Day 1061 | Thank You

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I’m going to be honest with you. As May 1st approaches (that’s this blog’s anniversary, for those not keeping track), I’ve been thinking a lot about stopping. Had I known three years (!!!) ago that I would be sinking this much time + energy into this simple blog idea I had, I might have reconsidered ever starting. But, three years and 1061 posts later, I’m happy every day to have this chronicle of such a fleeting + fast-paced time in our lives…that’s one of the reasons I started it after all.

The other main reason for starting it? I wanted a way to make people feel like they were involved in our day-to-day life even if we didn’t talk every day or if they didn’t live in DC. Now, this reason is almost more important as I’m feeling so disconnected from my DC friends lately and hope that at least by keeping tabs on me, they still feel included in my life. 

So, having said all that, I was still *just about* to call it quits. I’m burned out. Chris is tired of asking me if I did my post for the night. The boys are probably tired of all the photos…although they’ve been shockingly good sports all along.

Then, I wrote this post. You remember the one…about Miles starting speech therapy. This post triggered such a sweet, loving, + emotional response from several of my dear friends that I realized I still need to share. Parenting isn’t all about the smiling photos. It’s hard stuff and if any of my posts make even one person feel inspired or connected or comforted, than it’s worth it. 

Thank you to everyone that reached out after the speech therapy post. It was a tough one to write but the outpouring of love + kind words (plus admissions of everyone else’s mom challenges) warmed my heart and renewed my motivation to keep on keepin’ on.

p.s. We also went to a water park today. See photo above. It was pretty great. That is all.

Day 1058 | Burley to the Rescue

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This relatively spontaneous purchase back in the fall was about the best thing that's ever happened to me. No seriously. If our neighbors hadn't randomly asked if we wanted to buy their Burley, I don't think the idea would have dawned on me. I would have been left trying to figure out how to maneuver a double stroller through the snow + ice + slush, not to mention figure out how to keep the boys warm, and would have, inevitably, had to give up.

As it turned out, I was able to walk to Chase's school (only about .6 miles away) every single day over the winter. The bitter cold + wind, the freezing rain, the piles + piles of snow...nothing could hold us back. After all, the boys were warm and cozy so they weren't complaining at all. 

Fast forward to slightly warmer temps of late and yet again the Burley continues to come in handy. I can walk with it in the rain, too! Our old rain cover only covered one of the stroller seats. Now I've got no excuse not to don my raincoat and walk through the spring raindrops. I have realized, however, if this is going to be a regular occurrence, I should probably invest in some rain boots. Noted.

Day 1055 | The Dynamic Duo

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Watch out EC, we've got two scooters now!

Thanks to this pretty awesome consignment sale, we scored this brand new scooter for $25! Yep, that's right, they're two wild and crazy kids on three-wheels. Woo hoo!

Side note: By "wild" and "crazy" I don't mean that we'll be riding in the middle of the street all the time. Our first foray this afternoon led us down to a Jazz Festival (and a closed road) downtown. Safety first remember!

Day 1054 | Speech Therapy

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After our meeting yesterday, Robbe is officially starting speech therapy. He has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for the next year. It was a heavy day. After two months of various assessments, phone calls, meetings, and emails, we've got a plan for our sweet three year old: he'll start one-on-one speech therapy through the end of the school year and then will start at a speech + language focused preschool (the only one like it in the state) in the fall.

I'm filled with mixed emotions about all of this. First and foremost, I'm feeling relieved. I've known for a year and a half that his speech wasn't forming the same way Chase's had. I told myself (as did countless others), that every child is different. He's probably fine. So we waited on any action. We gave him time. Now he's three and we all could tell frustration was mounting over not being able to communicate his more complex thoughts. Now we have reassurance from professionals that, with some focused assistance, he'll make progress and probably [hopefully] catch up quickly and get back on track. That's exactly what we wanted + needed to hear.

So, aside from relief and joy for my little guy finally getting the help he needs, I've got *just a few* other emotions that I'm trying to sort out in my tends-to-over-analyze mind.

My guilt:

Did I do something to create this challenge for our little guy (someone or something must be to blame after all). Here's what I've come up with as the possible reasons that our situation *may have* exacerbated his delay (insane or not):

  • Having babies close together: Chase and Robbe spend a lot of time together. Like, a lot a lot. They love it. And I love it. But I can't help but think having them close together has meant Chase talks for Robbe a lot and fills the silence with his own words so much that Robbe hasn't had as much opportunity for finding his own voice.
  • Staying at home with him: has my ability to predict his every need and translate his unrecognizable words and actions slowed his need to communicate? If he was forced into an environment where he had a different caregiver or kids he wasn't around as often, would he have been encouraged to communicate in a clearer fashion? Or maybe he just would have been more frustrated and started withdrawing. Who knows, right?
  • Not enough one-on-one time: I remember having a conversation with Chris when Robbe was about nine-ish months old. Chris would come home from work and want so badly to play with the boys. Chase ate that time up. Robbe? He was so content doing his own thing that when you tried to insert yourself into his play, he would leave and find something else to do: alone. And, although he now enjoys playing with anyone and everyone, he's still so content to just be that it's a hard balance of recognizing he needs (and craves) this down time so he doesn't get over-stimulated and amped up. Maybe more interaction when he was a little guy with the abc's and one-on-one discussions would have allowed his speech barrier to break down without intervention. Just maybe?
  • Thumb sucking: as of last month, Robbe is officially done sucking his thumb. Yay! But I can't help but wonder if I would have been proactive in nipping the habit in the bud earlier that it would have benefited his speech. 

My fears:

More than anything, I just want Robbe to be a happy + healthy little man. If I could take this on for him, I totally would, but, alas, I cannot and therefore I'm also filled with these anxieties:

  • Struggling with the challenge: no parent wants their little one to have to go through challenges. I know these bumps in the road of life build character and encourage hard work, resilience, etc, but I'm pretty sure if you, as a parent, could choose a smooth, clear, sunny road for your child, you would. I know he'll get through this. I'm just sad that he has to. 
  • Wondering if it’ll get easier for him: as much as the speech therapist can reassure, and my gut instinct can tell me, that he'll catch on quickly and be over this hurdle before he is even old enough to remember it, I still worry. I don't want these challenges to overshadow him living his little toddler-life the way he wants to (and I want him to!).  
  • Figuring out the best way to help him: I'm hoping [with every part of my being] that this speech therapy track will help our little guy. There are so many options for speech intervention (the preschool, one on one therapy, home programs, + more), that I hope we're on the right track with the right plan for him. 

There it is. You can all tell me (and some have) that none of this is my/our fault. I hear that. I really do. But, no matter how logical and reasonable that seems, doubt creeps in. I've learned in my five years of being a mom that you can find a way to blame yourself for practically everything. We're a lucky bunch, aren't we? 

I'll keep you all posted as our journey through speech therapy progresses. I'm hopeful. I'd appreciate all of your optimistic thoughts, too. :)

 

Day 1052 | Looking Back

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I spent the good part of last night ordering photos for the boys' baby books (turns out I was a little behind on the photo collecting) and left them out when I went to bed. Robbe and Chase were immediately interested in looking over their books. So much so that Robbe carried his around all day and needed to dig out his hedgehog Halloween costume because it was pictured in the book. To be fair, it was Chase's costume (for obvious reasons), but it was a nice trip down memory lane.  

Day 1050 | Collages

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It's was a surprisingly busy weekend around here.  Somehow limited plans turned into lots of running...but it was really great! 

As a result, though, the boys and I decided a quite morning at home was in order. We did puzzles, read books, did some superhero graphing, played a couple of games...oh, they also made these collages.

It started with Robbe wanting to practice his cutting skills (a pretty regular occurrence). Chase obviously got on board with that idea (also, not surprising). I gave them Menards ads instead of the normal computer paper so they started circling and cutting out items in the catalogue. I added some gluesticks to the mix and voila: two collages. 

Can you guess which boy made which collage? I bet you can!

Day 1047 | Dying Easter Eggs

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The boys and I had a blast dying Easter eggs with friends yesterday. And, best of all, we tried two new dying techniques that were much more fun than the traditional dipping method. 

My friend Ashley (thanks again!) set us up with a tie-dying method (top photos) and a rice dying method (bottom photos). Check out her post for the full details (why duplicate efforts, right?). 

I would definitely dye this way again next year! 

 

 

Day 1046 | A New Dentist

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If I were to write a parenting book, it would be entitled, Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain. I'm not writing one, for the record (because what do I know?), but I've realized over the last year or so that this is definitely my parenting strategy (although it took me about four years to realize). I don't make decisions regarding my kids + their behavior to make things easier for me. I don't give into them when they kick + scream + fight. This has been my strategy with nursing habits, toddler tantrums, eating habits, sleeping issues, etc. I deal with the challenge in the short term so that I don't have to deal with craziness for the long term. And, for the most part, it's worked for our kids (I know everyone's kids are different and everyone's situation is different so I'm not suggesting this should be everyone's parenting philosophy). 

Today, I threw that philosophy out the window by taking the boys to, gasp, a "fun" dentist. This one. Normally, I would say that tricking kids with things like movies and prizes (and a slide in the waiting room!) isn't necessary and only leads to problems later on...but not today. 

This pediatric dentist was able to get such a better look at my kiddos' mouths by distracting them with all the shiny lights that it was TOTALLY worth it. Even though there were the typical dentist-chair-challenges (the x-rays...sheesh!), both boys walked out as happy as can be arms full of random swag and cheap toys and they asked why they can't go to the dentist every day. 

They might be onto something...and we'll definitely be back.

Day 1044 | Mr. + Mrs. Quackers

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Remember when this duck came to visit? Well, it's been a bit over a week and we've seen her almost every day. It's been a dream come true. The problem? They seem to have claimed this area around the block from us as their "home".  

I think it's a bad idea. They've mistakenly accepted this gross cigarette butt-ridden puddle as a pond and hang out there nearly all the time. I don't get it. Our backyard seems like it would be close enough to the water to meet their needs *and* they wouldn't have to deal with trucks parking in their "pond" all the time. 

Can you tell I'm a little worked up about this?!? As upset as I am about giving up on my dream of a pet duck, I'm also worried about those little ducklings that are inevitably joining the world soon (the lady duck has already started molting!). What's going to happen when that "pond" dries up?

Why do I see the boys and I delivering buckets of water to the edge of that sidewalk in our future?

Day 1043 | The Making of a Superhero Birthday Party

Are you curious what Chris and I have been spending our free time on for the last couple of weeks? Take a gander below. Our little superhero had the best party ever and it seemed like his superhero friends felt similarly. Thanks to my mom for help with the capes and all the last minute prep! Thanks to Chris's mom for cutting out all the superhero paper dolls. And thanks to all our other friends + family for pitching in in a million ways. It definitely takes a village. 

A picture perfect day and party...