Great Expectations

I've started and stopped this post at least three times. I'm not sure I want to publish it, but if you're reading this, then, well, looks like I hit publish. It's a somewhat sensitive subject and I haven't talked about those on here for a long time, but I feel like I'm ready again. I feel like the 5 people reading this are good people who can take this info to heart and not use it for evil. So here goes...

I like to go about my days thinking that I am the kind of mama who doesn't and won't ever pressure my kids to be anything other than themselves. In most situations, I think that this truly is my attitude: kids all grow and develop on their own timelines, and as their mama, I'm really in no hurry. But... there are timelines: those dreaded milestones that plagued this new mama years ago when Boo was a teeny tiny baby, the timelines that still exist but somehow I managed to forget about them (or maybe just not care) the second time through babyhood with Baby Tickle. And while she's ahead in many areas (especially her motor skills; apparently, she's got better motor skills than most adults), she's behind in one: speech.

Boo started speaking 3-word sentences by the time he was 18 months. He was -and still is- a rockstar talker. Baby Tickle, on the other hand...well, she's a rockstar, just not of the speaking variety. At just barely 2-years-old, she now says about 10 -15 words. She knows the main baby signs and uses them when she really wants to. But, her speech isn't really clear, and she's not putting words together other than "more, please" (notice she's quick with words related to food? that's my girl :) She's basically not saying as many as other kids her age are saying, and it's really hard for me not to compare not only her to other kids, but to her brother at this age (I know! BAD mama for comparing the two developmentally! Bad!).

So our pediatrician has given us the names of some speech and hearing specialists for testing. Just to see. The doc says that it doesn't hurt to have her hearing checked, to see if she's just hearing our words muddled. She just turned two, and may, in fact, just one day start yapping up a storm. She's certainly "talkative" in that she babbles all day, plus she's quick to learn tunes to the songs we sing and hums them back almost after the second time she's heard them. She's also really starting to work hard at mimicking our words when we talk. So I know she's progressing already since our pediatrician visit. But still...better to find out if there is a speech or hearing issue now and start working on it sooner than later, I suppose.

Then, part of me can't help but wonder if it's my fault. If my casual parenting ways this time around served as the main culprit. I didn't try as hard on developing her speech with her as I did with Boo. Sure, I worked with her on it, and we read a lot every day, but I definitely wasn't as focused on her speech as I was with Boo. Part of it is that I feel she's never needed me as much as Boo did; she's so freakin' independent, we even had a sitter who said "she really didn't need me at all except to get her food and change her diaper!" I just always feel like she's going to be fine... but I need to make a conscious effort to remember that she is, still, a developing little human who does, in fact, need me to guide her. Oh, darn mommy guilt. I'm sure she'll be speaking soon enough so she can blame me for this and many other things when she's in therapy, right? Maybe she's just not talking on purpose and then one day before she's 3, I'll pick her up from her bed in the morning, she'll give me a huge hug, smile that dangerous enormous room-stopping smile of hers and say loud and clear "mama, I'm just kidding. I can speak in full sentences, read on my own, and do basic algebra already. See?"

Until then... the specialists await. Gulp.


Sleep is for the weak. Fine, I'm Weak.

Well, we've had a good run. A GREAT run, actually. Our daughter has always been a great sleeper. We put her down for her naps, she blows us kisses and watches us close the door and goes to sleep. At bedtime, we read her fave books, she blows us kisses, signs that she loves us, we put her in her crib and she nods off after about 30 minutes of giggling or singing to herself. Music to our ears.

Since she started preschool 2 weeks ago, it's all been downhill. She doesn't want to nap. Worse, she has decided sleeping at night is for the weak and wants to know where the party is. Surely, she's kidding, right? This is all a silly joke of hers and she'll go back to her fabulous sleeping soundly through the night habits tomorrow?

I don't need much sleep. I don't ask for much. But I DO need some sleep. More than 2.5 hours of crappy sort-of sleep. There's not enough coffee in the world to make up for the horrible lack of sleep the past two weeks. Coffee IV? Hook me up, yo. I'm all for that invention.


Work to Play

This week has been, well, um, hell. My faith in other people has been challenged. My confidence in my own abilities, waivered. My will and passion, beaten down and bruised. It's been a long week of long days (yesterday was a near 20-hr day). But I kept at it. I kept going. I worked my ass off as hard as I could so that I could sit here, at this moment, to write this post about the day that is to come in mere minutes: my baby girl's birthday.

Two years ago today, I met a new little love of my life who made my heart grow and ache even more all at the same time. She is my world, as my son is, and together they are the reasons I do what I do, at the odd hours that I do, in the untraditional ways that I do, with as much joy and passion as I do. I may be fiercely independent and seem career-driven, but I am not afraid to admit that I build my entire life around my kids. I used to think it was so weird when mothers said that they lived for their kids. I wondered "don't the have their own lives?" But I get it now. We do have our own lives...AND they are always a part of it. And it's beautiful and sweet and perfect in its glaring imperfections. It is certainly nothing to hide, and nothing to apologize for.

So I endured the shitstorms life decided to throw my way this week. I tried really hard to smile through them and many times failed in my attempts to sing and dance through the insanity of it all.

But I made it. I am here. I worked like mad this week so that I could breathe and fully focus on my daughter this weekend. This is Family Day and her official birthday. Saturday is her party. Sunday is the day I attempt to work off what I ate the two previous days and also the stress and weight of the week.

Today I celebrate the day my little girl came into my life and helped make the world come alive with her exuberance, her energy, her smile, her laugh, her sweet hugs and kisses, her incredible perception and her amazingly strong presence. Even as a baby she had this gentle authority that is a mix of sweet sensitivity and don't-make-me-kick-your-ass. So I'm going to let the birthday girl be the boss of me for the next 72 hours. I'm going to replace all the negative thoughts of annoying selfish people who made work absolute hell for me this week with positive thoughts in the present and not the past. I'm going to set aside those budget surprises that said annoying people have caused to my already negative budget and deal with them next week. I'm going to shake off the week with lots of family cooking, baking, eating, laughing, singing and dancing. And maybe even a whole lotta family time doin' nothin'.

I'm here. I'm present, and I'm ready to have a rockin' weekend with my family, who is my world, my happiness. And I'm going to do so starting.... now! Happy birthday sweet Baby Tickle!