All About John

A day in our life

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Things John has done during moments when I turned my head. As much as I would love to, I can’t be a Helicopter Mom and hover over his every move. I still have to clean, do laundry, use the restroom, and take care of Nathan, to name a few reasons. This little boy keeps me on my toes, for sure!

-Pulled down the floor lamp and banged it on the floor

-Wrapped himself up in electrical cords that I mistakenly thought were secured to the wall

-Dragged a small end-table across the living room while banging it on the floor

-Scooted into Nathan’s room, closed the door, wedged himself in front of it and started crying. It was quite a fiasco to get the door open with him sitting there- I didn’t want him to get hurt!

-Scooted his way into the bathroom and proceeded to get into the cabinet under the sink, throwing things around at his whim. I now make sure the bathroom door stays closed.

-Pulled the wiring out from our entertainment center

-Changed the settings on the receiver so we had no sound

-Hid the remote under his exersaucer. You should have seen how we scrambled to find that thing.

-Pulled books off of the bookshelf. Fortunately, he didn’t rip any of them up. Yet.

-Sniffed and then tried to eat a tuft of cat fur he discovered floating on the floor

-Tried to rip open a trash bag I had just tied up and removed from the trashcan. Fortunately, I saw what he was trying to do and was able to intervene before he succeeded.

-Dragged rugs across the room

This is just a small list of the mischief my little baby will get into in a short amount of time! I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff. When he’s awake, he is literally all over the place!

He says Mama and Dada a lot, and he’s even said “CAT!” a few times as he scoots around, grasping at the air his fingers splayed open with in hopes of getting a handful of their fur. Fortunately, with the exception of Andrew, they are smart enough to run away from him. Oh the sound of him scooting accross the floor is priceless. He slaps those little hands down on the hardwood as he lifts his body up and scoots forward. SLAP!-BUMP!-SLAP!-BUMP! And he’s getting super fast.

He has also pulled himself up into a standing position. He’s only done it once so far, but it’s so crazy to see my little baby in a standing position as he holds on to something for support. What am I going to do when he starts walking? This time really is going by so fast.

He’s been such a grumpy bear the past couple of weeks. I don’t know if it’s teething or what, but it’s been rough. He’s still waking up multiple times a night, and spends most of the day whining and crying and chewing on those fingers. I’ve tried giving him children’s ibuprofen, children’s Tylenol, teething pellets that you dissove in water, gripe water, and nothing seems to help with the exception of gripe water. He had a pretty bad cold last week with a low fever, puking, and loss of appetite. He’s eating better now but is still so dang grumpy. I don’t know if the cold is lingering or if his little teeth just hurt. And he won’t chew on anything but his fingers!! I have all kinds of teething toys, but he refuses them. Poor buddy. Let’s hope this phase passes quickly because this mama is worn out!

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Don’t let that sweet, handsome little face fool ya!

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My sweet baby has been giving us a tough time the past few nights! See, we’ve been very fortunate in that whenever we put him to bed at night, he falls right asleep. I usually nurse him for about an hour while I watch a Netflix show on the laptop. He falls deep asleep and doesn’t wake up as I transition him from my arms to his swing. (Like Nathan did when he was little, only we don’t have to actually turn the swing on for John.) And then, if I’m lucky, he’ll sleep until 7am. If I’m not lucky, he’ll wake up at night to nurse. That’s fine, though, because that’s life with a baby.

However, the past couple of nights, he’ll still fall deep asleep while I’m nursing him. But then for some reason right as we’re finishing, he’ll pop WIDE AWAKE. I mean so awake that he starts laughing and smacking my face with his little hands. I’ll try to cuddle him and hold him to quiet him down, but nope. He’s awake and there’s no changing it.

I still attempt to lay him down because, you know, it’s night time and all. But the second I walk out of the room, the floodgates release complete with a waterfall of tears and shrieking. Of course, I just can’t bear to hear him like that (it breaks my heart) so I go get him. And he’s completely awake! I bring him out into the living room with me and just hold him and hug him. It takes 1-2 hours from there for him to get sleepy again, after which I nurse him back to sleep. By this time, its 11:30 or 12 at night, way past my bedtime. And I can’t go to bed right after I lay him down because he’ll just wake back up if he hears me. So I’m finally crawling into bed around 12:30, which wouldn’t be a big deal if he slept later. You’ve heard the saying before- put ’em to bed later and they’ll sleep later, right? WRONG! He wakes up at 5am and I nurse him. Then again at 6am. And again at 7am. Let me tell you, you just don’t know how important it is to get enough sleep until you don’t get any! He sleeps so much better when he falls asleep earlier, that’s for sure.

I’m hoping this is just a phase because whew! I’m in a sleep-deprived fog here. But then I just look at his sweet face and I know everything will be ok. It has to be!

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Our beautiful life

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It’s been busy, busy, busy around here. From still getting up 1-3 times a night with the baby, to driving Nathan to and from school, to cleaning and organizing, to reorganizing the baby’s room and Nathan’s room, and just about everything in between! Nathan finally got himself a big boy’s bed (as in, a regular twin-sized bed) so we took the toddler bed and turned it back into a crib for John. Nathan loves that John’s taking his daily naps in it! I cleaned and reorganized Nathan’s room from top to bottom and am in the middle of doing the same with John’s room.

It’s crazy how hard it is to get seemingly simple tasks accomplished when you have two little ones. Here’s a look into a small fragment of my day. Take mopping, for example. I am loathe to admit how long it’s been since I’ve mopped. Why, you wonder? Well, first I pick up all the toys so I can sweep. After I’ve done that, the baby invariably needs a diaper change or whatnot. After that, he’ll decide he’s hungry, so I feed him. In the meantime, Nathan’s dumped out his legos, brought me plates of food from his kitchen, and scattered clothes and an assortment of toys all over the place. Me telling him to clean up after himself turns into a battle of wills; he ends up getting sent to his room for refusing to clean. Out of principle, I refuse to clean it up for him. I start a load of dishes. Nathan keeps coming out of his room, whining about how he doesn’t want to be in his room, to which I remind him all he needs to do is clean up his mess and he can come out. He stomps out anyway and throws a fit, so I carry him back to his room. He tells me he doesn’t like me anymore. I tell him that’s fine and he can have his opinion, but if he backtalks again then he’ll get more time. He says he wants to be bad and not mind, and when I ask him if he’s sure about that, he screams yes so I give him 5 more minutes in his room. Then the baby starts crying because he needs another diaper change, then after that, John wants to eat some solids. After we’re done, I hear Nathan throwing toys in his room. I go in there and tell him to clean up his mess and he tells me he doesn’t want to mind. I add another two minutes to his room-time. John then starts crying because he wants to be held and hugged, so I spend some cuddle time with him. When he calms down, I go in the kitchen to do dishes, only the water has gotten cold. I empty the water and start over. So at the end of my day, it appears as if nothing has been done.. and it’s driving me crazy because I spend all day long going and going and going.

Don’t get me wrong, Nathan is still an incredibly sweet and loving little guy. He’s simply going through the same phase every single other kid on the planet goes through. It doesn’t make it any easier,  but I do know that eventually this will pass and he won’t be so damn hard-headed. Oh wait. Maybe that won’t pass… ha ha.

As for the baby, I can’t believe he’s is EIGHT months old already… where is time going? Oh, that’s right. I’ve spent the last few months in a sleep-deprived fog. Don’t get me wrong, John’s smile make it all totally worth it, but let’s face it. Getting up to take care of the little fellow 1-3 times a night is draining!

Guess what? He said Mama just the other day! No kidding. I walked into the room, held my arms out to him and said, “HI, JOHN!!” He grinned from ear to ear, kicked his legs and flailed his arms and said just as plain as day, “MAMA!” My heart may have melted considerably as I looked at his toothy grin (he has six teeth now!)

He’s loving solid foods. I’m still making them for him as well. Peas, prunes, and pears are his absolute favorites. He’s ok with green beans, can’t decide if he likes bananas, and so far he HATES sweet potatoes. I don’t know why- sweet potatoes are delicious! Hopefully he’ll come around soon. He’s sitting up quite well unassisted, only ocassionally flopping over backwards or to the side. He loves to stand up! He has strong little legs. They’re long and thin, but they can really throw a kick. He’s outgrowing his clothes faster than I can pack them up and get out the next size. Size 6-9 months doeslln’t fit at all, and he just started busting out of his size 9-months. We have a big boy on our hands!

I’m simultaneously looking forward to and yet dreading when he becomes mobile. It’s amazing watching him grow, but I am SO not looking forward to chasing him around, wresting objects he shouldn’t be playing with from his spit-soaked little hands, making sure he doesn’t chew on anything that could hurt him, and basically following him around everywhere, whisking him down from the tables and chairs he’ll attempt to climb, putting everything back into the cabinets that he drags out… oh there won’t be a dull moment for sure in this house!

Nathan is an AMAZING big brother. He really loves John and likes to help him when John cries. Anything from making silly faces to handing him toys to dancing and singing for him. And you know what? Everytime I see it, my it feels like my heart is going to just explode from all the love I feel. And Nathan being so sweet and doting to the baby (whom he calls “his baby”) makes Nathan’s backtalking totally bearable.

Even with all the chaos and a seemingly constantly messy house, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Paul and I really love our lives, and we feel blessed beyond measure. I love being mom to my two boys. And I can always catch up on the cleaning when they’re older… right? Right??

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John’s six-month checkup!

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Well, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was wonderful. I totally gorged myself and I’m not ashamed. It was delicious! And I’m sad it’s over. Nathan had a blast playing with his sweet cousins, who are three and two-and-a-half. Nathan played so hard that he was covered in sweat by the time it was over. We’re looking forward to getting together on Christmas!

In other news, John had his 6 month checkup today. He’s perfect! He’s in the 85th percentile for height and the 40th percentile for weight, and his doctor said he’s gonna be tall and thin. I’m not surprised- Paul is 6’5 or so, and I’m 5’8, which is tall for a girl. John has a big ole head, so that means he’s getting all the nutrients he needs. I absolutely LOVE our pediatrician. I talked to him today because even though we’re very pro-vaccination, there’s still a small part of me that worries. I know that the one “study” that linked autism to vaccines has been debunked and proven fraudulent, but there is a small but very vocal group of people out there who are VERY anti-vaccination. When I voiced my concerns to the pediatrician, he brought up some very good points.

First, the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine, which is what the anti-vax community claims causes autism, has not changed since they started administering the vaccine in the 1960’s. (Back then, they were separate vaccines- they were combined in 1971 I believe.) It’s had the same ingredients all these years. People would form lines that wrapped around the block to get the vaccines. In the 1970’s, people started having less children compared to the baby boomers, so the vaccine was administered less since there were less people to give it to. Fast forward to today, and the vaccine is administered even less than it was in the ’70’s due to smaller family sizes. Yet the incidence of autism keeps rising. Maybe it’s better screening. Regardless, the rates are climbing at an alarming rate.

Second, some people also claim Thermasol (I think that’s how it’s spelled), the mercury-based perservative found in some vaccines, can cause autism. However, Thermasol in vaccines for children has been phased out over the last decade. And yet the autism rates continue to climb. Some vaccines for adults still contain it, but not the ones for kids. Additionally, you’re exposed to more mercury taking a new car for a test drive than in what a vaccine contains.

Third, and this knowledge has been around for a while now, scientists have discovered that there is a gene that causes autism- so autism is passed down from the parent(s). However, there appears to be an “on” switch. They’re still not sure what causes the switch to flip from “off” to “on.” There is speculation that the mom catching a virus during pregnancy could cause the switch to flip, or a virus that the child catches. There is also speculation of a link between Pitocin, Epidurals, and also immediate cord clamping following birth. I briefly touched upon these concerns in a previous blog post I had written.

It seems that people are more willing to listen to celebreties than scientists, mostly because scientists are probably considered boring while celebreties are “fun” to watch and listen to. So when a celebrety starts opining about how vaccines are dangerous, people are quick to jump on the bandwagon. Of course, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would disagree with me. And that’s ok. It all boils down to it being YOUR decision as a parent. You have to make the best decision you can for your children with the information you have. Personally, even if vaccines were to cause autism, I would much rather have an autistic child than one who died from a preventable disease.

The biggest problem the anti-vax community presents is losing what’s called “herd safety.” See, vaccines aren’t 100% effective. For example, even though Nathan has all his vaccinations, if he comes into contact with a kid who hasn’t been vaccinated against something and comes down with it, there’s still a small chance Nathan could catch it. So when the vast majority of the “herd” is vaccinated, it provides a safety net. We’re losing that safety net, and the most vulnerable are infants, who haven’t been fully vaccinated yet, and those with immune system deficiencies. Just look at the Whooping Cough epidemics we’ve been seeing around the United States. When babies come down with Whooping Cough, it can be deadly. As a side note, immunity to Whooping Cough diminishes over time, so adults, it’s VERY important for you to get a booster shot so you don’t inadvertantly infect a baby! ESPECIALLY if you are around any infants!

I feel like I can say all this because Nathan has autism. The preschool he attends did an evaluation on him and found that he is very high-functioning. Some people would say he has mild autism, but I don’t think that’s the politically correct way to put it. Either way, it is what it is. Don’t feel sorry for him, though. His having autism doesn’t change a thing. He is still my sweet and incredibly smart boy with a steel-trap memory. All this finding does is provide an opportunity for him to get Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Inclusion Therapy (which helps him with his social skills) through the school system. I know he’s going to be just fine and once he masters these skills their teaching him in school, he’s really going to soar.

I strongly suspect Nathan’s birth experience played a contributing factor to him developing autism. His birth was incredibly medicalized and fraught with interventions. They snuck Pitocin in my IV after I told them no, and that caused him to go into fetal distress (because he wasn’t getting enough oxygen from the abnormal strength of the contractions- and remember what I said in my blog post linked above about not getting enough oxygen to the brain?) Even though I declined an Epidural, they had me strapped to that stupid continuous fetal monitoring machine, blood pressure machine, and IV line like I was some sort of sick person instead of a healthy woman with a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, so I could not move around the room during labor.  Because of that, I couldn’t manage the pain, so I ended up caving and getting the Epidural. With John, I had NO interventions at the Birth Center and was able to move around and then labor in the birthing tub. It made a huge difference in managing my pain. And with Nathan, they clamped and cut the cord immediately. All that iron-rich, oxygenated blood in the placenta never made it to his brain because of that. Like I said, I’m no medical professional, but I feel strongly that the labor and delivery system set the stage for Nathan’s development. It’s been 4.5 years since Nathan’s birth, and I’m still pissed about what they did to us. That’s why with John, I went to a birthing center with midwives. Totally different experience and much better for me and my sweet baby.

Anyway, it was a good talk with the pediatrician. Baby John is growing so fast. I can’t believe he’s six months old already! Time really is going by so fast. I remember with Nathan, time seemed to go by so slow. But with this one, I wish I had a pause button. Maybe it’s because I’m so busy having a two children to care for instead of one. I wish I had a pause button so I could live in the moment a little longer. I am really going to miss these days when my boys are grown. It goes by in the blink of an eye!

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