Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just keep swimming...

Well hello friends! It's been awhile.... Between being a single momma while Daniel was on his rural rotation for the month and a computer screen that has week long stints where it only works if you hold pressure to it in certain spots (don't get me started) I either haven't had the energy to post or didn't really care to type a blog post using only one had while the other holds the screen.

 Well the biggest news right now in our life is that rank list are turned in and official! Daniel has actually had his in for a few weeks now and nothing changed but just the word "official" makes it so much more real. And knowing that where we'll spend the next five years is figured out somewhere in the virtual world already is just torture. I mean seriously... why do we have to wait 3 weeks for a computer to tell us where we're going. This.is.torture.

 To keep ourselves busy we've been looking at houses. I seriously love this job.... just wish I knew for sure where to be looking. I've browsed our top 5 cities to have an idea of what we would be working with.... but we've looked a little harder in two specific cities... one of which I'm really hoping for and one of which Daniel just has a "feeling" about (and I sort of do to).
We've also started packing a little. I have a wonderful, amazing support group on Facebook of over 800 women who have gone through or are currently going through the process of being married to medicine (they also have a blog too). They gave me tons of wonderful advice on things to do between now and match day to keep myself busy/give us a heads up on the bajillion things that will have to get done between March 15th and the beginning of June.

17 days until we find out..... eek!

In other medicine related news.... you know your life has been taken over by medicine when you have dreams that your husband got to help do surgery on you. It was also filled with a large number of doctors that was made up of a mix of actual doctors I met at one of Daniel's interviews and doctors from TV. I think this wins the prize for the strangest dream I have ever had.

Well my littlest love with be 2 1/2 in just a few short days... so brace yourself for an annoying mommy post on him soon :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fine motor work...

I've really been focusing lately on building some fine motor strength in Dax (fine motor strength would be the muscles in his little fingers and hands... this is essential for being able to write). We've been playing with a lot of playdoh (squeezing it, poking it, tearing it) and stringing his beads on laces. But this week I wanted to let Dax work with scissors a little more. He got scissors for Christmas so we've used them here and there since then... but this week I started off by putting them in with his playdoh.
Like I said, we've used them before so he knew how to hold them... but it was pretty cute to watch his problem solving skills go crazy as he figured out how to use them with the playdoh. He started out trying to cut the playdoh while it laid on the table (obviously didn't work). Then he tried cutting with his left hand (that was really awkward). And finally he got it all figured out.
A couple days later I busted out a new pair of scissors for him. These had the actual blade but had a great spring in the middle that you could flip up for beginners (it helps the scissors open back up). PS... I found these at Dollar Tree!!!  I then decided to draw lines on strips of construction paper for him to try to cut on (cutting on lines is a skill they'll need in pre-k and it helps with eye hand coordination). Sidenote: While cutting on lines is good, make sure you also give kids paper without lines so they can have some free expression with their cutting.

He loved this activity and you could see the pride in his face! He thought he was so big!  After he finished cutting I gave him a glue stick and let him collage his shapes.
 This past week I've also had him start "writing" his name (the lines on the bottom). His fine motor skills aren't strong enough yet to write actual letters, but I was really proud of him when he drew a corresponding individual mark as he said each letter of his name. Baby steps!

Dax has still been very into letters this week, but his newest love is doing puzzles! I would say he spends most of his time during the day doing puzzles. Right now since he just started using puzzles I've been keeping the outer edge of the puzzle put together for him so he has a starting point. But he is building some awesome strategies so I'm sure he'll be doing the entire puzzles on his own before long!
Dax made his own matching game with his puzzle and letter rocks.
 This was a birthday gift... lettter book with meaningful things in it.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Struggles

So I've really been pushed lately to write about my journey with Dax as a baby.  I'm not sure if it's because God needs me to get my message out because one of you reading this is facing it as well... or because one of my many pregnant friends is getting ready to face this battle before long... or because so often in blogs the "rough" part of parenting gets left out. But whatever it is... here's my story.
While pictures I post of him now are mostly smiles and fun...he wasn't an easy baby to say the least (and still has moments in each day that he is not an easy toddler).
 

At the time (between the time Dax was born and he hit 10 or 11 months) I tried to come up with every excuse I could for how he acted. He has acid reflux, he was colicky, he was teething. Anything. But as time has gone on and I've come less concerned with what other people think I've come to realize that Dax was simply a high needs baby (really... you should read this).
He cried screamed most of the day, he was an extremely light sleeper, nursing was a battle, he didn't want anyone other than mommy, he threw himself backwards arching that back as far as he could, he wanted to be held all the time, I felt like I was walking on egg shells (making it scary for me to leave the house), change and transition was awful for him, and he just simply was not a happy baby.
During this time, I was hearing how wonderful and happy other people kids were.... and I often heard things like "he's a handful Kandice", "he's spoiled rotten", "our kids never did that", "you need to change how you do ____", "I've never seen a baby act like that".  It was very disheartening.... and I think that's the reason why I never talked about it to anyone. I had the kid that was different... the one that people probably talked about when I was out of sight... and he was just a baby... so it was obviously something I was doing wrong. I had decided that I was never having another kid because I was not cut out for being a mom.... therefore crushing what I had known since I was very little was the one thing I wanted to be when I grew up... a mommy.
Dax did best in wrapped tight or in tight spaces. He slept great here.
As time went on things got better (he was closer to a year old). He got big enough to say a few words, learn some sign language, and get around on his own. And I got better at reading his cues and meeting whatever need he had before a meltdown. Meltdowns happened less often... but still happened several times a day and on the drop of a dime. And things just keep getting better... slowly but surely.
Now at 2 1/2... life is much more manageable. He is able to express his needs and emotions. He still loves hard and fights hard. He's passionate, energetic, high strung, and strong willed. Our biggest issues at this point are sensory issues, he gets really frustrated with the dogs really fast, he's impatient, and really strong willed.

Having a high needs kid is tough to say the least. I wish there was some magical advice I could give to mommas but there just isn't.... because each of our high needs kids is so different. There are a few things that made my life easier and more manageable... and also a few things that hindsight has given me...
1.  Look for support. I thought I was the only person with a baby like Dax. But hindsight has shown me that it's a lot more common than I thought.  Unless a momma has a high needs baby... they're not going to "get" what you're going through, they're just not. And things that work for your everyday baby aren't going to work for a high need baby.
2. Find some "me" time. And outlet. Whether that's journaling, meditating, praying, talking with a friend, or just vegging out on the couch watching something completely ridiculous on the couch. And high needs babies don't let you have much of it... so grab it when you can (5 minutes here, 5 minutes there).
3. Baby wearing. Baby wearing helped a lot when Dax was little. It gave him a sense of closeness to me, it gave him the sensory feeling of tightness that he liked, and it let me get some things done.
4. Sign language. Signing helped a lot for us. Dax was able to give me a few signs before he could talk and that allowed me to meet some of his needs before a melt down. Eat, water, more, milk, and help were big ones for us.
5. Watch for cues. All babies have some sort of cue when they're hungry, tired, or getting frustrated. And mommies can pick them out better than everyone. Just watch for those and meet that need as soon as you see that cue.
6. Learn to let what people say go in one ear and out the other. But also stand up for yourself when you need to. When you're being flooded with remarks on how your baby acts, inform them on high need babies. And when you're being told that you're spoiling your baby, let that go in one ear and out the other.
7. As your baby grows... make sure you're giving them the words for their emotions. "You're angry" or "You're sad" or "You're frustrated". Now at 2 Dax can tell me what emotion he's feeling and it's a huge help.
8. Do breathing techniques. Hold that baby as close to your chest as you can and take big deep breathes. This will help them feel close and help regulate their breathing.... helping them and YOU calm down.
9. Plan everything. High needs babies don't handle change in environments or schedules well. Be a little less spontaneous for awhile and prepare for outings to take quite a bit longer than they usually would. Go into the event expecting a meltdown... that way when it happens (because we all know it will) you will be prepared and won't get as frustrated.
10. Happiest Baby on the Block helped a lot when Dax was small. He hated when we first started... but after screaming for a minute he was quickly stop and cheer right up.
swaddled tight... part of Happiest Baby on the Block
The other four "S's" of Happiest Baby on the Block... side/stomach position, swinging, shhhh sound, and sucking.
11. And my biggest piece of advice that I'm just now realizing... find the beauty in your high needs child.  Realize that these traits that are just completely wearing you down now will be what makes them an amazing adult. They're going to grow up to be strong, strong leaders. They're not going to be pushed around and they are going to have beliefs and values that they stick to. They're going to give everything they have in every aspect of their life... whether it be in their work, how they love, etc.

I saw this personality profile of high needs kids on pinterest and just loved it. It gave me comfort knowing he was like other kiddos and gave me hope for the future. Here's the list as given by Dr. Sears... and I highlighted all of the ones in the infant and toddler category that fit Dax... just so you can see how accurate it is :)
 Infant:  alert, intense, draining, demanding, cries impressively, loud, unconsolable, supersensitive, high touch. (no exaggeration... I would use every single one of those words to describe him as an infant)
Toddler-Child: busy, high strung, exhausting, spunky, energetic, stubborn, impatient, strong willed, obstinate, discerning, challenging, expressive, tantrum prone, interesting, tender, huggable (again... no exaggeration)
Teen-Adult: Enthusiastic, deep, passionate, resourceful, dominating, opinionated, determined, persistent, insightful, fair, sociable, compassionate, empathetic, caring, affectionate.  (these are teen and adult.. but the highlighted ones I already see in Daxton's personality... so I can't wait to see what sort of wonderful adult he grows into).

Know you're not alone mommas....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Waiting Game...

33 days until we find out if we match.... 37 days until we find out where...

And we're just waiting...

sitting, and thinking, and waiting.

This has to be quite possibly the worst waiting game ever. Everything is a big fat question mark that you have absolutely no control over. No planning for vacations, no planning for birthday parties, no planning for anything because you have absolutely zero idea what the next few months will hold.

In the meantime I guess Daniel and I will keep having match day dreams/nightmares (yes we both have them at least once a week), keep getting rid of junk around the house (this will either make the move easier or our house cleaner), and I will keep completely wasting my time by looking at houses and school districts in all of our top 5 cities (it's how I'm coping.. just let it be).


Monday, February 4, 2013

Medschool Romance

You know you're in med school when you get romantic lines like this from you significant other...

After griping about a procedure he did earlier in the day, Daniel tells me (while dreamily looking at my neck)...

"But I would love to cut into your neck.... the anatomy would be so beautiful"

So romantic.