Friday, April 19, 2019

Silence is overrated

You know that moment when your child says their first word and you get to feel that heart shaking awe at how wonderful they are? That was great! But what about the second word? Yeah, Graham didn't say a second word or even repeat the first word for a long time. Like months. By 16 months I hadn't heard more than three words total from him and I started to think something was amiss.

Here we are just short of three years old, in twice weekly speech appointments after a year of early intervention appointments, and Graham still has less than 10 words, and the majority of those are said really really rarely. He definitely has lots of gibberish, mainly when we're driving. But nothing intelligible.

What about sign language you ask? Just like everyone has told me and what I knew to do for Hilton when we were still establishing basic speech abilities was to teach him sign. Despite my best efforts to teach him signs, he only will use three and he has to be prompted to do all of those by example: 'more', 'thank you' and 'food'.

At the age of 32 months Graham says:
Uh oh
And that’s about it.

Per the speech therapist he is entering the 12-15 month speaking range. I.e. he’s over a year delayed in speech making him severely delayed.

The reactions I get when I mention our situation to others range from 'Oh, it's ok, he's just quiet!', to 'that's more normal than you think, my friends' cousins' spouse didn't talk until he was 5 and he's completely normal now!'. Both can be really really frustrating because they stem from the fact that the individual saying them doesn't appreciate the seriousness and stress of what I’m going through. But nothing nothing NOTHING is quite as infuriating as when people say, 'you'll wish once he's talking so much that he was quiet again!'. I am so done with the frustrating silence and the primary word he uses for everything he wants (Mama). I can't stand it anymore, which is sad because that should be a joyous word to hear!

So far we've done four months of twice weekly speech appointments and seen very little improvement. Discouraged doesn't really cover how I feel. While I haven't quite come to terms with what may or may not be causing this, I just can't help but feel taken down a rung every time I see on a clinical note that my child is severely speech delayed. Or feel completely frustrated when he screams at me for the umpteenth time when I don't know what he wants fast enough or he hits me when I get him out of his car seat because he apparently wanted something from the car first before I got him out.

Nothing tops how hopeless this feels. How I've tried everything I can do to help my child and it still isn't enough. I'm tired of twice weekly appointments, and I'm tired of seeing no improvement. I wish we could unlock this brilliant little man's mind and see what's going on in there. We have a suspicion that he might be on the autism spectrum, and have an appointment to have him tested. Until then I'm just dreaming of the day we have a talking Graham.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jared's new job

It's been such a crazy month but I really wanted to remember how excited we were for this change. The thing that we wanted to have happen for years has happened! Jared got a new job!!!

He has been ready for a change for a while, but the way the job market was we couldn't find the right fit and it was so competitive in the areas he was interested in. On top of that with his psychology degree there wasn't much he was qualified for in that field without a Master's degree. So we've just kind of been biding our time as to what to do. We were looking at all kinds of options, National Guard, Going back to school to get a master's although he wasn't sure what he really wanted to get a master's in which is why we didn't do that, Police academy to become a police officer, human resources, etc. etc. But nothing ever worked out.

We were getting really discouraged because of some jobs we thought for sure he would get and didn't and then out of the blue this job at his current employer came up. He applied for it, interviewed a couple days later and heard back only a couple hours after his interview that he got the job! It was a whirlwind how quickly it happened, and I know that many many prayer's on our behalf helped make it possible.

For the first time in over five years Jared will no longer be working graveyards, and for the first time in our entire marriage neither of us is working graveyards. It's like we're newlyweds all over again! We get to have dinner as a family every night, he's home on Saturday's to help me around the house and with the kids, he will get major holiday's off, much more PTO then he had, and all around it will just be sooo much better than it has been! Already it has been such an amazing change in the small and simple things that you take for granted: I've been able to go grocery shopping without the kids, we have been able to make our bed every morning (we bought a new bedspread!), and he can help me pick up or drop off the kids at preschool or my parents. Life is infinitely better and I'm so grateful!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Christmas 2017

This was our first Christmas since we have been married that we didn't have to see all the family on Christmas day and instead split the holidays this year...and it was AMAZING! So much less stressful then trying to see both families on Christmas Day.

Christmas eve: Christmas Pajamas!

Watching The Polar Express:

Christmas eve tradition dinner: Homemade PIZZA!

Santa has left the building!

Santa cookies - sprinkles were Hilton's insistence idea

Christmas MORNING! Graham's one present he wouldn't put down was this VTech garbage truck - and sippy of course :)

Opening Santa's present: a much anticipated Wall-e toy!

And an EVE!

The after-destruction:

Christmas morning breakfast: Egg's Benedict (YUM!)

Then at Grandma and Grandpa's house Hilton and Graham got to try out their awesome present!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Be Meteors not Planets

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist. -Jack London

Happy New Years! How is it already 2018 already? I feel like just yesterday it was 2016 and I was having Graham and Hilton was only 2 years old still. Why is time going so fast?? (insert sobbing face here)

Last year I tried to make a New Year's resolution for every aspect of life: kids, husband, financial, physical etc. etc. and it was WAY too much. Even though I only had 6-7 goals I forgot them and just never kept up with them. So this year I'm doing one blanket goal to try and motivate myself.
'Take the bull by the horns'
I find myself in life in general hesitating and hemming-and-hawing over even minor decisions and its something my anxiety feeds off of. And so I'm going to stop the hesitating (or work on stopping it) and be more decisive and less worried about what people will think about my decisions.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. -Goethe

 Additionally, above is our family theme for 2018: Look Forward with Steadfastness. We're praying for some changes and blessings in 2018 that we've been working towards for a long time and I'm hoping they come together, but if not we will continue to 'Look forward with Steadfastness' for the next blessing to come our way.

And because our kids are just so cute...some Christmas Eve photos
(not pictured is Jared napping on the couch)

Happy 2018!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

My reason for being finished with Facebook

WARNING: This is a vent session.

One thing that I have wanted to express somewhere - but not on Facebook for major public consumption - is why I have stopped Facebook-ing. Back in 2015 I stopped for about a year because I was sick of the political posts and general arguments that broke out because of opinionated posts. I started again after I had Graham because of mom groups I wanted to be part of and be able to ask questions. But again, I recently had a friend post something very offensive to me. Deeply insulting and closed minded and it really really ate at me and bothered me to the point I would fume over it randomly a week plus later. When I was telling a friend about how upset I was because she's in a similar situation to me, she recommended not getting on Facebook anymore. I mean, really what did I get from it? A way to pass time? Waste. I have plenty of things I can do to fill me time that are much more meaningful. Connect with people? I rarely did that, I really only got on to see what other people were posting (baby announcements, interesting articles etc.).

And so I stopped again a couple months ago. Do I miss it sometimes? Yes, but I also don't have random posts enraging me by how self-righteous they are.

What was this offensive post you ask? To me, it was a complete attack on my way of life. Something that I feel guilty about and yet feel validated in the choice for our family all at the same time. One of the most personal choices a mother can make. Whether to continuing working after children, or whether to be a stay at home mom. But it was far more than that. It was the posting of an article authored by a parochial white middle-to-upper class MAN preaching the opinion that mother's who continue to work after having children are only doing it out of convenience, and that all married women when first married should instead of using their income to help support their household, save it so that their family doesn't get used to a lifestyle that they can't support without the wife working.

The thing that was the most offensive of it to me though, was that the comment this mother made when posting it which was something similar to, 'I know this might be offensive but I feel like this is true and that women become complacent in having dual incomes instead of saving their income...' or something to that effect. And what I would like to say to her is:

1. You are clearly ignorant of the realities of life for individuals who are not married to a Doctor or Lawyer or a spouse who makes a six figure income, perchance because you are married to someone who does one of the above-mentioned careers.
2. You do not know my family's situation, you do not know that I bring in as much income as my spouse and without my income we couldn't even afford a proper roof over our head or food in my family's mouth plus student loans, heating, electricity, and clean water. We're not using my income to buy expensive cars or to go on lavish vacations or to buy designer clothes. To claim that 'women working do so only as a luxury to live beyond their husband's income for comfort' is the most condescending claim I have ever heard and you should stop acting like you know other's situations.
3. You should not pass judgement of any kind on mothers as to why they work: income, mental health, or BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY WANT TOO.
4. People like YOU and this obscene article are EXACTLY the reason why mothers who work and mothers who get to stay at home have a hard time relating to each other; because both sides feel like we have to explain or justify our choices because entitled self-righteous people point fingers.
5. And lastly, if you know your post may offend people...there's probably a pretty good reason why you think it will offend others so KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! In this day and age people are much too eager to post their opinion and the world could do with more restraint and empathy for others.

I do everything I do for my family, and no one should ever claim otherwise. You don't know me and you don't know our situation, so don't pretend you do. If you had bothered to ask I would have told you that I want to be able to stay at home, but I can't and that's not for lack of budgeting. Nor is it for my husband's lack of trying who has worked graveyards for five years straight to help bring in a steady and dependable income, most of that while finishing his bachelor's degree. So mind your own business and move along.

Rant over. I felt like if I didn't express my strong feelings about this I would just keep harboring them inside and I'd rather just let out the word vomit so I can stop mulling about what I would say. And this is also why I decided Facebook isn't for me anymore. I don't need to work all day, five days a week sacrificing time away from my family to feel attacked by friends with their ignorance. If you got through this whole post, good job :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Life now

It's been a long time since I haven't posted a non 'child focused' post and let's be honest, now that I've got children my life really does revolve around them and their cute runny noses and constant demands for juice or milk (including Jared ;)). But I feel like I need to write an explanation - mainly to myself - as to why I have stopped blogging.

You see, there was something so 'out there' about the person I was before I got married to Jared while I was in college and trying to find myself. Then I was married and trying to find my new married self so I blogged to do that. I took a break from college and I started working at Nordstrom and I was struggling with our inability to get pregnant and I channeled myself into blogging to try and connect.

But deep deep down, especially now that I've been married for a while (7.5 years thank you very much), I know myself better than I ever did when I was younger. What do I know? I know that I am an introvert. People who I tell this to do not believe me, but it's true. People who I am forced to interact with - at church, work, etc. - on a frequent basis I can open up to because it's a 'safe' zone. Strangers in stores, at the park, friends of Jared's I have a lot of trouble with. I get this knot in my chest that feels like it's hard to breath and it's easier to just look at the floor or pretend I'm doing something on my phone instead of make small talk with people I don't know and who I could potentially insult by an opinion on something. Because I've been told, I have an opinion on everything (this is mainly true).

So blogging became not the primary priority once I had Hilton; and it was also a vulnerable process to blog. To share myself. Plus, I don't feel like I have that many interesting ideas or topics that would be worthwhile for people. But back to the main point, it began to make me uncomfortable. It actually produced anxiety for me and it became more about 'how many people read it' and how interesting I was or wasn't being. And honestly, who needs that? But I would like to be able to post more so that is a goal I am setting for myself. I won't even try to set a mandate of how often I will post because it probably won't happen, but I will try to post when I have time.

Life currently includes a lot of this:

 My boys and their lovies
 All the tractors in the world would never be enough for this boy!
And marbles. He LOVES marbles.
The only way I get temporary privacy in my partially completed bathroom in the morning 
Aspen's way of saying good morning is sticking her nose in my face for some morning loves (and I secretly love it)

Might Machines! I rue the day we found this show on Netflix!!! He has the ENTIRE theme song memorized

And all the snuggles from this boy who loves to be tickled just like Daddy

I sure love my boys!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Graham's Cranial Journey: The Second Checkup

We had our second check-in on Graham's head growth and are feeling rather discouraged.

In this past month he had...wait for growth. Whatsoever. So he is still at 93% brachycephaly and unless he has a huge growth spurt next month we will not have made much progress. He went from 7.5mm plagiocephaly to 6.9mm plagiocephaly in the past two months so very minimal progress there as well.

The tech was very discouraging or realistic as Jared would say, his opinion is that if we don't see anymore growth this third month that we should give up. He said that there's no point in 'torturing' Graham with the helmet if he's having so very little to non-existent progress. I'm not entirely convinced I feel this way, I feel like we should try as long as we possibly can to fix it. Jared is of the opinion that we should give up after this third month no matter what.

I also feel like having the helmet has delayed Graham's gross motor milestones (crawling and walking). I feel like since we've already had the helmet on this long and he's already had those delays I want to try to get all the use out of the helmet that we can and make it worth the sacrifice we've already put into it. We will see at our next checkup where he is at and go from there.

2 months with helmet:

Pre helmet:

2 months with helmet: 

Pre helmet: