Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Truth About Husbands

Shawn is an amazing husband and father… that’s the truth!

I read an article the other day by a woman who was enraged after hearing another mother comment, “My husband is terrific. He is always willing to help out with the kids and pitch in around the house.” The article’s author wrote that this woman was wrong in praising her husband for doing these things. That she should expect and demand this of her husband, not compliment him for it. That parenting is an equal partnership and men get away with doing too little and are treated like heroes when they do contribute to the parenting, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I do agree with some of the opinions in the article. Parenting is a partnership. But does that mean mothers and fathers have the same roles? I do not think they do. Shawn does not expect me to work outside the home – that’s his role in our marriage. His job is to get up early every day, drive 6-8 hours some days, and work hard and diligently at being successful at his career. This enables us to have our beautiful warm house, our reliable vehicles, food on the table, and little extras like swim classes and our beach vacation (not to mention paying the gazillion doctor’s bills!). Likewise, my job is to get up every morning (sometimes earlier than Shawn, sometimes later) and begin my day by getting Clare and Jamie dressed and fed. Of course, Shawn pitches in. Do I expect him to? Not usually. Will he do it if I ask him? Always.

Shawn put both kids to bed by himself last week. You may think this is a long time coming since Clare is 17 months old, but to me, it wasn’t. Clare just recently weaned (a bittersweet day), so I always put her to bed myself. If I went out in the evening, I would put Clare down before I went. Breastfeeding is something Shawn will never be able to do. And, to me, that’s awesome. There should be some things that dads can’t do, just like there are some things that moms can’t do (like pushing Jamie way too high on the swings and wrestling wildly on the floor). I never minded being the sole person for Clare’s bedtime routine. I know all too well that those precious moments go by so quickly. Was I happy Shawn put both kids to bed? Absolutely! Although I missed that snuggle time with my children, it meant I could finally go to Bible Study on time.

There is nothing wrong with praising your husband and bragging about him. Even if that husband was being praised for something he SHOULD have done, what’s so bad about that? When I was pregnant with Jamie, Shawn and I made the choice that I would quit working to raise our family. This was MY choice, and I have never regretted it. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy (of course, I had no idea how NOT easy it was going to be!), but it is worth all the sacrifices, personally and financially, to stay home with my children. Yet it feels good when Shawn tells me I am doing a terrific job. So why shouldn’t I say the same about him?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Four-Man Band

Every Monday, I watch my friend's two little girls (ages 3 years old and 20 months). Elizabeth and Lauren are delightful children (truly they are, and I usually don't say that about children!), and it really is a pleasure, if a little crazy (okay, sometimes a lot crazy) to have them for the day. Jamie loves when his buddy Elizabeth comes over, and Clare lights up, too, at the girls. Elizabeth especially loves to get down on the floor with Clare - she talks to her, rubs her hair, kisses and hugs her. It's so sweet.

Today was a cold, rainy day (where is the HOT August weather?), so we were stuck indoors. After a couple hours, the natives started to get restless, so I pulled out the instruments. We pumped up the Dinosaur music extra loud and danced. Even Clare got into the action. I wish I could post a picture of her swinging her hips like a Stegosaurus! She had a great time playing the recorder and drum (which is almost as big as she is!). Half the time, she sat and played instruments with the rest of the kids, and the rest of the time, I held her so we could dance together. Clare loves music - any kind. She loves to dance and sway to anything I put on the stereo. She loves to sit on my lap (or by herself on the bench) and bang on the piano... I mean, PLAY the piano. She also loves to just sit on my lap and listen to me play the piano (with the occasional added note from Clare). I read time and time again that individuals with WS have an affinity for music. Some, a genius for music. Can I honestly say that Clare is muscially inclined? Or that it is the Williams syndrome that causes her to love music? No, I cannot. Because Jamie loves music, too, and always has. And my family is a musical family. With the exception of my sister Christina (who has a lovely singing voice, something which I did NOT inherit), everyone else in my family plays an instrument. I myself have been a pianist since I was a child. But I would love it if Clare did have an interest in music and some talent for playing.

And, of course, what would an impromptu dance party be without a drunken sailor -with a snake, kazoo, and the cat's scratching post. Aaaah.... 3 year old boys!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Another Clare Update

Clare is finally feeling better. At first, it did not seem like the antibiotics were doing the trick. It's so tough with antibiotics in our family because Shawn is severely allergic to penicillin, amoxycillin, etc., and Jamie is allergic to them as well (you can read about Jamie's "speckles" in a post way back in August 05). Given the family history, no doctor wants to even try Clare on amoxycillin at this point due to her medical history.

Clare was just miserable for three days. High fever, refused to eat, barely drank, and slept and slept. She has never been this sick at home. Then on the fourth day, her fever finally broke and she started feeling better. Today (a week after we went to the doctor's), Clare is slowly starting to eat again and her energy seems to be coming back. Of course, she just cut another bottom tooth, so that doesn't help with her general well-being! Clare always seems to take a long time to come back to her normal self when she's sick. Jamie can be sick as a dog one day, then bounce right back the next.

We went to a birthday party today for one of the girls in our playgroup. Both Jamie and Clare had a fabulous time. (Okay, Clare had kind of a fabulous time - she really enjoyed the chicken and cheese taquitos that were served!) I love to just sit and watch Jamie play with his friends. He has so much joy. It was a beautiful day to be at an outside birthday party. I am sad that our fun summer is almost over. This was the best summer I can remember in quite some time. We are heading off to the beach in one week and counting for our last summer fling!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Under the Weather

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was taking Clare to the doctor's because she was sick. She has had a bad cough for a few days now. Jamie had the same cough about a week ago, and it lasted a week. He had no other symptoms and is now cough-free. Then Clare developed the cough. She seemed to be on the mend, but then woke up yesterday morning with a high temperature as well. She was extremely unhappy. Wanted to cling to me, but at the same time, did not really want to be touched. It felt like her heart was racing. She refused to eat and would drink only a little water. All she wanted to do was sleep. We are always more worried when Clare is sick for obvious reasons, so I brought her into the pediatrician's.

I am not fond of going to the pediatrician's office on the weekends. I love Clare's pediatrician and there are many other good pediatricians at our clinic, but occasionally, we get a doctor who seems rushed or brushes us off as being overly concerned parents. And on the weekends, we're at the mercy of whoever is on call. Clare's medical chart states her as being "medically fragile." I would think that alone (never mind her medical history) would make a doctor give us a little more credit when we bring our sick child in. And, for the record, we have never brought Clare in to the doctor's and it turned out to be nothing. Anyway... the doctor was a new one, and he was terrific. He agreed that Clare's heart rate was very high, her oxygen sats were low, and she obviously had the bad cough plus an irritated throat. Although her lungs sounded clear, he ordered a chest x-ray just to rule out pneumonia. Putting a baby through a chest x-ray is not fun. Shawn is usually on x-ray duty when we bring Clare in for her cardiology appointments and she has her heart x-rayed, so this was my first experience with "the tube." I had heard Shawn speak negatively about the tube to the point where he refuses to allow them to put Clare in the tube. Unfortunately, I did not make that connection when the radiologist brought out this antiquated-looking contraption to hold Clare still while she x-rayed her lungs. (I was thinking lungs at this visit, not heart, so it didn't click with me until afterwards when Clare was crying and hating every minute of it.) It's literally this plastic tube on top of a small bicycle-seat. Clare straddles the seat, her legs dangling out the bottom, then the tube is sealed around her (keeping her completely upright) and I have to hold her arms over her head. Then the x-ray film is placed in front of her. All I could see over the film was Clare's eyes. She just looked at me and cried, while I held her arms over her head. I felt so cruel. I know it is for Clare's benefit, but it still tears me up inside. It's much easier to allow the doctors and techs to be the bad guys. But, since it was a weekend, there was no one else around to hold Clare's arms but me.

It wasn't the greatest x-ray, but I refused to allow Clare to be x-rayed again after that agony. Thankfully, the pediatrician was pretty sure he could rule out pneumonia. He also stated that Clare was not in congestive heart failure. Which scared the heck out of me because that had never even crossed my mind! His stating that, though, just made me realize that no matter how small something may seem be, when we feel there is something wrong with Clare, we take it seriously. I would rather be safe and feel like an idiot with the doctor than be sorry. The pediatrician also explained, that although he does not know much about Williams syndrome specifically, it is common that children with these syndromes have abnormally formed sinus structures and, therefore, are more prone to sinus infections. Given her high temperature, he thought that Clare may have a bacterial sinus infection, so he prescribed antibiotics. He also stated the fever would increase her heart rate, but just to keep an eye on it.

Clare is still not feeling great, but she has only been on the antibiotics for less than 24 hours. She has slept most of the day, and when she is awake, is fussy and doesn't want to eat. Hopefully, it is just a sinus infection and the antibiotics will start clearing it up soon. If not, we'll be back at the doctor's in a few days!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Future

There has been a lot of posting and chit chat lately in my little WS community over what the future holds for our little peanuts. I am not, by any means, diminishing people's fears or worries over the future, but in many respects, I am not as concerned over that. Is that wrong? Should I be more concerned about Clare's future?

Shawn and I are in the process of updating our wills and setting up a Special Needs Trust for Clare. When she is an adult, to qualify for state services (such as SSI, Medicare, etc.), she cannot have assets totaling more than $2,000. That means nothing - no savings account, no savings bonds in her name, nothing like that. A Special Needs Trust will protect Clare when Shawn and I have both passed away by allowing Clare to inherit her portion of the estate in a trust form without running the risk of jeopardizing her medical insurance and income. This is how Shawn and I will be able to provide for Clare once we're gone, without that burden falling solely on Jamie or any other future siblings. Now I think that is very forward-thinking of us! I don't know how many 20-somethings (okay, one 20-something and one 30-something) do that. But being the product of a father who is one of the vice presidents of a life insurance company and a mother who is a wills and estates paralegal, there is some pressure to have this all under control! So I have thought about Clare's future, I am just not freaking out about it.

I don't know what Clare will be like when she gets older. Right now, I can only see the amazing, sweet, snuggly, loving, silly girl that we have. Her personality has exploded over these past few months. She has quite the little sense of humor. Clare thinks that putting any object in her mouth and holding it there, minus hands, is hysterical. She loves to play peek-a-boo. Her new favorite "thing" is Jack the kitty. She is usually attached at my hip these days (a little bit of separation anxiety going on here). Two days ago, she learned that a cow says "moo" and, yesterday, that a horse goes "neigh." (And she will repeat this for you if you ask her a zillion times first!) She has crazy curls popping up all over her head, a nice golden tan, and the most beautiful dark blue eyes. And, right now, she has a hacking cough and a high fever, so we are going to the doctor's this afternoon. That's all I can see right now. That's my focus.

Part of me knows that if I start thinking of Clare's future, I will most likely freak out. And cry. The future is uncertain for any of your children, but when you have a special needs child, I think there is even more of a degree of scariness out there. There is the question of how functional Clare will be. Will she ever hold a job? Live independently? Have friends? Have a boyfriend? And, if the answer to all those questions is "no," what does that mean to Shawn and I? Because, honestly, part of my worries over Clare's future would involve worrying over our future as well. Will we ever be "kid-free" again? Will we always have Clare to care for? And when we're gone, who will care for Clare? Of course, we are starting to get things figured out financially, but that's only a small part of the bigger picture. What about love, support, companionship? It's easier to just not go there sometimes.

Maybe all that worrying would be for nothing. I just don't know. And that's why I am choosing to live in the present. I want to just enjoy Clare's babyhood (what's left of it, since she is already almost 17 months old!). We will cross those bridges when they come.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Update I Know You Were Dying For

What better way to end a Thursday than an update on Clare's bowel movements? Ha ha ha... But seriously, this issue might come up in someone's future, and I just wanted to let everyone know that the new medication Clare is on (MiraLax) works wonders. For a week now, Clare has not screamed or agonized over bowel movements. Granted, I am doing a little more oxycleaning of Clare's clothes than I was previously, but I will take that any day over the pain the poor baby was in. Sometimes I wish we had just started Clare on the MiraLax from the beginning and spared her the months of pain, but I also believe it is important to try everything else before jumping to medication. I don't know if she's now on the MiraLax for life or just until her diet becomes more varied. Either way, we have a much happier girl around here (except for the fact that she is teething and has a cold right now). I never realized how much time she spent crying because of bowel movements until that crying stopped. Thank God for small wonders.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just the Girls

It's been just Clare and I these past two days at our house. Jamie went to spend some time with his grandparents and cousins before the summer ends, and Shawn is away on a little business trip. It has been so quiet around here! (Clare does not make much noise yet. And even if she did, compared to Jamie being around, it is like a tomb in this house!)

We didn't do anything too exciting, but our new kitchen appliances were delivered yesterday. I was more excited than Clare, who just wanted to know who the two strange men in our kitchen were. I think Clare was happy to go to bed before I started organizing my new fridge. This morning we did a bunch of shopping (which is easier to do with just Clare). Nothing spectacular - Target, B.J.'s, the pet store, the used book store. Like I said, I am not a girly-girl, but I did indulge on a pack of teeny tiny barrettes for Clare's hair. Her bangs are getting long, curly, and out-of-control. I have finally been successful in getting them in a ponytail and now we're going to try barrettes as well. Although I do not like to dress up myself, it is fun to dress up my little girl! We also ate pizza for almost every meal and played loud music (Clare enjoyed dancing to Cake, although I am pretty sure that the song Satan is My Motor, while catchy, is not the best choice for a good, Catholic girl).

It's been a fun two days spent with Clare. I love getting the alone time with her. She is so cuddly and loves to give me hugs. I think she has enjoyed having me to herself as well, although we're both missing the boys. Peace and quiet is a wonderful thing to have occasionally, but after a while, I am ready to go back to the crazy life again! It will be good to see Jamie and Shawn late tonight when they come home.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I am very familiar with obsessions, having a few of my own - blogging, scrapbooking, Jane Austen movies (my current favorite being the new Pride and Prejudice - there are some scenes where I would have chosen Matthew McFayden over Colin Firth any day - anyway, I digress), mystery series (mainly ones that take place in England, not necessarily British writers, but the plots and characters of Anne Perry, Elizabeth George, and Laurie King are so much deeper - okay, digressing again!). So, yes, I have some obsessions.

The raging obsession in our house these days is pirates. (Hence the pirate name of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean for our kitten.) You will hear a lot of shouts of "Hey, matey" or "yes, Captain" throughout the house (and backyard, car, grocery store, and doctor's office). Sometimes the "yes, Captain" is corrected by a, "I am Captain Hook, not captain." Oh, sorry. Often, Clare is cast in the supporting role of Mr. Smead or Tinkerbelle. Occasionally, if she's lucky, she gets to be Peter Pan. There are swords and eyepatches, spotting scopes and treasure chests, mateys and captains. It amazes me how a kid focuses on one thing and goes crazy with it. Jamie used to be obsessed with dinosaurs - they still rank up there in the number two spot, but pirates it is these days.

When reading up on Williams Syndrome, it often mentions that the children become obsessed with mechanical things - lawnmowers, saws, taking things apart, that kind of thing. One of my other WS-mom friends frequently mentions her toddler son's obsession with wheels. To me, these all sound like boy-related obsessions, so I will be curious to see what Clare is drawn to. Since she just recently started rolling to get to toys, she has been content to play with whatever we give her. For the most part, she still is. She does not show a preference in what entertains her. But we see glimmers every now and then of something that really excites Clare. I can't wait to see what she's interested in. Just please, no princesses. Not being a girly-girl myself, I don't know if I could take that!

I don't know what will pique Clare's interests, but I am sure something will. After all, when I used to gaze at my chubby little 6-month old boy, I never dreamed I would see this at the bottom of my stairs three years later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy Feast Day

Happy Feast Day to Miss Clare! Today is the feast day of St. Clare of Assissi.

When I was pregnant with Clare, Shawn and I were on the fence over a girl's name. While pregnant with Jamie, we had chosen the name Emily if the baby was a girl. Although I still love that name, it didn't seem to fit to me when we found out Clare was a girl during her ultrasound. I didn't know why, but I had this nagging feeling as if we needed to choose a different name. After much debate, we both agreed on Clare Therese (pronounced with the little accent marks over the e's, which I cannot duplicate here). Therese was an easy choice since I am Teresa, my grandmother is Teresa, and Shawn's late grandmother was Therese. Plus I have always loved St. Therese and St. Teresa. When I thought of the name Clare, it just clicked. I have always loved St. Francis of Assissi as well, and Clare was his close friend. If you've ever seen the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon, I have always been drawn to Clare's character in the movie. Like the name, she seemed lovely, feminine, and delicate, but with a core of strength and courage. Now I know why that was the perfect name for our Clare because she fits that description.

A little history on St. Clare for you: She was the daughter of an Italian count and countess. After hearing St. Francis preach and becoming close friends with him, she was drawn to God and the religious life, founding the order of Poor Clares. Clare loved music. She was humble, merciful, charming, optimistic, and chivalrous. She lived a simple life of prayer and contemplation. The name Clare means "bright" or "brilliant." Today is St. Clare's feast day because she died on August 11, 1253.

Happy Feast Day!


We have been taking Clare's blood pressure readings over the past five weeks. During her last echo, her blood pressures were at a good number. However, since Clare was under sedation at the time, her cardiologist did not think the reading was a reality for Clare in her everyday life. One of our goals since Clare's surgery has been to wean her off her blood pressure medication. Since Clare does not like having her blood pressure taken (especially at the doctor's office), her readings are always high when she is not sedated. So we wanted a more accurate picture of what Clare's blood pressure actually is. Thus we've been taking them at home, in the hopes that a familiar, comfortable, relaxed environment would get the actual reading. Since the advent of the lollipop in our house, taking Clare's blood pressure has been extremely easy!

I spoke with Clare's cardiologist this morning, and unfortunately, her blood pressure is still too high to come off the medication. Clare is scheduled to have another echo in a couple months, so we will just see what her numbers look like then. I am not surprised, but a little disappointed. Selfishly, it would have been nice to get rid of that medication. It is the only one Clare is on that is multiple times a day, so by cutting it out, we would cut out three doses a day. Plus then it would mean Clare doesn't have high blood pressure. Just a bummer....

I was also really hoping to start weaning Clare off her blood pressure meds because, yesterday, she had another medication added to her regimen. (Sorry, Clare, for sharing all this info with everyone!) For a long time, Clare has had issues with passing bowel movements. It is extremely painful for her. She screams and cries until it is through. We were at lunch with friends the other day and Clare was trying to pass one during lunch. She just sat in her highchair and cried. When I explained what was wrong with Clare, my friend, looking at Clare, said, "That is so sad. That makes me so sad." And that summed up my feelings. To see that look on her face, especially since she doesn't understand why it hurts so much, makes me so sad. I don't know what Clare's trouble is (the low muscle tone, maybe?) but I hate to see her in pain like that. Plus I don't want going to the bathroom to be an issue with Clare. I am afraid that if she associates having a bowel movement with intense pain, then there will be a hang-up about it somewhere in her future. I have a close friend who has dealt with the same issues with her son since he was a year old. Now, at a few months shy of turning four, she is having lots of difficulty with potty training. She believes it is from his painful experiences when he was younger. He, in fact, is on the same medication that Clare was just put on. Since we first noticed that this was painful for Clare (pretty much since she stated eating solids), we have tried to get more fiber in her diet to aid her naturally in this way. However, she hates juice, will only tolerate prunes a little bit, and is in love with cheese, eggs, bananas, and milk (all good for her weight gain, but not as good for bowel issues!). She eats a lot of whole grain, high fiber carbs, but it is not enough to help her. And we don't want to cut down on her dairy products because that is vital to her brain development and growth. So we've finally come down to medication. It is a powdered stool softener that we mix in with her milk. Luckily, it is tasteless and clear, so Clare does not even know it is in there. It is still too soon to tell (she just started on it last night), but here's hoping for some good results!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Story of Our Life

Yesterday, Jamie and I took kitten Jack Sparrow for his first vet's appointment with our vet. It was his well-kitty visit to have him checked out by our doctor and receive his rabies shot. Turns out Jack has conjunctivitis, a fever, and the real kicker... a heart murmur.

When the vet was listening to his heart, she took an exceedingly long time and kept moving her stethoscope around. I am quite familiar with that look of intense concentration and listening on her face. When she finally pulled her stethoscope out of her ears, I said, "He has a heart murmur, doesn't he?" Shocked, she replied, "How did you know?" I answered, "Because my daughter has heart defects and you had the same look on your face that her cardiologist does when she's listening to my daughter's heart." The vet was concerned because Jack's heart rate was high as well. She explained that a fever can cause a murmur in a cat, but his heart rate made her think it was something more. So it's another waiting game. We're going to go for a follow-up in two weeks to recheck his temperature and heart. If his fever is gone, but the murmur remains, then Jack will have an echocardiogram. In the meantime, we are going to be watching him for signs of trouble - labored breathing, panting, excessive sneezing.

After I loaded Jamie and Jack Sparrow back into the car, I sat for a moment before I called Shawn to explain our extra-long vet appointment. I just couldn't believe what had just happened. My first thought was, "I can't go through this again. This is insane." And over a cat!! Our roller coaster ride with Clare has finally slowed down somewhat. And I would do it all over again because the end result of our beautiful, happy little girl is absolutely worth it. I love our new little kitten, but I am so wary of going through this roller coaster of emotions, worries, and challenges again with a cat. I can't even believe I am writing all this about my cat. It's horrible deja vu.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lollipop Queen

So the deck isn't quite finished yet, but it looks beautiful! One of the bonuses of building our deck over zillions of weekends is that we (and the kids) get to spend that time with Shawn's parents. They live in the next state, so we don't seem them that often. Shawn's dad is helping (or guiding, bossing around, something like that) Shawn build the deck. Jamie tends to monopolize Mimi's attention when she is here and Clare is very Mommy-attached, so when I needed to go to Target, I took Jamie with me. Gave us some time together and gave Clare some time with her grandmother without competing with her older brother. When we got home, Clare and Mimi were taking a walk in her little red car (Clare was in the car, Mimi was walking). Jamie returned with a big lollipop, which Clare promptly wanted. So I gave her a little dum dum pop instead. I unwrapped the lollipop and held it out to her. You would have thought it was gold - she snatched that pop out of my hand and stuck it in her mouth so fast! Over the next twenty minutes, Clare proceeded to eat her lollipop. This involved lots of waving the pop high over her head, holding the pop by the sticky part in her hand and waving the stick high over her head, sucking on the pop with no hands and a big grin while shaking her head "no" continually, and red-tinted drool everywhere. When Clare was done with the pop (and she sucked it to nothingness), she was a mess! Red and sticky everywhere! Her hands were so sticky that she closed them into a fist and couldn't get them open again! So right into the tub went Clare. I have to say it was the cutest thing I have seen in a long time and made us laugh so hard. The pure joy on Clare's face from one little lollipop.

Clare also made a big leap with the way she plays. When the Early Intervention evaluators came to our house a few weeks ago, one of the big things they noticed was that Clare would not release toys. She would not drop blocks into a bucket or anything like that. All of a sudden, she has started doing that. I first noticed it when she had OT this past week, but then I couldn't get her to do it again for us. Last night, we had some quiet time together (just Clare and I) before bed. Without prompting, Clare emptied her Sesame Street barn shape sorter, then started putting the shapes back into the barn. She didn't put them through the openings, but would open the barn door, drop a shape in, close the barn door. Open the door again, drop another shape in, you get the picture. Every time she dropped a shape in, she would look up at me with a big grin. Like see, Mom, I know what I am doing! It's such a little thing, but having a child who is developmentally delayed forces you to pay attention to these little things.

When I was pregnant with Clare, a friend of mine (who already had two children) made a comment on how she missed so much of her second child's milestones. She obviously noted the big ones like crawling and walking, but the little ones passed her by because life was much busier with two. Days can be a blur sometimes and you don't realize that your child just learned how to stack rings. This is not the case with Clare. Because her development has been slower (and we're focused on it, especially on the little things such as releasing toys), we have the chance to marvel and clap at Clare's smaller triumphs. To me, that's been a precious gift. To be thrilled when Clare drops shapes in a little barn or laugh till my sides hurt over her joy of eating a lollipop. If Clare was "normal," would I just miss all that? Would it not mean anything to me? I don't know because that is not my life, but it's one more thing that makes me glad I have the life I have. It's a time-worn cliche, but it truly is the little things that count.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tired But Good

I have been very tired lately. YAWN. So that's why there has been no scintillating post from this neck of the woods for over a week. There is no excuse for my tiredness except my two lovely children (one of whom is cutting her four bottom teeth - and she really is cutting them this time because one of them has broken through), a 4-day migraine, a new playful kitty at night, and temperatures in the triple digits. Now that I've made my excuses, here's what's up in our life lately! (And it took me three days to write this post!)

(Included are photos of our trip down to RI this past weekend to visit my family. We went to Waterfire (hard to explain, but it's this amazing spectacle of lighted braziers on the Providence River) and the theme was Carnivale, hence Clare in the butterfly mask. We also went to the zoo, primarily because of the huge dinosaur exhibit they have. Jamie is obsessed with dinosaurs, but these dinos were a little too real for him and Clare! Which meant that Daddy carried Jamie through the exhibit, and Mommy and Auntie Erin took turns carrying Clare. On a sidenote to a sidenote: although Clare was scared of the dinosaurs and buried her face into my or Erin's shoulder most of the time, sometimes, she just had to peek up at those scary dinosaurs. Then bury her face quickly again! And Auntie Chrissy came up from her new home in Jersey. My sister Christina is who I think Clare looks like, especially with Clare's new glasses! And kitty Jack Sparrow is just too cute not to show him off again!)

Clare is starting to get ready to make another jump in her development. One of my other WS moms told of an analogy of how kids with Williams Syndrome develop - like a staircase. They will stay where they are for so long, then suddenly jump a step. I feel like Clare has been in her plateau forever now; since she mastered sitting independently, which was about six months ago. Clare had zero interest in even attempting to learn to crawl. It was getting so bad that even Clare's OT finally admitted that she didn't think Clare would ever crawl and just skip right to walking. But then, out of the blue, Clare discovered rolling again. She first rolled at four months old, but was not a baby who rolled. Now, though, Clare rolls EVERYWHERE! I never thought I would be so happy to have diaper changing challenges!

Jack is a great motivator for Clare as well. She loves Jack and says "kkkk kkkk" whenever he comes near her. She is very gentle with him and loves to touch his ears or pat his back. Jack will usually sit next to her and let her do this. He is not as kind with Jamie - still runs whenever Jamie comes near! (Smart kitty!) One day, Jack was under Clare's crib peeking out at her. She was captivated. She was on her belly trying to look under the crib, calling "kkkk kkkk." She even scooted up a bit on her knees to get a better look! Clare is still a long ways off from crawling, but the constant rolling and getting on her knees a couple times is a good start. Maybe we just needed a cat to get Clare to crawl.

Since it has been 100 degrees around here lately, we've been doing mostly indoor activities. It is just too hot to play outside. I don't think Jamie would mind - he would run around sweaty and red-faced all day if we let him. If the air conditioner is on and it still says 91 degrees on the thermometer, Jamie says he's cold. Clare and I, however, are comprised of a much more delicate temperament and cannot endure the heat. So indoors it has been. Luckily we had our beautiful weekend of outdoor fun in RI. And it's supposed to cool off this coming weekend, so maybe our deck will finally be finished! (The big summer project - anyone remember our garage-building marathon? It's been kind of like that only on a slightly smaller scale.)

So that's life in a nutshell right now. Nothing terribly exciting, but you know what? That's okay by me!