Friday, July 24, 2020

Fiona is TEN Months Old

Dear Fiona, 

You are TEN MONTHS old. 

Holy Moly, you are in a double digits now, and your first birthday is rapidly approaching. Mama is already brainstorming the ideas for your first birthday celebration, CVID19 style, since it may not be safe for a gathering. Nonetheless, it does not mean that you should be cheated out of your special day. Mama is excited to have your birthday picture shoot set up! Much to Daddy's dismay, Mama is already sprouting off ideas for the family picture shoot. He smiles at her, and nods his head lovingly, then say, whatever you like, honey

Your day has finally arrived, and you cannot be contained anymore. You are a mobile baby! You are constantly on GO! You march on your hands and knee in a creeper style. You move so quickly. Mama puts you down in one spot, and in an instant, you're across the room! Mama has asked Daddy to pretty please build barn style gates to secure the exit ways, because she's always chasing after you. Your favorite spot is dog bowl dishes. Yuck. You just LOVE them for some reason, and splash in water. You are standing up with a help from anything that is within your reach, and you pull yourself up! In no time, you will start walking across the couch, or anything you're pulling yourself up on. Mama thinks you will be up and walking around, or shortly after your first birthday. After all, you do have three older brothers to keep up with! 


You are a great eater. You prefer fruits; you love strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, and bananas. Your favorite snack is guacamole! You do end up really messy, but that's okay as long as you are happy, and content. You eat with family three times a day, and have snacks in between if you get hungry, which isn't very often, and you've started drinking water out of a strawed sippy. You and your brothers appear to have mastered straws early on in your lives, which was just fine by Mama, because Mama does not like the spout kind of sippy cups anyway. 

Based on your last wellness check, you weighed 18 pounds, and measured at whooping 29 inches tall! Your next wellness check is scheduled a few days after your first birthday. This is an inconceivable thought. Mama is not quite ready for you to turn one just yet! Nonetheless, given your height, you no longer fit in your infant carrier anymore, and to be honest, it has been time for a while  anyway! With a ton of researching, and looking around for what fits your needs the best, Mama has decided to buy you Graco 4Ever DLX car seat, since it is the most recommended car seat on the market, and has features that Mama likes the best. The car seat has been installed, and secured with no problem. You, on other hand, are not too sure about your new car seat just yet! No worries, you will come to like it in time, especially with long road trips to visit our families. 

Mama has finally moved you out of her bedroom. The decision came to her rather abruptly, especially with you growing bigger, and standing up, which makes it unsafe for you to be sleeping on the insert part of the bassinet. Moving you to the bottom of the pack & play could be a feasible option. Unfortunately, it won't be too easy on Mama's back to pick you up from the bottom of the bassinet to nurse you during the night. Besides, your bedroom was too pretty not to be used. Putting away the pack  & play pen was not a hard part. Putting you down in your crib for the night was DEFINITELY the hard part. On the other hand, Mama has made up for this by cuddling with you in her bed every morning!

Mama grieved the thought of that chapter coming to a close with the pregnancy and newborn days. She knew that it was time to sell the baby bassinet that she used with Fox and you, and it was a bit of a daunting thought for her. The pack and play pen was put away for future use, since it still can be used for several more years. With you being her last, Mama knows that a lot of  your "firsts" will also be her "lasts"; while there is a lot of joy surrounding your development into becoming an amazing young person someday,  there is also some sadness in letting go of what Mama holds special in her heart, and it is such a juxtaposition. This only makes Mama cherish you even more! 


With you sleeping in the crib, you developed a routine pretty quick, and it was when Mama knew moving you into a crib was the right decision. You showed that you had 3-4 hours window of wake up in between of your naps from the time you get up in the morning, and between your morning nap and afternoon nap. Then you liked to start winding down for the day around 6:30 PM with a bath and a story. By 7 pm, you nursed before going to sleep, and you usually stay asleep until 4 am, and got up to nurse. Wake up for the day depended greatly on what was happening on the day. The wake up tended to happen between 7 to 8 am. Sometimes 8:30 on the weekends! 

You do enjoy your sleep, and sleep soundly as long as you stick to your routine. However, Mama notices if there is any disruption in your routine, then you tend to sleep poorly. So it is important to make sure you stick to your schedule. This come fall with school reopening, your schedule will change once again, but you will adjust as long as the family sticks to it. It may be tricky, because the school schedule may change fluidly, because of CVID19 outbreaks. It just means that it requires all of family to go with the flow. 


Having said this, you are currently going through 9 month sleep regression. This is not surprising, because so many new changes are happening in your life. You're crawling all of the sudden. You are standing up with pulling up. You are becoming more cognizant of what is happening around you. You are chewing on everything like crazy. Maybe a tooth is on the horizon? Naturally this is causing you to be a bit more wired, and it is fueling your midnight party! As tired as Mama is, she knows that regressions don't usually last more than a month, and you should be able to go back to your normal sleeping pattern. In the meanwhile, Mama suppose she will have to rely on coffee, and late night movie showing with you! 


You are still nursing on demand. With eating food in the place, you are showing a pattern with nursing, and it is right on the track. You nurse between 6-8 times in 24 hours. Sometimes more if you are feeling unwell. Mama has a goal to nurse you until your first birthday, then continue into your second year until your second birthday. She has a hope that extended nursing will work out for both you and her, but also has no expectation to continue if you prefer to stop before then. After all, World Health Organization sees real benefits in nursing until toddler's second birthday, especially with CVID19 still surging around the world and in US, and you would benefit from the antibodies found inside the breastmilk. 

You recently met with the EI (early intervention) team to see if you were eligible. It was definitely an interesting experience to have everybody wear masks inside their home, and it was done for everybody's safety. You grew a bit overwhelmed by the sight of people with their faces half covered, and in time, that sensation passed for you. Your evaluation proved that you did need speech intervention, because you were not at where you should have been at your age. Mama and Daddy were not worried, because they did expect to hear this news, and they were relieved that you were able to get in sooner instead of later. They were also glad to be so familiar with the team members, because it meant nothing was new or unexpected for your journey with speech. With your speech being delayed, you showed that you were on time or ahead with other developmental markers. The team agreed to meet twice a month to work with you! 


There is still no sign of tooth. However, you've been chewing like crazy, and chomping on anything you can bring to your mouth. Thank goodness for Dottie the Roomba! It cleans up whatever mess is left behind, and there is less risk of you putting anything foreign into your mouth. You sure LIKE putting stuff in your mouth, much to Mama's dismay! Goodness. You do enjoy chewing on Otis's toys though. That can't be stopped! Nonetheless, a tooth will happen when you're good and ready. 

Mama and Daddy are excited to see what month 10 will bring to you, darling Fiona, and you are so loved by all of your brothers. 


Mama, Daddy, Forrest, Franklin, and Fox

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Case of Jitters #8

It has been a while since I last posted about CVID19. It is for a couple reasons. I have been busy. I'm in midst of potty training Fox. First it is our puppy, and now it is Fox's turn. It has been keeping me rather busy. Not just that I have to focus on, I also am dealing with other three kids, and trying to make much out of our summer. I try not to get down about the fact that our summer has not been "exciting" for the lack of a better term. We are not able to go on a vacation. We are not able to randomly drop in a store to shop. We can't just "stop" by at anyone's house unannounced. Everything has to be pre-planned. We have to weigh risks and benefits. 

Then truth to be told, it is depressing to deal with the fallout surrounding CVID19. Every time I post something political regarding CVID19, there is bound that someone will have a differing opinion, and it sometimes can lead to an argument on my post. Not just my post, but everywhere on social media, really. It is tiring to see people fighting over differences in opinions. I don't understand how hard it is to mask up, wash hands, and social distance as much as possible. Don't host graduation parties. Don't throw a BBQ cook out. I am starting to be personally affected by CVID19, because I am seeing people I care about getting a positive test result. It leads me to worry about their health. They all tell me that it is not worth it to attend parties, or not mask up. I feel sad that they have to deal with CVID19, and pray that they recover fairly quick. 

I get tired of reading news about how our administration is dealing with this or that. It has been a series of poor decisions, and it's depressing. Where I live is so entrenched in the anti-mask culture. Fortunately, I'd say my circle of people are pretty good with staying on the same page about masks, and be smart about this. Unfortunately, there are people in our community that thinks it's like flu, and people recover no problem. This leads to my sense of conflict about the upcoming school year. 

Yes, I am married to a principal. I've seen how hard my husband has been working to try implement the best action of course to protect all of the students, and staff. I've seen the plan personally, and think it looks great. However, I worry about those folks who will send their children to school with symptoms, because they may not be able to afford to stay at home with their kid because of the job inequity or fear of loss for their income or the lack of childcare, or think that this whole thing is not as serious as it is. I have more questions than I do for the answers. 

How will the staff be protected? Are they required to mask up? What if they end up being symptomatic? Who will be able to step in, and substitute for them while they're quarantined? How do one knows that the county cases is high enough to warrant a hybrid plan, or go virtual? Should I send my kids to school while knowing that there's a country fair happening during the same week as school? Is it worth sending my kids to school for maybe 1-2 weeks, then be told that they have to stay at home, because there is an outbreak as a result? If we do go virtual, then what will the education look like? Am I responsible again to teach my kids? Should I prepare my kids for the possibility of abrupt change of schools closing once again for virtual learning? How are the schools going around with this? 

There is so much unknown. I can't get a straight answer from my husband, because he doesn't know either. He is trying. The administration is trying. They are working their butts off to try assure their staff, and students' parents. They all shared the same concerns as rest of us did. But no one seemingly have an answer. It is a clear cut case of "Damned if I do, Damned if I don't". 

Every year ever since my oldest began school, I looked forward to the end of the summer, because it had always been a ritualistic thing for me. I loved the change in the air. You know the right mixture of warm sunlight with crisp cool air. The smell of leaves changing. The perfect time to begin harvesting my garden of its bounty. I loved scouring online to buy school supplies, brand new school outfits, shoes, backpacks, and organizing them to get them all ready for the school year. I looked forward to our yearly school pictures, the daily routine, and the holidays. Yes, it always had been my favorite time of the year. 

However, this year? I am left with a lot of uncertainty. Should I buy school supplies? Wait, there is none released by our school district yet. I want to shop! But should I invest my money in them if we are left in the lurch of unknown? Should I reuse the backpacks from last year, because what's the point of buying new backpacks to have them just hang on our coat rack everyday. Should I buy nice new school clothes? Or just invest in gym pants and t-shirts, because we will be sitting at home doing virtual learning? What kind of supplies should I invest in for virtual learning? Hybrid learning? I don't even have any answers. When I ask other parents, they all are in the same boat as I am. 

There is so much of should's, and what if's. What is the right thing to do? It is really difficult, and I hate having to think this way half way in summer. I am a planner. I need to know. I need to be prepared. I don't like not being prepared, and not knowing. In a way, I am grieving for the loss of familiarity that comes with every new school year. I find that I want to fast forward to the next academic year with all clear cut expectations of what will happen. I pray that by next year, we will have a cure for CVID19 (there has been a promising discovery with a vaccine, which I am hoping will be successful). 

I feel guilty for not being excited for this school year. It's our third son's first time entering school as a 3K student, and I should be excited for him, but I am not. I am really worried about sending him. I am worried about what will happen, and how to prepare for the outbreak. What happens when schools need to go virtual, then what will happen to him? How will we continue with his speech, and social learning? His attention span is just like any other 3 year old. I can't imagine him looking at the screen for 20 minutes without wanting to run off, and play. Am I responsible to teach him then? How do I juggle that with raising my almost year old baby, who still very much need me. My older two are fortunately more self reliant, and can keep themselves busy for a certain period of time, but my 3 year old child can't. What am I supposed to do? Again, it's a case of damned if I do, damned if I don't. 

It's so difficult. I hate this.