Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's My Birthday!

I'm 32 today.

Yes, I just declared my age to all of you out there in cyber space.

I'm not ashamed of my age, nor am I bitter or fearful of aging. I think it's something I learned from my Mom. She never once bemoaned her aging. She never ran, filled with hopes of slowing the aging process, credit cards in hand to the nearest cosmetics counter, doctors office, or infomercial pitchman's promise of eternal youth. For my entire life, my Mom has aged gracefully (it doesn't hurt that she also ages well and honestly doesn't look her age, but neither does my Grandma). She also never pressured me to worry about my I don't.

So, once again I say with pride...

I'm 32 today!

I pray I make it to 33 and beyond.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Interchangeable Me

When I worked in the corporate world, especially in customer service, I felt like I was interchangeable with the next person. The company didn't care who I was or what I was capable of achieving because they could easily change me out for the next unemployed person in line. Anyone could just answer the phone or send an email. I was just another gear in the corporate machine. How demoralizing!

I found some solace outside of the work place where I felt like I had value and purpose. I had family and friends that loved me and knew me. They knew I was irreplaceable. That there was no one else like me in the world. How wonderful!

Fast forward to the present...

Once again, I feel interchangeable. Only this time it is because my daughter doesn't appear to miss me or want me.

Rae's low muscle tone appears to be weakest in her arms so she never reaches for me. Not when she's crying. Not when she's hungry. Not when she's tired. Not ever. Her arms, for the most part, just lay at her side or she sticks one hand in her mouth. The most I can coax out of her is placing her tiny hand into mine, but that is a very rare occurrence. In all fairness, she doesn't reach for anyone so that should offer me some comfort...right?? This weakness also limits her ability to use sign language.

Since she is non-communicative, she also doesn't call for me, not in the traditional sense anyway. She will screech from her crib when she's awake and ready to get out, which is pretty standard. She will scream bloody murder when she is hungry or when she's ready for bed. I have no doubt that our mailman could walk into her room and pick her up from her crib, shovel food in her mouth, and tuck her in again. As long as she gets what she wants, when she wants it then she is good to go.

She isn't mobile either. No walking. No crawling. Some rolling (very little). So, when I walk away from her...she just lays there. I see other children crawling as fast as they can trying to track down "Mama" because she went to the bathroom. I, on the other hand, am one of those rare Moms that receives complete and total privacy when using the bathroom. While some may envy that privacy, I doubt they'd trade places with me. Seriously, NO one wants this for their child no matter how intrusive they are being. (On the flip side, no parent wants their child so anxious that they can't even change clothes without a nuclear melt down occurring.)  Either extreme blows chunks and I just wish we could land somewhere in the middle.

Once a week, Rae stays the night with her Mimi and G-Boss (Long story short it was a nickname that stuck and turned from THE "Boss" to "Grandpa Boss" to "G-Boss!") and not once during these overnights has she cried for me. At first, I thought she might be a little upset, but after the first two or three weeks I stopped expecting (read as hoping for) that phone call saying, "She won't stop crying. She wants YOU."

It stings. Feeling like your child is okay without you, doesn't really "want" you and anyone can just glide right into your place leaves a deep wound in your heart. I know this is probably temporary, but it still hurts. I'm sure there will be a time when I will long for some privacy or wish she would just calm down when I step out of a room, but right now...well... I want to know that from time to time she wants ME and that only I will do. Until that time, I will do my best to keep it all in perspective and cry till my eyes burn when I need to release the pressure.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fiscal Reflection

I've had months to reflect on my past choices in life. Not the in depth, soul searching, trying to find myself kind of reflection mind's more like the kind that ends in my wanting to kick my past self in my dumb, irresponsible A$$.

Prior to the end of October 2008, I worked. I worked alot. I loved working (as much as the next person if we're all being honest here). I had a purpose and I was paid well for my skills and abilities. My husband and I were D.I.N.K's. (Double Income No Kids) and while we wanted a child (one day) we were also quite happy to spend our hard earned money in any manner we saw fit (this is why I want to kick past self's A$$!). During those fat years, we weren't really living high on the hog, but we definitely weren't scraping to make ends meet.

Times are now lean and I have been staring at some of those items that were "must haves" or "Oooo we need those" or "it's fine we both work" and they are mocking me. Those items stare right into my eyes with a know-it-all smirk and mock me. Here's a brief inventory:

Purses: I think up until this time last year I owned well over 35 handbags. In my defense (like there really is one), they weren't Coach or Dooney & Bourke or even Vera Bradley. Some of them were gimmicky, who doesn't need a red corset purse...right?? Some of them went with specific outfits (Yes, you read correctly I had purses for specific outfits). Some were retro purses because I like that kind of thing, I thought it added character to an outfit (I still think that if its the right purse).

Shoes: I've never been a "shoe" gal. Just not my thing (I liked purses...obviously). However, that didn't stop me from buying shoes...lots of shoes. I have a beautiful pair of soft leather, warm medium brown, knee high Bandolino boots (I live in FL...I don't even wear them anymore), but I HAD to have those boots ($150)! I also bought a plethora of heels (seriously, I can't even walk in those things) in all colors and styles. Unfortunately, buying all these shoes was not my only offense... I also bought plastic shoe boxes to store them. Heaven forbid my shoes not be protected from the evils of Dust (gasp!).

My favorite silk blouse.
Clothes: Now we all NEED clothes, unless you live in a nudist colony ( thanks!). I had so many articles of clothing that I didn't have to do laundry for at least two weeks. I kid you not. They were everywhere. I had hangers that would hold multiple skirts and slacks just to get it all into my itty-bitty closet. There were suits (a three piece Bandolino...ah, memories...), dresses, skirts, blouses (a red silk w/white pin striping was my favorite), textured hosiery, jackets (cloth, leather, mid thigh, biker style), casual, club, professional, church, formal, semi-formal... I was prepared for almost every type of event one could imagine shy of a Presidential dinner or a Hollywood awards show. 

Movies/Music: We all love to be entertained and we were no exception. Imagine two 8 foot long shelves and sitting on these shelves are 16 stacks of DVD cases and each stack containes approximately 30 DVD's. Do the need, I did it for you...that totals...drum roll please...480! That is a rough estimate so give or take 20ish. We all know how much DVD's cost so I'm not even going to go there. Sadly, our music collection is worse. I can't even wrap my mind around how many albums we own on CD, digital, or vinyl (my husband LOVES vinyl).

Here's my defense:

Designer leather skirt (worn twice)
still unsold.
My elaborate wardrobe (clothes and shoes) was a right of passage that I was denied for many years due to my weight. At one point, I was over 300 pounds (that's an entire story on its own) and once the pounds melted off I was about 160. I went into overdrive when it came to my clothes. Yes, I look back on all the money I spent and wish I put half of it in the bank, but for once I was "normal" and it felt fabulous. The purses were just something I developed a taste for over the years and I'm still a sucker for a good purse. I have now whittled that collection down to maybe 15 and my all time favorites stayed (mostly Fossil handbags, well made and reasonably priced).

In regards to our entertainment budget... We were D.I.N.K's. Our bills were paid. We had the money and we didn't see anything wrong with spending it as we saw fit.

We kinda sorta planned for the future. I was going to keep my decent paying job (or find a new one) and we were going to have a "perfectly" healthy baby. That was our plan. It didn't work out that way (read more about that here). Now my current self wants to kick my past self in the a$$ (repeatedly) for being too comfortable in the present and not giving enough consideration to the possibility of an uncertain future.

I have sold of many of these now frivolous items (along with anything else I deemed sellable), but not the music/movies (not worth it). Partially, because I can no longer wear the clothes or shoes and keeping them just seems ridiculous, but mainly because even if I sold my favorite suit for only $20 was $20 bucks I didn't have and it was $20 bucks that helped pay a bill (medical or other).

Something I have learned from this time of reflection: Don't live your life only in the present because the future you have in your mind is not guaranteed (I think I always knew that, but disregarded it). It is perfectly acceptable to indulge from time to time, but in moderation...everything in moderation. Try to keep in mind that no one expects the unthinkable to happen. I know we didn't. So, my new fiscally responsible (read as financially strapped) self has been cleaning house and reflecting on all those "must haves" that really weren't.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Love Hate Relationship with Rae's Corner Chair

I love Rae's corner chair!

Rae sitting with support from
Her sandbags. See how she is
tilting her head back.
It enables her to sit up straight. She is not able to lean into her "C" curve caused by Scoliosis. There is a tray from which she can eat or play with toys (most of which end up on the floor). It's on wheels so it can go anywhere in our home. It was loaned to us by our PT (which saved us from buying one to the tune of $500). When she sits in it, she is at the right height to watch her favorite cartoons (Curious George, Cat in the Hat, & Sid the Science Kid...basically anything on PBS) and doesn't have to tilt her head back to see. All in all, it helps her gain more strength in her trunk which will further her development.'s the problem...

I HATE's Rae's corner chair!!!

I know, I know...after all those wonderful reasons to love the corner chair I still HATE it! I hate putting Rae into the bulky contraption. I hate that it is the only piece of special needs equipment we currently have in our home. Almost every time I look at it sitting in the corner of our living room I suppress the urge to toss it out into the yard or weep. I see that chair and I see how different our life is from what we hoped it would be. I HATE that chair for purely emotional reasons....logic be damned!

Rae sitting in her Baby Snug watching
PBS & rocking her glasses.
For months no one even knew that we had a corner chair because I silently refused to photograph Rae sitting in the dang thing (heck, I didn't even want to sit her in the chair and found every possible excuse not to). When I did start taking pictures, I refused to post them anywhere. I was in denial. If no one else see's it then it doesn't really exist. I pushed the chair into the farthest corner of our living room just so I don't see it when I look around the room. I become so frustrated strapping her into the chair because it's like fighting an octopus...she wants to eat the straps and mean ol' Mommy wants her to leave them alone (her arms, though weak, are very quick). This battle alone can motivate me to raise a white flag and/or reduce me to tears. I scoured the internet for other options (I bought a Mamas &Papas Baby Snug) that were more palatable to my tattered emotions. All for what??? A false sense of normalcy...that's what!

Now, here's where I become a mature, do what's best for your child, parent.

Rae with our PT playing with playdoh.

I put Rae in her corner chair. No matter how I feel about it on any particular day, I know it is what is best for her. I wish I could say I was more consistent and I sit her in the corner chair every day, but I don't. At least I'm trying and that's the best I can do. Sometimes that's the best any of us can do...just simply try. The corner chair is OUR normal and I am finally finding some peace with that.

Rae sitting pretty in her corner chair.