cookware on our island.  My son graciously handed me all the items I missed.  There was no other destruction, so  I climbed back on our exercise equipment, assuming for only a few minutes more; Mr. Man surely can’t last too much longer.  It has already been an impressive twenty-five minutes of mostly uneventful independent play.  But, I transferred to reading my smut just in case…The writing is so poor that it is easy to pull away from without too much regret.

More explainable noise; Little Man was doing just fine on his own.  Then ten minutes later more metal clanking.  Now I’m really confused.  Is that a small wire rack and a toaster oven tray?  Did he figure out the child proofed cabinets after all?  Well, not quite, but it was an impressive second.  My son opened the bottom drawer of one of the few unlocked storage compartments in our kitchen, and while standing in said drawer was in the process of pulling the lighter items off the pile of transplanted cookware I only moments prior placed in the middle of our island, convinced they were beyond the grasp of my son’s short appendages.  Clearly, Mommy was delusional and underestimating Little Man’s problem solving skills…

Of course, as I was pulling him out of his self-made step stool, I became all too aware he soiled his diaper.  No hard feelings though, he didn’t set fire to anything this time, but I took the hint…Mommy can run, but she can’t hide…for too long anyway…

 

%d bloggers like this: