Heartbroken

I watched for years as my mother took care of my younger brother throughout his fight with leukemia.   I marvelled at how strong my brother was, but never really put much stock in my mother’s strength.   She was a superwoman, still is, but I didn’t understand the suffering she went through watching her child as he was beaten down.   I never thought I would understand it, at least not until now.

Davey isn’t suffering from any life threatening disease, but he is suffering from the painful and uncomfortable side effects of being diagnosed with atopic dermatitis.   And watching him as he vainly scratches and rubs his face and head, shatters my heart into a million pieces.  

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease that mirrors severe eczema.   It is a triad that includes asthma, hay fever, and eczema which means that my child may suffer from all or just one of these conditions.   At this point, it’s just the eczema.

Yesterday morning found us at the dermatologist’s office, at a mere 4 months of age, as my husband and I were at our wit’s end as we have attempted to find ways to get his dry, scaly, itchy, and sometimes bleeding skin under control.   To this point, all of our attempts have been futile and I’ve become disgusted with myself as a mother.

Nothing is more painful than knowing that your child is suffering and there’s nothing you can do.   I find myself wanting to take his pain from him.   Let me carry that burden upon my shoulders, not him.   He’s a child and shouldn’t have to suffer. 

Cuddling him in my arms doesn’t make him better, since contact with my skin and any sort of topical creams I have put on seem to exacerbate his discomfort.   He sleeps with socks on his hands at night because mittens won’t stay on and his unconscious efforts to relieve the itching have found him looking like he’s been thrown into a fight with a cat.  

Lukewarm baths of baking powder, an old wife’s remedy to relieve itching, have also failed.   I look at my son most mornings and want to cry for him, and not because his poor face is scarred from the remnants of his scratching, but because I can’t do anything to help him.  I have failed him as a mother and nothing is more painful that not being able to comfort your child. 

Today we’re awaiting a pre-authorization for a topical steroid type cream that should put the disease into remission.   Unfortunately, the insurance company is refusing to pay for the cream (which will cost us $200 out-of-pocket) until they have received some frivolous paperwork from our doctor.   The pre-authorization could take up to 2 days to complete and even then it’s not guaranteed that insurance will pay for it.   So, until that point, I continue to lose sleep at night and cringe with disgust (not at my son) each time my child cries out in discomfort.

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An Isaac Newton On My Hands

My kid is a genius!   I mean, he’s not just, “look I can follow the sound of your voice” genius.   I mean, he’s the actual “sit under the tree apple, fall on the head thus producing the theory of gravity” genius.  I know, all of you other mommies out there think your kid is pretty smart too, but mine has yours beat!  

Davey has a bad case of eczema, so we’re forced to keep his hands covered.  Mittens weren’t exactly doing the trick, so we decided to put socks on his hands since the top parts go all the way up his arms and are actually tighter, meaning it’s a lot more difficult for them to come off or so we thought.   So, here’s where Davey is super smart pre 4 months of age…he will hold both hands in front of him, arms stiff, and with his left hand pull the right sock off in one foul swoop!   That’s incredible, right?   Ok, so maybe your kid can do that as well, but I have more.

Again take into consideration that Davey is just shy of 4 months.   So, what makes him a genius?   Well, how about this:  he can already stand!   Yeah, that’s right!  You read correctly, my boy can stand!   Ok, so granted, he takes a little coaxing and you do have to provide him some support, but his legs are really strong and it takes gumption to try to walk before you can crawl, which is exactly what he’s trying to do.   So, maybe that’s not genius and I can sense you all starting to get bored, so here it is!   The one thing that makes my kid Albert Einstein….drum roll please….

He has something else that he’s learned to do that elicits a giggle and big grin from him as well as me and his daddy.  Much like with pulling his socks off his hands,  Davey will extend out his arms, locking them stiff at the elbow and with his left hand he pulls the index finger of his right hand, and wait for it, wait for it…

HE FARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

And what does he do?   He pulls that same finger over and over until he’s completely outta gas!  

So take that all you other mommies out there!   My kid’s a genius!

It’s Catching

I stopped everything I was doing.   I couldn’t help myself, it was almost as if I no longer had control over my body or movements.  Perhaps that’s a stretch and I did have control, but my mind pretty much blocked out everything else.   I should have been getting in the car to go home, but I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything else once it happened.   All I wanted to do was soak it all in, drench myself in the euphoria it brought forth.   I didn’t want the feeling to stop.  I didn’t want to think about it stopping.   Could I just freeze time?

Then today it happened again!   It’s so intoxicating and addictive!  My husband and I both found ourselves blocking out our surroundings just to bask ourselves in the little paradise that had been carved out for us.   Anything that may have gone wrong in the day was completely washed away.   Any thoughts of chores to be accomplished were immediately moved to tomorrow.   Anything that seemed to be the next event of the day quickly became replaced.  

There’s something about a child’s first laugh that really brings a parent down to their knees.   And I’m not talking about a little smile or grin or smirk.  I’m talking about a full volume belly shaking laugh.   The kind of laugh that is just so infectious that you can’t help but laugh as well and your laughs bring about tears, but they’re tears of joy.  

Davey had his first belly giggle on Friday when I picked him up from daycare.    It happened just as I was changing his diaper and I laughed so hard with him, I actually hurt and then I cried because that laugh was truly the greatest joy I’d experienced in quite some time.  

And, boy, oh boy, that giggle is catching!

Non-Judging Mommy

Far be it for me to judge other mommies.   Obviously I do not hold the gold medal, much less the silver or bronze, in the Mommy championship arena.   I’m new at this, so I don’t always know what I’m doing and most everything is a bit of trial and error.  

Last weekend was a good example of this.   Saturday morning, my husband and I were calling the doctor bright and early because of what appeared to be a rash that was quickly dispersing across my son’s entire body.    I try not be the over-reacting, dramatic mother who worries about every little cut, bump, sneeze, cough or rash.  I don’t want the doctor to flinch every time the phone rings because he fears it’s me calling.   I don’t want to alienate my doctor!  After all, the pediatric group I take my son to is highly esteemed. 

Instead I call my sister-in-law, a pediatric nurse and thanks to modern-day technology, send her photos via text messages.   Immediately, she said to call the doctor, so I did.

What we found out is that my son has atopic dermatitis, which is nothing more than severe eczema.  He was put on steroid cream, Keflex, and an antihistamine at night.   Twice a day he gets a bath in two tablespoons of baking powder and warm water, and then his entire body is creamed down (my new terminology) with Cetaphil lotion and a steroid cream.  The steroid cream can NOT be used on his face since it will thin out the skin. 

After the doctor’s visit, we spent the entire day with a child that was so miserable he couldn’t sleep.   He cried all day, tried to scratch his body, hardly ate and wouldn’t even cuddle with either me or my husband.   I watched in misery as my child writhed in pain and discomfort.   I sat in the bathroom and cried at the fact that I was so helpless, that I couldn’t fix what was wrong with him.   I felt sick to my stomach at the thought that my child despised ME because he thought I wasn’t doing enough to make him feel better.   My heart literally ached with each little moan.  I put aside anything about me, anything that I needed (including sleep) for him.   So, I can’t imagine how other mother’s couldn’t possibly do the same.

I have one acquaintance whose baby was born a few weeks after mine and the child was born with a health condition that required hospitalization for a while.   The baby is now home, but the parents went out for a night of drinking and partying with friends last night as opposed to staying home with their child.  As a matter of fact, they’ve been out on drinking excursions far more than my husband and I have in the past 2 years.    They pawn off their child to either a babysitter or family members.   It’s infuriating to me.  

In my eyes, the child comes first, my child comes first.  His needs and wants rank higher than mine OR my husband’s.   When you become a parent, life changes, and you change with it.   You can’t keep up the same lifestyle as before.   

I try so hard not to judge, but I can’t imagine leaving my sick or even newborn child at home just to go out drinking with friends.   I just can’t understand the thought process of other mothers or even their rationale, but again I can’t and shouldn’t judge.

The Perfect Toy

Our first Christmas, Davey was just 3 days shy of being 3 months, so obviously he was a bit too young to really understand Christmas or appreciate any of his gifts.  This year, and possibly next year, are the only years we are able to get away without spending a lot of money.   YAY!!!!

This past week, we officially opened up his toys, consisting of Fisher Price toys…a Laugh & Learn Basketball & Laugh & Learn Table.   He already had the Laugh & Learn puppies, the one that dances and the one that sits, both of which he received before Christmas.   We also spent some of our Christmas money to purchase Davey a Laugh & Learn Jumperoo, which by the way he seems to thoroughly enjoy after only 3 days.  

What we did learn; however, is that some of the best toys are the ones we already have.   They are the ones that we see as every day goods, the ones that don’t seem to hold the same level of fascination for us.   They are the items that we wouldn’t necessarily consider fun, but instead a necessity.  But our child sees them as way cooler toys than what we spend hundreds of dollars on. 

My son loves his jumperoo, but seems to appreciate my husband’s $10 watch even more. 

As I look around our family room, a room that has become so littered with toys and baby items that it looks like Romper Room has exploded, I shake my head.   How could my child have so much within grasp, so much to play with and not appreciate it?

I suppose the real question should be…will we continue to buy toys or just recycle household items?  We could always re-gift and Davey would be none the wiser.

 

Final Day

Today is my final day of staying home before I go back to work and for how much longer I’ll work, I’m unsure.

I’ve done everything I could to stick to a routine, a least a routine that I could be proud of and one that is best for my son. Today; however, found us at the doctor as I appear to be a major worry wort, which means our routine was a bit derailed.

After a long overdue visit with Aunt Erin this morning, Davey and I found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office with a bad case of eczema. Davey has suffered from this for months, practically the entire time he’s been on this earth, and he seems to be just fine with it. It’s mommy who’s a basket case especially when it starts spreading all over his body.

What originally started out with a severe case of baby acne quickly evolved into eczema. Davey doesn’t appear to be irritated by the dry skin and outbreak of bumps that seem to multiply everyday. I; however, AM irritated by it and not because of the way it affects his appearance, but because it seems like I can’t get it under control.

I’ve tried to be a big girl about it and NOT call the doctor. I don’t want to be one of those narcissistic parents who calls the doctor at every little change with my baby. I want to be a good mother and feel like a good mother, and frankly right now I’m not feeling so good in that department. Mostly because I’ve waited so LONG to call the doctor and because I DID call the doctor. Am I making any sense?

Now that I’ve waisted the doctor’s time for something that I originally thought could be chicken pox (yes, that’s right! I DO go off the reservation sometimes!), I can now rest a little better with my handy-dandy instruction manual for treating eczema. I’m off to Wal-Mart for Aveeno baby wash, new detergent to wash his clothes in, and even a prescription for shampoo that should help cure his cradle cap…yet something else I haven’t been able to tackle!

Needless to say, with today’s job of being a mommy, I feel a bit rewarded, as if I’ve done something worthwhile for my son.

My little boxer

Something new happens every day with my son that brings out a smile with me. It used to be major events like his first smile, or his first self discovery (this was at the doctor’s office for his 2 month shots), or even the day he peed on himself (it was like a trajectory directly into his face!). What he does now; however, makes me laugh harder than I ever thought possible.

When Davey is placed on his back and his arms are flailing about, he eventually will stiffen his arms and ball up his hands tightly into fists. Immediately, he flings his fists up in the air and purses his lips with a look of determination on his face. I can’t help but laugh and I actually do everything I can to help elicit another one of these reactions out of him.

He looks like he’s putting his “dukes” up so to speak and ready to defend himself or else antagonize a fight. It’s quite humorous. And should you put your fists up as well, he’ll immediately giggle and wave his fists around.

I can’t wait to see what his next little theatrical move will be. Perhaps he’ll pantomime being an acrobat! Haha!

B-Natal

During my pregnancy, I was pretty fortunate with the morning sickness in that I didn’t experience it to the full level of debilitation that many others did. I can recall once that my friend Stephanie, while pregnant with her son, explained to me that morning sickness was like a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week hangover, minus the alcohol, of course. She would then state to me, “don’t you want to be pregnant with me?” Of course not! She’d practically scared me away.

As the first few months of my pregnancy progressed I did experience the occasional discomfort of nauseau and what Stephanie and a few other friends recommended to me was a drug called Zofran, which I recall my brother used to curb his bouts of nausea while going through chemotherapy. Fortunately, I didn’t have to take advantage of any sort of prescription drugs for the nausea which is good considering I was nervous as to how they would impact my pregnancy. What did work for me and what I would like for everyone else to try is something called B-Natal.

B-Natal is an over the counter lozenger or lollipop that contains doctor recommend vitamin B6 that is scientifically proven to help alleviate the effects of nausea. The lozenger comes in a sour apple flavor, while the lollipop is cherry-flavored. I usually kept a few of the therapops in my purse and desk drawers at all times, as I wasn’t a huge fan of sour apple (of course I never liked anything “sour” before pregnancy anyways).

One of my co-workers is pregnant and I have recommended the same thing to her and so far it’s worked like a dream. B-Natal can be purchased at any drug store or pharmacy, just ask the pharmacist if you can’t locate them. And if you’d like to learn more about the “candy that cures morning sickness” then visit their website at www.bnatal.com.

Smarter than I think?????

During yesterday’s “dry run” to becoming a stay-at-home mother, I determined something about my child….HE’S SMARTER THAN I THOUGHT!

For the most part, we were able to follow the schedule I set forth, with the exception of taking longer naps. My son is NOT a fan of naps. While you and I may see them as rewards, he sees them as punishments.

Something else I determined from yesterday’s experiment that seems to go hand-in-hand with Davey’s refusal to nap graciously, is the fact that I believe daycare holds him a lot more than I had originally thought.

So, here’s a recap of yesterday’s events:

We played and we napped (though very little). We ate regularly and we cried more than regularly especially on the occasions that I decided to NOT hold him. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without my son wailing and here’s what’s worse….he’s developed a new cry and this is what makes me think he’s WAY smarter than I give him credit for.

Davey’s cries have now developed to what used to sound like the sputtering of an old tractor as it attempted to start in cold weather, to a throaty wail coupled with legitimate tears that seems to rip at my heart. I literally felt sick to my stomach yesterday when I would put him down and he would start sobbing. Rampant thoughts of “he thinks I hate him” or “poor baby is just afraid” ran through my head. Of course, when I would pick him up, immediate silence!

I told my husband last night that I think Davey has purposely developed a new cry because he WANTS to hurt me (not really). My husband laughed and said, “well he is a product of you and me, so there is some level of manipulation involved.” GASP! I can’t believe my husband said I was manipulative!

So, yesterday I did something that a lot of mothers will frown on…I let my son cry it out a couple of times. At first I thought I was harming him, but in the end I don’t really think so. Child psychologists and pediatricians may disagree, but to each his own. Right? Every child is different and every approach to caring for the child is different as well.

I’ve become pretty determined with my resolve today. I’m going to outlast him. I refuse to let him think he has the upper hand. Today I’m going to toughen up where my son is concerned.

On a different note, I did create a little space for him in the office so that he’s able to work while mommy works.

A Dry Run

One of the New Year’s Resolutions I forgot to mention yesterday was the goal for me to become a full-time, stay-at-home mom. I took today off work (and tomorrow as well) in order to attempt a couple of dry runs for my new full-time job (first date of employment TBD).

Here’s the schedule for the day (and yes, I am well aware that it is already underway):

6:00 am: Davey usually wakes and this is his first feeding of the day (this morning he woke at 5:30).

7:00 am: First morning nap. I am striving for an hour; however, my son does NOT appreciate the true importance of naps. During this time, I will shower, as I’m hoping to keep some semblance of a working life. I’ve been told by many stay-at-home mothers that they’ve allowed themselves to get into a depressing rut by staying in their p.j.s all day. So, this morning, I did shower, put on sweats. I then went downstairs, made a pot of coffee and will pack a lunch for my husband along with make his breakfast. I’ll also spend this time to get caught up on the news of the day by indulging in The Today Show.

8:00 am: Davey will wake, much as he did this morning. I’m lucky if he takes a 30 minute nap, much less an hour like he did today. This morning, we had play time, phone time with Mimi (my mother) and finished watching the Today Show.

9:00 am: His morning feeding while watching Live with Kelly. Not exactly my favorite show, but it’ll do in a pinch. I put him down at 9:20 for a nap and we’ll see just how long this lasts.

10:30 am: Hopefully, Davey will sleep at least an hour and a half. Again, I’m hoping to get lucky. During my free time, I hide out in the office, put on a little Coldplay or the Fray (my favorite music to write to) and get caught up on my blogs and my book I’m writing. Once he is up, we will engage in a little tummy time along with some of his Christmas toys (my house looks like FAO Schwartz right now!)

12 noon: LUNCH TIME!!!!! Again, my goal after this feeding is to put him down for a nap, one that will hopefully last for 2 hours. They are able to put him down for 2 hour naps at daycare, so surely I can do the same! Easier said than done, usually, but we’ll see.

2:00 pm: Afternoon playtime. Today I think we’ll read some of his new books, but obviously I’ll mix it up a bit during the days.

3:00 pm: Another feeding and then a quick cat nap before we finish out the day waiting on daddy to come home from work.

By 5:30, Daddy should be home, which means I can take a little break after dinner and he can have his father/son time.

I’m curious as to how many stay-at-home moms have a set schedule during the day. Is mine a bit too extreme? Obviously, I will find a little time for myself during the nap times, mostly doing my writing and a little laundry. For now, this is the route we’re going to take. I’ll let you know how today’s dry run ended tomorrow.