Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A new look

As many know, I'm a pediatric speech language pathologist. I work with kiddos all day, helping them say their first word, develop their language skills, find a functional way to communicate, helping them pronounce their sounds, helping them expand their food repertoire, helping them eat/swallow safely, etc. etc. I work with neurotypical kids, ASD, chromosomal abnormalities, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, etc.  I do this from my first patient (usually 8 am) until my last patient leaves (around 5 pm) with an hour for lunch, Monday through Thursday, year round. Some days, I have tough kids that are physically and emotionally draining. I have a lot of respect for my families, who have their child and work with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I see just a snip-it of them, for an hour, up to 3 times a week.  Some days can be exhausting.

I've always prided myself in the patience I have. I can wait out my screaming kiddo who has fallen to the floor and is kicking the wall (or me) because of a demand I have placed on them. I keep a calm, but firm, voice throughout my sessions. A kicking/hitting/screaming/scratching/crying kid does not phase me. (Except spitting, unless it's a feeder, that I don't tolerate and you will clean/help me clean it up off the floor/table)

Before Gavin was born, I was very well rested. Hunter has always been a great sleeper. We had a great night time routine and I did not feel rushed. I came home happy and enjoyed listening to Hunter and it never (almost never) bothered the constant questions.  I was coming home to a child who was typically developing, responded well to my indirect articulation therapy, and who does things that the kids I work with work so hard to do.  We are blessed.

Once Gavin was born, and I was back to work, I was running on limited hours of sleep. It wouldn't have been so bad if it were straight hours, but we all know babies wake up multiple times a night.  I was exhausted (as was Carl).

I have to be on my A-Game at work, all the time. I can't let my exhaustion show to my patients and their families and I certainly can't let that impact the therapy I provide.  But by the end of the day I was done. I would pick Hunter up from school and some days hope he was in a "I don't feel like talking to you on the way home mood."  This never worked out in my favor, of course.  He wanted to talk the days I just needed a quite ride home and didn't want to talk when I would have loved to hear about his day.  I was getting angry with him over the smallest things and snapping at the drop of a hat.  Who was this person?! I was getting mad at him for asking me questions that I should be so excited he was developing in his brain.

I was working with other people's children all day and having to come home to mine and still be mommy.  Was I working with the wrong population?  Should I work in geriatrics? I did not get the joy out of working with adults as I did with kids, but maybe I needed to do that while I had little ones at home. Maybe I would come home refreshed after not having had to have single-sided conversations most of the day. But then again, depending on the setting, I might be bringing home a different kind of emotion.  One of loss.

I've really had to re-evaluate the way I look at my job and the kids I come home to every night. I work with some tough kids, yes, but I've helped their families help their children do some pretty amazing things. I get to come home to two beautiful, healthy, typically developing kids. Hunter doesn't have to try super hard to understand concepts, form sentences, express his wants/needs/ideas. It comes so naturally. Gavin isn't a quiet baby, he socially smiles, is interacting with us, and showing us that, as of right now, he is typically developing. A lot of my families don't get to go home to that. They go home to a constant struggle to know what their child wants/needs/feels, juggling school and multiple therapy sessions.

I don't know how to put into words the motto I have, but it has really changed the level of stress I have. I go to work and give my patients all I have. I feel happy with them and really celebrate the small gains.  I work with them the way I would want a therapist to work with my children and get excited over things that I would want a therapist to get excited about for my children. I come home and give the boys all I have. I celebrate all their victories. I feel like a different person these last few weeks. I feel content and know I'm in the right place. Pediatrics is where I am supposed to be.
Mommy me

SLP me

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gavin is 7 months

Gavin is growing like a weed!  If I weren't totally against the boys playing football, Gavin could definitely be a line backer!  This child can put away some food.  I'm really scared what our house is going to be like when both boys are teenagers!

At 7 months....
-Gavin is sitting up unsupported.  He was doing this last month, but he has really perfected this.  He even caught himself with his arm as he was starting to fall to the side, and pushed himself back into a sit.  We have been working through the motions of going from side laying to sitting.
-Is trying to crawl.  We can move backwards (it's nothing pretty) and turn ourselves in a circle.  He is finally getting the concept of pulling his knees up under him.  However, we still aren't really rolling.  He has done it, I know he can do it.  Now our arm is getting stuck out to the side every time we try to roll.  This creates a problem in the middle of the night when he wants to be on his back.  He is now back to being put on his back to sleep.
-He is giving high-fives when requested and is so proud of himself.
-He can wave hi/bye, but he is not consistently responding to these greetings.  I'd say it is probably 60% of the time.
-He is playing peek-a-boo.  He will intentionally cover his face and wait for someone to ask, "Where's Gavin?" and he pulls the item down.
-He is sleeping through the night.  Woohoo.  Sometimes he will whine for a few minutes, but goes back to sleep.  If he wakes up at 4:00, we are able to stay in our room and he talks himself back to sleep (within 10-15 minutes).  Then he wakes up at 5:00/5:30 and we feed him.  He typically goes back to sleep for a little while after this feeding.
*After writing this draft, he started waking up in the middle of the night screaming.  This is why I don't write about good sleep with Gavin... EVER*
-He has a pretty good routine going.  While home on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday he will take a nice morning nap and a nice afternoon nap with 2-3 cat naps at some point during the day.  Fridays are tricky because of Hunter's drop off.  Gavin has been wanting to go down for a nap 10 minutes before we have to leave.
-Like I said, the kid can put away some food!  He loves his purees and I've been making it less smooth so he is really having to practice his skills.  He is also eating the Gerber sticks.  He is really getting the bite and munching down.  As he gets more proficient, I will start introducing more table foods.  I've given him pieces of banana and he's been pretty successful with those.
-He's still in 12 month clothing.  I've had to change the rise on some of his diapers (his cloth diapers grow with him).
-He loves blowing raspberries!  And he is trying to imitate "buhbuh" (what we call Hunter).  He really watches our mouths as we repeat CVCV words (buhbuh, mama, dada, etc.).
-He is beginning to mellow out.  He continues to be high maintenance, but is able to go longer periods of time without having to have one of us right there with him.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What We've Been Up To

This time of year always feels so busy to me!  It's back to school time, work evaluations seem to pick up when school physicals have been completed, it's birthday party season, and so much more.

Hunter started in the 4 year old preschool class at the same school he has been attending since he turned 3.  We absolutely love it there!  It is very rare that he ever clings to me (usually when the train table isn't set up, lol) and he always has so much to bring home and share. He amazes me every day with something new.  He will start a soccer shots program and a golf program at school, 1 day a week for 6 weeks. Carl and I would like to expose him to all the sports (except football, he will really have to beg me to play that) and let him pick the one he likes the most.  He will also start his sports skills class at The Little Gym this season.  He has been looking forward to that since I started back at work.  Soon he will also start feeding therapy at my work.  I can get other people's children to eat (that's what I love doing at work) but I cannot get my own child to eat.  I need someone else to look at him and help me develop a home program to get him moving.  I can't get him past the "lick it" stage.

Gavin has started with Miss Jessica 4 days a week and he is having a great time.  We love Jess!  He gets lots of loving over there and is entertained by Jessica's son.  Again, I have not worried at all about him while I'm at work and I love that feeling.  He is eating solids 3 times a day during the week and we try to give him solids every feeding on the weekends.  He is now eating Gerber sticks (like puffs, but they can be picked up and held easier) and has really gotten the hang of biting and munching.

Nothing new with Carl or myself really.  I've taken on another student at work.  So far (day one) she seems super sweet and great.  A really great thing is she didn't try to take a nap in my office on her first day!  That really did happen with my first student.  You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

And.... Ashley finally made her big announcement, so I had to include it here!  She has started her own therapy business!  I am so excited for her!  Check out her business website and pass the information along to your friends.  She is especially amazing with kiddos with ASD.  She would certainly be my child's therapist if we ever had a diagnosis of ASD (well, and if we weren't friends, this creates a conflict of interest).

Just some pictures of other things we've been up to...

About a month ago we met my family at the park to have one last big get together with the cousins before my brother's family moved to CA.

All 9 cousins

We had a birthday party and a fun Labor Day party this past weekend...

Gavin's Dermatology Appointment

We went for Gavin's dermatology appointment last week.  His skin was actually looking so much better and was so soft compared to what it had been (a few of our friends actually commented on how good it was looking) and I was worried the doctor would think we were crazy for bringing him in.  His skin still had some rough spots, it just wasn't covering his body.

We discussed all the things we were using at home (wash/soap, lotion, topical creams, laundry detergent, etc.) and what we felt made it better/worse.  The dermatologist told us that yes, his skin was looking pretty good, but we could get it under even better control.

We were told to stop using goat's milk soap as it still can dry the skin and start using either Aveeno, CeraVe, or one other one.  Since we are already using CeraVe lotion, she suggested getting the body wash as well.  We were given a stronger prescription for a hydrocortisone cream with valerate and then another prescription for the yeast that was growing in his creases.  We were given descriptions of yeast versus eczema and when to use which cream.  We are to lotion him up 5-6 times a day (that's pretty difficult!).

It has been a week and I'm a terrible mother and have not gotten those prescriptions filled!  We go to a mom-and-pop pharmacy out in a different part of our city and I just haven't been able to make it out that way.  I will pass by it tomorrow, so I will drop the scripts off and pick them up while out there!  We have a hydrocortisone cream still here that I use 2x daily and it is doing a decent job at controlling it for now.

Eczema can be impacted by weather, moisture, stress levels (I had no idea), foods, etc. etc.  Carl and I thought that the decrease in his formula had helped his skin, which it may have, but the weather last week was also very mild.  This week it has been really hot and spots on his legs have popped up.  It still isn't what it was, so I still believe that the reduction in formula is part of it with an increase in real food.  The dermatologist stated that there isn't one "fix it" but it will be a combination of things that manage it.

We are hoping he will eventually outgrow this, but if he doesn't, we could be dealing with worse things.