Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Lesson

Being too dependent on others almost cost me Naama tonight.

Just because I have Cerebral Palsy, I depend too much on Mary Poppins or my husband to keep an eye on Naama when we are in public places. After all, they can run after Naama faster than me if they have to, so I figured I don’t have to watch her so carefully…what a fool I am!  I am Naama’s mother. I am responsible for her always and forever, disabled or not!

 Tonight, Mary Poppins, Naama and I were at the mall buying Naama rain boots.
Naama was walking around the store in her new boots.
With my back to Mary Poppins and Naama, I said “I’ll go pay.”
Not even a minute later, while I was still rummaging around in my wallet, I hear Mary Poppins ask “where’s Naama?”
“I don’t know,” I said as I turned to the left to look for Naama.

At that moment I heard a woman behind me say “there’s a little girl here…”
“Yes.” I said, thinking that Mary Poppins for sure heard the woman and took Naama from her. I was so sure Mary Poppins had Naama, I didn’t even turn around to check!

All of a sudden, I glanced out the window. Naama’s cream colored coat caught my eye against the night. Naama was standing outside right next to the curb of the busy mall parking lot! She turned to look back at me in the store at the same moment I saw her standing outside.

“NAAMA!!!!!!!” I screamed.

In total shock, I dropped my wallet and started running toward the entrance. Thankfully we were in the store right next to the entrance.
People say that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body. It’s so true. I always feel like there’s an invisible cord still connecting me and Naama. A cold fear ran through my body in the split second that I saw Naama standing outside so close to danger. This isn’t happening, I thought.

Mary Poppins heard my scream and ran ahead of me out of the mall entrance and grabbed Naama. On my way out right behind Mary Poppins, I glanced at the security guard standing at the entrance.
Some security guard! He didn’t even think to stop a toddler from walking out on her own! There weren’t that many people near the entrance at the time and I highly doubt he didn’t see her. He didn’t even react when I screamed and started running toward the entrance! I felt like punching him in his expressionless face, but getting angry wouldn’t have accomplished anything, so I let it go.

On the bus ride home, Mary Poppins apologized and explained she lost sight of Naama for a split second when she went rooting in her bag for a tissue. A split second is all it takes for a 2 year old to run outside in a flash. I was upset, but not with Mary Poppins. I was upset with myself. Why did I put so much trust into others just because I have Cerebral Palsy and can’t act as fast as an able-bodied person? Mary Poppins hugged me and apologized again.

I knelt next to Naama’s stroller and asked her why she ran outside without mommy or Mary Poppins.
“Abba boots,” she said.
Abba means father in Hebrew.
Naama ran outside because she wanted to show her new boots to her father even though she knew he didn’t come to the mall with us.
“You know you can’t run outside by yourself, right?
“You promise you won’t do it again?”

I’m not sure Naama really understood our conversation, but I let it go. She’s 2. How can she understand the consequences of such a dangerous action?
I'm sure this type of situation happens to countless parents and children. I feel like it's almost a right of passage that this happened. Now we can move on to the next trying experience of toddlerhood! 

Kidding aside, I’ve heard parents of older children say that when their child does something really dangerous, they spank their child so the child will associate pain with danger. I'm not so into that type of punishment/teaching a lesson. How do I teach a toddler that going outside on her own is very dangerous?

Monday, December 2, 2013

First time Bath

We are just 2 weeks short of Naama's 2nd birthday, and tonight I bathed Naama by myself for the first time! Guess you can say it's a Chanukah miracle since this happened on the 6th night of Chanukah.

I went into the bathroom with Naama and my husband so we could watch her sit on the potty before her bath. Naama decided peepee wasn't coming out, so she got up and walked to the bath. As usual, I turned to leave so my husband could bathe her.
"No! Mommy!"
I turned to face Naama. 
"What is it my love?"
"You want mommy to bathe you? ", asked my husband
"Yeah, mommy."
My husband and I exchanged surprised looks.
"OK", said my husband and he left the bathroom.

I have placed Naama in the bath before but I never bathed her. I guess I just never tried, since either my husband or Mary Poppins bathe her, so I figured if it ain't broke dont fix it, plus I was always a little nervous Naama may slip when she stands in the bath so her bottom half can be bathed, but apparently I don't give myself enough credit because I was totally fine bathing Naama.

I didn't actually intend to completely bathe Naama, but once I got started, I just kinda went with it, especially since my husband was still clearing the dinner dishes in the kitchen.
I knelt down by the bath's edge, soaped my hands and started to lather Naama's chest and arms. When I washed under her neck she broke out in giggles and looked at me so happily. I can't explain it, but in that moment, we connected. That bonding moment between mother and child is what I had been missing by not bathing her or just periodically hanging around as someone else bathed her. 

Naama laughed harder as I washed under her arms.

Hearing our laughter, my husband walked into the bathroom and asked incredulously, "you're bathing her? wow! go mommy! You're ok?? you can handle this?"
"Yes", I said.
My husband walked out of the bathroom

"Alright Naama, what do we wash next?" I asked.
She stuck out her leg for me to wash.
"Now it's tushy and private part time" I said.
This part I was a bit nervous about, because Naama had to stand up so I could soap her properly and I was afraid she would slip, but I had nothing to worry about. Naama stood up slowly and stood still as I washed her, guarding her back with my free hand.
I can't believe I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to stop Naama from slipping in the bath that I let my fear prevent me from bathing my own child for so long!
When Naama  was younger it was more of a concern, but now, washing her as she stood in her bath was as easy as a walk in the park! and even if she did slip, it's not like she couldn't have slipped when being bathed by my husband or Mary Poppins, in fact, she has slipped by both of them! Disabled people need to give themselves more credit.

Towards the end of the bath, my husband came in to take over so he could take her out and towel her off. As I got to my feet, Naama burst into tears.
She wanted me to take her out. I comforted her, telling her mommy was staying there with her and daddy was just going to take her out and towel her off. She continued to cry, but when she saw I wasn't going anywhere she calmed down.
Naama wanted me to put her moisturizing lotion on. It was such a warm feeling putting the lotion on my baby with her soft baby skin and small body parts.When I got to her back and tushy, my husband said "don't forget to kiss her yummy tushy!"
Apparently Naama was used to this routine because when she turned on her stomach, she thrust her tushy high into the air. It was so cute I couldn't help myself. I planted a big kiss on each smooth butt cheek.

Tonight, when Mary Poppins went to draw Naama’s bath as she usually does on Sunday and Tuesday nights, Naama looked at her, shook her head and said “No. Only mommy.”
Mary poppins and I looked at each other in surprise. Naama LOVES Mary Poppins. She must have made a mistake in pushing her away. Again I turned to leave so Mary Poppins could start the bath.
“No! Only Mommy!"
Ok I guess Naama wasn’t mistaken.
Mary Poppins looked at me questioningly. I filled her in on the first time I bathed Naama a few nights before.
“That’s great! You don’t need me then!”
I smiled and told her I’d prefer to have her around just in case.

I drew Naama’s bath and lifted her into the bath as Mary Poppins looked on.
“I’m very proud of you, said Mary Poppins.
“Thank you,” I smiled and began washing Naama.

To hear such praise from Mary Poppins was very special and meaningful. Mary Poppins began as a nanny when Naama was 4 months old, a time when I was nearly completely dependent on someone else for baby care. Mary Poppins took me under her wing, teaching me, encouraging me and strengthening me to care for my baby despite having Cerebral Palsy. Slowly but surely I reached this point, this moment where I am able to bathe my daughter on my own. A far cry from the helpless, useless mother I felt like as I watched Naama’s previous nannies lovingly bathe her as I only watched.

Tonight, Naama smiled shyly at me nearly the entire bath and she didn’t make a peep when I brushed out her knotted curls and rinsed her hair. Even when I accidentally poured water over her open eyes, Naama just kept smiling at me and Mary Poppins. It was like she knew my bathing her was irregular and something new for me, so she wanted to be on her best behavior.
“It’s so beautiful to see the two of you like this,” said Mary Poppins.
“I’m thrilled for you and not offended in the slightest that Naama prefers you over me. It’s the way it should be now”, she said.

Afterward, I wondered what triggered the change in Naama. I realized the week we spent together during Chanukah break from daycare made Naama feel much closer to me. We went to the park every day. We went for pizza and her first ice cream cone and we played games and did many activities at home, just the two of us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Victory Steps

I DID IT!!! I walked down the stairs with Naama! 

For awhile now, I have been able to walk up stairs with Naama as she held my hand, but walking down stairs with Naama is a whole different ball of wax as far as maintaining our balance is concerned.

Today, we were running late to daycare. The daycare lady can't leave the kids to help me down the stairs with Naama, so usually I run into a parent or I'll even ask someone off the street to take Naama down the 5 brick stairs, but no one was around. Truthfully, I was kind of relieved I didn't see anyone on the street, because when I ask for help, people don't seem to understand why I can't take the stroller down the stairs until I say I'm disabled and I hate explaining. I feel like wearing an explanatory sign around my neck which says I HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY. PLEASE HELP!! 

With no help available, I had to get Naama down the stairs on my own. Without thinking too much, I took Naama's diaper bag down the stairs. Once back up the stairs, I took Naama out of her stroller. Since I planned on walking side by side down the stairs with Naama, I held on to the side fence for stability and told Naama to take my other hand. 

"No mommy." 

Naama walked across from me, held on to the side fence with one hand and waited. I was a bit nervous because now I’d have to lead her down the stairs without having the fence in reach for stability, but I realized by getting in front of Naama and leading her down, I could get her down the stairs better than I initially planned on the opposite side, where I probably would’ve ended up pulling her arm down too much had we descended the stairs side by side. I wouldn’t have realized that if Naama hadn’t decided to walk to the other side of the stairs. Smart cookie my baby.

“Wait for mommy,” I said as I crossed to her and descended a few stairs ahead of her. I held on to the fence with one hand to make sure I was stable before leading Naama down. Naama saw this as an opportunity to try and jump into my arms. She got ready to propel herself into my arms.


Naama straightened up and followed my instructions.

“Take mommy’s hand and step down slowly,” I said.

Naama held on to the side fence with one hand, put her small hand in mine and took a step down. It worked! I was thrilled but didn’t let triumph overtake just yet. We still had a few more stairs to go.

“That’s it, take another step,” I encouraged.  Naama went down another step. When we reached the bottom, I just stood there, stunned. I can’t believe we just did that!! I felt like jumping up and down shouting WE DID IT WE DID IT!! but that would scare Naama and there was no one around to hear me anyway.

On my walk home, I felt so light, I could’ve flown home if I had wings. My whole world just changed with a few small steps.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Camp Mommy

This last week and a half, Naama and I have spent a lot of solo time together and it's been great!
She's still casted, but that hasn't stopped her for a minute! She's a little energizer bunny, crawling everywhere and recently toe walking with her cast. Every time I see her walk on her cast, I cringe, but she seems oblivious to the cast on her leg.

We've played with all her toys, built Lego towers and made all sorts of shapes out of play dough but I wanted her to have more outdoor time, so I've been taking her to the mini park in our apartment complex instead of taking her to the main playground. For one, there's shade in the mini park and two, I can handle putting Naama on and taking her off the toys there. Being able to spend time alone in the park with Naama is so liberating for me and makes me so happy. It's just us...and her teddy bear=) I sing her songs as she does the actions to the songs while swinging around in the carousel and the boat swing. 

Naama also loves the slide. The first time I put her on it, I supported her as she slid down, but the way I had my arm around her as she slid down was uncomfortable for both of us because as she slid down, my arm would catch her near her head. On our second run I realized Naama didn't need my help down the slide anymore. She's a big girl she can do it herself and she did... again and again and again. I happily lifted her back up the slide each time she looked at me with a her big blue eyes, a huge smile, and said "more"??

I feel so happy knowing that I put that smile on her face. Fun time with mommy, not fun time with mommy and someone else. I know it's silly to think this way, but that's how I feel. Being able to do these activities ALONE with Naama makes me feel whole, not disabled.

Naama and I would pass an hour in the park each day easily. Now instead of dreading walking Doggie knowing Naama wanted to play and I couldn't let her, I looked forward to our park time each day.

Yesterday, I braved the main playground with her. I haven't taken her there in a long time since she walked right out of the park a few months ago. I eventually caught her, but with cars flying down the road very often, that one incident was enough to keep me from taking her to the main playground on my own.

Since yesterday was Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, there were no cars on the street, so I wasn't afraid to take her to the playground, plus even if she tried walking out, how far was she really gonna get with a cast on her leg?

When we got to the park there weren't that many kids there, so Naama had free reign on the slides. Shortly after we arrived, my neighbor came with her kids. As soon as Naama saw my neighbor, she wanted her to take her from slide to slide. Naama refused to let me carry her or help her crawl up the slide! Smart cookie my Naama. She knows mommy's not 100% 

Eventually Naama warmed back up to me. At first I was nervous about being able to lift her high enough to reach the slide platform while maintaining my balance, but at barely 20 LBS, Naama is so light, I really didn't have to worry about that. I was very steady on my feet. Each time I lifted her it got easier. Naama was having so much fun crawling through the tube slide and sliding down the slides, I don't even think she remembered she had a cast on even though I reminded her several times to be careful. 

Soon more kids and parents arrived and eventually the park was packed. Ordinarily, I would've taken that as my cue to leave. I didn't think I could handle playing with Naama with so many kids around. All I needed was for one of them to knock into me as I was lifting or carrying her, and I was scared a kid may step on her cast, but Naama was having so much fun I didn't have the heart to take her away.

I'll just be extra careful.

Naama was so busy going from one thing to the next I didn't really have time to think, I only had time to do!
In the midst of all the other kids, I lifted, carried and slowly walked with Naama around the playground. I put her in line for the twisty slide and lifted her up again for another round. I was on my feet for over an hour! I was exhausted and parched. I forgot to bring water with me, so I quickly undid Naama's sippy cup and drank from there before going back to play.
At one point I thought WOW!! I cant believe it! Look at me here in the park with Naama together with all these kids. I can handle this! I NEVER thought I'd be able to accomplish such a thing!

When we went back home, I happily told my husband about my accomplishment and then let him take over Naama duty while I took some me time.

Today we went to both parks again. When it was time for Naama's nap, I got a bit nervous because I didn't have anyone to help me put her in her crib for a nap and after falling with her when she resisted me once before, I have always had my husband or a neighbor around for a few minutes just to put her in her crib after I nurse her, but no one was available today. I have put Naama down successfully before, but not often, so I wasn't confident, but figured I'd deal, even if it meant holding Naama for an hour as she napped.

Naama was wiped from the park, so it didn't take her long to fall asleep. I shifted Naama so we were chest to chest and I slowly got out of the rocking chair. Naama gave a small cry and tightened her grip around my neck, which actually made it easier to lift her as I stood up. Thankful that she is so light, I slowly walked the few steps over to her crib and lay her down softly. The trick is to put her in her crib while she's at least half asleep, that way she's too tired to resist me=)

With a proud smile, I covered my sleeping baby and walked out of her room. 

Naama starts a new daycare this week. I'm happy my social butterfly will get to interact with other kids, but I'll miss our mornings in the park.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My little champion

Naama was cranky last Sunday, but wanted to go to daycare. I sent her, telling the daycare lady to let me know if anything seemed weird. A few hours later, I had just returned from a grueling physical therapy session. I was tired and really hungry. As I walked in the door, I got a call from the daycare that Naama couldn't walk at all. I could hear Naama crying hysterically in the background. I ran over to the daycare, thankful that it's right near my house. 

When I got there, Naama was sitting quietly in a bouncy chair. Naama tried walking to me, took 2 shaky steps and fell. It was heart breaking to watch. I was told Naama hadn't fallen and nothing unusual happened, so the daycare lady was confused. We examined her and couldn't find any external damage. I called the doctor's office but they were closed for a few hours. 

I wasn't sure what to do. The daycare lady suggested I take her to the local emergency clinic immediately so they could take an x-ray. Knowing we don't have a car, the daycare lady had her husband drive Naama and me to the emergency clinic. She even gave me money to cover the x-ray cost because she didn't want me to waste time going home to get my wallet. I really appreciated what she was doing for us. I could see she was very worried about Naama. I was worried too, but I wasn't freaking out because Naama was acting normally.

At the clinic, Naama was examined and x-rayed. During the x-rays, Naama held my hand tightly, crying "mommy mommy." My heart melted. I stroked her hair, told her it'd be over soon and that we would go back and look at the fishies in the waiting room when we were done. She stopped crying and with eyes full of tears, nodded. 
 Naama is obsessed with animals=)

When we were done, I kept my promise and took Naama to see her beloved fishies. She excitedly pointed to each fish. While there, the doctor came and told us Naama had fractured her tibia. (leg bone)

Oh no!

"She needs a cast," said the doctor.
"I don't understand. How did she fracture her bone?"
"It's actually very common in toddlers, because their bones are still so soft, they're like paper, so we actually call this fracture a toddler fracture, since the fracture can happen if they step too hard, step the wrong way or fall," said the doctor

What the doctor said made sense, but I couldn't remember Naama falling in the last day and I was told she didn't fall in daycare, so I was confused but for now I had to settle for "it happens."

Naama was quickly casted. The cast technician actually left me holding Naama's foot at a 90 degree angle so it would set properly!! I almost laughed. Wasn't this his job?! Thankfully he came back awhile later, and put Naama in her stroller for me. 

"She can't walk for at least 3 days till she sees the orthopedist", said the doctor.
"Are you serious??" I said.

She's an active toddler! How on earth am I or anyone going to keep her off her feet? Of course this had to happen to me, the mom with Cerebral Palsy, so taking care of Naama will be doubly difficult. Great!

Once the cast was on, Naama was pretty much back to herself, which really calmed my nerves. We will figure this out. I'll get help. We can do this.

I had to take a picture of Naama's little cast. It was so cute!

Afterwards, I treated Naama to ice cream at the mall

My husband met us at the mall and we treated Naama to whatever toys she wanted!!

       G-d has a way of making things happen at the right time.

The next day, I wheeled Naama into our parking lot and a moving van decided not to wait for me to pass before reversing, even though I asked him twice to wait and I know he saw me. Not wanting to get run over, I sped up with the stroller. I tripped and fell very hard, badly scraping both knees and elbows. Later on that day, Naama saw my scabs, touched them and said "boo boo?" Yes I said, mommy has a boo boo. Naama then pointed to her cast, said boo boo and gave her cast a kiss. So now we both have boo boos!! 

My cousin came over to help me for a few days. Naama adapted to being non weight bearing, realizing she had to crawl to get around. Sometimes she tried to bear weight and we had to stop her. It was hard watching her when she got frustrated or when she would cry in pain. I just held her, nursed her, gave her tylenol and told her it was going to get better.

When she was feeling better, we took Naama to the park which made her face light up, despite her discomfort.

On Thursday, we saw the orthopedist. I hoped to hear that the cast could come off and Naama could walk again, but no such luck! Naama has to be casted for 2 more weeks, but she can bear weight and walk if she wants. However, I don't see how Naama can even try walking without a boot to give her traction. I'm surprised the doctor didn't suggest that, but that would've been logical! Unfortunately, I didn't think to ask him that till after we left his office.

Thankfully, Naama seems to have adjusted to her situation and is in good spirits. I don't think I need to ask my cousin to come over again for the week, because the only help I need is putting Naama in her crib for a long morning nap and so far I'm getting neighbors to help with that.

I'm very proud of the way Naama is handling her situation. I love my little champion=)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Working mom

Over the last few months, I have had 2 jobs. One from home, which totally turned out to be way over my head, and the other was in an office an hour away.

During both jobs, Naama was in daycare. She loves playing with babies her own age, so I knew she was happy there. She was so happy that when I would go to kiss her goodbye, she was already playing with other kids...so much for my goodbye kiss!

With Naama happily settled, I'd buckle down and get some work done, but I always had this empty ache inside. I missed my baby. I tried putting my feelings aside and concentrating on work. For awhile I had wanted to go back to work and actually use my brain again. I thought I'd be fulfilled and happy working again, but my heart just wasn't in it. Each day when I'd pick Naama up from daycare, it was like gray clouds cleared the way to a beautiful sunny sky. I was happy, fulfilled. I realized I WANTED to be a stay at home mom...And then I got my reality check.

There are only so many activities we can do at home every day before Naama gets bored. Also, putting Naama in her crib for naps is a struggle if she decides she doesn't want to nap.As far as going outdoors with Naama, I can't slide her down the park slides the way she likes, or crawl through the tube slides with her. Now that she's more active, I can't take her to the main part of the park on my own at all because she can easily walk out of the park. I may not always be able to catch her in time if she walks out, so why chance it?

If I was a fully able- bodied, I'd get on the bus and take Naama to the mall, where she could ride the kiddie rides and watch the kiddie shows. She even loves going up and down the escalator! And she has a ball at the new gymboree whenever we take her.

Getting out with Naama on my own is impossible. The buses say they are handicap accessible,but they totally aren't! The ramps are manual, which means I'd have to ask the driver to pull them out for me so I could wheel Naama's stroller on. Yes by law the driver is supposed to pull out the ramps for me, but just knowing how rushed bus drivers are and knowing that I'd probably get a disapproving look turns me off to the whole idea of taking a bus anywhere with Naama. The most frustrating part about the public transportation in this city is that one of the bus lines was just outfitted with brand new buses. I was so excited when I saw the buses, because they had handicapped labels and buttons along the outside of the bus. I totally thought that meant they finally made buses with automatic ramps! My problem was solved! My world just got a lot brighter. I could go out alone with Naama!


One day I got on one of the new buses to go to a doctor's appointment. The new things I noticed were a huge talking monitor so you could see and hear upcoming stops and the stop buttons were now between opposite seats, so you didn't have to perform acrobatics just to reach the stop button anymore.I glanced at the ramp, it looked manual. I asked the driver about the ramps and he confirmed my suspicions. My heart sank and then I got a little angry. They made a beautiful new bus line with a huge talking monitor for the blind, but they didn't think about an automatic ramp!! DUH!!

So with a mother's helper, we got on the bus and took Naama to the mall for an afternoon of fun. There was a special kids concert going on that day, so the bus was packed with mothers, kids and babies. When we all got to the mall, I followed them because I didn't know where to go, and I have to admit I was very jealous and very sad seeing all these moms effortlessly take their kids around on their own. As much as I love my mother's helper, I wanted to be alone with Naama, but I can't, so I put on a smile and forged ahead, but I'd give anything to take Naama out for a day of fun on my own. Maybe when she's older I'll finally be able to, but for now I have to deal with what is.

Having all these factors stacked against me being a stay at home mom, I kept Naama in daycare and I accepted a 3 day a week job about an hour away. I enjoyed the job and being around adults, but I wasn't happy. I had that empty aching feeling again. I missed my baby.

Getting home each day in rush hour traffic took nearly 2 hours, so Mary Poppins had to pick Naama up from daycare because I never made it home on time. As soon as I walked through the front door, Naama would squeal with delight and throw her arms around me. I lived for those moments. One day, Naama made her feelings very clear that she wanted me home when she got there. Like every other day when I finally got home, Naama gave me a big, long hug, except this time she didn't even let me go to the bathroom! After convincing her I was going to come right back, Naama let me go to the bathroom. When I came out, I sat back in my chair and I felt Naama's little hands undoing my sandals!! She wanted to make sure I wasn't going anywhere else!! I got the message loud and clear. I HAD to be home when Naama got home from daycare.

My boss could see my heart wasn't in my work, so as good as my writing was, he fired me. I wasn't exactly sad. No more running for early morning buses and feeling sad I couldn't pick Naama up from daycare!

Now I am looking for work from home, which would be having the best of both worlds. As one mom put it, some mothers feel that by having time apart from their babies they can be better mothers. It's a little different in my case, but I do feel I can be a better mother with Naama in daycare part time. I think keeping that in mind will help me with missing her so much during the day. With Naama in daycare I don't have to struggle physically to entertain her and she will get the social interaction she loves. Working from home means  I wouldn't have to schlep on buses and trains to work and I can be here to make Naama fresh food and pick her up from daycare.

Being around to see Naama's beautiful smiling face at the end of her day is all that matters.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wake up Call

It finally happened. It was inevitable. I don't know why I'm so shocked, but I finally fell while transferring Naama.

 After daycare and a snack, I tried putting Naama in her crib for her afternoon nap like I had done so many times before, but she resisted, so I nursed her and tried again, but as tired as Naama was, she wasn't interested in going to sleep. She walked out of the room, paused and walked back in. She was very tired. I saw my chance and I grabbed it. Literally. I picked Naama up under the arms and lifted her up. She didn't resist much until her leg touched the crib. Then she lost it. She pushed off the crib with her leg which caught me off guard, throwing me off balance. I was holding Naama with both hands,so I couldn't grab anything to stop my fall. I screamed as I fell backwards with Naama still in my arms. The only thought in my head was protecting Naama from slamming her head into the closet behind me. As I was falling, I quickly repositioned Naama to my side and let her go so she fell on the carpet. When I fell, I slightly scraped my head on the handle of the closet drawer, but I was fine. I quickly sat up to check on Naama. She was sitting up and crying a frightened cry, not a cry of pain, so that was a good sign. Naama must have landed on her butt. I was happy that Naama wasn't hurt, but I was also angry at her for putting up such a fight when I went to put her to sleep, so I yelled DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU'VE DONE?! My yelling only made Naama cry harder. I felt terrible for scaring her and I felt terrible for falling with her. I felt like the worst mother in the world.

Thankfully, toddlers are very forgiving and a few minutes later, Naama was playing and laughing with me like nothing happened, but I just couldn't assuage my guilt. I could have had Mary Poppins come earlier so she could put Naama down for her afternoon nap, but I felt silly having her come early just to put Naama down and then have her just hang around for an hour or two until Naama wakes up. Since the cleaning lady comes Sunday, there isn't much housework for Mary Poppins to help with, and besides, nannies don't really do house chores. Their job is too look after the baby. I know Mary Poppins wouldn't mind helping out with whatever I needed, including just talking with me until Naama woke up, but I felt bad asking her and most times I manage to put Naama down for her nap with little fuss, so Mary Poppins usually turns up after Naama's nap.

After today, I learned my lesson. Just because I can do something on my own, that doesn't mean I shouldn't accept help. I need to accept that I have a disability and while I can do a lot by myself, I don't HAVE to do it all. Thankfully, I have the help I need, so why not use it?
As soon as Mary Poppins turned up, I blurted out what happened. She felt terrible and agreed with me that she should be here to put Naama down for her afternoon nap. I feel much better that that's settled.

Watching Naama play happily in the bath as Mary Poppins bathed her, I thought, God has blessed me with a beautiful, golden child. Why take a chance? This isn't about me and how I don't like having help around me all the time, It's about making sure Naama is safe and happy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


We have arrived at toddlerhood and I LOVE it!!

 In April, at 15.5 months old, Naama took her first steps and my husband and I were both there to see it! It was a Friday afternoon. We were talking on the couch. Naama was sitting across from us in her music chair. All of a sudden, I saw Naama stand up shakily, but confidently. She had a big smile on her face. Sensing what was about to happen, I whispered excitedly to my husband "look I think shes gonna walk!" and sure enough Naama took 3 big strides to the couch where we caught her in our arms and congratulated her with hugs and kisses. I am so happy we were there for that moment instead of hearing about her first steps from daycare.

For awhile after she took her first steps, she didn't take anymore for a few weeks. Then, one night as I was putting groceries away, I turned around just as my husband exclaimed "Mommy look!" I saw Naama  walking across the kitchen floor like a pro! I was so proud! but I was a little sad too. My baby wasn't such a little baby anymore. Time was REALLY flying!!

From that moment, Naama was toddling everywhere! She was so proud of her accomplishment, she giggled whenever she walked around. There is nothing more infectious and precious than a baby's laugh.

Now with Naama on the go, we were on the search for real shoes. My father who flew in for a short visit, took Naama and me to the mall to buy baby shoes. It was so cute watching the saleslady measure her little foot. We chose a few pairs of shoes and Naama loved trying them on

 After picking a pair, my father put the shoes on Naama's feet. She was hooked! Naama took my father's hand and they walked together out of the store and headed towards the ice cream stands. THAT was a moment I had to capture=)

Heading towards ice cream!

Seriously, how precious are those pictures?!

For me, the best moment so far of toddlerhood is when Naama reaches for my hand and we walk together. Naama's little hand clutching mommy's bigger hand, pulling me to walk faster with her. Because of our obvious height difference, it's hard to keep an even pace with her, so I'm afraid I'll lose my balance when we walk together, so I always make sure to walk slightly away from her body while still holding her hand, especially since we don't walk that far before she decides to abruptly sit down. There is nothing better on this earth, than walking hand in hand with my baby girl. It's something I never thought I would do and it's something that never gets old. Each time Naama takes my hand, my heart melts.I can't believe I'm walking with MY daughter.

 We walk around the house and we walk around the park. Naama loves the park and what kid doesnt???   I have gained the confidence to slide Naama halfway down the slide and put her on the rocking horse, but I never put Naama in the bucket swing in the park since the swing isn't stable. I was always afraid I'd lose my balance if Naama wasn't super still in transferring. I always felt bad when she'd point to the swing and make noises, letting me know she wanted to go on the swing. Yesterday with my husband watching, I put Naama in the swing and took her out twice. I was amazed at how easy it was and how similar the action was to transferring her to or from her highchair. Getting her in the swing may seem like a small thing, but i felt so liberated, here was another thing I could do on my own with Naama. I was also happy for Naama because now she doesn't have to miss out on the swing when I take her to the park.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Best Friends

For the last few days, Naama was running a high fever so I kept her home from daycare. She really likes the daycare, so having her routine interrupted kinda sucked, but I thought she would be home for a day or two, but it ended up being like 5 days. Naama is teething, so in addition to the fever she's all mucusy and coughing. She refused to eat anything and only wanted to drink water or nurse. It was a bit hard on me because she only let me hold her in the nusing position even when she wasn't nursing. I took her to the doctor after a few days and he gave her antibiotics for strep, so now I can add the bumble gum tasting medicine to my home pharmacy collection! Let's see, shes now on tylenol, cough syrup, a mucus regulator that I think does nothing, and now the antibiotics! all of these medications come with their own syringe, so Naama takes the medications like a bird feeding through a dropper and she LOVES it! She also loves playing with the syringes.

After a few days of her not eating, I was desperate, and since she loved taking medication through a syringe, I had the brilliant idea of feeding her yogurt through one of the syringes. It worked like a charm for about 3 minutes! At 15 months, Naama weighs around 8 kilos (17Lbs.) so she really doesn't need to lose more weight, but I resigned myself to the fact that she wasn't going to eat and I just held her, comforted her and nursed her on demand, which of course meant very little sleep for me and my husband, but hey,welcome to parenthood!

For 3 days Naama stayed home alone with me. I didn't have help until the evening. Those 3 days were the most precious days and I will remember them for a long time. Even though Naama was still feverish, she was coming back to herself and she started eating a bit. During lunch, I played a few games with her and she fed me some of her food.  At one point Naama started spraying soup from her lips which made her laugh hysterically. I tried disciplining her about spraying soup, but her laughter was so infectious I started laughing too...to hell with discipline! playing and laughing was way more fun! After lunch we played on her floor mats. Naama accidentally hit me in the face with a toy. When I said ow, she looked up and hugged me. It was the best feeling ever! My Naama is such a girl. She loves shoes and kept putting her little feet out so I could put them on. We walked hand in hand for a few steps and then returned to her mats. She picked up her hairbrush and instead of brushing her hair she brushed mine=) I have a feeling Naama will be my best friend when she's older.

After playing awhile, Naama started getting tired. She is so light that I picked her up, held her to me and walked with her down the hall to her room. I had never carried her before for fear that having her weight on me would cause me to lose my balance and fall. When I realized that I had just walked with Naama in my arms with her head resting on my shoulder with her little baby arms wrapped around me, I almost cried. It was the most deliciously warm feeling. Whenever I had to pick her up and carry her a short distance, I usually picked her up under her arms, holding her body away from mine as I carried her from point A to point B. It was cold, detached... I was getting something done. Holding Naama against my body as I walked with her was the complete opposite. I don't remember why I decided at just that moment to carry her against me for the first time and I only became aware of what I was doing once I set her gently down in her crib for a nap. I have carried her against me a few more times since then. It's so much easier than having to make sure the stroller wheels are wiped down and maneuvering the stroller through the apartment. Carrying Naama is also much better than having her crawl on a cold floor to get to her destination. It's weird because I'm so sure footed and careful when I'm carrying Naama it amazes me. It's almost like I'm two different people. On my own I fall. Holding her NEVER....thankfully. Despite this,I know carrying Naama isn't the safest thing to do so I still use the stroller to transport her around the apartment.

Naama is becoming very attached to me now. When my help arrived in the evening, Naama kept pointing to me instead of wanting to be with the mother's helper whom she knows well. We shared such a beautiful few days together that part of me didn't want to send Naama back to daycare. I know it's good for her to be around other children, but I wasn't ready to send her back. However with Passover fast approaching, I had to run a few errands today and I couldn't take her with me so I put her in the daycare. Naama had such a confused look on her face when I dropped her off. I felt terrible for leaving her but I physically wasn't able to take her with me to run errands. I promised to make it as fast as possible.

When I got home a few hours later, I was really tired...guess all the sleepless nights were finally catching up with me. I lay down for what I told myself was a half hour nap. Two hours later I woke to Doggie barking incessantly. I looked at my watch realizing I should have picked Naama up an hour ago! I threw on my clothes and ran to open the door for the mother's helper. As I was rushing out the door, a little girl came up to me and asked in Hebrew if I had any food products to give away. I was still half asleep and my mind was having trouble understanding her, so I told her to come back. Now in more of a rush, I raced through the park with Naama's empty stroller. I got a few stares from the kids in the park and I wondered if I had forgotten to put a piece of clothing on or something, but I quickly realized they were staring at me because of  my funny walk. Continuing towards the daycare, I saw the daycare lady standing outside holding Naama. I felt so bad and apologized for being so late. As soon as she saw me, Naama broke into a huge smile and pointed at me. I pointed back. I missed my tiny friend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Different strokes

Today, like every Tuesday morning, I dealt with Naama on my own since my husband was out the door before the birds were even awake. I usually have help when I need it but 6:30-7am is a difficult time to ask someone to show up just to help me get Naama ready for daycare. I thought I had a great arrangement with a teenager who lives in my building but that just fizzled out, so lately I've been dealing with Naama on my own on Tuesday mornings and now that Naama is crawling and standing, caring for her is a lot easier. Naama is also becoming more aware that I don't do things the way her father does and she doesn't like that at all! When I go to take her out of her crib, the second she sees me with the stroller, she starts crying harder. She even throws her head back and points to our bedroom as if to say Oh no! Not you! I want my daddy! I think it's hysterical and I have to hold back a laugh every time she has her little fit.

This morning, while I sorted out a clean diaper and clothing, Naama's crying eventually slowed. She probably realized I was the only parent she was getting today and she would just have to deal with it. Usually I put her in the stroller after lifting her from her crib and I use the stroller to transport her around the house. Today I barely used the stroller. Every other morning, my husband brings Naama to our bed where I nurse her. Today I thought about wheeling Naama to the couch and nursing her there but quickly changed my mind. I wanted to nurse her in the rocking chair which is more comfortable. Even though the rocking chair is about 6 steps from her crib, I didn't want to walk her over. I've done it before, but this morning I didn't feel confident enough, so I just set her down on the carpet hoping she would crawl to me. The second I put her on the floor she started crying. I felt horrible but went to sit in the rocking chair hoping she would follow me, she didn't, but a quick flash of boobie got her crawling toward me real fast. After she was done, she was off my lap like a fire had been lit underneath her. Having to run after her, I didn't think about needing the stroller to transport her. I just grabbed a fresh diaper and clothes and ran after her. I'm not nervous about her getting into things she shouldn't because we have childproofed all the important things.

Naama crawled to our bedroom, which was perfect. I lifted her on to our bed and quickly changed her diaper. I'm always thankful she normally saves the messy diapers for when her father is home so he can help me if she gets squirmy and difficult to change. After that, I let her crawl to the kitchen where I sorted out her breakfast. She put up quite a fight when I tried putting her in the highchair which was unusual, but because I never know when Naama will decide to be difficult in transferring, I always have a chair behind me. After a few minutes of trying to get a hysterical Naama to sit still, I took her out of the highchair. She wanted to nurse AGAIN! She must be teething...afterward, I finally sat her in the highchair and fed her breakfast.

It was getting late and Naama and I were still in our PJ's. Since I just started working again, Naama started daycare full time and she LOVES it! Dressing Naama is never 5 minutes for me, although I am getting better. I had the brilliant idea of letting the daycare lady dress Naama. Why should I have to struggle when she can change Naama much faster than me?? After letting the baby play for a bit, I picked her up and put her in the stroller. Her cry sounded like I hurt her when I lifted her. I think I have to find a new way of picking her up. I lift her under her arms and always hold her away from me since I'm afraid I won't have the balance to hold her against me. Maybe my grip is too hard... I put her sweater over PJ's and we were out the door. I felt bad that I cut our playtime short, but she was so excited when we got to the daycare, so I felt much better about rushing her out of the house.

When I picked Naama up in the afternoon, we were very happy to see each other. She gave me a huge smile and quickly crawled to me. I picked her up, kissed her yummy baby cheek and put her back down so I could wheel the stroller into the room and put her in it. As soon as I set her on the floor she erupted into tears. She thought I was leaving her! I'd love to be able to pick her up and walk out with her, but I don't want to compromise her safety when I'm in a different environment. Thankfully Naama's tears stopped as soon as I picked her up again. Our situation is far from ideal but I think Naama is learning that mommy has to do things a different way and I take longer to do most things with her.

From the daycare, we have to walk through the park to get to our apartment building. Naama loves the slides and the swing, but I don't have the balance to slide her down the slide or put her in he swing, so I don't stop in the park, but I feel bad because I know how much Naama loves the park. Her father plays with her in the park and she always has a blast with him. My husband always washes Naama's hands with soap and water after coming home from the park or daycare. Since I can't hold Naama and wash her hands at the same time, I improvise by cleaning her hands with hand sanitizer.

My husband wasn't going to be home in time to bathe Naama, so I organized help beforehand. I can bathe Naama, but I can't carry her to the bath. Since Naama crawls everywhere, I thought about being able to get Naama into the bath on my own by just having her crawl to the bathtub and I'd just lift her in, but I nixed that idea because I don't want her crawling around naked=)

My limitations may be frustrating and confusing for Naama and sometimes I feel that Naama is afraid of me and may not love me, but tonight as I got ready to nurse, Naama erased all my doubts when she gave me delicious kisses and wrapped her little arms around me hugging me tightly. Knowing that Naama loves me despite my limitations is the best feeling in the world.