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May 10, 2013

Your Mom Has Diabetes.

I struggled to think of a title for this post, but the one that stuck is the one that's up there.  Because this weekend plays host to Mother's Day, and I wanted to celebrate some of the BAMWD (Bad Ass Moms With Diabetes) I've had the pleasure of getting to know through the DOC.  These eight lovely ladies, all living with type 1 diabetes, were willing to share a little bit of their diabetes and motherhood experience, and I'm grateful to have their experience and humor to draw from as I raise my own Bird.

BAMWD

Kerri: How does diabetes impact your perspective as a parent?

Holly (dx'd with T1D at age 22)
Even though I have T1, I feel a huge responsibility to provide her with a solid foundation on what is healthy and nutritious to eat. She has been eating solids for only 6 months, and I'm constantly wondering if what she's eating is healthy enough. Is she getting enough vegetables? Protein? Too much fruit? I thought I thought about food a lot as a diabetic! 

Brittney (dx'd with T1D at age 11):  I think being so health aware as a person for so long, knowing and analyzing every little thing that goes in my mouth, and every bit of exercise I do (or don't do!) makes me more aware of how my daughter is growing up. She's just recently started eating solids (we skipped the purées and went right to "real people food") so she eats off our plates. It's made me make sure both my husband and I are eating only natural, no added sugar or "crap" kinds of foods. I want her to grow up thinking that eating healthy and being active is the norm and just part of every day life. Not something that you have to "work" at.

Gina (dx'd with T1D at age 25):  Before I had my son, i never really thought about caring so much about my personal health like I do now. I mean yeah I took care of myself but, not  really the best way I should have. Now, I have a little person to care for and I want to make sure that I am around as long as possible to watch him grow up. The thought of not being around for him, scares the living crap out of me. So yeah, I am going to try and do everything in my power these days to make sure that I am in tip top shape, mentally, physically, and healthfully!

Lindsay (dx'd with T1D at age 26):  While my perspective as a parent hasn't been impacted by my diabetes as much as I thought it would while I was pregnant, having Kate has made me more aware of how critical it is to take care of my own health even more now because it's not just me.  I need to be here and be healthy for HER.  That's a perspective I never would have had or appreciated had I not been diagnosed with diabetes.

Kerri: Does diabetes help you appreciate motherhood in a particular way?

Jacquie (dx'd with T1D at age 12): Motherhood makes all the diabetes crap worth it. I feel like it drives me to take better care of myself, too. Now I understand how my mom must have felt when I was diagnosed, and I have more ambition to stay healthy longer. Also, it's nice to finally put so much effort into the care of something that's NOT diabetes. Diabetes and babies are both hard work, but you can only put cute onesies on one of them.

Shannon (dx'd with T1D in 1992) I appreciate motherhood more than words can say. I have wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. When I finally grew up and got married, I found it difficult to get pregnant.  And it's a chicken and the egg scenario .. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 18, and was told it's common in diabetics, but nobody knows which one "causes" which.  I was able to conceive my first son (now 5 yrs old) with shots and with my twins (3 weeks old) I had to do IVF.  So having gone through all of that, and not knowing exactly how much (if any?) of a factor my diabetes played in the process... makes me appreciate being a mom because I had to work so hard and wait so long to BE a mom.

Stacey (dx'd with T1D at age 8):  Heck to the yes! I worked my behind off to have this baby (almost 3-year old) girl! We began preparing a year in advance and fought every month of the pregnancy to keep my BG's under control. Even with the constant attention to detail I ended up in the ICU at the start of my 3rd trimester with DKA. DKA with an A1C of 5.8. Yeah, no one knows how it happened but it did. Bottom line, I worked my ass off to become a mother!

Gina:  I appreciate motherhood so much more now because it has been such a long road because of diabetes. I struggled for years to get a pre-pregnancy A1c number in the recommended range of 6.5% or lower and felt so defeated time after time when I couldn't reach it. I never even thought I was going to have kids, and was actually talking to my husband about adoption instead. I became extremely depressed because of it and actually left my job to pursue the "perfect pre-pregnancy number". Well, I never did reach that A1c number until after I found out I was pregnant, but I really busted my butt to get it down and it was the first time I felt like a mother. My son and I were perfectly healthy the entire 9 months! He is now 6 months and thriving.

Karen:  I am FIERCE with a mental to-do list, and I can pack a diaper bag in about 30 seconds flat. I'm used to having diabetes contingency plans - glucose tabs, backup batteries, spare supplies - and that just naturally transitions to kiddo contingency plans. If nothing else, it gives me a great sense of "I've got this." And motherhood rarely inspires confident feelings of competence ...

Holly:  Since my [diabetes] diagnosis was so dramatic (DKA, >1400 mg/dL), I have often thought "I'm not supposed to be here." So I look at Jewel and become incredibly grateful because I get the opportunity to be her mom. It also makes me extremely cautious with my numbers (not wanting to go low) because my biggest fear is going low while home alone with her.  

Kerri: What do you want your kids to understand about diabetes?

Shannon:  I want my kids to know what diabetes is, but that mommy is ok. I have always taken shots, and checked blood sugars, treated lows, etc., in front of my 12 yr old stepdaughter and my 5 year old, so they're aware of it and I allow them to ask questions ("What is insulin? Why do you have to wear an insulin pump? Why do you have diabetes?")  My son understands that mommy has her own juice boxes.  I did not know any other diabetics growing up, and none when I was diagnosed at age 17. If/When my kids cross paths with diabetics in their future, my hope is that they won't be that person that we all know that has a diabetes horror story - they can tell people that their mommy has diabetes and wears an insulin pump because her pancreas doesn't work.  

Karen:  That it's serious, something that has a big role in our lives and can't be iYour mom has diabetes.  And that's okay.gnored, but that I take care of it and myself so there's nothing for her to worry about. My sincere hope is that my disease will help her appreciate her body and instill good habits in her - eating well, living an active life, and just being more cognizant of what a gift a healthy body can be.

Lindsay:  I am hopeful that by learning about her mommy's disease, she will learn compassion for others dealing with their own issues and challenges.  I can already imagine her sidling up to a buddy who wears an insulin pump and putting that little one at ease by saying "Oh my mommy has diabetes, too."

Stacey:  Right now, at almost three, I just want her to understand that my diabetes will never hold up our lives for longer than it takes Mom to treat a low.

Jacquie:  That it's not the end of the world. It's just a thing we've got to live with.

Happy Mother's Day, ladies. You are all amazing.  xo

March 28, 2013

Up All Night.

So last night?  A distressed toddlerbird woke up several times ("I want to sleep in your bed with you and Dad," and then "I want to go back to my bed with Mickey Mouse and not you and Dad," and then "I don't even know what I want - waaaaaaah!!!!"), the Dexcom wailed all night long with one legitimate low (52 mg/dL on the meter, under 55 mg/dL alarm on the Dex) and then one low that wasn't low (78 mg/dL on the meter, under 55 mg/dL on the Dex), and Siah took it upon herself to pounce the eff out of two hair elastics that were on the floor in the hallway, dancing frantically around on the wood. 

This morning dawned bright with another low alarm (but not really - I was 81 mg/dL on the meter, yet the Dex wasn't convinced) and a grouchy Bird.

Between this:

np sleep 'til ... mumble mumble

and this:

She looks like the old lady from those Hallmark cards.  The grumples one.

I'm a grumples mom without enough firing synapses to make proper sense of the day.

(Regarding the title: I watch that show on Hulu all the time but now there aren't any new episodes and I'm left wondering what happens in the lives of those two crazy kids and is Maya Rudolph forever pregnant?  I hope so - she's awesome.) 

March 25, 2013

Thirty-Five.

Birdy,

People warned me about the “terrible threes,” alluding to the fact that a two year old was a cakewalk when compared to the parenting quandary that is a three year old.

“Of course,” I said at the time, sighing and picturing myself in the future, working on my knitting whilst my perfectly-behaved child tugged my shirtsleeve, asking politely for a bowl of quinoa because she was done coloring a picture for our elderly neighbor across the street.

What I should have pictured was: “Oh my God, three is freaking HARD,” swiping my hair out of my eyes with a sticker-covered wrist whilst my crazytown kid ran by covered in play-dough, with a winter hat and no pants on.

My darling Birdy … you’re off the wall.  You exist on two levels these days:  asleep and cranked up to eleven.  I think you’re capable of lifting and shaking the house, like it’s Boggle, because you’re able to destroy a completely clean room in fifteen seconds or less.  You are faster than me, your will is stronger than mine, and you have more questions than I have answers.  You spin around until you fall down, dizzy, and you think the cats’ tails are akin to jump ropes.  You don’t ever sit down.  You watch television while standing on your head.  I think I saw you climb a tree using your teeth last week.

I know this is completely normal and expected behavior for a toddler-becoming-a-kid, but it is exhausting.  And your dad and I are figuring out how to do the discipline dance between letting you test your boundaries and not letting you act like a jerk.  Sometimes you end up in time out for not listening, or for being too rough with the cats, or for throwing a toy in defiance.  Sometimes, while you’re in time out, we pace and fret because we feel that parental blend of guilt and responsibility.  Other times, you sit in your time out chair, kicking your feet and throwing us dirty looks while we hide our faces behind our arms and try so hard not to laugh out loud.    

But despite these new phases and challenges, you remain my favorite little person on the planet.  The things that come out of your mouth are bizarre.  You have sort of figured out what a joke is, and you make “jokes” all the time (only to you, “joke” sort of equals “lie”):  “I’m asleep, Mom!!!”  “You are?  You’re talking in your sleep?”  “Okay no, I’m not asleep.  It was a JOKE.”  You have asked us repeatedly for your very own bicycle (which we’re getting you for your birthday, which I can say on here because you can’t read yet and have no idea what a blog even is) and you love, love being outside in the sunshine.  (Sorry for the lack of that lately – maybe someday it will be spring.)   And your knowledge about letters and words grows every day as you upside me with your skills – “M-O-M spells mom but M-O-M-M-Y spells Mommy and I call you mommy because it ends with a Y.”  

And there’s not a song lyric that goes by without you mangling the hell out of it.  Exhibit A:


“It’s ‘to the rain,’ love.  Not to the lady.”

And you furrow your brow.  “You made a joke.”

So long as we’re not around any particularly flammable ladies, I think we’re good.

Love you, my big Bird.  I’m looking forward to you actually turning three, when all hell is sure to break loose.

Love,
Mommy

February 15, 2013

Thirty-Four.

To my BirdFriend,

It wasn't until we were halfway through our drive home from your "school" that I realized you had been dominating most of the conversation. 

"We played in the play house and I waited my turn but Jackson didn't wait his turn so he had Miss Emily tell him 'no!' and I waited my turn but then when he took to long I just went by him and then went to the reading center and read a book - have you ever read a book about a bear, mama?  I did that today and it was a brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?  I see a brown bear looking at me!"

You do not even take a break between sentences, not even the most minimal of pauses.  It's as though you've finally figured out how to express the thoughts in your brain and you have so much time to make up for. Like almost three whole years.

"Remember when I was a little baby?  And I slept in a crib?"  [Note:  You still sleep in your crib, only it's been transformed into a toddler bed. Don't get too far ahead of yourself, Birdy.]  "And I cried and you would come in and sing me a lullaby?"

I still sing you lullabies, my friend, only now you sing them back to me.  After your daddy or I sing you our mangled version of "Lullaby, and good night, go to sleep little baby, lullaby and good night, go to sleep, my love," and rub your back, you have taken to sitting up and saying, "Okay, now I sing to you."  And you pet my arm absently while singing to "your whittle mommy."

Because your speech, despite all the words you know and the phrases you can turn, is slightly affected by the W's subbed in for R's and L's, and occasionally we get a rogue R where an L should be.  Which makes "love" into "wuv."  And the names of your classmates into something different than their parents originally intended:  Owivia, Wowa, Wyan, and Wexi.  Your favorite song these days is "Yewwow Submaween."

And after banging your hands on the piano keys for a few minutes: "Mommy, do you want to crap for me?"

"Sure, sweetie.  Daddy and I will both ... crap for you."

You helped make me a birthday cake for my birthday last week.  It tasted strange, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I wuv you.

You've also started to call us "mom" and "dad," instead of the "mommy and daddy" versions you held tight to for months.  "Bye mom ... wuv you!" is what you yell to me from the front steps when you and your dad leave for school in the morning.  Or when you ask, "Dad, can I have some M&M&M&Ms?"  (So many "and m's.")  Even though your voice is still a dozen octaves higher than the normal human being, this language shift is making you sound older.  

And sometimes you straight-up channel Han Solo, by answering my "I love you!" with, "I know."

I love the way you talk.  I love this window into what you're thinking, and it makes me smirk to hear grown-up sentiments like, "We should replace that light bulb so I don't trip and fall and crack my head" coming out of your mouth.  (Clearly you have a strong grasp of how uncoordinated your mama is.)  I wanted to know what you were thinking for the longest time, and now that I have an inkling, I just want to know more.

The things you say cwap me up.   I wuv you endwesswy. 

Love,
Your Mommy

January 21, 2013

Fake Food.

"Here is an orange and a clementine and here is an avocado and some cheese and spinach and a banana and oh, here's a strawberry - two strawberries! - and some gwapes and a potato, some eggies, a carrot nose, and if you want to have a pear I have a pear right here." 

Dewicious.

Birdy verbally rips through her little shopping basket of fake food, offering up her stash of delicious plastic pieces.

"And if your blood sugar is low, you can have glupose tabs or some of that gwape juice." She furrowed her brow thoughtfully.  "Or a croissant.  But not this one, because it's just PWETEND and it won't help you feel better."

She's learning.  The curve is steep, and lined with plastic food, but she's learning.

January 15, 2013

Thirty-Two/Thirty-Three.

Dear Birdy,

I lost track of the days and the weeks, and I forgot I love you, Birdzone.to write you a letter at the 32 month mark.  Yes, I know you didn't realize it, and I'm pretty sure you didn't care (it's not like you slid me a note that said, "Hey, Maa.  Where's my blog letter, yo?"), but it's been bothering me, so this is a combination letter.  This is just one of the many things I've already screwed up in your little world, and I'm sure it's just one of the many things I will screw up.  So cheers!  I raise my cup of blueberries to you, my darling Bird, the very same blueberries you keep naming before you eat them.  You're a strange ranger.

We brought you to Disney World last month and watched you take in all of the magic of the aptly named kingdom.  "Magic Kingdom is a part of Disney World," you would said, nodding your head as the new authority on all-things related to The Mouse.  "And this is where Mickey Mouse lives.  And Pluno!"  (Someday you'll call him Pluto, but not today.)  Surprisingly, it was easy to travel with you this round, and I am already looking forward to bringing you somewhere new and curious.  We watched you open your presents this Christmas, laughing as you peeled the wrapping paper off the gifts strip by miniscule strip, and proud of the big, loud, "THANK YOU!" that escaped your mouth after each present.  (Also, your dad and I were highly entertained at your insistence to leave Santa's reindeer an avocado alongside the cookies.  "It's a good fat, right mama?")

You talk incessantly.  From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you pretend to fall asleep at night, it's a steady stream of words flowing from your face.  Whether it's about what you want for breakfast ("May I please have toast eggies and a banana and maybe we play trains but I will wash my hands first.") or your thoughts about school ("We played outside and I wore my snow boots but Eric didn't want to wear his boots so we all watched him while we cried but we didn't cry we just watched him and then there were trees and we all saw the trees but not Eric because he was crying."), you are always talking.  Always.

Your temper is becoming more apparent, too, and I'm humbled by how quickly and efficiently you can tell me, "NO."  "No thank you," is my weak response, an attempt at keeping you polite as you refuse to put pants on.  You are a good listener, but holy crap are you able to manipulate me with your cries.  Sometimes it takes all I have to be firm in my resolve to not let you have something or let you do something, but when you're older and are reading these letters, you'll understand that I wanted to cave and let you eat every M&M or jump on every couch or lick every shopping cart.  I just couldn't. 

And you are understanding things in new ways now.  Like the new Dexcom system.  "This is your new Dexcom!"  When it alarms and it's low, you know the difference and you ask if I need some "glupose tabs."  And when it alarms and I'm high, you and I both throw a dirty look to the kitchen table, where the receiver is resting, and you say, "That your Dexcom.  But we can leave it out there because that's the Other Noise."  How you can tell the difference in the alarms, when your dad still can't, amazes me.  

Last night, you were asleep in your "big girl bed" (aka "crib without the sides") and I noticed that your lanky little body takes up so much more room in the bed than it used to.  I immediately started wondering when we're supposed to get you a real-deal Big Girl Bed and what should I do with the crib because we still aren't in a place where we're ready to make a firm decision on whether or not to expand our family and what happens if you suddenly outgrow your bed and will it be like that scene in Ski Patrol where the guy wakes up in the Elf Dorm and ...

Always my girl.

... and I stopped and looked at your sweet, sleeping face.  Your brown curls tumbling onto the pillow and fanning around your head.  Your hands knotted up in your soft blanket, and your tiny toenails bright pink, the result of you begging me to paint them after your bath.  And the soft, still-baby-esque scent of your hair and skin came up and grabbed me by the heart.  

Little bird, it doesn't matter what kind of bed you sleep in, or how many words you can throw into a sentence at one time.  You will always, always be my little girl.  

Love,
Mommy 

November 23, 2012

Thirty-One.

Dear Birdy Bird,

We have actual conversations now.  They're usually strange and scattered, but they're real, and you are happy to communicate every fledgling thought in your head these days.  And since you're two and a half years old now, it's like watching a circus troupe unpack.

"We should go to the store and buy some eggs so we can boil them and eat the hard-boiled eggies and then we can paint a picture of the eggs in our belly because THAT'S WHERE THEY WILL BEEEEEEEEEE!!"  

(You speak in all caps as often as you can, usually ending your sentences with some kind of ASSERTION!)

I do enjoy listening to you learn the language as you muddle through all the words you hear throughout the day.  Like when I told you, while tickling you, that you were so smart that you were a genius!  This word stopped you cold, as you deliberated.

"But I didn't grant any wishes.  I'm not a genius."

Touché.

While our conversations are sweet and entertaining, your tantrums are NOT.  (All caps on that one, too.)  Your favorite phrase to scream, while fussing in public, is "Don't take me!!!"  Which is great, because it makes me look like I'm abducting my own kid.  "I'm not taking you; I'm your mother."  "No, don't take me don't take me!!!!"  And this is when people start to stare, wondering if they should alert the police.

Even though every parent probably says this about their kid, I marvel at how quickly you're growing up.  You are so independent and stubborn (yes, I realize I'm as much to blame for that as your father is for your pretty brown eyes), and making sense of the world as you go.  You used to be my little baby bird with the chubby legs, and now you're this lanky little thing who wants to learn how to knit.  (Which, to you, means stabbing a skein of yarn with knitting needles until you've morphed the ball into a satisfying and un-fixable knot.) 

And next week, you start "school" (aka "daycare"), which is a direct response to your requests for a brother (and in my desperate attempt to hit deadlines more often):

"I want oatmeal, Mama."  Pause.  "And a bruffa."

"I'll make you some oatmeal, lovey.  And how about we start school, yeah?"

Watching you become this funny little creature has been the most entertaining, unpredictable experience I'll ever know.  And even when you make it seem like I'm abducting you ("Don't take me!!!"), you crack me up, and I love you bunches. 

xo,
Your Mom

November 08, 2012

The Question.

"How old is your daughter?"

"She's two and a half."

"Oh, that's a fun age.  Does she have diabetes?"

"No."

"Will she get it, too?"

And this is where I end up tangled in my words and in my emotions.  Sometimes I rattle off statistics ("The chances of my daughter developing type 1 are only slightly higher than a non-diabetic mom, while if it were my husband who had diabetes, her chances would be more elevated,"), and sometimes I respond, "No," and roll their question around in my head for a while.

Please don't ask me this question.  It hurts more than all the others.  I can answer, "Can you eat that?" and "Do you have the 'bad diabetes?'" until my voice is hoarse from answering because it's about me, and I can handle me.  But when it comes to my Bird, I don't want to discuss her health.  I don't want to talk about anything that could hurt her.  My head isn't in the sand, but I thought my heart was walled up tight, to the point where I didn't have a visceral reaction to something as simple as a question.

(It's not walled up at all, though.) 

I know why they ask.  I have that Thought, too.  When people ask this question, my knees go weak while my back muscles tense up, bringing my shoulders back and squared off.  "The chances of my daughter getting diabetes are only slightly increased over the chances of anyone else's kid."  

What I want to say is, "I love that child with everything I have and even though I know she's okay and even if she ends up with diabetes, she'll still be okay, I don't want to think about her living with a disease.  Any disease."

(And then, in this fantasy that takes place only in my head, I whisper "And your question sucks," psychotic crazytown, like Daniel Day-Lewis' character in Gangs of New York, and I punch them in the face so hard that the BAM! word cloud pops up, all old-school Batman.)

It's Diabetes Awareness Month, and I want people to be aware that I'm already aware of the fact that being a parent means I worry about things I didn't even know existed as potential panic points until two and a half years ago.  And I want them to be aware that my child, despite being the daughter of a person with a chronic illness, is still my daughter, and it's hard to think about any potential hardship in her life.  We don't want to focus and worry about things that could happen.  Ask me her favorite color.  Or ask about her favorite Thomas the Tank Engine train.  Ask me what ice cream flavor makes her giggle.  Ask me what songs make her dance like a lunatic.  Don't ask me about her health.  Don't make her feel like she's a ticking time bomb. 

We just want to enjoy one another.

Just let me enjoy her.

October 15, 2012

Thirty.

My littlest Bird,

"Tomorrow you go to Germany!  And get treats [read: chocolate] and maybe a present, okay, Mama?"



"Yes, exactly.  And then where will mommy be?"

"Then in Texas!  And then you be home."



Discussions about 'where mommy is' have dominated our conversations for the last month, and that breaks my heart.  After spending many weeks together at the end of the summer/beginning of the fall, going to the beach and playing outside, I've been traveling pretty consistently for the last three weeks.  While I enjoy the work and I like seeing different places, I miss you.  I miss you a ton. 

We bought this giant throw rug that has the continental United States on it, in addition to a world map stuck to your wall, so you have some kind of idea where I go when I'm not at home.  (Because I don't like the idea of you thinking I've disappeared in the backyard for a few days at a clip; I want you to know I'm somewhere else, and not hiding from you and daddy in a tree.)     And while I don't take pride in all of the time I have spent away from you this month, I am very proud of your knowledge of geography, and how you apply it to your everyday life.  

"You went to California!"  And you'll run like hell to the large yellow state on the far left side of the colorful map.  "And I like Texas.  Let's change my diaper on Texas, okay?"  And we'll swap out your undergarments while you plant yourself on the large state, setting your shoes carefully within the borders of "New Mexico, right there, aw-wight?"  You know where Rhode Island is on the world map, along with most of the states on the rug.  And you can find England, Germany, and Australia without too much trouble.  Thank goodness.  I still don't know my left from right, so I'm glad you're cultivating this global sense of where things are.

Twins.

New obsessions this month include Coldplay's Charlie Brown ("I sing Charlie Brown now!"), Adele's Rumor Has It, and alt-j's Breezeblocks, in addition to the international penguin sensation known as Pingu.  (Pingu isn't educational, and won't groom you in any way for higher education, but he makes us laugh like hell.  And his father doesn't smoke his pipe, but instead seems to stick it into a hole in his throat to smoke it, leaving his beak available for flapping.  Amazing claymation going on there.  Pingu rules.) 

You sing The Wheels on the Bus (a lot - those wheels go 'round and 'round and freaking 'round in our house) and The Farmer in the Dell, and you confuse me by insisting that Old McDonald has a butterfly on his farm because how am I supposed to make a butterfly sound?  Or a spider sound?  Come on, Birdy.  Can't you go easy on your old mom?

I only know the song Baby Beluga from an old episode of Full House.  "You got it, dude!"

I love you, my strange little friend.  Daddy loves you.  Your grandparents and aunts and uncles love you.  So do your friends.  And so did this beluga whale from the aquarium.  You're a likable chum.  (Get it?  Terrible pun.)

Be good while I'm traveling, my love.  I'll be home soon.

Love,
Mama

September 19, 2012

Twenty-Nine.

You are my sunshine.  Dear Birdy,

"I want to do it mySELF!"

So let's just open with that statement, that assertion.  That sentence that you say six dozen times a day, because you don't want to be assisted with ANYTHING.  You want to get on the chair yourself.  Put on your socks yourself.  Balance the checkbook yourself.  Climb into the car seat yourself. Oh the car seat.

"I want to do it mySELF," you say, half smiling but mostly defiant.

"Okay, fine.  I'll wait and you climb into the car seat yourself.  Please hurry," I said to you, knowing we had ten minutes to drive over to the bank.  

"Aw-wight."  And you scamper happily into the car, embarking on the seven minute journey of settling into the car seat.  Come hell or high water, you will do it yourSELF.  (For the record, we didn't make it to the bank on time.)

The last month has had me home more than usual, so we've had a lot of time to hang out.  And I love that.  You're fast-transitioning from a little Bird that I take care of to one that I can actively hang out with, buddy-style.  Sitting and having breakfast with you gives rise to some of the oddest, most entertaining conversations I've had in a long time (I do so enjoy when you tell me about what you think your grandparents do when they aren't with you).  And talking on the phone with you breaks my heart, because the blow-by-blow details of what you're doing are very intense.  ("I took the ball and put the ball in the hoop and then it fell down so I cried and then put the ball in the hoop AGAIN, mommy, but it was a different hoop and the ball was BLUE!  Not red.  Blue.")

Your obsessions are expanding, and now include the likes of the band Plan B (this song in particular - so awesome), Jungle Junction (are Ellyvan and Zooter like a thing or are they just friends?), and glucose tabs.  Or, as you have deftly assigned them:  gluPose tabs.  Anytime the Dexcom wails, you trot off and return shaking the plastic jar of tablets.  "Glupose tabs, mama?"  "No, I'm okay, but thanks." 

"Aw-wight." 

And god help us if we pass by a playground without stopping.  Slides, swings, open grassy areas where you run with your arms flapping and your ponytail bouncing until you fall down in a tangled, giggling heap?  You love it all.  Despite your proficiency at "check-a your emails?" with your little fake computer, being outside is the greatest thing ever for you.  This summer, we clung to every scrap of our beach days, we're still trucking around on the bike ("I like my tent!"), and the backyard is littered with evidence of playtime (including a small, plastic Elmo doll shoved deep inside a tree stump ... he looks uncomfortable).  I love that you love being outside.  You make me love being outside even more. 

What's up, Baby Evita?

Birdzone, you have dark curly hair from your great-grammie and your auntie.  You have your father's eyes.  But damn, child ... you have my stubborn and independent attitude.  And while that makes my head spin with frustration sometimes, I'm proud that you're exactly the way you are. Because despite what you have inherited from your family members, you're all YOU.  And YOU are a strange and wonderful critter who leaves piles of acorns outside to feed the hedgehog that lives underneath our deck, and who pets the cats with carefully calculated strokes, assuring me, "I am being GENTLE," as the cats are pancaked against the floor.

You are my friend.  My best little friend.  Even when you want to do everything yourSELF.

Love,
Mommy

September 04, 2012

With Kid In Tow.

My numbers run best when I'm in some kind of groove (most often found in the heart), even if my schedule isn't exactly predictable.  The groove applies to exercise as well, so even when I'm traveling, I have to find time to run around a little bit, be it at the hotel gym (with my favorite diabetes conference #sweatabetes partner, Scott), or getting out and exploring wherever I happen to be.  My diabetes nonsense seems to align more smoothly when I'm exercising regularly. 

Trouble is, when I'm in the normal ebb and flow of Stuff At Home, the gym is my main source of exercise.  (Or working out with the ellipmachine at home, but Birdy goes to bed so late now that by the time she's asleep, I'm close to snooze myself.)  For days when Chris is under deadline and busy all day long, getting to the gym can be tricky.  So I've been exploring ways of exercising with Birdy in tow.

Literally.

This is our new adventure:  pulling my little Bird behind me as I tackle the local bicycle trails.  We picked up an InStep trailer (not cheap) and gave it a go for the first time yesterday.  It was some added weight (Birdy weighs just a hair under 25 lbs and the trailer itself is about 30 pounds), but on the reasonably flat Rhode Island landscape, the extra baggage wasn't too much to manage. 

And holy crap, was it fun to listen to her talk about the landscape as it whizzed by.  "Oh, trees!  I saw a tree, Mama!  And a rock!  Two rocks!  Three rocks!  One more three rocks!" 

"You mean four rocks, Birdy?" 

"Yes, four!  Now fives!"

When I started the ride, I was at 168 mg/dL, which was high enough for me to feel comfortable exercising, but not so high that I felt like I was wearing lead boots.  Birdy sat in the trailer with my backpack, with the Dexcom receiver sitting in the front zipper pocket.

"Mama?  Your Dexcom has beeps!"

"It's beeping?"

"Yeah.  Like this:  Beeeeeep!"

"It's okay.  It might beep a little bit."  My high alarm is set at 160, so I knew it was beeping because I was cresting around that number.

About 30 minutes into our ride (her "ride," my "pull"), I stopped to check my blood sugar - 115 mg/dL.

"This so fun, you know," Birdy said, nodding as I took a swig of Gatorade.

And she was right - it was so fun.  I liked being able to fit in some proper activity without having to find baby-sitter, and I really liked having my daughter along for the ride.  Eventually, once she's big enough to ride her own bike, we'll tackle the trails together.  But for now, I'll carry her safely, listening to her exclaim happily from her trailer, "I see peoples, Mama!  More peoples on bicycles with their helmets!!  For safety!!!"

Exclamation point!

August 20, 2012

Twenty-Eight.

Birdzone,

The world is yours to figure out, and you're making leaps and bounds every day.  No longer my baby but now a kid with the highest, squeakiest little voice I've ever heard, I watch every day as you make sense of this existence. 

You have learned that when I make airplane noises with your fork or spoon, it encourages you to take a bite of those slightly off-putting peas, or maybe a mouthful of chicken.  But you've taken to making airplane noises of your own to make ME take a bite of those same gross peas.  I can't say no when you're careening the fork towards my face, making your best "raaaaaarrr!" airplane noise.

We're done with that crib - "Cribs are for babies, okay, mama?  I'm a big girl, only I'm still little but getting BIGGER." - and you're in a bed that doesn't keep you contained.  Which means we have gone through that awkward "stay in bed" transition, where Mom and Dad need to trick you into staying in bed at night.  There's a routine in play that I love with my whole heart:  I climb into your bed and we snuggle, recapping what we did that day and talking about what we want to do tomorrow.  And Daddy is on the floor, resting on a Thomas the Tank Engine pillow, listening to us ramble on.  I go to leave - "Goodnight - I love you!" - and you ask, "Daddy stay for two more minutes?"  Which he always does, because your little finger is where he lives, all wrapped around.

You have some semblance of what your mom and dad do to earn their keep around this house, only it's kind of confusing because most of these tasks seem to live inside of the computer.  (Or, as you call it, "the 'puter.") You know he and I both write things for a living, and that you'd like to also write.  "I like ALL the letters, mama."

The Dexcom is your new favorite plaything.  "Oh, your DEXCOM!"  You like to yell that particular word, probably because the thing is always yelling at me.  (My blood sugar threshold alarms are set at 60 and 160 mg/dL, so around an hour or so after I eat, I hear the BEEEEEP!  At which point you run and grab the receiver, then bring it to me, and tell me, "Time to checka meh-cine?  Okay!")  My "diabeedles" is something you're not highly concerned with, but you always give me a strange look when I test my blood sugar and then lick my finger.  "Taste yummy?  Or yucky?"  And at the beach this week, you noticed my sensor was peeling off.  "That come off soon."  When it did yawn off, later in the day, you nodded with vigor.  "Told you!"

Everything is so new, and you greet the day with an unrivaled level of amazement.  The clothes coming out of the dryer, all clean and fresh, amaze you.  The tree outside with the pears growing on it amazes you.  Flying kites in the windy sky amazes you. 

And you take the world in, marveling at every little inch of it, not noticing that your mom and dad are doing the same to you.

All my love,
Mommy.

July 19, 2012

Twenty-Seven.

Dear Birdzone the Clown,

(Yes, it seems like I just wrote you a monthly letter.  That's because I'm a lazy bum and I was way late on the last one, making this one seem early.  I'll be back on track next month. What do you mean, you don't care?  What do you mean, you're only two and you don't read blogs and you didn't notice and what's a blog and you need a diaper change?)

Kid, you're making me into a crazy person.  I find myself having conversations with you that I couldn't have predicted, not even if I was a hybrid of Tim Burton, Roald Dahl, and Neil Gaiman (ooh, that might be the best hybrid person ever).  The questions you ask me confuse my already-tangled mind:

"I can't find your butterfly wings.  Can you wear your bird hat, instead, and maybe put some pants on?"
"Do not lick the screen again; not until you've found the other pumpkin."
"The toilet doesn't eat poop."
"Trees aren't made of paper ... well, they kind of are.  Can I explain that later?"
"Please only put these crayons up your nose, not those."

I can't take this.  It's like every cartoon in my mind is coming to life and spilling out of my mouth.  You spend your days coloring paper bag puppets, making pretend salads for Siah (she's yet to try one), and dragging your Mickey Mouse doll all over creation.  You ask so many questions in the course of one sentence that you actually run out of breath, leaving the end bit to sound like, "... and where Abby go on vacation and mommy's car is black, right? and daddy's car is silver and ..." where you have to pause and gulp in a big gasp of air to finish the ten thousand thoughts you haven't yet purged.

Sometimes, you rock out so hard that I can't stop laughing at you:

Other times, your imagination is in full force, finding magic in its fledgling form.  We watched an episode of Sesame Street that showed your beloved Elmo playing a violin.

"I want to play violin, mama!"

I need to work on my cardboard skills, but they're coming along. By the time she's 23, I'll be able to make a spaceship.

While you and Daddy brushed your teeth for bed that night, I made you a quick violin out of a cardboard box, a Sharpie marker, and a pair of scissors.  And now, for the last few days, you've been dragging around this tattered "violin" everywhere you go.  Like today, when we went to the grocery store, and you offered to play the deli guy a "song on mine's violin and you give me the cheese?" 

Needless to say, that slice of cheese was hard-earned, as you pretended to drag your bow across the "violin" while Mommy hummed loudly beside you.

You are quickly leaving behind your days as "the little baby" and are becoming my friend.  We go to the beach together.  We make grocery lists together (though you repeatedly insist on "choc-it pun'ing," fearful that I'll neglect to grab your favorite snack).  We sometimes talk shit about the cats ("Tell Siah to stop picking the screen or she's going to have to eat green beans for dinner!"  "Yeah, green beans for the CAT - that's silly!").  And those moments when you laugh so hard that you double over and almost touch your toes are worth the moments when you're trying to stick test strips into my ears.  ("You hear the meh-cine, mama?")

You are the child of a dozen faces.  A hundred questions.  A thousand hugs and kisses.  And a million reasons that my life is best with you in it.  Mama loves you so much.  In first and in third person.

xo,
Your Mom

June 28, 2012

Twenty-Six.

Dear lovely Bird,

You have officially lost your little Birdy mind.  And with that little mind went your verbal filter, because good Lord, you have started talking.  And you haven't stopped.  Not even when you sleep, because in the thick of the night, you break through the silence with a rousing rendition of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or your garbled version of a lullaby.  

Like your mama, you love carousels.

"Mama, you took a train from Pennsylvania to Rhode Island! That's nice."
"Mama, the beach.  Let's go?  Okay!"
"I saw a bird in a tree and it was in a tree a BIRD!"
"What Prussia doing?"
"I don't want to wear socks. I want to wear my buss-a-rye wings."  (Butterfly wings.)

And your learning curve about diabetes is growing by leaps and bounds.  I took a few days off from pumping (Impromptu pump vacation, born out of frustration with a dress I wanted to wear.  A few days of Levemir injections and Humalog pens wore thin, so I reconnected this morning.), and you noticed right away. 

"Pump, mama? Where your meh-cine?"

"I took it off for a few days.  It's okay.  I'll put it back on soon."

"Okay," you said, absently.  And then about twenty minutes later:  "Mama, your pump is for diiiii-aaaaaah-beeeee-teeeees!!!" 

"Diabetes" has a very specific vocal range, when it comes from you.  It's a song, it's a command, it's something you say with your thumbs jutted out and your mouth in a wide grin, having no idea what it means but you like the way it sounds.  "Mama's meh-cine for diabeteeeeeeeez!"  This statement is usually followed by a dance, with your elbows out and your knees bobbing.

Dancing is your other passion these days, aside from talking incessantly.  You dance everywhere.  We went out to eat last night and you were up on the booth, dancing at the very concept of chocolate cake.  "Choc-it cake, mama!  Yay!!"  And out come the wild elbows and assorted Birdy dance moves.  (Your moves are enviable.  And videoable, when your mom and dad are able to stop laughing for long enough to switch on the camera.)

My badass little Bird.

Oh wait ... you have one other new passion.  Tantrums.  Epic, insane tantrums that convert me from calm Mom to Mayor of Crazytown.  You yell "NO!" with such precision that it snaps my eardrums into two and makes me sweat instantly.  In the last few weeks, I've started speaking in those maternal interrogatories.  "Do you want me to turn this car around?"  "Do you want leave the store now, because you're acting bonkers?"  And the classic:  "Do you want to go in time out?"  (You put yourself in time out now.  And sometimes, you put me in time out.  We're all in a learning curve here.)

You make my life interesting.  You stress me out in ways I didn't think were possible.  And you make my heart explode when you say something as simple as, "Yes, please, mama."   I love you bunches, Birdy.  But please, slow down; I can't keep up.

xo,
Mama

May 23, 2012

Twenty-Five.

Dearest Birdzonoius Maximus,

You used to go to sleep when I put you in your crib at night.  You'd stick your thumb in your mouth, wrap your hands up in your blanket (which you've named "bim" and you drag around with you everywhere), and wave goodnight.  But now, at the ripe old age of 25 months, you've started to bargain.  And discuss.

"Hungry?" You say thoughtfully, putting your finger to your lips in deep thought, then, "How 'bout … Elmo crackers?"  

"No Elmo crackers, Birdy.  Time for bed."

"No bed!"  Again with the finger to the lip.  "How 'bout … um, rainbow song?"

At which point I climb into your crib, wrap you up in my arms, and we sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow together.  And somehow, bed time ends up being delayed.  Clever bird.

This is how she plays hide and seek.
Birdy's version of "hide and seek."  Spoiler: She's easily found.

Life is going by very quickly, my little friend, but you are picking up bits of knowledge every day. You have a very thorough understanding of what constitutes as "mommy's meh-cine," bringing me my Dexcom receiver when it beeps and watching me with a sidelong glance when I test my blood sugar.  Sometimes even snacks are meh-cine, and there are moments when we both sit on the kitchen floor and chomp on fruit snacks - yours for fun and mine for necessity.  When I reconnect my pump after I get out of the shower in the morning, you usually want to give it a kiss, like you somehow know it's important.

You also have adopted a certain plastic figurine as your new favorite item ... Larry Bird.  Abby sent Larry to us a few months ago, and he's been a fixture in my office ever since.  But somehow, he migrated upstairs, and you're smitten.  Larry gets dragged everywhere - to the grocery store, to the playground, to your highchair, where you actively try to feed him spoonfuls of oatmeal.  And sometimes you brush his teeth.


Watching you grow up and go from "baby" to "actual kid" has been an incredible journey (in which you are the cat and I'll be the lab and Daddy can be the terrier), and your discoveries bring me so much joy on a daily basis.  You're fun to hang out with, Birdy, and I love getting to know your wild little personality.

I love her smile.

"A, B, C, D, E, F, G," you sing loudly from your crib, far past when you should be asleep.  "H, I, J ... louder? [As though someone asked.]  Okay.  A, B, C, D ..." and now you're at the top of your lungs.  

You crack me up, kid.  

Love,
Mama

March 16, 2012

Twenty-Three.

Birdzone,

Next month, you'll be turning two, but I'm engaging in some really thorough denial at the moment, so let's just focus on the fact that you're twenty-three months.

You're doing things that other parents smile and say, "Oh, that's great; I remember when my kid did that," and I want to grab their hand and say, "Yeah, but was it this AMAZING?!" I'm in that kind of smitten phase with you, where you pour out a bowl of oatmeal on your highchair tray table and the mess is incredible but instead of wanting to launch you to the moon, I'm all, "Awwww." I know this response of mine will pass, so I'm embracing it for now.

It seems like you're giving some thought to your future.  You have a high interest in all things musical, from pulling the pots and pans out of the cupboard and "Mama, drums?" for twenty minutes at a time to dancing spontaneously in any setting (store, restaurant, bathroom, carseat, crib). And your musical preferences range from knowing all the "words" to Grouplove's Colours (which you call "the man, man" song) to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Maps (where you blurt out all the "WAIT!"s).  Anything by the Beastie Boys and Jay-Z still makes you boogie, but you're expanding to Leonard Cohen and Gomez, which makes your mama so, so happy.

Drumming along to the Man, Man song.

If music doesn't end up being your thing, there's a screamingly analytical portion of your little self that continues to impress me.  You arrange puzzle pieces by color, and you like to group crayons into groups by hue. LEGOs are stacked with precision, and when you play with blocks, you can build towers that are seven or eight blocks high with a steady hand. (Kid, that impresses me because I can't put eyeliner on without going rogue; well done!!) You like numbers a lot (how?) and you can count to twenty with a few small journeys (where "five" is often replaced by "couch" and "thirteen" sounds exactly like "Christina").

Researching.

Or maybe you'll be an artist.  You love to color.  And paint.  And cover ever surface of our home with stickers.  (You even covered your dad, almost head-to-toe, with smiley face stickers.  He looked like a Monet.) The outfits you construct for yourself amaze me with their varying patterns and insane color schemes.  When you're outside, you arrange sticks and leaves into little patterns and then you grab my hand to pull me closer to "Show my Mama!"  You love to get your hands dirty and play hard, messily, and then strategically come in for a hug when I'm wearing a white shirt.  ;)

Artist Bird

Next month, you'll turn two, and I'll be encouraged to stop counting your age in months. You are getting so big and so smart and so ... so like a "real kid" instead of "my little baby." I love who you are becoming, and how fast you're growing. You are my whole world.

Secretly, in my head, I'll keep that monthly tally. It doesn't matter if you're 23 months or 230 months; you'll always be my little girl.

Love,
Mommy

February 17, 2012

Twenty Two.

Birdy,

You've left "being a baby" in the dust, kid.  You are officially "a kid."  And I know this because when you see little babies, you tilt your head to one side and coo at them.  "Ooooh, baby!!"  Like you know they're something different from what you are, which is "giant kid with fluffy ponytail."

I thought I'd miss "Baby Bird," but I am so in love with this "Big Bird."  (Sidenote:  You call Big Bird on Sesame Street "Bob." So when you see Big Bird, you gesture casually with your hand to greet him.  "Hey, Bob."  I don't have the heart to correct you, because I'm too busy laughing.)  Now that you're more verbal, I finally get to spy on what's going on in your head. 

My big Bird at 22 months old.

You can tell us what you want for breakfast.  "Faffles?  Milk?  Booberries?"  (Translation:  Waffles, milk, and blueberries.)  You fill us in on where you'd like to go.  "Jacket?  Car?  Aunties house?"  You are vocal about what you'd like to wear.  "Elmo shirt? Pants?  Socks? Black shoes, Mama?" 

Opinions, kid:  you have them.

This past month, we've has some really crummy firsts.  Like your first rotten, snarfling cold, complete with horrible moments of foraging in your nose for rogue boogers.  (My worst nightmare.)  And your first molars, followed by the rest of your molars and a few other teeth thrown in just to make your week suck more.  And then we had Pukefest 2012, where you had your first true plague, your first visit to the emergency room, and your first 72 hours spent laying on the couch.  I know these firsts were coming, regardless, but I'm so sorry you had to deal with them all in the same month.  It's been a rough go.

But you've bounced back.  You're back to your sunny, lovely self, wearing your boots and your cupcake pajamas and back on the horse.  Literally.  (I just wish you wouldn't text while trotting.) 

Musically, you're all over the map, singing along with Coldplay, Noel Gallagher, the Elmo's World theme song, Beastie Boys, and some Radiohead.  Watching you bop along to the music makes me so happy, because you've thankfully inherited your dad's rhythm - mama has none to spare.  Your favorite books are the Richard Scarry ones, and you love pointing out all the nouns you know.  (You just don't know what a "noun" is, just yet.  But the worm driving the apple makes you giggle, which warms my heart.) You also are a mini-practical joker, Birdface. Like when I went into the bathroom one morning last week and saw this doll staring back at me, all creepy.  Not cool, kid.  Mommy doesn't like creepy dolls. Stop scaring Mommy.

My love for you grows every single day (even on the days when "No!" is the most used word in your growing vocabulary).  Your smile makes my world bigger, my big Bird. 

Keep doing what you're doing.

Love,
Mommy

February 10, 2012

Channeling Jane ... Fossey?

This flu has been a barrel of monkeys.  GET IT? IT'S LITERAL THIS TIME!I ducked down and spied on her through the staircase railing, speaking quietly into my cell phone.

"She's in the living room.  Yeah, in her high chair; I pulled it in there so she could pick at her eggs and toast and hopefully drink some of her water while Elmo was on."

"Is she drinking it?"

"Not yet ... wait, wait!  She's drinking it now."  I drop my voice to a whisper. "She just took like three big sips."

(This flu bug is NOT leaving my child alone, and she had a relapse on Thursday afternoon.  Pukefest 2012: The Redux came with crying from both of us, plenty of laundry cycling through the ol' washing machine, and the request "Baby, please don't touch the vomit until mommy is done cleaning it."  Doctors have been called, appointments have been made, advice from friends and family has been collected, and the main concern is dehydration.  Oh, and sanity. 

Thing is, every time I ask her to drink something or have a Pedialyte popsicle or whatever, she refuses.  It has to be on her terms, and if I acknowledge what she's doing as "good" or "Yay!", she stops drinking and says, "No!" and cries.  So my only option, in pursuit of re-hydrating this child, is to pretend I don't see what she's doing.  She'll pick up the sippy cup and take a long pull from it, and I have to turn my eyes up to the ceiling and whistle.  Only I can't whistle properly, so I end up just looking at the ceiling and making fish faces and saying the word "whooooooot" really low and melodiously.  Terrible.)

"Awesome," Chris said through the phone.  "Where are you right now?"

"I'm in the kitchen.  I can see her through the staircase railing posts."  

"Are you spying on her?"

"Yeah.  If she sees me, she stops eating or drinking.  It's like a weird mind game thing.  I'm like Jane Goodall, watching the gorillas out there in the mist."

I can hear him shaking his head all the way from California, where he's been watching this chaos unfold for the last week.

"Please keep me posted on how she's doing.  My poor girl ..."

"Of course.  She just had two more bites of toast and ... wait, wait ... she just saw me.  Hang on," and I duck down out of her line of sight, listening to her chew and sip from across the room. 

And it's not until much later in the evening, once Birdy is in bed, the laundry is swirling, and I'm running random Google searches that I realize the gorillas in the mist were with Dian Fossey, not Jane Goodall.

I'm taking a free pass on this fact-mangling moment, seeing as how I was covered in puke at the time. 

January 16, 2012

Twenty One.

Birdzonious Maximus, 

(That's your genus and your species, daughter of mine.  Bear with me, and keep your wits about you when you see the coyote run by holding Acme anvil.)

You are in a constant state of war with your vocabulary.  So close, yet so far, on many words, and the journey towards understanding is entertaining.  Green beans have safely been renamed "bean beans" and the letter W is "yubba you," but the one that completely throws me is how you innocently subbed in the eff word for "fork."  You sit patiently in your high chair, pointing out each item in front of you with confidence: "Bowl.  Eggs.  Cup." "Faffle." And then your version of "fork," usually loudly and happily announcing said "fork." It's kind of sweet, in your little high voice, but I'm a bit eager for when you swap it out for the "correct" word.

It's okay.  I laugh when you aren't looking.  

This month, you've had a lot of interesting experiences.  We took our first cross-country trip as a trio of Sparlings, giving rise to some airport dance routines and baggage both in carry-on form and underneath Mommy's eyeballs.  We played in the Pacific Ocean.  And you're back to wearing the colander as a hat.  (Okay, that's not "new," but the fact that you took a hiatus from it is peculiar.) 

I like watching you interact with other kids.  You have a very social personality, and you aren't afraid to weave your way through a group of kids or adults alike.  "Hi!!!" and a vehement wave of your hand (so vigorous that you almost fall over) and a big, toothy smile.  People usually say "Hi!" back to you, but when they don't, you continue to wave until they flash you a smile.  Tirelessly social, you are.  With other kids, you're a little more shy (read: clinging to my legs until you've found your footing), but once you feel comfortable, you run and play and you don't often look back.

... but sometimes I wish you'd look back.  Those moments when you come tearing through the room just to wrap your arms around my legs and say "Awwwww, mama," ... I just lose it.  I want you to be independent and strong and happytown, but I love when you check back in to tell me you love me, and then scamper off again, legs wobbly with velocity.  Sometimes my heart swells with pride.  Sometimes my eyes well with tears.  But either way, I'm watching you grow up, literally right in front of my eyes, and it's amazing.

Your face melts me into a pile of melted Mommy.

You inspire me.  You exhaust me.  You make me look at things in ways that sometimes require crawling on the floor or crawling back to my own childhood.  You make me crazy in the head.  And you make me happy, Birdy.  

Mama loves you. All twenty-one wild months of you.

Love,
Mommy

January 10, 2012

Conversations in the Dressing Room.

I pulled my pump out of the pocket of my jeans and clipped it to the neck of my shirt while I tried on pants in the dressing room.  The shirt collar drooped a bit from the weight of the pump.

"Pump, mama?" asked my little bird from her stroller.

"Yes, baby.  That's mama's pump.  I had to stick it in there so I could try on these other pants."  I zipped up the new pants and examined my reflection in the mirror.

"Pants?"

"Yeah.  Do you like these?"

She tilted her head, touching one of her pigtails to her shoulder, then nodded vigorously.  "Mmmm hmmm.  I do!  Pump?"

"Sure, the pump goes right in this new pocket, like this," and I clipped my insulin pump to the pocket of the new pants.

"Nice, mama."  She nodded in approval as I took the pants off to try on a dress.  "Meh-sin?" she asked, pointing to the Dexcom sensor on my leg. 

"Yup!  That's my medicine.  Goes with the blue thing.  You are so smart!"  I pulled the dress over my head hopefully, but Birdy shook her pigtails. 

"Oh no, Mama!"

I looked in the mirror.  "Oh no?  Did you seriously just say 'oh no'??  That's not good.  Maybe this isn't the right color; you make a salient point."  I changed back into my "real clothes" and gathered up our belongings from the dressing room.

"Mama, eat?" 

"Yeah, we should go eat.  We're done trying on pretties.  Do you want a snack?  Mama wants a snack."

She patted my pump with her little hand.  "Pump pretty."

In the littlest moments and the most subtle ways, she learns a little more about her mama's diabetes and teaches me how to see things a bit differently.

That's ... different.

December 15, 2011

Twenty.

My lovely Bird,

There's something about my travel schedule that has these weeks passing faster than I'd like.  I've been on a trip a week for the last three months, and I feel like every time I come home, you look different. 

"Oh Mama! Hi!"  You greet me as though we're meeting for the first time, always with a big smile and a wave of your chubby little wrist.

Actually, the chubby-little-baby phase is past.  I realize that every time I look at your picture or give you a big hug.  You are fast-becoming a little girl, one that reaches up to hold my hand when we go up the stairs towards the front door, but pulls back when you're sure of your footing.  Fiercely-independent, you are, and it's evidenced in everything you do.  "Socks!"  And you want to put on your own socks.  (Usually a long and painstaking process, involving you trying to ball up the sock to fit onto your big toe.  Then, "Ta-da!") 

You want to get your own book, pick out your own pajamas ("Do you want the monkey jammies?"  "Eeeee!! Eeeeee!" as you pretend to scratch your armpits.), and buckle yourself into your car seat.  You want to do. it. yourself, and I'm amazed at how much of myself I see in you as you furrow your brow stubbornly and try.

Oh, and those poor kitties.  You love them.  You LOVE them, and you want to smush your face into their bellies while they sleep.  Their feet?  Their tails?  Their eyes?  Noses?  You want to pet it all, asking "What's that?" and then repeating the answer softly to yourself. 

"That's Siah's tail." 

"Size tay-el," you mutter, reaching for the gray mass.

Birdy and "Size."

They remain remarkably patient with you.  You're like the cat whisperer, only you don't whisper.  Usually, you chase after them with your pink, plastic shopping cart, sealing my theory that you're en route to becoming the crazy cat lady ... already.

And you are crazy.  Crazy in all the ways that make me laugh.  You are silly.  You make weird faces and you give big hugs and you are not afraid to ask for faffles in the middle of the night.  (And we aren't afraid to make them, either.)  You read books out loud, in your special, Birdy Language which includes insane hand gestures and a full two-octave vocal range, and sometimes a tutu.  Your favorite songs this month are Coldplay's "Paradise" and anything by Jay-Z.  And your tantrums are this strange, braided dance of spastic kicking feet and a sideways glance to make sure I'm watching.

"Birdy, you are going in time out."  And I put you in the time out chair, turning my back to you so I can count to ten.  "One ... two ... three ... four ..." and as I count, I hear your chiming in and counting with me, giggling excitedly when we get to ten.  And sometimes it takes me until "twelve" or "thirteen" to stop smiling enough to turn back around.   

When I'm away from you, I miss you.  And when I'm with you, and you snuggle up beside me and pat my face and say, "Hi, Mommy," and I fall in love with you all over again.

You're only twenty months old today, my love, and I have no recollection of life before you.  In my heart, I've always been your mama.  And that feels right.

Love you so much,
Mommy

December 11, 2011

Trimming the Tree.

"Where's your Elmo, Birdy?"

She grabs my hand and pulls me over to the Christmas tree, where's she's been busy trimming.

Elmo is Father Christmas in this house.  Instead of "Ho, ho, ho!" he says, "Hee hee hee!"

"Nice."

She nods happily.  "Nice, Mama."

November 16, 2011

Nineteen.

Dear Daughter,

For nineteen months, you have been my best friend and my littlest bird.  And in the last few weeks in particular, you have become a lovely little tornado of terror.  If you aren't clutching fistfuls of crayons and scribbling on the wall, you are trying to smoosh the cats or chew on discarded glucose meter strips.  (Mommy knew that was coming - it was only a matter of time.  I'm much more careful now about getting those dead strips into the garbage.)

You are still my best friend and my littlest bird ... you're just decidedly more destructive these days. Like yesterday, when you were "helping" by determinedly unsettling every pile of leaves I was raking.  Or when you "help" me fold laundry by grabbing shirts off the top of the pile and waving them over your head with your "Mama!" battle cry.  Or when you want to "help" change your diaper by trying to grab it and whip it off before I've ... contained the situation.  (This is a fun one.)

I just can't "leave" you alone. GET IT?  I think you're awesome.  And I also like leaf puns.

You have inherited your mama's awkward dance skills, but you rock hard to your favorite artists (Beastie Boys, Adele, Radiohead, and some downright tacky Christina Aguilera), and you even participated in the Big Blue Test with me this month, getting our dance party on.

This month, you've taken the alphabet and made it your plaything.  I don't know exactly when you made the connection, but you now know most of the letters in the alphabet.  (I had my first clue when you were in the bathtub and shouting "P!!!"  I thought you PEED! but instead you were holding the yellow letter P in your hands.  Also, why did the manufacturers make the letter P yellow?  Well-played, Toy Company.)  You point out letters to me all the time. ("Arrrrr!"  "Seeeeee!"  "Beeeee," closely followed by "Buzzzz."  Oh those homonyms.)  I know I was an early reader, and I hope you're on that same path, because I'd love a fellow book addict in our house. 

Playing in Newport, RI

And you're happy.  Kid, you are the happiest little ball of curly-haired chaos that I've ever met in my life.  There's something inside of you that is tightly-wound and always grinning, and I'm very thankful that you dole out smiles with far more frequency than tantrums.  (Even though you are a Class A tantrum thrower, having just added the word "NO!" to your vocabulary and using it with reckless abandon.)  Even when I ask you the same question over and over again, you are patient and tolerant with your mother's foolishness.  And you don't mind when I giggle at you for asking for a "dodo" (aka "doughnut") when we drive through the coffee shop in the morning.

Pajamas and wings - like you do.

I've been traveling a lot lately, and I miss you terribly when I'm gone.  But when you and Daddy pick me up at the airport, and I see you waving from your carseat as I walk towards you with my suitcase, my whole world is right.  

"Mom!!!"

"Hi Birdy!!  I love you!"

"Dodo?"

"Sure."

You're my little butterfly, flitting around the house in your pajamas.  (I still laugh that you call "butterflies" "bras."  It makes for interesting dinner conversation.)  You forgave me for accidentally washing a black crayon with your laundry, making your little, pink doggy more of a chimney sweep. You make me see the magic in every day, even when you're coloring the walls.

I love you with my whole heart, Birdy.  You bring major happies to our lives.

Love,
Mommy

October 18, 2011

Eighteen.

Birdzone,

Oh you strange little Bird, you are eighteen months old and you have found sentences.  And you aren't afraid to use them.  Last week, you busted out with "I do!" as your first affirmation, and now you toddle around the house on your tiptoes, sounding like a walking wedding vow.

"I do!"

"You do?  Do you love Daddy?"

"I do!"

"Do you love Mama?"

"I do!"

"Do you want to take a nap?"

".... no."

(See?  You know exactly what it means.)

You've also found words.  Lots of them, and it seems like your vocabulary doubles every day.  You have a lot to say, and even when you don't know how to say the words, you know what they mean.  "Swim!" means you lay down in the bathtub and kick your feet until water splashes onto the floor.  "Kick your feet!" while you're on the swing in the backyard means you kick so hard, alternating your legs, so that you look like an aerial can-can dancer.  And when you sniff flowers of any kind, it's less of a "sniffing in" and more of a violent "blowing out."  We try hard not to laugh at you, but it can be a challenge at times.

"Sniffing" the flowers.
Snarfing up all the flowers

And you have found silliness.  In the last few weeks, you've started laughing at silly things on television, or when Mommy and Daddy make faces or say goofy things.  Instead of responding to our smiles or our tickles, you actually get the joke.  You know that the colander on your head is silly.  You know that pretending to brush your nose instead of your teeth is funny.  And you know that when we make the stuffed animals burp, it's comedic gold.  You're a total goofball, and that's an inherited trait.  From your father.  And ::coughs:: your mama, too.


Petting a giant, metal pumpkin

When you were much littler, we, as your parents, did most of the entertaining for you.  We danced, we sang, and we read you books.  But now, you're the entertainer.  You bust out with these strange little dances and funny little tunes, shaking your head and your shoulders at the hint of any kind of music (you really love Beyonce and the Beastie Boys, and some old school U2 from Boy), and trying to make out with any Elmo doll or t-shirt that will stand still for more than five seconds.  (Dude, you totally love Elmo.  I can't, for the very life of me, imagine where you picked that up from.  Whoops.)

Birdy and "Melmo."
We ask her, "Where's Elmo?" and she points at her shirt. Then we ask her "Where's Birdy?"
And she points at her shirt. Then she gets all confused, like she ate Elmo.

You continue to amaze and confuse me on a daily basis.  Just when I think I have something figured out, you either change it or try to eat it.  (That's fun.)  Your day is one, giant, exhausting cycle of running around and playing and singing and eating and trying to lick my laptop and pretending to be a doggy or a kitty or an elephant, and sometimes I just watch you and wonder if you're sneaking sips of my coffee. 

But at night, when you want to snuggle up in my arms and read a book, and you smell like Aveeno baby shampoo and your curls tickle my cheek, I wrap you up and try to make the moments last just a little longer.  You're getting so big, so quickly, and even though I keep asking you to slow down, you just. keep. running.

"Does Mommy love you?"

"I do!!"

You bet I do.

Love,
Mommy

September 15, 2011

Seventeen.

Dear Birdy,

Oh my goodness, are you really seventeen months old?  So big!  And with this new milestone comes your INTENSE PERSONALITY.  Since your arrival seventeen months ago, you've been the most chilled out, happy baby.  You have always been quick to smile, laugh, and hug.  We've heard from a lot of people that you're a super easy baby to take care of, and we've always been thankful for that fact.

Nice outfit, goofball.

So I'm sure everyone is snickering behind their hands now that you're in Tantrum Mode.  

Oh, tantrums.  You had your first public fit two weeks ago, and it was extreme.  (Or at least for you.  And me.  I remember sweating instantly, in a complete panic.)  We were at the mall, in line paying for something, and you decided that the stroller was not working out for you anymore.  So instead of raising your arms to be picked up, or saying "Maaa!  Maaaa!" and waiting for me to rescue you, you opted to arch your back, flail your arms and legs, and make a sound not unlike a weasel in a woodchipper.  "Naaaaaawwwww!  Maaa maaaa!!  Grrrrr!"  Like the still-new-mama that I am, I made the mistake of letting you loose.  In the store.  Before I'd finished at the register. 

What came next was a very awkward, very loud combination of me trying to hold you in my arms while paying for our purchase, while you hollered and tried to eat my face.  But then you became distracted by the very handsome boy behind the register.  "Oh, she's happy to see me!" he said, smiling and adjusting the sweater tied around his neck.  "Yes, she loves boys.  It's so awkward, but she's a flirt."  He leaned in as he put the purchase into a bag.  "I know what she means.  I love boys, too!"

And you tried to give him a high-five.  Birdy: 1, Mama: 0.

Tantrums are still rare, but you bust them out at home now, too.  I've never been a mom before, so I'm not sure how to handle you when you're throwing a fit, but I tend to completely ignore you.  (After giving you a big warning first.  "If you continue to throw a fit, I'm going to stand right here and ignore you until you're done?  Ready?  Ignoring you ... now.")  You push on for a few more seconds, but then you stop, stare at me as I pretend not to watch you, and then you stand up and tug on my sleeve.  "Mamamamamama?"  

Mama: 1, Birdy: 0.

Words are spilling out of you at a rapid rate these days.  Topping the list just this week are:  dirt, auntie, bathroom, thanks, and rock-rock (for your rocking chair).  You repeat everything I say, which means that my curse word use has deceased significantly and I'm in full-on Yosemite Sam mode.  (Fricka fracka.)  And you babble on and on, talking animatedly to anything that will sit still long enough for you to pummel it with your words. 

You are an amazing little lunatic.  I love watching you become a little girl, complete with sweet smiles, goofy laughs, and a stubborn streak that I can't figure out the origin of.  (Whoops.)  I love you, love you, love you, and if you continue to go over to the pots and pans cupboard and return proudly with the colander on your head, I will personally find a way to restart the space program, you crazy astronaut, you.

Ground Control to Major Bird.

Love always and to the moon (and back),
Mommy

September 01, 2011

Diabetes Art Day: SUM Edition.

"Puuuuum," she says, lifting the hem of my shirt in search of my insulin pump. 

"Yes, that's my puuuuump.  Where's my belly button?"

She points.

"Where's your belly button?"

She laughs and pats her chubby belly, sticking her thumb into her belly button.

Art is how I will explain diabetes to my daughter.  It's how we'll make sense of this when words won't do.  But for now, we'll just color, drawing birdies and kitties and puuuuuumps.

Am I the only one who has trouble resisting adding an "f" to the word "art?"
Birdy and Kerri's contribution to Diabetes Art Day 2011

Visit the official Diabetes Art Day site to see some creative interpretations of life with a busted pancreas.  And a huge thanks to the brilliant Lee Ann Thill for giving us this outlet!

August 19, 2011

Sixteen.

Oh, you.

Birdzone, you are sixteen months old.  And that's, like, a big deal because you've now been "out" for double the amount of time you were "in."  That's some nice, neat math that I can handle.  (Unlike the calculations of how many diapers your dad and I have changed in the last sixteen months.  That's a staggeringly gross number.)

Every day with you is a a strange little circus (with you as the short ringmaster and me as the bear on a unicycle).  The learning curve now has Dexcom-esque double arrows up, because you are doing something new every single day.

You have inherited your mama's techno-joy.  You want to hug and snuggle my cell phone (when it rings, you are astounded), and you have your own "cell phone" (an old Blackberry of mine) that you wander around the house with, "talking."  You love the Dexcom receiver (and you also loved Abby's Dexcom receiver, smashing mine and hers together at CBC this week and disrupting the diabetes space-time continuum).  And you love the remote control.  If it has buttons, you want to push them.  Including your belly-button, which you've recently discovered and you obsessively check to make sure it's still there.

"And my mom was all BLAH BLAH BLAH ..."
"And my mom was all BLAH BLAH BLAH ..."

Your hair continues to be an evolving, yet beautiful crisis.  Because you have more hair that most adults, you get warm fast.  Actually, you start to sweat madly whenever the sun is out (or at least that's been your deal this summer ... we don't have much to compare it to), so keeping your hair off your neck and out of your face is a struggle.  Thankfully, it's finally long enough for what I've been dreaming of since I found out you were going to be a girl

Pigtails.

I freaking love pigtails.

I freaking love pigtails.  I couldn't be happier that you're patient as I comb your hair into these two, crazy ponytails, and I love that when you run, they bounce like rabbits.  Pigtails rule.

AHHHHH!  More pigtails!  I'm losing it.

You toddle around the house and the yard, talking your face off all day long.  There's no way you don't have a sore throat by the end of every day because you are always BabbleTown, talking to your feet, the cats, one particular tree in the backyard, anyone who calls on the phone, and to each person you come into contact with during the day.  You.  Have.  A.  Lot.  To.  Say.  (No clue where you get this chattiness from ...)  

I do have one concern, though.  

Boys.

Dude, I don't know what your deal is, but you love boys.  All kinds.  You tried to hug the ancient man at the grocery store who complimented your curly hair.  You flirt with guys my age at the grocery store (which is super awkward - "No, she has a dad.  I'm all set, thanks.").  And at the pediatrician's office this week, you tried to snag an older man - this cute little 11 year old kid who was there for his before-school physical.  After batting your eyes at him for ten minutes, you went over and tried to climb into his lap, repeatedly offering him some raisins.  "OMG, Birdy, leave that boy alone!"  But he was super chill, and said, "It's okay.  She's so cute.  I don't mind if she wants to play."  So you and that 11 year old boy chatted and giggled.

"I'm Kerri," I said to the boy's father, who was smiling at The Bird and His Boy. "Nice to meet you, and thanks for letting my kid bother your kid."

"Hi.  I was about to introduce myself to you.  I have to, seeing as how we are going to be in-laws."

Stop flirting, Birdy.  You are making my head explode.

Love,
Mommy.

July 20, 2011

Fifteen.

To my daughter,

YOU CAN WALK!!! And it's about time, my love.  Because even though I know it's totally fine that you didn't truly walk until you were fourteen months old and you didn't regard it as your preferred method of transportation until like two weeks ago, I was still a little concerned.  It seemed like everyone was running all over the place, and you were content to crawl.  Was it because you're my first and I love your face and I pick you up and snuggle you at every available opportunity?

Mowing the lawn has never looked happier.

Either way - HA!  You showed me.  You started taking your tentative first steps a while ago, but now you literally run amuck.  Your fat little legs can move you from one side of the back deck to the other in record time.  You do laps around the patio table.  You want to climb the stairs and chase the kitties and push your toy lawnmower and you definitely want to point your fingers in the air while you walk and yell "YAY!!!!"  (The fingers-in-the-air thing makes me laugh out loud, because you look like a high speed disco queen.)  And while I may regret saying this, I'm so glad you're walking.  Mainly because it shows that you're growing up, but also because you look so silly standing up and toddling around because you are so damn twerpy.

You have changed so much in the last few weeks that it's starting to make me nervous.  (I checked your back for a "pause" button, but haven't found it yet.)  It's cool though because we can actually PLAY.  Last week, we swapped out your little baby car seat for the Big Girl car seat, and conveniently, the box transformed swiftly and easily into a spaceship.  You crawled right inside the thing and tolerated my silliness while we pretended to travel through space, with Space Siah right outside of the ship's window.

Flying our cardboard spaceship through space, time, and cats.

Your vocabulary is coming along, but in entertaining patches.  We're way past "kitty" now, and have moved on swiftly to "cow," "duck," and "snack."  (These words are not necessarily related.)  Your babbling is taking on a very conversational tone, and when you "read" your books out loud to me, it almost sounds correct.  When I ask you what the cow says, you reply confidently with "moooo ... oon?"  A piggy says "nuff nuff" and sometimes also "piggy."  Bunnies say "rabbit, rabbit."  Actually, many animals say their own names in our house, which may lead to some confusion in the future.  But for now, it is fun to watch you giggle when I pound my chest and yell "Go-rill-a!!"

However, what makes me laugh the most is what I hear in your babbling.  Oftentimes, you just toddle around mumbling "Dumbledore," which makes me wonder how much Harry Potter I read while pregnant.  "Chris, I swear she is saying 'Dumbledore.'"  And your daddy laughed at me, until we were in the car last night and he heard you from the backseat musing quietly about "Dumbledore, Dumbledore."  I rest my case.

And that hair.  Oh Birdy, I know that your auntie has curly hair and that your great-Grammie had curly hair, but seriously, yours is out of control.  In the morning, when your mom and dad rescue you from your crib, your hair makes you look six inches taller than you actually are.  Daddy calls you "tornado head," and he's totally right.  It doesn't help that you are fast becoming Linus with your blanket, dragging that knitted, cotton lovey around with you and occasionally rubbing your face into it, thus teasing your brown curls into complete chaos.  Kid, I wish my hair had that kind of volume.   

To me, you are the prettiest little brown-eyed girl I've ever seen.  But clearly, you look nothing like me.  I am okay with this, because you look just like your adorable daddy.  Just not like me.  And this was confirmed by the woman at the grocery store a few weeks ago who asked me if I did domestic adoption.  "No, she's my biological daughter."  Awkward pause.  "But ... thank you?"  (What do you say to that?)  Regardless of who you look like or where you came from, I think you're awesome.

Fifteen months already.  Damn girl, you need to slow down and let me catch up with all this change.  You are leaving the baby version of yourself behind and are turning into my little girl right before my eyes. 

Faster than you can babble "Dumbledore."

Love,
Mommy

July 19, 2011

CWD: Parenting With Type 1 Diabetes.

Lead by Korey Hood and Stefan Rubin, the Parenting with Type 1 Diabetes session at Friends for Life was aiming to touch upon the different challenges of being a parent with type 1 diabetes, instead of the concentration on parenting a child with type 1 diabetes that Children With Diabetes was once known for.  This was my first year attending this session, and I sat between two of my best friends in the diabetes community - Scott and George.

"So thanks for coming, you guys.  We're here to talk about parenting with type 1 diabetes," said Korey.

At this point, people started doing introductions.  "Hi, I'm So-and-So and I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1998."  or "I've been diabetic for 16 years and I have three children."  Only introductions.  That's it. 

So why was I already crying?

I didn't expect to feel the way I did during this session.  Instantly, I was completely overcome with emotion.  And not in a quiet, just-a-few-tears-escaping sort of way.  Instead, I was a blubbering mess, sniffling and snarfing and wiping my nose on my sleeve.  It was this intense rush of emotions that I didn't even know I had ever thought about, never mind felt overcome by.  

The group talked about their diagnosis, and their decision to have children.  They talked about what it's like to have a low blood sugar affect plans to go camping.  They talked about how their children react to diabetes, and what inspires them to keep plugging ahead on their daily management.

One woman caused me to have to leave my seat and grab a box of tissue to keep for my very own from the back of the room.  "I was the only person with type 1 diabetes that I knew ... until my son was diagnosed."

I couldn't contribute.  I could barely catch my breath.  And it was embarrassing.  My daughter is only 15 months old.  She doesn't know much about my diabetes, save for the fact that I have my own personal remote controls that she wants to press all the buttons on.  She doesn't understand why I sometimes don't share my snacks.  Or why I can't pick her up every time she wants me to.  She doesn't understand now, but eventually she will.What you so worried about, Mama?

And I think that's what grabbed me and held me.  Before BSparl was born, I planned for her.  I planned and worked to become the healthiest I could be, and I loved her long before I carried her inside of me.  And then she was born, and the focus became adjusting to life as her mommy and as part of a family of three instead of two.  It wasn't until recently that I felt comfortable as a mom - used to it - and my heart finally allowed me to feel something other than the newness of motherhood.

I wanted to introduce myself to the group.  I wanted to tell them that I, too, was a veteran of type 1 but not so much of an experienced mom.  I wanted to ask them how they made sure their kids weren't overwhelmed by their diabetes.  And the question I wanted answered more than anything kept catching in my throat:  How do I explain this to my daughter?  But I couldn't ask.  I just sat there and listened.  And cried like a baby.  And thought about the fat little Birdy who was waiting for me at home in Rhode Island, flapping her little wings and getting ready to fly.

I love my family, extended and otherwise.

After the session was over, we spilled out into the hallway.  George caught me up in a hug and I just let let it all go.  The fear and that heavy feeling of "forever," coupled with a love for my daughter that I didn't truly understand until I thought about diabetes taking me from her.  I knew he understood.  I knew that Scott understood, too.  And so did everyone else who has raised a family while taking care of their own diabetes.  These friends of mine were parents with type 1, with children who were much more grown up than my little bird.  I knew that if they could do this, I could, too.  And having met both George's and Scott's beautiful and loving families, it gave me hope that my own little girl would grow up to love me just as much as I love her.

This session was the most emotional I have ever been in public, but it felt okay.  Safe.  The only casualty was George's shirt, which ended up with a smudge of mascara.  And perhaps some tears.  Or snot.  (Sorry, G.)

I saw Korey in the hotel later on, and apologized to him for being an emotional wreck in his session.  

"It's okay.  I totally understand."  But as soon as he started to talk, I started crying again.

"I'm sorry, Korey!  I think you're like a trigger for me.  I'll just email you."

This session was intimate.  And it hit a nerve on me that I didn't even know was there.  But I felt better afterwards, like I had experienced a therapeutic breakthrough, somehow bringing me even closer to both my family by blood and my family by blood sugar.

Thank you, George and Scott, for being the kinds of parents I hope to become.

June 17, 2011

Fourteen.

Birdy,

Oh you. You are into everything.  I can't childproof this house enough for your fast little fingers.  Screen door?  Let's try and put our faces through it, okay?  Mulch in the garden?  I know - it tastes delicious!  Dexcom receiver?  Your favorite thing to HIDE!  Toy box?  You want to see what's at the bottom!  Yay!!!  YAY!!!!!

By the time you go to bed at night, my whole body feels like it's been put through that Playdough spaghetti factory.  Thank GOD you sleep through the night and have been for almost a year now.  (Yes, I'm going to say it out loud now, even though my pediatrician said not to whisper a word of it when you were two months old and sleeping through.  Whatever.  You're Super Sleeper!)  I love, love, love you but I have to admit that you wear me right out. 

It's been a bit of a tough month because your teeth have doubled in number.  For the longest time, you only had those two little teeth on the bottom, making you look like an upside down rabbit.  But in the last eight days, four of your top teeth busted through.  This makes for a few tough (screaming) nights, some Santa Claus-red cheeks, and one very cute smile.

You are trying really hard to feed yourself independently now.  Thanks to your mother's poor hairstyling skills (those pigtails are desperate, and secured by clips instead of elastics, making them like rabbit ears to go with your rabbit teeth), your hair is at least out of your face while you eat.  But you haven't quite mastered the concept of "fork" and "spoon" yet.  I arm you with several utensils at once, but you just wield them like a plastic scepter and use your other hand to grab your scrambled eggs.  (Or "eggies," as I have taken to calling them.)

Fourteen months of the Birdzone

You had your first nibble of gluten last week (a little bite of bread from the restaurant table) and while I know it's okay to introduce these things slowly and with good nutrition and good health in mind, I will admit that I teared up.  I know it's ridiculous to have superstitions about anything related to my diabetes, but somehow I felt a little scared.  I can't let this Thought dominate my mind, and it's now banished to the back of my mind.  Where it belongs.  In a cage.  Without a key.

But all those serious thoughts aside, it's been a busy little bird month for you.  You've cut teeth.  You give kisses and hugs when they're requested.  You said your first, excited sentence:  "HI KITTY!!!"  (All caps necessary to convey your excitement at seeing THE KITTY!!!)  And - oh yeah - you helped me earn my mommy stripes one again when you pooped in the bathtub.  Two days in a row.  Causing both of us to furrow our brows in distress.  (Note to BSparl:  Thanks for not playing with those new, floating brown pool toys.  Also, you are a gross little bird.)  I am looking forward to potty-training.  ;)

Motherhood isn't easy.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  And I think you are the best little friend I've EVER had.

You're my big birdy, and I love you.

Love always,
Mommy

May 25, 2011

Thirteen.

Dear Birdy,

Is it okay if I call you thirteen months old?  Because just saying "one year" doesn't do you justice at this point (and it also freaks me out because seriously? a year already?). 

I'm not sure when personality hits in full for little kids, but yours is up and running.  Birdy, you are a ridiculous goofball.  Whenever I take you out and you get to see new people, you turn into this friendly monster, grinning and waving and making smush faces at them.  (What's smush face, you ask?  Here:)

Smush face'd BSparl

You "get" things now.  You understand that the little plastic tea pot is for filling little plastic tea cups (and anything else that has a space where tea can hide, including hats).  You have figured out that the cat will let you pet her if you approach her quietly.  You know how the tv remote works.  You have mastered the concept of "extreme splashing" in the bathtub (soaking me to the core). And you've finally figured out that the insulin pump is attached to mama, and you can't take off with it too quickly or I yelp.

This month, you and I spent our longest time apart so far, when Daddy and I went on vacation.  We missed you so much and we loved Skyping with you every night, so we could see you playing and smiling even thousands of miles away.  (Modern technology is amazing.  And by the time you read these letters, I'm sure we'll be able to send our words to one another through fiber optic thoughts or minute radioactive hamburgers or something.)  While it was nice to spend time with your Daddy, we were both so happy to see your face and give you snuggles when we came home.

You're starting to expand your vocabulary, in weird little ways.  We know "kitty" and "duck."  And "bottle."  (You say "bot," but it's close enough.)  "What'sdat?"  And you looooove balloons, chasing after their strings as they float around the kitchen, shouting "Bra!! Braa!"  (Yes, you call balloons 'bra.'  This may be a source of confusion for you as you age, but for now, we're going with it.)

BSparl. 13 months old

Kid, you are a total trip, and my best friend. Your hugs are the softest. You have this mess of curly hair, the origin of which baffles me. You sniff the flowers and chase bugs and dig in the dirt, all while sporting a grin. And you laugh at your own toots. 

I love you, I love you, I love you.  You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, and the happy you make me knows no bounds.

Love,
Mommy

April 25, 2011

Things I Learned My First Year as a Diabetic Mommy.

Things I learned during my first year as a mommy with diabetes:

  • Not all women with diabetes have c-sections. I did, but it doesn't make me the rule. C-section deliveries are the exception.
  • A pregnancy with diabetes, even well-controlled diabetes, can have its share of complications. This does not mean I failed.
  •  I quickly learned to stash fruit roll ups in the couch cushions for breastfeeding lows.
  • Writing my blood sugar level on the bags of pumped breast milk helped instill the confidence that my blood sugar level didn't affect the quality of my milk.
  • Carrying the car seat against my hip can accidentally bolus my pump.
  • So can sticky little baby fingers.
  • When she has to wait while I treat a low blood sugar, it makes me hate diabetes so intensely that my eyebrows hurt from furrowing them.
  • Test strips on the floor aren't a big deal until she tries to eat them.
  • Bottles of glucose tabs make for the best impromptu rattles.
  • I didn't realize she was able to pull my pump from my hip and crawl off with it until I felt the site pull loose.
  • Between the baby bag, the diabetes supplies, and "regular life" stuff, I am bound to leave something behind. But so long as that "something" isn't me or her, we're fine.
  • While I don't always know the lyrics, I do know the tune. And I'm like the Wayne Brady of makeshift mommy lyrics.
  • I've never, in my life, had such in-depth discussions about poop and blood sugar numbers, all in the same breath.  ("Dude, she's taking a massive crap right now, but I'm 50 and I need to grab some juice.  Can you take this hit?")
  • Going to the beach is hard when you bring two kids under six months of age.  (This summer should be easier.  RIGHT?  Please God.)
  • I wasn't prepared for how sad I would be to pack up her too-small clothes, but I felt so proud to buy her first sippy cup.
  • I've never ordered so much crap online in such a short 365 day span.
  • Going gluten-free for the first year was doable enough to encourage us to maybe aim for a few more months.
  • And in the last twelve months, I've learned to be very comfortable, and unflappable, about my decisions on how to parent my child.
  • When she slept through the night and her diaper was soggy, I thought, "She slept through the night!" and not "Does she have diabetes?"
  • Gluten-free crackers taste nice. Gluten-free pasta is not so nice.
  • Nothing entertains her more than my Dexcom receiver. She likes the beeps, the lights, and the plastic gel case. It is the ultimate tantrum deterrent.
  • Baby Mum Mums are delicious. There. I said it.
  • Working from gave me the pleasure of not missing a moment of my baby's first year, time to safely manage new motherhood and diabetes, and instilled a true appreciation for "time to myself."
  • After twelve months, the laundry is still adorable but the diapers are less so.  (Nothing to do with diabetes.  But her clothes are cute overload in the dryer.)
  • Being her mom makes me want to have the nicest A1C ever, so I can be around to bug her for a long, long time.

My first year as a mom has taught me a tremendous amount - more than one blog post could ever cover - and I learn more about my kid (and my marriage and myself and spit up and toys that require 15 batteries and have a cleverly-hidden off switch) every day.  Also, my daughter and I owe you guys a big THANK YOU for spending the last year answering questions/quelling fears/tolerating emotional outbursts/being kind as I made this transition.

So this is what I've learned.  BUT.  I've yet to learn how to install the car seat base on my own.  Which makes Chris my hero.  :)

April 18, 2011

Gluten-Free Birdzone: Now What?

(Alternate tittle:  "Bring out yer bread!")

Now that the little bird is the big O-N-E, we have completed one year as parents.  And one year doing the gluten-free diet with our baby.  This was important to me because I felt strongly about the ties between the early introduction of gluten and type 1 diabetes diagnoses. And after doing some research and discussing this as a family, Chris and I decided to keep our BSparl gluten-free for her first year.

It was pretty easy, to be honest, keeping a little baby off gluten.  (Especially since she doesn't have celiac, so our decision was elective instead of required.) The ease came mostly from the fact that BSparl breastfed for almost six months, and didn't start on solid foods until just after she turned six months old.  All breastmilk and/or formula made for a pretty streamlined food schedule for that first half year.  When we introduced solid foods into her diet, we went with organic rice cereal and formula first, then mushed up fruits and assorted other mushed up items (like avocado and shredded chicken breast) mixed with food pouches like these from Ella's Kitchen. Her diet was pretty mushy for a good long time, since it took about 8 months for her first tooth to bust through.

Once she had some teeth, feeding her was a little easier (if easier = messier), and our options opened up a bit. However, we needed to be vigilant about reading food labels and doing the "Oooh, wait!" to relatives before they'd give the baby a snack.  For the last four months or so, BSparl has been chomping on gluten-free crackers, pasta, and puffs, plenty of fresh fruit like mango, papaya, and bananas, chicken, and avocado.  (She also had her first gluten-free cupcake on her birthday, complete with a messy little fondant bird).  She's drinking happily from her sippy cup, and today she tasted her first popsicle.  (Highly entertaining, watching her little face get all confused by the cold and then elated with the taste.) 

Gluten free bird-day cupcake.
Enjoying her birthday cupcake last week.

But she's still gluten-free, at the moment.  I haven't made the leap to wheat yet, and I'm not even sure how, or when, I should do it.  My research kept talking about "the first year" over and over again, but now that we've clocked in our twelve months, are we supposed to dip her in a pile of mini wheats and see what happens?  When are we supposed to start bringing gluten into her diet, and how do we do it?  All at once?  Bit by bit?  And is it normal that I'm nervous, and very apprehensive to make this change because I'm being inundated by The Thought

If anyone has any information on expanding our daughter's diet to include gluten, I would really, really appreciate it.  I have an appointment with our pediatrician next week, and I am also combing research journals, but I'm mostly clueless.  Has anyone in the DOC done the gluten-free route with their child and then added gluten in after the 12 month mark?  I would really appreciate any links to research, anecdotal evidence, or anything.  I've never done this before and I'm confused.  (Big shock, right?)

Thanks, you guys.  As always, your input helps me make the most educated decisions I can.

(It is important to note that I am not a doctor. Or a nurse. Or a person with any semblance of a medical degree.  What I am is a person who has been living with type 1 diabetes a long time, with a daughter who I worry may have inherited my immune system.  I'm an informed patient who is looking for more information.  So if there is research pointing towards a gluten and type 1 connection, you can bet your ass I'm going to avoid gluten for the first year, as advised.  It's not like I forbade hugs for a year.  Just Cheerios.  ;) )

April 15, 2011

OMG Twelve.

To my littlest friend,

One year ago today, the best little write-off ever was born.  (Happy tax day AND birthday, Birdy!)  No ... okay, I'll be serious.  Because, as we know, your mama is totally serious.  You and I have never had burping contests. Nope.

Ahem.  So yes, a year ago, you were born.  You came out after a short but tough eight months and one week of pregnancy, the first scheduled c-section at Beth Israel that morning.  Type 1 diabetes, Factor V leiden, retinopathy, pre-eclampsia, and hospitalization tried to shake our determination, but you and I held steady.  And the moment you were born, your cry filled that operating room that once held 14 plus people, but in that moment, just held you, me, and Daddy.

Smiling when we went to the zoo last week.

I knew life with you was going to be so different and amazing, but I didn't realize how profoundly you had changed me until I caught myself talking to you about how I cannot stand the Charmin bears because they show their toilet paper bits to television viewing audiences.  And you giggled in agreement.  Or when we sang the song about "Fat Bird the Clown (FBTC)" in the grocery store.  And then danced while daddy juggled lemons.  You have given me the confidence to be a silly mom in public, and you make me feel like even my non-rhyming, makes-no-sense lyrics are worth singing.  You make me feel like I'm doing something very, very right.

Opening some early birthday presents from our friend Lindsay!

Birdy, you amaze me.  I love watching you learn how the world works, when your little brow furrows as you try and figure out how to stack the blocks or open the cupboard or sneak up on the cats without them noticing.  (They always notice.)  We get to watch you discover how words are assigned to things, and what sounds fit where.  You've started pointing at things you recognize, babbling words like "birdy," "kitty," and "mama."  Your voice is high and squeaky, and your giggle is cut from the same vocal cloth. 

Baking cupcakes on her birthday-eve.  :)

I want to tell you how much you mean to me, but there aren't the right words for this yet.  I want to tell you that i would do anything for you, and would sacrifice my entire being to make sure you are always safe, but it never feels like enough.  I love you like I've known you all my life.  Because, somehow, I have.  You've always been what I've wanted most, and now that you're here and I can hug you, my life feels better.  Fuller.  Like that spot was filled that I didn't even realize was empty.

I love you, my baby birdzone.  You show me that there is plenty to smile about in the world. 

Happy first birthday. 

Love,
Mommy.

March 16, 2011

Eleven.

Birdzone,

There is no way you are eleven months old.  How is this even possible?  Wasn't I just all puffed up with pre-eclampsia like two weeks ago?  No?  You're really thisclose to celebrating your year birthday? 

Seriously, holy crap, kid.

This last month has been a constant challenge to keep up with you, both in chasing you around the room as you crawl at the speed of light and keeping up with your constant developmental changes.  Every few days, some new glimpse into your personality comes up.  Like the other day when you were in your highchair, and your dad tipped his head to the side and said "Awwww, so cute!"  And you responded in kind:

Awwwwwwwww!

(Thing is, if you give us the "awwww" look and we don't notice right away, you go in for a second tilt, only even deeper, basically leaving you with your nose on your toes.  So cute, but looks a little uncomfy.)

Crawling, hanging onto the side of the couch and taking confident steps while you hang on tight, and then even those moments when you venture and try to walk on your own ... we're close to full mobility here, and it's making your chubby legs a little less chubby.  (Which has inspired me to start crawling, too.  Does that slim-down program work for adults?) And you sprouted your first fang a few weeks ago, and now it's both broken through completely and soon to be followed by several other fangs that are brewing.  Your tooth gives you a wise look, like you know things about history and how to make doughnuts.

Other thing is that we're working towards is gearing up for your first round of antibody testing for markers of type 1 diabetes.  I know this is a loaded issue for lots of parents who have diabetes and parents who care for a child with diabetes.  But in our case, little bird, we're going to deal with this on the peripheral.  Your childhood will not be marked by me chasing you around with a meter waiting for the genetic shoe to drop.  Since you're already having routine blood work done at your 12 month visit, this is a good, less-intrusive time for that test.  We'll keep an eye on things, my friend, but I'm not going to let The Thought dominate my mind. 

Mama and her baby bird

Next month, you'll mark your first birthday. And seeing how quickly time goes by and how fast you are growing up, I'm reminded by many to appreciate your little baby self, snuggle you while you still want to be snuggled, and tell you I love you every single day.  Because I do.  So much.

(Also, nice polka dots, kiddo.  You rock 'em.)

Love,
Mommy

March 07, 2011

Planning the Bird-day Party.

For once in my life, I'm planning ahead.  And that means I'm beginning to get very, very excited about BSparl's first birthday party. 

I'm definitely not one of those moms who spends more on their kid's first birthday party than on their college education (and I'm also not the kind to hire actual circus animals to perform in my backyard, mostly because we're not made of money but also because elephant poop is surely enormous and I don't want it in my garden), but I am having fun planning out the little, fun details of the party coming up in April.

I'm trying to be the early bird when planning this bird-themed party for my little bird.  (Holy too-many-bird-words-in-one-sentence!)  But I could use a little help, if you have suggestions ...

I'm a (small) bit of a Do-It-Yourself'er, so there are some pieces of this party that I'm pulling together on my own.  Like the invitations.  After scouring the web and mocking up a few designs on TinyPrints and Zazzle, I wasn't able to find the simple invitation I was picturing in my head.  I received a few offers from some very kind friends to have them take a crack at designing something, but I took a stab at it myself while the kid was napping, and I think they came out just like I pictured in my head:

I love dots and birds and purple.

I'm not sure where to print these out so that the quality is nice and there is a decent cardstock selection, and I'd love to hear some suggestions if you have them!

Etsy has been a fun excursion for reasonably-priced items that fit the simple theme.  I bought a bird vector  (because my Photoshop skills are limited) from an Etsy shop called Riekfa Design, and she sent out the images within 24 hours of purchase.  I bought six birds in total (for $4!), but I'm partial to the purple one:

I love this bird.  LOVE!!!

(This bird is sure to make an appearance throughout the party.  It might end up printed out all big and stuck to the fridge, where it will most likely stay for two months.)  In addition to invitation goodies, I'm scoping out cupcake and cake options (haven't decided which one I want to do), but I did find a badass cookie cutter that is perfect for the party.  Actually, I'll probably bring bird cookies to every family gathering for the next fifteen years.  (Christmas birds?  St. Patricks' Day birds?  Arbor Day birds?  Oh hell yes.)  This cute cookie cutter came from BigSillyWorld, another Etsy seller:

Cird cookie cutter from BigSillyWorld

And now I'm on the hunt for cake ideas.  Do I want to do birdie cupcakes like these?  Or like these little peeping ones?  Or a big bird cake (not Big Bird, which is awesome in an entirely different way).  And if I decide to make a few gluten-free versions of cupcakes, does anyone have a recipe that tastes good and still hits the gluten-free mark?  Also, what other simple little bird-themed things can I do to keep the party festive but without upping the lease on my brain?

I can't wait until this kid's bird-day.  We're keeping it as simple as possible so we, as her parents, can actually enjoy the party instead of feeling like we missed it once everyone goes home. 

(And hopefully our kid enjoys seeing her parents clad in party hats.)

March 04, 2011

What I Want Her To Know.

After a tough low this morning: 

I love my daughter, too.

I want her to know that she was wanted so much, well before she arrived, and that her parents went to great lengths to make sure her arrival was as safe as they could manage.

I want her to know that those moments when she has to wait while I test or while I bolus or the times when I have to set her in her crib and gulp down grape juice while she stands there, her big, brown eyes staring at me while her mouth tugs into an impatient smile, that I love her and I just need to deal with diabetes for a few seconds so I can be the best mommy I can.

I want her to know that if my eyes don't get better, it's not her fault.  It's not my fault, either.  The fault lies with diabetes.

I want her to know that the reason I'll sometimes frown at a soggy diaper or a voracious pull from the bottle isn't because she's being "bad" or doing something wrong, but because I'm worrying.

I want her to know that just because I have it, and because some of her best buddies have it, doesn't mean that she will have it.  But I also want her to know that if a diagnosis of any kind ever touches her life, we'll manage just fine and take the best care of one another that we can.

I want her to know that when she smiles at me, it's like a thousand online communities inspiring me all at once.  That the hope of her was once the biggest incentive to improve my health, only to be superseded by her arrival in my arms.

I want her to know that regardless of what she may hear about this "diabetes," her mama is going to be just fine. 

Just fine.

February 21, 2011

The Most Awesome Thing.

The most awesome thing I have done in spite of diabetes is this:

BSparl's first moments with her mama

Diabetes has had more than its share of moments in my life, but not this one.  Becoming a mother is the most awesome thing I have done in spite of diabetes.  When I first held my daughter in my arms and felt her warm cheeks against my lips, when I realized that motherhood wasn't denied to me because of my uncooperative pancreas, when I realized that my life wasn't defined by anything before, but was now defined by my baby ... these moments were mine.

Planting some smooches on a two month old BSparl. 

(This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/introducing-the-dsma-blog-carnival/)

February 15, 2011

Ten.

Dear Birdy,

Sweetheart, you are ten months old today.  We're already thinking about your first birthday party (which makes me a lunatic) and I'm excited to play outside on the swing set this spring.  But these moments right now are awesome, watching you become the little person you will be.

Nothing is safe anymore.  I blink and you slingshot yourself across the room, giggling.  A few weeks ago, I was trying to entice you to creep across your bedroom floor, but now you are unstoppable.  I've never seen a critter scuttle with the kind of awkward intensity you possess, and the fact that even if you end up fumbling and headbutting the floor, you're still up and moving forward in a matter of seconds. I think your forehead is made of steel.  Or whatever material super bouncy balls are made of. 

And despite the pile of toys in the basket in the living room, you want to play with the Forbidden Items:  The remote, my pump, the outlets, and my cell phone.  Even if I pour the entire bucket of wooden blocks onto the floor and they make that lovely wood-against-wood clattering sound, your head whips around if the cell phone lights up and you're off to try to lick it.  God forbid I try to bolus in your presence; you're mouth pouts into a perfect "O" as you reach for the awesome beeping machine.  (Usually scoring a grip on the tubing and flapping it around while you laugh and say "bababa.") 

Ten very strange months old.

Your vocal stylings continue to impress me, my lovely bird.  You've figured out just what that baby monitor camera does, and in the wee hours of the morning, Daddy and I hear you starting to stir in your crib.  "Bah bah bah."  And then we look at the video monitor screen and see you staring intently back at us, opening your little rosebud mouth to carefully and clearly say "Dada."  At which point, Chris sighs and smiles and says, "I'll get her."  And then I am quietly thankful that you don't quite say "Mama" with such clarity yet.

I'm not sure when it's going to happen, but I see walking in our near future.  Which is terrifying, because when you stand up on your chubby little legs, it amazes me that you're still such a pipsqueak.  We were just at the pediatrician two weeks ago and you are still on the peanut side, but like a peanut with leg and belly rolls.  (Basically, you look freshly baked and I think if I poke you in the belly, you will say "hee hee!")  But we're ready, with the child-proofing in full swing here at home. 

And, like your mama, you love books.  But while I'm more of a reader, you let us know you favor a certain volume by trying to eat it.  "All the hippos go berserk!" I read out loud, and you clap your hands and then try to chompy on the pages.  You love being read to, and you love doing your own version of reading, as well.  (But I love the look of grown up concentration when you hold the book on your own, furrow your brow, and turn the pages with practiced ease.  With the book upside down.)

Reading is fun.  Even upside down.

You make everything feel like it's new and shiny and covered in sticky fingerprints, and I love you more than I ever thought possible. 

Love,
Mommy.

February 08, 2011

Happy.

Today is my birthday.  There's a good amount in my life that needs to be worked on, but there's so much that's great without effort.  Like my family.  And my littlest bird.  And all the support and inspiration I get from you guys.  I'm really grateful.

I love this kid.

And I am happy.

February 02, 2011

Hammer! Doughnut!

"This is what happens when an unstoppable hammer meets an immovable doughnut!!"

The game: Hammer vs. Doughnut



The players:  Chris gives her both toys (the yellow ring apparently is "doughnut") and he encourages her to bang the two toys together while he sings "Hammer versus doughnut! Hammer versus doughnut! This is what happens when an unstoppable hammer meets an immovable doughnut!!" 

 He laughs.  She giggles uncontrollably and battles on with the aforementioned hammer and doughnut.

The conclusion:  I realize that she is all him, through and through. I live with two strange birds.

January 17, 2011

Nine.

Dear Little Bird,

First off, who told you that you could start crawling?  I never gave you permission to do such things.  About a week ago, you just up and decided that it was time to get from here to there using your chubby legs to propel you across your bedroom floor.  Your knees are red from shuffling along on the ground, but the grin of satisfaction is awesome.  You're fast, kid.  I blink and you've scuttled across the room in a blink, aiming to sink your teeth (gums?) into the lamp cord/door jam/cat tail. 

And yeah, we should probably talk about the cats, sweetie.  Here's the deal:  they aren't edible.  They also have claws.  Your desire to scoot over to them and give them a hug isn't good, because their tolerance will not last.  (Also, why do you want to touch their toes?  You are constantly poking Siah in the feet, and she lifts her food and moves it the slightest bit, and then you poke again.  Endless cycle.)  Thankfully, we have one cat who wants to be your buddy:  Siah.  You and Siah are two little nerds who hang out on the bed together and laugh at each other.  (Yes, Siah laughs at her.  It's a silent laugh.  Looks like this.)

You have also figured out how to make your mouth imitate some sounds.  "Baaa baaa" and "daaa daaa" and "maaa maaaa" and some mangled version of what we believe is "kitty."  (Sounds like "kitchy," but you say it every time the cats come wandering into frame, so I'm sticking with my theory.)  But it's another step towards talking, and I can't wait to hear all the thoughts roaming around in your head.

Nine months old.  Yowza.

Now that you're crawling, you're also investigating everything.  Including my pump.  If I'm playing on the floor with you, you sometimes drop everything and laser-focus on my hip, where the pump is clipped.  Then you try and press the buttons and grab the tubing and all of a sudden the pump is wailing Fur Elise.   (It's like "HEY!  Elise!")  You also like my meter - the beeps make you excited and twice now you've grabbed the strip from the top before the five second countdown completed.  (And in my head, I think "Cha-ching - one dollar.")  In addition to my insulin pump, you're also pretty excited about the plants in the living room (landscape architect in the making?), the cat food (veterinarian in the making?), and the bathtub (Steve Zissou in the making?).  Basically, you're excited about everything.

This month was a busy one, with your second trip to Florida for the Children with Diabetes Marco Island Family Weekend. Thanks to the constant care of your mom and dad (and also some surrogate snuggles from Uncle Scott), the trip was manageable, but traveling with a baby is hard work.  (See also:  flight delayed, landed five hours behind schedule, luggage didn't make it to our airport, etc etc et-freaking-cetera)  As much as we hate to be away from you, I think you're staying with Grammie next time we travel. But, for the record, you were a good kid on those flights.  You wooed the stewardesses and shared your Happy Baby puffs with everyone within a ten foot radius.  (Those things fly through the air almost effortlessly.  I think the lady sitting behind us had as many in her lap as you did.)

As always, we love you.  We sometimes sneak in while you're sleeping at night and we stand over your crib, marveling at how big you're getting and how old you are already and how much we can't even begin to remember what life was like before you and all your stuff moved in.  You make our world a better place, Birdzone

Now please, for crying out loud, stop biting the cats.

Love always,
Mommy

January 10, 2011

Oh Sh ...

Oh shit, she's crawling!

This looks like trouble to me.  :) 

Welcome to the world of mobility, birdy.

December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

BSparl loves her hat.  :)

We're going to take a few days to enjoy the holidays and watch BSparl eat her first bit of holiday wrapping paper, but I'll be back on Monday.  Happy Holidays and much love from the Sparlings!

December 15, 2010

Eight.

Dear Birdzone,

(Yes, your father has given you yet another nickname.  "Birdy" has somehow morphed into asking you "Are you in the zone?" and then answering that goofy question with "BIRDZONE!")

Today, you are eight months old.  You have officially been "out" as long as you were "in."  And between this month and last, you've become like, this actual BABY.  Not an infant, not a little baby bird, but a real deal baby looking creature with chubby legs and a round, little face.

For a few weeks, you were a bit on the petite side, weight-wise, and I think that's partially due to the fact that we delayed introducing solid foods to you until you were almost six months old.  For one pediatrician visit, you were on the particularly peanut-side of things, and we were pretty much told to pack you full o' food.  That we did, and you gained two pounds in a month, bringing you up to range.  You're still a little lady - 25th percentile overall - but you eat like a champ and you seem healthy as a tiny little bird ... horse?  A bird horse.

About a week ago, you busted out with your first word:  "Dada."  But I think you noticed that I was a little bummed because you didn't say "mama," so you let fly with that word the next day.  Now you rock back and forth on your hands and knees on the floor, babbling about "Dada" and "Mama" and "baba" and "Dinosaur Train."   You don't say our names readily yet, but now that you can make the sounds and you know who we are ("Where's Daddy?" and you whip your head towards him.), I'm sure you're going to start talking for real. 

You are getting loooong, kiddo.  You are just about ready to poke your toes through your size 6 month clothes, so we're going to shove you into the 9 month size any day now.  I packed up a lot of your "6 month and under" clothes last week, and while it made me sad that my baby girl is getting bigger so quickly, I was so proud that you were getting bigger and stronger.

BSparl at eight months old

You are on the verge of crawling.  And teething.  And the combination of these "almosts" makes you more than happy to creep across the floor and then try to eat my face.  So far this week alone, you've head-butted me twice in the lip and once in the temple, making me realize that your head is as solid as mine.  ;)

Your giggles are contagious.  You make these weird ninja noises sometimes that crack us all up because you sound so serious about it.  ("Hiiiii-yaaaaaa!")  You thought the arrival of the Christmas tree and all the lights was the most amazing thing ever, and your next mission seems to be eating the tree itself.  Also, you think Siah is your personal chew toy, and whenever I turn my head for even a second, you are trying to lick her.  (Note to BSparl:  Siah will not take kindly to your advances.  Seriously.  Leave her alone before she trounces you.)

This month, we'll celebrate our first Christmas as a trio, and I can't wait to watch the holidays unfold through your eyes.  Your dada and your mama love you so, so much, and you are our favorite birdzone of all time.

Love always,
Mommy.

December 13, 2010

Last Year.

In October of 2009, Chris and I went up to Bar Harbor to celebrate our move home, our new lives, and the growing secret in my belly

While we were up in Maine, we visited a coffee shop in downtown Bar Harbor that had a full selection of fancy pants coffee drinks, and then offered a selection of board games (most from the early 90s) to play with while you got your caffeine on. 

Chris and I ended up sitting at a modified desk, playing Trivial Pursuit.  And then we noticed the desk had a drawer.

"What's in there?" I asked as he grabbed the drawer pull and carefully opened the drawer that was crammed with slips of paper.

"Looks like ... notes?  Like people wrote notes and left them in here?"

Each of us took a fistful of white, crinkled paper and read what others had left behind.   It was like PostSecret in a drawer.  There were papers with drawings of people's homes, and their dogs with floppy hats, or their boyfriends wearing bikinis.  (True.  More than one of those, which cracked me up.)  Notes stained with coffee and Scrabble tallies and the words "I WON!" in all caps.  Notes with people's favorite quotes.  Notes with secrets.  Notes with the words "I'm leaving him tomorrow" written in tiny, hesitant print in the bottom left hand corner. 

We had only told our close friends and family about the baby.  We hadn't let a word whisper out otherwise.  But we wanted to leave our secret in this drawer, because we knew it was only a few more days until we were going to tell the world.  

So I scrawled a picture on a slip of paper and tucked it tight into the drawer.  And left it, buried with all the other mysteries.

This past fall, Chris and I visited Bar Harbor again.  BSparl was spending the weekend with my mother, and we were taking our first weekend away as "parents."   We went back to that same coffee shop and - just for kicks - checked the same desk drawer to see if our secret was still there.

It's an accurate representation.  Complete with fat legs.
Now this paper is in her baby book. 

When we wrote this, I was in the beginning of my diabetic pregnancy.  And now, I'm a very happy and healthy mommy, despite all the challenges of diabetes and baby building.  We did it, she and I.

I hope BSparl is tolerant of how goofy her parents are.  And how much we loved her, even before we met her.

November 23, 2010

A Swiftly Failing Body.

I feel all ancient, like the old guy from UP!Despite diabetes, I've always felt like I was in "good health."  (Quotes are necessary, but even though I toted syringes around as a kid, I never felt like the "sick one."  Thus, making "good health" sort of a relative term.)  I have never broken a bone.  I don't often get colds or the flu.  While my friends were busy hacking up their lungs and hiding in their beds, nursing whatever plague ailed them, I was usually germ and virus free.

Until about three weeks ago.  

I don't know if BSparl weakened my immune system.  Or if the move to the new house/baby wrangling/excessive travel contributed to some major exhaustion.  Or diabetes just sort of reminding me "Hey, um ... still here."  (As though I could forget.)  Or if it's just some crazy perfect storm of chaos.  But whatever the cause, I'm currently inhabiting a swiftly failing body.

First off, my wrists are still a mess of tendinitis and carpal tunnel.   Physical therapy is definitely helping, but the process is very slow and since we're talking about my hands, it's not like I can go a day or two without using them.  (See also:  holding the baby, typing, carrying anything, putting on new infusion sets, testing blood sugar, picking up vital coffee cup)  Not to mention, the wrist braces at night aren't doing anything to go against that whole ROBOT feeling.

Secondly, I've been sick with some kind of freak show plague since the very beginning of November.  Started off with a sore throat, progressed to completely losing my voice, and then settled into this really lovely and incessant cough.  I haven't felt right or sounded right in three weeks.

And thirdly, while I was having a coughing fit last week, I felt this pop in my side and after being scrutinized by my best friend (the ER nurse), we both determined that I had bruised or cracked a rib from coughing.  Who does that?! So now every time I cough (which is thankfully becoming less frequent) or sneeze, the pain is pretty intense.

I deal with diabetes decently enough, but I have no patience for this extra crap.  Painful wrists?  Nagging cough?  Busted ribcage?  Hey pain, screw you and the horse you rode in on. ... and then I realize that the horse it rode in on is me, so I have to do something.

I finally have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon to address the plague.  I have scheduled my physical therapy appointments.  And I'm not shy about taking pain reliever to help out with this rib thing.  I need to fix this swiftly failing body because I don't have the patience to deal with all the mess.  Besides, it's ANNOYING.  I don't like having to further dumb down my workouts because of these issues.  I don't like going in for a husband hug only to have to say "Be careful of my ribs!"  And nothing annoys me more than reaching down for my baby to score a snuggle, only to have the action punctuated with pain.    

So, to recap:  I am a ninety year old woman. 

I hope the mending comes quickly.  Chronic pain was not on my holiday "to do" list.

November 21, 2010

Sunday Snapshots: BAM! POW!

BAM!  POW!  BURPCLOTH CAPE!

There's nothing more fun than playing BatMom and BatGirl. (And yes, that's a burp cloth as a cape.  What?  BAM!  POW!  WALDORF!  STATLER!)

November 18, 2010

Seven.

Dear Birdy,

Happy seven month birthday! (Late by a few days, but who's counting?  Oh yeah, me.)  Thanks for being my best buddy.  You amaze me because every single, solitary morning, you wake up grinning.  And not just grinning, but thumping your fleece-clad feet against the crib mattress every morning like a joyous mermaid.  I'll admit it - I'm jealous.  You are filled with some serious joy every day.  ("I'll have what she's having!")  I don't know what's put you in such a good mood every day, but I'm glad you are a happy little bird.  It makes the few hours of sleep I'm getting feel a little more powerful. 

Your physical changes are happening every few days, and I'm afraid to literally blink for fear of missing something.  In just the last two weeks, you've started to sit up on your own, creep forward and backward on your tummy, and pick up blocks with both of your hands. It's like you're figuring out that you have the power to command your body to do things, and you aren't afraid to explore that power.  Like your repeated attempts to roll off the changing table.  Or the way you raise your arms in the air and yell happily, like Baby King Kong.  Crawling is coming soon - I can feel it - and after that, all hell will break loose.

Seven giggly months old.
Seven giggly months old

I love the personality that we can see developing in you.  You are a really agreeable little mess, and your joy is contagious.  It's fun to watch you taste new foods for the first time, or to knock over the tower of blocks.  (I think I'm creating a monster, though, because I'm encouraging you to destroy something I'm building.  This will eventually backfire on me.) We read books, we do goofy dances, and sometimes we let you pet the cats.  ("Nice kitty" isn't coming naturally to you.  "OMG KITTY!! YAAAAAAA!  BABY SMASH!" seems to be more your instinctive response.)  You've also discovered that your mommy is wired, and tugging on the tubing of my insulin pump is your new favorite sport.

Teeth are on tap.  It's obvious.  Aside from the incessant drooling and putting your toes in your mouth every change you get, you're gnawing on everything.  You like to read your books and then shove them into your mouth.  You like to play with blocks and then shove them in your mouth.  You enjoy a good stuffed animal and then it ends up in your mouth.  Just about everything, from your thumb to the bird toy attached to your play saucer, ends up the target of your giggly gumming.  Teething is fun!  (Especially when you won't go to sleep at night, you poor thing, because your gums are throbbing.  Teething isn't really that fun.  Sarcasm is, though.)

And you are thankfully not a picky eater ... yet.  So far, you will eat any fruit or vegetable without making a face.  (Except for peas.  But who likes peas, other than Daddy?  And Daddy is a freak.)  You like rice cereal, food from those crazy little jars, a slice of avocado shoved into the mesh food bag thing - everything!  But we need to address how delicious your baby food is, because I'm finding myself finishing what you are not.  Those little Earth's Best jars of apples and apricots, or sweet potatoes?  You eat 3/4 of the jar and I house the rest.  This does not make me feel like a grown up, licking the inside of a jar of infant food.  Actually, it makes me feel like a weirdo.  (But it tastes good!)

And lastly, you're testing out that voice.  You giggle.  You yell.  You flap your arms like your nickname's namesake and try to take off from your highchair.  You think it's funny to babble while you're yawning, and you have serious conversations with your toes at every opportunity.  You have all these words stored up inside of you and I know they're going to start tumbling out soon.  And once they do, you'll never shut up. 

Just like your mama.

Love you,
Mommy

November 08, 2010

Gluten Free Baby.

There's a whole freaking list of things that we've done, as parents, to keep The Thought out of our heads.  We don't go nuts here, but we have made some decisions that are different from those of our fellow new parents.  Like the decision to breast feed.  And then the decision to integrate solid foods closer to the six month mark rather than the four month mark.  And we've also decided to go gluten free with our little bird.

What a pain in the butt this "gluten free" thing is.  I do not envy anyone who is living with celiac, or who cares for someone with celiac disease.  I've never read so many product labels in my entire life.  

But there are plenty of options for a gluten-free lifestyle, and there are even pancakes to be had.  (Thanks for the tip, Gluten-Free Goddess @danamlewis.)  And for now, BSparl is dining on Earth's Best Organic rice cereal, mushed together with their First Food jars.  She's happy.  She also gets the whole process now, and opens her mouth like a true baby bird when I bring the spoon anywhere within a five mile radius of her face.  (Keeping it mostly in her mouth and not all over said face?  That's still a challenge, but she'll get it eventually.  Either that, or she'll be a hell of a dinner date when she's older.)

Since BSparl is still a baby, her food options are limited as a result of our slow integration and her age, but as she gets older, I want her to be able to grab on those same finger foods that all growing babies manage to get their mitts on.

Which is why I was thrilled that the Happy Baby food company created a gluten-free counterpart to their fantastic puffs:

Tasty yummy awesometown!
Because I was so excited to find these online, I ordered a freaking ton of them from the website, and now a crate of Happy Baby puffle things are en route to my house.   They come in sweet potato flavor and strawberry flavor, and honestly, I'm looking forward to trying these little things out with my daughter.  (And also, Happy Babby has no idea I'm writing about their product, nor did they ask me to.  There's a little disclosure for ya.  Oh, but if they offered to send free crap?  I'd happily take it and invite them over for tea.  How's that for bonus disclosure?)

I know this diabetes community has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all-things gluten-free.  So I'm hoping you might have some suggestions as to what kind of other gluten-free baby foods are out there. I'm not afraid to order items online, so if you have a link, please share!!  I'm aiming for 12 months without gluten for the baby, but if it's going well, I may extend the lifestyle decision.  Any suggestions you have would be awesome!

November 03, 2010

Therapy: The Physical Kind.

Photo credit:  www.spineandsportsmed.comBack in February 2009, I was diagnosed with tendinitis, in large part thanks to the mass amounts of computer work I was doing.  All that mousing took a toll on my wrist, leaving my tendons swollen and all -itis'ed.  I made some changes in efforts to alleviate the pain, but eventually I caved and received a cortisone injection.

And then some things happened.  Like a pregnancy.  And leaving my old job in pursuit of being a work-from-home pregnant lady and now a work-from-home mom. 

My hands?  Never got that break they needed.  And now the tendinitis has moved from the outside of my wrists to the interior.  It started just after BSparl was born, when I was breastfeeding.  The hand positions required to keep the baby latched on properly weakened the tendons in my hand.  And as BSparl got bigger and bigger, the stress of putting the baby in her carseat and into her crib made the tendons in my hands swell to epic proportions.  Even stopping breastfeeding didn't give me any relief in the hand department. 

I was permanently in pain.

After much prodding from Chris ("Baby, call the physical therapist."  "Call them today?"  "If you don't call them, I'm calling them for you."), I finally made an appointment with the physical therapist.  

"Hi.  I'm K.  I'm going to help ease this pain for you, okay?"  said the physical therapist as she met me in the waiting room.  (Already a 180 degree difference from my interview with the primary care physician.)

"Yes, please.  I've had this pain since before I had my daughter, but since her birth, it's shifted from the outside of my wrist to the inside.  I'm having trouble picking her up, putting her in the carseat, and getting her up from her crib.  Oh, and opening jars.  And turning doorknob."  I shrugged.  "Anything that requires my hands."

"Let's figure out what's going on."

I'd never been to a physical therapist before, and I resisted it because I felt like I should be able to get rid of this pain on my own.  It's not like I can't walk - it's just wrist pain. 

"I'm going to measure the mobility you have in your wrists now, okay?"  the PT asked, and I nodded.  We then went through a series of wrist mobility exercises which she measured with what looked like a plastic protractor.   And it was then that I realized how little comfortable movement I had in my hands.

"You are in a lot of pain throughout the day?  Okay, we need to take some of the stress away from your wrists.  What do you do for work?"

I laughed.  "I am a writer.  I work on the computer for several hours a day."

She laughed, too.  "That doesn't help.  How about when you aren't working?"

"I have a six and a half month old daughter.  And I work from home so I can take care of her, so I'm either typing or toting her around."

"I'm not surprised.  I've examined the inflammation in your hands and did you know there's actually a tendinitis called De Quervain's tenosynovitis that occurs in new moms a lot.  It's exacerbated by the motion of picking up the baby."

"Wow.  So is that what I'm dealing with?  This decoupage syndome?"  (I am clueless.)

"De Quervain's.  And yes.  You also have the very beginning of carpal tunnel, but we're catching it early.  I'm hopeful that eight weeks of physical therapy twice a week, in conjunction with hand exercises done every day at home, that you'll have marked relief.  I don't want to make any promises, but I know we can help you out."

For the rest of the appointment, we spent time reviewing the exercises I was to complete twice a day at home.  (These exercises make it look like I'm painstakingly waving at someone, in slow motion.  Chris is confused by this.  "Are you waving at me?"  "No, I'm gliding my tendons.  What, that's not cool?")  And the PT also used an ultrasound machine to pulse heat and vibrations into my tendons to help ease the swelling.  (It was kind of neat to have an ultrasound that didn't show a baby bouncing around in there.  New experience for me.)  And I've also been prescribed two wrist braces to wear while I sleep to help keep my hands in a "neutral" position.  (And I've tried wearing the braces to bed for the last three nights, but somehow, in the middle of the night, I end up taking them off.  While I'm sleeping.  Very odd.)  I'm trying out everything I can in efforts to rid my wrists of this pain. 

I'm hoping to see some relief in the next eight weeks, and I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll feel close to 90% once the physical therapy sessions are over. 

(And, for the record, this is the way a doctor's office should be run.  Attentive staff, clean environment, medical professionals who make eye contact with their patients, and a discussion about payment after they learned my name, not before.  These small things make a big difference in patient experience, and I'd give this PT office a referral any time.)

November 01, 2010

First Walk.

We walk to show that we're in this together.  That we are an extended family of people with diabetes - young and old alike, all living as well as we can with this disease.   That we rally together and celebrate our lives, even when they're ornamented with insulin pumps and glucose meters.  We bring our moms and dads.  Our husbands and wives.  Our friends.  Our children.   It's an event crammed with people who love and who are loved, and we walk because we're part of this diabetes family.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated to this year's JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.  Your support means so much to me and my family!!

And the walk was a great way to kick off Diabetes Month, where (hopefully) the attention of the nation will be turned to diabetes in all its forms.  I know there are many projects and awareness initiatives taking place across the diabetes online community, and I'll do my best to help spread the word here.

In the meantime, BSparl enjoyed her first Halloween on the outside, and she charmed her mommy and her daddy by beaming out some smiles in her pink kitty costume:

Kid cracks me up.

I love being part of her life and seeing her smile every day.  I'm working hard to be around and bothering her for a long, long time.

... we walk because we want people to know there isn't a cure yet.  But there should be.

October 22, 2010

Six.

Dear Pancake,

Little peanut, you are a Beatles fan.  Already.  I can't believe it, but you are instantly soothed by Yesterday, Here Comes the Sun, and Imagine.  (And you are also too little to care if I get the lyrics wrong, hence "Yesterday, I'm not half the mom I used to be.  There's a Siah hanging over me …")

You are now six months old.  And you are fiercely independent already.  You want to put your own socks on and feed yourself with your own spoon and chew on whatever you damn please.  You like pulling yourself up when I hold your hands and you are frustrated when your chubby legs can't support your weight.  Patience, little bird - your time for walking will come before we know it.  For now, you'll need to be content with rolling like a hamster ball all over the living room.

You have a tooth threatening to poke through any day now, and you constantly rub your sore gums with your fingers and occasionally with your toes.  You have developed this new, coy little smile when you tuck your chin in and press your lips together and grin.  Waitstaff at restaurants love this face, and they bring the bread basket faster when they see you.  Don't think this is going to be your "I get everything I want" face, because I'm not ready for that.  I'm also not sure if you're vying for a pony this early, but no way, kiddo.  We have three cats.  No more animals.  Talk to your dad about a hermit crab or something.

You and I read books every day.  You are obsessed with Guess How Much I Love You (only I feel a little like a dirtbag every time I read "Little Nutbrown Hair" … what kind of name is that for an animal??) and Love is a Handful of Honey.  You always look at my face at the same moments in the story, and by the end of each reading, you've attempted to eat at least three of the pages.  You are hungry for learning, birdy.

You sleep in your Big Girl crib now, in your very own room.  I watch you on the video monitor all night long, listening to the sounds of your sleep machine in the background.  Sometimes, you shuffle around in there, sighing gently and foraging for your thumb.  You are a champion sleeper, and my new mom sanity has been restored now that you are happily lights out for the night.  (But I must admit - sometimes I scoop you up in my arms before I head off to bed, because I need hugs from you as often as possible.)  

And now?  You are starting to chow on solid foods.  ("Solid" being a bit of a stretch.  There isn't much solid in those jars of Earth's Best sweet potatoes and little cups of rice cereal.)  The first time we touched the spoon to your lips, your dad and I almost cried from laughing because all you wanted to do was suck on the spoon.  But you've come a long way since that afternoon, and now you're able to polish off a serving of solids and only wear a third of it on your chin and a third on your bid.  Soon you'll eat more than a third!  And eventually, you'll be able to eat without us laughing at you.

BSparl at the ripe old age of six months.

Nothing warms my heart more than your smile.  Nothing makes me happier than the sound of your laugh.  And nothing brings me more joy than watching you eat tutus.

I love you,
Your Mommy.

October 11, 2010

No Pancakes for Pancake.

Before BSparl was born, I spent a lot of time focusing on the pregnancy.  (You guys know this - my blog was littered with "I can't get my A1C low enough!" posts before she was conceived, and then the "OMG I need to protect this growing peanut" posts while she was inside.)  I was so focused on the Get Pregnant/Have Baby process that I sort of forgot to look into the Once She's Out adventure. 

Chris and I learned how to be good (we hope) parents as we went, gaining knowledge from books, websites, our doctors, and that thing called trial-by-fire.  (Something about changing the diaper of a wiggly three week old in the dead of night helps your brain learn the process real quick.) Like any other new parent, we worried about just about everything.  But there was one unique thing that we were concerned about, and it was BSparl's chance of developing type 1 diabetes.

I've written before about The Thought and how we do our best to keep it from ruling our life.  Honestly, we don't give it much of our attention at all - we know the warning signs of diabetes, and if they ever present themselves, we'll pick up on them immediately.  But I can't go dipping a ketone stick into her soggy diaper every day because I will make myself absolutely insane.  

There are a few things I can do to help "prevent" type 1 diabetes.  And I use "prevent" in quotes because the genetics are what they are, and I don't think I can do much about them.  But there's this weird, antenatal checklist that I felt the need to follow, in effort to keep any diagnosis at bay as long as possible. 

Topping that list?  Breastfeeding.  As I've mentioned over and over again, breastfeeding your child is NOT what makes you a good mom.  It's jut an option for feeding, and one that I chose.  But part of the reason I chose to breastfeed was because of the research that pointed towards breastfed babies having a lower incidence of type 1 diabetes.

Pacifiers are out the window now that the kid has discovered how delicious her thumb is."But Kerri, you were breastfed!  And you were the only one who was breastfed in your family.  What gives?"  I know, right?  (See also:  crapshoot)  But one thing I came across in my research on raising BSparl was the importance of vitamin D in relation to type 1 diabetes.  Breastmllk doesn't contain much vitamin D (if any), and my pediatrician and I decided that adding vitamin D supplements to BSparl's bottles was a good idea.  So at the two month mark, I began supplementing the kiddo with Tri-Vi-Sol drops.  

And the third poke on this trident of attempted prevention is the decision to go gluten-free for the baby.  Research on type 1 diabetes in children pointed to some studies about how a gluten-free diet may help prevent a diagnosis in NOD mice (oh those frigging mice - always gettin' cured).  Will it hurt my child to avoid gluten for the first year of her life?  Not even a little bit.  So BSparl will enjoy rice cereal and vegetables and fruits and protein, but the Pancake won't have any pancakes until she's a year old. 

One thing we didn't decide to do was the soy protein route.  Research on the cow's milk protein and the soy protein gave me all kinds of reasons to go with, and to avoid, both kinds of formula.  I was completely torn.  (But Bsparl wasn't - she hated the soy formula and puked it up regularly.)  After talking with my team at Joslin and then my pediatrician, it seemed that using whatever formula worked best for the baby was what I should go with.  So once we were done breastfeeding, we used Earth's Best Organic formula with DHA and Iron.  Going organic for BSparl was something we wanted to do not just because of the diabetes component, but because of all the crap that's in "regular" food.

Could it all be weird science and old wives tales?  (Not that the NIH tells old wives tales.  They tell old lab coat tales.)  Perhaps.  I could be working hard to ward off a diagnosis that isn't coming, or pointlessly trying to avoid one that is.  But these are the parenting decisions Chris and I made as a team, and it's not a recommended course of action for other parents who have a history of type 1 diabetes in their family.  It's just what we decided to do.  To each set of parents their own.  We do our best, and that helps me fall asleep at night. 

That, and sheer exhaustion.  :)

September 23, 2010

The Last Breastfeeding Post.

This is the last TMI post about breastfeeding, so bear with me as I lay out these last, awkward details.  :)

BSparl is five months and one week old, and for three months straight, we did breastfeeding only.  Around the three month mark, we started to work in a bottle of formula here and there, and about three weeks ago, I started weaning her in earnest. 

I've heard horror stories from other moms about the weaning process.  I've heard that your poor boobs can become so engorged and sore that you can actually get a clogged milk duct or mastitis.  I've also heard that the weaning can be extremely painful, both emotionally and physically, and that the mother and the baby go through varying levels of discomfort and detachment.  Basically, I've heard that stoI'm sorry - the opportunity to reuse this photo is too good to pass up.  :)pping the breastfeeding process sucks.  (Pun frightfully unintended.)

So that's why I started weaning slowly, and stretched the process out over a few weeks' time.   At first, I started replacing breastfeeding sessions with a bottle for BSparl, and I would see how long I could go without pumping.  I started by skipping some of the evening feeding sessions first, as I seemed to make less milk at that time of day anyway.  After a few weeks, I was able to go about seven hours without needing to pump.  Over time, I was able to cut out the breastfeeding sessions almost entirely, except for the morning one. 

And last week, I stopped the morning sessions, too.  Admittedly, those are the ones I miss.  Having her wake up with a big grin and kicky legs, and then we'd settle into bed without waking Chris up, snuggling close and doing our thing.  But due to the weaning and the slowing down of my body's natural production of milk, even the morning feedings weren't enough.  I started to have to supplement her with formula even after I'd breastfed her.  And I didn't have the desire to take any of those teas, etc. that stimulate more milk production.  If my body was deciding I was done, I didn't want to push it. 

So we had a long talk one morning, she and I.

"BSparl, it's time to go full-throttle on the bottle now, okay?  Are you okay if we stop breastfeeding?"

She stared at me.

"So in the morning, we'll have a bottle together. We'll still snuggle and stuff, but your food will be formula.  Cool with you?"

She grinned and opened her mouth in an attempt to shove her foot in.

"Okay, good.  I love you.  So much."

"I love you, too, Mommy."  (Okay, so she didn't actually say that.  She did mush her fingers up my nose and say "Mmmm-aaaaaaah-goooooo-naaaaah!"  Which, to me, is close enough.)

The decision to stop breastfeeding wasn't an easy one, but it's best for me and my family.  My daughter had the benefit of three full months, and then two more months of partial breastfeeding, and I hope her immune system thanks me for it.  And now I'm free to go back to my previous medical regimen, which will include switching from Labetalol back to Altace for my blood pressure, and also the inclusion of L Glutamine and mass amounts of coffee. 

Now?  The challenge will be to make sense of my insulin needs, now that the breastfeeding months are behind me.  I'm currently on a teeny amount of basal insulin (0.25 per hour) due to the calories burned by milk production, so now I need to find out what my new, post-pregnancy insulin needs are.  And judging by the 200 mg/dl that would NOT leave me alone on Monday, I think it's time for a basal test - stat.

Personally, I'm proud that I made it five months with breastfeeding.  It wasn't easy, but after a few weeks, it definitely wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  And while I don't care how anyone else decides to feed their child, I'm glad I had this experience with BSparl.  

September 22, 2010

Month Five.

Pancake,

Seriously?  Five months old you are?  (And apparently Yoda I have become?)  Wasn't it just yesterday that I was prepping for surgery, trying to mentally prepare for the arrival of my daughter?

BSparl, you are getting BIG.  Of course, in your case, "big" is a relative term, because you're barely clocking in at the 25th percentile for height and weight, but for your little peanuty-ness, you are kicking ass AND taking names.  Rolling over is so last month, and you're now working hard on creeping along the floor.  If you roll over onto your front, you are quick to get on your knees and try to scoot along on the ground.  I think we're just a few short weeks away from crawling, and once you're mobile, we're in deep ... stuff.  

You've discovered your voice, and you love testing it out.  Sometimes you'll play on your playmat and YELL at your toys, hollering your face off as you tell the teething monkey toy, "Your feet are MINE!"  You babble incessantly:  at your toys, at your feet, at the shower curtain while I'm showering, at the video monitor attached to your crib (that's a fun one, having you look right into the camera and say "AHHHHHHH!"), and at anyone who makes eye contact with you.  Waiters at restaurants are now the recipients of your highly audible HI!!!s and your drooly grins.  You want to chat up everyone in the world, and when they give you a smile, you throw one right back at them.  You're a friendly little bird, and your agreeable nature is contagious. 

Kid cracks me up.

You are also helping me earn my mommy stripes.  Like yesterday.  We visited Target to pick up a few things, and you ended up giving me the gift of a massively filled diaper while we were there.  No worries - we just went into the bathroom to take care of business, but while we were in there, you were accosted by a sweet older lady who wanted to tell you what a cutie you were.  To thank her for her kind words, you proceeded to dip your socks into your icky diaper, leaving a trail of messiness in its wake.  And it wasn't until we were back out in the store that I realized the same messiness had ended up streaked up my arm.  Awesome.  Walking around Target, literally covered in poop.  Thank you, little bird, for making me feel like a real deal mommy.   (And thank you, People of Target, for letting me open and use every hand wipe in aisle 12.  I felt strange paying for empty containers of wipes at the checkout counter, but the cashier didn't ask, and I wasn't going to tell.)

This past month, you had your first extended overnight stay at Grammie's house while we were traveling, many visits to Home Depot (the guys in the flooring department love you), and we're getting ready for some solid food in the next week or two.  And later this week, you'll be sleeping in your own bedroom in the Big Crib (which looks like a football field when your teeny self is in it).  You like going for walks in the stroller, and visiting the mall (you also appear to like Ann Taylor, smart girly), and losing socks.

And I've heard that beautiful sound on your lips a few times today.  That "mmmm-mmmm" sound.  The one that will eventually lead to "Mama."  I can't wait to hear my new name from your sweet little mouth.

Love you,
Mommy

August 16, 2010

Month Four.

Dear Little Banana Pancake,

Dude, you are four months old.  (And yes, I'm calling you dude now, too.  Daddy is 'dude' and you are 'little dude.'  I sound like I'm about one President short of Point Break.)  Four months!!  

When I look at pictures of you from your birthday week and then ones from this past week, the differences are astounding.  You are developing a little personality now, and it's amazing to watch you come into your own.  You love being toted around in the Baby Bjorn.  You like to chow on the edges of your bibs and dresses and the little linky things that hang from your play mat.  Basically, you'll chew on anything that sits near you long enough.  (Watch out, Siah.)

In the last few weeks, you've made some big advancements.  I'm convinced that you say "Hi" now, because every morning we lean into your crib and greet you for about ten minutes straight.  "Hi!  Hi!  Hi!"  We sound like lunatics, but you laugh and kick your legs like you're Mini Pele, so it's worth every moment.  You also rolled over for the first time yesterday while we were at your Mema's house, rolling your chubby legs over and shifting your hips until you went from your back to your front.  And then, at home that night, you did the same thing, and then went from front to back.  Was this an epic moment in the span of humanity?  Nah, but it was a big moment in the life o' BSparl, because now you're on your way to becoming a mobile little biscuit.  (And NBF is excited, because once BSparl is crawling, we can race our kids.)  

Also, you've discovered your thumb.  First, you found your hands and spent many minutes staring at them as though you were tripping.  (Hey maaaaan ... fingers!)  But once the shock of realizing these little starfish were attached to your arms was past, you set upon eating them.  Entirely.  We'd find you trying to shove your whole hand into your mouth at any given moment, chomping on your little fingers with your tiny, toothless mouth.  After a week or so of trying to consume your hands whole, you gave up and decided to focus on that delicious little stem at the end.  And just like that, you became a little thumbsucker.  Daddy and I are already saving for the orthodontic work you may need in the future, but for now, we just get a kick out of watching you learn and grow.

BSparl, chomping away on that thumb.
Chompies on the thumb.

Your eyes are beginning to change a little, and they appear gray one day, hazel the next.  Will you be a brown eyed girl?  Only time will tell.  But your red hair is giving way to light brown, and it's falling out and growing back at such a rapid rate that I can't keep up.  (For the record, you looked adorable with male pattern baldness.)

This past month, you had your first overnight at Grampa's house, your first trip to the beach, and your first side-by-side car ride with your best friend (NBF's daughter).  You had your first run-in with my insulin pump (kicked it when you were flailing while burping - didn't like it very much, did you?) and your first wide-eyed response to the Dexcom wail. 

You are growing up so fast, little dude.  When I send photos off to be printed, you don't look like that anymore when they return.  As much as I'm excited to walk hand-in-hand with you and watch you run and hear your first words, sometimes I snuggle you close when no one is looking and whisper "Please, slow down."

Love you so much, pancake,
Mommy.

August 11, 2010

I Couldn't Wait.

I found out I was pregnant and I couldn't wait to know
If 'it's a boy' or 'it's a girl' I would spend nine months to grow.
I couldn't wait for her to show us that she was our little she.
I couldn't wait to see her dancing on the ultrasound TV.

I couldn't wait to touch her tiny hands or kiss her little nose.
I couldn't wait to count her fingers and to tickle little toes.
I couldn't wait for weeks to pass and my body to look round.
I couldn't wait to hear her heartbeat.  (I still love to hear that sound.)

I couldn't wait for docs to tell me it was time to meet our girl.
I couldn't wait for her to cry and let us know she's in the world.
I couldn't wait to dress her up in little socks and little dresses.
I couldn't wait to sing her songs and make her laugh and stroke her tresses.

I found out I was pregnant and I couldn't wait to meet
The little girl I worked so hard to build, from ears to arms to feet.
I couldn't wait to see her smile, to hear "Mama," to watch her crawl,
To go on trips, to see the world, to watch her grow, to Do It All.

But then this morning, as I fed her, I noticed that her little legs
Were stretching out in small pajamas that no longer were "too big."
And I noticed she was eating more than she had done before,
And that clothes all marked "newborn" were packed in boxes on the floor.

I found out I was pregnant and I couldn't wait to see
The daughter I was meant to have and hold her close to me.

And weeks, they pass in minutes, and she grows so very fast
That I can't wait to hold her close and hold these moments while they last.

August 10, 2010

Another Breastfeeding and Diabetes Update.

It's been almost 17 weeks since BSparl's birthday (yet it's not quite her four month mark yet - weirdness of weeks vs. months).  And even though I was planning to only breastfeed until she was about three months old, we're still going. 

Part of what's made the decision to continue breastfeeding easier is that I work from our home office.  There's no need for me to change out of my comfortable clothes (read: shorts and a t-shirt), I don't need to duck into a side room to use the breast pump, and I'm able to whip it out and feed her whenever I need to.  I am very grateful that I'm able to work from home at this point in BSparl's life.  I know this would have been a real challenge if I was working in-house at a company right now.

Another reason I want to continue is that the physical pain of breastfeeding is all but gone.  I'm not dreading the moment when she latches on (she's learned to be gentle), and since my milk production has leveled off to what's "needed" versus "here's EVERYTHING," I'm not experiencing that wicked pain of being really "full."  Also, on a diabetes tip, I'm not experiencing the same caliber of lows I was before.  Since I'm making less, my body isn't constantly processing and therefore isn't robbing me of my glucose stores. 

The third reason is that I am a huge fan of the convenience.  Every morning, I wake up and test my blood sugar first thing (yes, I've been sticking with it!) while Chris gets BSparl out of bed and changes her diaper.  And then I feed her.  She's total HappyTown in the morning (kicking her legs and grinning wildly) and I love the feeling of closeness in addition to the fact that we don't have to fumble around in the morning with a bottle.  (I also hate, hate cleaning out the bottles, so breastfeeding eliminates the need for doing more dishes.)

But it's not all rainbows and unicorns.  Breastfeeding does make it harder to have a more mobile schedule (i.e. having BSparl sleep over at her grandparents' houses, or letting me travel for work), so Chris and I, under the advisement of our pediatrician, have been supplementing with formula since just after the twelve week mark.  At first, I didn't have a lot of guilt about supplementing because it was only a bottle of formula here and there, but now I'm having sporadic feelings of guilt.

There are a LOT of mixed opinions about baby formula, diabetes notwithstanding.  But adding diabetes into the mix?  Whole new ballgame.  For instance, I've heard that you shouldn't give your infant milk-based formula.  That soy is the way to roll if you are a parent with type 1 diabetes.  Okay, but then I read many articles about the BSparl is chowing down on this stuff. potential dangers of soy formula, saying that it could harm the baby.  Ooooohkay ... and then I asked my doctors (mine and BSparl's) for their opinion, and they couldn't confirm or deny either theory.  

Leaving us to wonder what's best.  

"Breast is best," gloats the lactation specialist at the hospital.

Sure, breast is best and we did our ... best breast for as long as we could.  But now baby girl is almost four months old and due to missing feedings (thanks to low blood sugars, etc), traveling for work (when baby is with a grandparent overnight), and other Life Things, my milk production has slowed down.  BSparl needs more and more as she gets bigger and bigger, and I just can't physically keep up.  So while "breast may be best," we are continuing to explore different formulas.  

Right now, we are finishing up a can of Enfamil "Gentlease" formula, which was recommended by BSparl's pediatrician to help combat the wicked acid reflux our daughter had for a few weeks.  But my preference has been to go the organic route, if I can, so we're now switching over to the Earth's Best Organic formula.  Yes, the cow's milk one, not the soy one (even though we have both cow's milk and soy versions in the house right now).  While avoiding cow's milk has been suggested as best to help avoid type 1 diabetes, I am having a hard time giving my daughter soy formula when the jury appears to be out on the effects of that.  There is no definitive answer on what to do, and there's no guarantee that you're going to safely dodge the diabetes bullet.  I've mentioned it before, but I was breastfed and my brother and sister were not.  Yet I have type 1, and they are fine.  Genetics are a crap shoot.

So while we're still breastfeeding for the most part, the bottles are creeping in there.  And I'm okay with that.  It's about what works best for the family, and so far, this system is working out for us.

August 05, 2010

BSparl and Her Mommy in Diabetes Forecast.

We both love purple.   Can you tell?Babies, babies, everywhere!  In particular, there are babies in this month's issue of Diabetes Forecast, with a focus on pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy.  I'm very proud that BSparl and I had the opportunity to share our story with the Forecast readers, and that the photographer who visited our home wasn't too bothered by the cat hair.

(One quick note after reading through the "Guide to Pregnancy" article in the magazine:  Diabetes is tough. We know that.  Diabetes and pregnancy is tough, amplified.  But don't let the long article about "what could happen" sway you if you are planning to pursue a pregnancy and you have diabetes.  The information in that article is important, accurate, but can admittedly be overwhelming.  Not all diabetic pregnancies encounter the same kinds of complications that mine did - everyone's experiences vary.  Just know that information overload comes with any pregnancy, and diabetic ones are no exception.  We may get some added bonus worries, but the end result of our pregnancies can be just the same as the pregnancies of non-diabetic women:  a healthy baby.  Take all of the information you read online in stride, including the stuff I've posted here.  It's a lot of hard work, but like they say, it's so, so worth it.)

And with that, I'm off to give the BSparl a snuggle.

July 28, 2010

More Babies?

While I was at CBC a few weeks ago, one of the staff members asked me if I was planning on having more children.

"I don't think so," I said, without hesitation.  "I love my daughter endlessly, and now that she's part of my family, I can't imagine my life without her, but I can't lie to you.  I didn't enjoy being pregnant.  I wanted a baby, but spending nine months pregnant was very, very stressful."

The staff member who asked the question looked disappointed.  And in that moment, I sort of wish I had lied. 

"Oh ... you look disappointed.  I'm sorry!!  It's not just because of diabetes stuff.  It's my own personal preference.  I don't want to lie!"

And I won't lie.  The end result of my pregnancy was the most beautiful, smiley baby I have ever laid eyes on, and having her as part of our family has been the greatest joy that Chris and I have ever experienced.  Seriously - it sounds like a cheesy Hallmark card, but it's true.  This kid fills a hole in my heart that I didn't even know existed until I heard her cry and I finally felt complete.

But being pregnant, the actual journey of carrying her inside of me, was not an experience I'm looking to repeat.  This isn't entirely a diabetes-based decision, either.  There are a lot of factors that play into my decision.  Of course, being diabetic for almost 24 years does play a big role in my decision to have only one child.  I feel like my body has been through a good amount of chaos over the last two plus decades, and pregnancy didn't improve any diabetes-related complications that were starting to bloom (namely retinopathy, which I'm having checked again in August). When BSparl was born, she came out healthy and strong (and with a lot of hair, which surprised me for some reason), and I was in decent medical shape, too.  I feel like she and I beat some odds, and I'm not sure I'm ready to roll the dice a second time.

I love you too, baby girl.

Because it wasn't just the diabetes complications.  It was a lot of the guilt, too.  I didn't do well with the pregnancy-related guilt that remains even now.  While I was pregnant, I felt like every meal came with a side of extreme guilt.  I worried that I was eating the wrong foods, taking too much/too little insulin, and that every blood sugar spike was literally boiling the baby as she grew inside of me.  I watched the graph on my Dexcom and wondered why it looked more like an M than a nice, flat line.  I worried incessantly about every low blood sugar.  

Being a high-risk pregnancy, I spent a lot of time at the doctor's office.  I had approximately one ultrasound a month, and each time I held my breath as they searched for my daughter.  Part of what comes along with a diabetic pregnancy is a lot of information, about complications that could arise and birth defects and risk factors and all kinds of scary stuff.  Sometimes I would lie in bed at night and think about all the health factors that were in play in my frame and the fear would chew on my mind, then settle in my heart.  It was almost too much information, and I had a difficult time emotionally handling it.

Nevermind the weight gain and the preeclampsia and the body image battles and the stretch marks and the emotional rollercoaster.  And nevermind the 3 1/2 weeks of hospitalization and bedrest before my eventual retinopathy-instigated c-section.  (That's just a plain ol' perfect storm of crap there.)

I always pictured myself as a mom, but I never saw more than one child in that picture.  All diabetes and health-related issues aside, I feel comfortable with one child.  I don't feel ashamed that I only want to have one baby, or embarrassed that I'm deciding to keep my family small.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a lot of kids.  But there's also nothing wrong with only wanting one child.

Of course, I have had a lot of people ask, and most of these people seem to live in my grocery store and stalk me in the checkout lines:

"Oh, how old is your baby?" 
"She's three and a half months." 
"Ooh.  She's a cutie.  When are you planning to give her a little sister or brother?" 
 ... or (and this has been my favorite one so far)
"You should hurry up and have another one so your daughter doesn't end up a screwed up only child."

Whaat??

I love my daughter, and the difficult pregnancy that brought her here makes me love her even more.  But I feel more than content with one child, and I'm not sure how else to answer the question of "Are you ready for another one?" with "No, I think she's going to be an only child." 

I felt bad when the girl from CBC asked me that question, because I wanted to tell her "Yes!  I will be the Old Woman in the Shoe, with so many children I'll be clueless as what to do."  Because I wanted her to know that anything is possible, even with diabetes, and if she wants to happily end up in a shoe, then she should go for it.  Anything is possible, depending on what you want.  But the truth is, for me,  I don't want to live in a shoe.  (Three cats in a shoe?  Insanity!)  I also don't want to put my body through another pregnancy, for way more than just diabetes reasons. 

I feel content.  I'm very happy with my daughter, and I love her endlessly.  And at this stage in my life, in my 30s and with more then two decades of diabetes, I'm comfortable with having the humans in my family even with the cats.  If circumstances change and our family is graced with another child, we will love that baby, but at this point, we're happy being a team of three.

July 26, 2010

Your Mom is Low.

Terrible habit, sarcasm.  Especially the "your mom" retort.  Like when my college roommates are out at the bar and someone asks for another beer.  Instantly, "Your mom wants another beer."  Immature retort?  Indeed.  But almost reflexive at this point?  Unfortunately, indeed again. 

(This intro has a point - bear with me.)

This morning, I woke up with my first bad low in a while.  For the last month or so, I haven't seen lows worse than 55 mg/dl, and my sensitivity to the symptoms seems to have increased a bit.  But while the lows of the last few weeks have felt mild, this morning's 49 mg/dl raked me over a little bit.

I woke up feeling groggy and warm, despite the air conditioning and the fact that I'd slept about seven hours straight.  (Yay for Sleeping-Through-the-Night-in-her-New-Crib BSparl!) The corners of my mouth were numb and I felt like my whole brain was encased in cotton balls.  I reached for the black meter case and brought it close to me in bed.  Fully intended to test.  But instead fell back asleep for a few minutes, with my meter snuggled against me.

Once I did wake back up, it had been another eight minutes.  And my symptoms were progressing, giving rise to shaking hands in addition to the cotton ball veil.  But it's strange, where my brain goes when I'm low.  I had a juice box right on the bedside table.  I knew I was low and didn't need to test to confirm, but I was on some kind of OCD autopilot.  I had to test.  Instead of grabbing the juice from beside me, I instead grabbed my meter from the bed, walked out into the kitchen, and set up the machine on the counter top. 

Sorry for the old photo.  (Your mom is an ... old photo?)

BEEP!

Shunk.

49 mg/dl.

"Okay,"  I said out loud, and took some glucose tabs from the cupboard.  (Chompy, chompy ... always a weird effort to get those things chewed up when I'm that low.) 

And then I heard BSparl stirring in the next room.   Not crying, but just stretching her little BSparly legs and easing into the morning routine.  I went in to stand at the side of her crib while I waited for my blood sugar to rise. 

"Hey sweetie girl.  Good morning!"

She kicked her legs and grinned at me.

"Hi!  Hang on just a few minutes, okay?  I'm having a low blood sugar and I need to wait before I get you up.  Just another minute or so.  I'm low.  Your mom is low."

And I thought of my roommates tossing the "your mom" retorts around with reckless abandon. I stood there giggling like a fool for at least a minute, the smile of irony on my face causing my daughter to bust out with an even bigger smile. 

"That's right, baby girl.  Your mom is low."  

Finally - FINALLY - the "your mom" actually makes sense.  (And with that, I've come full circle.)

July 21, 2010

Trends.

So here's a trend:  Today, I woke up to the sound of my baby cooing from her bassinet.  My hands reached over to the Dexcom receiver and I clicked on the button to light up the screen.  I saw a "74" and an arrow trending oh-so-slightly down.  So while Chris changed the baby, I went out to the kitchen to grab a swig of juice before settling in to breastfeed BSparl.  I fed her and then went into the living room to play with her.

Notice any problems here?  Anything ... oh, I don't know ... missing?  Like maybe a blood sugar check when I woke up?  Or at least one after I fed her?

Nope.  Nothing.  No test.  I went all the way from waking up to freaking NOON before busting out my meter.  This is a terrible trend.  And it's happened twice in the last four days.  I'm relying way too much on my Dexcom for guidance, instead of double-checking every hour or two with my meter.  I mean, missing a fasting blood sugar?  I've never, ever done that before.  Even in college, when I was at my diabetes worst, I still tested first thing every morning.

This is not a trend I want sticking.

I miss these little blue guys.  :)Here's another trend:  For the most part, I am BSparl's daytime friend.  During the day, Chris leaves our home office for a distraction and baby-free zone where he can focus on his writing.  So for several hours a day, BSparl is left to her mommy's devices.  (Including, but not limited to, visiting friends for lunch dates, running household errand-type things, and my own attempts to get work done.)   When I'm hanging with the baby, getting to the gym is impossible, and with the weather so hot and humid lately, I don't feel comfortable taking her for a walk in the stroller.  By the time Chris gets home, and we talk for a while, and we have dinner, etc. etc., it's suddenly so late that it's almost time for Colbert to come on.  (NATION!)  And I'm too exhausted to hit the gym.

This is not a trend I want sticking, either.  

A lot of the baby weight has come off (thank you, breastfeeding), but I am in desperate need of some muscle toning.  I need to get some workouts in as part of my schedule in a hurry, because I'm growing tired of feeling flumpy.  Before I got pregnant, I felt good about my body.  Now?  I need a little more effort to get back to fighting shape, or at least faux-fighting shape.  (Like the kind of fighting that includes throwing styrafoam peanuts.  Or something similar.)

The trends of missing blood sugar checks and workouts must end TODAY.  These habits are too damn crappy to let them continue.  I can't let these two trends wreck my goal of good health.  Small changes can make the biggest difference, so as of this moment, I'm realigned myself to test every morning and to get some exercise in at least four days a week.  (I was doing five days a week for years, so four days isn't a bad starting point.)  And it doesn't have to be a gym workout - I'll take anything from a long walk with the stroller and BSparl to an ellipmachine workout to a bike ride. 

Why am I rambling on about this?  Accountability, my friends.  By telling you, I'm setting myself up to be accountable for my actions (or lack of action).  It worked in helping me get my diabetes reigned in for pregnancy, and I hope accountability can help me get my act together to be a healthier mom.

July 19, 2010

The Thought.

It wasn't until yesterday that I thought The Thought for the first time.

She had a very wet diaper in the afternoon.  And even though she had nursed for a long time and even though she seemed (and is) healthy and very strong, I still thought about taking out my meter and pricking her heel myself.  Just thought it for a second.

I didn't follow through, though.  I didn't let The Thought stay for more than a flicker, as I immediately finished changing her diaper and started singing her a song about the power of tiny spoons.  (Don't ask.  My songs never make any sense.)  I shook the thought off the same way I shake off the thought every time I wonder if my niece or nephew might have dipped into my autoimmune grab bag.  I don't allow my brain to go there.  It's not denial, but feels more like a protective measure taken by my mind, protecting my psyche from letting The Thought permeate my daily life.

Because I can't spend the rest of my life waiting to see.  The chances of BSparl being diagnosed with diabetes are slightly elevated as a result of my diabetes, but not much more than your "normal" (read:  mom without diabetes) mom.  But if it's going to be part of her future, I can't sit around waiting for it to happen.  I can't let every wet diaper and every "she wants to eat already?" thought prompt a panic attack.  I can't let this kind of fear own me.  I refuse to let The Thought even progress into A Fear.

I had a lot of questions tossed my way during my pregnancy about the likelihood of my daughter ending up diabetic.  I had some concerned family members who wanted to know if there would be a second type 1 diabetic among our numbers. I had some curious blog readers whose questions ranged from "Are you scared of passing it on?" to the irritatingly rhetorical "How dare you even take the risk?"  (For the record, my one-line email answer to that rhetorical question was, and remains, "How dare you write that email?")  And the weeks before Chris and I decided to go for it, I was scouring the Internet for stats on the children of diabetic moms.

But the moment they told us "It's on," all those thoughts went out the window.  I felt like any other mom, or at least I imagined it was how any other mom felt.  I wasn't fearing the worst, but hoping for the best.  Wondering what color eyes she'll have (they're slate blue, so far), what kind of books she'd like (she loooves The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog), and how snuggly her hugs would feel (super snuggly).  Diabetes was on my radar, but only as it related to my body and our shared pregnancy.  I didn't worry about whether or not she would get it.

The Thought

it was weird, though.  That very wet diaper.  The Thought jumping right into my head, without warning or care.  It just was there and it lingered for a split second, before I literally shook my head and said, "Get out," sending The Thought back into the gray abyss.  It's just a wet diaper.  She's just extra hungry sometimes.  It's okay.  My baby is healthy.  My baby is happy. 

And if her health status were to change, I'll make it my job to ensure that her 'happy' status doesn't.

July 15, 2010

Month Three.

Dear BSparl,

You turn three months old today, and I'm having a hard time remembering what life was like before you arrived.  I know the house is turned upside down with diapers and pacifiers and all these weird little toys that clip to everything and make tinkly bell noises, but it feels like you've lived with us forever.  

The last four weeks have given us lots of new experiences.  You went on your first plane ride and you did AWESOME.  You grinned the whole time we were traveling, prompting the lady who sat behind us to say, after we landed, "Oh, I was watching her smile through the space between the seats.  She had a wonderful flight, didn't she?"  (Mommy didn't do as well, but that's to be expected because she's a huge wuss who writes to you in third person on occasion.)  You visited Florida and you met a lot of your extended family, including some that you spit up on

Three months old

You've realized that smiling will get you everything (prompting your Grampa to ask you "What color pony do you want?").  You crack us up every morning, when you start to cry a little bit when you wake up, only to bust out with this huge grin as soon as one of us is standing by your crib, ready to pick you up.  You've also started cooing and babbling when we talk to you.  We have long conversations using only vowel sounds.

You are starting to show your preference for certain things.  Like that thing that we velcro on to your carseat with the colorful caterpillar on it.  You talk to it for hours.  And you don't really care for the toys attached to the arch on your bouncy chair.  I think you've realized the flaw in the designer's logic.  Let's take a closer look at the dragonfly that flies, the bee that buzzes around in the air, and the ... magical flying snail?

Flying ... snail???

Okay, so not all of your toys make sense.  Like the frog with the mirror in his throat.  Or the teething ... foot.  Or the marvelous elephant with no feet.  But you are endlessly entertained by these treats, and I love watching you smile and laugh at all the silliness.

In the last few weeks, you've started kicking your legs around like crazy, and a few times my Dexcom sensor or my pump site has paid the price.  You've yet to nudge anything loose, but I'm sure that's coming.  Just yesterday, you had a fistful of pump tubing while you were breastfeeding.  And the other day, while we waited for Daddy to come out of the store, I used a bottle of test strips as a makeshift rattle.  Again, not all of your toys make sense.  ;)

You are very good with your furry housemates, tolerating their investigative reporting.  You haven't kicked Siah when she joins us for breakfast in the morning, even though she's trying desperately to lay on the Boppy.  And the other day, when Abby came up and licked your toes while you were playing on your playmat, I thought your eyes were going to roll out of your head in surprise. 

And you are getting so big.  I've already packed away your newborn clothes, and you're quickly stretching out of your 0 - 3 months outfits.  Every day, you seem a little bigger, which confirms that Daddy and I are doing a good job (and also makes me a little sad, in a strange way).  Your eyes are still slate blue and your hair is strawberry blonde, making you a perfect blend of your parents.  

You smile constantly.  You are the happiest little kidlet I have ever seen. 

And I love you bunches.

Love,
Mommy

July 14, 2010

An Update on Breastfeeding.

Welcome once again to TMI Land.  Please forgive me in advance for anything I share that might make your eyebrows shoot up into your hairline. (And if you are Doctor Honeydew, that's quite a journey.)

BSparl has been part of our family for twelve weeks, and we've come a long way in the breastfeeding journey.  When I wrote about breastfeeding before, we were only about a month into BSparl's life, and everything was challenging.  Just waking up to feed her several times a night was turning us into Zombie Parents.  And breastfeeding, though something I was determined to do, was hard.  I thought the milk letting down was painful.  The nipple soreness was uncomfortable.  And latching on was something BSparl did with such a vengeance sometimes that I was afraid she was a baby land shark.  (Different from a building shark.)  But the first few weeks were definitely the hardest.

Now, twelve weeks into the whole adventure, feeding her is easier. My milk isn't coming in at random times, but instead seems to have magically timed itself to come in when the baby is due to eat.  It's an amazing thing, how my body has adjusted to provide my child with exactly what she needs.  Low blood sugars after I feed her are still a little bit of a problem, but not nearly as much of an issue as in the first few weeks.  (I'm blaming some of those on my body's adjustment to post-pregnancy life.) Latching on is better, especially now that she can hold her head up a little better, and the actual pain has been soothed by the constant use of these gel pads from Lansinoh.  And no, that's not a paid product placement.  The pads are just plain awesome.  Using Lanolin gel on my nipples when they're particularly sore also helps a lot. (Holy freaking TMI.  But whatever. I'm not much on shame these days.)

For about ten weeks, she was fed breastmilk exclusively, save for a bottle of formula at the hospital after she was born.  But at the ten week mark, my work schedule started to shift a bit, causing me to want to incorporate a bottle of formula here and there.  Yes, I pumped and yes, I had a good stash of milk going, but keeping that stash ... stashed was harder and harder as BSparl ate more at each feeding.  When she moved from 2.5 oz up to closer to 3.5 oz per feeding, I had trouble keeping up.  In order to ensure that she was fed breastmilk exclusively, I had to either pump all the time or just never, ever leave the house.  Siah shouldn't be allowed to  breast pump.  And I shouldn't be allowed near Photoshop anymore.

This was the point where I had to make a decision based on what worked for MY life, not one based on the recommendations of others.  For me, I didn't want to have to pump while passengering in the car on our way to simple places like the movies or the grocery store. (My apologies to everyone on the road in our town - sorry if I flashed you.)  I felt like I was actually a cow, and debated chewing cud instead of bubble gum.  I even used this crazy ass device (the Pump Ease Hands-Free Breast Pumping Support Band ... in Bel Aire Blue) because I was desperate to reclaim a little bit of my work life.  (And for the record, that support band worked like a charm but looked so bizarre that Chris and I were constantly collapsing into peals of laughter because, come on - there's nothing hotter than your wife working diligently on her laptop with bottles attached to her breasts.  Wicked hot.)

After ten weeks of constant pumping and feeding, I needed more flexibility.  So we decided, as a family, to work in a little formula.

Currently, I feed the baby first thing in the morning (around 8:30 am) and then throughout the day as needed.  Sometimes, if we go out to dinner or visit family and friends in the evening, we'll give her a bottle of formula.  For the most part, BSparl is breastfeeding the majority of the time, with maybe one bottle a day.  But there's something about just knowing I have options makes me feel less stressed.  Because I was bugging out for a while.

There's a lot of guilt when it comes to breastfeeding, particularly as a type 1 diabetic.  Aside from hearing from The Mysterious THEY (you know what THEY say - THEY say way too freaking much) about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby, I know that breastfeeding can help keep a type 1 diabetes diagnosis at bay for the BSparl.  And the guilt gnaws at me a little, every time I mix up a formula bottle, because I don't ever want to be able to point the finger at something I didn't do to protect her.  (That's a whole different post, though.  More on that later.) 

I'm trying to do my best. 

And now that there's a little more flexibility in my feeding options, I'm really enjoying the breastfeeding experience.  I love the mornings with BSparl the best, because she wakes up all scrunchy-faced, kicking her tiny feet into the air and saying what sounds almost exactly like "Hi!"  We change her diaper, I open the bedroom door to let the cats in, and then snuggle into bed for her breakfast.  Despite the fact that Siah believes this ritual should also include her furry self, I love these intimate moments with my daughter.  While I'm already thinking about the weaning process and looking forward to completely reclaiming my body, I will miss these moments. 

... and I will also miss Photoshopping Siah into inappropriate situations.  

June 24, 2010

You Don't Belong There.

BSparl loves to sleep ... but on her own damn schedule, thank you very much.  She doesn't like naps between 9 am and 3 pm, she wakes up in the middle of the night whenever she deems fit, and she has no use for the bassinet that my very generous best friend loaned to us.  So we moved the bassinet into the living room and I have these lofty plans of getting it back to the NBF sometime before we leave for Florida.

Unfortunately, someone else had plans for this discarded napper:


Me:  "Siah, you are not a baby."
Cat:  "Meow, meow ...  I mean wah wah, hold me.  Also, I chewed on a pacifier and claimed that sucka, too."
Me:  "Good pun, but seriously, get out of the bassinet."

I can't stand this cat.

June 23, 2010

"When can she fly?"

"Um,   doctor?  When can she fly?"Summer tends to be a busy travel time for my family, so once Chris and I knew when BSparl was arriving, we started researching "traveling with babies."  We consulted different books, some websites, and asked around our collection of family members.  We also spoke with our pediatrician at her first appointment - and we asked her a ton of questions of all kinds.

"When should we expect her to start sleeping through the night?"
"Does she like us?"
"Should she be taking some sort of vitamin supplement?"
"Why is her poop, like, electric yellow?"
"When will she start crawling?"
"How do we get her to stop smiling when she eats, because it makes it hard for her to latch on?"
"Does she know we don't have a clue what we're doing?"

But the question that always made me laugh was this one:  "When can she fly?"

As though she was going to sprout wings and start flapping.

But apparently BSparl gets her wings next Monday, as the full Team Sparling travels to Florida for the Roche Summit and a few days of the CWD conference.  

And I have no clue how to truly travel with a little baby.  

As far as BSparl's safety and immunity goes, her pediatrician is completely fine with us traveling so soon.  BSparl has had her first round of vaccinations and we're breastfeeding, so her immune system is ready for travel.  But am I?  I'm a nervous traveling as it is, and the idea of planning for all my diabetes stuff and now BSparl's needs makes me feel like I'm certain to forget something.

So I would love some advice, if you have any.  What are some tricks for keeping a two and a half month old baby happy and content on a plane ride?  How do you pack for four days with an infant in tow?  What toys might keep her happy and quiet?  How can we keep the rest of the passengers from hating us?  Do airlines have special arrangements for teeny kids?  Is it true that breastfeeding is a good way to keep her content and to protect her ears from popping?  Do they have baby changing tables in the airplane bathrooms?  (Is there even room in there for one of those??)  Do you check the carseat as baggage or do you bring it on as a carry-on?  I HAVE NO CLUE!!!  (And please don't make your advice, "Don't bring the baby.")

If you have traveled with a little kid before and you have some sage advice, please, pass it along.  I'm still figuring this mommy stuff out and I can use all the help I can get!!

June 22, 2010

Pregnant With Pre-Existing Diabetes?

For anyone who has been reading my blog since my engagement three years ago, you know that motherhood has been on my radar for a long time.  Longer than marriage.  That quest for a decent A1C, that desire for a "normal" pregnancy, and that hope for a happy and healthy baby.

Buy this book!Part of the reason I wanted to write about my pregnancy here on SUM is because there wasn't a lot of information out there about pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy.  There was a LOT of information on gestational diabetes (obviously), and type 2 diabetes got some good press, but type 1 was sort of swept under the rug.  Thankfully, there were a few diabetes bloggers who had chronicled their journeys, and I wanted to add my voice to that hopeful chorus.   

But also thankfully, Cheryl Alkon had taken the topic to her publisher, and she penned the first book on managing pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy.  And I'm very honored to have been both featured in her book (as a women preparing for pregnancy) and to have her contributing here on SUM:

Doom and gloom. That was the message I got several years ago when I first thought about trying to have a baby while also dealing with my type 1 diabetes. Whether at the doctor's office, going online, or reading the very few books about the subject, trying to get and be pregnant while managing blood sugars, taking insulin, closely counting carbs (and avoiding a lot of low-carb proteins that were good for blood sugars, but bad for babies-to-be) all sounded like a nearly impossible task. One fraught with higher risks of birth defects, overweight babies, worsened diabetes complications, and more.

But I also saw type 1 friends who had healthy babies and sensed what could be possible. This spurred me to research, craft a book proposal, and eventually devote myself to publishing an insider's guide to pregnancy with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I'm thrilled to say that, five years later, "Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby" was published by Demos Health this spring, and has been enthusiastically welcomed by others who, like me, craved the inside story about how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby while managing diabetes.

I had the pleasure of receiving an advance copy of Cheryl's book just before my baby was born, and even though I was in my third trimester and just weeks away from delivering my daughter, it was so reassuring to read about all the things that could go right.  A diabetic pregnancy is a high-risk one, and the challenges can lead to some tough emotional roller coasters and some scary medical experiences (see also:  stuck in the hospital for a month) - but these pregnancies can also lead to a healthy, happy baby.  (See also:  BSparl)  Touching on everything from pre-conception to managing the months of the pregnancy to post-delivery recovery and how to wrangle in diabetes control once again, this book was exactly what I needed to read while pregnant with my daughter.  I only wish it had gone to press before I had conceived!

If you are a woman with diabetes and you're thinking about becoming pregnant, this book is a good resource for you.  If you are the partner of a WWD (woman with diabetes) and you want the full story on how pregnancy and diabetes can mix, this book is a good resource for you, too.  And if you are the parent of a woman with diabetes and you want to know that your child can have the same chances of a healthy pregnancy as any other woman, this book is a good resource for you as well.  

Cheryl will actually be speaking in Boston in the coming weeks (the first event being THIS WEDNESDAY - sign up!), so if you'd like to hear more from Cheryl in person (and meet my endocrinologist, who consulted on the book with Cheryl), you can attend a discussion this Wednesday.  For more details on upcoming events, check out Cheryl's post on her blog.

Thank you, Cheryl, for giving new moms and moms-to-be with diabetes a sense of peace.  And congratulations on your BIG ANNOUNCEMENT on your blog today!

June 18, 2010

Diving into the Diaper Fish.

Chris and I have a selection of diaper bags to choose from when it comes to toting around BSparl's stuff, but regardless of the bag we choose, that thing is heavy. Heavy because it's filled to the gills (Gills? Great, now picturing a diaper fish.) with not only baby-related goodies, but a pile of diabetes stuff as well.

Le video to follow:

And now le weekend to follow le video. (Once I find a cartoon representation of a diaper fish, that is.)

June 15, 2010

Month Two.

To My Best Friend, My Daughter, My Little Banana, 

BSparl, today is your two month birthday. 

Two months ago, you came bursting onto to the scene via c-section, filling the operating room with the sound of your cries.  The first pictures of you show your pouty mouth and your scrunched up eyes, wailing because you were taken from the warmth of my body and introduced into the harsh, fluorescent world on the outside.

We spent four days in the hospital, learning how to care for you with the help of the nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  They showed us how to give you a sponge bath, how to help you latch on to feed, and how to change your impossibly teeny yet impossibly icky diapers.  And then they sent us home, to figure out how to take care of you at home.

Two months old.  That's a long time to be without sleep!  ;)

BSparl, we've learned a LOT over the last eight weeks.  The first few days, we learned how to dress you in those little newborn outfits with all the freaking snaps, and we constantly snapped the wrong snaps up, leaving your legs stuck in a strange baby yoga position for a few seconds.  We learned how to accidentally put a diaper on backwards, somehow.  We learned how to spend the first few weeks leaping up from bed to check on you every time you sighed.  (We also learned how to function on little to no sleep.  That was a steep learning curve, kiddo.)

You are a serious little baby girl, with eyebrows that furrow and with a sweet smile that you just started showing us a few days ago.  You like to go for walks in the stroller, you seem to dig your play mat, and when Abby snuggles up against your feet, your eyes get all wide.  You love to be held and mornings are the best, when you wake up grinning and kicking your feet, ready for breakfast. 

Even though you are still a little peanut, your burps pack a wallop.  You totally sound like a 95 year old man.  Sometimes people stare when we burp you in public.  ("Did that come out of her?")  Your diapers also pack a similar wallop, and you seem to love the game "Fooled You!", when we take one diaper off of you, put the new one underneath you, and you let loose with the elimination of your choosing instantly upon the arrival of the clean diaper.  

You've rendered your writer parents wordless.  When you are snuggly and warm, we stare at you in amazement.  When you look at us with your blueberry eyes, our hearts melt.  When you smile, we can't find the words.  And the words we do seem to know these days are all ridiculous:  diapies, bibby, wipies ... everything ends in the "ees" sound.  You make us speak in pure gibberish all day long. 

The day you were born, we fell in love with you instantly.  And now, two months later, we can't really remember what life was like before you arrived.  You've completed our family, little girl, and we are so excited to be the ones who get to watch you grow up.

Love,
Mommy

June 12, 2010

Six Week Follow Up.

Yes, I have used this image before.  Yes, I am lazy.  :)For the last year of my life, it's been a monthly visit to the endocrinologist, and then once I was pregnant, the dam broke loose and I basically had a cot set up at the Beth Israel/Joslin pregnancy clinic.  Oh yeah, and then I spent a month at the hospital while waiting for BSparl. 

I have doctor burnout, big time.

So I'm done with doctor's appointments for at least a few weeks.  Mentally, at least.  (Because there is another one scheduled for August - WTF?)  But last week, I had my last appointment, for a while.  I was up at BIDMC for my "six week follow up" appointment (which took place seven weeks after the birth), and I met first with my endocrinologist. 

"How are you feeling?"

"Tired.  That's normal for a new mom, right?"

"Exhausted is more normal," she said, as she opened up my file on the computer.  We ran through my vitals, going over the medications I'm taking, the ones I'm not bothering with anymore, and how my blood sugars have been reacting to new mommyhood.  

"I've had some really good days, but the bad days are like epically bad.  Like 300's and 400's kind of bad," I said, looking at the floor.

"We want to prevent those highs, and the lows that either cause them or follow them, but you aren't the first postpartum patient I've seen who is hitting these kinds of numbers.  It's normal.  You'll even out," she said.

My basal rates seemed to be okay, but we did some tweaking to my afternoon/evening insulin:carb ratios (going from 1:12 to 1:15, which is math beyond my capacity).  Overall, I've had some nasty numbers, but my endocrinologist reassured me that my A1C wouldn't be too awful, because I wasn't letting any of those numbers ride.  (And when she called me on Monday to let me know what my lab work results were, my A1C was sitting comfortably at 7.0%.  Some people might call that too high, but I'm calling it a wicked victory for me.)

After I met with my endo, I was off for my exam with the OB/GYN.  Not to be terribly TMI, but I can't stand the pelvic exams.  They are unholy and cruel and a very strange way to spend an afternoon.  (Not only that, but I can't figure out why I'm not allowed to greet the doctor while I'm dressed.  No, they send her in only after I'm clad in the awkward paper johnny, with my regular clothes balled up on the chair near the examining table.  And it was the first time I had met with that specific OB.  "Nice to meet you, too!  This is my floppy body.") 

Thankfully, I appear to be healing well, both inside and out.  My c-section incision doesn't hurt anymore, and even though my lower abdominal muscles are currently useless and squishy, I am recovering like a "normal person."  (Read:  Not a diabetic who has seen 400's three times in the last eight weeks.  Nasty.)  There is still a little bit of light bleeding (not from the scar, silly), but my doctors told me the bleeding can last as long as nine weeks.  (Yay.)  The scar is shorter, and a light pink color as it attempts to heal.  I can't see the staple holes anymore, and when I spy the scar in the mirror, I don't want to jump out the window due to grossed-out'ed-ness.  That's progress!

So I'm cleared for "normal life," which includes being able to pick up the carseat while the baby is in it, which means I am no longer tied to my house.  THANK GOD, because I swear I was hearing the cats talk about me - in ENGLISH - which means my mind was starting to leak out.  Onward!  To normal life!

(Normal life - ha!  That's redefined with each messy diaper and baby smile.)

June 10, 2010

Baby Camouflage.

Note to self: Don't dress BSparl in the outfit that matches the pattern on the blanket or, when you put her in the bouncy chair, you will not be able to find her.

June 03, 2010

Ignoring Her.

BSparl likes this thing.  Unfortunately, so do the cats.She was tucked into the bassinet, perfectly safe and sound. Only she was wailing, with this loud cry and her bottom lip pouted out at an impossible angle, because she was hungry.

"I'm sorry, baby girl.  You have to wait just a few minutes so Mommy can have some juice, okay?"

I was standing at her side, belly full of grape juice and a blood sugar of 43 mg/dl.  BSparl needed to eat, I needed to breastfeed her, but I didn't feel confident picking her up just yet.  Of course, she started to cry just as the meter tossed that result at me.  A perfect storm of chaos.  My hands were too shaky and my brain wasn't 100% tuned in to reality.  She was safe and unharmed, but her cries were cutting through me and settling right in like barbed wire around my heart. 

"Two more minutes, sweetie.  Can you hang on?"  I stood by the bassinet and stroked her hair while she cried.

"Why, Mom?  Why aren't you picking me up and feeding me?  You're right there!  I can see you!  I can smell you!  I hear your voice!  Why?  Mommy, pick me uuuuuuuup!" 

(Or at least that's what I heard in her cries.  I'm sure it was some variation on that theme.)

Within a few more minutes, I felt much better.  More capable of picking up my daughter and bringing her over to the couch so I could feed her.  I kept a jar of glucose tabs on the coffee table while I fed BSparl, and the Dexcom eventually showed some arrows pointing north (it was like a CGM "thumbs up").  And we were both fine.  BSparl ate, I was fine, and we moved on with our day.

But the guilt of not giving her what she needs is something I need to adjust to. In keeping with the whole "oxygen mask" theory, I need to be in good form in order to take good care of my kid.  That means that my blood sugar needs to come first.  And that also means that my kid has to fuss while I wait for my blood sugar to be at a more reasonable level.  I can't pick her up if I feel shaky.  And I can't let the sound of her cries make me make decisions that aren't safe.

... it's hard, though!  Her bottom lip is ENORMOUS, and it's like my body is programmed to respond when she cries.  Leaving her there in the bassinet while I went to drink juice was heartbreaking, because she doesn't understand why I'm not giving her what she needs.  I don't want her to think her mommy is ignoring her.  The time will come when she understands how this balance works.  She'll grow up knowing that food is sometimes medicine and that her mommy, though madly in love with her, can't do it all at once.  

Until then, I'll stand at the bassinet and stroke her head, hoping that she'll forgive me for letting her cry.

May 28, 2010

You Know You're a Diabetic Mommy When ...

You know you're a cat-shaped rattle when ...You know you're a diabetic mommy when ...

  • The bottle of glucose tabs is just as important as the bottle of breast milk in the diaper bag.
  • You have already started wondering how you're going to explain "juice" as "medicine" to the kiddo.
  • When you wake up for 3 am feedings, they double as a 3 am blood sugar check.
  • You start cooing sweetly at your meter when it gives you a result of 100 mg/dl.  ("Oooh, what a good meter you are!  Yes you are!")
  • Your baby ends up with a dot of blood on the back of her pajamas from your middle-of-the-night blood sugar check that didn't stop bleeding right away.
  • When you talk about "the pump," you need to clarify "the insulin one, not the boob one."
  • Sometimes you have to draw numbers to see who gets to feed the baby.  And by "draw," we mean blood samples.
  • Nothing makes you happier than a full baby with a clean diaper and a full pump with a full battery.
  • You need a diaper bag just for diabetes supplies.
  • Your bedside table has just as many burp clothes as used test strips gathered at its base.
And when the Dexcom starts to BEEEEEEEP!, you wonder if it needs a diaper change.

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