One and Done

Luffy and I have decided. We’re changing our life-plan and sticking with our little family of three. One child. Just the dumpling. Honestly, other than my absurd wish to be pregnant again (anyone need these rose-colored glasses?) and hold a newborn (but only for like half an hour), the thought of just having one child brings me a lot of peace.

I wrote once, on a community board, that I feel like I’m too selfish to have another child. Not in a bad way, but more in a self-care way. Not to knock the dumpling or anything, but there are so many other things I enjoy in life. Plus, I’m not really into the whole mom sacrifices everything – her time, her body, her identity, EVERYTHING – to raise children. At the end of the day, I still want – nay NEED – time for myself. Time for my interests and hobbies, like exercising and travel. I’d really like to be able to teach at least three exercise classes a week again. Luffy and I would love to go to Italy again and we can’t wait to introduce our child to the joys of traveling. And hell, I need time to take care of myself. I’m a much better person with 15 minutes of peace and quiet. I don’t want to become a mother who hasn’t had a decent meal all day or whose children are well-dressed but she’s in sweats and unwashed hair. [Nothing against those mothers! It’s just not for me.]

With the plan for one child a go, Luffy and I have already started to become excited for the near future again. Travel! With and without the dumpling! We’re that much closer to getting a dog (because I refuse to be the primary care-giver for a puppy at the same time as a baby)! We’re that much closer to retirement! We’re that much closer to diaper-free days and meltdown-free days and – GUESS WHAT?! – we no longer have any newborn days in our future again! HOLLA!! WOOT WOOT!! and etc!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware we might change our minds and we reserve the right to. Once the dumpling’s a little more independent and we’re through the ups/downs of early toddlerhood (read: teeeeeeeeeth because the dumpling is getting four right now). Once he can talk to us, maybe? We might change our minds. And that’s ok.

Right now though, my mental health is a lot, er, healthier with the thought of having just one. And that’s ok too.

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The Follow-up

We had our appointment with the neurologist this morning. It went well, all things considered. Really well, I’d say.

Our doctor did indeed have the results of the dumping’s MRI. He didn’t find any of the things he was concerned about (“crossed wires” or, even more frightening, a mass). He did note what’s called low-lying tonsils. Basically part of the dumpling’s brain protrudes through the base of his skull into his spinal column. Right now, all this means is something to monitor and triggers a follow-up MRI in a year. Our neurologist said that in the majority of cases like this (young patient, developing brain, etc), the malformation corrects itself. In about 25% of cases though, the malformation gets worse and he would be officially diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation. Which, if you open that link, is also a scary thing, but our doctor assured us that this is the type of thing we would have never known about without this early MRI and it’s quite possible that the dumpling will never have signs or symptoms of the condition. It’s simply a case of being able to know a little too much, much like his heart blip in utero.

As for the epilepsy, he’s been officially labeled as such, but in a softer, he’s-likely-to-outgrow-this sort of way. We’ll be continuing on the anti-seizure medication for two years. If he’s seizure-free for two years and has a normal EEG at that time, then we’ll discuss weaning him off of the medication. Another seizure-free year after that and we’ll be released from the care of the neurologist with a perfectly healthy preschooler. It sounds like a long road, but I’m hopeful that all will go smoothly and the dumpling will never have another seizure.


In other very important news, I bought the dumpling THE CUTEST pair of overalls at Hanna Anderson today and I cannot WAIT to try them on him!

Home again

We had the MRI this morning. The whole day has actually gone about a thousand times better than I had anticipated. (Yay for low expectations!)

The dumpling got up at a perfectly reasonable 5:45am and I studiously ignored his signs for eat as I got him and myself dressed. We chased Luffy around the house, his absolute favorite activity, for a while and then hopped in the car on schedule. He remained in good spirits for our entire wait at the hospital, which ended up being a little longer than anticipated due to an MIA anesthesiologist. We kept him entertained by reading his favorite books pages and letting him pace the room. He’s still a new enough walker that pacing a teeny, tiny recovery room is exciting.

He charmed his nurses with big smiles and a generally good mood – right up until we walked into the MRI room. They allowed me to accompany him, though he must have sensed something was UP because almost as soon as we walked into the room he wrapped his arms tightly around me. Because children as young as him don’t usually cooperate with being poked with an IV needle, they actually knock them out using gas first and then place their IV for general anesthesia. Which was great for us! That was seriously my biggest worry – wondering how on earth I was going to keep him calm and still enough to allow an IV to be placed. The hardest part about this method was keeping his arms from pushing the mask away. He fought me hard at first and then his resistance and strength tapered off until he was asleep. I gave him a kiss and they escorted me from the room.

I got choked up a bit, as I was leaving. There’s something about seeing your child lying on a hospital bed that just really cuts through to your heart. Plus, the general anesthesia is perfectly safe, but you start to worry. What if something goes wrong! He’s so tiny. So sweet. Please take care of my baby. The nurses must have read my mind because they assured me they’d take good care of him as I left the room.


When we returned for him, he was still asleep, thankfully. He was sleeping so well in fact that we had to rouse him after a while. He handled it beautifully and they discharged us with warnings of nausea and drowsiness and irritability and night wakings. So far, he’s had none of those complaints (although famous last words, I know).

Though he dozed in the car on the way home, he was up until 1:30 when we put him down for a nap. Since the anesthesia can cause nausea, I tried to start him slow on water and cheerios. I tried, I really did, but he quickly moved on to strawberries and clementines and applesauce and oatmeal then puffs and sausage and two ounces of milk – no two more – no four more. They did tell us they gave him a dose of an anti-nausea medication, so I’m hoping we don’t see some sort of relapse once it wears off, but he’s been doing well so far.

And that’s where we are now. He’s still asleep and I’m watching him closely via our monitor. I checked him in (online) for his appointment with  his neurologist on Tuesday. And now we’re just going to kick back and enjoy our weekend.

Back to the routine

I must say, it feels good to slip back into a routine.

That was completely me. I lost all sense of the days and, even this week, I’m still lost as to whether it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. I used to love the times of the year when you get to kick back and lose yourself in the days of leisure, but with a toddler who does much better with routine, it feels so good to sink back into our cozy routine.

Unfortunately, our routine is being disrupted yet again this Friday by the dumpling’s MRI. Luckily, it should be fairly short, all things considered. I mean, the poor baby has to be sedated for the procedure so I was concerned they’d want to keep him for monitoring. I spoke to the radiology nurse yesterday though and she assured me that we’d likely be on our way by 10am at the latest. I still plan to keep him home though, to monitor him myself, so Friday should be an interesting day.

Luffy and I were talking the other day about how strange it is, having a child, in certain situations. For instance, while I was talking with the radiology nurse, she told me that two adults can wait in radiology, but then only one adult can go back with the dumpling. She said that adult could remain with him until he was asleep and then that person (which, who are we kidding, is going to be me) will be removed from the procedure area. And when she said that, my heart just seized up as my mind conjured up the image of my son under sedation, all alone in an MRI room. I won’t be allowed to rejoin him until he’s in recovery and I’m praying that he will take longer to wake up because I don’t want him to wake up without me being there. I mean, if he wakes up and no one’s there… my heart can’t take that.

Or, another example of this odd phenomenon where my heart squeezes involuntarily: our daycare is hesitant to move the dumpling into the next class (the toddler class, for ages 12-18mo). The dumpling’s 14mo now and finally walking pretty well. He’s actually already on the school’s lunch plan and we’re beginning to shift his schedule to align to the toddler class, so we asked them about the timing of his move to the next class. When they hesitated, we pressed and they told us that they thought he was too small. At first, we were dismissive (and also probably a touch defensive), but really, he’s small?! He’s probably always going to be on the smaller side of the class, at least until he hits his first pubescent growth spurt. What’s the cutoff here? I mean, if you hold him back for his size now, what about the next transition? He just broke twenty pounds (which we know thanks to a visit last Friday to our pediatrician!*), did they want him to be 22lbs or 25lbs? What exactly was their goal?

So, I asked my mother. A long, long time ago, she worked in a daycare (actually several, including running her own in-home daycare). My first clue as to the depth of her concern was that I texted her and she called me back. (Complete sidebar here – whenever you elevate the method of conversation, it always feels a touch more dire. Like if you email someone and they text you in return – or, in this scenario, you text someone and they call you back instead. But I digress…) She told me that if the daycare managers were hesitant to move the dumpling because of his size, it was very likely that the next class has some “assertive” toddlers – i.e. the toddlers that are in the pushing and hitting phase. His teachers have told me time and time again that if another baby takes a toy from the dumpling, he just goes to find another. He has such a sweet and passive personality (most of the time!). My mother said that she’d listen to the daycare managers, because she’d hate for the dumpling to go from a stellar daycare experience (seriously, he loves his teachers and class so much) to a classroom full of “bullies” who will quite literally run him over, physically and figuratively. And y’all – my heart just hurt for my son. It made me want to scoop him up and give him a hug. Or follow him into the toddler class to run interference for him against all of those bigger, pushier toddlers. Or, better yet, just keep him in the infant classroom with the teachers who already love him! Yes! Let’s do that!

Parenthood, right? It’s frustrating and fulfilling and heart-wrenching, all at the same time.


Now for a little observation that I really want to jot down:

My sweet baby has always loved to read. He loves books and turning the pages and lifting the flaps and hearing the stories. One of his favorite books (which was actually one of my favorites as a child!) is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. He also really like Sandra Boynton’s Doggies when he was really little, I think because of all of the doggie sounds. He’s gone one step further lately – he actually has favorite pages. And it’s very clear because he will thumb through a book with purpose until he lands on a particular page. And if we’re reading the book and I turn the page away from his favorite, he’ll immediately turn it back to have me re-read the page. Squee! Isn’t that just adorable?!

Right now, his favorite pages are the “nine dogs on a moonlit night” page from Sandra Boynton’s Doggies because we howl at the moon and he thinks that’s hilarious. His other favorite page is the “di-no-saurs sing-ing a di-no-saur song!” from her Oh My! Oh My! Oh Dinosaurs!. I think he likes it because I sing the words with much flair and embellishment. Plus, I occasionally decide to show off my skills at holding a note and hold on to the “song” until he’s smiling like a fool. Good times!

Anyway, wish us luck for Friday. I’m ready for next week when we can slip even further into our comfortable routines.

*The trip to the pediatrician last Friday was unscheduled but ultimately uneventful. The dumpling had a cold over Christmas, as I’ve mentioned. He ran a fever Friday through Sunday, but woke up fever-free on Christmas Day (Monday). He seemed to be improving and then he ran a fever again on Thursday afternoon. He didn’t have a fever Friday morning, but I spent a restless Thursday night with him as he tossed and turned and dozed fitfully. So, we went to the pediatrician’s for a clean-ish bill of health. Good thing too because the radiology people weren’t too jazzed about him having had a cold so recently and were quizzing me to make sure he hadn’t been diagnosed with the flu or RSV or something.

Post-holiday Recovery

Well then, that was depressing.

In hindsight, I think that I was just really upset over my parents leaving early. Even before the holiday, I had been bummed that they were only staying for a full day (Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning, so basically just here for Christmas Day). So the abrupt departure was something I just couldn’t deal with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the dumpling was a lot to handle, but topped off with my parents being here for just 24 hours, and voila! Existential crisis du jour.

If I may though, the decision to have a second child has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it’s the dumpling’s mini-tantrums or my concerns over his development or perhaps the lackluster Christmas we had. Regardless, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to whether I want to have a second child.

Luffy’s ambivalent on the matter, so it’s really up to me. He does, at least, concede that I do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to our son, especially right now when we are in the grips of parent-preference (me, of course). It is nice to hear, in a way, that he sees everything that I do, but it doesn’t help the decision about a second child because I know that I’ll be doing most of the work. Hopefully, the dumpling will be a bit more independent when/if this hypothetical second child makes an appearance, but I know I can’t just focus solely on the young child and leave the older to fend for himself.

On the one hand, it feels like such a cop-out to plan my life out based on what’s easier right now. Right now, I can’t comprehend throwing a second child into the mix. Another strong-willed, uneven tempered being. I barely keep up with the dumpling as it is and I am always happy to turn him over to daycare for the day (mama needs a break too!). Honestly, just the thought of “I will only have one child” brings me a lot of relief and peace. And since it does, is that my gut telling me that I’d be no good as a mother of two? Is it taking the easy road or is it taking my feelings into consideration regarding our family’s future? After all, no one wants to be that mom who looks back at her life and regrets her children.

I feel like we’re at a crossroads of sorts. We ventured down one life path (have a child!) and we’re coming to a fork. The path that we’re on now has been fun, yes! With the dumpling’s laughter and smiles – watching him learn to crawl and walk and eat solid food. But it’s also been hard. With nursing around the clock in the beginning to newborn meltdowns to toddler meltdowns to colds and stomach viruses and febrile seizures.

This post is just all over the place at the moment. Basically what I’m trying to say is that raising a child is hard – oh so very hard – and I do a lot of the truly hard stuff. So if I choose to only have one child – is that taking the easy way out of life? Would I regret it later, that I never put in the hard work upfront to later enjoy the rewards of multiple children? Or, is choosing to have one child simply listening to my gut feeling that I’m unhappy right now and that child-rearing is the source of my unhappiness?


To add in one of my patented to be fairs, we have had a few tough weeks here recently. First with the shenanigans at Thanksgiving, then the seizure, and Roseola, and a cold, and possibly molars, and Christmas letdowns – it’s probably not the best time to be making life decisions. In the midst of the holiday blues, I even forgot that just weeks ago I seriously contemplated writing up a post about just how happy I was. At the end of October and first week or so of November, I was completely content. I felt it to my very core, the feeling that all was right in my little world. I didn’t write the post, because I thought it would come off as too braggy – look at me and my cozy little family! – but now I’m sad that I didn’t. It would have been a nice reminder of just how happy my life can be.

Christmas or bust

Sigh.

Oh you guys. I mean, after our Thanksgiving, I had really hoped that Christmas would go better. We are 0 for 2 on major holidays in 2017.

I have a hundred to be fair modifiers for our day yesterday. The dumpling has a cold. He’s becoming a toddler. I didn’t sleep well the night before. My parents, who got into town Sunday afternoon, had to cut their visit short and leave Christmas day. Our day started at 5:30am and already felt long by 8:00am. I have that telltale tickle in the back of my throat that makes me think I’m coming down with the dumpling’s cold.

Anyway, a hundred modifiers to try to explain our tiring day. The dumpling woke up on the early side, which has been happening basically since last week. He didn’t have a fever, which was good news (this cold has brought a low-grade fever since Friday). I had hoped his spirits would be better. And they were! A little. He’s not eating much right now, so our lunch out with the family turned into a pass-the-dumpling style game as we all attempted to keep him happy and quiet-ish. Luffy’s parents kept him entertained while we exchanged presents with my family. He went down great for his second nap and woke up happy, but devolved into a cranky hell-demon within a couple of hours.

Overall, the day was a bust. And then this morning, my day again started far too early. I greeted a sort of happy dumpling, but endured two separate tantrums and a litany of near-tantrums the entire morning. Over things like not being able to play with the stove and not being able to get into a child-locked cabinet and a lengthy tantrum over I’m not even sure what. He was fine one minute and had dissolved into a puddle of misery and woe the next.

Days like yesterday make me question my …. skills? Competence? Intuition? Whatever you want to call it…. as a mother. There are days, like today, when I think to myself that I’m far too selfish to do this again. I enjoy having time to myself. I miss the holidays when I didn’t have to worry about a small child’s needs – when the day could be about relaxing and enjoying time with family. I look at pictures from my friends’ days and wonder what I’m doing wrong. Their children look so happy; why did I spend Christmas picking a howling dumpling up off the floor a hundred times? I know the comparison is not fair to me or to the dumpling, but I still can’t help but make it.

I worry because I feel like all of this is so hard for me. Other families we know seem to be having a blast on Christmas or Thanksgiving – opening presents or eating turkey – and it’s just not working for us. The dumpling howls in protest over some new, infinitesimal problem. He’s sick or teething or over-stimulated in the unfamiliar place and I might as well have a newborn again. And if this is so hard for me, maybe I’m not cut out for motherhood. Maybe we shouldn’t have a second. I barely have enough patience for a tantruming dumpling as it is, how on Earth would I summon the patience for two littles? So that brings me back to the too-selfish-to-have-a-second conundrum.

It sounds trite and cliche, but parenting is so hard and I’m having doubts that I’m any good at it.

Happy holidays!

I have today off, which I feel is a little odd but I’m not complaining. Plus…. I have today off and yet I still dropped the dumpling off at daycare which means…. [ahem] I AM NOT DOING A DAMN THING ALL DAY!!!!!!! Woot woot!

Luffy and I dropped the dumpling off (he’s got some conference calls this afternoon, but he bummed around with me this morning) and went to get breakfast tacos. We decided to kill even more time by going to see the new Star Wars movie. Spoiler alert: we didn’t get to see it. I went to the restroom to pee before the movie and was faced with my own little horror show. My period – a week early. I felt like such a teenager again. I hadn’t replaced the liners I keep in my wallet and a frantic search of my car didn’t even reveal an ancient emergency tampon. I thought briefly about staying for the movie and just, I don’t know, keeping my legs crossed tightly, but Luffy laughed at me and steered me towards the car.


We’re all ready for the holidays around here. I wrapped all of the gifts and tidied up a bit, though I’m sure I’ll need to clean again before my family gets here. We’re seeing Luffy’s parents tomorrow (they want to take us to get pizza and I’m fairly certain it’s solely for the purpose of watching the dumpling eat pizza) and my family gets in on Sunday. They won’t be here for long, so I’m sure it will feel like a whirlwind.

In other news, the dumpling is battling his first cold of the season right now. And just a week after his brush with Roseola! Did I mention that? We had a follow-up appointment with his pediatrician on Tuesday and she confirmed my suspicions that he likely had Roseola. It’s a virus characterized by a sudden high fever that lasts 3-5 days. About 12-24 hours after the fever subsides, a rash appears for 24-48 hours. It can only be confirmed by a blood test for antibodies which explains why the hospital’s nasal swap didn’t reveal anything. Also, according to one article I read, about 10-15% of babies with Roseola will experience a febrile seizure because of how quickly the fever climbs. Of course, take that with a grain of salt because the internet. The silver lining is that once they have Roseola, they have immunity for life.

But back to his cold, the poor thing. He’s not running a fever, as of right now, but it doesn’t stop me from dosing him up with Motrin at nights, just in case. We’re running his humidifier on full blast and moved our air purifier into his room. And of course we’re chasing after him with tissues to wipe his nose which, according to my son, is the WORST imposition. At least my insistence that he drinks more water is met with more appreciation. I even make him a little concoction of warm, diluted (very diluted) cranberry juice and honey each morning. Honey to help with his cough and cranberry juice to entice him (that boy is definitely my child in his love of tart things). So yeah, that’s where we’re at now. And while we still can’t dose him up with, say, Robitussin, at least he’s not a tiny newborn anymore. My nerves can handle a sick toddler over a sick newborn any day.

Anyway, that’s us! Happy holidays from my little family to yours!