A Week of Croup

Well, just when I thought that Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease was the worst it could get in toddler illness, my son developed croup.

Croup, which is inflammation of the trachea, is caused by a group of viruses that mascarade as the common cold, but in young children can turn into much more.

You know your child has croup when his or her cough starts sounding like a weird bark.  You may also hear a gasping noise when they cry, talk, exert themselves and in really bad cases at rest.  My son had a fever of around 101 and was fatigued, clingy and had a poor appetite.

My son’s croup started on a Wednesday.  His cough had the trademark bark noise and I knew right away he had croup.  What I didn’t know was what to do.  Do I need to get him to a doctor right away?  Is this something to care for at home?  I just had no idea – and when it comes to your kid breathing, you don’t want to be guessing.

So I called the doctor’s office and talked to a nurse.  She assured me unless he was clearly having difficulty breathing, he was ok and set up an appointment for the next morning.

That night was rough.  He couldn’t sleep – he was wheezing, barking and generally miserable.  Myself or my husband was in the room with him at all times – one because he needed us there for comfort – and two because we needed to hear him breathing in case he started struggling.

The next morning his doctor took one listen to him and immediately said he needed steroids.  He got the one dose steroid treatment and by that afternoon was feeling much better.

But this croup virus was not nice.  It came back over the weekend, sending us to urgent care and getting him on a dose of 3 days of steroids.

Now he’s on day 2 of being off of medicine and feeling just fine.  I’m finally convinced he can go back to school.  I’m terrified of what illness he will bring home next, but its clear that he needs that outlet and needs to have fun.

Oh, and if you thought croup was just a childhood disease, think again.  I’m on day 4 and just now starting to get my voice back.  While I never developed a barking noise, my throat definitely has been very swollen and I’ve felt worse than I have in a long time.  Whenever I get these illnesses several days after my son does, I always am shocked that he did so freakin’ well considering how crappy I feel.  If I was 1, I would not handle feeling that bad as well as he does.  My little man is a trooper!

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The google spiral

I have to say, anxiety and google do not mix.

I’ve always had a bit of anxiety.  When I was a kid, it was more of a social anxiety.  As I’ve aged, I’ve learned techniques to deal with social anxiety.  But as I learn to deal with one type of anxiety, another one rears it’s ugly head.  After social anxiety came choosing a career path anxiety, after that came living on my own anxiety, etc. etc. so and so on.

Lately, as I’m settled in my job and my personal life, a new anxiety has popped up.  Anxiety of strange medical conditions.

Let me preface this by saying I am the person who has weird things happen to them – whether personally or medically.

Just as an example, I have a rare food allergy – it’s a dietary nickel allergy.  Yes, I am very allergic to the metal nickel and can not wear jewelry, watches, etc with nickel in it.  And that has turned into a food allergy.  Nickel is a natural compound found in the soil, and so it is absorbed by food that grows in the soil.  Those foods with a naturally high nickel content cause me to have an allergic reaction.  It’s crazy – it’s rare – and I have it.

So when you have a kid, your anxiety naturally raises for the health and wellbeing of your child.  Add that on to an already anxiety-prone personality, and things can get a little out of control.

I’ve been spending a ton of time googling things that I’m worried about with my son.  I won’t go into specifics, because it’s just a worry of mine.  No medical professional has said anything about it – and when I talk to others they don’t agree with me.  So most likely (and hopefully) it’s just my anxious mind.

The other day, I was “multi-tasking” as many people do.  I was cooking some food for my son for the week – which is a lot of boiling frozen veggies – while googling away on the topic of my concern.  While in the throws of my vicious google circle – a plastic slotted spoon had fallen into the flame on my gas stove.  And I was so caught up in my obsession that I didn’t notice until most of the spoon had melted away on the stove, the pot, the pot lid, etc.

I had a mini-breakdown as I was taking all the melted plastic covered kitchen supplies outside to get the fumes/smell out of my home.  I called my husband and lost it.  Not my finest moment at all.

So since then I’ve sworn off google for this topic.  Because really – is google going to help me solve this problem (if it is one)?  Is google going to prevent this from being a problem (if it is?)  No.  Is google going to make me miss out on some precious moments with my son?  Is google going to make my life more chaotic than it needs to be?  Yes.

So from now on, Google is off limits for topics that can send me into a worry-spiral.  It is to be used for research for work, shopping, email and fun items only!

 

A good start

Right now the little boy is lying in his crib playing with his feet.  I love that view on the monitor!  He’s so happy and content – and flexible!!

After not working out a bit last week, I was determined to start the week of on a better foot.  Well, Monday didn’t happen but it rarely does.  I have a ton of work tasks to do on Monday so really I think of Tuesday as the start of my week.

Tuesday did happen.  Boy did it happen.  I went to my normal group exercise class even though I had a ton on my mind and didn’t really want to go.  But lying in bed Tuesday morning, asking God to give me strength and guidance for the day ahead, for some reason a vision of me doing the speed skater exercise popped into my head.  I don’t know why – but I took that as a sign from at least my subconscious that I need to go exercise that day.  (And no, we did not do any speed skaters)

My mind wandered the whole class – my body was going, but my mind was elsewhere.  And I think that made me work out harder than I normally would have.  Because boy oh boy are my muscles sore today!

So with my mind a little bit clearer today after a 2 hour phone call to my Mom, I decided to do some yoga stretching.  And my muscles did not want to move!  But it was good for them – even as I sit here envying my son’s flexibility I’m happy I went.  While I’m no where near as flexible as I was pre-pregnancy, my muscles are much happier now than they were before.

So all in all a good start to the week.  (Besides the mind clutter that I can’t stop from freaking me out!)

A mother’s instincts

I always, always have thought my mother was overprotective.  I remember as an adult, her wanting to talk to my employer about some difficulties I was having with the company.  I actually had to work pretty hard to stop her from doing it too.

I was in my mid-20’s, and she wanted to talk to my boss.  Yep, that’s my Mom.  Wanting to make sure everything was perfect for her daughter.  Of course, I saw it as being controlling and over-protective.

And then I became a mother.  Really, from the day I found out I was pregnant, all I wanted to do was protect this little baby.  I wanted to make sure he had the best of the best.  I would scour google to see if certain foods were ok to eat during pregnancy.  My gut was wrenching for weeks after I found out that my beloved Chic-fila  lemonade was not pasteurized and posed a small, yet possible risk of listeria to harm my unborn son.  Everything I did was to protect him.

And then he was born and those protection instincts became even stronger.  All I want is for him to be happy and healthy.  I follow him around the house, just a step behind, ready to grab him if he falls while walking.  I cook homemade organic food for him to eat while grabbing processed food for myself.  His needs come before mine.  His safety is my number one priority – and his happiness is my second.

Now I understand my mother’s instincts.  I’m pretty sure I would want to make things better for my son when he’s in his mid-20s – and I would offer to do anything I could to make him happy.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Instinct

Mindful Me

I write blog posts for my job.  Sometimes I write one’s that I really want to post on my personal blog.  Today I wrote one on mindfulness, and it really hit home with me.  More than I thought it would.

Usually in the afternoon, after work, I feed my little one, try to get him to take a nap (which is harder than you’d think) and then either finish up some chores or collapse on the couch and watch a little TV.  Today it was relatively easy to get him down for his nap – yay – and after I finished a couple of chores, I collapsed on the couch to watch some TV.  Fifteen minutes later, 35 minutes into his nap, the cries came.  And it’s never a good thing when your little one wakes up crying!

Usually when the little one wakes up crying from a nap, dread hits me as I picture the rest of the day filled with overtired crankiness.  But today, I took a deep breath, went in his room, picked him up and held him in my arms on the rocker, as I normally do to calm him down.  He immediately fell asleep.  And usually I put him down in the crib pretty quickly after he falls asleep.  9 times out of 10 the second “put down” doesn’t work and he immediately wakes up.  So I decided to just hold him and let him sleep in my arms.

I held him and let him sleep in my arms.  I wasn’t thinking about all the things I could be doing.  I wasn’t thinking about anything but holding my baby.  I looked at his sweet little face as he slept, and felt so blessed to have him.  It was such a special moment.  He’s weeks away from turning 1 – and the time has passed by so fast.  I feel like soon he’ll be a teenager and I’ll long for these moments.  I need to treasure them now, even though at times I don’t.

But today I did.  I held him.

 

 

Letting guilt go

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I have a list of to-do’s.  Many of them are things I need to get done in order to make my life less chaotic.  And let’s face it – life can be chaotic.  Things like clean the high chair before the next meal, prepare snacks for the babysitter to feed the child before she gets there, make sure the laundry is done.

Some of them are things that would be nice to get done to make life more pleasant.  Those unfortunately usually fall to the bottom of the list and the chaos-inducing ones.  Things like fold and put away the laundry, prepare snacks for the week ahead of time, and prepare healthy snacks for myself ahead of time.

And then there’s the wish to-do list.  This one is never really written down, but remains in my head as dreams of things I want to-do.  This includes things like go to an extra exercise class (besides the 2 a week I normally go to), bake just to bake, write a blog post, read a book, etc.

These I can say really never get done.  (The exception is today’s blog post writing).  But I want to do these things, so I need to make them happen.

Sometimes life is funny.  We spend our days doing things we really don’t want to do, but need to do, while dreaming about what we want to do.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was the other way around?  Unless you are fortunate enough to have a full time housekeeper, chef, nanny, dog sitter, etc. – this probably isn’t possible.  And even then, I’m sure you are stuck doing things you don’t want to because you have to.  And yes, it’s part of life – doing things you don’t want to.  And that’s fine.  No big deal.

But then there’s finding the time for things you want to do.  That’s where the difficult part comes in.

So, here I am, finding time.  Instead of zoning out in front of the tv after a busy day of work and life, I’m writing.  Because I want to and this is the time I have to do it.

It shouldn’t be so hard to find motivation to do things you want to do.  But sometimes, it is.  And that’s a reality.  There’s all these slogans that say if you really want it, you’ll find a way; and if you don’t, then you’ll find an excuse.  While I do believe there is some truth to this – there is also the truth of being run down, exhausted and used up by the end of the day.

So, no more feeling guilty for not working after the little one goes to sleep and taking time to do something for me.

No more feeling guilty that I haven’t yet cleaned the high chair in preparation for tomorrows breakfast.  Breakfast is 12 hours away.  I can take some time to write.

No more feeling guilty – the guilt can kill the motivation.  So here I am, guiltless, spending a little me time before diving back into life.

Hopefully I can keep up the no guilt train!

 

Changes and Dreams

I used to pride myself on being able to handle change well – even craving change.  But these past several months have challenged that thought.

I have had a lot of change.  Like, if you ever take one of those life stressor polls, I’d rate pretty darn high.  I actually just took a quiz (the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory) and scored well above the high rating and they predict I have an 80% chance of having a major health incidence in the next 2 years.  So…um…

Every little change is now effecting me in a negative way.  For instance, our neighbors moved.  We weren’t close.  I knew their names and would wave if we saw each other – but that’s about it.  But now at night, when I’m washing the baby bottles, I look out our kitchen window and don’t see the familiar view of our neighbor sitting on her couch working on her laptop.  And it makes me sad.  I feel out of control.  And I hate that.

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In order to make myself feel more in control over all these out of my hands changes, I tend to dream about my life in the future.  I don’t dream too far in advance, maybe 6 months to 2 years.  And I’m not unrealistic.  I don’t envision myself winning the lottery or moving to France.  I envision real-life possibilities.  And it helps.  It gives me a sense of calm and control, even if the control is just an illusion.

But I don’t tell anyone my future life visions.  I think it’s because I’ve had goals I’ve shared in the past, and didn’t make them, and felt horrible about myself.  It was embarrassing.  So I stopped voicing my dreams.  Which is sad.  I kind of need to voice these, right?  I mean, how can I make my life more of what I want, and make sure my husband and I are both seeing the same, or close to same, things – unless I share these.

It’s hard to find time to talk seriously with him now.  In depth conversations are a thing of the past.  We now talk about poopy diapers, what we can scrounge out of the fridge for dinner, and our deep desire for more sleep.  Nothing serious.  But that’s my goal for the weekend.  To voice my dreams.  I may have to give a dream disclaimer.  Something along the lines of “is this doesn’t happen, it’s OK.”  Give myself a little out in case I change my mind, lose my way, etc.  Maybe that will make the conversation a little easier.

Once I share them with him, I’ll share them with you.  So stay tuned…

What day is it?

I’m having difficulty remembering what day it is.  Days tend to all blur together – one bleeding into the next.  We actually still have a notebook we keep logging our son’s diaper changes, feedings, naps, etc.  Otherwise we won’t remember.  Parenthood definitely takes away some of your brain power.

So it’s already Wednesday.  Wow.

I am happy to report I did good on my workout goal for last week.  I did every workout except for Sunday’s yoga DVD.  It’s probably the one I need to most, but the one I feel least guilty about skipping.  Odd, right?  But there were days I had to force myself to do my 15 minute exercise  – and I did it.  So yay!  Small victory dance.

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My goal this week is 30 minutes.  Yesterday that didn’t happen.  Yesterday was chaotic.  My sitter didn’t show up and I had an early morning meeting with my boss – so my husband had to stay with the baby.  And from then on, craziness ensued.  You know how when your day starts off crazy, it just stays crazy.  Unexpected trip to the pediatricians office, ridiculously long lines at the grocery store for 11am on a Tuesday, all that happened.  So no, I didn’t workout then.  But I did my 30 minutes on Monday and today, so I’m just picking up where I left off.  No guilt.  Things happen.  No quitting – that’s the more important thing!

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On a totally unrelated note, while I’m happy I’ve started this exercise regime, I still can’t help looking towards next year for me to finally have some happiness.  I don’t know why – I’ve never been a New Year’s person.  January 1 is just the same as December 31st in my book.  But for some reason I feel like all the hurt and stress I have buried deep down in me will disappear with the changing of the year.  It doesn’t work that way, I know.  I just don’t have the time or the means to release it, and it will stay with me until I do.  That’s a scary thought.  But I just have to keep powering on.  When the feelings overcome me, I let them.  I don’t judge myself.  You can’t wish away sadness anymore than you can wish for more money.  So I just feel it.  And hope that one day I won’t be so sad anymore.

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But that’s my update.  Nothing overwhelming.  Just thought I’d throw this out there.

Dogs go to heaven

There are two things in this world that can easily pull at my heart-strings.  My son and my dog.

For those of you who are not pet-people, you probably don’t understand how my son and my dog could be listed together.  But for those of you who are, you totally get it.

This is hard for me to write, but I feel an overwhelming need to put this out there.  To let the world know how great this little girl was.

Yes, was.  It’s been 4 weeks since we said goodbye to my dog of 14.5 years.  But it still feels like yesterday.

I was lucky enough to find her online through a local rescue group during my senior year of college.  I was getting ready to move to Florida for grad school, and my Mother and I both agreed I needed a companion for the move.  So I looked for a dog.

I went to meet her.  She was sweet, cute – and the only one of the dogs in the little pen the rescue lady set up that wasn’t jumping and barking all over the place.  I immediately loved that about her.  We got her out and petted her, but she wasn’t leashed – so once the hands were off her she ran like the dickens.  Luckily, she came back.  And she was mine.  From then on, she was mine.

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I named her Caroline, after my soon-to-be alma mater, UNC aka Carolina.

She traveled with me to Florida for grad school, then back home to Charlotte for life after school.  Along my chaos of boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, jobs, former jobs, several different apartments, and all that goes along with a 20-somethings life, she was there.  She would curl up underneath me whenever I sat on the couch.  She would sniff around at my feet every time I went to the kitchen.  She would jump in excited every time I said ‘walk’ or ‘outside’.  She was the best squirrel-chaser in the world.  And she was the most loving dog anyone could ever meet.

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Then came my 30’s, and the meeting of my later-to-be husband.  She took to him right away, and he to her.  He included her in the proposal which was outside at a local park.  Every time I passed that bench I thought of our proposal.  Now I think of her.

She was at our wedding.  I could not imagine having it any other way.  My favorite wedding picture is of the 3 of us – me, him and her.

She traveled with us, she hiked with us, she made us laugh and smile.

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Then she got kidney disease.  And she was a fighter.  But those kidneys are a bitch – and they won out.  It was her time, even though I so desperately didn’t want it to be.  She had been with me for so much, I wanted her to see my son grow up a bit more.  Her little brother – she never really got to know him and that makes me so sad.

She lived a remarkable, beautiful, active, happy and long life.  She was 3 months shy of her 16th birthday when she passed.

Since her passing, I’ve walked a lot.  One of our favorite things to do together was walk.  I’d go on the paths she used to take me on – the further from home the better for her.  I see a ceramic cat she used to pull towards, thinking it was real, and smile – then cry.  I see a road she loved to walk on because it was full of squirrels, and walk down in her memory.

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I miss her so much my heart literally aches.  For so long it was me and her, and now I have to figure out how to live my life without her.  And I will.  I know time will heal, and I will live a long and happy life, even get another dog to love, with my little family.  But I also know when my time comes, she and I will have such a happy reunion in heaven.  Because, yes, I do believe dogs go to heaven.  Especially this beautiful girl!

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I love you Care Bear always and forever!!