Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FDR is THREE Months Old!

Dear Frankie,

You are THREE months old today!

Like with Forrest, Mama is constantly amazed at how quick time passes, and how quickly you are growing. You are fast approaching the end of the "fourth trimester". Last month, it was extremely hectic with so many things going on. This month, things have definitely calmed down. 

You are slowly filling out. Your little face has chubby cheeks along with you growing a Buddha belly, however, your legs remain skinny. It feels like you are probably around 11 to 12 pounds. You are still nursing on demand, and co-sleeping in the same room with Mama, and Daddy. It makes it easier to nurse you at the night. However, there is a talk of transitioning you to your crib by end of fourth month, or possibly earlier, depending on how it goes with your comfort being inside in the bassinet with a helmet. Your eyes are still constantly changing colors. On some days, it's steel gray, or green, and on other days, it turns blue. 

Your newborn, and 0-3 months clothes are now neatly packed away in storage, which makes Mama's heart weigh a bit heavily, however, she is glad to see that you are thriving, and doing so well. You are now wearing 3 months to 3-6 months clothes, not because of your filling out, but rather because you are growing so tall. You are definitely taller than Forrest at this age. Daddy, and Mama teasingly say that you are going to make a great running back, or a wide receiver whereas Forrest will be a linebacker. Yes, Mama, and Daddy are building a football team out of you both boys (really, it does not matter whatever you wish to do to your heart's content as long as it makes you happy, even if it's not football, or sports). 

You are continuing your PT exercises, and meeting with Dave. Good news is that basing off on what Dave said at your last appointment; you are showing an improvement of motion range for your neck, and eye tracking! You are also able to sit up well with a lot of support on your back, and be able to look forward ahead. Because of that, your appointments are no longer two weeks, but every three weeks! You, at best, tolerate the exercises at home. You definitely don't like having your head pressed to the other side, however, you enjoy having your neck stretched out afterward. You are such a trooper!

Your favorite exercise is the motion of range for your eyes, and neck, which consists of sitting on your Mama's lap in front of a long mirror in Mama's and Daddy's bedroom, and you laugh at yourself in the mirror. It's quite adorable. You are not quite so nuts about tummy time. Dave has suggested to replace boppy pillow with a rolled towel instead, so that way you won't have to be positioned so up high on your chest, and have it bother your neck.

Overall, the progression in therapy for you means that you are able to hold your neck longer with you looking straight ahead instead of turning your head to the right, which is a good sign, because PT is helping you to strength your upper core. However, you are quite stubborn with staring off in a wrong direction, and it simply means Mama needs to incorporate a few new exercises along with the old ones to help you promote neck strength.

Forrest is currently going through terrible two's. He has a lot of mixed feelings toward you, even though he loves you so, and even at that, he can get quite jealous of you. He doesn't like it when you want to be on Mama particularly on your fussy days, and wants to have Mama all to himself. Mama often have to become creative to appease you both. Fortunately, you are pretty easygoing, and more willing to share Mama with Forrest. After all, you're a second born, and sharing is all you know. However, you do get a lot of alone time with Mama, or Daddy, or have them both with you for alone time. It goes the same goes for Forrest. It can be such a juggling act at times.

Forrest is quite a bit jealous of all the attention you are getting during PT, and at home. It can be a struggle for him to show much interest in you, however, many times when Forrest thinks that no one is watching him; he gently kisses you, or pets you on top of your head while smiling at you. Mama is looking forward to having Forrest play in day care room while you are in PT to help him feel less jealous, and to think that he is getting all fun time while you are getting worked on.

Going out with you, and Forrest is slowly becoming easier. The only two disadvantages to going out with you both is that your infant carseat carrier takes up so much space in the cart while Forrest sits in the front, and Forrest is in a new phase of challenging Mama in the public to see what he can get away with. Fortunately, Mama is not frazzled by neither. Mama simply makes it work with shopping, which often means stockpiling things around your carseat carrier in the cart, and taking frequent top outs with Forrest...yes, even in the public! Mama got this. 

You are a cuddly little bug. You smile, laugh, and coo when you are talked to. You love being held, and cuddled. You definitely make it known that you do not like being put down on some days. You just want to be held, and fall asleep in Mama's or Daddy's arms. You enjoy watching Forrest play, and create a mess. You try so hard to track him with your eyes, and move your neck as Forrest whizzes by you. You laugh when Forrest interacts with you. The only time you fuss around him is when Forrest handles you a bit too roughly (usually slapping on top of your head, oh dear).

In less than a week, you will head back to meet with Dr. Staci to be fitted for a helmet! Mama is not really sure what to anticipate from this appointment. She thinks that there may be a head scan, and discussion about obtaining a helmet for you.

Dave thinks that once you have a helmet, you should be able to favor less to your right, and be able to turn your head to the left while laying down. You are able to turn your head freely, and without much problem when you are sitting up with assistance. However, when you are laying down, you tend to favor your right, and rarely move your head. Dave suspects it is because you have a flat spot on your head, and it makes it harder for you to turn your head. With the  helmet to round your head out, he hypothesizes that you should be able to move your head while laying down. With having said this, it will skyrocket you to great leaps, and bounds in term of improvement with neck strengthening PT.

So, dear Frankie, let's hope that it will be an accurate hypothesis, and that you will be able to move your head more often while laying down with a helmet!

With the weather hopefully warming up around the corner ahead, Mama is looking forward to taking you, and Forrest out for walks, and watch you grow in your third month!

Mama, Daddy, & Forrest

Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter Doldrums

Why hello! I am sorry for a brief hiatus from blogging. The boys, and I took an impromptu trip down to my hometown for a week long visitation. It was a good trip; the boys behaved themselves extremely well in the car, and I could not be any prouder of them than I already was! I had anticipated them to act out a bit from being stuck in a moving vehicle for more than 2 hours. Nope. They did great both ways. 

I must admit that a part of reason why I didn't blog for awhile there was because I grew bored of same old around my home. Winter started to drag itself on. We all grew anxious to get out of the house, especially Forrest, who loved being outside all of the time. Unfortunately due to extreme cold, Forrest had to resign to staying inside, because I was unable to bring Frankie outside with us for a long period of time. 

My book challenge was going well. I finished 2 books out of the list...SLOW, I know, and it was just hard to be able to keep up with my favorite daily activities with fussy baby constantly wanting to be on me, along with Forrest acting up quite terribly. I can't blame them for being cranky, and bored. 

Spring cannot come any quicker, can it? 

February and March always seem to drag on. 

I am so anxious to start gardening. I am thinking about planting tomatoes once again, both Roma, and big fat tomatoes on the vine for canning. I also want to plant garlic bulbs, herbs, zucchini, and peppers. I look forward to farm market. It is usually hosted only a few blocks from our home! I can't wait to start wearing long flowy skirts, and baby wear Frankie as I take Forrest on for long walks around the neighborhood. 

Frankie is doing okay, in term of his wry neck, and we are still working on it. I feel like we are constantly taking a step forward only to take two steps backward. Frankie is doing well with the stretches, but I am not really seeing any progression. Perhaps I need to be patient, and ride it out. Stu, and I are discussing about taking Frankie to a chiropractor to straighten out his neck. We haven't made a final decision, though. 

Frankie will have his helmet fitting on March 2nd. I am not sure what to expect from that appointment? We will find out next week. 

Forrest is doing great. I won't lie though. He has been challenging. Forrest is my strong-willed child, and he has been testing me far more these days to elicit a reaction. I do my best not to fail by him, and guide him to properly channel his strong-willed nature. I recently read an amazing book called "Setting Limits for your Strong Willed Child", and it has been doing WONDERS in term of disciplining Forrest. I strongly suggest that book if you have a free-spirited child. However, there has been days when I anxiously count down to Forrest's bed time, and drink a glass of wine after he has gone to bed! This is other reason why I am so ready for bearable temperatures to return so we can tire out Forrest, and have him act out less! 

Life is definitely not boring with Forrest. 

I recently rejoined Post Crossing site. It is a FUN site where you send postcards to random selected people, and have people send you their postcards from all over in the world. The reason I joined again is because I want Forrest to learn about different countries! I stopped doing this a long time ago, because I got too busy with graduate school, work, and having kids. You should check it out--it's a fun site, and it's free to sign up. The only thing you have to buy is postcards, and stamps. Then you're off to send them! 

I promise that I will get better with blogging. I've been itching to do 7 on 7 photos again. So I will be doing that!! 

Hope all of you are doing well!! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Imagine That....I am 30!

I am 30. Can you imagine that? Well, yeah you probably can. Ha ha ha. Let me tell you, despite all the ribbing I get from my friends, Stu, and loved ones; I am pretty excited to be 30 years old, and to start a new decade of my life. I look forward to more stability, our growing family, and for some reason, I feel more like an adult now. Never mind that I am a mom of two boys, and I've been on my own since I was 22. 

My twenties was full of beautiful chaos. It had a lot of instability of ups, and downs. There was so many lessons I had learned. Some were more painful than others. But you know what C.S. Lewis say about pain, and experience? Experience: That most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. 

I definitely do feel that my 20s was all about personal growth, and becoming authentic myself. While I was mature for my age growing up, but it was more of an intellectual maturity than it was emotional. Looking back, I believe that emotional maturity, and growth had a lot to do with experience. The more experience we got, the wiser we became (hopefully).

I noticed that with every life change, people either came, or left from our lives. People were there to teach us how to become people we are meant to become. Sometimes, we had to learn how to embrace, or let them go. I nearly had lost some of my close friends, because we were going through different life stages, and could no longer relate to each other. Fortunately, our paths met up, became parallel, and we reconnected. Matter of fact, we became closer than ever. It enabled me to appreciate my friends, old and new, and to always let them know that they are special to me.

One of the growths I had learned from was losing one of my close friends that I met at Gallaudet. It hurt a lot to lose our friendship, yet it turned to be one of the best things that ever happened. The loss was necessary in order to propel me through a battlefield of facing my emotions...especially the negative ones. You see, I never liked to deal with negative emotions, and often repressed them. As result, I was stifled...stuck...and motionless. I grieved over that loss, got angry, then sad, and then, I accepted it.

That enabled me to face negative feelings, process them, and embrace them. I came out of the battlefield; slightly charred, yet stronger. I survived. I did not break. My world did not shatter. I lived. Oh wow.

This happened all while I was pregnant with Forrest. This pregnancy also changed my life. In a sense, being pregnant with Forrest saved my life. It slapped me awake into wanting to stay healthy. In order to take care of a growing baby inside me, I also had to take care of myself.

By the time, I had my second boy, FDR; he compounded that determination I had within myself to be healthy so I can be there for my boys, and not to have them feel responsible for my well-being. It was not their job to do that. It was mine. It was my job to take care of their well-being. They deserved to be kids, you know, which was something I had very little of growing up, due to my struggles with being Deaf in personal life, and in school, being the oldest caused me to feel very responsible for everybody, and having to grow up pretty quick in order to survive in the hearing world. Anyway, my boys taught me to not to take life so seriously, and to be a kid once in while! Becoming a mother also opened my eyes to how hard parenting was, and in itself, it made me appreciative of my parents.

My boys were a part of my process of learning to love myself, and other part was finally embracing my Deaf identity. I no longer felt ashamed about my Deafness. Attending Gallaudet university, being a part of the Deaf world, and meeting different Deaf people prompted my growth as a Deaf woman. I learned that there was no "one right way" to be Deaf. There was no specific set of characteristics to be a true Deaf person, and be automatically a part of the Deaf world. I was already a part of the Deaf world all along.

It was simple. I embraced myself. Suddenly, everything made sense. I became confident, assertive, and less afraid to take charge of things.

I am a Deaf woman. That is all I need to know. I am okay with being the way I am. My Deafness is not an embarrassment, a hindrance, an obstacle, or a condition to be "fixed" in order to belong somewhere. My Deafness is a gift. After all, it is what makes me...ME!

My relationship was also a huge learning curve in my 20s. Before Stu came along, I dated random guys, and did not really want a serious relationship. I was rather adamant that if a guy wanted to be in a serious relationship with me, then he had to learn sign language. Then Stu came along. We fell in love. He learned my language, imagine that, and that was when I knew he was the one for me. While I said that my boys, and my own self exploration led me to love myself, he was the one who loved me when I didn't, and I was really grateful to him for that.

We went through a lot as a couple, and as an individuals in the past 10 years. Some of the situations could have broken us up, because we were immature, and young. We could have handled some things better. We could have reacted to some situations better. Yada Yada, and Yada. We also went through a long distance relationship. It was a turning point in our lives, because we had to question whether we were right for each other long-term, due to us changing so much. Life experiences did that;  caused us to change, and find ourselves. It was not always easy. Love. Shakespeare once said, "The course of true love never did run smooth".

Fortunately, we came out of this stronger, and learned how to communicate better. We strove to better ourselves in order to create a stronger bond between ourselves. It was a part of reason why it took us a long time to tie the knot. We wanted to be a good team. We wanted to make sure that we were the right ones (we were, but we needed time to show us that) for each other. We needed to grow as an individual in some areas first. We were not perfect when we first got married, and love kept us together.

We still aren't perfect. We are imperfectly perfect for each other. We are still learning our roles as parents, as husband and wife, and always revising our roles in order to maintain a strong bond. We are firm believers that good parenting is a result of a good marriage. I feel pretty lucky to have Stu in my life. We balance, and keep each other grounded. We work well as a team. It is not saying that we are ALWAYS perfect, work together smoothly, and never have any issues. That is unrealistic. After all, we are only human beings. However, what makes us work so well is that we accept our mistakes, apologize, and move on.

Now I am older, I have more patience, and understanding to deal with harder moments in my life. Because that, I am calmer, and willing to roll with the punches. I hope that this model will teach my children to be the same. Or, maybe it is something they will have to learn on their own. Nonetheless, they will have a good start by seeing that in their parents.

I'm glad we waited as long as we did to marry, and have children. Everything falls into the place at just right time for the right reason. I look forward to having one or maybe two more kids in the brood in my 30s, and raising them to become fine people. I look forward to see what life has to bring to us. Frank Sintra said it perfectly when he said, "The Best is Yet to Come", because the best is coming. We already have had series of "best moments", and we will continue to have best moments.

There are so many defining moments in my 20s that prompted my personal growth such as losing Sweet Mama, Layla, and friends that meant so much to me. It does not only consist of sad moments, but of happy ones as well; meeting new people that became my good friends, earning my masters degree, being there for my best friends when they got married and start having babies of their own, marrying Stu, having my boys and watching them grow, watching my siblings marry, celebrating wonderful moments with family, and just loving life. Life is beautiful.

I look forward being authentic me in my 30s, and ... you know what, bring it on, the next 10 years!