Archive for March, 2008

March 31, 2008

I don’t think I have the energy to post pictures tonight, and there are a bunch on the camera that aren’t in the computer, but I have the time to update, and I haven’t in awhile, so I’ll just have to get to the pictures later. Toby is doing so well, and is really starting to leave that “newborn” phase and enter the “fun baby” phase…he’s really enjoying interacting with Scott and I, which is a joy for us. He’s not rolling yet, but tolerates being on his tummy for longer periods of time, and really loves to look around while he’s there. We have to be careful of the TV…it’s not on much, but when it is, he is drawn to it like, well, the proverbial moth to a flame. Because it’s big and glowing and shiny! I can’t believe how STRONG he is, and I know it’s just plain old normal baby stuff, but jeeze is he ever STRONG. This weekend he started lifting his head and shoulders up from a laying position….like little baby crunches. If we are feeding him, he is semi-sitting, and he really wants to pull himself up to a sitting position to be burped. He is really excited about DOING. IT. HIMSELF. He’s also starting to do this in his bouncy chair and his swing. I don’t think he’ll be in either one of them too much longer…both because of weight and because he is too strong and will be able to tip out pretty soon. He loves to be pulled to a sitting position to look around, especially when the cat is present to gawk at. Grabbing is a regular thing now, as is putting things in his mouth. Both are really fun to watch…he is able to play on his play mat for a few minutes on his own, grabbing rings and pulling on them.

While Toby sleeps really well at night (he has a bedtime, which he adheres to nicely, and sleeps all night until about seven AM..which is great!), naps are another story, and it’s starting to worry me. He will take a morning nap in his crib, but that is only a short nap…and it takes a long time to get him calmed down. The afternoon nap in the crib…well, that’s not going so well. I only have myself to blame, because usually we are out and about during the afternoon so Toby sleeps in the car. I have to start being home more in the afternoons, so that I can start training him to go to sleep in the daytime. If I get him asleep, the minute he wakes up, he fusses and won’t put himself back to sleep. I don’t know why, but I suspect it’s because at night it’s dark, and he has become used to falling back asleep, like we all do at night. During the day when it’s light, he wakes up and can’t put himself back to sleep yet. The other bad thing is that until now, I’ve let him take his afternoon nap in the swing, which is becoming a problem because I think he is fast approaching the weight limit (I’m fairly certain the limit is 20 lbs, and he was 16 about three weeks ago). So pretty soon, there will be no swing to nap in. Toby LOVES to nap on me, and while I enjoy that, I rely on his naptime to get some things done around the house.

The good thing about all of this is that he has a rather reliable schedule now, so it’s just a matter of me biting the bullet and taking a week or so to train him to go to sleep in his crib during the day. I don’t think it will take too long, but I have to commit to getting it done if I want it to work. Once he gets used to it, he’ll nap that way forever.

I guess for some people things like this don’t matter, but I firmly believe that kids need at least some semblance of a schedule. Sure, the schedule gets stretched around sometimes, but predictability is important. Maybe that is more for me than for Toby, but I don’t care….this is a non-negotiable item for me: this feeding and nap structure.

On the whole, we got so very lucky. After Ben (“The Easiest Baby on the Planet”), Scott and I were really worried we would get some kind of hell-child that would really put us through the ringer, but Toby is every bit as good natured as Ben was. He’s happy and easy to be with, and I’m so thankful for that. I can’t complain too much, because I have very little to complain about!

I’m pretty committed to not starting solids with Toby until he reaches six months, but I wonder at the rate he’s going if he’ll need to start cereal earlier. Right now he eats every 3-4 hours, which is fairly normal, but he eats A LOT…but he’s big, so I expect that. I wonder if he’s going to get to the point where his caloric needs outstrip the size of his tummy. I’ll check with the doctor, but I don’t see that happening yet, so I don’t need to worry about it until it becomes an issue. Since he has pretty good head and shoulder control, Scott and I are thinking about pulling out the high chair and trying that out, though. I think he’ll like the view from it when we’re in the kitchen, as opposed to being on the floor in the bouncy seat. Plus, there is the added bonus of the tray to put toys on and see what he’ll do.

A frivolous diversion

March 25, 2008

If you don’t watch American Idol (I do, I’m completely addicted, and I can’t stop…so sue me)…anyway, if you don’t watch American Idol, I highly recommend you go to the iTunes site and download David Cook’s rendition of “Billy Jean” (yes, the Michael Jackson song) that was performed tonight. It was absolutely masterful.

Thinking about going.

March 25, 2008

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Thinking about going., originally uploaded by randallfam.

Toby says: “They keep putting me in this position, even though I’ve told them a hundred times I hate it. Jeeze!”

The Randalls

March 24, 2008

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The Randalls, originally uploaded by randallfam.

Easter Sunday Brunch at the Dearborn Inn….Toby looked a little like Bob Hope in his sweater and Kahkis….
Not sure why Flickr is not letting me see the HTML for my pictures, because there are more I wanted to post….I”ll try and figure it out. Until then, there is a link to our photo page here on the Journal.
Easter weekend went well, we were really busy all weekend with family stuff. By last night we were exhausted.
Did anyone else watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night? I have a weakness for that show, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy…anyway…the family last night had a son with DS. It made Scott and I both miss Ben very very much, wondering what he would have grown up to be and what he would have done when he was older.

long weekend

March 17, 2008

As I was driving to my parents on Friday to drop Toby off (since I work one day a week, he stays with grandma and grandpa) it hit me like a ton of bricks that it had been one month since Ben’s death. Longest month of my life. I feel like I should be writing about it, but I don’t know what to say, really. It was a really hard realization to take, made my day kind of crappy, and made my weekend kind of crappier. I sort of manage to shove stuff like this when I need to function (like on friday) then deal with it later – on Saturday (by having a hard time getting out of bed and getting moving). We had stuff to do on Saturday, and it made everything a little bit more difficult.

I’ve gone from feeling pain, just plain old emotional pain all the time to feeling like I’m some sort of zombie. I get through my day, I clean, eat, run errands. The only time I’m really “with it” so to speak is when I’m playing with Toby…he keeps me pretty grounded. The rest of the time I feel like I’m just kind of plodding through my life. Ben is all I can think about most days. I don’t know if I want this to stop (because I’m not living my life to the fullest extent) or not (meaning I worry I wouldn’t think about Ben as much).

After the funeral and other related activities, when Scott went back to work, I spent two weeks where I would go out and do something every day. Usually all day. Now I”m really trying to schedule time at home more…I have to be in my house at some point, and traveling around all the time isn’t all that good for Toby, I’m sure. But being in the house is still hard, I zone out a lot more when I’m around here. The only good thing is that Toby still demands a lot of attention, so I’m spending time with him, and that’s a welcome distraction from the Zombie-like behavior. I feel like I’ve lost the ability to feel a certain amount of joy in life…I’m ambivalent about so much now. I want my joy in life to come back, I miss it, but I think it will just take time.

We were at a baby shower for some good friends on Saturday. I had been planning for a long time to give them a copy of a book from Ben, it’s called “I can, can you” and depicts children with DS doing all kinds of ordinary things. I thought it would be a good way for them, when the time comes, to start talking with their child about Ben, how he’s the same and different, and what that means. I still gave them the book, and watching them open it made me all weepy, which made me feel like kind of a dork. But I figure that if anything, their baby has a really really happy guardian angel now, and that makes me feel really good. I guess that whole experience made me realize AGAIN how much Toby missed seeing Ben, and how much they won’t share together. It makes me a little sad.

Grabby

March 10, 2008

Toby started grabbing things this weekend…at first we were wrapping his fingers around a toy, but pretty soon if we touched the toy to his fingers he would do it himself. Moving a toy to his mouth quickly followed. He has a beautiful wood teething toy that we got from a friend when he was born, and it is one of his favorites so far. There are pictures at the end here.
Additionally, I read something this weekend that said “your three month old may be able to sit if supported by pillows”…and I thought “hmph…well, what do you know”…and sure enough Toby has been sitting for short periods on the couch and supported by the boppy. You will see pictures of this too, but in the boppy pictures he refused to look at the camera…that’s because the cat was near, and he was pretty fixated on the cat. I’ve decided that cats make GREAT toys for kids…at least until the kid figures out how to get the cat, at which point I’m sure disaster will ensue. *edit* If you look at the picture, you will see the Cat in the background…so he’s fixated on something else completely. Real observant, mom. 🙂

I took Toby to library storytime today. It was the first time I had been too, since storytime always conflicted with something Ben and I were doing. That and I never knew which one to go to…birth to walkers? He was older but not walking…walkers? Well, he wasn’t walking but those kids were the same age. So it was confusing. I have some observations on storytime. On the whole we had a good time…Toby slept for the first half, but then woke up and had fun with bubbles and looking at the other babies. One thing I really really was disappointed by was how, well, reserved and kind of boring the librarian was that ran the whole thing. I really really missed the teacher at Ben’s school that always runs circle time. I wanted to stand up and say “get excited! Shout! Sign! Call kids by name, interact with them!” But she had a plan, and rushed right through it. Part of that is me talking as a teacher, but part of it is me really really missing Ben’s teachers. Occasionaly the early intervention group runs programs at the library, and I plan on going if I can. Those people are just much more fun.

After the storytime, there is some open playtime. Three of us there had babies that were two or three months old, the other two were first time moms. One of them was very intent on telling us all the things her baby was doing. The baby really looked unimpressed and had some mystery gunk running from her eye the whole time…she seemed embarassed for her mom. Mom tried to put baby on her tummy, insisting that they had been doing tummy time since birth (she probably would have said they had been doing it in the womb if she thought she could get away with it). I know that it sounds snarky for me to put it this way, but I really really wanted to just tell this woman to relax, that her daughter was beautiful and would do everything in good time. I have learned so many lessons from Ben, and one of them is to just RELAX.

I was talking to the other mom of an under-three-monther, and we were talking about sleep and schedules and the like (overacheiver mom said she had trained her two and a half month old to be awake during storytime every monday. Good for her)…I was editing myself very heavily because as a second-time mom, I wanted to just say that all kids are different and that sleep schedules come eventually…along with all the other developmental milestones. I really didn’t say much, because it was hard not to say “well, my older son…” I shouldn’t have bothered, because eventually the woman I was talking to asked me if this was my first child. I stammered for a minute then said really fast “Ihadanothersonbutmyfirstsonpassedaway”. Then the uncomfortable silence fell, and I thought “uh-oh, say something fast, because you are now the mom of the dead child”. It was very awkward. But I changed the subject and things went back to normal again in good time. I know that these moments are going to happen, but I am still very unsure how I will handle them. So when I get “the question” now (do you have other children, is he your only one, is he your first one), I don’t know how to answer. I know that one day I will have a better answer that will not be awkward and will not cause me so much pain, but right now is too soon. It’s just another day missing my Ben.

pictures

Toby breaks Grandpa in

March 8, 2008

Thursday Toby stayed with Grandpa (my dad) for the day while I was at work. We had a conversation before I left that went like this:
me: “Dad, we just moved Toby up to a faster size bottle…so you have to feed him slowly. He won’t like it, but he’ll projectile vomit if you don’t because he eats so fast”
dad: “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine” (or some such)
me: “just take lots of breaks and burp him often while he’s eating…he’ll suck down eight ounces in no time and you’ll be sad”
dad “we’ll be fine”

When I returned to the house, Toby was in a clean outfit. I think that explains it all.

Toby’s night schedule has been off…for a few weeks he was consistently sleeping until five or six and getting up for a snack, then going right back to bed. The past few nights he’s been up at THREE…or just barely three. It’s like he’s a newborn again. And he’s HUNGRY…there is no waiting for the bottle. During the day he still goes three to four hours between a feeding (except last week when he grew and ate every two hours)…so everything else is pretty normal. I guess it will all work out. He still only wakes up once, and it’s towards early morning, so as far as I’m concerned he’s sleeping through the night. I can’t complain too much. 🙂

I went to a mom-to-mom sale today and found some AMAZING deals and cute things for Toby…not like he needs any clothes, but you know…he has to be cutting edge and stylish all the time.

There is a family near us that hospice referred us to that lost a son earlier this year. We have had their number and I have had a hard time calling…I don’t know exactly what to say when I make that call…is it appropriate to say “we both lost our kids”…I just don’t know. So anyway, the father called us this week and I spoke with him for a few mintues…he was a very nice guy. I think I would like to see them, maybe meet for coffee this week, Scott and I are talking about it. Maybe that would be good. I don’t know…it’s hard to talk to people we don’t know, and I am pretty sure that no one wants to sit and rehash their child’s death. So we’ll see how that goes. At least they seem like nice people!

One thing he did say is that they had a number of friends that had children of the same age, and now they have found themselves drifting away from those friends. I fear this happening. I am sure that there are some people that it will happen with, but I”m assuming it will be families we don’t know well…we’re friendly with them, but don’t know them well. I have a few friends that I met because of Ben and I am really hoping that our friendships will withstand this…mostly we have things in common other than the fact that our children had Down Syndrome, or they have children that are now Toby’s age. I have high hopes.

This week was a rough week. Let’s hope the coming week is a bit easier.

Big Boy

March 6, 2008

Took Toby to the Pediatrician this morning for his check-up. He weighs 16 lbs now (97th percentile for weight) and is 25 inches long (90th percentile for height). So in short, yeah…he’s still big.

March 4, 2008

It’s funny to me, watching Toby, that having him really *is* like a first child all over again. I am totally fascinated with his development, and wondering when he will do things, not because I am worried he won’t, but because I want to watch the process in action. I feel like with Ben we saw each step of the process that yielded rolling, sitting, etc. With Toby, everything happens so fast. And because he is a different kid, things also happen differently. He has managed to grab something above his head a few times in the past few days, but he hasn’t “found” his hands yet (bringing the hours of entertainment that is watching fingers move). He is arching his back and moving onto his side, but I think he’s a long way from rolling. I feel relaxed about watching his skills develop, because as I told Scott, if he doesn’t do something, we know some really good people to go and ask about it. 🙂
Toby is SO social and interactive these days. He has gotten to a point where he will fuss while being held because he wants to be on the playmat interacting with us or looking around. He “talks” back to us with coos and gurgles when we talk to him. He is starting to anticipate events, for example when we play the “I’m going to get you” game he smiles and gets excited because he knows what will happen. We are getting small chuckles and giggles out of him, but no real significant laughter yet…I don’t think that will be long in coming.

I”m slooooooowly working away at Thank-you notes. Usually I enjoy taking some time now and then to write thank you notes to people, and I think that they are really a necessity when someone has done something kind…but the thank you notes for Ben’s funeral and visitation are taking me forever. I try to do a few each day, but it’s a task I dread. I don’t like feeling that way…I wish the time alone writing them was theraputic, that I would enjoy that, but I don’t. It’s bothersome.