Thursday, February 24, 2011

Somebody make some coffee...

...because I'm goin' back to work tomorrow.

Ugh.  I know, I know.  I should be glad I have a job in this economy. I should be glad it makes more than my previous job.  I am, and I am. But who wants to leave their 6 week old baby at day care?  And all the preparations! And I ironed some pants for the second time this decade. (Ironing is for the birds!)  I got all Rylie's stuff ready for daycare, and have been trying to explain to her that the bottle of part breastmilk and part formula tastes really good, but she's not convinced. By the smell of that formula, I don't blame her. Ick.

I had intended to take maybe one more week off, but I was called and told that the department of education changed their minds about my grant. Instead of it ending in 2012, it will end in September of 2011.  Then I'll have to find another job.  Jason was more frustrated than me when he found out. I should have been more annoyed:  I've had 15 jobs in the last 10 years. Let's count:  After student teaching, my first job in 2001 was detention supervisor at a high school. Then they asked me to be the assistant technology coordinator.  We moved to Avon the next year and I subbed. Then I got the job as the computer/writing teacher at an elementary school. When the grant for that ran out, I subbed again. Then I got a maternity leave job at Jason's school. When that teacher came back I was Jason's choir secretary for a year, and led an after school drug prevention program with the YMCA.  Then I was hired at Greenfield high school for a 'real' teaching job. I was there 2 years but left after Hayden was born because it was an hour drive each way (and... maybe I didn't get along with the administration...)  : )  I couldn't find anything and took a job at a home decor warehouse. That was terrible and I lasted 2 months... Took a temp job at an insurance company. They said they were too slow and let me go right at Thanksgiving. My mom was working at Ladoga Academy for girls, and helped me get hired to teach social studies there. I lasted 8 months at that prison, which was eventually shut down by the state, and ended up being the sole witness against the administration in a hearing for educational neglect.  Rough couple of days, me against the world, telling the truth because no one else would. My mom came with me for moral support. Let's see... then I was hired by Perry Township as the computer aide. After the first year they let me switch to a really awesome school where I was for a full year, plus this fall until October 15th, the day of the accident. This job I really liked. In all the jobs I always like the kids, it's the adults I can't seem to take.  So yeah, I think all that adds up to 15.  I'm tired of looking for jobs, interviewing, meeting new coworkers and finding the rest rooms.  I just want to have my own classroom and teach some kids about the world!  Is that so much to ask?  I graduated with honors for gosh sakes!!  : )

It's a sorry state for education right now. There are so many great teachers who can't find jobs, because there are no jobs, and most people give up after a few years. The simple solution is to make class sizes smaller. You would need so many more teachers, which would give people jobs, thus boosting the economy.  But instead they are firing teachers.  Sigh. One school I heard on the news will have 60 kids in each high school class! Although, I guess that's what Jason already does every day, after they decided not to hire a second choir director for him, and just combine the choirs.

I had my 6 week appointment at the OB today, and I'm telling you that God didn't want me there on time for some reason.  Rylie and I were set to leave in time to be 10 minutes early.  Just as we're ready to leave she decides she needs to eat again, though she just ate. Then once we get out and we're driving, I end up behind a woman in a mini-van who is driving 5 miles per hour.  Actually I'm not sure how fast she was going, because my speedometer didn't even register, that's how slow we were going. And I couldn't pass her because she was driving in both lanes, right in the middle of the road. When I finally got around her, I looked expecting to see an elderly person. Nope, just a woman texting on her phone!  So then we get behind another van going 5 under the speed limit. No big deal really, unless you're in a hurry, and then it's plain annoying.  I get around them, and I get behind a dump truck full of dirt going 15 in a 30.  At this point I was like, "what the heck? With my luck there will be a train."  Guess what?  Yep, train. So I had to turn around and go down to the next road over and back down, maybe another 4 or 5 minutes out of my way.  I was probably 12 minutes late.  So yes, whatever my guardian angels wanted me to avoid on my way there, thanks because it definitely worked.  : )

Tonight when I was asking Hayden what he wanted for dinner, he said, "oh, I just, Hayden and Shanae."  I think he was zoned out and thought I was asking what he did at school today! Later when I asked him to use the potty before bed, he said, "I can't. I too little. And scared. And sad too." I said, "What do you mean?" "Oh, and... I'm trying to fly." He had his blanket behind him like a super hero cape. Nice try buddy! Anything else you can think of?

I need to feed Rylie and get to bed.  I will try to update soon on how the new job goes! : )

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'If you don't like the weather in Indiana... stick around. It'll change.'

It's currently 62 degrees out, which for those relatives down South, doesn't usually happen around here until May!  It's a nice break from below zero temps lately.

You can see last week the backyard was still a sheet of ice with snow sprinkled on top.

Last Saturday Poppy came to visit and pick up our tax information. He and Hayden chased each other outside for half an hour, which was great for him to get some energy out, and I got half an hour to watch tv with peace and quiet since Rylie happened to be sleeping.

Miss Rylie had her one month checkup Monday, and she weighs 9 pounds. We have switched her over to 3 month-size outfits because she's too long for the newborn size.  Her weight and head size are slightly below average for her age, and her height is a bit above, but the doctor said she's proportional so she's fine. The doctor said she's looking great and was impressed with how strong she is (she rolled on her side at her one-week appointment and was trying to crawl off the table!)  Yesterday I put up Hayden's old mobile on Rylie's crib, and she really enjoyed watching the animals move around. She also will look toward our voices, is starting to smile and coo, and is sleeping in larger chunks at night.  Hayden never really watched mobiles or cooed much, so I'm hoping this is a good sign for Rylie's development.  She is also bothered when her diaper is wet, and Hayden was never bothered by that. She wants to be held all the time, and loves looking around, especially at lights or our faces. She is still sleeping in her car seat instead of the crib. I don't know if it's because she likes the tight space, or that she's sitting up more and doesn't spit up.  I keep trying the crib but she wakes up and wants to play.

Her hair now has a bit of a sideways mohawk, as it gets longer.  It is slightly lighter in color, with a reddish tint. 

I'm pondering going back to work in a couple of weeks, and am thinking about using formula instead of continuing with nursing. It is rather stressful in the evenings already when Jason's not here (three to six days a week) as I'm trying to put Hayden to bed and nurse Rylie at the same time. I know things will be even more stressful when I'm working and tired, and home less to do chores around the house. Taking care of Hayden, plus Rylie, plus working full time, plus breastfeeding might put me at the limits of my emotional strength.  It's probably because she cluster feeds, so she just feeds off and on constantly for 2 hours, then doesn't eat for several hours.  Those two hours when she wants to eat happen to be when Hayden needs dinner, a bath, and bed.  I only have two arms but I feel like I need three or four, and an extra gallon of patience besides.  So I looked into formulas, and Similac makes a formula for kids who are allergic to milk and soy, called Alimentum.  The proteins in it are broken down to prevent allergic reactions. It is more expensive, of course, but I think I'm going to try that with Rylie to keep her on a good nutritional path.  I've been giving her probiotics as well.  Now that I'm getting more sleep I'd like to buy some cloth diapers and try them out, too.

Jason and I (and Rylie) are going out to Olive Garden tonight, since J has practice Mondays and Thursdays.  He asked what I wanted for Valentine's Day, and I said I would like to just go out to a relaxing dinner with he and I.  Since Hayden started his diet, we've gotten take out but haven't gone and actually sit down in a restaurant in over a year but maybe two times, because there's nothing Hayden can eat. We are leaving Hayden with a babysitter for the first time ever. There is a high school student of Jason's that Hayden simply adores named Christa, and I know he'll listen to her and have a good time.  He had another 'first' last week, which was going inside the neighbor boy's house to play for half an hour, without Mommy having to come with him. I was so proud of him!

His latest not-so-great habit is to say "Shut Up Die!" when you ask him to do something he doesn't want to do. He learned this from his Mario video on You Tube.  I'm trying to be glad that at least it's not a curse word that he's learned. I hope I can break the habit before he says it to another kid at daycare or something... I've tried telling him that "shut up" is not nice, and that "die" means to hurt people, but you know how reasoning with a four-year-old goes. So now I'm trying denying him what he wants until he chooses better words.

He's very into the Disney Channel show "Imagination Movers" lately. Interestingly, it's another show that is great for autistic (or any) kids because it deals with brainstorming different ideas to solve your problems.  His anti-yeast medicine seems to still be helping. Sunday morning I asked him what he was doing, and he said, "well, I want Daddy to play, but he can't."  (Daddy was in the shower.)  Both parts of this sentence are new verbalizations for him, and putting them together as one idea is new (and amazing!) as well.  Oh, and Monday he told his therapist at school that he needed to use the potty, rather than having to be asked!

Hayden said Daddy was "Darfer Maul."  : ) 

Enjoy the warm weather!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Introducing Rylie Noelle

Apologies for not posting sooner, but our new little princess doesn't believe in sleep. : )

Rylie Noelle is finally here and we have been blessed with a beautiful little girl.

The surgery was originally scheduled for 7:30 am, and we were supposed to arrive at the hospital at 6.  But I was called the Friday before and asked if we could come in at 5 am for a 7 am surgery, meaning we'd need to leave the house at 4:30.  Sure, we'd love to.

They gave me a spinal for the surgery but it didn't work very well and I was in a lot of pain.  The anesthesiologist finally asked the doctor, "What do you think?" The doctor asked me if I wanted to be put asleep, and I started crying because I was grateful that the pain would stop!  So I didn't get to meet Rylie until later, but Jason was there and said once I was asleep everything went really fast.  When I woke up it took a few minutes for the nurses to bring Rylie in because she was in the Special Care nursery for her breathing.  They finally brought her in and gave her a bath in the room next to me so I could watch.  I noticed that her ears were sticking to the sides of her head, but unfortunately for her they've been drifting out a bit in true Damron style.  : )

By the next day her breathing had gotten much better.  The doctor was worried about her heart murmur, so on Wednesday she got an ultrasound on her heart. That came back normal, as did her newborn screen.  All the nurses commented on how pretty she was.  Yesterday at Target at least 5 complete strangers stopped me to tell me how beautiful she is. Lucky little girl!  She is a wiggle worm, as my mom says, never really sitting still, and she makes all kinds of squeeks and squawks and noises constantly, even in her sleep.  She doesn't really cry, though. Even when she's hungry and I don't get there fast enough, she just gives one little yell and waits patiently for me to come rescue her.  I've tried using Hayden's hair gel to keep her hair flat, but it only lasted 15 minutes before it spiked right back up again. When we wash it, it's curly, so maybe that is why it can't seem to lay flat.

My biggest worry before Rylie's birth was how Hayden would handle a week away from Mommy and Daddy.  We originally had an elaborate plan for grandparents and Uncle Jeff to watch him overnight, with a 5 page instruction sheet on his morning and evening routines and how to make his meals and give him his 17 supplements a day.  I was losing sleep over the whole thing, and asked another mom of an Autistic child how she had handled the situation when she had her second child. She said they had Daddy go home with him each night, and had little presents for grandparents to give at home.  I realized that this was the way to go, and was so grateful for the ideas!  Since I would just be sleeping at night, and in fact was woken up for meds/nursing in the night, Jason actually got more sleep by going home, Hayden got to keep his evening routine more of the same, and Mommy had peace of mind that her other child was not as stressed by the change.  Much thanks to the grandparents and Uncle Jeff for picking Hayden up from daycare and bringing him to see us in the hospital!  He enjoyed his visits and presents from Rylie. And of course thanks to Daddy for driving all over the south side of Indy in a snow storm to make the plan work.  The first day it took him over two hours to get from Mooresville to Greenwood to Danville!

I really liked the nurses at Hendricks Regional Hospital in Danville, and had a much more positive visit there than with Hayden in Martinsville.  My recovery was also much faster with the second C-section. I was able to get out of bed and shower sooner, and stop taking the pain meds sooner as well.

Two weeks from Rylie's birth, she and I attended a three day seminar at Hayden's school about Verbal Behavior from 4 to 8 each evening.  The center director and clinical director were very accommodating, providing a room where I could nurse Rylie in private, with video feed so I could watch the speaker from there and not miss anything.  Rylie was pretty well behaved, with the exception of spitting up a good two ounces all over me Wednesday so that it looked like I wet my pants. : )  I am really glad I decided to attend the seminar, as I learned some better ways of addressing and correcting Hayden's behaviors, teaching him new skills, and interacting with him.

Lately Hayden has been taking pictures with our camera.

The nutritionist suggested we do an Organic Acid urine test on Hayden to see if he had yeast overgrowth in his gut, as many Autistic kids do.  We got the results back just before Rylie was born, and it showed that he has off-the-charts yeast overgrowth.  I got him into the pediatrician last week so that she could prescribe an anti-fungal. She warned that it could damage his liver, so to be watchful for signs.  It seems to be working well, though, and Jason and I think his language skills have improved over the last week, with him using more complex sentences. We also got Hayden's monthly report yesterday from Cornerstone, and he has mastered many skills, including some pre-reading skills, putting on his socks and shoes, and many social skills with his peers.  I can't express how grateful I am for that school and his great therapists, Michelle, Bekah, and Shanae! (in that order in the picture below:)

Jason and Hayden were home all last week because of the ice storm, so Jason has been working a lot this week trying to catch up. : (  Is it too early for me to look forward to the summer when he'll be home?  Rylie slept really well the past two nights, so here's hoping that continues. She's growing and still a really sweet baby.  Hayden says "she's so cute! She has spiky hair. It's soft. She's a girl."  He also sometimes says, "she's not in the tummy anymore. Not at the hospital anymore." Hayden thinks she's cute, and likes to sit by her, but otherwise he's more concerned with getting lots of hugs from Mommy each night.  I've spent my evenings this week with a kid under each arm and a controller in each hand because Hayden wants me to play Wii whether I'm nursing or not. Overall things are going well with the transition to a family of four!