Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Room 120

So, Cameron has had a rough time transitioning to her new, toddler classroom.

In her infant room, she LOVED "school."  Would barely even blink at drop-offs, and often, when I'd show up to take her home, she'd keep going about her business, playing and running around the classroom like the wild little girl she is.

She was known as the "easy" baby, was go-with-the-flow, and never really fussed or cried unless she was sick.  She would even walk over to her crib and pull out her sleep sack when she was ready to nap, following her scheduled to a T.

And then, we rocked her world and threw her into Room 120.

With the big kids.

With the kids who sleep on cots, and sit in chairs for snack time, and go outside for recess.

With three new teachers who don't quite know her yet, or understand her temperament, or get her unique little personality.  Teachers who also don't know just how neurotic and worrisome (but supportive!) I am.

Three new teachers who are undoubtedly qualified, who will grow to love her (and hopefully me)... but three new teachers who aren't - well - her old teachers.  Her FIRST teachers.

They say there's some kind of magical bond babies form with their first away-from-parents-caregivers.  And CK is definitely attached to the teachers who first introduced her to life away from Mom and Dad.

And now, we've had to take her away from their loving embraces and strip her of that comfort.  Which has been very hard - for both her and me.

She's been fussy, having trouble sleeping, and refusing to put Melvin down (her one comfort item at school - a favorite stuffed monkey).  When she's dropped off, there's a quick-distract-her-with-breakfast-strategy to avoid total meltdown.  And when I walk in to pick her up in the afternoon, she completely falls apart.  With a look on her face like, "Omigosh-Mama-WHERE-have-you-BEEN-this-is-TERRIBLE-why-did-you-LEAVE-me-here-with-these-strange-people-take-me-HOME!"

As a worrisome and my-daughter-is-my-world mama, I spend a lot of the day thinking about her, wondering if she's okay, imagining her crying and wishing she were somewhere else, with someone else.

And as everyone knows, I would give just about anything to be able to stay home with her, so that doesn't help the emotions I've been feeling lately, knowing she's not really happy all day long.

This experience has given me a lot to think about, a lot to reflect on.  Truth is, we can find a lot of opportunities for growth in the uncomfortable life moments.  And when you're a parent, you're guaranteed to experience a lot of uncomfortable life moments.

Sure, she's only 1, and in a toddler room - But one day she'll be 5, and in Kindergarten.  And able to voice her concerns much more clearly.  How will I handle it when she says, "I hate school" or "My teacher is mean" or "I don't have any friends"?  Just imagining those scenarios makes my heart want to fall apart all over the floor... It makes me want to wrap my little girl in a bubble and protect her from all of the tough stuff, the fearful, the hard moments, the heartbreak, the scary.

But then I wouldn't be doing my job.

Because that's where we learn, where we grow, where we become strong, good people… in the moments that require courage.  Because we can't learn how to be brave if we don't ever need courage.

And growing up in this big, scary world, there are going to be a lot of moments when my little girl is going to need to learn how to be brave.  To try.  To fail.  To try again.  To cry.  To put a broken heart back together.

And during these moments, I will be there to hold her hand, to guide her, to cry with her, to pray.  But sometimes I'm going to have to learn how to stay on the sidelines and let her figure things out on her own.  To allow her to fail so she can muster the strength to try again.  To let her heart break so she knows just how good love feels.  To be scared, to find courage, and to learn when to be independent and when to ask for help.

When this transition, this one of MANY transitions we'll experience as mama/daughter is over, we will all be ok.  She will learn that though things can be scary at first, and a little uncomfortable, she can make new friends, try new things, and have new teachers who love her just as much as her old ones.  And that her mama will always be there for her at the end of the day. 

And I can learn to continue trusting other people to care for and protect my little girl.  To take a step back, loosen my grip, and let her (and myself) grow.

I can learn to be okay with watching my Cameron Kate navigate the waters of life when things get a little tough without immediately jumping in to try to save her.

Man, this whole mama thing is hard work.  And we've only just begun.

Who would've thought trying to transition to the toddler room would be so hard on me?

Thursday, October 25, 2012


*I’ve felt like our poor girl can’t catch a break.  T and I were just saying that we feel like since she had Hand, Foot, and Mouth, she’s gone from ear infection to ear infection and now – the stomach flu.  On Tuesday morning I was minutes away from leaving for work, and CK literally covered me from shoulders to feet in throw up.  I was soaked all the way down to my undergarments, no lie.  We’ve spent the days since then trying to control the other end of her body, leaving her in a diaper and wrapped in a towel.  Because the minute I put her down to try to cook her some rice (hello, BRAT diet), she blew out her diaper all over the kitchen floor AND our new rug.  Needless to say, this week has been a chaotic mess of throw up, diarrhea, laundry, trying to keep her hydrated, laundry, worrying, T and I taking turns missing work during a VERY busy work week for both of us, laundry, me hobbling around on a bum ankle, laundry, worrying, calls to the doctor, cartoons, and laundry.  BUT within all the turmoil I have CHERISHED the extra hugs, cuddles, and chest naps with my girl who’s usually way too busy to be bothered with snuggling.

Stomach bug survival kid:  bib, diaper, stuffed dog.
A rare and awesome moment
*I’ve been working on putting together a surprise for someone…

*I’ve packed away ALL of the Dr. Browns – we’re officially done with bottles!!!  I have to say it was bittersweet.  Where did my baby go?!

*Speaking of being done with bottles, we’re also ALMOST done with weaning!  Cameron nurses once a day, in the morning.  It’s always been her favorite and most-needed nursing session.  I’m having a hard time figuring out when to drop it.  I definitely want to wait until she’s all the way recovered from the Norovirus and ear infection.  I’m just not sure when it’ll feel right to officially pull the plug…

*Because I’m no longer nursing at night, Cameron Kate’s bedtime routine has obviously changed.  T insisted that he still gets to be the one to do bath, but I still wanted some alone time.  So, after he does bath and jammies, I go in and my little girl and I read a book or two, then I tell her a made-up, “Once upon a time…” story, then I sing our songs and wait for T to come in to do prayers.  Those ten minutes are the absolute best part of my day.

*I’ve been getting SO excited about the upcoming arrival of my new nephew, Smith!!!  I can’t wait to meet him and watch him find his place in our awesome family.

*T and I started watching Parenthood, starting with season one, on Netflix.  I’m already addicted, he’s not so sure yet…

*I can’t wait to dress CK up in her Halloween costume!

*I am obsessed with sugar cookie dough.  There may or may not have been a package I ended up not using for Cameron’s party in my fridge.  And I may or may not eat a sliver or three almost every night.  May or may not.

*My daughter, on the other hand, is obsessed with shoes.  There is a crate of shoes in her closet, and she LOVES to go pull out shoes, bring them to you, put them in your hand, sit in your lap, and throw an absolute terrible twos ones tantrum until you put them on her feet.  Even if they are mismatched.  I think we’re in for it.

*I think I’m liking the new Taylor Swift cd.  Yes, I have the music taste of a thirteen-year-old.  Don’t judge.

*I’ve been a little bummed out about the lack of Halloween/fall décor around my house.  Ok, so maybe the only décor is the pumpkin sitting on our front stoop.  I really had full intentions of going all Esty-Pinterest-crazy this year… but then, well, life happened.  I screwed up my ankle.  Cameron’s been a mess of sick.  So I guess I’ll just have to settle for the pumpkin.

*Speaking of pumpkin, before the stomach bug wreaked havoc on our sweet girl, we had the BEST time at a local park doing a hayride and pumpkin patch visit!  I knew CK would love it, because she loves doing anything outside.  And I have to say, it’s little things like this that make life so incredible…  reliving my life all over again in a brand new way through the eyes of the most incredible girl I’ve ever known – but I won’t go any deeper than that, because this is supposed to be a “lately” “randoms” post and there’s no room for sentimental tidbits.

*I miss running.  I can feel it in my bones, the absence of pushing myself and sweating and getting out of breath.  The good news is that my ankle is, slowly but surely, feeling better.  My goal is to be out of the fracture boot in the next week or two, then hopefully I’ll be walking, then maybe back to running by the end of November.  I was supposed to start therapy this week, but – well – then Cameron threw up all over me and pretty much all of my plans for the week went down the drain.

*We’re headed to the ENT in a couple weeks to decide if CK needs tubes in her ears.  I know I need to wait and see what the doctor even recommends, but I’m torn on whether or not I think she’ll grow out of the ear infections or if tubes could really improve her health and overall happiness.  The thought of anesthesia for my little girl, no matter how minor the procedure is, terrifies me.  Truth is, though, she’s had a hell of a time with both ear infections and finding a medicine that works for her.

*I’ve been too sad to take down the birthday banner hanging in our kitchen from Cameron’s party, which was two weeks ago.  I feel like if I take it down, her birthday is officially over.  Kind of like how I refuse to fill out the 1-year page in her baby book, because I’ve filled one out every month, and after the 1-year page, you don’t fill it out again until age 2…

*I’ve been realizing just how incredible it is to have family and friends who will literally drop what they’re doing to be there for you in the blink of an eye.  You know who you are.  Thank you, and I love you!

*One of CK’s favorite words right now is “eyes.”  She LOVES to point to eyes in a book, on a stuffed animal, or even dig her little fingers into your lids and say, “eyes.”

*Having my breastfeeding journey come to an end while simultaneously snapping my ankle and prohibiting myself from running have not been appreciated in terms of my caloric intake.  You see, when you’re breastfeeding, you can basically eat for two.  Add running in the mix, and I've been eating like every meal/snack is the last meal/snack I’m ever going to have in my life.  And then BAM.  My body doesn’t need those calories anymore – but oh my taste buds do!  Hello, lbs.

*Tonight, my college football team and my hub’s favorite team are playing each other.  Needless to say, it was a house divided.  Cameron had to stay home from school today since she’s still recovering, and T and I split the day.  When I got home around lunchtime, she was wearing the wrong colors.  So I fixed it.

*I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways to restructure our lives so as to make things better for Cameron Kate, T, and me.  Prayers for ideas and peace with what the future holds would be appreciated!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

About my Ankle

So, on Cameron’s actual birthday, I was having such a good day.  We’d gotten her up early to unwrap presents.  Then I went to work happily, knowing she was on a daddy/daughter breakfast date.  My principal allowed me to leave work early, so I ran a few last-minute birthday errands, picked CK up from school, and met my hub at the house.  We let her open more presents, which she loved, and headed to Bounce U.  We got to Bounce U, and were honestly having the BEST time.  I kid you not when I say that about three times I had the thought, “This is all going way too well, too perfect.  Something has to go wrong.”  Terrible to think, I know, but... about five minutes before we were about to walk out of Bounce U and head home to give Cameron her very first cupcake, I jumped down from one of the obstacle courses, landing on my ankle sideways.

Let’s just say there was a very loud snap, so loud in fact that T heard it over the blowing of the air machines.  I immediately knew it was bad, especially when I reached down and felt a distinct bulge that didn’t belong.  (I initially thought it was the bone, but later found out it was where the ligament snapped and balled up.)

While it sounds a bit dramatic (and maybe it is, in your opinion), there was blacking out, cold sweats, nausea, etc.

To my credit, T has told the many doctors we’ve seen that he witnessed me birth an almost 10-pound baby with half an epidural... and this was ten times worse.

Long story short, I’ve ripped one ligament and completely torn another.

As the doctors said, it may have been better if I had broken it.

The good news is that I don’t have to have surgery.  The bad news is that it’s gonna be awhile before I’m 100%.  I’ve gone from no weight-bearing with crutches, to weight-bearing with crutches, and now I think I’m ready to put the crutches away and just walk in the fracture boot.  I’ll start therapy next week.

It’s been SO frustrating, especially since it’s my right foot (hello learning how to drive with my left foot) and even more especially because, oh yeah, I have a running, climbing, daredevil of a one-year-old who does not ever sit still as much as I’ve tried to turn her on to Dora, Elmo, Blue, Mickey Mouse, and even the Yo Gabba Gabba crazies.

Interestingly enough, about four people have come to me since this happened and said the same thing – “So, do you think this is God’s way of telling you that you need to slow down?”

Well, people, no, I don’t think that God intentionally snapped two ligaments in my ankle just so I’d learn to slow down.  I do, however, believe that most all things happen for a reason.  And, the more I reflect, the more I think that this may be happening at a time when I do really need to take a step back and stop trying to be superwoman.

You know, the superwoman who wants to throw the perfect first birthday party, do all the grocery shopping/laundry, put home-cooked meals on the table tv trays every night, send in baked goodies to her daughter’s class, keep the house clean, train for a half marathon, keep her husband happy, make sure her daughter knows she’s loved more than anything in the world… oh, and work full-time.

My annoying ankle injury has indeed drastically changed my pace of life.  And while it’s a temporary change, I was very, very frustrated with it at first.  I can’t say that I’ve completely gotten over the frustration, but I am trying to revel in this new, slower pace and the ways in which I have to ask for help and depend on other people.  (In case you don’t know, I am fiercely stubborn and independent and HATE having to rely on other people – hence learning how to drive with my left foot so I can go where I want, when I want.)

So these days, I send my hub to the grocery store, trying not to cringe when he brings home cereal and chips I despise or three things of peanut butter “because it was on sale.”  (Because, I mean, do we really need to stockpile peanut butter?  And doesn’t he know that you get the sale price even if you only buy 1?)

These days, instead of rushing home to plop CK in the jogging stroller and pound the pavement, we change into comfy clothes before the sun sets and roll around in the homemade ball pit on the back porch.

It’s been tough, I won’t lie.  It’s tough when you’re the type of person who likes to go, go, go.  It’s tough when you want to be everything to everyone – which I need to learn is impossible anyway, bum ankle or not.

I’m definitely learning to appreciate the slowness, enjoy the view, and put my guard down when I need help from my husband.

Who, by the way, has been a saint.  Especially since he has to live with his wife who has been, well, a little grumpy and stressed out lately.  And you know what I do when I’m stressed out?  Run. 

Oh wait – I can’t.

So, I know there will still be days when I’m frustrated with my inability to be mobile, to run after my wild, giggling toddler and throw her above my head while she squeals with delight… but I am truly going to try to use this as a time to catch my breath and sit down a little more often.

But just so you know… as soon as I get the go ahead, I’ll be dusting off my superwoman cape.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Big Birthday Bash

Well, I must say that besides me ending up in a fracture boot and on crutches (more on that later), Cameron's birthday turned out to be a smashing, sunshiney success.  From opening presents, to a daddy/daughter breakfast date, to more presents, to an afternoon at Bounce U, to her favorite meal, to her very first cupcake, to her favorite 50+ people at her birthday party, to a homemade ball pit, to a backyard bounce house, to a yellow tutu and pink converse, to her smash cake... I honestly believe, though she's only a year old, that Cameron Kate felt special and had the best days of her life throughout this past week.  And now, because I'm too lazy to write anymore than this paragraph, prepare yourself for major picture overload.

 And now, just because there aren't enough pictures in this post, some of my favorites from her 1-year photoshoot: (Thanks to the amazing Urban Bloom Photography!)

On we go to year number 2...