Thursday, June 13, 2013

I wish I could say that I've been too busy for blogging, but I haven't.

Instead, I've been lazy. The lay-on-my- couch-all-day-and-watch-murder-mystery- documentaries kind of lazy... And I'm not proud. 

But, as I'm currently going on my twelfth hour sitting in a vehicle with five other individuals, I've had a lot of time to think, and thus, find not only the inspiration but the criteria to write about. I've been stuck in this stay-at-home-mom haze, fighting with myself to get bikini ready (though its now June... Oops) and also fighting a (hopefully) teething Jaxson. At nine months old and the past month full of insatiable and near constant whines and screeches, my fingers are indefinitely crossed. Nonetheless, thank you Baby Sign Time for stepping in and soothing him when my nerves are shot. You are a gift from the heavens. I just wish I didn't find myself constantly singing songs in public (when I'm baby free mind you) about signing for more milk and how 'mom has a mom.' But I can deal.

Anyway, criteria:

Besides potentially teething, this past month has been a developmental powerhouse for Jaxson. And I am in awe of him. 

It started with rolling from his back to tummy. He fought and fought both I and his therapist with tears until we'd throw the towel in and pick him up, assuming it was too soon. Then suddenly, after refusing to roll yet again for a toy, his therapist began packing everything into her bag as our session came to a close, when Jaxson, as if he'd been doing it for months, reached for the bag and smoothly rolled to his tummy. And then he did it again and again and again. Just like that. 

But it gets better.

That same week, he decided he could also sit up on his own unassisted. And so he did. After at least a month of having to force him into a siting position (because he so loved to stand assisted, and only to stand) he sat for minutes on end playing his baby piano while my hands waited nervously behind him. All this in one weeks time.

Then came holding his own bottle. Oh how I've waited for this one. Not because I don't enjoy the intimacy of holding him close and staring into his baby blues, but because he's still taking a bottle every 2-3 hours and momma could use some down time once in awhile. 

But this is my favorite part.

Mimicking. I've heard what age babies should be doing it, but as a natural habit now, brushed it out of my mind and simply waited. 

Behold, the first time I sit (yes, sit... Still in amazement) Jaxson in his kiddie pool and splash my hands in front of him, he follows suit. And so bath time was then brought to a new level. Mom-should-wear-a-poncho kind of level.

But then came the best mimic, or funniest, yet. The raspberry. I had spent nearly two weeks blowing raspberries at Jaxson simply to watch him giggle and try to snag my tongue away. I was happy with just that... Until he blew one back. Thinking it was an accident, I blew another. He copied me, and so we repeated until I sat back, full of amazement and tears.

After nine months, this was a new glimpse into this little person of mine. A glimpse of intelligence and personality. He now blows raspberries when he's done with his bottle, every time we try solids (which we still have no luck with), and sadly yet hilarious, when we give him kisses when he's busy playing. 

My baby will be graduating high school next year, ladies and gentlemen. This momma is a happy sappy wreck. 

Now back to hoping we reach bonnaroo music festival soon! We've finally hit Tennessee! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

For never before in story or rhyme,

(not even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again.

Oh motherhood, you have turned me into a sappy, tissue carrying, cry-over-children-books kind of woman.

This book.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Let's slow it down a little.

What I want to do is sit here and cry on and on about how I cannot believe Jaxson is already seven and a half months old and reinforce again and again how tightly I'm holding onto his little hands in hopes they'll never leave mine. I could go for days, crying and laughing in complete and stupid shock that babies do in fact... grow. It's just the strangest thing, I tell ya.

I've been sifting relentlessly through the photos and videos on my laptop, trying to find some kind of order.... only to remind myself of how quickly time passes:


That sweet and tiny little cry... he was barely two weeks old! (Curse that machine beeping in the background, the amount of heart attacks it caused me is countless.)

There's nothing quiet about his cry now. He's babbling and fighting off naps and yelling at me whenever I walk away. His newest thing is refusing to stay seated when I place him in my lap or on the floor. He pushes off with his feet and tries to stand; if I don't hold him up, I get an earful. He's suddenly very bossy.

We've been experimenting with solids as well, to no avail. HE HATES EVERYTHING. I slave over batches of homemade baby food only to see a grimace and globs of food sputtering back at me. After speaking with a feeding specialist, we've decided to give it a break though, before he begins to resent everything that isn't a bottle. Instead, we've decided to include him in our meals and offer tiny tastes of appropriate foods on our finger tips. I'm hoping it will help him to understand the correlation between food and hunger, and offer him a wide variety of tastes without being overbearing. I won't lie, it broke my heart a little when he didn't like avocados. Hopefully he'll learn to love them as much I do! Along with vegan food. But again... not going to be overbearing....

On another note, Jaxson had his tubes put in last week! Aside from having to spend an hour and half before surgery distracting him from his hunger, it went beautifully. He was in and out quickly, all fluid drained, and after another BAER test, we were told his hearing is just fine! After failing all of his newborn hearing screens, I was a tad bit nervous he could not hear properly. There were incidents these past few months that made me wonder, but now I know it's all been selective hearing. Wow, do they start young. Now I'm hoping to see some improvement in his balance now that the fluid is finally drained. And I'm wondering if his babbling will get louder too, now that he can hear himself more clearly.

But speaking of milestones, or better yet, Jaxson's accomplishments, he's now sitting up while using his hands to balance! He's a bit wobbly, and according to his therapist, he shouldn't spend too much time doing it or he'll learn to depend on his hands instead of his trunk, but nonetheless, I was proud to see him manage it! He's rolling front to back more often now, and quite easily, but he refuses to roll from his back to stomach. He's so very close though, and I'm holding my breath because I know once he manages to roll both ways, he'll be all over the floor. And then will come crawling. And walking. And running. And middle school dances. And high school graduation. And me crying even more.

Anyway! He's incredibly curious. He watches and touches everything. Especially hands and faces... he'd rather play with your fingers than anything else. And I think his favorite thing is to be stood up on your lap so he's face to face with you and can touch and grab your cheeks, lips, eyes, hair... you name it. And he'll giggle and give kisses and pinch, pull, and talk talk talk. His eyes so full of the most innocent wonder.

His coordination is improving greatly too! I love to watch him grab for toys, or pull his pacifier out, look at, then stuff it back into his mouth. There are times however, where a toy is right in front of his face, and he tries so hard over and over again to grab it, his little hands a little too far right or left, his brow furrowed and his mouth shouting in frustration at the toy. I love to watch this learning process. When he finally manages to catch the toy he bounces in excitement and brings it right to his mouth. And I'll think to myself, I never thought something so small would make me so proud. 

How true is that. At this age, I had planned on graduating this semester, and spending this summer in Europe, exploring new places and finding myself. Basking in my youthful ignorance and adventure, making the kind of memories I'd look back on one day and say, "I can't believe that happened." Then I would come home and search for a job in a far off and trendy city, where I would write books in coffee shops and fill my days up with lattes and boutiques.

Instead, here I am. Wrestling a seven month old to sleep, making baby food, losing sleep, scheduling therapies and doctor visits, learning baby sign language, googling things like 'how to help constipation in an infant,' sucking boogers out of nostrils, cleaning puke off of my shirt, or his shirt, or the carpet, or swing, or countless blankets, feeling gums for baby teeth, filling out baby book pages, wearing the same jeans everyday because how could I NOT buy that cute outfit for Jaxson instead, skimming by in a tiny and deeply loathed trailer....

Yet, in a way, here I am doing what I had planned: Exploring new places and finding myself. Europe will always be there, but these sweet baby kisses won't last. There's something about the way Jaxson smiles every time he sees me that makes what I had once wanted for myself melt away. There are days that leave me exhausted, overwhelmed and frustrated, and I wonder how I came to be here, so far from what I had expected. These are the days that leave me feeling old. As if at 22, my sense of adventure has been snuffed out, my youth replaced by worry and fears.

But that smile. The way he gets so excited when he catches me watching him. Or how my arms and voice alone can soothe his tears. Even on my worst of days, when I feel completely stuck and helpless, he still lays his little head on my chest and snuggles closely, babbling softly, his little hands playing in my hair until his eyes slowly close.... and then I know: One day, I'll look back on these days and think to myself, I can't believe that happened. And I'll swell with happiness and nostalgia.

Well, this post has certainly gone in a direction I hadn't expected. I had just planned on giving some details like, Hey, Jaxson's thirteen and a half pounds now, and 25 inches long. Isn't that such a change from his four pounds four ounces and sixteen inches at birth?! 

Okay... end ramble now.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

When you pick a little baby up.

When you grab them around their middle and gently lift up, and they arch their back and bend their legs up, and bring their arms up to their head and even sometimes grab their faces. They squeak and yawn and stretch... But still stay soundly asleep.

Those are such sweet moments.

You were born into a strange world.

Like a candle you were meant to share the fire.
I don't know where we come from, I don't know where we go,
But my arms were made to hold you, so I will never let you go.
'Cause you born to change this life,
You were born to chase the light.

Mesmerizing eyes. Those brushfield spots...

muah. <3

Someone finally discovered his feet!

His 'thinking' face.

I just can't get over those eyes.


He has one dimple. Only one. It just kills me with cuteness.

Even his cry face kills me with cuteness.

Look at that head control..

Just some quick baby spam! Happy almost weekend!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Things People Say.

Almost daily, I think, I am baffled by the responses I often get by strangers when it’s mentioned that Jaxson has Down Syndrome. It might be bad of me, but at times, I almost have to choke back laughter at some of the responses.

And anger, too.

Just the other day, two nurses ogled over Jaxson at my grandmother’s house while they set up some equipment to keep her congestive heart failure at bay. When I mentioned that we had to start packing up or we’d be late for therapy, they were shocked, “Therapy?! For what?” I then explained that he had physical, occupational, and feeding therapy sessions, to which one nurse responded, “All because he was a premie?”

I felt something weird inside at that moment. They didn’t notice? Was it wrong of me to feel a touch…I’m struggling with a word here. Something along the lines of relief or happiness or maybe a little shock. Anyway, it was all wrong to feel.. but it still happened.

I couldn’t contain my smirk at this moment. I knew what was probably going to come, “No, because he has Down Syndrome.”

Nothing of significance followed immediately. Except my senile grandmother, (whom I’ve kept it a secret from only because I liked that she was the only one in the family that didn’t look at him and see the characteristics. She loves his features and tells him every time she sees him. It makes me swell with the most happiness, and usually, tears) whipped her head around and shouted, “Now who said he has that? Tell that doctor to pull his head out of his ass, he ain’t got that.” Oh, how I love that woman.

A few minutes later, the younger nurse, still in the nursing program actually, approached me and told me again how adorable Jaxson is. We chit chatted about all of the cute things he does, I bragged, ect. But then she said this (essentially, but I’ll quote it nonetheless):

“When my daughter was eight years old, I loved it. It was my favorite age and still is. One night I told my husband this and he said that it was too bad she didn’t have Down Syndrome, because then she could be eight forever.”

This is a medical professional in training. Jesus.

Anyway, then she went on to speak about the innocence that people with Down Syndrome have. How they’re immune to the bitterness of the world, on and on… I, along with any other parent walking this path, have heard these statements a million times, I’m sure.

(Side note, after reading about the young man with Down Syndrome who was just asphyxiated by police officers, and not to mention a few other heart wrenching news stories that all deserve much more press than they’ve gotten, I can assure anyone, no one is immune to the bitterness in this world)

But I guess, my reason for writing this blog is my own confusion. How do I handle these situations? I’m still stumbling around this new path. Do I take pity on people like this? Nicely explain how wrong and ignorant they are? Do I jump down their throats and clearly take offense? Don’t they deserve that? To know how hurtful their words are? Should I even care… does it matter?

I think it does. Like all great things that change within this world and bring about a new and positive perspective, and better treatment, it started with someone somewhere trying to change a viewpoint.

But how do you change it? Or educate, I suppose, is a better word since change takes education.
My first reaction in the above situation was offense, but I didn’t make it known. Just felt it. And for some reason, I laughed with her after she said it. Why did I do that? I’ll chalk it up to shock. I re-play it in my head and try to think of ways I should have handled it. Sometimes it involves me grabbing her by the throat and shaking… but I figure that won’t educate her much. Do I blatantly say, “that’s a very rude thing to say?”  

I think it’s best to just let people know, “hey, my son won’t be eight years old forever. He’ll be a valuable member of this society, capable of all emotions.”

I should have just said that. *Slaps forehead in disbelief. I think my issue is that I’m constantly overcome by shock, and lose my footing. I need to get past that.

Situations like the one above happen much too often.  And I’m still tender and vulnerable; I want to be rude back to people, yet sometimes I want to burst into tears. How dare you, my son is perfect. Neither of which will solve anything.

I just need to find my footing on this path. I need to find solid ground and a strong tree to hold onto. Jaxson needs more than a hesitant “vulnerable” mother, he needs an advocate.

Grandma, I think I’m the one that needs to pull my head out of my ass. (And a vast majority of society as well)

Any suggestions for handling these situations? Any responses you made that had an impact? Any times you lost control and jumped down someone’s throat? Am I wrong? Tell me your stories. Educate me.

And just for good measure:

the way's he sleeps.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's mornings like this I cherish.

Pre-sunrise cuddles. When my little squirmy baby succumbs easily to sleep and sinks peacefully into my chest. No struggle, no reaching for everything in sight. Just heavy eye lids and rhythmic deep breaths.... and maybe the occasional snore. These moments are few and far in between lately.

I remember holding him delicately in my arms in the NICU. I'd grasp his teeny hand and wait patiently amidst the cords and beeping machines for the handful of times he would peak up at me sleepily. I would keep his room light off to make it easier for him. It was always brief; just a flicker of his deep blue eyes before he'd surrender to exhaustion and melt into my arms once again. This was our daily routine and I lived for that tiny flicker of blue.

Now I can hardly get those eyelids to close. That flicker of blue is now endless, and the hours of cuddles have turned into a wiggly battle for affection. Or in his case, everything in the room that's the least bit interesting. Oh how he's changed. And in only six months... There's still so much to come!

But before I run off on a tangent and give paragraphs and paragraphs on the countless joys these past six months have brought me and how I can't believe there's so much more to come, I must go and enjoy this rare cuddle before he's suddenly a teenager.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I was told by a therapist not too long ago, as we watched Jaxson struggle to reach out and grab a toy, that most ‘typical’ babies struggle with something like this for only a week, before it’s mastered and they move on. Jaxson has been struggling with it for well over a month. I watch his little brow furrow and his eyes cross as he tries desperately to grab a hold of that colorful little toy just inches away. He gets so close, pinches it with his fingers, then drops it. And so we begin again.
At first, hearing this statement hurt. My baby was indeed dragging behind, even if with something small. But I’ve had to stop myself. I’ve had to really think about this, lay-awake-at-night-tossing-and-turning think about this. What is it that matters most to me? That my child rushes through his milestones? That he grows up quickly? That he looks and functions like everyone else does? That he outgrows his need for his mommy sooner than later?
No, no, no, and definitely no.
Thinking back to when Jaxson was first born, when the joy and empowerment of bringing a child into this world was replaced by fear, doubt, and grief, I never once thought I would be where I am right now. I had hoped I would be, but could not see myself in these shoes. As guilty as I felt then (and even now for ever thinking it), I was not sure he would bring me happiness, or fulfillment; I was not sure I could love him or protect him or guide him as I would another child. I was terrified.
And there are still times, fleeting moments that pass too quickly to leave any significant change in the course of my day, that cause the slightest twinges of remorse, the slightest pin-prick of fear that I felt the day he was born. These are tiny moments I try not to notice. Like when I see Jaxson next to another baby his age or even a bit younger, I try not to compare. I try not to notice the ways in which he is slowly falling away from the “typical” path of a child his age. Now, don’t get me wrong, every child will do as they please. I’m not saying I expected him to follow in exact footprints. But there are some obvious differences now. I can see them when I observe him with another child. I can see how much more sturdy their head control is. I can see how easily they reach for a toy and hold it close to them. They roll over with more ease. They’re closer to sitting up or crawling. They take in solid food. I notice the shape of his eyes more too, the way they pinch at the corners. I notice the flatness of his nose. How short his arms are, how stubby his legs. I notice how much harder he has to work towards something that comes so naturally to others.
I was told by a nurse after he was born that comparing my child to another would be one of the biggest mistakes I could make. Though this can be true in some cases, some that I’ve obviously come to notice as of late, I think all of this has taught me something:
I can see now that I’ve been given the gift every mother wishes she could have: to keep their baby their baby just a little bit longer. I have been given a few extra sweet moments with my baby that I would otherwise not have. He may need me to support his head a bit longer, he may need a bottle a bit longer, and he may not crawl or run away from me too soon. I may have to carry him around while other moms are fighting to hold tight to their little one’s hands. He may babble longer before he completes a word. I may get a few more close moments of feeding in my arms instead of a high chair.
But there will come a day, as with any child, where he lets go of my hand too, a day where I fight to keep his tiny fingers in mine. He won’t need me to feed him anymore. He won’t need a physical therapist. He won’t need me to help him sit up, or grab things or hold his head up. He’ll beg me to let him put his own clothes on. He will bathe himself. One day, he will tell me those five bittersweet words that leave a mother crying both tears of joy and sadness, “I don’t need your help.” And I tell you what, all of those moments I got to hold onto just a little bit longer than most, the one’s that I feared so deeply at first, will be the sweetest and most cherished of them all.  
Because in a world where time is ever fleeting and the best moments are here and gone much too fast, I have this: A beautiful little boy that needs me just a little bit longer. Though sometimes I find myself hoping Jax reaches a new milestone just when a “typical” child would, or maybe even sooner, I am more at peace with his abilities (or lack of) with every new day. I have been given the beautiful gift of a few extra special moments to relish, and with his first half-birthday creeping up, oh how thankful I have become for all of his small differences.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our week in a nutshell:

What an interesting week we've had.

Jax had his first visit from the physical therapist!

She was very impressed with his abilities, and even let out a "holy cow!" when she discovered he could lift himself up using her hands. I was one proud mama.

He discovered how much he loves sleeping on the couch (in the oddest yet cutest positions):

 So dreamy.

He also learned how to fall asleep in his crib without me rocking him first. My heart broke a little... and I think I must have checked on him every other minute at least.

He discovered bubbles:

And television...:

 He got milk-drunk at target:

 He decided his left hand is much cooler than his right, and has shunned it (seriously, it's like he doesn't realize he has two hands):

 He discovered his feet, and got a little more adventurous in his bumbo chair:

(please take a moment to admire his adorable cardigan. I wish I would have gotten it in every size!)

He got to hang out with some friends:

The little girl in front is Karlee (in the blue). She's a week YOUNGER than Jax. He's just so teeny, not that I'm complaining. He's still in newborn/ 0-3 month clothing. Talk about getting my money's worth!

The poor guy had to endure his mommy ogling over how cute his wittle butt is:

Really though. How cute.

And as usual, he melted my heart:

Oh, those beautiful tired eyes.

And he decided he could be camera shy. Either he looks away, closes his eyes, or gives me the blankest of stares. Picture taking is getting rough:

He'll be five months old tomorrow too... oh lord. Slow it down, little man. Mommy's not ready.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Ode.

At some point throughout these past four and a half months I blinked and now you're bigger. When did my 4lb 4oz 16in baby turn into a rolling over, laughing, smiling machine of an 11lb 22in little man? I wish I had a way to slow down time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sleep Deprivation Sets In.

Good morning!

Someone wouldn't sleep last night.... so we tried a late-night bath to soothe him to sleep:

Needless to say, I'll be sitting through my long day of classes today on only five hours of sleep. But with that smile, how can I regret not sleeping? These are the days I'll never get back, and I intend to soak them all in.

Now where's my coffee? Monday, how I loathe you.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


As this weekend draws to an unwelcome close, I find myself continuously telling myself to breath. What a crazy, crazy week it's been.

But! I survived my first week of classes as a mamma. I can do this. In between my classes three days a week, an overwhelming amount of homework, a cranky post-four month shots Jaxson, and locking my eyes in my car in Grand Rapids and thusly missing Jaxson's ENT appointment (and having to break the seal on my window in an attempt to rescue my keys before the sun set and the cold night night engulfed my little one), I survived.

It's quite difficult getting any homework done with Jax  constantly watching me with his big wanting eyes from his swing or play mat, smiling every time my eyes meet his... Not to mention the consistently good mood he's been in very morning before classes. I have to rush to campus everyday. That boy has one magnetic smile.

Boy, do I miss those lazy stay at home mommy mornings. But with my precious free time with Jax quickly dwindling away, I leave you with this:


Operation: spoon-feed-prunes-in-between-feedings-to-help-with-constipation-because-mommy-was-really-excited-to-try-it-out obviously went well.

Enjoy your sundays!

Friday, January 4, 2013

4 months old already?!

My little ham is four months old today. Where has the time gone?

As of today he can:

-Roll over (he finally got the hang of it yesterday, perfect timing!)
-"Talk," and especially yell. If I walk away from him, he let's me know he's displeased. 
-Giggle. Today was the first time, and it was the sweetest most heart exploding sound I have ever heard.
-Track objects/ people.
-Show excitement. 
-Show decent head control.
-Almost roll from back to stomach.
-Locate his hands. Sometimes he lays there with his little hand in front of his crossed eyes and I just die.
-Grab toys, and smile at them/ become excited by them.
-Squirm and push me away so he can play... this happens much to often.
-Push off of things to scoot around the floor.
-Focus on faces and responsively smile. Especially at cameras. I've created a monster.
-React to noises.

I could probably go on. I'm just so proud. Down Syndrome aside, he's supposed to be six weeks delayed due to prematurity... yet, he's right on track. Very small, but right where he should be in terms of milestones, as far as I can tell. I'm one proud mama.

My, my, how far we've come. I wish I could show that girl four months ago how happy she would be now.