Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two Years Later

So this post is going up now because I know when it's actually time for it on the 29th, I won't have time. I will be finishing up the first week back with students, prepping for Monkey's party and trying to do homework. I'm taking the time now to post.

Two years ago I was embarking on a new adventure. Switching schools to a Montessori charter school that had just gotten into a building, switching grade levels and due any day with Monkey. Starting a new school year is always exciting but starting at a brand new school and 9 months pregnant? That's some kind of crazy! I'm amazed my room got set up (Thanks Rosina!) and honestly it was all a blur. Two days after school started, I'm texting Rosina at 5 am telling her I'm on my way to have Monkey. A little earlier than any of us had anticipated but that's how Monkey is. Always doing things a little different than we expect! This little guy captured our hearts. I remember my heart breaking into a thousand pieces when he was sent to the NICU less than 12 hours after he was born. And going home without your baby? That's the worst feeling in the world. I felt like everything was backwards. Thankfully he's a strong little guy and everything turned out for the best. I remember everything about that week perfectly. Right down to the phone calls I made to the nurses so I knew how he was doing. And then he was home. Our crazy, silly, goofy, unpredictable, routine loving little Monkey. I never know what will come out of his mouth or what he will do next. Listening to him count with daddy or show me everything in the house that's orange and then make a stockpile of the orange items (be careful what you wear to our house!).

One year ago I was embarking on another new adventure. School was getting ready to start again and again, pregnant. Not 9 months pregnant thank goodness! But another new principal and a new IA and some new teachers. And planning a party for Monkey. Of course Monkey was running everywhere at that point and into everything. Actually I think once he figured out he could move he was into everything. And it didn't take long to figure out he could move!
 And now here we are, two years later. Again, preparing for school to start on Tuesday and nope, not pregnant! But with a baby girl and a little boy about to turn two. Another new principal, another new IA and more new staff at school. I'm sensing a trend in my life! Hopefully this is the last new principal and IA for awhile. I look at these pictures and can't believe how much Monkey has changed in just two short years. He loves being outside and learning the names of everything outside, all the plants, animals, flowers, everything! Thank goodness I like learning new things! We've spent two days looking at moss on trees and today he found it on the ground and acted like it was a new discovery! He's decided diapers are not the cool thing to wear (he's actually felt that way for months, but with Carmen being so little it was a bit hard to potty train) and is ready to be a big boy! So happy early birthday to my sweet, lovable, crazy Monkey! I can't wait to see what adventures we all have this year!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Moving On

Monkey will be 2 next month! I can't believe how quickly the time flies. And I will be going back to work as well. I love teaching, and I have truly missed it. I cannot wait to get back into the classroom (with yet another new principal at my school), but I will miss being with the two monkeys all day long. We go a bit crazy some days when Carmen decides naps aren't a fun thing and Monkey decides to break every possible rule he can to see if I'm going to put him in time out or let it slide (answer: time out every time otherwise he runs with that freedom and the house becomes a tornado).

Trial run of my going back starts with an all day class every day next week. This could be an adventure for sure. I haven't been away from them all day since Carmen was born in January. I'm excited to see some friends at class but I'm also glad we have two weeks after that to be able to enjoy a bit more summer before I hit the ground running with teaching. Staying at home has been a balance. Going to the grocery store for quick trips? We do great as long as it's early in the morning. Anything more than 10 minutes or so and Monkey goes a bit crazy.

Monkey also starts preschool two days a week this fall. I'm worried about his separation anxiety and how he will do especially since it will be grandma dropping him off not us. I do know he loves the school and is excited. Well, I say excited but I'm not sure how much he understands what will be happening.

Carmen is her crazy self as always. Still no bottles for her unless forced. Although I have to go back to the lovely pump next week. Par for the course. Being able to breastfeed her these last 6 months and have very few issues has been awesome. Compared to pumping the whole time with Monkey, it's been a breeze.

I've been planning Monkey's party and thinking back to his birth. I can't believe it was really almost two years ago. I'll do more reminiscing of that as it gets closer. Right now I'm figuring out how to plan a barn animal party.

Monkey is an explosion of words and opinions lately. This morning as I'm getting ready and brushing my teeth, he decides to come to the bathroom, slam the door shut and shout bye bye while running away laughing. I open it to see him with an impish grin saying again? And finally he's stopped calling me Robyn. That's a nice change :) I get called "mudda" or "mom!" as loud as possible. He loves learning new things and observing or doing something over and over until he perfects it. That's my Montessori boy! Shapes are his new thing and he has to say them in English and in Spanish. He also loves counting as he goes down the steps with Daddy. Doing the dishes is another favorite. I'm so glad he loves doing them. I love how he "helps" Carmen sleep by shouting shhhhhh sleep! as loud as he can and then looks bewildered when she wakes up crying. We need to work on that so Carmen can actually have a peaceful nap :)

He has a best friend R. thanks to his Aunt Mylissa. Monkey loves playing with R and E as much as possible and asks for them all the time. His OT sessions have been going great and Monkey is learning some great techniques to help him calm down.

Carmen started using a cup the other day and loves it! So much so that she wants to drink from it all the time.

Guess who loves green beans? This lady! Along with any other food we let her eat.

This is us in the morning. That will be changing soon as we get ready to go back to work and need to be out the door at the time we usually wake up.

Monkey at Discovery Station. He had a blast at this kids museum where he could touch everything.

Yes, those are candles. Yes, he's sitting beside them. The candles go everywhere with Monkey. Almost like a stuffed animal except they smell nice.

Nap time. My favorite!

A rare quite nap when Daddy is home to play with Keith.

Monkey going to the river and not wanting to leave. He loves agua!

Coloring is his new favorite! I love when he scribbles on the paper and then shouts ooohh wow!

Uncle Will convinced he can hold two babies and play a video game at the same time!

Happy girl!

A rare nap time after a meltdown. He wouldn't stop screaming and when I got him calmed down I told him I was going to make his lunch. Odd that he didn't follow me to the kitchen. I go back to the living room to find this.

He loves his sister. A little too much sometimes :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

SPD and Me or well us

It's a little hard to be consistent with blogging when I'm busy with a 4 month old, 21 month old, classes and home. Teaching has been put on hold until August. Am I thrilled to be with the two monkeys a bit longer? You bet! Is it easy? Heck no. They are my cuties however, and I love them. I am thrilled when my husband walks through door and I can breathe for a second.

Things with Mr. Monkey have been interesting for awhile now. I've thought something was up since he was less than a year old. The doctor kept telling me no he's fine, he's just really advanced and his tantrums were due to the fact that he's learning two languages. I knew in my heart it wasn't anything serious, but I also knew his tantrums and other behaviors weren't quite right. And I knew it wasn't "bad" parenting (thanks Echo and Chrissi and countless other for reassuring me I'm a good parent!) or a spoiled kid or any of those things. So I made a phone call. I was exhausted and stressed wondering how I could help Monkey so he didn't have tantrums that looked like he was truly helpless and couldn't control himself. I mean, sure, he has normal toddler tantrums because we tell him no or he can't do what he wants at that moment but these were more and had no clear triggers. He had an evaluation a few weeks ago, and we learned yep he's one smart kid (too smart for his own good at times but that makes life around here fun!). We also found out he has some sensory issues and emotional/social issues. But he's got some great people coming to help and we have some great strategies we are starting to put in place and already notice a difference.

SPD (sensory processing disorder) is a tricky thing, and there are people who say it isn't a "real" diagnosis. Sure many kids with SPD are on the autism spectrum, but just as many aren't. And some have other issues as well. Monkey just is a kid who loves sensory stuff. He loves chewing things (ask my sister as she reminds him yet again her leather bracelets are not for chewing) and ripping paper using his teeth. I guess in a way its good because even though he puts almost everything in his mouth, we have yet to see him actually eat anything that isn't food. He puts it in and then once he feels it, out it comes (usually with him saying "gross"). Until you've seen one of his tantrums, you haven't seen a tantrum. Although, if you have a child with this, then you have my sympathies. It is one of the most trying things I've experienced. I have learned that raising my voice in the middle of a tantrum doesn't work, walking away doesn't work, moving him to another room doesn't work, distracting rarely works. What does? Trying to catch it before he starts. Finding a way for him to spin in a chair, in a circle, wrap up in a blanket, go to a quiet room, jump up and down or chew on something before he blows up stop it right away. Taking a good nap stops a lot of the meltdowns. Days he doesn't take a nap at the right time or for long enough (like yesterday) result in sometimes an hour or more of screaming and sobbing and gnashing of teeth. I see him take in everything I try with him. And he is trying to do it himself without my help. In the best way his little 21 month old mind can. He runs up to his room and I'm clueless except for the fact that maybe he's frustrated with Miss Monkey crying. I follow him and he's in the dark with his sound machine on, under his big stuffed dog. He tells me to go and he comes back downstairs a few minutes later much calmer. He starts to bite someone or something he shouldn't and he looks to me for a piece of paper or something he can chew on (still working on that one! I need to find chew beads or chew toys or something). He gets excited about playing with his sister and his hand moves too hard and she cries. He starts to cry and shout "sorry" before I can even remind him and he's hugging her trying to fix something he didn't mean to do. He's learning about his body and control of it. And it's our job to help. So he can feel safe in this crazy world. This was a crazy post for sure.

I've been going crazy looking up everything I can about SPD and sharing with others. Because the best way for Monkey to get help is for everyone he loves to know what's going on and understand it. Because I know there are other kids out there who need a mom, a dad, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a friend to have this information. Because I'm a teacher, always a teacher, and I want to teach others. Because I know it will help my students when I see one of them need a break or struggling. Because I want Monkey to have teachers who care and want to help him not force him into a box.

And that's my crazy rant for today!

Carmen is sleeping and I should be too before she gets hungry again! Next post will be much sooner. In the meantime, pictures!
This is what Monkey has started to do when daddy leaves for work. He says bye and then will climb on the couch and ask for Carmen to sit on his lap and watch a show.

Our happy smiling girl! She sure is careful with her smiles but she is almost always cheerful!

Monkey playing with Carmen. He stands over her and tries to get her to grab his hair or tickle him. She looks rather confused by it all but then laughs.

This was naptime today. Usually Monkey is in his room but he came down halfway through his nap and fell back asleep. So we had a nap party in the living room!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


It's been a long while since I've blogged. Things have been crazy over here as I went into the last trimester while teaching. Let me say it was a totally different experience than the third trimester while on summer break. I was exhausted but it's all worth it.

Keith has become a little man. He is so grown up but still a baby in so many ways. Pictures will come in the next post. Right now I want to share some about Carmen.

I had no idea that labor could last a month, however, mine did! I went into this determined to not have an epidural after what happened with Keith and the NICU. Luckily, I know an amazing doula :) Echo is the mom of one of my sweet students, and I knew the only way I would make it through this labor would be with her. We hit it off right away which helped immensely. So I felt pretty confident going into this whole thing even knowing my hospital this time would be about 45 minutes away. My husband wasn't thrilled about my choice but he understood my reasons and went along with it.

Christmas Eve I started getting some contractions that sure weren't Braxton Hicks. Talk about scary since my due date was about a month away. And Keith isn't a calm quiet 17 month old so very little resting to be done there! They stopped thank goodness but I had them off and on for several weeks.

Finally, the week before her due date (as I was pondering how I could make it through two more weeks of teaching) I had horrible contractions 20 minutes apart for almost the entire day. That Thursday I went to the midwives to get checked and discover I'm at 3 cm. Now, with Keith my water broke and I was still at 0! So this was quite the surprise to me. That night, even more contractions and my husband took off work to go with me. Still at 3 cm. I think both of us wanted to cry at that point. The midwives told me to walk so walk we did for the entire weekend and nothing. I was frustrated and confused but Echo reminded me that everything would be ok.

I went back to school that week to everyone's shock. Not in the classroom cause I was too afraid of going into labor there but I spent the week testing students. Had my appoint in the middle of the week and I'm at 5cm. Ummmm honestly I didn't know it was possible to be at 5 cm and still walking around functioning. Silly me. Carmen  certainly wanted to take her time. Saturday morning we kept pretty busy and that afternoon my husband left to run some errands while Keith and I took naps. I felt really off and assumed I just didn't feel good (lesson: my assumptions are always right). However I got a few really bad contractions that made me wonder if I was getting close to actual labor. We decided to go in when I couldn't walk up the basement stairs during and after several of them.

Echo came with us to the hospital thank goodness. We get there and yep I'm having contractions but I'm still at 5 cm. We walked around for a bit and the midwife there offered to give me pitocin to get things moving. Now, pitocin with Keith was the most painful experience of my life.I wanted to die. Not to mention I couldn't get out of bed. Echo and the midwife promised me it wouldn't be like that. Apparently I'm a very trusting person because I went along with them. We went to grab something to eat and come back. That's when I started to get really nervous. I was super afraid of the pitocin and not being able to get through the pain and needing to ask for an epidural. I should have known better. Echo was determined to help me stay strong. And looking back, it wasn't as hard as I thought. I'm sure I was lucky honestly because I remember how painful labor was with Keith. We started the pictocin and I felt more contractions. We ended up walking around, talking and joking. They upped the pitocin several times and I felt the contractions getting stronger but nothing I couldn't handle. Mainly due to walking, using the birth ball and rocking in the rocking chair. This started about 4:30 pm. Around 11:30 I think, they checked me again because the contractions had really picked up. I was still at 5 cm. I seriously lost it at that point. I couldn't believe the pitocin was doing nothing.

The most shocking thing to me through all of it was how supportive Echo and Julie were. After using an OB for Keith, I was so surprised that the midwife stayed as much as possible. Plus having Echo there was a big help to stop us from going insane.

I had a really good cry when I realized that even with pitocin nothing was happening. I didn't realize it until Echo told me but they upped the pictocin to 10 before they left the room. Suddenly I was getting contractions that took my breath away. And lots of them. I panicked because I remembered how it felt with Keith. Thankfully, Echo sat with me as my husband had started to fall asleep at that point. He was exhausted. I realized I couldn't sit in the bed any longer with the contractions the way they were or I was going to go crazy. I remember asking someone to fill up the tub and telling them I needed to use the bathroom. What I neglected to tell anyone (mainly because I was in denial and afraid if they knew I wouldn't be allowed in the tub) is that I was starting to feel an urge to push. I got in the tub at that point and felt so much better. I don't know how long it took but I realize it had to have been maybe 30 minutes or less and suddenly I had to use the bathroom. Well, Carmen decided she was ready and again I was still in denial. I remember the nurse pulling a cord, and she and Echo told me I needed to get out of the tub now. Yeah I really didn't want that to happen. I wanted them to let me out and then leave me alone in the bathroom. Next thing I know there are lots of people in the room and they are moving me out of the bathroom over by the bed. I saw my husband run out of the room (that's what happens when you're sound asleep and wake up to random people running around the room) and sent Echo after him. My water broke as soon as I got to the bed and I think it was 4 or 5 pushes and there she was. At the time, I thought I was going to die from all the pain but looking back it wasn't that bad at all. That's surprising to me because it truly was painful with Keith. I was so grateful Echo was there to bring my husband back and to help me. I know if it had just been the two of us, things probably would have gone much differently. Instead Carmen came out happy and alert. Best part of all: no NICU stay this time despite being jaundice and she nursed! And is still nursing.

So now Keith is a big brother and Carmen is fitting into our lives. He isn't super excited about it but he will get there :)