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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Value of Good Health

We all take our health for granted. I'm certainly not alone in this. Last week, as they stuck me with an IV so I could have a routine colonoscopy, I realized how lucky I am that I'm healthy because I'm such a freak in any kind of health care facility, I don't think I could handle real illness.
I developed hives later that night that I tried to deny because I don't want to accept I might be allergic to anesthesia. What if I need anesthesia for some kind of health care reason in the near future? I could deny it all I wanted, in the end I had to take a benedryl and the itching stopped.

A week later, there's a lump on the top of my foot. I googled lump of top of foot and found various answers from routine swelling to cancer. I made an appointment with a podiatrist but I'm scared. Seems like motherhood coupled with my own mother's health issues has turned me into a complete hypochondriac.

I wasn't the least bit worried today with Elena's one year pediatrician appointment. No, my focus was primarily on myself. Then came the usual developmental questions and as I answered them, I could see the levity leave the room. No doctor, she's not saying "mama, dada or baba yet. She's not saying much of anything but she babbles." "No, she hasn't developed the pincer grasp yet, she kind of fists food into her mouth but it has improved greatly." "She just started standing up in her crib and has only taken a step or two with her walker."

Big deal, right? Kids develop at the their own rate, don't they. The doctor didn't seem to agree with me and suggested she be evaluated for developmental delay. As I'm the sister of an autistic brother, I admit to some paranoia in this area. I wish she were saying words but I've comforted myself with the fact that Eliza didn't speak at this age either. She had entire conversations with everyone, you just couldn't understand them.

I didn't take the information and the doctor thought it best to hold off on the MMR shot. As I put Elena into the car, convinced all is well with my baby, I became frustrated yet again with her inability to hold her own bottle. Eliza held her bottle at three months. Eliza stood up in her crib at five months. Eliza mastered her pincer grasp at nine months and was feeding herself with little assistance by a year. The only thing she wasn't doing was speaking intelligible words but what she was doing was reactive, conversational, interactive. Elena grins, she looks around, she babbles, sometimes she repeats the sounds we make.

I am not ready to have her evaluated as I think it's too early to diagnose her. I don't believe Billy could have been accurately diagnosed at this age though the "experts" would disagree. Tough shit, I know him, lived with him, experienced him. They didn't.

So I know Elena, live with her, experience her. What do I think? I'm so paranoid in this area, I feel that I've lost my objectivity. She is definitely behind Eliza in every capacity and not just by a few weeks.

I hope my foot is okay and I look at my gorgeous younger daughter and I tell myself, it doesn't really matter, I love her regardless of whatever flaws she might have.

But will everyone else?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Elena, the toddler years

Baby Elena officially turned one last week officially crossing me over from mother of one baby to mother of two small children. As with any milestone, the celebration is mildly bittersweet. I enjoyed all of last week with my girls, but I'm saddened by the passing of time. I had so much going on last week that I didn't have enough time to drink in the moment and just savor my girls. I hope to do that this week.

We started over the weekend with a party at Karinna's that included most of the kids who go there on a regular basis. They had a great day and I really enjoyed seeing these kids, that I've known closely for four years now, have fun. We had wonderful weather and the kids played outside for most of the party, foreshadowing what we all hope to be a wonderful summer.

On Sunday, I had to leave the girls with my mother and prepare for a routine colonoscopy by ingesting the lovely pills I now call Colon blow. What accompanies middle age and a family history of colon cancer are icky nights like that one that the less said about, the better. But I lost two days of last week between the prep and the aftermath of the anesthesia after the procedure. Apparently I'm allergic.

Life didn't get back to normal until Tuesday when I survived a job interview for a job that wouldn't pay me more than a babysitter. Then I had various errands, driving around it seemed forever followed by dinner, bed or Elena and then Eliza and I making mini-cupcakes together for her class to celebrate Elena's actual birthday the following day. I'm a bit of a neat freak and don't enjoy cooking with Eliza because of the mess but we had fun that night. After she went to bed, I was up until midnight, making the icing and decorating the dining room for our birthday celebration.

Elena's birthday was lovely, wonderful and very, very happy. It was low-key and yet still busy. When we arrived at Eliza's school for party time, I found Eliza's teacher waiting at the door for me. She helped me carry in the cupcakes, doughnuts and juice and I was greeted by 15 happy kids all waiting to celebrate my lovely little girl. Elena sat in one of the toddler chairs like a big girl and thoroughly enjoyed her cupcake and doughnut. Afterwards the kids swarmed around her, closing in on her like predators, patting her head, touching her arm, tugging her foot. Elena was a little freaked out but did not cry. The teacher ordered the kids back and then had led them in two songs they'd practiced just to sing to my daughter who totally loved the attention.

It really was a wonderful party for her. The rest of the afternoon was fairly normal with Eliza in ballet class and Elena enjoying her afternoon powernap. My mother brought over home made cavatellis, the traditional birthday dinner in our family. Elena loved the new food. Then my father and his wife and my friend Michelle came by for cup cakes and gift giving. Elena really seemed to enjoy her new toys, especially the Fisher Price retro TV/music box I gave her.
Everyone was having so much fun, I had to kick them out around nine so I could get my girls to bed. I didn't even get a chance to read Elena the new book I gotten her entitled "Good night Beach" but I knew I'd have plenty opportunities for that.

That opportunity came up on Thursday, a nice low-key day. Friday was a whirlwind with my suddenly working in New York two hours earlier than expected. I had to race up with Eliza who was scheduled to spend the weekend with her Dad. I had a great day at work on Friday, then enjoyed Saturday morning with a friend in the city. Then it was back to NJ, back to my mother's to pick up Elena who'd had a great time but seemed very happy to return to our happy home.

I hope more work is on the horizon now that "White Collar" is back to shooting. I might also be taking in a roommate to help us survive in this apartment this summer. All in all, I've no complaints and I'm really looking forward to what's ahead of us.

And now that she's a toddler, Elena is already starting to act like one, fighting back at bedtime by standing in her crib, screaming until I come to scoop her out. Just like that, my baby's one.