Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crib to Toddler Bed, part 1

Milestones are giant mountains for us. Dragging Snugglebug to and over a milestone can be a frustrating process. The advice of so many to not worry about a milestone is completely false when you have a neuro-atypical child.

If I had waited for my son to speak and never enrolled him in speech therapy, he would still be squealing, and certainly, not talking and putting two words together. I could go down the list just like this for each and every milestone between birth and now, but that would be monotonous. You can just read past blog postings.

The current milestones are no less mountainous. Moving from a crib to toddler bed has been more than a little frustrating. Potty training has been disastrous thus far. And the transition to summer school was a complete failure.

We attempted moving from crib to toddler bed in the spring. We have one of those awesome convertible cribs and took apart the front portion to turn it into a toddler bed. It was a momentous occasion. I was nervous with his sleep issues, but with him crawling out of the crib, I knew it was time.

I spent every night for the next three weeks battling him to keep him in bed. For three hours every night from 7pm to 10 pm. He would crawl out of bed and come down the hall. I would pick him up and put him back in bed. I followed all of Supernanny's rules. I didn't say a word. No kisses. No hugs. Just back to bed. At 10pm, he would finally fall asleep. And, so would I . . . from complete exhaustion. We would repeat this process at 2 or 3 am for an hour or so.

I was not a happy camper. When my alarm went off at 6am, I had no desire to see dawn break. In fact, I wanted to sleep all day.

I would stumble out of my room, half asleep, and literally trip over my son who would be sleeping somewhere in the floor. We found him sleeping in the kitchen, using the step stool as a pillow, in the hallway outside his room, in the walkway between our room and the kitchen, in the floor of his room next to his bed, and leaning against his doorway of his room (yes, standing but sound asleep).

My Facebook friends found it quite entertaining to see where I would find him each day. I wasn't quite so entertained.

A little research later and I found a store that carried a Crib Tent and new plan was born. After three weeks, I threw in the towel, put the crib back together, and put a crib tent over the top. He was trapped, and I could get some sleep.

This story would be continued but at a later date...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blessings In Disguise, Part 1

We all know the adage about viewing a glass as either half full or half empty. The jest of the adage is that we can see what is front of us as a blessing or as curse.

A recent glass half full blessing was presented to me as I suffered from a horrible asthma attack. My floors took revenge on me and after scrubbing every nook and cranny, the fumes overwhelmed me and I couldn't breathe. My husband took me to the doctor where I was given a steroid shot, a breathing treatment and a chest x-ray. The doctor scratched his head not really understanding why I had such a sudden reaction when I've never had such a reaction.

Later, I saw my primary car physician and discussed it all at length with her. I had 24 hours to think about it. Being a holiday, the first doctor was at the fantastic CareNow facility. As I sat with my doctor, I outlined breathing issues that I have had my entire life and that as a rule I stay away from strong chemicals. She concluded that I have had asthma my entire life but never had an issue because I learned my triggers and stayed away from them.

She sent me home with a nebulizer and breathing treatments. And I spent the rest of the week and part of the next laying around the house, watching TV and napping when Snugglebug napped.

I could easily view this is a glass half empty and moan and groan about my new diagnosis of asthma, but instead I see it as a blessing in disguise. I would have never known that I had asthma and needed to be especially careful in certain situations if I had not had this asthma attack. I, now, have an inhaler in my purse and know the symptoms of an asthma attack and when to use the inhaler. Interestingly enough, I have had these symptoms in the past, especially around cigarette smoke but the situation always corrected itself after I removed myself from the carcinogen.

I've also never been able to run or jog because I would start wheezing and coughing. This was always so disappointing because I was told this was my fault for not breathing correctly. Really! I didn't realize one needed to take a class to learn how to breathe. I thought it was automatic. Either you did or you didn't! Nevertheless, I took the blame. Now, I know the problem wasn't my lack of understanding of breathing but asthma. And, now, I can treat it.

On my bucket list is a half marathon. With this new diagnosis, I believe I actually have a shot at being able to breathe for the entire 13 miles, not to mention all the miles involved in training.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One of Many Differences Between Boys and Girls

Snugglebug snuck out of bed after I tucked him in and loaded his bed up with his favorite Matchbox cars. I believe I would not be wrong in saying that girls sleep with their stuffed animals and baby dolls, but boys sleep with their cars and trucks.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Economy: A Layman's Perspective

While the news media, politicians, and the President are telling us the economy is improving, I'm having a difficult time seeing it from where I am sitting in the great state of Texas. Allow me to explain from my position as an untrained economist.

Every week someone from my friends list on Facebook announces a job loss. Sometimes, the spouse is able to pick up extra hours and make up the difference. Other times, they have a trade that allows them to quickly find a new job. But, many remain out of work. It has almost become an unspoken rule that if you run across a job (that you will not be applying for) that you share it with your friends on Facebook. Unfortunately, the job posts are as rare as the job loss announcements are common.

With each out of work person, the family must cut the budget to meet the new income level. Contrary to the news media's analysis, this doesn't make for a recovering economy. How do I know this? I am by no means a trained economist. But, experience can be a great teacher.

We learned yesterday that my husband lost one of his jobs. Yes, he works more than one. When you have a special needs child, the medical bills are insurmountable. I'm not at liberty to go into the amount of bills my son accumulates each year but to give you a hint he is three years old and just had his fourth major surgery. He will have his fifth surgery by year's end.

With the loss of one job means the loss of a third of our income. We must cut our household budget by one third. We were not living extravagantly but definitely did not have a tight budget. With the loss of salary, there will be no more eating out, no more movies, no more lattes, no books, no crafting supplies, no more driving that is not absolutely necessary, no more cookies and ice cream in the grocery cart, and I will return to the use of coupons to save every penny possible. My trusted travel companion, my SUV, will remain parked in the driveway. We can't afford to fill the tank with today's gas prices approaching $4 a gallon. Instead, my husband and I will share the economy car.

Now, here's your challenge: How many retailers will be hit by our job loss? How much money will no longer be added to the local economy? And to add to your numbers, my husband wasn't the only one laid off his job. There were others. So, add their income, budget cuts, and the retailers affected to the list.

We know numerous teachers have lost their jobs due to school districts cutting their budgets. We also know that Blockbuster (a distributor is in our area) laid off a lot of employees recently. We were enjoying Chili's burgers recently when half the restaurant was filled with employees who lost their jobs that very day. They were "celebrating" life one last time before going home to cut their budgets to their new income level. How many retailers were affected by the jobs lost at Blockbuster alone?

Despite the push to blame the business owner, large or small, for not hiring workers and for laying them off. The true blame should be placed on government as a whole. Budget talks are going on right now on Capital Hill and to no avail. My husband and I cut all non-essentials from our budgets when income drops. Capital Hill must do the same. I can name numerous budget items in the city that employs my husband that should have been cut from the budget as non-essential items. I mean, really, do we need a brand new bridge that runs parallel to an existing bridge with no problems whatsoever. According to the city, we do. Why? Because the old bridge isn't pretty and the new one will be. I could go on and on just about this one city. In the end, they cut my husband's salary and all the other city employees' salaries by five percent and gave them unpaid days off. I rather doubt one bridge will add as much stimulus to the economy as thousands of employees in the city.

I'm sure there are many more examples nationwide and on Capital Hill. When government cuts the non-essentials out of their budgets, then maybe we can add the non-essentials back into our budget thus boosting the economy.