Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Growing Pains

Jason called me last night with 'good news'.  
He had been in a meeting with his boss and co-workers and they had discussed an upcoming vacation his boss is hosting.
We are going to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and we'll spend a few days playing in the snow.
What will probably happen is that Jason and his co-workers will spend a few days playing in the snow and Emily and I will stay warm and cozy inside.  

Jason's boss told Jason that he was planning on hiring a babysitter for Emily for an evening so that we could all go out to eat.  (Emily will be the only little one there.)
Jason was thrilled and couldn't wait to tell me.  
(That was the good news.)

He then told me that we were staying across the street from a spa and he would watch Emily one day while I went to the spa.

I was quiet for a minute and then said, "Do you not know me at all?"

I probably wouldn't go to a spa even if someone paid me (unless it was just for a pedicure...and Jason may talk me into that) ... but I would never leave Emily with someone she didn't know no matter how much someone paid me.

Jason explained that the babysitter was older and more mature, and that his boss trusted her completely, and that I would have nothing to worry about.  

"It's not at all about the babysitter," I said, "but everything about Emily, and I won't leave her alone."

And here is where this mommy's heart is tender to the point of having it be too much.

Other than me, there are two people who would say confidently that they can understand Emily when she talks: my sister Becca and Jason.  And if you were to ask them they would tell you that they understand less than I understand, and there are times when even I don't have a clue what she's saying.  I will ask her to say it again over and over again, and she will, patiently, until I figure it out.  

When she's with me and she's out of her element, or if we are with people she doesn't know, she goes mostly silent, or she'll stop using her words...meaning that instead of trying to articulate, she'll keep her mouth closed and hum what she's saying.  There are times I understand the hum more than I understand her words.  

She's about as comfortable at my parent's house as she is at our house, but it takes a lot to get her to talk.
She's comfortable in her church class (sometimes), but she is mostly quiet.
She's been in school for almost 5 months, is still a little hesitant about it, and never talks.  Her teacher was excited that Emily smiled at her the other day.

I went to school with Emily for a day to see if I could help her break out of her shell a little bit.  I don't know that I accomplished that, but now that I know what she does every day, I can engage with her more about school.  I can ask about her classmates by name, and I can ask about specific activities. 

(On the chance that you really want to tell me to teach her sign language...which I'm doing...keep this in mind: Emily's three year old version of sign language is almost guaranteed to be different that what an adult's version of sign language would be, and even if it were the same, you would have to have someone on the other end who actually knows sign language.)

I recently played a video of Emily counting from 1-20 for Em's feeding therapist, who is also a speech therapist.  (We can't see her in that capacity because our insurance won't cover it.) I asked her opinion about Emily's speech: is it typical as far as development goes in regards to a speech delay.

In her professional opinion she doesn't think that Em's speech will improve much more than where she's at right now, without surgery to repair her cleft palate.  

(We've known all along that she has a cleft palate, but a lot of kids learn to talk in spite of it, and we've been waiting for Em's speech to develop enough to know what we were dealing with.)

I scheduled an appointment with the cranio-facial team at our children's hospital and we'll go in a couple of weeks.  

With ALL of that said...

The amount of anxiety I feel when I leave Emily would surprise you.  
There are days where I still cry as I drive away from Em's school.
If she shows the slightest hesitation or concern about being somewhere, my mommy heart wants to scoop her up and never let her go.
The balance between protecting her and letting her spread her wings is a hard thing for me to find.
Knowing that if Jason and I aren't with her, Emily is mostly helpless...I don't know that there's been anything harder for me to deal with so far in her little life.

I recently heard a news report about a three year old who was in his mom's car when it was stolen.  When the thief realized that there was a child in the back of the car he abandoned the car and the child.  The mom had left her cell phone in the car and when the police called it the three year old was able to answer it, which led to the police being able to find him.

The same night I heard that story I had a nightmare about the same thing happening to Emily, only she wasn't able to answer the phone.  I woke up with my heart racing.  

(It's no wonder my hair is going gray.)

Em's inability to communicate won't be forever, and for that I'm grateful.

But until then...

If I turn down an offer of babysitting please don't take it personally.  Please understand that I'm doing what I can to make certain that Emily has the most emotionally safe environment that she can. 

There are so many aspects of Em's life that I have no control over - that I can do nothing about - but when she's with me my sweet girl talks her little heart out, and I can't take that away from her.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

It Might Lead To More Blogging

I lost the only 'my space' I had when we decorated Emily's bedroom before she was born.
That's not a complaint.
I would much prefer that space be Em's than mine.

But I've floated from space to space since then.
I've purchased two different chairs, thinking that the chair could be my space.
I've tried using Jason's desk, the kitchen table, sitting on my bed, and just sitting on the couch.

I've just wanted a corner to be mine, where I can read, study, and write.

I've had similar angst about my office at work.
The house our offices are in isn't level.
It slants, and the worst of that slant happens to be the only place where I can put my desk.
So for however many hours I'm sitting at my desk each day, I'm leaning to the west, and it makes me crazy.
To add to that, the desk I've been using for the last four years hasn't been ideal.
It's a kitchen table I bought at a thrift store.  I painted it a cute color, but because of its style I've never been able to put my legs all the way underneath it and I haven't been able to sit at my desk comfortably.

I recently found a desk for sale on a yard sale page and fell in love with it.  It's a beautiful color and it has drawers! (Something that my kitchen table turned desk didn't have.)

I measured the space at work where my desk goes and knew it would fit.  I sent Jason to pick it up for me and he helped me set it up.

I lasted about two months with that desk before I admitted to myself that it is a lousy desk for what I needed, in spite of how beautiful I think it is.
It's too small - there is not nearly enough surface space, and my chair fit worse under that desk than it ever did under my table.

One afternoon Em and I went to the office supply store to check out their desks.  We found a desk that fit all of my criteria: it fit in my smallish space, it had plenty of surface space, it had drawers, and it had enough leg room to fit my chair.

I bought it and spent the afternoon with my sister and I putting it together.
(We asked our brother-in-law for help when it came to the tricky hardware parts.)

When my brother helped me move the desk into my office he asked what I was going to do with the other desk.

"I'll probably sell it," I said.  "I don't need two desks."

Jason had another suggestion:

And just like that I have a space to call my own.
As silly as it seems, that little space makes me such a happy girl.

If only I could do something about the slanting office...

Monday, January 5, 2015

In Case You Want To Know, We Love Downton Abbey

I've been trying to dig out from the chaos of the last few weeks...but as I go it feels like I'm digging out from the last several years.

I think I'm going to need a bigger shovel.

I have a plan for this little place of mine ... and I hope that it will help me to be more consistent in writing about our life. 

All is well in our world.  Em is happy and healthy.  Jason is gearing up for another busy work season.   And I'm trying to figure out a way to accomplish both the things that need to be done and the things that I would love to do just for fun.

Here, I'll show you an example:

I started this cross stitch years ago.  I don't think I've done more than 100 stitches on it since Em was born.
I have one New Year's resolution and it's to finish this.  

Wish me luck.  

Here are some pictures from Christmas Day ... and our first snowfall.
Our girl was so happy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Our Current Favorite Book

...and I would choose her over and over and over again.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Love Story And A Legacy

My mom had two sets of parents, did you know?

It's a much longer story than I'll write tonight, but here is what you need to know for the story I am going to write tonight:

My mom had a loving father and mother - they were in a car accident and my mom's mother died.
My mom was just 15 months old.
My mom's father remarried - he married his first wife's sister.
Before my mom's mother was killed she said to her sister-in-law "If anything happens to me while we're gone I want you to raise Valerie."

My mom was raised by her aunt and her uncle, and remained close to her family.

It's a beautiful story of love and sacrifice and in the end it resulted in my mom having three loving mothers, and two doting fathers.

The two families lived in the same town and were close to each other and to their friends.
My grandparents had two friends, sisters.  I met one of the sisters and grew to love her over the years.
The mother who raised my mom had Alzheimer's in her last years, and stopped speaking.  On occasion she would call out one name: Euleda.  Euleda was one of the two sisters my grandparents were friends with.  Euleda named one of her daughters after my mom's mother who passed away.

That's how close they were.

My grandpas had a mutual friend named Van.  Van, my grandparents, and the two sisters all lived in the same town before they were each married, dated each other even, and remained friends their entire lives.

Van eventually married the other of the two sisters: Audrey.

It was shortly after Jason and I got engaged that I wrote this on my blog:

"I imagine this scene in heaven:

One day my grandpa would have said to his brother-in-law (my other grandpa) 'Gayle, what are we going to do with our granddaughter?  We have to find a way to help her out.  She's old and she needs to get married.'  And my grandpas probably would have had no clue how to help me.

After a few minutes of talking about it Van would have joined his two friends.

My Grandpa Gayle - who was very astute - would have noticed that Van looked distraught.

'Van,' he would have asked, 'what troubles you?'

And Van would have said, "I have this grandson that I'm worried about.  He has a lovely fireplace and no one to build a fire for.'

And the three grandpas would have sighed...and then in unison they probably would have had a moment of clarity.

Someday I'd like to know how long our three grandpas have been plotting - and I would like to give them all a really big hug."

Van and Audrey, my grandparents' greatest friends, are Jason's grandparents.

And the minute I met Audrey I felt a kinship with her - a connection that went beyond the fact that she was my then fiancee's grandma.

My grandparents were my favorite people - they had my entire heart - and meeting their dear friend put her in the same place in my heart.

Our roots were connected long before Jason and I met.
Today we took Audrey home to the place those roots were first planted, and we laid her to rest next to her husband.

As I stood in that cemetery and thought about my own beloved grandparents who where were laid to rest just a few miles north of Audrey and Van, I felt peace.  And in my mind I whispered to all of them that I loved them.

Those seven people - those grandparents we've loved and honored - they've left us a beautiful legacy, and until we meet them again, Jason and I will do all that we can to continue that legacy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The X-Ray Technicians Are Going To Know Us By Name

I'm currently bingeing on Hershey's cookies & mint nuggets.
I wish I could say that carrots did the same thing for me.
They don't.
Ironically, chocolate is not my first choice.
But these nuggets?
I'm their biggest fan.

Let's talk about why I'm bingeing shall we?

Wasn't it just two or three blog posts ago that I was telling you about Em's hip fracture that ended up not being a fracture?
Tonight she fractured her elbow.
She fell off a bed.

I was at work when it happened and I knew something was wrong as soon as I heard Jason's voice.
Em cried and cried ... and cried ... until she had cried herself to sleep.
She cried whenever we moved her and during the x-rays.

The radiologist called the pediatrician with the x-ray results before we had even left the x-ray room.
And now tomorrow I have to find a pediatric orthopedic specialist who will cast her elbow on extremely short notice.

Most pediatric specialists only work on certain days, but the certain day they work this week is the day of Jason's grandma's funeral and the on call pediatrician told me Em can't stay in her splint until next Wednesday when the specialists work next.

For the love...

Em is currently sleeping peacefully, thanks to Tylenol.
Jason is playing basketball with the guys to relieve the yuck that he feels from the day.
And like I said, I'm eating chocolate.

So goes our life.

Oh..and one more thing...I'm giving Instagram a try.  Feel free to follow along @elimysmommy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Any Day Can Be Thanksgiving

I'm craving apple pie.
I have a slice in the fridge and I'm waiting...waiting until I can't stand it any longer...because once I eat it it's gone...until next Thanksgiving.
...or until I ask my mom to make me some more.

We didn't celebrate Thanksgiving until Sunday afternoon and it was lovely.
Except that I put out unsalted butter on the table and we nearly had a revolt.
I had no idea that you could taste a difference but apparently you can.

What is that they say about learning something new every day?

Anyway, I took one picture of the feast - it was of the kids.  And every single one of them took my phone afterwards and complained about what they looked like or about what they were doing.

Like Nick, there in the front with the yellow shirt.
"But Noelle!  I was taking a drink!"
"Nick dear, I counted to three.  Your old enough to know that on three I'm going to take the picture."

And Allie...she's covering her mouth because she was currently chewing something and couldn't smile.

I'm not sure why Erika there in the back has her hand raised.
And I love that Emily is there sitting there like she belongs.
You might notice that she's sitting at the table with a roll in front of her.
She carries bread with her during every meal - she doesn't eat it, just carries it.

* * *

I'm currently distracted by the last episode of the Amazing Race.  Stand by.
Okay, my team is still in.  I Googled it to see how it ended so that I could watch in peace.
Jason laughs at me about that particular trait I have...not being able to handle surprise.

* * *

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving.
We have much to be grateful for and family is at the top of that list.

Jason's grandma passed away Saturday night and our hearts are especially tender as we think of her and of her legacy.

And of course our hearts are always full of gratitude for our little girl.  Oh how we love her.
Thanks to all of you for being in our corner.