Saturday, September 28, 2013

Deep Thoughts



After surviving the first month of school, working part time, running my own sweet little preschool, and taking care of my family I should be on a high.  I am proud of all that I have accomplished with the preschool.  It has been such a rewarding experience to be teaching again, in a small and intimate setting.  It is everything I have dreamed about.

There is a small glitch in this little dream world.  She is almost two years old and she has taken motherhood to a new level of worry for me and my family.

I started blogging about Grace’s head banging last spring.  In the past six to nine months it has not improved.  If anything, it has gotten excessively worse.  Instead of sleeping peacefully like my other children did at this age Grace spends a majority of her time rocking on all fours while silently/gently banging her head into her bumper.  This all started at around one year for her, and it has just never stopped.  I had read about children who did different soothing behaviors to fall asleep, and at first this is what we thought she was doing.  But, then we slowly started to notice on the monitor her doing it again and again at different points in the night.  Then she was waking up at 1 or 3 am and rocking again.  We were never sure how long she was doing it, because usually Chris and I are dead asleep then, and she does it so quietly that we don’t hear her.  There are some nights during the week when it does wake us up. 

In June my mother made her a weighted blanket.  It worked like magic for 10 days, and then it wore off.  She still sleeps with it every night, but often she will still rock with it on her back.  Then in July we began to give her Melatonin before bed, because she was rocking for hours to fall asleep.  Each night it was a battle between going to her to get her to stop, and allowing her to do this behavior.  When we would go back in her room, it would often times make her so upset that she would cry or rock harder.  We are just tormented watching her on the monitor and trying to figure out what the right thing to do is.

Throughout the summer Grace has been receiving speech and OT therapy for her speech delays and all of these sensory needs that she seems to be exhibiting at night through rocking.

Well, we are now just a few weeks short of her second birthday.  She has made leaps and bounds in her speech development.  But the rocking, oh the endless rocking just will not let up.  We again visited the doctor to make some decisions about moving forward with Grace and getting her help for her sleep.  He said that she is basically living in a sleep deprivation, and it is effecting so much of her life.  She is tired, cranky, tantrums over so much, and just the most difficult toddler around.  As per his request we visited the Kluge Children’s Hospital which is part of UVA last week.  We had yet another formal OT evaluation through Kluge and got some more information, but not any definitive answers.  In two weeks we are visiting a pediatric sleep specialist through UVA.  I am hoping that we will finally meet the right person that will know how we can help our little girl get the rest she so needs and deserves. 

Before going to the sleep specialist Chris and I decided that we were going to video tape Grace and perform our own informal sleep study.  The first nights results were so upsetting that I couldn’t even watch them.  She rocked for 20 to 30 minutes at 9:30 pm and 11 pm, but that isn’t the worst of it.  She didn’t just rock for 30 minutes or 40 minutes, she rocked for over two complete hours straight in the middle of the night.  From roughly 1:30 am to 3:30 she rocked.  Just writing it down makes my stomach sick.  Why is she doing it?  Why can’t she sleep?  Will she ever be able to sleep soundly and wake up feeling happy and rested?  What can we do to help her?

I am praying for some peace for her and for us.  I am praying for the right people to come across our path and tell us what to do to help our baby girl.  I am praying for sleep. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Myrtle Beach 2013


I can’t believe that is already September. 

I have been up to my eyeballs in school prep, planning and transitioning to this crazy life of a part time working mom.  The transition to working five mornings a week has actually gone well for most of the family.  Grace is probably the most confused by the change and having mama leave each and every morning isn’t fun.  She starts crying the second the babysitter walks into the house.  She knows what is coming.  I am hoping that in just a few weeks we will all have this down to a science and the tears will be less and less. 

Being a working mom isn’t easy and I applaud all of the mommies that wake up early each and every day!  I totally understand both sides right now and each family has to make the best decisions they can.  I will say that the teaching preschool part of my day has been such a dream.  Getting to work with Ellie each and every morning is beyond fun.  She is so thrilled about school and is just a sponge for all of the activities I have been doing with the groups.  I am cherishing this time with her, before I know it I will be sending her on her way to kindergarten and I feel so lucky to be the one to prepare her for that!

Without letting too much time pass I wanted to share the pictures from our wonderful trip to Myrtle Beach.  We didn’t have the best weather and actually came home a day early due to so much rain!  But, the first few days were absolutely stunning. 


We actually had to do a little bit of a different beach trip this year.  Chris had started talking about closing his company in January of this year.  While he was still finishing up some projects and houses he started looking for a new job.  We were waiting for the right job opportunity to come along that would allow us to stay in our beautiful town that we love so very, very much.  When an awesome opening came about in May, he couldn’t pass it up.  Chris started a new job in June and we had to cancel our much loved OBX trip with Cali and Rick.  Chris was one week into his new job when we were scheduled to leave for OBX and we knew that would be too stressful.  So, we opted for a week at my parents condo in late August and it was still and wonderful time.  We really missed the girls and all of the fun we have with our big crew though!  Hopefully next year we can get it organized again!!


  One great thing about my parent’s condo is that it is right on the water.  Just step outside your door and you find your feet in the sand!  This was great for our kids, because we could run home to eat, take naps, and be back out swimming as soon as kiddos woke up!


The shore line at Myrtle Beach is also so so much calmer than OBX.  There is very little undertow, the waves are very small and calm, and there are lots of large tide pools that are perfect for little preschoolers and toddlers to splash in.  The girls just danced, played, and ran around in the pools everywhere!



The water was calm enough for Bradley to do a lot of boogie boarding.  He would spend almost the whole day in the water catching wave after wave.


I can’t get over how big his is and what a strong swimmer he has become!  Very impressive for a six year old!



For as much as Bradley was on the boogie board, Gracie spent almost her whole time digging in the sand.  She actually started saying “dig” and “pool” while we were at the beach.  I must have said dig a million times while playing with her.  Chris would line up her buckets with water or sand and she would go to town.



It was so fun to watch her focus and concentration while digging and pouring!



Ellie turned into quite the ham every time I started taking pictures while they were swimming.  I don’t know where she gets it from??


All in all it was an awesome little family trip!  The drive down was a bit hellish with tons of traffic, but we survived!  I still need to share some of the pictures from our adventures at the beach.  We got to go on a real pirate boat, which the kids have not stopped talking about.  More coming soon!

Now off to prep for school tomorrow!  Love, Clare