August 21, 2014

August 20, 2014

Summer Semester: Results

Two more A's to add to the resume for PTSD and Combat-Related Trauma, and Trauma Assessment and Interventions.  I am so glad to be done with that!  Taking graduate level classes with a new baby is certainly no easy task, but I think I handled it pretty well, successfully balancing my assignments so they did not interfere with family time.  I've enjoyed having that little bit of autonomy, that little bit of time to challenge my mind, that little bit of academia back in my life, and that little bit of a time in a role as something other than Mom.  I'll be taking the rest of the year off, time to enjoy some one-on-one time with my little baby, time to enjoy all these end-of-year holidays, time to focus on so many firsts as a family of five, and time to simply enjoy living life.

August 19, 2014

First Week of School {Recap}

Noah is absolutely loving school!  It's such a relief because I was obviously worried about how he was going to handle such a huge life transition.  We have noticed that he is definitely more tired than ever (had to pull his bedtime forward even though he is sleeping later than normal) but he really seems to be adjusting very well, eager to get back to school the next day.  He loves his teacher and the teaching assistance, which is fantastic because I can't begin to imagine how difficult this change would be if for some reason he didn't enjoy seeing them everyday.  This first week of school, the kids mostly focused on learning the rules of the classroom, lunchroom, playground, etc. and have been encouraged to listen carefully to learn how to follow instructions - his teacher reports that he's doing great with behavior and making new friends (which I was curious to see how he would handle, not having spent much time around new kids).  He rides the bus with his big sister, which he seems to enjoy (though they are the second to last to be picked up in the mornings, and second to be dropped off in the evenings).  Every day he runs from the bus to give me big hugs, and tells me how much he missed me (which is exactly what I need to get through this change!).  He packs his lunch most days, mainly because I don't want to pay for a school lunch knowing he will throw most of it away (he is a very slow eater!).  He did buy lunch on pizza day though, of course (ha!).  This first week of school there were teachers on hand to take the little ones to their classrooms and ensure they got on the right bus in the evenings (which was a huge relief because we had a bad history with Faith being put on the wrong bus three times!), but he is already starting to learn his way around the school (this is no easy feat, as the pre-k classes are on the absolute last hallway of the entire school, and his classroom is near the end of that hall as well!).  I love that only one week in, school is already helping him to gain independence and confidence.  This coming week they will begin incorporating in more academic studies, and we're very excited to see where this learning is going to take Noah, as we think he is quite sharp and he is always eager to learn new things.  Though I have been an emotional wreck (I'm not going to lie about that!), this transition is going far better than David or I had hoped, and we can't wait to see what the rest of this year is going to bring!

Faith is the "top dog" at her school this year, being in the highest grade at the school.  In previous years, she has had two teachers - a literature teacher, and a science/math/social studies teacher.  The entire class would switch teachers once a day for the appropriate subjects.  This year, she has four different teachers: "homeroom" (who is also her reading teacher), writing, math, and sciences.  Her entire class doesn't switch this year; each different teacher has students from different "homeroom" teachers mixed in.  This is to prepare her for next year, when she will be in the middle school with seven different teachers and few (if any) of the same students in each class.  She says she likes three of her teachers a lot, but doesn't care too much for the fourth (we'll see how this goes as the year progresses; she has a history of changing her mind as time goes by).  As with Noah, this first week of school involved a lot of getting settled into the new routine, and in the coming week they will begin more rigorous studies.  We are very excited to see where this year is going to take Faith, and we will be focusing even more energy than ever on working with her to get passed some of her academic weaknesses, and helping her to build confidence by recognizing her academic strengths.  It's crazy to think that soon she will reach the level in schooling where colleges will begin reviewing her grades and extracurricular activities for entrance, so we're really starting to (gently) stress the importance of taking school seriously, and how important this is for her future.  This may seem so obvious to us as adults, but she is quickly approaching the age where peer pressure, trying to be "cool," boys, socializing, and so many other things can often distract kids from where their focus should be.


So how am I doing with all this?  As I mentioned, I've been quite the emotional wreck with my "baby" boy starting school, but I imagine some of that has been helped along by lack of sleep and concerns over Olivia's health.  We're still trying to establish a new routine - from evening baths and new bedtimes, to creative and delicious lunches and snacks, to carefully selecting clothes - but we're all doing a pretty job of getting things done in a fairly relaxed manner (this is one of those times I'm thankful Olivia isn't a newborn anymore).  I mostly try to keep myself busy during the days, from walking at our local park, to having quiet time when Olivia sleeps, to just being able to clean the house without tons of little feet in my way.  I'm  trying to appreciate the downtime, and soak up a little extra alone time with my baby.

August 18, 2014

This Week

My phone crapped out early in the week, which was a blessing, as I wanted to step back from social media a bit and not having that go-to, simple click of the phone made it easier to avoid the temptation of checking in several times a day (and thanks to these posts and downloading my camera phone pictures once a week, I didn't lose any photos!).  This past week was pretty emotional for me with the kids starting school, plus I had a bit of a meltdown midweek with Olivia's screaming fits and lack of sleep (thankfully the diagnosis of silent reflux and Zantac seem to be doing her some good).  We're meeting with the ped gastro later this week and hoping to be armed with some professional advice on how to handle her food sensitivities (as well as having her gut analysed to ensure there isn't some other underlying problem).  Despite the crazy week, we managed to get out of the house a few times and enjoy the unseasonable cool, Fall-like weather - a few walks with Livi and a shopping spree to begin building up her Winter wardrobe (she's still in the awkward phase in between sizing).  Livi and I both have colds (again), so I foresee a nice, relaxing week, filled with hot cups of tea, books, and lots of extra rest.

August 13, 2014

Nineteen Weeks: New Doctor, New Diagnosis

We have been dissatisfied with Olivia pediatrician from the very beginning for a variety of reasons.  Yesterday, after a week of particularly bad screaming fits and a bad night of waking every 30-60 minutes, I was at the absolute end of my tether and sent a shout out to friends for a request for pediatrician recommendations.  There was an overwhelming response for a particular doctor, and when I called to make an appointment they told me to be there in an hour.

Our major concern was the fact that Olivia spends several hours a day (most days) screaming, but she has a list of additional symptoms that caused us to believe it was more than just colic (arching her back to a point that looked painful, constant congestion and wheezing, diarrhea several times per week, breaking out in a rash after nursing, and more).  After asking me a series of questions (does she spit up, does she have "wet" burps, does she have breathing difficulties, does she get hiccups often) the new doctor immediately diagnosed her with silent reflux.  This is so easy to miss, as there is no spitting up, and there are relatively few outward symptoms (just like adults with heartburn or indigestion), but it often goes hand-in-hand with allergies, so the new doctor was surprised she was not screened for it earlier.

We were prescribed Zantac, which can take up to a week to show improvements.  While we are crossing our fingers that this is what's going on and that the meds will help significantly, we're mostly just thrilled that we found a doctor who is listening to our concerns and exploring possibilities for what could be causing Olivia's discomfort.  We were also referred to a pediatric gastroenteroligist, as her new doctor believes she may have additional food allergies causing some of the symptoms.  We can now receive professional advice on allergies that is tailored exactly to our little girl, and they can thoroughly check her digestive tract for additional problems.

Now that we know her behavior is not "normal," I feel guilty that I waited so long to push the issue, failing to follow my gut instincts and believing for so long that it was "just colic" and that she would outgrow it.  It's tough to make others realize that you know your child is in pain when there are little to no outward symptoms (aside from crying), and of course, not being medical professionals, none of us even knew what we should be looking for (I never would have thought "wet burps" were a sign of a problem).  But we are moving onward and upward, as it's not going to do any of us any good to dwell on what could have been.  Here's hoping we get some answers and see some major improvements very soon!