Mother Love

ImageSomeone once said: “to be a mother, is to have your heart reside outside of your body”. Never has that felt so true than the day Casey left for boot camp. The pain I felt was so heavy, so real, as if someone had physically punched me in the chest. 

I knew the separation, the restricted communication, would be temporary but that offered  no relief. The fact that he would be far away in an isolating, foreign environment among strangers without the physical or verbal support of his family and friends caused me great distress. 

I remember that day vividly, almost 2 1/2 years ago. I was heading north, alone in my car sobbing uncontrollably like a lost child. With the sadness came anger. Why did MY son feel  he had to serve? Couldn’t someone else’s child take that burden? It didn’t matter that I had three more boys at home, no one could replace Casey’s presence in my heart and home. 

Before my angel left I reminded him that no matter where he was, or how long he had been away, if he looked at the moon he could find comfort that I was gazing at the same heavenly entity, thinking of him, praying for his strength and safety. Indeed every evening I would go outside and look at the moon.

Prayers and tears would find their way to the surface as the familiar pain would return afresh, like a wound reopened. Eight weeks is a long time when it separates a mother from her child, but the end did come, as ends do. I miss my handsome Airman as much as I did at the beginning of this journey, but the pain has dulled now, and I know longer feel angry. 

I feel pride. Pride that my son chose to serve. Pride in myself for my sacrifice. Pride in my son for his sacrifice. I feel love. Love for my son, love for my God. I feel thankful. Thankful to God for protecting my baby, thankful to every military family who has endured separation and loss. 

Another person once said: “Home of the free, because of the brave”.

Brave service men and women. Brave mothers. 

Accurate Diagnosis and A Bit of a Puzzle (2007)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Accurate Diagnosis and A Bit of a Puzzle

Big news around here, the Los Angeles Unified School District has been spending alot of time here assessing the boys and their “special needs” Psychologists, occupational therapists, behavioral therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists have been running every diagnostic test known to man on my two little boys. Here are their findings:
Sean: Is most definitely NOT autistic or mentally retarded, he passed all of their cognitive (intelligence) tests with age appropriate flying colors and although his expressive (speaking) language skills are still significantly delayed ( about the 12-18 month level) his receptive language (understanding) skills are at age level. He has been accurately diagnosed as having a speech delay, most likely due to apraxia (motor planning) difficulties and affects of Fetal Valproate Syndrome due to his exposure to anti-seizure medication during his interuterine stay. He will receive speech therapy in a LAUSD preschool starting this fall. Although he is slowly making gains in the area of speech his personality (STUBBORN) is giving his speech therapist a run for her money.
Steven: Freakishly high IQ at 146. Psychologist referred to him as having “extraordinarily superior” intelligence. The 146 is “open ended” as they never reached a “ceiling” (five question in a row incorrect). After 1 1/2 hours of testing (they got to the question- “show me a picture of parallel lines”) He firmly informed the psychologist that although he’d be more than happy to start asking HER questions he was in fact finished answering anymore. She found this extremely cute, mama found it sassy. After the announcement he crawled into my lap and begun sucking his thumb and true to his word would not answer one more question no matter how much she cajoled. So, the 146 while high, is not entirely accurate because he did not finish the test.

5:23 pm est

 

Spring and Summer Peterson Posse Activities (2007)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Spring and Summer Peterson Posse Activities

Summer is drawing near and families everywhere are preparing for their annual vacations. Here in the Peterson home we are booked solid with therapy sessions and assessment appointments as the county in their infinite wisdom attempts to pigeonhole the unique qualities of my children and determine appropriate preschool placement for them.

 Needless to say, we will not be enjoying any lengthy stays away from home, but we will manage to squeeze in a day trip here and there. Disneyland is on the agenda, a family favorite for us, and the Peterson pool beckons daily. The months of April, May, June, July and August are PACKED with birthdays giving many opportunities to celebrate with friends and family!

 APRIL 28: heralded the one-year birthday of Bella Francesca. We celebrated at home with a poolside bash that attracted over 45 friends and family members. Happy Birthday darling girl! (Do mama a favor and start sleeping through the night please!)

 MAY 17: is set aside for our eldest son, Casey Andrew. This year he turned 16 and what a handsome young man he is becoming! At 6’1’’ (not including his impressive head of hair, which catapults him well past 6’ 3”) and his charming smile, he is sure to create a buzz when he starts his new job at Albertsons. He is also working towards getting his driver’s license. Casey finished driver’s education, received his learner’s permit and is now practicing his skills in his new car, a Honda “Fit”.

 JUNE 6: Mama turned 28 again, nuff said. She and Daddy celebrated at Red Lobster on Wednesday while Gram Gram babysat the littles.

 JUNE 10: stupendous Steven Christian celebrated his third birthday seaside while camping at Carpenteria. We were joined by all of the Baileys and Gram Gram, Steven looks forward to attending St. Stephens preschool in July, has conquered toilet training and is currently undergoing evaluation for his giftedness.

 The remainder of the Peterson Posse birthdays are still to come and we look forward to them with great anticipation: Daddy is July 12, Sean will be 3 on August 14th and Ryan welcomes his 13thyear on August 24th.

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear family.

11:52 am est

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me: What I Learned This Year

 

1)      Dreams do come true

2)      Little girls ARE made of sugar and spice and everything nice

3)      My husband is a fantastic Daddy

4)      Babies do grow up and move away

5)      God prepares you for #4 long before it happens

6)      There are a lot of things more important than a clean house

7)      Visiting your granny boosts your spirits

8)      Little boys love hunting for bugs

9)      Just because you don’t say much doesn’t mean you have nothing to contribute

10)   My Sean is as smart as they come

11)  The sweetest place on a baby girl is the nape of her neck, right below her curls

12)   Steve has more energy than any living thing on earth

13)   Writing sets the soul free

14)   Preteen boys are……unique

15)   Watching a silly movie with your family makes the toughest day seem fantastic

16)   Smiles from a toddler are priceless

17)   Nothing is sweeter than a kiss unsolicited

18)   Children are life’s greatest challenge and its dearest reward

19)   Marriage isn’t easy, but its worth the effort

20)   Being married to your best friend is the secret to a happy marriage

21)   Dancing with a two year old is exhilarating

22)   Nothing is cuter than a fat baby girl in a pink bathing suit

23)   My mother is willing to put her life on hold to make mine a little easier

24)   Ryan is a FANTASTIC big brother

25)   Nobody messes with nap time….ever

26)   Casey has an awesome head of hair

27)   God never gives you more than you can handle

28)   When you feel you can’t handle life…turn to God

29)   Some lessons are harder to learn than others

30)   My family is everything I ever dreamed of and more than I could have hoped for

11:13 pm est

The Little Stinker Can Crawl! (2007)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

So the Little Stinker CAN Crawl!

Belly Jean up until a few days ago has been getting around quite effectively by skooching around on her fat little behind using her legs as oars. She swings both legs over to one side, propels herself forward, then swings them to the other side and repeats the process until she reaches her chosen destination.

I thought for a time that this was going to continue to be her mode of choice until she decides to walk. Two days ago however, I caught her testing the effectiveness of using her hands and knees to get around. Once she caught me peeking, she reverted to the skooching.

It would not matter much to me if she does not choose to crawl. Some babies never do. The “experts” do not quantify crawling as a developmental milestone any longer. The skooching does have its drawbacks though.

Bella is systematically wearing the seat out of every pair of pants she owns. A tushy can only take so much wear and tear; my little imp is busy trying to keep up with her four older brothers so her drawers are threadbare.

Skooching also draws more attention to my little tribe than we already get. Most people have never seen a baby get around in the fashion that Bella does. I have, but generally they are people without the use of their lower limbs.

Will she abandon the skooching entirely in favor of crawling? Will she launch directly into walking? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, she looks darn cute in the Easter bonnet Auntie Shell bought her, so does Seannie.

You Know it’s Going to be a Bad Day When…..

Friday, March 2, 2007

You Know it’s Gonna be a Bad Day When…..

 

 

You wake to a naked toddler in his bed

You wake to a naked toddler in YOUR bed

The car is not in the driveway where you parked it the night before

Your teenager is up before you, starting a science fair project due that day

The shower is backed up

The toilet is overflowing (and you suspect Hot Wheels to be the culprit)

There’s a rat floating in the pool

There’s a rat floating in the toilet

You fell asleep prior to rinsing the tint out of your hair

You wake up and see the color of your hair

 

Ah well….they can’t all be good days.

 

 

Body Fluids :/

Monday, January 29, 2007

Body Fluids

Years ago when my family lived in Bishop, California I began to think about career choices for myself. Nursing was one possibility. Knowing close to nothing about its implications I became a “candy striper” for the local area hospital.

 

I didn’t take me long to figure out that nursing was not the profession for me. The sight, smell, heck even the THOUGHT of another humans body fluids grossed me out. So much so that I nearly unveiled some body fluids of my own to go along with theirs! No sense letting my patients have all the fun. “Nope,” I thought, forget nursing. “I’ll be a MOMMY”. Little did I know then that there is little difference between the nursing profession and being a parent; especially in the body fluids department.

 

Diapers I can handle, even the really disgusting ones. It’s the unexpected eruptions and unexplained occurrences that freak me out. This is precisely what happened this weekend. When you increase the size of your family from 4 to 7 the likelihood of unexpected eruptions and unexplained occurrences increase exponentially.

 

I won’t go into detail, lest you feel the same as I regarding body functions and fluids. Suffice to say that Bella’s head was spinning ala Linda Blair all day Saturday and Seannie had a nose bleed that sent me into hysterics. This is where Daddy shines. I’m VERY good at the day to day operation of the home and routine. Throw in a head spinning vomit monkey or a gusher of a nose bleed and I run screaming out the door.

 

Without Daddy here to control the scene we would have escalated to National Emergency status in no time.

 

Ah well can’t be good at everything.

1:11 pm est

 

Can You Relate? Anyone?

Can you relate? Anyone? Anyone?

Today is Christmas Eve. December 24. I have 2.5 hours until dinner is to be served.  I spent the morning cleaning up after the Holiday Open House we hosted yesterday. Floors to mop, gifts to organize and put away.

 

Oh my, its 12:30, maybe I can squeeze in a 42 minute nap before I need to shower and pump for the baby, warm the ham, prepare the potatoes, ready the appetizers and wrap gifts for the guests that are coming.

 

I doze, but don’t really sleep because princess Bella is snoozing next to me and has left me to teeter on 4 inches of mattress. I finally give up and hop in the shower. Seannie starts to squall. I pause mid disrobe to get him out of bed and deposit him in front of the telly when Stevie starts hollering. I swing open the door and tell him to join his brother.

 

15 minutes left for my shower. I hop in the stall. Only time enough to wash my face, spin around under the jet for a couple of revolutions. Zip zip, I run the razor over the front of my legs (knee down) and under my arms making a mental note to myself to get the rest next time I’m in the shower (hopefully before the week is out).

 

I get out and dry off quickly and notice that my toenails are in a sorry state. I can’t even recall the last time I have trimmed them. The big toes each have the tiniest remnants of the polish that I received at my last pedicure in June. They are long and grotesque. I glance at the clock, no time to deal with them today…ah well, maybe if I leave them long enough I will qualify for the top spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

I grab the two gifts that need wrapping from their hiding place. Glancing around the living room I notice a lovely gift bag from a present I have just received. I dump its contents and shove in my own.

 

2:05 time to pump. The guests are due any minute, I sit down to write down my thoughts while my Medela sucks the life from me yet again.

 

2:26 and I’m done writing, Hey maybe I have time enough to trim my bangs which are obstructing my field of vision, if I could only remember how the girl at the Cut/Sip and Lube managed to get them straight when she did it 6 months ago.

 

Got to run and prepare a meal fit for a king, with 3 squalling babies, may hair in my eyes and laundry waiting for my attention….oh yeah, and Santa hasn’t gotten around to wrapping any gifts yet….15 hours left…Merry Christmas.

5:34 pm est

 

What Happened to My Baby?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What Happened to My Baby?

 

 

Things have a way of sneaking up on you. I was sitting on the couch the other day when a handsome 6 foot tall young man appeared in the doorway.

 

How did that happen? My sweet little Casey with curly blond hair who used to cuddle in my lap and whose contagious laugh would echo through the house is gone. How cruel, that time moves so fast you don’t have a chance to savor the moment given to you. Like trying to hold back the tide it comes toward you, over you,  past you and away.

 

Soon he’ll be gone. Off to achieve dreams he has for himself. I’ll be left with the memories of a little boy who brought joy to everyone he met, whose smile could light up a room and whose generosity and kindness blessed many people.

 

He gave me a gift the other day. He sat next to me on the couch and held my hand. We didn’t say anything we just sat and held hands. Another precious memory for me to visit when he leaves.

 

If only I could have one more chance to rock him to sleep, stroke his curls and cuddle him. If given the opportunity I promise I’ll hold him longer, I won’t be in a hurry to put him in bed, I won’t be in a rush to finish chores or make phone calls. I promise I won’t think of anything but how sweet it is to hold and love my baby, to smell his hair and and feel his warm body close to mine…just..one…more…time…please….

 

I love you Casey, with everything I have in me…I love you.

10:06 am est

One of Those Days

Friday, December 1, 2006

One of Those Days

Lest you get the wrong impression and believe that life at home is all peaches and roses and that my children came equipped with permanent halos attached to their sweet little heads, I thought I’d better give you a glimpse into an “off” day in the Peterson Posse household.

 

Most days I’m greeted with gurgles, giggles and smiles when I rise. Yesterday however, the screeches of anguish from all three of the littles that brought me from my slumber made my hair stand on end. WHAT could possibly have disturbed my babies so much that they had to begin the day with that horrifying racket?

 

Bella is easy….you “flip” her from her belly (which she hates) onto her back using the good ole’ rodeo calf tying maneuver I shared with you previously, and pop her nuk back in her mouth. She gives me a big grin through the plastic pacifier and happily begins batting at the crib mobile. Off I run to the boys’ room to see who set whom on fire.

Both of them are running around naked having done away with their blanket sleepers (and I was soooo delighted when they had mastered zippers several months agoL) and donned their urine soaked diapers screeching like warriors moving in for the kill.

 

That is how the day started and went downhill from there. Nobody was happy for more than 5 minutes. Breakfast found the floor before hitting anyone’s stomach, Sean’s speech therapist cancelled but not with enough notice that I could take the kids on an outing, I forgot to take some meat out for dinner, I didn’t TiVo Survivor so I missed the first 15 minutes, and I finally made it into the shower at 7:55 pm.

 

So life at home, yesterday anyway, was lima beans and weeds as opposed to peaches and roses. Life of course, is how you perceive it, good days, bad days. If you look close enough you will find some good in the bad….upon closer inspection of yesterday, here is the good I found:

 

  • Kisses and cuddling with my babies
  • Ryan cooking a delicious dinner when he found Mama too unraveled to pull anything together
  • Daddy coming home
  • Daddy’s warm hug when he came home
  • Reading a new book to my baby boys
  • Auntie Shell coming over with popcorn and a movie for the baby boys
  • The warm shower at 7:55 pm
  • Watching the remaining 45 minutes of Survivor with Ry and Daddy
  • Settling into a warm bed, knowing that all of my children were safely tucked away for the night

 

Thank you God for “one of those days” I love my life!

 

 

 

10:58 am est

 

Thanksgiving 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006Thanksgiving Turn Out: The Mystery Woman

Thanksgiving was fantastic, the best ever! Ryan and Gram Gram had done most of the prep work days before, the food was marvelous and the company even better. There is a lot to be said for staying home to enjoy the holidays.
I only have one complaint. When we began taking pictures in the hopes of getting ONE halfway decent shot of the seven of us (no easy feat with two toddlers) I found that a mysterious woman had snuck her way into our home.
“Who the heck is that?” I cried when Kory began looking through the shots on the computer screen. “Why honey, thats you.” replies the love of my life.
“What! You gotta be kidding! Am I THAT fat? Help! Murder! Roll back the red carpet the fatty is coming!”
The next morning I bite the bullet and step on the scale. HORROR!! I will not shock you with the actual reading as it may send you into a coma, the number being so large, but I will share that the last time I saw those same digits I was about to give birth to 9 pound 4 oz baby Ryan. GASP!!
Time to face the music, pay the piper, cash in my chips (before eating any preferably) bite the bullet…..
And do what exactly? Exercise with the three babies…jumping my fool head off to the tune of the Wiggles on the big screen? Cut my calories…HAH! Not while breastfeeding anyway. Okay, okay, I can stay away from the junk, but is that really a reasonable expectation from a confessed choc-a-holic?
Maybe I will consider it, we’ll see. Or maybe I just won’t EVER let anyone take a picture of me again!
Anyway, when you receive your family Christmas card in the mail. Ignore the fat woman in the photo, we don’t know who she is.

10:03 am est

Thursday, November 23, 2006