Friday, October 31, 2008

Mischief Night

Last year was our first Halloween in New Jersey and our first Mischief Night. Apparentely, the night before Halloween gives teenages in our area free reign to roam the neighborhood reaking havok. Last year, these kids took advantage of our naivite and destroyed our pumpkins. We were prepared last night, moving our pumkin into the garage right after dinner.

Caroline watched Rob as he moved the pumpkin and of course asked why. After a brief description of the bad choices that some big kids make on Mischief Night, Caroline got quiet. I always know that her wheels are turning when this happens. A few minutes later she said, "The big kids must wait until their parents go to sleep. Then at midnight they get up and go out for Mischief Night. They must be so quiet that their parents think they are only hearing birds."

I am not kidding. I did not make this up. In fact, I wrote everything down before I said anything because I knew I couldn't forget this one.

Caroline is five. We are in trouble...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yup, I am...

It's funny when your friends in real life read your blog and you don't realize they do. Yesterday, I was meeting with my most wonderful writing group. We were talking about all the different places and ways in which we write. Notebooks, word documents, blogs. As I was talking about my blog, one of the woman in my group mentioned a post a wrote a few weeks ago. This was the one post in which I was not so complimentary to my usually wonderful husband.

Apparently the post resonated with Rob as well. Tonight, he complimented the baked ziti that I made but mentioned that the next time, it would be extra yummy with Italian bread. I must have given him a look because within seconds of the 'suggestion' coming out of his mouth he said, "You're not going to blog about that are you?"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I have a new post up at New Jersey Moms Blog- you can check it out here!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sensory Procesing Disorder

October is Sensory Processing Disorder month. The blogospere if full of posts about it- finally! When I first came to discover SPD, I was all by my lonesome and it was not fun.

I hope everyone will take a chance to familiarize themselves with the stories of some of this bloggers whose lives have been touched by Sensory Processing Disorder: Mommy Vents, Pancakes Gone Awry, and Good Enough Mom and many more- follow links from these posts.

It's so funny that today I noticed all these posts popping up because we had such a sensory processing disorder kind of weekend... I was planning on writing this post anyway so I am glad that my voice will now be joining many others.

Caroline was first diagnosed with SPD three years ago and the progress she has made has been truly remarkable. Her tolerance for change, her coordination, her ability to play happily at the beach are among the many things that have shocked me in the past six months. We have done things I never thought we would do. We are even taking a break from occupational therapy. While I know we never would have gotten to where we are without it, it just seemed time to fit some others things into our week, to let the therapy go for awhile. And we are surviving without it.

Perhaps though, OTs should have some sort of special boot camp for SPD kids to attend during the week of Halloween...

We were invited to a few different Halloween functions this weekend. Three times, I walked into a room and thought to myself, "We aren't going to last 20 minutes." And I was right. Three times we were in small rooms with too many people, too much noise, too little space and too much sugar. Caroline melted down each time in a way I haven't seen in months. You could just see that little SPD part of her rearing it's ugly head. Other kids seemed to be struggling too but as has always been the case, Caroline and her SPD just took the struggle up a notch or two.

I have always had a theory about SPD that was further supported this weekend. I believe that it is a neurologically based disorder- no question. When I look at my two children, it is as clear as day that one of them has SPD and one does not. However, I believe that our society has made SPD worse. I have always said that if Caroline lived on a farm in the eighteenth century, rising early, working hard with her body in the fresh air, talking with friends and playing her SPD characteristics would not have been seen. She would have moved her body in the way and in the space that it needs.

After three horrible Halloween experiences, we attended a friend's pumpkin carving party yesterday afternoon. Caroline was spent after all of our activities but I decided to forge forward. As soon as we arrived, I knew we would be fine. The event was outside. There were only about five families there. There was plenty of food. There was plenty of space and there was plenty of fun. In addition to carving pumpkins and making candied and caramel apples, the children played. That's it. They played with sticks. They ran. They planted pumpkin seeds. They built with rocks. They were kids in the great outdoors doing what their little bodies are meant to do. No meltdowns. No tears. Just fun.

The event was like being on that farm- the farm that I imagine would make all the SPD go away. Perhaps as I move through this week, I can try as often as I can to remember to get the girls outside, to run and to play. To fight the crazy Halloween week- to come armed to trick or treating with a supply of good energy and happy times.

Perhaps this is why October is Sensory Processing Disorder month. Perhaps the creator knew that all of the moms with kids diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder would need a little extra love by the time the month drew to a close.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Really Good Job

Yesterday I took the girls to a new pediatrician.

After moving a year ago, I still wasn't in love with our pediatric practice and the doctor I liked the most, left. I decided I needed to start looking for a new doctor. I kept hearing about The Whole Child Center. First, I read about it in the newspaper. Then I learned about it from a post-partum doula that I know. Then I had a friend tell me that the director of this new practice had been her child's pediatrician forever and she loved him. It seemed that I needed to check it out.

The doctors in the practice are committed to treating the whole child (hence the name) and to focusing on a more holistic and integrative approach to pediatrics. For example, when I discussed Katherine's constipation issues with the doctor yesterday, she suggested I try flaxseed oil. I know my prior pediatrician would have written me a prescription. I'm all for trying the natural remedy first.

Another aspect of the practice that I like is their approach to vaccinations. As a speech pathologist, I have read and understand the oodles of scientific research supporting the safety of vaccines. As a mom, I know I hold my breath every time that needles goes into the girl's arms- and not because I'm afraid they are going to cry. The Whole Child Center believes in vaccinating but on a modified schedule. This is what I have done myself- it just seems like a good compromise. The difference now will be that I won't have to ask my doctor's special permission to do so. Last spring, I spent 10 minutes explaining that I wasn't going to let them give Caroline 4vaccines in one day. It will be good to save that time.

Now, this post wasn't meant to be a ringing endorsement of the Whole Child Center but rather a ringing endorsement of Katherine. During her two and half year check up yesterday, the doctor asked if Katherine had any family history of thyroid problems. She does so the doctor manually checked her thyroid gland. She said it felt enlarged and given the history, she would just like to run a blood test. The doctor said that they do draw blood in the office but usually they send the little bitty ones out to the lab. Knowing my daughter, I asked if they would be willing to try it in the office.

Katherine was so amazing- they drew two viles of blood with out a peep.

When we got home, Rob said, "Katherine, I heard you did a really good job at the doctor's today."

She looked right up at him and said, "I did a really, really, really good job, Daddy."

Indeed she did!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I am in such a

blogging rut...

We are continuing to work toward sleeping through the night in our house and my brain is fried! Katherine, our placid, happy child, is anything but now that I am not making frequent visits to her room at night. I haven't really slept well in 5 and a half years now but I think because we see the end in sight, I am feeling more exacerbated by the whole thing than ever before....

I promise, there will be bright and insightful posts to come...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sign up!

Thanks to the wonderful Shera of A Frog in my Soup and Sweet n' Simple Designs, readers can now sign up to get e-mail or reader notification of my posts. I have been trying forever to get this capability on my blog- I know many people who have said that it was tricky but doable... I just couldn't do it. I finally asked Shera to help me out and within a few hours, I had this great new feature on my blog. Subscribe in a reader or by e-mail and you will get an e-mail in your in box each time I post.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Out to get us...

So, I really have been trying to cut down on the sleep (or lack their of) posts lately but last night just has to be documented...

We have been working hard to break Katherine's sleep habits lately. She has been teething forever which has gotten us into the pattern of frequent night visits. Never knowing if she was in pain or just saying hi, I had been going in to her room way too often.

Two weeks ago, with her teeth in, we decided to go cold turkey. We would not go into her room unless it seemed desperate. We have employed this technique often with Caroline and it was usually very painful but very short lived. One to two nights of lots of crying but then success. Somehow, Katherine has had a much harder time. Last night we were on night twelve of still pretty frequent, loud and sometimes long crying.

Last night, Katherine went right down at 7:30. We then heard one little peep from Katherine around 9:30 and she slept straight through until 6:45. A major victory!

Apparently, no one told our smoke detector what a big night this was for us. The possibility of REM sleep was there. I might actually have had a dream. But like I said, no one mentioned this to the smoke detector. At 2:00am, our smoke detector ran out of batteries. Beep, beep, beep, beep.

Maybe tonight's our night...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Value of Money

My latest post is up on New Jersey Moms Blog- check it out here. It tells the story of a five year's understanding of money.

Kids say the silliest things...

A few days ago my mother in law told me a funny story. When Rob and his sister were little they would ask her, whenever she was cleaning, if their grandmother was coming. Cute, right? Cute when it is implying that someone else doesn't clean very often...

Yesterday, I told Katherine that I had to tidy up a little bit. She replied, "Who is coming here?"

I guess it might help if I tidied up a bit more frequently...

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Good Old Days?

Yesterday, Rob was missing those Sunday afternoons of sitting on the couch and watching all the football there was to watch. He talked of the one o'clock game, the four o'clock game, the fire in the fireplace and the chips and dip. As I thought about all I had to do yesterday and the fact that the girls would ceratainly not want to sit on the couch all afternoon anyway, I said, "I sure do miss those days."

As the words were coming out of my mouth, I thought, "No you don't." In fact, I hated those days. Wasted afternoons. Boring. Silly. Whatever the words might be. I was constantly asking to do something else. To stop sitting and watching tv. To move. To do.

I struggle daily to live in the moment. I am often bemoaning the past or worrying about the future. The above conversation called all this into the light again. There were parts of those good old days that I truly miss now- the sitting still, the uninterrputed conversations, the calm, even being able to safely have a fire in the fireplace. I suppose one of Rob's room mates may have wandered into the fireplace but that would have been his own fault, not the fault of a negligent parent!

Yesterday, I thought I missed something that at the time I hated. And there was something worthwhile in those afternoons- the calm, the rest, the ability to sit still among friends. Everyone talks about how quickly these baby, toddler and pre-school years go. They talk about appreciating the small problems because they will soon be followed by bigger and harder problems.

I smile politely at these people and think how wrong they are. What can be harder than sleep deprivation, no moments to myself, teething, constant messes, pre-school struggles over what to wear, choosing the right schools, tantrums and whining.

After missing afternoons filled with football, I realize that these people might just have a point. I wonder ten years from now, what I will look back on and miss.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


At the risk of sounding really silly, I am going to state an interesting and obvious fact. The newspaper column preceded the blog.

This morning I was reading my favorite column in the Bergen Record written by Bill Ervolino. As I was reading, I had those feelings I often have while reading blogs- that sense of knowing someone that you have never met. As I began reading I wondered how Bill's dad's birthday went- he had mentioned it was coming last week. I was excited to learn a new and funny fact about Bill's mom. I knew she loved to clean- now I know she takes forever to choose her vegetables. I felt like I could say, "Me too, Bill!" I learned that he can stay in a library until they kick him out- me too, me too!

Just as I am excited when one of my favorite bloggers has posted again, with an update about a family member, a funny story about how potty training is going, or a recipe that their whole family loved, I can't wait to check out the Better Living section every Sunday. As if checking in on another friend I have never met, I turn the page to find my window into a stranger's life.

It seems this whole blog thing isn't all that new after all. People have been reading about imaginary friends (as Rob calls all these bloggers whose writing I read faithfully) since the beginning of the column not, after all, since the beginning of the blog.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This morning, Katherine was counting the little pieces that go into the Leap Frog Alphabet refrigerator toy. She gets shockingly close to counting to eleven every time. "...Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleventeen." The best part today was she kept going, until every alphabet piece was back in the bag. "Eleventeen, eleventeen, eleventeen..." Nothing like sticking to your opinion, right or wrong!