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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tessa's test results

I met with the psychologist today to discuss Tessa's test results. I had a serious case of deju vu on the way down there because we found out Jenna had Trisomy 18 on a Wednesday. I heard some songs on the radio that made me cry, so on the way to Murfreesboro, I cried and got it out of my system. I didn't want the psychologist to think I was a dork or anything.

We first went over her IQ testing. She scored a 100, which is average. IQ falls on a Bell curve (so funny that I just studied this last semester in statistics and cognitive psychology), and anything between 90 and 110 is considered "average" or "normal."

The testing scored her IQ and then went on to test her ability. After this, the two were compared for any discrepancies. On the ability testing, she did well in her working memory, math skills and verbal comprehension. She actually scored above average on her math skills. She lagged behind with almost all of the reading.

One of the biggest discrepancies came with processing information. The way they tested this was at the top of a piece of paper was a bunch of shapes. Inside the shapes was a symbol. Below that, empty shapes filled the page, and Tessa had to fill in as many as she could with the correct symbol. Her doctor said most kids finished the entire page in the allotted time. Tessa was only able to do three lines.

In order to say she has a learning disability (dyslexia), the discrepancy would have to be at least 16 points. Tessa's was 14. The psychologist feels she does have a learning disability, but he can't diagnose it at this time because of the scores.

He did diagnose her with ADHD -- ADHD-Nos to be exact. This means ADHD-non-specified. She got that diagnosis because she isn't hyperactive and impulsive but is instead inattentive and impulsive. He recommended medication, and we go tomorrow to her pediatrician (a new one because her former one told me Tessa was just yanking my chain when we went to see her back in February) for a prescription.

He recommended we not hold her back in first grade. He said if it was him, he would allow her to go to second grade, put her in a Resource or Title 1 reading class and get her an afternoon tutor. At the end of the school year, we would test her again, either through the school system or through him. I have a call into the school now, and I plan to push to have her moved to second grade. I will tell the principal it is what the psychologist recommended.

So, now I have a bit of a plan, and after tomorrow, we will have a partial strategy for coping with the ADHD. I don't want to do meds that are going to make her sleepy and a zombie, but I want one that will actually help her. Let's hope we can find it right away.

I promise I'll never....

My best friend and I were discussing our moms last night, and we both said there were several things our moms had done that we weren't going to do to our girls. As I was trying to go to sleep last night, I thought this might be a good thing to post about regularly. This first one happened over 15 years ago, and I can just now, barely, laugh about it. You, on the other hand, will probably have no problem laughing.

I promise you, Tessa and Ella, that I will never come out on Madison Street in my nightgown looking for you in the midst of lockdown, standstill Horse Show traffic. I have to set the scene on this one because you totally won't understand unless I do. Each year, our town hosts the World Championship Walking Horse Celebration. More than 100,000 people pour into our town that normally holds a little under 17,000. Each night, when the Horse Show lets out, Madison Street, the main road, is worse than rush hour traffic on the Interstate. It's just deadlocked.

So, during Horse Show 1994, I was 17 years old and had just broken up with my boyfriend. At the time, I had a thing for guys who wore skin tight Wranglers and cowboy hats. Throw in a pair of dusty cowboy boots, and I was hooked. One guy in town fit this mold to a "T." He was the real thing, had even competed in a few rodeos and had the cutest behind I had ever seen. We'll call him JF.

The main past time for kids here during the 80s and 90s was riding up and down Madison Street. It was how I passed many a Friday and Saturday night. It was how I met my first boyfriend, and it's how I finally got to talk to JF. This Saturday night, I was riding around with my cousin and my best friend, and JF had seen the car load of girls earlier in the night and had flirted with us ever since, especially at red lights. He finally motioned for us to pull over at Sonic, and we did. He asked us to ride around in his truck, and we did.

I had a certain time to be home, so my cousin, who didn't have a curfew, invited my friend and I to both spend the night. We called my mom (from a pay phone, no one had cell phones back then) and asked if I could. She let us, but I didn't tell her we were riding around with JF. About this time, we remembered we had to pick up my younger cousin who was at the horse show with friends and take her home. We thought it would be funny to pick her up in his truck and surprise her, because she also knew who JF was. When we picked her up, she wanted to ride with us, but we told her no. She was so mad.

When she got home, she called my mom and told her a bunch of BS about JF. I can't even remember now what all she told her, but it propelled my mom out the door, in her nightgown, into the big brown station wagon and onto Madison Street.

We were oblivious to all of this, having a good time talking and laughing with JF. His personality was just as good as his looks. It was especially good because we were stuck in the middle of traffic and would be there for a while, giving him plenty of time to get to know us.

I was looking out at the traffic when all of a sudden I spotted her. I couldn't help but say, "Oh my gosh, that's my momma."

I guess she heard me, because she yelled out, "Tamara Shea Green, all four of you, get to our house. NOW."

Imagine a sea of cars, a sea of people inside and their heads snapping around all at once to look at the screaming banshee in the big brown boat hanging half out the window, shaking her fist and in her NIGHTGOWN.

My cousin told JF to take us back to her car, and we would handle it, but he wouldn't hear of it. He went with us to my parents house to listen to my mom berate us about getting in the vehicle with a man who was known to take advantage of innocent young girls (this had to be from my cousin, because my mom had never heard of him before this night). All he did was stand against the wall, his hat in his hand and said at one point, "I see my reputation proceeds me here."

To top off the embarassment, my stepfather couldn't let my mother do it all alone. Here he comes, out of the bedroom, in his tight whiteys and sits down on the couch for God and all to see. I was mortified.

Several years later, my husband worked with JF. When JF found out who Brian was married to, he said, "I feel so sorry for you. I would have asked her out, but I didn't want to deal with her crazy mother."

So, I promise, I will never, ever, ever do that to you, girls. EVER.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baby Bukies -- The Icing on the Cake, free shipping for my readers

When Shannon Mattocks was just six years old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Within days of starting treatment, her pretty long blonde hair began to fall out, on her dinner plate, her pillow, just about everywhere. "I was so embarassed," she said, "so my mom went out and had this lady hand make these pretty little hats for me. Needless to say, this is where my love of hats came in."

On the cancer ward, she was normal, but out in the real world, people stared at her. "My hats gave me a shield against all of the stares of the world," she said. As she grew up and overcame cancer, she knew she wanted to give back to cancer patients someday -- through the gift of hats.

She teamed up with a college friend, Joy Gatz, and Baby Bukies was born. "Joy does all of the graphics, posting to our sites and helps in the design of the hats," she said. "She is a very colorful girl and pushes me to incorporate bright colors."

Their goal is to have the company become successful enough to be able to afford to make extra hats and donate them to all the boys and girls that need their own shield against the stares, just as Shannon did. She hopes to someday have a Web site for moms to come in and post a picture of their child who is going through cancer. "Then everyone can see as they purchase from me what we all are working towards -- putting a little hat on a cancer patients head," she said.

The hats are beautifully made and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. They come in sizes from newborn to 4T and are hoping to add hats for four to 10 year olds next year.

Photographers, listen up. You can increase your profits by taking pictures of a child with these hats and include the hat as part of the package. Mothers will love the photographs and having a tangible memory of it.

Their items can be found at"> or"> So give your little one a little icing on the cake with a Baby Bukies' hat. If you mention Smiles for Jenna or Motherhood the Sequel, you'll get free shipping.

Perfect Family

I can't tell you how many times I've had someone ask me "Are you going to try again for a boy?" since Ella was born in November, making me feel as though people value boy babies more than girls.

My answer is always no. For one thing, my doctor has said I don't need to do another pregnancy. I've had one baby who developed IUGR, lost a one to Trisomy 18 and then had my placenta break down early and blood pressure skyrocket enough for me to have to go on bedrest with the last baby. My body is just not cut out to have babies, and the people who ask me this are often ones who know my history.

I have so many other reasons for not having another baby, money, room, time...I could go on and on. But, if I wanted to have another, it would not be to have a boy. My family is complete; I don't need a male child to have it be so.

I've also heard that the perfect family is a boy and a girl. Why is this so? I thought a perfect family was one that loved each other, no matter what the dynamics were. I think we are perfect just the way we are.

One person even went so far as to tell me Brian deserved a son. Does a man have to have a son to feel complete? I don't buy this. Brian has told me more than once he is happy with his girls. He doesn't want a son because of how bad his own relationship is with his dad. Besides, men are ultimately the ones who are responsible for whether or not their children are male and female, even if it is unintentional.

All of this makes me feel women and girls are highly undervalued in our society. I don't feel like I've failed as a women and a wife because we've had all girls. I don't think we are any less of a family because females outnumber males in this household. We make up a perfect family because we love each other; we don't need a male baby for that to happen.

Besides, with our track record, three pregnancies -- three girls, we probably would never have a boy anyway.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just a few more months --- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My long time readers know how much I love Harry Potter. A co-worker turned me onto the books in 2000, and I have been hooked ever since. I geek out on Harry Potter. When the final book came out in 2007, we dressed Tessa up as Hermione and took her to the release party. She had a great time, and so did we.

Since there are no more books to be released, I eagerly look forward to the movies. Last year, we went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for my birthday. This year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out two days after Ella's birthday. I can't wait to see it, even though that means my baby will be one, sniff sniff. The trailer came out today, and I'm going to attempt to post it here. How lame is it that I got goosebumps and teared up over it.

In 2008, I truly believe the series, along with the TV show The Golden Girls, kept me from losing my mind when we lost Jenna. It was escapism, pure and simple. I re-read the books the entire time, from the time we received the AFP results to the trip to Atlanta to the day she was born. When we came home, I kept reading. JK Rowling is my literary hero, and one of these days, when I can do it without bawling, I'm going to write her a letter and tell her how much her books mean to me.

Monday Minute

I got the idea from this post from the funny man at He is hilarious. I just discovered him this morning, and I'm glad I did. I'll be following him and reading every day. Since I'm hopeless and horrible at HTML and getting these buttons to work, I cheated by uploading the pic and including a link to the blog. Here are the questions and my answers.

1. Has anyone you've known personally lived to at least 100?

It depends on how you define personally. None of my close family members have, but my granny's sister came close at 98. However, when I worked for the newspaper, I interviewed people who lived to be 100 all the time. These were my favorite stories. I even interviewed a man who was 106 once. While I don't really miss the newspaper business, I do miss talking to these people and telling their stories.

2.What material possession do you value the most?

Besides pictures of Tessa and Ella and Jenna's urn, I have two items that rank right up there. One is the quilt my granny made me. She made one for each of her grandchildren, and it's hand sewn and hand appliqued. I so wish I had gotten her to teach me to quilt before she died. I used my quilt so much that it's starting to get frayed, so now it's put up. My other is my dragonfly jewelry collection. At Jenna's memorial service, we read a poem about a dragonfly. So many people have given me dragonfly jewelry, and I have bought several pieces. They remind me of her.

3. What do you think happens to us after we die?

I think if we've lived a good life and been kind to people and tried our best not to hurt anyone, we go to Heaven and join our loved ones there. If not, I'm not sure what happens. I have a hard time with the idea of hell, but being raised as a Christian makes it hard for me to give it up.

4. Most embarassing item in your house?

Hmmm, I don't really know. Maybe my husband's Playboy magazines that he got before we were married. They are put up in the top of the closet so Tessa can't find them, but he insists on keeping them because he says they are/will be collector's items some day.

5. If you could rename yourself, what would your name be?

Probably Laura. I want something simple, easy to spell and pronounce. No one ever gets Tamara right.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting to Know you Sunday

I've stolen this idea from a couple of the blogs I follow, but I thought the questions were cute. So here goes. I'm supposed to put a button here for you to go to her blog, but I couldn't get the html to work, so here's a link --

1.If you had 5000.00 to spend on plastic surgery what would you have done?

Right now, I would get my tooth implant. In 2001, I was in a serious car accident and hit my face on the steering wheel. I damaged a couple of teeth on one side and wound up having to a have a root canal. Fast forward to March of this year. I was eating a salad, and the tooth I had the root canal on broke off to the root. They had to go in and remove. Since we didn't have dental insurance at the time, I couldn't afford to get an implant, but I did get a flipper, which no longer fits very well now because my teeth had shifted. If it was one of my back teeth, it wouldn't be a big deal, but it's the one right next to my two front teeth so it shows every time I smile. One of Tessa's friends asked me if I hadn't brushed them very well. Oh well, insurance goes into effect July 1, and I am going to be getting my implant.

2. Do you watch Soap operas and if so what is your favorite and why?

No, not since college, although I did tune in for Mrs. Horton's funeral on Days of Our Lives as you can see from the post below. I don't think I even watch any of the night time soaps, unless you count Criminal Minds or House.

3. Favorite Clothing Brand?

I don't really have a favorite brand. I know that's terrible, but I don't look at name brands when I'm buying stuff. I do love the clothing at Lane Bryant, but I am such a cheapskate that I either buy it at consignment stores or at Goodwill. I can, however, be a clothes snob when it comes to my girls. For them, I love Gymboree, Osh Kosh and The Children's Place.

4. An afternoon shopping spree at your favorite store or maid service for a year?

Maid service for year. I would take soo advantage of that. I might be a stay at home mom, but I'm not the typical one, who cooks and cleans and loves it. I like cooking, to a degree, but Brian is so much better at it. I HATE cleaning. It is one of those necessary evils of life, so I do it, but if I can get out of it, all the better, especially if it's free.

5. Would you ever vajazzle?

Ok, I was totally clueless, so I had to look this up. Seriously, women do this? What do they use to make the jewels stick? Wouldn't that hurt trying to get them off? From what I gather, they do a design, but what about if some of the crystals fell off? Wouldn't that look awful, therefore defeating the purpose of vajazzling in the first place? I just don't really get why anyone would do that, so I guess my answer is no.

6. Favorite Disney Princess?

Hands down, it's Belle. She loves to read, she's smart, she's funny, she solves problems on her own. She isn't wishy washy and doesn't need a man to protect her. In fact, she tries to protect her own father. Love her.

7. Last movie that made you bawl your eyes out?

Don't laugh, but Toy Story 3. We took Tessa to see it on Father's Day, and I cried my eyes out over the end. I was happy to learn I wasn't the only one who did that. It's a great movie; you really should see it.

8. Have you broken any bones and if so, what?

Hahahahaha. I used to be the accident prone queen. It all started my sixth grade year when I broke my leg playing football in the yard with my brother and other boys in the neighborhood. I went on to have broken my thumb, my wrist, my foot three times (twice for the left, three times for the right) and my collarbone. My medical bills nearly broke my parents there for a while.

So, that's it. I hope my readers will do this, too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me

On June 27, 1998, my life changed forever. I became a wife at the young age of 20. I have had moments where I wondered what it would have been like to have waited to get married until I was a bit older, but it has all worked out in the end.

We met in June 1996. I was almost 19 at the time, and he was 26. A huge age difference, I know, but I always so much more mature than most girls my age. And, we all know girls mature faster than boys. He totally wasn't my type. I liked dark hair and green eyes. He was blondish with blue eyes. The one thing Brian has always managed to make me feel is special, and because of this, all thoughts of my usual type flew out the window.

We've had our rough times over the years. Stress lead him to a breakdown and depression about four years ago. Two years later, we lost our second daughter. I was afraid those two things in such a short period of time would break us, but it didn't. I think it made us stronger. We no longer sweat the small stuff, and we don't fight as much about inconsequential things. I think we both realize there are more important things than who forgot to take out the trash or forgot to pay the phone bill.

Brian is such a hard worker. He works 12 to 14 hour days so that I can stay home and get an education. Of course he says he's going to be a stay at home dad after I graduate. In spite of the fact that he works those hours, he still helps me around the house and is a fantastic daddy to the girls, who just adore him.
Don't get me wrong; he drives me crazy sometimes. I hate the way he goes into the bathroom and stays for 30 minutes and no one bothers him, while I have Tessa and Rosie, the dog, barging in with Ella whining in the background, all the while I'm trying to take a simple pee. But, when I see him playing board games with Tessa and peek-a-boo with Ella, all of that fades away.
So, Happy anniversary, Brian. So many said we'd never make it, and we have.

Easy Summer Recipe -- Fruity Chicken Salad

I hate cooking during the summer months. It makes the house so hot, and so many other activities are more fun. I try to look for any recipe that doesn't require the oven to be running.

Fruity Chicken Salad is a perfect one. I came up with it after getting recipes for chicken salad from two friends of mine. I mish-mashed theirs together and came up with my own. I don't really know exact measurements, because as my husband says, "Measurements? I don't need no stinkin' measurements when it comes to cooking." And, yes, my husband is a wonderful cook.

This recipe makes a huge batch, but it tastes even better after it's sat in the refrigerator. I use it to make our lunches, and it lasts about three to four days.

Fruity Chicken Salad
About 3 to 4 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
celery salt
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 or 4 apples
a big bunch of grapes

Place bouillon cubes in a cup of warm water and allow to dissolve. Lay the chicken breasts in a crockpot. Sprinkle liberally with the celery salt. Add water to cover the chicken. Pour the buoillon into it. Cover and cook on low for about six to seven hours until chicken is tender and following apart.

Shred the chicken with a fork. Cut the apples into small chunks and add to the chicken. Sprinkle with celery salt and stir. Cut the grapes into fourths and add to the chicken and apples. Stir. Add enough mayonnaise to coat the chicken. I like a little more mayo, so I used about half a jar.

Serve on potato bread. It is even better after it sits in the refrigerator a day or two.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Fan"-tastic Fridays

I am starting a new feature on this blog. Every Friday, I am going to do a review of a product, a book, a television show or a movie that I absolutely love and share with you why I do. I would love to hear what some of your "fan"-tastic favorites are, too.

I love for my laundry to spell good and feel soft, especially Ella's clothing. I always have to be worried about what I use to wash our clothes because Brian and Tessa both have sensitive skin. Years ago, we went with All Free and Clear detergent, which works great, but our clothes have no smell at all when they are clean.

I was afraid I would never be able to find a fabric softener that wouldn't bother their skin, but it seems I can pretty much use anything without it bothering them. I have tried out various scents to find my favorite, but none compare to the Ultra Downy Spring & Renewal Fabric Softener with Febreze. I buy the 30 fluid ounce bottle, which is good for 35 loads. I use it in the Downy Ball, throw it into the washing machine and forget all about it. When my laundry is finished, it smells wonderful and doesn't bother Brian and Tessa's skin at all.
I highly recommend it. My only problem is I can't find it at the store where I usually shop. I have to go to the Dollar General, but it is cheaper there than I could get it elsewhere, so I guess it's just a winning situation anyway. I recommend this product for those who like their clothes to smell wonderful and be soft all at the same time.

Days of Our Lives

Certain television shows just remind me of my childhood, and Days of Our Lives is one of them. A soap, you're thinking? A soap opera reminds her of childhood? Yes, it does, and it all has to do with my granny.

She never missed an episode of it. Since we stayed with her during the day during the summer months and every day after school during the school year, we watched it with her. Not that we minded, we all gathered around the television each afternoon to witness the going-ons of the people of Salem.

Here are some of my specific memories of Days of Our Lives:

1. Megan getting electrocuted in the hot tub at the gym by a blow dryer.
2. Bob kidnapping Hope when she was going to marry another man and taking her to that romantic Southern plantation.
3. Bo and Hope's wedding and the gawd-awful headpiece veil she wore
4. Kimberly and Shane falling in love. I still have a crush on Shane to this day
5. Jennifer and Jack making love for the first time in the cave. I loved them as a couple.
6. The Isabella-John Black storyline was the saddest, most romantic one ever. Just before she died, John bought a star for her and named after her. He carried her out to see it, and she died in his arms. My cousin and I watched this on a Saturday night (recorded on the old VHS VCR) and cried like babies.

I don't think I've watched the show in at least 10 years, maybe even more, since Swamp Girl or Jungle Woman or whatever she was called was on there. My brother still watches it; I think because it reminds him of Granny. He called me yesterday and told me Alice Horton was about to die on the show. Frances Reid, the lady that played her, died months ago.

My granny always reminded me of a combination of Alice Horton and Dorothy from Golden Girls. My family reminded me of the Hortons. A bit dysfunctional in a lot of ways, we always came together when we needed each other, just like the Hortons. We might fuss and fight, but we always make up, just like the Horton family on the show.

In spite of the fact I knew I was going to cry, I decided to watch yesterday. It brought back so many memories of losing my granny almost three years ago. Mike Horton even missed his granny's death, just as my Uncle Bobby wasn't there when Granny died. Today, at the beginning of the episode, Hope asked, "What am I going to do without you, Gran?," and I said the exact same thing when my granny died.

I doubt I'll start tuning in again. I had to ask my brother a ton of questions to find out what's going on. But, Days of Our Lives was always a wonderful part of my childhood, the intrigue, the feeling I was doing something naughty by tuning in and mostly the time spent with my granny. So long, Alice Horton. Thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tessa's appointment

Today brought back so many memories of two years ago when we were undergoing the testing with Jenna. I even brought Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban with me, and while we were going through everything with Jenna, I sought comfort and escape in the world of Hogwarts. The big difference this time is I wasn't the one undergoing the testing, and the results won't be life or death.

Just like with the amnio, we have to wait a while to get the results. I go back next Wednesday to discuss with him what is going on with her. She gets to stay at home with the babysitter, and luckily it won't be as early as it was today.

Ella woke me at 6 a.m., but I didn't mind as I had my alarm set for 6:15 a.m., anyway. I got myself ready, packed Ella's diaper bag for my aunt's house and packed Tessa's lunchbox with her snack that the doctor said to bring since we would be there for most of the morning. For once in her life, Tessa wasn't in a grouchy mood in the morning. I swear, she is always a grump in the morning, and she will even say that.

We made it there with plenty of time to spare. In fact, we were even a little early and had to wait on the doctor to get there for just a few minutes. I didn't mind. It gave us a chance to relax, and we even got to see a bird chase a squirrel.

I had to wait in the waiting room while the doctor did the test. He gave me some paperwork to fill out concerning Tessa's behavior. I am pretty sure this had to do with ADD. The answers to the questions were never, sometimes, almost always and often. Some of the questions, like "Cries Easily, "Is Easily Frightened," and "Disobeys Parents," fit Tessa, and I had to answer almost always. Others, like "Sets Fires," "Is Cruel to Animals" and "Steals," didn't fit at all, and I had to say never.

Tessa's first grade teacher hasn't gotten her end of the paperwork back to the doctor. I hope she gets it back to him soon, and if she doesn't, I hope it doesn't affect the results.

Tessa didn't say much about the testing. I asked her questions about it, and I got a lot of "I don't remembers." I know they did some math, and she had to read some "hard words," as she put it. They also had some testing she did on the computer. Her doctor called it achievement testing to check for dyslexia. If anyone has any experience with this kind of testing, can you please tell me how it's done?

So, now we just wait. I called my mom after it was over and was telling her about what was on the list and how I answered. She kept saying, "She doesn't do that here," or "She's not bad about that here." I felt like saying, "Way to say I'm a bad mother, momma."

The fact is, she does do it over there. She had a meltdown at her house on Sunday. My mom is bad about selective memory. And, Tessa only spends the night over there about once every six weeks lately. Momma has just really hurts my feelings lately. Like when I told her we were sleep training Ella. She said, "You are doing things with her the way you should have done with Tessa." I told her that I didn't think I had messed up too badly, just in the sleep department.

Tonight, she said, "I can't believe you are letting her sleep all by herself in her room when you never let Tessa," like I was being unfair to Ella. I just can't win for losing with her.

I hope we get some solid answers next week. I'm not going to say how I wish for this to go. I wish with all my being that Tessa didn't have the trouble in school or the meltdowns or anxiety problems, but she does. If getting a solid diagnosis gives us a way to treat this, I'm all for her being diagnosed with something. I just wish we didn't have to go through this at all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Whatever of Sleep Training -- They Don't Really Need to Cry, Do They?

All my life I heard that babies needed to cry, that it was good for their lungs. My mom always said crying developed their lungs and made for healthier babies down the road. I always had trouble believing that.

Fast forward to when I was pregnant with Tessa. I did a lot of research, especially on the Dr. Sears Web site and his books. He is a firm believer in co-sleeping and the attachment parenting method and does not believe babies need to cry.

Tessa cried a lot as a baby, and I picked her up every time she did. I wanted her to be happy and healthy and well attached. My family told me numerous time that it was Ok to put her down and let her cry if I needed to get something done. Babies need to cry, it's good for their lungs.

I grew sick of hearing about it, but I learned to accept that my family bought into the old wives' tales. Well, now Ella is here. I am a little more relaxed with her than I was with Tessa. Ok, that's a lie. I am a lot more relaxed with her. Comparatively speaking with Tessa I was a paranoid schizophrenic, and with Ella, almost nothing worries me.

I still don't think babies need to cry, and I chalked that old wives tale up to something the older generation believed, kind of like babies need cereal to sleep through the night. I thought people my age would KNOW it wasn't really true, but I was wrong.

We were discussing sleep training with a friend, and he said that it had to be done. I have mixed feelings about that, but I knew I needed to do it if I wanted a better sleeper than Tessa was and is. I also knew I needed to do it so Ella wouldn't wind up in the bed with us (and honestly, if my husband was up for it and we had a king-sized bed, I could totally go for the family bed thing).

Then he says, "They need to learn to be independent." I agree. Children do need to learn to be independent, but not babies. She's seven months old, for goodness sakes. She NEEDS to be dependent on me for a while yet.

And then the kicker, "Besides, babies need to cry. It's good for their lungs." Ugh, he's only a few years older than me, and he believes that. The only time a baby really needs to cry is right after they are born. I don't believe it's good to just let a baby cry, because it's good for their lungs. I'm just wondering if more people believe this to be true.

As for the sleep training, it's coming along. We had one night where she fell asleep really quickly (Sunday, I believe). Monday night, it took an hour. Tonight, it took about 40 minutes. I will admit that I let her cry for a bit longer than normal, but not because it was good for her lungs. Brian was in the shower, and I was in the kitchen doing something for Tessa and couldn't get into Ella's room right away. She didn't calm down, and she didn't fall asleep. In fact, she was sobbing when I got in there. I patted her, got her calmed down and went out.

I think it will probably take less and less time for her to fall asleep as we go through this. It might not be as fast as crying it out, but it is working. She is also sleeping through the night. Last night, she slept from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. I am extremely happy with that because she had been waking up at 3 a.m., before we started the sleep training. We will get there.

P.S. If you do believe this old wives' tale, no offense. I still have a few I believe in, too, especially ones my Granny introduced me to.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Out of the blue

Sometimes, it just hits you. The grief and pain sneak up on you out of the blue when you are least expecting it.

Today, while cooking supper, I was half watching Ghost Whisperer on the WE network. I love this show. I had never watched it before because I'm not home on Friday nights to see it, but I just discovered it a few weeks ago and love it. Since losing Jenna, my faith has gone (and for all of my friends who are Christians, you will be glad to hear that I think it might be slowly coming back), and all of Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt's character) talk of the light is really how I feel most of the time about what happens after we die.

I was only half watching tonight's episode, but from what I could gather, a little girl was being followed by the ghost of her mother. It turns out, the woman she thought was her mother wasn't at all. She had been kidnapped as a baby. The woman who kidnapped her had lost a baby at birth.

Ok, first it's time for a little rant. Deadbabymommas aren't anymore likely to kidnap or kill babies. Television shows just portray us as crazy after we lose our babies, and maybe we are a little. But, we would never, ever want to inflict that kind of pain on another momma. I hate it when a television show uses this as a storyline. Seriously, it makes me cringe and my skin crawl. Television shows don't portray all grieving people this way. I doubt there has ever been a storyline where a person has kidnapped a mother figure after their own mother died. Ok, end of rant.

At the end of the episode, the ghost saw the light. She was a little scared to go into it because of what she had done (kidnapping the baby), but then, she puts her hand over her mouth and tears fill her eyes. She says, "I see my baby girl."

I lost it. I went into the kitchen and had a quick cry. I think one of the reasons I haven't totally given up my faith is because I don't want to let go of the belief that I will see Jenna and my granny again. I like to think they are waiting for me with Granny rocking Jenna until I can do it myself.

It's been almost two years, and I am still moved to tears by the thought of seeing my baby girl again. I am happy, and I go through life with joy and peace. I don't dwell on her loss, even though I do think of her every day. Tonight just emphasized once again that while it does get better with time, the pain is never truly gone. I will always miss her.

Tessa's testing

Two weeks ago, Tessa had her appointment with the psychologist. It was basically a consultation to see if he thought she needed any testing. He feels as though she does, and we go on Wednesday morning for the testing.

This psychologist is wonderful. We went in, and he explained to her that he couldn't tell anyone anything she told him. She has meltdowns (pitching fits as my mom calls it), and it embarasses her. She doesn't like anyone knowing.

He said he can't say anything for sure about any of it, but he does think she has something going on in regards to the ADD. He had her draw a picture, and every five seconds, she was turning around to say something to me. She wanted to know what color she should use next, what item to draw next, etc., etc., etc. She can't keep focused on anything for long.

The testing will take four hours. I forgot to ask if we will find out the results right away or if we will have to wait. I am hoping we can find out right away, but I know we probably won't.

As frustrated as I get with Tessa, I know she gets frustrated with herself, especially when she has a meltdown. She had one Saturday, and I sent her to her room until she could calm down. I heard her saying "I hate myself." I was in tears. I went in to talk to her, and I asked her about that. I said, "Do you really hate yourself?"

"Just when I pitch fits," she said. "I don't know how to stop it."

Her insurance has approved her for 12 visits to the psychologist, along with the testing. I am hoping he will work with her to improve her self-esteem. I feel like I might be part of the cause of her low self-esteem because of something I said before we realized she might have ADD. I told her a couple of times, "Six year olds don't pitch fits. You aren't two." If I could go back and take back those words, I would.

I have so many mixed emotions on this. On the one hand, I am terrified for her to get a diagnosis of ADD and dyslexia because it will mean for her future. She is going to have to work harder, dig deeper and always give a little more than other kids. She dreams of being a veterinarian, and I want her to achieve her dreams. A veterinary career is hard for anyone to achieve, but it will be even harder for someone with a learning disability.

On the other hand, I am terrified she won't be diagnosed. If she does have ADD and dyslexia, we can work out a plan to help her. If it's not, we won't know what it is, and we can't work out solution. I always think it's better to know what you are facing so you can have a plan.

And, there is also this small part of me, deep down, that is worried that the psychologist is going to tell me it's all a reaction to bad parenting, that I caused this, that it's all my fault. Sometimes, I wonder if I have been too lenient and too much of a helicoptor parent. I also wonder if in my grief over losing Jenna, I somehow neglected her needs. Maybe all of this irrational, but I can't help it.

Please keep us in your thoughts over the next few days. I am going to let Tessa pick a place for lunch on Wednesday to treat her after the marathon testing session. I will definitely post an update when we know something.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 5 and 6 of Sleep Training -- We are getting there

Yesterday (Saturday), Ella took a three hour nap. I am still doing naps in the swing, because I want her to get use to sleeping in the crib first. Then, I'll work on naps. She would have slept longer, but I was afraid it would affect her night time sleep if I let her go longer.

I used to give Ella a bath in the mornings because it was just easier since I had to do Tessa's at night. Well, I had heard a bath sets up a good night time routine, so last night, I decided to try it. It won't be something I can do every night because the doctor said not to bathe her every night, but I can do the lotion massage. I gave her a bath, lotioned her down and gave her the bottle. She fell asleep while taking it but woke up as soon as I laid her down.

I turned on the music on her crib and put her gloworm in there with her. She was fine as long as the music was playing and the gloworm was lit up. When it went off, she started to cry. I knew then again, that I needed something to play for longer period of time. Even so, she was asleep within an hour, and slept until 6:45 a.m., 9 hours and 45 minutes. I am extremely happy about that.

When I talked to my best friend last night, she told me she had two different kinds of soothers. One was the aquarium like I wanted, and the other was the Playskool Gloworm Dreambook Slumbertime Soother Crib Toy. I looked pretty cool, and she said I could borrow it. Her sister got it for her at a yard sale and only spent $1. It retails for $93 on Amazon. I am including a pic of it.
Tonight, I put the bumper pads in, and I got the soother from my friend. I gave Ella her lotion massage, put her pajamas on her, gave her a bottle and she fell asleep. She woke up when I laid her down, so I turned on that toy. She was mesmerized. It has a switch that allows you to keep it playing continuously for 20 minutes, and I actually had to go turn it off because Ella was asleep. I am in shock. It was so easy tonight.
I hope it continues. She's been asleep nearly four hours and has only made a minimal amount of noise. I can't afford to spend $93 on a toy right now, but if it continues to work, I just might have to. My friend's baby is going to need it in a few months, otherwise, I would try to buy it from her. Let me just say I'm very happy about this. If it stays this easy, I will be ecstatic.

No tact

I really need someone to hold my fingers away from the telephone right now, because I am about to open up a can of whoop-butt on someone. That someone is my father-in-law to be exact.

I have written about my hatred for him before, and yes, I do hate him. I merely disliked him until Christmas of 2008 when he had the audacity to ask Brian, "What the hell's a Jenna," considering our dead daughter, but now, I don't care if the karma comes back to bite me in the butt. I hate him, and I will never forgive him for that comment.

Today, Brian called him to wish him a Happy Father's Day. While he was talking to his dad today, his father said, "Would you please have Tessa lay off the sweets and the cokes? She's getting fat."

Ok, first of all, she doesn't really drink that many cokes. I keep water, juice and yes, some coke, in the house. I also let her drink chocolate milk, because it's the only way she will drink any milk at all. At home, she would rather have chocolate milk or juice, but she will drink about a coke a day. Not a big deal in my opinion. She also has a sweet tooth, and I let her have one sugary snack a night. I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation, and I also believe if you withhold sugary items from your kids, they are going to sneak around and eat them.

The weekend we were in Mississippi, it was like 100 degrees. We went fishing on their pontoon boat. When I helped Brian pack the cooler, I noticed they only had two bottles of water, everything else was coke or beer. One of those bottles of water was for Joann, and I needed the other for Ella to fix her bottles. While we were out there, Tessa drank a lot of coke. I didn't want her to dehydrate, so she had to have something to drink. Maybe next time I should just let her have a beer? I'm kidding, but he would probably prefer that.

Second of all, Tessa has always been small. She only weighed five pounds, seven ounces and was 17 inches long at birth, really tiny. It took her forever to even get on the growth charts, and until she was six year old, she was always under the 25th percentile for weight. Her doctor told me to allow fats and sugars in moderation because she needed them to help her grow. She was the smallest and shortest kid in her kindergarten class. Last summer (the last time they really saw her), she hit a growth spurt and has gained about 15-20 pounds and three to four inches. She is now about average for her age. In fact, her doctor was proud of her growth.

And, now, he comes and makes this comment about Tessa being fat. She isn't fat, and I just know one day, he will say it to her face. I don't believe in calling kids fat, even if they are. I know people who don't believe in political correctness will hate me for it, but I think it hurts their self-esteem, which in turn could make them gain more weight.

I so want to just cut him out of our lives. My mother-in-law isn't one of my favorite people either, but when she is away from my father-in-law, she isn't so bad. I might even be able to like her, as long as she stays away from politics and doesn't recite her uber-conservative rhetoric to me. I also like my brother-in-law and my nephew. If I want to see them and not keep Brian from his family, I have to see my father-in-law. I just don't know how to deal with him anymore.

I am also including a pic of Tessa from the trip two weeks ago. I don't think she is in any way, shape or form, fat.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Not remembering people

Tonight, I went to Wal-Mart after the girls were asleep to grocery shop. I actually like going at that time of the night because it's so much cooler outside (it's been at least 95 here for the last week or two), not as many people shop there that time of night and I can shop by myself and have a little alone time.

So, tonight, Ella was asleep within an hour of us laying her down, and Tessa was almost asleep on the couch. I knew I needed to to go the grocery store, so off I went. As I was trying to decide between the Pampers Cruisers and the Pampers Baby Dry (Ella can no longer fit in the Swaddlers, boo hoo, I loved them and she's growing too fast), a girl speaks to me. I know I know her, but I can't figure out from where. I rack my brain to try to come up with her name and where I know her from, but I can't.

This isn't the first time it's happened either. About two weeks ago, I was grocery shopping and buying Ella's baby food. For some reason, all of her favorites are on the very bottom shelf, and I was bent over with my butt in the air when I feel someone standing behind me. I straighten up, and this man smiles at me. He asks me, "You still writing for the paper?"

Last year, I wrote a column for our local paper, and my picture was in the standing head they used with it. I told him that I wasn't, and he kept asking me questions. I stood there, nodding and answering his questions, and acting like I remembered him when I totally didn't and trying to figure out if I actually did know him or if he just thought he knew me because my picture and my column with a lot of personal details was in the paper every week.

I feel really bad that this has been happening a lot lately. I chalk it up to a couple of things. One, I'm sleep deprived. I have always been an insomniac, but now, I am waking up with Ella several times a night. When school was in session if I didn't get enough sleep the night before, I could lay down when Ella took her morning nap and sleep for a bit. With Tessa out of school now, I can't, and if I have a bad night, I just have to deal with it.

The other reason is my time in the newspaper business. I spent 10 years interviewing people and writing their stories. I was trying to estimate how many people I talked to and interviewed each year. It had to be around 500 people. If you take 500 x 10 years, I interviewed about 5,000 people.

Sometimes, it was just five minutes, talking to them long enough to get information about a church service or their baby's birth announcement. Others, it was more in-depth like the 106-year-old black man who told me what it was like to grow up in the turn-of-the-century South.
Because they talked to me, they thought they knew me. Some of them do stick out in my memory, and I will remember them forever. Some were sweet, and others were evil, like the women who called me right after I went back to work after losing Jenna. Her exact words, "I hear you had a situation, and I guess it'll take you a while to get over it."

The one thing I will not blame it on is being old. I'm only 33, I can't be old enough to be losing my memory, right? Just tell me I'm young, and I'll love you forever.

Day 4 and 5 of Sleep Training

It feels like one step forward and two steps back, to tell the truth. It took an hour on Thursday night for her to go to sleep, but she did it without too much crying. Mostly, she just fussed, and then she was out. She slept until 5:45 a.m. It was so nice to get a straight stretch of sleep.

So, I was hoping that last night would be even better. It wasn't. She fussed a few minutes but it soon turned into full out crying. I went in there and comforted her. I didn't pick her up, but I didn't leave the room until she stopped.

I had barely sat down until she sounded hysterical. I went in there, and she was just sobbing. I couldn't help it. I picked her up. Brian walked into the room and gave me this look like I was sabotaging everything. I told him if he wanted her to cry it out, he could do bed time, but I was not doing it. Since he is usually in bed himself at Ella's bed time, he told me to do it my way.

We figured out that the mobile on her bed, which came with it, has lights, music and a switch that makes the mattress vibrate. I turned it on last night, and it helped for a while until it stopped. I'm researching toys I can attach to the crib that will make lights and music with a continual play mode. She does have a glow worm my friend gave her for Christmas, and I'm going to check it out. I want it to play until I turn it off. Does anyone have any recommendations?

I think I got rid of my copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution, so I'm going to order it again off Amazon. I am being consistent in laying her down awake and going in to comfort her. I try not to pick her up unless she's just crying uncontrollably. If anyone who didn't do cry it out has any tips for me until the book arrives, I would appreciate it. And, I would appreciate any recommendations for a crib toy like I mentioned.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Seven months old -- Seven things she can do

Ella is seven months old today. I can't believe how fast the time has flown by. She is only five months away from being a year old. Another blogger friend
listed 18 things her son could do at 18 months old so I thought I would do it for Ella's seven-month birthday.
1. She can say Da-Da, Ba-Ba, ahs and oohs
2. She can crawl, although it a lot like a hop right now.
3. She can roll from front to back and from back to front.
4. She can push to a sitting position from all fours.
5. She can eat all kinds of baby foods, but she likes the green vegetables best.
6. She can squeal to show her happiness.
7. She is very good at giving love and kisses and smiles to let us know she loves us.
And, we love her. I can't imagine my life without her. When we lost Jenna, I never thought I would be able to have another baby. I wanted my rainbow baby, the beautiful calm after the storm, and I got her. Ella truly personifies the calmness.

Day 3 of Sleep Training -- It was a disaster

A friend and fellow blogger asked me if I had read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, and I haven't. I do have a copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution around here somewhere, but I bought it way too late to apply with Tessa. It did have good ideas in it, but it was more for babies than toddlers, which was what Tessa was when I bought it.

I am not going to go into the boring details, but the night was much the same as the one before it but add in a blowout diaper right after she woke up at 4 a.m., which turned out to be when she was awake for the day. Cleaning up poop at that time of the morning is never fun, but her smiling at me made it a little better.

However, tonight, she took her last bottle and fell asleep. I laid her in her crib, and she promptly woke up. Tessa gave Ella one of her music boxes, and I wound it up. She didn't go right to sleep. In fact, it took an hour, me going into her room two or three times, her getting her leg caught in the railing and Tessa yelling out, "It's Ok, Ella," every time she fussed, but she finally feel asleep without me rocking or holding her. Now, let's just see if it lasts.

And, I wanted to add, I think this is harder on Tessa than me. She is pitiful when Ella starts to fuss. I am not letting her cry. When she starts the full-on crying, I go into her, but if she is just fussing and whining, I leave her alone. Tessa gets antsy hearing her even fuss, which reminds me of how I was with her when she was a baby. This is child we were all worried would be so jealous of her sister she wouldn't want anything to do with her, and now, she is over-protective. That makes me so happy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 2 of Sleeping Training -- I cheated

So, Tessa decided she wanted to camp out in Ella's room last night. She set up her Disney Princess cot next to Ella's bed and announced she wanted them to be room mates. I thought I would let her because at least it was a start to get her away from our bed. She said when Ella went to sleep, she was going to go in there.

Well, I decided to start off the night by getting Ella to sleep and then laying her down in the crib. I even gave her a cereal bottle to see if that would help her sleep longer (even though I totally know it isn't true, I just decided to do it to prove my mom and my friend's mom wrong). Well, the minute I laid her down, she startled and woke right back up. I brought her back in the living room. We did this at least 15 times.

By 10:30 p.m., I was done. I was frustrated, tired, and ready to settle in for the night. I was going to lay her down one more time, and if she woke up, she was going to stay in her crib. I would comfort her if she cried, but that was it. Well, she stayed asleep this time.

Tessa had already fallen asleep in the rocking chair waiting for Ella to go to sleep and watching a movie. It's a good thing it's summer, and we don't have to be anywhere in the mornings. I woke her, and she said she wanted to get in the cot. So, by 11 p.m., I was in the living room wounding down for the night.

It was too good to be true. She was awake at 12:30 a.m. I went in there, picked her up, got her back to sleep and put her back down. I hoped she would stay asleep again.

Wrong!! She woke back up at 2:30 a.m., and I was exhausted. I let her stay with me. I couldn't help it. I needed my sleep. I hoped that was it for the night.

I was wrong again. Tessa woke up at 3:30 a.m. and came to bed with me. Then, Brian woke me up when he was getting ready for work at 4:30 a.m. I could have killed him. Then, Ella was up for the day at 7:30 p.m.

I have spent the day exhausted. Tessa has acted up all day because she didn't have any of the neighbor kids to play with, plus she was just tired. Ella went right to sleep while I was holding her, but woke up the minute her body touched the mattress. Then, Brian who worked an extremely long day today, came in, and Ella wanted to smile and talk and look at her daddy.

I finally decided to lay her down awake in her crib because I was frustrated. She is awake now and fussing. I'm going to give it a minute and go in there, but this time, I am not going to pick her up and not going to bring her in the living room.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jenna's Treasure Beans

A few weeks ago, a fellow mommy in deadbabyland posted a blog about the Web site The lady who runs the site, Casey Doiron, is from Ontario, and she lost her daughter, Aurora, at 38 weeks gestation. Since then, she has been creating treasure beans for families who have lost a baby through pregnancy loss or stillbirth.

She decorates pebbles, taking ideas from the families of those who have lost their babies. After the stones are decorated she takes their pictures, sometimes at the beach and in other places, too. After the photo shoot, the pebbles are placed in the treasure garden with other stones that have been decorated for babies. You can bring your stone home or leave it with the others. I think I am going to leave my there with the others. I kind of like the idea of Jenna's Treasure Bean keeping company with the beans of her angel friends.

I asked Casey to use dragonflies since that is how we remember Jenna. I also asked her to use the color purple. We were going to decorate her room in different shades of purple. Casey didn't disappoint me. I think she did an excellent job with the stones. If you are a deadbabymomma, please visit her Web site and have her do a tribute to your angel.

Here are some pictures of the stone.




Night One of Sleeping Training

No offense to all the parents who use Ferber or other sleep-training methods that incorporate crying it out, but I just don't know how you do it. Let me say this. When Tessa was a baby, I was very militant and outspoken in my belief against crying it out. Usually, I would never criticize a parent for the way they were raising their children, but if someone even mentioned crying it out, I could recite the research on how it raised blood pressure and stress levels and why exactly I thought it was cruel.

Well, I've lived a lot and learned a little in the years since Tessa was a baby, and I no longer think it is exactly cruel, although I still have very strong opinions about it if a parent does it before a child is even four months old. I can now understand why a parent might feel like they have to do it, even though it is not for me.

I guess since I'm not crying it out, it's not technically sleep training, but considering the fact I've never had a baby sleep in a different room than the one I'm in, for me, it is. So, I had decided last night, I was going to lay her down in her bed, tell her good night and leave the room. If she cried, I was going to go in and comfort her and then leave back out once she calmed down.

It didn't go quite like that. Ella fell asleep as she was taking her last bottle. When she was finished, I took her in her room and laid her in the crib. She promptly rolled over and woke right back up. I told her I loved her and walked out.

We had the baby monitor (another first for me!!! never owned one with Tessa) on, and Tessa sat in the rocking chair beside of it. I swear, I think it was harder for her than me. I went to get a load of laundry from the dryer, and Tessa yells, "Momma, momma, she's crying." I come back to the living room and listen. Ella is merely whining. I tell Tessa to wait until she's full out crying.

When I come back to the living room with the laundry to fold, I can hear Ella talking on the monitor. I fold and fold some more, waiting on it to get quiet, when all of a sudden, I hear a blood-curdling scream through the monitor and also from the bedroom. Tessa and I both start running. Ella had gotten up on all fours and crawled headfirst into the headboard. She had headbutted it and was crying about that.

I picked her up, comforted her and got her quiet again. I come back into the living room and start on the laundry again. A few minutes later, I hear another scream, although this time, it isn't quite as loud. Tessa and I go running again. This time, Ella had her arm caught in the crib railing. I didn't put the bumpers up because I know it can be dangerous to use them.

This goes on for at least 30 minutes, and before too long, she is crying for no reason before I can even get sat down to fold the laundry. I think my biggest problem with crying it out is it just feels unnatural for me. If my baby is crying, I feel a sort of primordial urge to go to them, to see what they need and to help them. I just can't not respond.

I eventually knew it was going to go on all night, and I had things to do. I picked Ella up, came back in the living room, sat on the couch with her and patted her bottom. Within minutes, she was back to sleep. Now, she had gone to sleep in my arms earlier in the night but woke right back up as soon as I laid her down. So, this time, I held her longer. I sat here for 15 minutes, and when I laid her down, I made sure she stayed on her side instead of rolling over. Eureeka!!! She stayed asleep.

She slept from 8:45 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. I wish she had slept longer, but I still like that she did a straight stretch in her own bed. Tonight, well, it's not been as easy, but I'll do another blog post about that tomorrow night when I see how she does for the rest of the night. And, tonight, she has a roommate -- Tessa.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vote for me, please

Do you see that brown little post it picture in the corner at the top? It goes to, and you can vote for my blog.

If you are reading this on BabyCenter, please just visit my blog at and place a vote for me, especially if you like reading what I've written.

Sleep training

Tonight is going to be Ella's first night in her crib. She has spent the last seven months either sleeping in her swing, on me or beside me. She keeps waking up at 3 a.m., and she is starting to outgrow the swing. It's time to move her to her crib.

I would love to co-sleep with her like I did Tessa, but there are several problems with this. Tessa still sleeps with us. Yes, I know she's seven. Yes, I know she needs to be in her bed, but at this point, she needs her sleep and so do we. So, she sleeps in our bed. I'm hoping she'll see that Ella can sleep in her bed by herself and will feel bad about not sleeping in her own. This means there is no room for her in our bed. The next problem is that Brian doesn't want to co-sleep. He thinks we created the monster with Tessa, and maybe we did. I think if I had moved Tessa to her own bed at 18 months or so, she wouldn't be sleeping with us today.

The reason I didn't move her then was that a little girl in Florida was kidnapped from her room and killed. I was so paranoid that I just couldn't do it with Tessa. Our room was on the other side of the house, and I was so afraid I wouldn't hear someone if they came in the window. So, this is the first time I've ever had a baby not in the room with me.

My plan of attack has changed just in the last hour or so. I was going to rock her to sleep and put her down in the crib. Well, I did that for her nap, and the minute I laid her in the crib, she woke up. It's going to happen again and again. So, tonight, I'm going to put her down in there awake, turn off the light and leave the room. I can't let her cry. Crying it out goes against everything I believe in about parenting. It's hard enough putting her in the crib.

If she cries, I'm going to go in there and comfort her. I am hoping she will fall asleep easily. If she doesn't, I'll be going in there all night. I will not let her cry. Wish me luck that this goes well. She will probably be fine. I'll be a nervous wreck.

Making money from my blog

I am trying to generate revenue from my blog. I really needed to find a part time job this summer, and it isn't working out because no one wants to hire someone who is going to quit when school starts back.

I've done some freelance work, which paid pretty well. I decided to explore my options with my blog, and I've signed up with a service that will help me. I have to post a sentence to prove that I own this blog, so here it is.

The selfish philosopher rages.

If anyone knows of any other ways to make money with a blog, please let me know. I'm already doing the google adsense, and I'm going to start trying to find ways to bring more visitors to my blog.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The trip to Mississippi

The time spent with the inlaws wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't bad either. I've had worse trips. Our road trip there is a different story. It wasn't funny at the time, but I can look back at it now and laugh.

We got the van packed up and left about 3:30 p.m. We stopped and ate about two hours into the trip, and I thought the rest of the trip was going to be smooth sailing. I thought wrong. We had decided to take the Natchez Trace Parkway because we did it last year and all turned out fine. Well, last year, we did it in the daylight and without an infant.

Before we could get on it, though, Ella began to cry. I knew she wasn't hungry because I fed her at the restaurant. We were on a curvy, backroad with no place to pull over. Ella's nose was a little stuffy anyway, but the crying has made it worse. We finally come to a church and pull over in it's parking lot.

By the time we get pulled over, Ella is coughing. I got into the backseat with her, and Brian opened the van door on her side to see about her, too. The cough turned into choking. I'm not talking about the cough choke that babies do. This was full-on turning red and blue, not able to make a sound choking. Brian and I were both fumbling to undo her car seat, and I finally screamed at him to stop. As I'm unbuckling her, I'm picturing losing my baby there on the side of the road. This part will never be funny, and I can honestly say I have never been this scared before. I finally get her out, lean her over my leg and pat her on the back. A huge wad of mucus came flying out, and she started breathing and crying again. I almost cried myself. I shook for an hour.

Ella finally calmed down, and we got on the road again. Not 15 minutes later, she started in again. Tessa begged me to let her sit in the front and for me to move to the back. Truth be told, I wanted to be back there with her, but I didn't want Tessa to sit up front, not with the air bags. I agreed to let her move up there, if Brian could figure out how to turn them off. We pull over again, and Brian spends the next 15 minutes trying to figure out how to turn them off. He eventually does it,and we head off again.

We get on the Natchez Trace Parkway, and I pat Ella to sleep. It is starting to get dark. As we are driving along, a huge deer jumps out in front of us. We almost hit it, and I about have a panic attack. I know Brian has turned off the air bags, but it worries me that it might deploy anyway with Tessa up front. I really want to get back up front, but I don't want Ella to choke again.

Rosie is in her crate, and she starts to whine because she needs to go to the bathroom. Brian decides to pull over to let her do her business. The Natchez Trace Parkway has various places to pull over, and we take the first one we come to. It winds down and down and down forever until we get to a place for her to go. Tessa also decides she needs to go. So, we try and kill two birds with one stone. I get back up front.

By the time we get back on the Parkway, it is pitch black. While it has places to pull off to go the bathroom, you can't see them until you are already past them because there are no streetlights and then there are no places to turn around. I don't like this at all, and Rosie starts to whine again. She has to go alot, and that night was no different. So, we have to pull over again.

It takes Brian nearly 30 minutes to find another place to pull over. He gets Rosie out and takes her to grassy area to go. The sliding door on the driver's side is wide open, and a huge horse fly comes in. It flies straight into Tessa's hair, and she starts to scream, a loud blood-curdling, someone is murdering me scream. The fly gets untangled out of Tessa's hair, flies over and hits Ella in the face, and she promptly starts to scream again. That dumb fly buzzes to the front and gets in my hair. By this time, Rosie is barking, and Brian is running to the van, thinking we are being murdered while the dog goes pee.

He gets the fly out, and Ella is hysterical. I get her out of the carseat, hold her up to my shoulder, and her paci falls out. There are no lights in this parking area, except for our headlights. I can't see the paci anywhere. Brian bends down and feels around and still can't find it. I finally get him to back up, and I find the paci. It had bounced halfway across the parking lot.

Ella finally gets to sleep. Rosie is in her crate. I'm in the front seat, and we're back on the pitch black road. Not even five minutes later, I hear, "Momma, I gotta poop."

In my head, I'm saying, "Damn, damn, damn," but I reply sweetly, "You are going to have to hold it until we can find a bathroom." Brian drives and drives, but there are no rest stops with restrooms. In the back seat, Tessa is making the "I gotta poop, but there is no bathroom" noises kids make in situations such as this. We go past an empty parking area, and Tessa says, "Momma, I'm about to poop my pants. I can't hold it any longer."

Brian does a U-turn in the middle of the road. At this point, we don't care if there is no bathroom. Tessa is just going to have to do her business in the grassy area. We pull over and get out. I hear the tiny little meows of baby kittens and so does Tessa. As soon as she sees the two tiny little things, she forgets all about her urgent need to go poop.

"Momma," she said, "they are too little to take care of themselves. We have to do something."

I am not a huge fan of cats anyway, but these kittens are tiny. They look small enough they would have to be bottlefed. I finally talk Tessa into leaving them. Brian and I each pick one up and put it back in the grass. They are wild and scratch our hands. I tell Tessa she needs to go, and she said, "I don't need to anymore." I was seriously about ready to scream.

The kittens had crept back over to us, and Tessa was back to begging us to take them with us. They had come out from under a sign in the grass, so I kind of urged them back over to it. I heard noises come from behind the sign. I'm not sure what it was, but I told Tessa I heard their momma. I don't like lying to her, but I think at this point it was justified.

We finally got off the Parkway, and Tessa had to go again. This time finding a place for her to go was easy. After we started again, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for the last hour and a half of the trip. Ella also stayed asleep until we got there. Even though I hate going to my inlaws, I was never so glad for a road trip to be over with, and we didn't take the Parkway back home.

On a different note, we went fishing on the boat on Sunday. My father-in-law had two poles set up on the back of the pontoon. Tessa said, "Look momma, it's a dragonfly," and sure enough, there was a dragonfly resting on the end of the pole. I knew Jenna was there with us, even if we were with people who choose not to acknowledge or remember her.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I have never been a huge fan of summer. I don't do well in the heat, and in Tennessee, it gets sweltering hot in the summer months. As a child, I loved school and always wanted to be there, so that made the time go even slower. The only good thing was I got to stay at my granny's all day, and I loved her so much.

Fall was, and is, my favorite time of the year. I know many people correlate spring with new beginnings but for me, fall signifies that. I guess it's because it was always the start of the school year, full of promises of what was to come.

While I liked the other seasons better, I never hated summer until two years ago. Now, I hate July and August. We received our results from the AFP test on July 9. The next day we had our Level 2 ultrasound that showed a possible cystic hygroma and club foot. From that day on, I was never the same. A small part of me still had hope then, but I knew, deep down, she had it and I was going to lose her.

July 18, we had the amniocentesis done. We received the FISH results July 23 and then the full results July 29. Just a few short days later, we were making the disastrous trip to Atlanta. On Aug. 11, we found out she was dead, and she was born the next day.

Two summers ago was spent in a fog. I barely remember July, August and most of September. I basically did what I had to do to get through it. And I did. I got through it, but I will not ever be the same again.

I wish I could reclaim summer and not have it be a constant reminder of our tragedy. I am trying to think of something to do this year to remember Jenna, something all of my friends and family members can do to remember her, too. I don't want it to be morbid or to make it seem like I dwell on the situation. I want it to be about a baby girl who never even took a breath yet touched people all over the world.

I saw a story on Facebook about a baby girl who died of a heart problem. Her family had everyone wear pink and do something good for someone else on a day to commemorate her life. I am thinking of doing something similiar, such as have everyone wear purple and say something nice to someone or do something to make someone's day.

I still have two months to come up with exactly what I want to do, but I am going to do it. If you have any suggestions, I am fully open to them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weekend plans

Friday afternoon we will be leaving to head to my inlaws home in Mississippi. We usually go twice a year, but we haven't been since last August due to me being pregnant and my school schedule. Not going hasn't bothered me a bit, but since I am out of school and not working, I no longer have any excuse.

We haven't seen them since November. They came the weekend after we came home from the hospital with Ella and stayed two hours. That weekend, they stayed with friends one town over and could have come over on Friday or Sunday and could have stayed longer than two hours. As much as I didn't want them to stay over night, I wouldn't have begrudged them an extra long visit, nor would I have had a problem with them coming more than one day. Honestly, even though I don't like having them around or being around them, it makes me mad they didn't care to stay longer or want to be around their newest grandchild.

I have a really hard time with them anyway. I didn't particularly care for them before our children were born, but they totally ruined Tessa's homecoming when she was born. Then, when Jenna was stillborn, they couldn't even come down for the memorial service. Two things happened after her death that I will never be able to forgive them for doing. I've mentioned it before, but I'll tell the story again.

At Christmas 2008, we went to Mississippi to visit them. This was the week of my due date with Jenna. My father in law asked how I was doing, and Brian said that it had been a really hard week for me because it was my due date with Jenna. My father in law said, "What the hell is a Jenna?"

Brian just said, "Your dead granddaughter." I was busy with Tessa, and I let it go. Now, I wish I hadn't. I wish I had told him how bad that hurts me. My family knows her name. My mom and aunt held her. The whole weekend we were in Mississippi, I waited for my mother in law to bring it up. She didn't, so I asked her if she wanted to see her pictures. When she looked at them, she said, "Well, that was kind of sad, wasn't it?"

I should have said more than I did, but I couldn't. And, now I don't know how to get passed this. Everything they do and say makes me mad. I know I'm going to hear how we aren't raising Tessa right, how we don't feed her well enough, how she's just lazy (like they thought Brian was) in regards to her schoolwork. They are going to gush over Ella and ignore Tessa. I'll have to hear about how wonderful our nephew is and about everything they've given him (including a truck), when they can barely give our girls any kind of gifts. Boys are just better than girls, you know (like they told Tessa last year before we found out Ella was a girl).

I hate making this trip. I am trying to look forward to going out on the boat, fishing and swimming, but even those perks don't make up for the crap they are going to put us through and the crap they've put us through in the past. I just wish I could get over it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moving on

I am pushing past the feelings of shame and guilt. They are what they are, and I am entitled to feel them. I am not entitled to let those feelings affect how I treat Tessa or the plans I make regarding her education, so I am getting over them and will do my best to help her thrive and succeed, no matter what we find out in the course of the testing this summer.

Having dyslexia is certainly going to affect her life, and it will make some things harder, but people do succeed in spite of, and maybe even because of, learning disabilities. It is not a death sentence.

I have already been given one of those for one of my children, and this doesn't even come close. Yes, it hurts that Tessa may have a learning disability, but as I thought about it last night, I realized nothing hurts worse than hearing "Incompatible with Life" or "I'm sorry, sweetie, but there's no heartbeat." I thought about my friend Stephanie and her little Logan, and how she would give anything to have him here, learning disability or not. I think about all my friends here in deadbabyland, and I have come to a conclusion.

In the grand scheme of things:

It's not a big deal.

We will get through this. She will learn and thrive because we will help her. All that matters is that she's here with us, and we love her. She is and always will be my high-spirited spunky little girl.