Tuesday, December 2, 2014

round 2, 37 weeks

37 weeks, round 1
37 weeks, round 2

Tim says my belly looks bigger this time around but I look skinnier everywhere else. I think that's a fair assessment of this pregnancy. I've gained less weight this time and it's been concentrated in my uterus more so than my first pregnancy. I'm starting to swell and retain fluid elsewhere in my body at this point, but I can still take my wedding ring on and off! I can still wear the same shoes! My face doesn't look super fat! All good things.

As a tangential side note, I hate due dates. I keep thinking of mine now that we are in the month of and it kind of makes me feel like I do when I lose something. The other day a piece to one of Shep's toys went missing and it was really bothering me. Puzzle pieces are the worst to lose because you can't ever forget that it's gone. The due date is a similar mystery. Baby's just going to show up whenever the heck Baby shows up and this number gives you a sense of some timing but it's only a tickle, a tease. I've been suspecting that I'll give birth early based on a couple of things: (a) this pregnancy is totally different from round 1 and round 1 ended after "40 weeks," and (b) I originally estimated my due date for December 5 based on my calculation of LMP and I just can't let go of that number. Eh, what's a couple more weeks at this point, anyway? Soon is soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Shep likes to have his window down in the car lately. When he gets bored of being in the car, he takes off his shoes. Once he threw both shoes out the window. It was actually very close to home when he chucked them, but we hadn't seen. We drove around all along the route we had gone, but we couldn't find them because Tim's mom, who lives upstairs, found them first and recovered them. We've tried to keep our eyes out for other littering from the back window since.

The other day I went to Home Depot and left my brother and Shep in the car while I went inside. Later, I realized Shep had removed his shoes. I only found one sitting next to his car seat. I thought the other one might be in some stuff that was on the floor and didn't take the opportunity to search at the time. Two days later, I cleaned out the car and couldn't find it anywhere. I realized the other shoe must have gotten tossed out when we had gone to Home Depot. On the weekend at night, we were sort of driving in the same area, so I decided on a lark to see if the shoe was still there. It was right where Shep left it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

toddler tyranny

Shep seems to have entered into a stage of full-blown two-ness. As cute as he is, I'm actually struggling to be patient with this phase. It's like doing some backcountry snow sport when there's risk of avalanche. It's kind of fun until the avalanche happens and then you're fighting for your life. Except, I derive no thrill from the possibility of tantrums, as I imagine some people derive from the risk of danger. I don't know; bad analogy. The point is, it's really fun to see his personality and language and interests develop. But it's also invariably exhausting, and often infuriating. Tantrums, which up until a few weeks ago seemed to be an occasional anomaly, now seem inevitable if the scenario he's imagined doesn't pan out exactly as he hopes. I'm trying to walk the line between accommodating the terms he sets (as far as I can understand him--limited vocabulary only takes you so far, though) and thereby avoiding anger and frustration, and alternately trying to set limits and help him deal with his big feelings.

Sometimes his feelings are disturbingly big. The other day he had a serious breakdown that seemed to come out of nowhere. After waking from his nap (his nap was quite late that day and his schedule was totally offm so maybe that's why), he started crying and spiraled quickly into a demon-possessed two-year-old. He was so full of rage and anger, screaming and crying, flailing and hitting, refusing to be held, completely unresponsive, and going on for more than a half-hour. I had no idea what to do and I had no idea what was wrong with him.

Luckily most episodes are not this extreme and his anger a bit more short-lived and thus easier to ignore, but I still find myself quite annoyed and exhausted by his wildness. Taking him shopping is such an adventure. Any stair rails are for him monkey bars to hang and swing on. Any time we hold hands is a time for him to jump and hang. Any time he is set down on the ground, it's a time for him to run wherever his whims take him. For him, maybe shopping is a really grand adventure. But for me, not so much. Instead of holding his hand while we walk together in the store, I have to either follow him as he escapes around every corner or try to hold a squirmy thirty-something-pound child, which for my out-of-shape body, is no easy task. Suddenly, the whole purpose for my trip becomes something I  don't care much about getting and can wait until later for.

Yesterday, we were at a store where I found a cute $2 t-shirt for him to wear. When I showed him and asked, "Do you like this shirt?" he got pretty excited about it. The excitement extended to him trying to take off the shirt he was wearing already and put on the one that belonged to the store, demanding I help him accomplish his task. I didn't want to do it, but I put it on. Then he wanted me to take off the tag, and I did that against my will, too. Later at the register, I apologetically gave the tag to the cashier saying "He liked it so much he wanted to wear it immediately!" In the same store, we got strawberries, which he was set on eating immediately as well. He would take one or two bites out of one strawberry, but if he got anywhere near the stem, he handed it to me. And I couldn't just set it back in the container. No, I had to eat it.

In retrospect, these things are mostly amusing, but in the moment I often feel like I'm nearly out of mind trying to figure out how to handle my wild child.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Apparently there is a reason that rotary cutters have guards on them. They are sharp and should not be left on the floor. Shep found that out by getting a rather deep cut that ended up with us in the Primary Children's emergency room last Saturday because the urgent care clinic doesn't offer any sedation when doing stitches. I felt like I deserved the mother of the year award for being awesome and facilitating the whole incident. So instead of the million other things it seemed like we had planned, we spent the morning with our little trooper in PCMC. But now the stitches are out and the wound is healing fine, and we can finally go swimming again.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

antics of our two-year-old

I wanted to document a few of Shepherd's antics lately. He seems kind of like a real person lately, someone I can kind of talk to, but nevertheless someone who is really bad at carrying on a conversation.
  • A lot of times he'll do naughty things and my response will be, "Why did you ______, Shep?" He usually looks at me earnestly and seems to proffer a pretty substantial explanation, with his funny hand gestures and facial expressions, but I have no idea what he's saying.
  • The other day, we went on a walk in the neighborhood. Shep has developed an attachment to the children in one particular neighborhood family, it seems. Recently, he saw one of them walking up the aisle at church and followed her to sit with their family for a solid portion of the meeting. On this particular walk we were on, we went past their house on the other side of the street. Shep was riding his trike, which we push because he doesn't pedal yet (we got this one for him not too long ago, and he loves it), and suddenly he wanted to stop and get off. I accommodated and he proceeded to run across the street and up a little bit until he got to the right house. Then he knocked on the door. The kids whom he loves were home, luckily, and welcomed him to play with them. The whole thing was just so funny. I had no idea he knew exactly where they live!
  • The other day I was working on an editing project in bed after waking up. Shep was hanging out in the bed with me watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. (He's watched so much of that show lately, which I have used as a crutch in order to meet this editing deadline.) He decided he wanted to get up and play, but I stayed in bed editing and didn't follow him. Then a little while later, I heard a faint "mommy" through the window. Realizing he was outside unattended and imagining him running into the street into oncoming traffic (not an unreasonable fear--this kid likes to run into the street a lot), I bolted to get some clothes on and go after him. When I reached the door, he was trying to open it from the other side. Apparently it's time to childproof the door so he can't escape!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

ear tube surgery

It's been nearly a month now since Shep had his surgery. It was on April 8 at Primary Children's Medical Center. I was quite nervous about him undergoing general anesthesia, as I had read there were some risks associated with it. Luckily, it was a short procedure and didn't seem to have any lasting effects. The surgery wasn't until the afternoon, so we spent a lot of time waiting. In the morning, we met with the ENT and an audiologist for some testing. We signed up to participate in a study to test an experimental antibiotic gel instead of the standard-issue ear drops. Shep would either get the gel during surgery or a sham, but we don't know which he got. So he's had some extra visits associated with the study. (He did end up getting a round of antibiotic ear drops anyway, though, because he had some drainage on one side, which was a bit of a bummer.)

It was hard because Shep wasn't allowed to eat anything, but he really behaved marvelously, considering. We parted ways when the anesthesiologist wheeled him away to surgery in a little wagon, and then we went into the waiting room. I wonder how he did once we weren't with him anymore. It was weird to part, and I sort of wished I could go to the OR. They called us back as he was waking up in the recovery room. Poor kid was not happy at all, and it was sad to see him so out of sorts. He was very disoriented and quite upset. I'm really glad Tim was able to take the day off work and be there, because he was actually the one who was able to comfort Shep the most as we waited to be discharged.

When we got home, we all took a long nap and Shep has seemed back to normal ever since. We haven't noticed a ton of developments with his expressive language skills, although he is saying "hi," "bye," and "uh-oh" much more often and at more appropriate times. We definitely have noticed that he can hear better and he seems to be understanding more. It's really nice to know that he can hear and not wonder if he's deaf when I talk to him. I'm glad we did it when we did, even though we didn't really know for sure how long he had fluid in his ears. I don't think it would have gone away on its own.

Now we're just trying to deal with getting reimbursed for self-pay and getting insurance billed. The insurance came through after the surgery and it's kind of annoying to jump through all these hoops. Ah well . . .


Tim had a week for Spring Break a couple of weeks ago, so we headed to Zion's for two days and one night. It was a quick trip, but I'm glad we went! (Even though Shep is passionately anti road trip.) He did marvelously on our six-hour hike, though. That long hike involved us trying to make it to Kolob Arch, but we only made it about 4 or 5 miles in, about, and the arch is 7 or 8 miles in. It was brutal carrying a very heavy pack (30-pound-baby + water + food), even though we switched off. It took us days to recover.

The day before that, we rode the public transit up Zion's Canyon and did a short hike. Then we camped outside the park in our van. Is it just me, or is sleeping not in a bed always miserable? I always like the idea of camping, but I have a hard time liking it during the night when sleeping is turning out to be hard!

Monday, March 24, 2014

ear tubes

I wrote in my last update about S. that I was concerned about his language development. Thank you, by the way, to those who commented with encouragement to pursue this issue further. As a parent, it's absolutely impossible not to compare your child to other children. And it's hard to see your child not behaving in ways that are as "advanced" as others' children. It somehow seems like some sort of reflection on your success as a parent. I liked something that I read recently that said something like, "Are you a good person who is a mother? Then you are a good mom." (Sorry, I don't remember the source!) And I try to remind myself of that, because there really isn't any way to measure.

Instead of resisting the idea that something was wrong with my child, I decided to pursue our concern. After being evaluated by early childhood professionals, Shep qualified for intervention services for his language development. He was also referred to an audiologist for hearing screenings. Over the course of the last couple of months, several visits to doctors and audiologists led to a diagnosis of fluid in both ears and resultant mild hearing loss. He's never shown any signs of having ear infections, though, so it was a complete mystery to me. In a few weeks, he'll be getting ear tubes.

It seems very likely that this could be the majority of the explanation for his language delay. I hope it helps! I keep telling myself that it's super common for kids to have tubes in their ears, but it is still kind of scary.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

21 months

We had a pretty good go documenting Shep's antics until he hit mobility, it seemed. I think part of the problem is that I feel that posting on the blog makes photo evidence requisite, and it's kind of a hassle to keep up the photography. Every single time I pull out a camera of any sort, Shep stops what he is doing and relentlessly pursues the new "toy." One time on the 4th of July, or maybe it was the 24th, he broke my point-and-shoot digital camera because I was stupid and said "You want my camera? Okay, here you go!"

But it is sad to think that his antics will be undocumented, and thus forgotten, so here are a few things that I want to remember about Shep right now. 

It's funny how a lot of these things are alternately precious/drive me batty. I guess that means I'm the parent of a full-fledged toddler, not a baby!

  • He walks like a champ, and has the cute toddler run/waddle thing going on now, too. He actually has been walking for a while, but I don't think this blog has heard about it yet. He started taking steps independently when he was about 14 months, but it took him a good month or month and a half before he was comfortable with it.

    Despite being sure on his feet, he is still a cautious little guy. He doesn't really test his limits independently. We have to encourage him to do things he hasn't tried, such as walking on the snow (he still avoids that one), walking by himself in the shallow end of the pool, climbing up onto a step stool, etc. But he seems to pick things up quickly once he decides he's interested.
  • He's expressing all sorts of personality of late. For example, he gets really mad if things don't go his way when he plays with his blocks. He got Lego Duplo blocks for Christmas and some Mega Bloks from the Stoddards. I think he prefers the Duplos, but I actually took them away and hid them just today because he gets super frustrated playing with them by himself. I guess his motor skills are not quite developed enough to take them apart and put them back together effectively, so he needs someone to sit down and play with him.

    I guess this is regular toddler behavior, but he gets pretty fixed on certain things and it can be hard to distract him and redirect his attention in order to avoid tantrums. I have been the mother of that child who throws himself down on the floor and screams at the grocery store plenty of times now. Though I think we generally do a good job at tantrum avoidance. It happens.
  • He's not really talking much at all, but I can tell he understands several words. He says "hi" and "bye" inconsistently, but has just this week started using them more consistently at the right times. He also says "shoes" and will get his shoes when we ask him to. Sometimes he brings us his shoes when he wants to go outside, or brings us our shoes when he wants us to get going. He pushes our legs to move us to things, too. He knows a few body parts, like "nose" and "belly button." He knows "hot" and tries to say it, and I can tell he understands the meaning of the word, too, because he uses it when putting his hand close to hot food, hot water, hot stove, etc. He's known how to point to his belly button for like six months, but again, he's been pretty inconsistent. Sometimes I have wondered if his hearing is damaged, because I'll say his name or something and he doesn't respond at all. He is pretty selective at listening.

    I'm anxious for him to start talking more, especially as all of the recommendations say babies his age should be saying a lot of words. I think he knows he can communicate pretty well without words, so he isn't super motivated to learn English. He has a special dog-like pant when he wants something that we're eating or drinking, for example. There is a lot to be desired on the communication front, though. He seems to get particular scenarios in his mind that I don't telepathically understand, and it frustrates him to no end when they aren't carried out.
  • He seems to like wearing clothes, getting dressed, etc. Most of the time! Sometimes he hates it. But I'll find him trying to put on his own clothes, too. Sometimes he brings us the clothes he wants to wear (those within his reach), and he seems really into zippers. He thought the words "zip" and "zipper" were hilarious for like two days a while ago, but then gave up thinking they were funny, apparently.
  • He's been inconsistent with this one as well (I'm noting a theme here?), but he generally likes giving kisses. He is funny about his method: his kissy face is just opening his mouth in an O and then making sounds to get our attention. Almost inevitably, after giving one of us a kiss, he'll look for the other of us to kiss. Even if I'm alone with him, I'll ask him for a "kiss" and he'll give me one, but then look around for another source of affection.
  • He likes to organize similar objects, such as sorting colored pencils by color or lining them up. 
  • He loves taking things out of containers and handing them to people, or moving them. He seems pretty good at sharing, in a general sense. He likes to try to feed me the food he's eating.
  • Maybe classic toddler behavior, but we have an inconsistent/picky eater.
  • I'm a lot less diligent about using the nursing cover to nurse him in public (it's a source of some inconvenience), but when I bring it along, if he wants to nurse, sometimes he'll get it out of the diaper bag and bring it to me. On the topic of nursing, which my blog readers may be sick of (but I most certainly am not!), yes, it's still happening with a fair amount of frequency. Shep nurses to fall asleep consistently. He's wakes about twice a night on average, and nurses back down. I'm not really sure, but for the most part it's really quite manageable. He also nurses a couple of other times throughout the day, but I don't really keep track. If he's bored and fussy, he does more. I do feel like I'm not as concerned about his fussy eating habits when I'm still nursing, because I feel like he's still getting decent nutrition through that.

    I could write a lot about nursing in general (like why I even feel the need to talk about it, for starters), but suffice it to say I don't think he's ready to wean anytime soon, and I'm not interested in forcing it on him. I never imagined breastfeeding a toddler, but we take it one day at a time. It is frustrating to me sometimes to nurse him, but for the most part, I'm happy to continue as long as it interests him. I do worry about weaning him sometimes, though. I don't know if he'll ever lose interest! Self-led weaning might not work for us, so if any moms have any advice about that, please let me know!
  • He has the funniest dance moves whenever we play music for him: lifting his arms like a cactus and turning in circles, bouncing and sticking out his bum, bobbing his head, etc.
  • He loves pretending to talk on the phone and has been doing that for quite some time now. It's adorable. He also likes giving cell phones to their owners, and can identify ownership here.
  • Lately (past week or so) he's really been into "helping" me with the dishes. He likes to get up on a step stool so he can reach the sink and generally make a mess with the water. He's also really into drinking water that he plays with the last few days, despite disciplinary efforts to dissuade him.

    I find myself tending to err on the side of "Whatever makes you happy, I'll allow" rather than preventing destruction, chaos, or whatever craziness might ensue from giving him free reign. This tendency worries me a bit (Is discipline something I'm even capable of?), but perhaps self-awareness will help me keep it in check. It doesn't help that when I try to say "no," Shep just laughs and does that exact thing more. It doesn't make me feel particularly effective.
  • He's gone through several object fetishes. These don't seem to run the "normal" gamut of lovie objects, such as blankies and stuffed animals. For a while it was washcloths. He went through a snack cup (filled with Cheerios) phase. He also went through a phase where he was carrying pens. (Now I have to avoid giving him pens because he is dangerous with them!)

    I got a food processor on Black Friday and he got so much mileage out of playing with the packing Styrofoam that came in the box. I think it's because they were big and light, so he could carry them around and move them to different spots. (He also liked taking the meat thermometer and poking holes in the Styrofoam.) We also just got a new package of disposable diapers, and he was doing the same thing with the individual packs of 30 or so diapers. He'd just move them from place to place. I don't really get it, but it's funny.
  • He doesn't laugh a ton, but he seems to be trying out different laughs from time to time. He went through an evil laugh phase a few months ago. It was so extreme that I got pretty fed up with hearing it, but then he stopped fortuitously. It was hilarious, though. Now he has different laughs for different situations, it seems, though I might not be able to define them all.
  • The only time we really spend time apart from each other is when he goes to nursery. He does fairly well at going, though it took several weeks of us sitting in there for him to get comfortable. Now he's okay because he likes being around other kids and knows the leaders, for the most part, but it's still a bit hit and miss. I also have worries about him being bullied. Any other parents out there experienced this? Some of the more aggressive kids hit/grab/push/etc. Shep doesn't seem to mind, but this actually happens quite a lot, and I'm not sure how to respond. I don't want him to mimic this kind of behavior.
  • (POST-PUBLICATION UPDATE) I forgot to write another thing: I love when Shep comes and sits in my lap. He does so when I put his shoes on, and when we read together sometimes. He's a cute little guy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

noisy sleeper

Shep makes his presence known when he's asleep. Right now he is sleeping next to me, and he is sighing softly on almost every exhale. He snores regularly. He is often a loud mouth breather when he's concentrating. It's a little embarrassing, occasionally, when it attracts attention from other people.