Last Indulgences

Dairy is delicious.

There, I said it. It’s delicious. While I know that cutting dairy from my diet benefitted me and my family greatly, nothing can change the simple fact that it’s freaking delicious.

It’s also present in SO MUCH FOOD. It’s astonishing how much my diet changed when I had to cut all traces of dairy when C began showing signs of milk protein allergy.

When I was pregnant with K, I was able to start eating dairy again. Then soon after he was born, he also showed signs of milk protein allergy and I cut it out again.

This time, I’m being proactive. I plan to cut dairy entirely from my diet after Thanksgiving(because hello, mashed potatoes!) and not reintroduce it until baby girl is at least three months old. There is very limited research showing that delayed exposure can limit the allergenic response, so I’m crossing my fingers hoping this works for her and she can enjoy dairy at a much younger age than her brothers could.

Thanksgiving is next week. I am spending this time saying goodbye to my dairy-full favorites.

Goodbye, delicious cheesy pizzas. Goodbye, spinach pizza in particular–you’re my favorite. Goodbye grilled cheeses, goodbye Caesar salads, goodbye ranch dressing. Goodbye, most chocolates.

Hello, allergen menus. Time to get reacquainted.

A Mental Health TRIUMPH!

In the past when C would get sick, I’d panic. I would Google any and all symptoms, trying to figure out what the problem was. I drove myself nuts, but couldn’t see it. I would try to match his symptoms to all of the common childhood illnesses. I was terrified of his illnesses getting worse, and of some unknown something I still can’t quite name.

Yesterday, C complained about mouth pain while eating. We looked and saw nothing. Today, he complained his mouth hurt at lunch–too much to finish eating. I looked and found spots on his hard palate.

I knew those spots. I’d seen them many times in my anxiety-Googling sprees. I checked his feet and hands and, sure enough, found a spot on one hand.

HFMD. I skimmed the WebMD article to see whether I needed to call his pediatrician and then put my phone away. I offered him some yogurt–much easier to swallow with a blistered mouth–and then figured that was likely why a very, VERY tired K was already napping an hour before the usual nap time.

When K woke up, he was running a low-grade fever. I found a spot on one hand. I cuddled him close and just took in the moment of closeness, of his little head resting on my shoulder as he drifted in and out of sleep.

For the rest of the day, we took it easy. We read books. We cuddled. They got a little extra screen time while I cooked for myself and Jared, and warmed up some chicken noodle soup for them so they’d have something easier to eat.

Hey, did you catch that? Because I didn’t, until later in the evening.

I didn’t panic. I didn’t frantically google everything about every illness ever. I didn’t even feel my anxiety heighten, people. I just handled it.

I. Just. Handled. Life.

Thanks to years of hard work through therapy, CBT, meds, journaling, I could finally be the present mom they needed and that I wanted to be when they were sick.

It’s not over, and it never will be. I know I’ll have a new set of challenges as my daughter builds up her immune system. I know my work will be put to the test, time and time again. Sometimes I won’t succeed. Sometimes I will.

Today, though, was a huge triumph for me. Today I was exactly who I wished I could be during my low moments four-ish years ago.

Today, I won.

My Little Middle Little

K has always been a shorty. While C was content to hang out in the 50-60% charts for length as a baby, K was usually around the 20th percentile.

C outgrew some of his newborn sleepers at two weeks old. K wore all of his newborn-sized clothing for about seven weeks. C was constantly moving up in sizes as a baby. K could wear each size grouping for a lot longer than C could.

After turning one, he seemed to grow in accordance with clothing sizes–18M and 24M/2T fit at around those ages, though he still tended to be one of the smaller kids in his MDO class.

When he turned 3, I took him in for his well-child visit. His height and weight were checked and logged into his chart. The nurse frowned a bit and remeasured his height. She left to get the pediatrician, still looking a little less than 100% at ease.

I got a little nervous.

The pediatrician came in, checked his eyes and ears and all the other good stuff, and then said she wanted to measure his height again herself, saying that sometimes little kids wiggle and she wanted a double-check.

She showed me K’s growth chart. His values went steadily, if slowly, upward–until that day’s measurement. His data showed he had fallen entirely off the growth curve he’d settled on over the last 1.5 years.

“Let’s check on that in six months,” his pediatrician suggested. “If he hasn’t caught up then we can explore whether there’s a reason he isn’t growing as he should be.” Okay, cool. I wasn’t TOO worried at the time. He’d always been small, I reasoned to myself. He’s likely fine. I put it out of my mind.

Last week, his MDO teachers took pictures of his class standing in front of their circle time board. I noticed that many of his friends are at least two inches taller than he is. That’s… a lot.

Remembering what the pediatrician had said, I started googling “reasons for delayed growth in children” and found an article about growth hormone deficiency. I realized we could check several of the symptom boxes off.

I freaked. I emailed the pediatrician with my concerns and which other symptoms he had. She told me to go ahead and bring him in for a height check; two months was enough time to let us see whether he was growing or not.

In two months he’s grown nearly an inch, bringing him back up to his previous growth curve. A not-so-small knot of anxiety loosened in my chest. My little dude is just that, it seems–a little dude. I’ve emailed the pediatrician(bless her; she’s NEVER made me feel silly for my worries) to ensure her info backs up what I have written down, but overall I’m a lot calmer.

I am, though, a little frustrated I donated all of his 2T pants last year, thinking he’d have outgrown them by now. He didn’t. Gah!!

Reading Aloud to Kids

Jared and I are of the opinion that it’s never too early to start reading to children. We began reading a chapter aloud a night of The Chronicles of Narnia to C when I was around 30 weeks pregnant, and(barring the first few weeks of his earthside existence) have continued the tradition ever since.

As C grew, so did his interest in books. He had favorites he insisted we read 4000 times, and we grew to nearly hate the sight of their covers. When K joined the family, I used books as a way to connect with C while nursing his hungry little brother. As they grew bigger, we started making weekly library trips for Toddler Story Time and to stock up on learning and fun books for the week.

C’s interest led to a desire to learn to read. He can now read chapter books on his own. K, who is less inclined to sit still for book after book after book the way C was, enjoys burrowing into my side while I read aloud.

While we don’t have any sort of plan to our daytime reading, our nighttime books tend to be series we enjoyed as kids that we want to share with our own kids. So far, we have read:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • A Wrinkle in Time series
  • Percy Jackson series
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
  • Ramona Quimby series
  • Ralph S. Mouse series
  • Henry Huggins series
  • Superfudge series
  • Now we’ve recently begun The Hobbit and I’m lobbying hard for Harry Potter, though I agree the later books are a bit dark for younger kiddos.
  • Spend some time reading a book or two to your kiddos at bedtime. It’s a great way to connect after a long day, to share books you yourself loved, and sparks their imagination with amazing stories. There are many educational reasons to read to your kids. I won’t list them all, but I will say this: once you make bedtime reading a habit, it’s one that is fun for everyone to look forward to.

    Try it. I think you’ll like it.

    The “Boy Mom” Life

    A lot of the cliches about raising boys fit my two little monsters. K is deep into the potty humor phase that C FINALLY outgrew, which means every other sentence out of my mouth is some form of, “Talking about poop is not polite. Find something else to talk about.”

    There are cars and dinosaurs everywhere in their room.

    Everything gets turned into a sword or a gun/blaster.

    For the love of all things holy, WHY DOES THE BATHROOM I JUST CLEANED SMELL LIKE PEE AGAIN?!

    “Stop choking your brother” is not uncommon around here. Neither is “get your hand out of your pants.”

    Feet off the table.

    Stop jumping off things.

    No, you cannot pee in the yard. Go to the potty.

    And then, just as I’m about to completely lose my cool, C and K will insist I move my hair out of the way so they can kiss my cheeks. They hug my belly and tell their sister that they love her. They tell me I’m the best mommy ever.

    Of course, I’m sure many girls do all of this, too. Still, I find myself a little sad that my time as a mom to only boys is coming to an end in a few months.

    My boys are interesting, infuriating, sweet, ridiculous little people. They’ve taught me a lot about myself and how to relate to others(especially irrational people!).

    I’m looking forward to meeting my daughter and getting to know her, and yet I’m a little sad that I won’t be a “boy mom” anymore. I won’t be able to say “my boys” and have that encompass all of my children. I can’t yell out “let’s go, señores” and have it mean all three kiddos.

    I do know, however, that whether she’s girly or a tomboy, she will have two excellent and protective older brothers standing up for her–and, once she’s bigger–teaching her how to physically stand up for herself. Because, yeah, they both have a pretty mean punch when they put their minds to it.

    Whoever she is, she is loved and will be loved. While I am shedding the title of “boy mom,” I am happily taking up the mantle of “mom of three.”

    This is going to be awesome.

    Early Holiday Prep

    We all have “that one friend.” The one who loves a certain holiday soooo much, they begin decorating for it a month or more in advance. The ones who start with the Halloween stuff in late August, or sing Christmas carols before Thanksgiving, or whatever.

    I am not that friend.

    But, I am that crafter. I started Handmade Christmas 2018 in July, and began planning and creating in August for this year’s Christmas. It won’t be as extensive as last year–I’m kinda preoccupied with growing another whole person, after all–but it’s happening!

    Crafting is my refuge, my happy place, my soul-feeder, and all the other potentially sappy stuff that means “I really really enjoy this.” I especially enjoy when others enjoy my work. It’s so fulfilling!

    So when a friend messaged me and commissioned seven crochet ornaments, I was excited to get those done! She told me she’s planning on gifting the ornaments, and I’m so touched and excited that she likes my work enough to share it with others. Ahhh! How cool is that!

    The patchwork blanket is done and beloved by its 3-year-old recipient, the crochet ornaments have shipped, and I’m back at working on HC2K19(okay, no, that’s not gonna work). Time to stuff my face with apples–this baby seems to love them–while I make gifts and plan out a shirt for myself. Bring on the yarn and t-shirt patterns!

    Craft Room!

    Over the weekend, we moved the boys from their separate bedrooms into the playroom, giving them a large shared bedroom.

    It has been… an adjustment. They tend to keep each other up at nap and bedtimes, but we know a lot of that is the shiny newness of sharing a bedroom and expect it to get better as time goes on. Yesterday, K napped! See, better already.

    So. Moving them into a shared space freed up both of their bedrooms. One will be converted into 4.0’s nursery, and the other IS MY VERY OWN CRAFT ROOM OMG YAY!!!!

    The very first thing I purchased for it? The fingerprint lock shown above. I remember all too well the absolute destruction the boys wrought on Jared’s office one morning when they circumvented his simpler lock. I did not care to repeat the experience with tangles of yarn, fabric, and straight pins. Nooooo thank you! I took a leaf from Jared’s book and got a fingerprint lock for myself as well, installed it yesterday, and ensured the boys could not let themselves in.

    My own craft room! I’ve been dreaming of having my own little space that I didn’t have to set up and tear down every time I wanted to work on something. Now that I have one, I’m kind of at a loss as to how to set it up. I’ll be moving all of my yarn and fabric totes(yes, totes, I have more than one…) and sewing machines into the room today, along with an extra table and a chair that I’ll replace as soon as I find good ones I like.

    But then what? What do I put on the walls? How do I organize my things? I have a blank canvas and, much like when I would write short stories and stare at a blank Word document, am paralyzed by how to start. Pinterest is overwhelming me, Joann’s craft furniture is too expensive at the moment, and I am at a loss.

    I have a bookshelf. For now, I’ll put my machines and smaller storage totes on it. That’s the only thing I have decided on. Everything else is up in the air.

    But hey! I have a craft space! I can do whatever I want with it! And although I don’t know what I want, yet, I’m sure it’ll come to me. There’s no deadline, real or imagined!

    Now, that nursery on the other hand…

    Um…

    #thirdchildproblems 😂😂😂