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 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.