Another Trip to Disneyland!

Last week I took my boys and together with my mom, the four of us went to Disneyland. It was exhausting, magical, exciting and tiring all at the same time – and it was very special and different. Leaving behind my family and Wild Man was weird, and they were all very missed, but we still had an amazing time. We decided to go at H’s speed. We did what he wanted, when he wanted to. We were pretty slow moving and sort of all over the place, but it was perfect for H. E was just happy to tag along and take in all the sights and sounds – seriously he was an angel baby, an absolute dream.

This trip was saying goodbye to A Bugs Land and hello to Pixar Fest. Bugs Land closes sometime in late summer and we aren’t 100% sure we’ll be back by then, so just in case I made sure we spent some quality time with our bug friends so if that was our last time I can rest assured that we gave it a good farewell. My mom had already seen Pixar Fest, but I hadn’t yet and I was especially excited about seeing all the Pixar themed goodness in both Disneyland and California Adventure and lets not forget all the special food! It was incredible. I’m actually planning on doing a couple posts with a little more detail about Pixar Fest in the future, so if you care, keep an eye out for those.

Some of my highlights from this magical getaway were:

  • Fantasmic, as usual. I will never tire of that show. Seeing it through H’s eyes has made it even more incredible and adds a whole new layer of magic.
  • The Pixar Play Parade in Disneyland was great. I loved the added floats. Its a water parade now and shoots water kind of unexpectedly throughout the parade. Unfortunately the first float to go by drenched my mom and E and he was heartbroken about it – but thankfully he’s a happy kid and perked back up fairly quickly and went back to enjoying the show.
  • H in the Disney Junior Show was the best. He is turning out to be a very shy little guy, but you can tell he so, so wants to be brave. In this show there is a lot of dancing and moving encouraged by little ones. I really didn’t think H would participate and would just hide in my lap but he totally got involved and danced his little heart out, pulling moves out I’ve never seen before! #magic We also got to sit in VIP seating!
  • We had a lot of awesome Cast Member interactions this trip. When a Cast Member makes my children feel special, there is nothing else like it.
  • H was map obsessed. He memorized where most his favorite rides were and he learned so many new words from the map that he’ll actually use frequently now! I should have known that Disneyland Resort would be a great form of speech therapy!
  • My boys were great. There were so many opportunities for them to be difficult, but they were phenomenal and I’m so proud of them. They make my heart happy.

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Speech Update and Q&A

I am so proud of H. He has been in Speech Therapy for a few months now and he is doing so, so well! I have seen so much progress and in the last couple of weeks he has just turned another big corner. My heart could burst! When we began this journey with our sweet Speech Pathologist I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if change would happen quickly or if it would require a lot of patience. For us, it is definitely taking time and patience, but changes are happening! H is talking with an open mouth (he used to mainly ‘talk’ through closed lips), he is trying new sounds, will mimic words and is even using very simple 2 (sometimes 3) word sentences! We still have a ways to go and more goals to accomplish, but little by little my awesome, smart H is reaching those goals and making his mom beam with pride.

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H working with his sensory box – one of the several activities we have to help him use words and grow his vocabulary.

I know a while ago I said I was planning on making a video and posting it about our journey and giving advice and answering questions. Well, I still haven’t done that, though I still plan on doing so. Just bear with me – sometimes I’m a procrastinator. But for now I thought I’d answer a few of the questions I’ve got from several people. If you have more questions let me know what they are – I am happy to answer them in the best way I know how. Keep in mind, I am not a professional. I’m not a Speech Therapist or Pathologist, I’m not kind of medical professional and don’t even entirely know what I’m doing. I’m just a mom with a two year old with a speech delay and this is all based off of our personal experience.

How do you tell your child has a speech problem? It all started when I realized there were toddlers much younger than H that could speak a lot more. At first I chalked it up to knowing everyone develops at different speeds, etc. But it just became more and more relevant as time went on. I read stuff online about speech delays and realized he had a lot of the qualities as children with speech delays. I never really was 100% sure if he did have a delay though because you always hear about those late-talkers or those kids that just wake up one day and are able to speak so well. I just kept waiting for that magical day where he’d wake up and call me mom. But it wasn’t happening, so I finally talked to my husband about my concerns and together we went to our pediatrician to discuss our worries and the options.

What are some ways you’re helping H speak? I make sure he is hearing language all the time. I am constantly talking to him. I’m repeating words he is working on. He has a sensory box that encourages tons of language, we name colors, shapes, animals, people, etc all day long. He has game called ‘Pow’ (i’ll cover this in more depth in a video someday) that has really helped him. I encourage mimicking of my actions and words and he picks up on that really well. I praise him when he tries new words and sounds. And I pray. A lot.

How did you go about get H screened? It started with our pediatrician. We scheduled an appointment with him to talk about our concerns about H’s speaking – or lack there of. He referred us to a local company that screens kids under three for developmental delays. They came to our home and did the screening and decided he could benefit from speech therapy. If you are wanting to get your child screened – talk to your pediatrician!

Whats your main piece of advice for parents of a child with a speech delay? Be patient. Your little one is going to figure this out, but its a lot and isn’t going to change overnight. Be patient and encouraging – trust the process.

Did H being a binky baby have anything to do with this delay? According to our Speech Pathologist, no. So I also say no. Think of all the kids who took binks when they were younger and speak just fine…

Is H frustrated he isn’t speaking at the same rate as kids his age? I’ve never been able to recognize that he is frustrated. He may not speak great yet, but he communicates really well so I don’t think he’s ever really felt like he’s not being understood. However I do know that some kids do get very frustrated when no one can understand their own little language and their body language (because our speech pathologist told me).

Like I said, if you have any more questions let me know! But thats the scoop as of now. H is awesome. He’s doing so well and has come so far!

Theres nothing this little guy can’t do.

I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.

E’s First Trip to Disneyland

Last week we went to Disneyland. Pure magic. As always. This was E’s first trip (outside of my belly) to Disneyland. It was his first trip anywhere, actually. There is no better way, in my mind, to introduce him to family vacations than by taking him to the happiest place on earth. I am not joking when I say it was magic.

H is a little older now than he was last time and gets it a little more than he did last time. His obsession with the carousels is still strong and fierce and he also has a deep love for the ‘Pww” and “Fis” rides (Winnie the Pooh + Voyage of the Little Mermaid). He was a great listener, he was shy and timid but also wild and crazy – which is a perfect description of who he is. He ate terribly but slept great. He rode in his stroller without too much complaint and when he walked, he stayed by us. I was proud of him. He was so anxious to take the whole park in he couldn’t seem to get to the next thing to look at quick enough. Disney magic through a childs eyes magnifies the magic significantly.

E was true to himself. He was happiest if I was in view and especially if I was holding him. If I was on a ride and he was left with someone else, he…lost it in most cases. That boy is a mama’s boy through and through. He ate great, he napped often and the loud noises of Disney didn’t wake him. He loved watching his brother run around and peek at him in the stroller. He was mellow and happy. He had a lot of blowouts but somehow managed to keep the mess of most of the blowouts just on the onesie he wore under his outfit. He slept through the night and was very go-with-the-flow. I know he’s only three months old but I’m going to go ahead and say he enjoyed his first trip to Disneyland.

Lots of Feelings

You guys!

I have all the feelings and emotions and my heart is so full.

A couple days ago I posted about our little H and his newly diagnosed Speech Delay. (link to that post here) The response I have got to that post has blown my mind. I really hoped it would be a post that was helpful even to one other parent out there, but this post reached so many more people than I anticipated.

I have received more messages and private comments on that post than I ever have before. So many parents have reached out to me and have told me about their experience with their own child/children with speech delays. I was given so many words of encouragement, advice and well wishes. You have no idea how much it means to me. Honestly, I’m not that stressed out or concerned about H’s speech delay. This is a common ‘issue’ and I know we have taken the correct steps in helping him catch up on his speech. I feel really good about where we are at and I feel so much peace still since getting him screened and finding out he would benefit from speech therapy.

Not only have I got a lot of comments from parents who have been through this, but I have got even more comments from parents who have been where I so recently was. I have had so, so many moms reach out to me telling me how they’ve been concerned that their child has a developmental delay. Lots of wonderful, stressed out mommas have sent me messages saying they have been suspicious for however long that their child has a speech delay. I’ve been thanked for posting about our experience and helping instill some confidence and bravery into other parents so they will reach out to their pediatrician about their concerns.

I have also been asked for a lot of advice. I’ve tried to answer everyone, but in case I missed you – I will post more advice. But it will be later. We are still at the beginning of this journey. We have only barely began speech therapy and I’m still pretty clueless. But I know how it feels to feel alone and stressed out, so I promise you that as we gain experience and knowledge, I will share more advice with you. For those of you sweet women who asked me if I’d start doing videos about H’s speech therapy – yes, I will. I have actually been dabbling with the idea of starting a YouTube channel (is that embarrassing?) for a while and I think this is kind of my big push that will get me to really start it. Again, it likely won’t be for a little bit though. So stay tuned.

So thanks you guys. Thanks for the kind words and advice. Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for telling me that post helped you. Thanks for being brave and putting your child first and planning to talk to your pediatrician if there are things about your child that worry you. Thanks for loving H and giving him your best wishes. You guys are amazing.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Speech

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It was a few months ago that I really started to realize that H wasn’t talking as much as other kids his age. He wasn’t even talking as much as kids several months younger than him. You hear all the time about kids who just start speaking later than ‘normal,’ and I just assumed that was what H would do. Just to get some help/ideas to assist him in maybe even trying to speak a little more, I talked to a friend who is a speech pathologist and got some advice from her. She gave me great advice that I immediately started implementing into our daily life. I didn’t tell anyone about my suspicions that he was a little behind in language. Not even Wild Man. I’m so quick to worry and blow things out of proportion and I was sure that was what I was doing so I didn’t want to drag anyone down with me. I used the advice my friend had given me and hoped and prayed I was just overreacting. I kept waiting for that thing you hear moms say all the time, “one day he just started talking like crazy!” I waited and waited..

As time went on and I kept on worrying I did something I very much regret. I went to the internet and went down a rabbit hole. A terrible, evil rabbit hole. I started doing research on toddlers with speech delays and how to identify if they do in fact have one. This ‘research’ led me to several hundred other articles (not exaggerating here) that sent me into a scary downward spiral. I was reading articles about how a speech delay is also a sign of several other much bigger issues. So then of course I start reading about those other issues/delays and next thing I know, I’m 100% convinced that not only does he have  some kind of speech disorder, but he also has this, this and this. It was the crappiest, scariest feeling. I physically and emotionally was hurting like I never have before. It was such an alien feeling. The thing was, I knew nothing would change if I did find out he had a delay or two – I would still love him and my opinion and attitude of him would not change. I just hated not knowing for sure. I still kept it quiet for several more weeks. I was probably overreacting. Thats what I kept telling myself over and over again. But I could never shake the aching feeling.

Finally, I decided to be brave enough to talk to Wild Man about this. One morning I just sent him a text addressing my concern. Come to find out, he was just beginning to be slightly suspicious that he was a little behind with speech. But then his crazy wife texted him and he too went down the dangerous rabbit hole – also becoming terribly stressed out and worried – stuck in this yucky rut of feeling completely helpless and confused.

It felt so good to not be the only one worried anymore, but I also felt bad for dragging Wild Man down with me. It wasn’t a fun place to be. So we quickly decided we wanted to talk to our pediatrician about our many concerns about H. Our little E had his two month check-up coming up the following week. I texted our pediatrician (he’s a family friend) and asked him if he’d have time to talk about these concerns or if we should schedule a separate appointment. Thankfully he was able to make time during E’s appointment to address our questions. The day of the appointment came and I was so anxious! Our doctor told us he didn’t really think we had anything to worry about. Boys apparently statistically speak a little later than girls and since H wasn’t even two and a half yet he said it wasn’t really anything to stress about. Except he knows us and he saw it in our faces and actions – we were stressed. So he gave us the information of a highly rated company in our area that screens children three and under for speech delays (and other developmental delays). We weren’t even out of the parking lot and I’d already logged onto their website on my phone and was filling out the form to talk to someone about getting H screened as soon as possible.They would even screen him for some of the bigger delays we’d worried ourselves about – not just speech. Our doctor didn’t think he necessarily needed those particular screenings but he knew it would give us peace of mind. We just needed answers.

We had the screenings. We said 8 billion prayers. Our testimonies of prayer and faith grew incredibly. A few days ago the answers came back. H has a speech delay. Thats it. (I hope you’re learning from my mistakes – don’t let the internet diagnose your child. Talk to professionals – they know way more than you/the internet. Also if something is worrying you, don’t keep it private for months. Its toxic and painful.)

We have just begun Speech Therapy. Right now I really have no idea what the future holds. I don’t know how fast H will catch up on his language and communication. I don’t know if it will be pretty simple, I don’t know if it will be hard, frustrating and stressful, I don’t know if it will be somewhere in the middle. We are just at the beginning. You know, maybe he is just a late talker – turns out Wild Man didn’t really start talking until he was three. H could just be following in his dads footsteps. Maybe one day he will wake up and be a chatterbox. There is no way to tell. What I do know is I’m grateful I talked to Wild Man and we talked to our pediatrician then talked with the company that is helping us with Speech Therapy. I feel good about the decisions we made once I finally opened up. I feel good about the help he is getting and I am so confident in H. He is smart, attentive, curious and a good, good boy. He’s going to rock speech therapy. I’m already so proud of him and the progress he has made. He has a family that loves him unconditionally and is very supportive. We are his greatest cheerleaders.

There is nothing this boy of ours can’t do.

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Buddy!

Two years ago our worlds changed forever and for the best when our sweet baby H was born – making us parents and making us the happiest we have ever been! I always, always knew I wanted to be a mom and was constantly dreaming about the day that those dreams would come true. I had high, high expectations and knew I’d love it. But wow. H exceeded those expectations by so much and I love being a mom much more than I ever could have imagined I’d love it. He has always been so easy going and calm. He is genuinely good and as he’s got older, he actually tries to do good too. I am forever smitten by this precious boy and am forever grateful that he is my son and I am his mom.

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Wild Man and I are already happy people but when we had H he brought a joy to our family we never knew we were so terribly missing. He was truly the puzzle piece that completed our little starter family that we weren’t aware we so needed. He has given light to our bummed out days. He has been a constant reminder of whats actually important and what should be a priority and what should have a lot of our attention. He is our pride and our joy.

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Being this sweet boys mom has given me so much purpose and so much knowledge. I guess in my mind, motherhood would just be me teaching my children, but I had no idea just how much I would be learning from him – even when he was teeny tiny. I think the greatest thing he has taught me is about unconditional love. He showed me parts of my heart that only he could have. He showed me a new side of myself that I never could have found myself. He has also taught me a lot about self-love. I easily can feel like a not-so-great mom, but the way he treats me and loves me no matter what has helped put things into perspective and helps me realize I’m doing a good job and he loves me and thinks I’m a great mom.

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Happy Birthday to our big, new two year old! These past two years with you have easily been the best two years of my life and I’m grateful to know that my life will always be good and have positivity in it because you are my son and I am your mom. You are my light, my happiness and my reason. Thank you for being you and creating a new, wonderful life for us. Have the best, happiest, most magical birthday, buddy. No one deserves it like you do. I love you to infinity and beyond – forever and ever.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles