When I Became a Mom

From the moment that I heard his first cry, my main focus in life has been my son’s welfare and happiness.  For the first year of his life, I listened all night to make sure that he was breathing, barely sleeping.  Once we made it past the SIDS scare in the first year of life, I sat up with him at night because of asthma attacks.  To help him breathe better, we equipped our house with a special filtration system, so that we could clean the air of his allergens.  Then, when he started pre-school, I volunteered for all of the parties, bringing special foods that he could eat with his allergies.  I made gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free food fun for him and his friends.  I thought the food was difficult until he began to have difficulty in school and my husband and I spent a large chunk of our savings getting testing for him to force the school to address his learning disabilities.  And, every year we continue to fight to make sure that he has what he needs to learn at school.

I know that I am not alone.  There are many Moms working hard everyday to raise their children.  This weekend and everyday I celebrate us hardworking Moms.  Here’s to us!  Happy Mother’s Day!

How do you measure your success as a mother?

When my son was a baby, I measured my success by his growth, milestones, health and his happiness. The matrix was easy to follow, and I felt very successful. Well, I’m not saying that there weren’t any challenges. He had asthma and food and environmental allergies that could be difficult to manage. However, I was able to stabilize his allergies and asthma, and he grew into a beautiful happy healthy boy.

 

For years I was able to manage him and felt very successful as a mother. Albeit, the older he grew the more complicated the matrix became. It started including his performance in school, sports, the community, family, chores and friendships. And, every time I begin to feel like I have a handle on how to make him successful, the matrix changes. At this point, I believe that my success as a mother is my commitment to my son. I keep pushing and supporting him to be all that he can be, and love him no matter what the results. How do you measure your success as a mother?

 

Share and Share Alike

What I enjoy most about being part of the Motherhood Society is our sharing with each other. I have a friend who has been a mom longer and gave me good advice about disciplining my son. She had more experience and success with this issue and helped me find my way.

 

Today, I had the honor of helping her with recipes and places to find gluten free and dairy free food for her son. While her son is having problems at 12, my son has been allergic since birth. I have spent the last 8 years developing recipes and resources for my son. She was horrified to find out that she would have to cook to make the recipes. I told her about the Tourette’s syndrome that happened to me when I started cooking and burning my fingers. And, we said what we always do “They’re worth it!” What have you learned from another mother? What have you shared with another mother?

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!

While this site celebrates the mothers and Mother’s Day every day, I would be remise if I did not recognize the fathers on this weekend. Moreover, I want to especially recognize my husband, the father of my son.

Like most fathers, my husband enjoyed all the sex necessary to make a baby. What made him extra special was his support during the infertility treatment. In fact for a trauma present, he bought me my first Prada handbag (which I had wanted for many years). Hearing our son’s heartbeat for the first time during the ultrasound made it all worthwhile.

Trying to keep a straight face, he sat in the birthing classes with me. We couldn’t resist laughing when the breastfeeding coach referred to breast milk as fast food. “Do you want fries with that shake?” I mumbled, which almost got us kicked out of the class.

To be prepared, we practiced breathing for months before the delivery. We even practiced what he should say. “My friend said her husband said that’s gotta hurt when the baby came out. Don’t ever say that!”

And, when that day came, all of our preparation went out the window. “Give me drugs,” I screamed when the hard labor started.” I finished with “Screw the breathing. You try breathing with these contractions.” It was a long and draining day. At 10 hours and counting, the nurses urged him to take a break. He leaned over to say “I’m really tired. Is it okay if I take a break?” To his credit, he stopped leaving when I shot him a look and said “You need a break!” When he stayed, I never felt so loved.

Returning home with our boy, we took shifts to make sure that we each got sleep. Rushing home from work each day, he would feed my son and hold him in the evening while I slept. Waking up one evening, I came into the TV room to find him smiling with my son asleep on his chest.

When it came to teaching our son nothing was beneath his dad. One day I walked into the living room to find my husband on the floor with our son, “see how you get up on your hands and knees to crawl. Come on you can do it,” he encouraged my son to crawl. In my secret stash of pictures, I have a picture of my son’s tiny butt next to his dad’s as they were crawling together. I would show you but I have been strictly forbidden to publish it.

Don’t get me started on the challenges that he has embraced with our son’s allergies. Although much of what our son eats is foreign to Dad, he drives miles out of his way to buy vegan cheese, ice cream and bake goods. Since his favorite activity as a child was to go for ice cream, he has started eating Vegan ice cream with his son as a one of their bonding experiences. “That’s the kind of love I have you,” he said.

Another bonding time for them has been roller coasters. Because he couldn’t wait to start riding roller coasters with our son, he started when our son was 18 months on the little caterpillar at Edaville Railroad. Graduating to the Polar Coaster at Storyland and Rudy’s Rapid Transit Coaster at Santa’s Village, they have been working their way through roller coasters. Last year they rode the Aerosmith coaster at Disney, which led to all of our concerns with the dreaded 80’s gene.

When our son was old enough, they started taking Taekwondo together and practicing at home. At the first testing when my son looked like a deer in the headlights, my husband sat next to him with his arm around him. Now that they are in weapons class, I have to be careful when I am walking through the house. “Sorry mom,” I have heard on more than one occasion.

When I was tucking my son into bed one night, he asked me “why did you wait so long to have me? I was waiting in heaven for soooo long.” My answer to him was “I waited until I found the perfect daddy for you.” I continued, “I only want the best for you. I love you,” I finished and kissed him on the head. Smiling he nestled into his blankets and said, “Thanks mom.”

Family Traditions

One of the best parts of being a mom is creating new family traditions.  Prior to my son’s birth, Memorial Day was for barbecues and laughing with friends.  It was great to have the day off.  Everything shifted with my son’s arrival.  Instead of burgers and beer, we started a new tradition of racing to the emergency room.

“He’s not breathing,” I screamed, as I scooped up my son and ran down the stairs.  I found the Epi pen and quickly treated him.  Even with the epinephrine, he was barely breathing.  We rushed him to the hospital for treatment.  When he finally started breathing on his own, I was so relieved.

“What can we give him to stop these attacks? I asked the doctor.  “They are getting worse!”  They sent us home with a nebulizer and referral to an allergist.  With the nebulizer, we were better able to treat the wheezing before it would turn into a full blown allergy attack.  In order to get him to put the nebulizer tip in his mouth, we told him that it would give him special powers.

In fact, the Albuterol had the power to make him crazy.  He would run in circles, making himself wheeze and vomit the length of the house.  We invented a new family game called Stop the Toddler.  My husband would take one end of the living room and I would take the other.  We would gradually move in on the target until we could tackle him and make him sit still.  During one such game, he broke loose and ran face first into the refrigerator, bouncing back and then continuing to run.  It was like watching Wiley Coyote.

Looking for a way to change this family tradition, we went to an allergist.  “There isn’t much we can do at this age,” the allergist said.  “Until he is 4, you need to keep him away from his allergens.  We can draw his blood and test it for allergies.”

After 6 vials and one terrified 2 year old, we met with the allergist again.  “His immune system is still forming, so the test was inconclusive.  I recommend that you keep him away from anything that you are allergic to.”  He continued, “to be safe, I would keep him away from nuts as well.  I find most of the children with allergies have some kind of nut allergy.”  So, along with avoiding wheat, dairy and soy (which he had vomited back at us), we made sure that he did not eat any nuts.

Also, since he seemed to have a severe reaction to the pollen in May, we built a play land in our house.  Instead of going to the park, we created a park in our living room.  By isolating him and keeping him in a bubble, we reduced his attacks and he stabilized for a while.

So, we thought that we could try to go to a barbecue again.  Within minutes he started coughing so hard from the mucus in his lungs that he vomited the mucus and his food all over us.  In our family, this is called getting slimed.  Apologizing to our friends and cleaning up the mess, we went home for another game of Stop the Toddler.

Hoping to create new Memorial Day traditions, we have started a new round of testing and treatment for his allergies.  Keep your fingers crossed.   If we get our wish, he will barf next year from too many hotdogs and not the pollen.