Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Paying the Sunshine Forward

The other day, Megan and I took Aidan to lunch with us.  We do this often, because he's generally a well-behaved lunch buddy.  He watches Blue's Clues or plays Peekaboo Barn on my iPhone while we eat, then we feed his tube.  It's a routine we're all pretty comfortable with, and it doesn't generally attract much attention, because we're the subtle types.

On this particular occasion, we were approached by a woman and her young daughter.  The little girl was probably about 3 or 4, and they walked up behind Aidan as he was being fed.  Every muscle in my body tensed as I waited for whatever ignorant, uninformed, or flat-out rude comment was about to come our way.  People seem to say the most idiotic things when they see something outside of their (very narrow view of) normal.

I was wrong.  I've never been so glad to be wrong :)

This woman and her daughter were patiently standing behind Aidan, waiting for the right moment to tell us that they knew what we were going through, and that they'd been through it too.  The little girl was NG-tube fed for a year (a YEAR on an NG, which basically means this woman should be nominated for sainthood or something, because I don't know if we've all forgotten or not, but Aidan pulled that sucker out like seventy times a day).  What they wanted to tell us was that they'd been through it and that it got better.

Obviously their situation was different than ours - no two situations are the same - and I don't think we'll be tube-free in the next year - but I can't get over how kind it was of this mother to pass along some hope.  She told me that someone once did it to her - stopped her in a mall and let her know that their child had been a tubie and that it got better for them.  It meant so much to her that she decided to do it too, if she ever got the chance.

I've come to think of this as Paying the Sunshine Forward, and I hope to get the chance to do it soon, myself.

Have you run into other tubies out and about?  Will you be Paying some Sunshine Forward and giving some hope to a family that's just starting down a path that you've already traveled?  I'd really love to hear about it :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Omelets and Influenza

I've written before about the flu shot.  Do we get it?  Do we skip it?  With an egg-allergic kid, it's been tough to figure out what to do.  And I really haven't gotten a ton of helpful advice from our doctors, to be honest.

But according to information released this year, several studies have provided more evidence that the flu shot is safe even for those who are anaphylactic to eggs.  In fact, the CDC officially no longer considers egg allergy to be a contraindication to receiving the flu shot.

Accordingly, there have been some changes to the recommended procedure for egg-allergic individuals:

  • skin testing is no longer necessary prior to receiving the flu shot
  • two-step administration is no longer necessary
  • Children with a history of hives reactions may receive the flu shot at their pediatrician's office.  Children with a history of egg-induced anaphylaxis may receive the flu shot at their allergist's office

This is really exciting news, and I felt very confident as I had Aidan's shot done by his doctor this year.  For what it's worth, no reaction whatsoever :)    

The benefits outweigh the risks, guys.  Please get those flu shots, at least for the little ones.  A toddler with flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, or worse is just heartbreaking. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Just Sugar" Treats!

So, it turns out that there ARE treats out there for EGID kids :)  And actually, these would be a great allergy-safe treat for any kid in your life.  Nothing wrong with plain old sugar (in moderation, of course).

KFA's latest newsletter tipped me off to this ultra-cool Just-Sugar Christmas Tree Sculpture.  All you need is sugar and water!  It's easy to see how this would translate to lollipops for pretty much any occasion, too.

Check out the Kids with Food Allergies website for more awesome recipes and tips for allergy-friendly cooking and baking this holiday season!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Top Ten Myths of Mealtime in America

I have to share an awesome article that I ran across this week in a support group for families dealing with feeding disorders.  It comes from the SOS Approach to Feeding website

For those not dealing with feeding issues, food is less than an afterthought.  It's easy, you "just do it," and "that kid who won't eat" was probably spoiled by his parents.  Why else would he demand nothing but pudding when faced with a plate of chicken and green beans?

But here's the thing.

For so many of us, it's not easy.  It's not easy at all.  So many of our children can't or won't eat, and it's not because they're bad or picky and it's not because we haven't tried all of the most fun and appealing plates and forks and cups, and it's not because we obviously always give in and let them have whatever they want.  Feeding disorders are real and living them is a daily nightmare for so many families out there.

Without further ado, the Top Ten Myths of Mealtime in America:

Myth #1 = Eating is the Body’s number 1 priority.
Why it is false
Actually, breathing is the Body’s number 1 priority. Without good oxygenation, eating is difficult because we shut off our airway briefly with every swallow and our oxygen level decreases slightly (or we have to significantly increase our respiratory rate to maintain oxygen such that we are burning off any calories we take in). Postural stability (“not falling on your head”) is actually Body priority number 2. Eating is only Body priority number 3. If either breathing or postural stability are compromised, eating may be resisted.
Myth #2 = Eating is instinctive.
Why it is false
Eating is only an instinctive drive for the first month of life. From birth to 3-4 months of age, we have a set of primitive motor reflexes (e.g. rooting, sucking, swallowing) which help us eat while we lay down pathways in the brain for voluntary motor control over eating. Between the end of the 5th or 6th months of life, these primitive motor reflexes “drop out” and eating is essentially a learned motor behavior after 6 months of age.
Myth #3 = Eating is easy.
Why it is false
Eating is the MOST complex physical task that human beings engage in. It is the ONLY human task which requires every one of your organ systems, and requires that all of those systems work correctly. In addition, EVERY muscle in the body is involved (one swallow for example, takes 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate). Plus, eating is the ONLY task children do which requires simultaneous coordination of all 8 of our sensory systems. Learning, Development, Nutrition and the Environment also have to be integrated in to make sure a child eats correctly.
Myth #4 = Eating is a two step process; 1 = you sit down, 2 = you eat.
Why it is false
There are actually about 25 steps for typically developing children and 32 steps or more for children with feeding problems, in the process of learning to eat (see the Steps To Eating handout).
Myth #5 = It is not appropriate to touch or play with your food.
Why it is false
Wearing your food is part of the normal developmental process of learning to eat it. You can learn a great deal about the foods, BEFORE they ever get into your mouth, by touching them and playing with them first. It is “play with a purpose” that teaches a child the “physics of the foods” before the foods ever get into their mouth. Being messy is an important part of learning to eat.
Myth #6 = If a child is hungry enough, he/she will eat. They will not starve themselves.
Why it is false
This is true for about 94-96% of the pediatric population. For the other 4-6% of the pediatric population who have feeding problems, they will “starve” themselves (usually inadvertently however). For the majority of children with feeding difficulties, eating doesn’t work and/or it hurts, and NO amount of hunger is going to overcome that fact. Children are organized simply; if it hurts, don’t do it. If it doesn’t work; cry and/or run away. Also, for children who have skill or medical problems with eating, their appetite often becomes suppressed over time, such that they no longer respond correctly to appetite as a cue to eat a sufficient number of calories.
Myth #7 = Children only need to eat 3 times a day.
Why it is false
In order to meet their daily calorie requirements, children would have to eat adult sized meals if they only eat 3 times a day. Given their small stomachs and attention spans, it takes most children 5-6 meals a day to get in enough calories for proper growth and development.
Myth #8 = If a child won’t eat, they either have a behavioral or an organic problem.
Why it is false
Various research studies, and the data from our Center, indicates that between 65-95% of all children with feeding problems have a combination of behavioral and organic problems. If you start with a physical problem with eating, you are going to quickly learn that eating doesn’t work/hurts and a set of behaviors to avoid the task will become set into place. If you start with a purely behavioral/environmental reason for not eating, your compromised nutritional status or lack of experience will quickly begin to cause organic problems. As such, it is not useful to create a dichotomy in diagnosing or treating feeding problems.
Myth #9 = Certain foods are only to be eaten at certain times of the day (ie. Breakfast foods only for breakfast, lunch foods only at lunch, snack foods only at snacks, dinner foods only for dinner), and only certain foods are “good for you”.
Why it is false
Food is just food. It is not breakfast food, or lunch food, or dinner food, or snack food, or junk food. Food is either a protein, a carbohydrate or a fruit/vegetable. While some foods do have more nutritional value than others, labeling foods as “good” or “bad” or “only to be eaten at X meal”, is not helpful in teaching children to eat or to have a healthy relationship with food. If a child eats chicken and peas best at breakfast, that is okay. In addition, the so called “junk” foods actually play a huge role as stepping stones in teaching children with feeding difficulties to learn to eat a wide variety of other foods because these “junk” foods are typically easy to manage from an oral-motor standpoint, and/or they have a large sensory appeal.
Myth #10 = Mealtimes are a proper social occasion. Children are to “mind their manners” at all meals.
Why it is false
Actually, eating comes first. Manners come second. The skills for eating need to be learned first, before children can have good manners. Think about the 6-9 month old infant just learning to eat and how messy they get. Especially for children who have not learned to eat well, mealtimes are a Teaching Opportunity and we parents are the Teachers. Children eat so much better when their food is engaging, interesting and attractive. They also eat better when mealtime conversations are focused on talking about the food, and when adults are modeling how to eat and teaching the “physics” of food. So go ahead, enjoy your food and the feeding experience with your child! Be noisy, be messy and play with your food!!

So why do I think this article is so great?  Well, mostly because it says what I'd like to shout from the rooftops.  Eating is SOMETHING.  It's not just an instinct, it's not just something the body does on its own.  It's HARD WORK, it's NOT EASY, and the next time you want to judge a child's "atrocious" table manners or overly "picky" proclivities, please consider that this child may be struggling to learn something that you've known how to do since you were but a few months old.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Picture Parade!

I'm not going to apologize (again) for not writing as often as I promised I would.  Instead, I'll give you some photographic peace offerings.

I have an amazingly talented friend who has been taking pictures for us since our wedding.  He's done all of Aidan's photos since his newborn shoot and we are so lucky to know him.  He even manages to make us look presentable - not the easiest task.

Anyway, Kingston came over a couple of weekends ago to take some pictures for our Christmas cards.  Aidan wasn't massively cooperative, and it doesn't exactly look wintery out, but what can you do?  Here are some favorites.

Of course it's Christmastime.  See my snowman socks?

Little Boys + Sticks = True Love

I think this thing has some "outside" on it...

Obligatory "Child-In-Leaves" picture

Explaining the finer points of pinecones

Here Mommy, you can have it...


And a gratuitous shot of The Mama, just because she looked pretty that day.

For what it's worth, we did eventually get one for the Christmas card, which I'm not posting here in case you're getting one in the mail (which would require me to address them, stamp them, and mail them - so don't hold your breath).  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Head, Meet Sand

You haven't heard from me much.  Maybe you've been looking for blog updates.  Maybe you've called and I haven't answered.  Maybe you emailed or texted, and I never got back to you.  Please trust me when I tell you that It's not you, it's me.

Things have been really difficult lately.  People ask how we're holding up, and I say we're fine, because that's what I'm supposed to say.  Fine.


It's the biggest lie I'll ever tell, and I tell it ten times a day.  Twenty.  Thirty, if I venture out in public.  The conversation goes something like this:

Well-meaning friend/family member/loved one: So, how are you?
Me: We're fine/hanging in there/doing great/pretty darn good/really can't complain/<insert other upbeat yet completely vague response here>
Well-meaning person: That's great!

And then, we all move along with our lives. 

Note a few things about this exchange.
a) I rarely, if ever, reciprocate by asking how you're doing.  It's not (entirely) because I'm a selfish wench.  It's because I'm too busy panicking to remember social graces (see point B below)

b) If you listen carefully, you will likely hear panicky undertones that belie my casual words.  I am obviously neither fine nor hanging in there.  I'm certainly not great.  I really can complain, actually, but once I start I cannot promise that I'll stop, and nobody really wants to hear it.

c) These conversations last roughly 4.2 seconds (though they feel like an eternity to the poor suffering soul (me) in point B above).  The "Well-meaner" wants to get back to their happy-clappy life, and the "Me" wants to exit this terrifying interaction ASAP.  Nobody really wants to be here.  Society demands that we exchange these words, so we do.

d) "How are you" is not actually a question insofar as questions are requests for information.  It is a phrase meant to cue another phrase, in this case, something like "We are great!"  In deference to this fact, I do not complicate these conversations with facts or information related to how we are actually doing.  (Seriously, when's the last time you asked "How are you?" and hoped to hear "Well, my hemorrhoids are acting up, and boy is that anal itching ever bothersome!" - never.)

The thing is though, you have stumbled across MY blog.  I'm not sure how.  Maybe you clicked something accidentally on facebook.  Maybe I slipped a blog business card into a package of gently loved diapers that I swapped with you online.  Maybe another blog linked you to me.  Whatever the case, you're here, and this is where I get to be honest.  Avert your eyes if you're not into that sort of thing, though I do assure you, nobody's pooper is in trouble.  Well, not really.

I am not okay.

Do you know how hard it is to say that?  To type it out for everyone and their mother to see?  Maybe not everyone's mother, but certainly MY mother, who does in fact read this blog (Hi Mommy!) and might (but hopefully doesn't) then feel really bad for not being here (Please don't.  There are way more important places for you to be.).  But it's the truth.  I am not okay.

I am trying really hard to find a job, but I haven't found anything even vaguely promising yet.  Nor have I figured out how to have time to have a job while still getting my son the medical care he *constantly* needs.  But I can't even worry about that part right now, because priority one is that I need a job so that my family can keep this house we worked so hard for.

My family is hurting.  They are there.  I am here.  My CT family has lost an amazing, beautiful member.  Their hearts are broken and mine is too.  Instead of there with them, I am here, working through health issues as usual.  Mine, as usual.  His, as usual.  Knowing where I would rather be, but also knowing that I need to do what's right and responsible for the tiny dictator.  At the same time, my FL family is facing the unthinkable unknown that is Cancer for the first time.  We are all afraid as we hold our breath and wait to see what the prognosis is.  We know that it won't be good.  We just don't know how bad it will be.  I want to be there for Grandma the way she's been there for me ALWAYS, but I can't.  I have to be here.

My phone has been ringing, and I haven't been answering.  Voicemails have been left, and I don't have the heart to even listen to them.  Blog posts sit half-written.  Projects half-started.  I've been selfishly hurting alone, even while I know that my loves ones are hurting too.

I almost don't have enough left to be Aidan's mom.  Almost.  We're pushing forward, preparing for Christmas, planning a birthday, managing an EGID flare, and taking life as it comes.

I am hoping that writing this is enough to at least point me in the direction of reaching back out.  I will answer your emails.  I will call you back.  Don't give up on me yet.  I really need you - all of you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Mom's Christmas List

Christmas Approaches!  What's on your list this year?  I'm going to pretend that I don't feel like life's falling apart, and instead, I'll write a post all about me and what I'm lusting after this year.

Mama's wishlist:

Feeding Tube Awareness I <3 A Tubie Hoodie - I want this really badly.  It's too cold out to really sport my I <3 A Tubie T-Shirt while we're out and about, so this is a must-have and I am really hoping that Santa comes through.  My kid hates Santa though, so he might be passing our house by this year.

Kristine's Keepsakes Hand Stamped Washer Necklace - I would totally personalize this, too.  I'd get our birthstones (mine, Tom's, and Aidan's), and have it engraved with "Amor Meae Vitae" - which means "Love of my Life" in Latin, and is engraved on my Wedding Ring.

Sodastream - This isn't happening.  I know this isn't happening.  It won't stop me from wanting one really badly.  I drink so much soda, I keep trying to convince myself/Tom/total strangers that it's actually the economical thing to do.

A Giftcard - I don't have a job, we all know this.  I'd love to be able to shop guiltlessly for myself and/or my baby boy.  Amazon, Babies R Us, it doesn't even matter. 

A really, really nice video monitor - This feels less like a luxury item and more like a necessity for a tubie mom.  I'd love to have a monitor that I can carry around my house so that at any given moment I can be assured that my child hasn't fashioned a noose from his feed set.  Instead, I have a consignment sale find that weighs like 20lbs and is semi-permanently anchored to my bedside table.

Fitbit - I love gadgets.  I'm working on losing weight and getting more active.  This seems like a no-brainer.

If on Christmas morning, I woke up to every single one of these things under our tree, I would trade them all without a moment's hesitation for Sherry to be alive and well again and for grandma to be happy, healthy, and cancer-free. 

On a lighter note - Tom, if you're reading this - buy that sweatshirt, okay?  The necklace would be nice too ;-)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Confessions of a Jealous Mom

Sometimes, it's cathartic to admit to the things that you keep deep down inside.  It keeps you sane, because you know what?  There's no way you're the only one who feels that way.

I confess that I'm jealous that you can bribe your child with a snack and I can't.  In a crowded restaurant, or a grocery store, or on a long car trip - I wish that I could make life easier/better/quieter with a goldfish or a cheerio, but I can't.  I wish that I could stop a tantrum mid-screech with a cookie, but I can't.  Lukewarm (to avoid clumping) neocate just doesn't hold the same appeal to a wayward toddler, and sometimes I can't help but feel like I have nothing he wants.

I confess that I'm jealous that as you head into the second year of parenthood, you no longer have any reason to know (or care about) your child's height and weight to the inch and ounce on a daily basis.  If I'm not worrying that he's too short, I'm concerned that he's gaining too much weight too quickly (I'm not even joking.  My child has always been underweight and I can't tell you how many times I've wondered if he's starting to look "fat" - thank you very much, society).

I confess that I'm jealous that you can find a babysitter that wants to come back more than once, and that you don't have to describe the laundry list of terrible things that *could* happen, including seizures, asthma attacks, and anaphylaxis.  I'm jealous that you don't have to demonstrate how to stick a large needle through your toddler's thigh in case he accidentally eats.

I confess that I'm jealous that you're living the life I thought I would be living.  I'm jealous that I'm so jealous of you.

But you know what I have that you don't have?


Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Hearts are Heavy

I didn't have to be anything to her. 

I'm her ex-husband's daughter with his other ex-wife.

She didn't have to call.  She didn't have to write.  She didn't have to love me, or my brother.  She didn't have to keep in touch, or make sure we knew our younger siblings.  She didn't have to care about us, even when we moved thousands of miles away. 

My mom raised us to believe that "you don't divorce children." Obviously her mom raised her the same way.  Never, ever, did she treat us like anything less than one of her own.  That's just the woman she was.  And that's how it is that, while I have no grandparents, aunts, or uncles on my father's side - I have them on my Stepmom's side.

They are beautiful people - all of them.  Kind and loving.  Accepting.  But nobody more than Sherry.  I won't say that we loved her, because our love didn't stop Saturday morning as she took her last breath.  Our love won't ever stop. 

We love you, Sherry.  You were are the most amazing Stepmom I could have ever asked for, and I am so lucky to have had you in my life.  Aidan is just as proud to be your grandson as you are to be his Grandma - and I won't ever let him forget the time you two spent together.  When he snuggles that absurdly large sock monkey, he will *always* know that Grandma Sherry got it for him - carrying it in on her back, no less.

I wish I had more photos.

I wish we had more visits.

I wish there was more time.

I wish I had better words.

I am holding these memories safely in my heart.  Thank you so much for everything that you shared.  No fight was ever fought harder.  We love you so much.  Rest in peace.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Some time ago, another mother posted a link to an article in one of the Facebook support groups that I frequent.  It was called Advocacy: putting emotion aside.

I enjoyed the read, and did some further reading on the topic online.  So often, we proclaim that we are our child's best (only?) advocate.  But there's more that goes into advocacy than our maternal instincts and fierce hunt for answers.  How effective can you be as an advocate if you are driven by your emotions?

Advocacy is so much more than shouting from the rooftops as loudly as you can.  It's doing your research - finding out who makes the decisions that affect your child and how to connect with those people.  It's also about learning all there is to learn about your child's disorder - not just as it affects him, but also as it affects everyone around him! And once you've done the research, stay organized - binders work well for us - so that you can enter your next discussion armed with all of the information you've collected.

I think the biggest takeaway for me was that successful advocacy for your child requires that you know what your end goal is going to be.  Where do you see your child, and what needs to be done to get him there?  Instead of "My child has X disorder, what are you going to do about it?" - try "My child has X disorder, and needs Y and Z in order to receive an appropriate education."  Knowing what you're asking for at the outset leads to FAR more productive conversations.

It's hard to put the emotions aside when advocating for your child - but taking a calm approach will always pay off in the end.  

What tricks have you learned that have helped you advocate for your child?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween 2012 - Trial Run...

After last year's costume debacle, I thought it would be nice to get a jump on things.  My first plan of action?  Try on last year's huge costumes!

Surprisingly (or not...), they both fit!  So it's looking like it will either be an Otter Halloween or a Monkey Halloween.  And I think I'll let him make it a game time decision :)

Which one do YOU like better?!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween 2011: Does that some in size "Uber Tiny"?

Over a year ago, I started to excitedly plan Aidan's first Halloween.  I bought the cutest Monkey costume ever!  I went for size 12m, because he'd be getting close by Halloween.  Annnnnd, then I tried it on him.

Um, crap.  Forgot about that pesky Failure to Thrive thing.  There's no way he was going to grow into this within a few weeks.

Back to the drawing board.  Found a super cute Otter costume online, in size 6-12 months.  It HAD to fit, right?

Double crap.  I think this one is even bigger!  Even Aidan looks concerned.

We did ultimately (after lots of panicked searching) find a costume that fit (kind of.  Ignore the pant legs please.) in size 0-6 mos.  Aidan was the cutest dragon EVER.

He had an awesome time with his buddies too :)
Superman Ryan, Obi-Wan Teddy, Dragon Aidan, and Mickey Chase!

Adding Flying Monkey Phinn to the group shot

So I guess it's time to start thinking about Halloween 2012!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Before this all happened - before I brought home my perfectly imperfect little boy, and before I began finding kindred spirits on the Internet - the term "tubie" meant nothing to me.  And chances are, if you don't personally know one, it doesn't mean much to you either.  It's an ongoing mission of mine to change that...

Enter Feeding Tube Awareness.  The site is immeasurably helpful and immensely comforting to boot. It's packed full of information about feeding tubes - different types of tubes, facts about tube feeding, information about making the decision to tube feed, stories of brave tubies, and resources for friends and family members of tubies.  It also offers, via facebook, a way to reach out to others who live this as their "normal."  But none of these are the biggest, most important thing that FTA does. FTA helps raise awareness of feeding tubes and the people who live with them.

I want to do so much for this cause.  We live it every day.  For now, we are doing what we can to spread the word and, hopefully, spread the acceptance.  We love our tubie, and we want everyone to know it.  We have NOTHING to hide and we want the world to know what a Super Tubie looks like. He's brave, he's beautiful, and he's proud to be just the way he is.

If you want to learn more or support the cause by proclaiming that YOU <3 a Tubie, please visit FTA online at: http://www.feedingtubeawareness.org/ or find them on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/FeedingTubeAwareness

And don't forget to bling out your car with I <3 A Tubie Car Magnets from the FTA store!  They also have shirts, hoodies, onesies, and even temporary tattoos!  I've branded both of our cars, Auntie Megan's car, grandma's car, great-grandma's car, and even great-grandpa's golf cart!

Mommy's Car
Daddy's Car

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Aidan Rocks Dentistry...

I've been dreading this.  Apparently, good parenting requires regular visits to the Dentist.  I hate the Dentist - but it's entirely unfair to put that on him, so off we went for the exciting first time...

Our first discovery?  This place has Pac Man.  We might never leave.

Our next discovery?  Aidan can reach the buttons.  Seriously, not leaving.

We practiced opening wide and saying "AHHHHHH!" from the safety of the Pac Man machine.  This feat would not be repeated in the Dentist's actual exam room.

The exam itself was easy - just a peek in his mouth, a count of the teeth, and a clean bill of oral health.  No cavities, no plaque, no damage of any kind yet from bottles or binkies.  A reminder never to send him to bed with a bottle (we know) and to try to wean him off the binky by age 3.

And we're done!  Back in six months.  But boy are we going to miss Pac Man...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Medical Me - Baby Aidan visits the Allergist

It was a big day for Baby Aidan.  First, he meets his new family (Daddy? Brother? Overlord?  Who knows...).  Then, it was time for a visit from the feeding therapist, and THEN, a visit to CHOP.

Feeding was fun.  Aidan wanted Baby to have his own bottle, and to sit at the table with us.  Baby Aidan, ever the cooperative one, was happy to oblige.

Breakfast Time!

Once Aidan started getting restless, the Feeding Treats came out.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Aidan sharing his treats with Baby.

Here you go, baby.  Good eating!
And another one for Big Aidan

If sharing whistles was surprising, what happened next was just about heart-attack-worthy.  Aidan is on a sticker rewards system for eating, and stickers are gold around here.  We don't squander them like fools.  But still, after Baby Aidan "took a sip" from his big boy cup, Big Aidan gave him a sticker!

Good boy!
 And then another one!

What a good drinker!

I couldn't believe it.  I almost cried.  Not only does Aidan obviously understand the sticker system, but he knows (in theory) how to be nice!  And share! Holy crap!

After feeding and a short nap (together), I packed up my Aidans and headed down to CHOP.  The Aidans had a grand old time in the Allergy waiting room.  Big Aidan even shared his Legos.

And then it was doctor time.  Which, obviously, meant that it was time to show off Baby Aidan's tubie!

Right there!


Thank you, thank you, thank you - from the bottom of our hearts - to Chelsea at Cerebral Palsy Mentor.  We look forward to many more happy visits with Baby in tow.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Medical Me - Baby Aidan meets Big Boy Aidan

"Baby" has become such an integral part of our daily lives, I almost forgot to tell you all about the day he and Big Boy Aidan met.

As I mentioned before when I introduced him, Baby Aidan made his debut on Patch Day.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go, since Aidan's never had a doll before and so hasn't had the opportunity to show any love for them.  As it happened, I had nothing to fear.  It was adoration at first sight!

I love you, Baby Aidan

What do you mean "give him back"?

Dream on, Mommy.  This is MY baby!

Every day since that day, Aidan has loved and cuddled his precious baby.  Sometimes, in the car, he gets the idea that I might take his baby away.  This causes a 10 minutes tirade from a cranky toddler that sounds something like this:


Okay Aidan, your baby.  I won't take your baby.


It's actually pretty cute (the first dozen or so times).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Aidan Rocks Soccer

You know what?  I don't think I talk enough about all of the things my little man CAN do and does SO WELL!

One of Aidan's biggest strengths is that he's an active kid.  Give him space to run or things to climb, and he's a happy man.  Mommy-and-Me Music Class just isn't quite his tempo, no matter how cute a toddler looks with a tambourine (very cute).

With this in mind, we decided to sign him up for soccer.  Yup, soccer.  And yes, he is indeed still 1.  I knew it would be... interesting.  And exhausting.  Stressful?  Hilarious!  Right up his alley :)

We begin with investigation.

Am I okay with this great big field?

Who are all these kids?  Are you sure you'll remember which one is me???

What the heck is this thing?!

Then, we notice why this place is so great.


 And now it's time to start working on the basics.

Looking super cute...

Remembering which ball is mine (are you SURE it's not "All of them"?)

Chasing my ball... Get back here!

Pretending I kicked that thing into there so Mommy and Daddy get excited...

Being super handsy with the ball and pretending I don't know what "use your feet" means...

A room full of toddlers in barely-controlled chaos, chasing balls and balloons around a field for 40 minutes?  This boy is in heaven.

Every day with him is a reminder that there is nothing he can't do.  Nothing that can slow him down.  And no reason to feel sorry for him.  Keep on kickin', little man!