Monday, September 27, 2010

Kicking it with The Bucket

We pulled into the parking lot of the neighborhood park. It was a beautiful fall evening, and we were meeting some friends for a picnic. I put Evie in the Ergo, the deviled eggs in the stroller, and took Jonah's hand as I closed the van door. I thought I had gotten everything. Jonah threw his hands onto the closed door and started crying "Bupee!" He started to throw his head back and bounced up and down on his heels; an invariable sign that a tantrum is brewing. "BUPEE! BUPEEEEE!!!" What does he want??

It was clear that whatever he wanted was still in the van, so I opened the door, hoping to avoid the meltdown that now seemed imminent. Imediately Jonah lunged forward into the van, and with the same drama as a child who had been reunited with his lost dog, he grabbed an orange sand bucket and exclaimed "bupee!"

With disaster thwarted, I made a mental note that "bupee" means "bucket." Jonah has become quite attached to this little orange bucket. To him, it is the collector of all treasures. We used it to hold blueberries when we went blueberry picking. In the front yard, he fills it with hickory nuts, crab apples, and leaves. We go on nature walks down our street and come back with an orange bucket full of walnuts, seed pods, and pine cones.

Before putting each object into his bucket, he examines it thoroughly. He feels the texture, pokes at any imperfections,holds it up to his eyes reeeally closely, smells it, tries to break it apart or rip it. Then he drops it in with a satisfying clunk and continues on to the next piece of nature that he can manipulate.

He likes to stop collecting every now and then so he can shake the contents of his bucket. Sometimes he holds the handle and gives a quick jerk up and down to hear one loud "Thunk" of everything inside hitting the bottom all at once. Other times he grabs the bucket with both hands and shakes furiously back and forth. The contents often fall out, and he says "Uh oh" and scrambles to pick them back up. He has even begun saying the two word phrase "Back in!"

If life were perfect, everyone would have an orange bucket and a yard full of hickory nuts to fill it with.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Be it Ever so Humble

When Daryl and I bought our first home, times were different. We had been taught to invest in a home, put money into improving the property, let it gain equity, and in a few years when our expanding family is ready to move on, simply cash in on our investment, collect on the equity and appreciation, and upgrade to a larger more permanent home.

A year later, the concept of a "starter home" came crashing down with the housing market. We have moved on, but our ties to the home in Northeast Ohio have not. We are still homeowners, but we do not actually live in the home that we own. Instead, we've turned it into an "income property." It's called that, but we really are not making any income on it. We are barely breaking even most months. But, since we cannot sell the house and our tenants needed a place to live, it seems to have worked itself out.

Now the time has come and we are in a situation where we must move back to the Cleveland area. We looked at our options- buy another property, or rent. We went for the latter. It just makes sense. We are nowhere in the position to go further into debt just for a place to live.

The search has been on for a month. Daryl has been living in Cleveland with friends during the week, so that he can go to work and figure out our housing situation, and coming home on the weekends. This has been extremely tough for the whole family. Being a single mother during the week has been physically exhausting. But the emotional exhaustion has been even harder to deal with. Jonah will often wake up asking for Dada. When we take a car ride, he exclaims "Dada!" as soon as we reach our destination, as if he thinks we were riding in the car to see Daryl. Because we've been doing skype video conferences, he now sees a computer and freaks out, thinking he can talk to his dad on any computer (although this has improved and he's starting to realize that we only talk to Dada on the kitchen Mac) We are grateful for the weekends. There are many other families that live seperated for longer than this. But it is still hard to say goodbye every Sunday night, and still hard to face a two year old who wants dada to tuck him in at night.

But we have finally found a humble abode to call home sweet home. We are very excited about this house. Although it is a very teeny house, it will allow us to continue to live the aspects of our lifestyle that is important to us. It sits on two acres of land, with fruit trees already matured and producing. There is a fenced off area that has been previously tilled for a garden, with asparagus still growing. There is a solid fence around the yard, so that we can let our dog off leash (great for training) and I don't have to hover over Jonah to make sure he doesn't bolt into the street. I have permission from the landlady to put up a swing set for the kids and a clothesline for the diapers. There is a wood burning fireplace with a fan to heat the living area, and a wood burner stove in the partially finished basement. There is patio in the backyard as well as an area that is paved where we will set up Jonah's outdoor play things. It will be perfect for a basketball hoop!

We are thrilled to have such a wonderful place to call home. It does not bother us that we don't "own" it, it is still our home. We are pretty sad to be leaving the Perrysburg area. We had wanted to settle down in this area. We liked being in such an agricultural community. But it will be nice to be near our friends again. And although I am a little torn about leaving the place where my daughter was born, it will be nice to be living on our own as well!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Gold Stars

Gold Star 1
A lot of people are up in arms because of a very quick statement that a certain female doctor, on a certain tv show, made this past Friday. To be honest though, this doctor is not the only person I've heard say "You don't get any gold stars for having a natural birth."

As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be blogging about it if I didn't hear this repeatedly, from several different walks of life. This is what truly bothers me about it. It is insinuated throughout our culture that women who deliver their babies at home or without any pain medication, are doing it to show how tough they are.

First of all, I am not tough. I am a big wuss. I cry if I get a splinter. I was not out to show the world that I'm a super mom. I was not out to show that I'm a bed of nails. Because trust me, I'm not either of those things. I, like every other mother in the world, wanted to do what was best for my baby.

(now I'm gingerly placing the soapbox on the floor and stepping onto it) And furthermore, yes, I get a gold star for having my baby at home without any interference or medications. And yes, I get a gold star for having my son at a hospital through an induction. And yes, my friends who have had c-sections, they get gold stars. And my friends who have had epidurals get gold stars too. In fact, you might want to buy stock in the gold star market, because every woman who has ever given birth gets a gold star. Heck I'll give preliminary gold stars to those who will someday maybe give birth. It is the absolute hardest task that a woman takes on, so dammit yes we get gold stars. Every birth is beautiful. The moment that baby comes into the world, Mama, that moment is yours, whether it happened in a birth tub, the hospital bed, operating room, or backseat of the taxi. Don't let any doctor, midwife, medwife, or doula take that moment away from you. When you're giving that last push, or when you are behind that blue sheet heavy with anticipation, when your baby opens its eyes for the first time in this bright world, savor that moment. Sanctify it. Because that, my friend, is your gold star. And you earned it.
Gold Star 2

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Be Careful!

I always find myself grinding away at the phrase "Be careful!" It is heard at least four times a minute around my house. Jonah has what they call poor motor planning skills. Meaning, he can't always make his body do what he wants it to do. He has a hard time coordinating all of his body parts to move appropriately in certain situations. He finds it difficult to adapt to different terrains or obstacles. For example, our playground has an area that is padded with woodchips. There is a grassy field just beyond this area. If Jonah wants to go from the wood chips to the grass, it is hard for him to keep his balance when transitioning from textures of the ground beneath him. He often falls down. He also has a hard time realizing where his body is at in relation to things, so he always bumps his head or walks into things. Sitting in a chair is quite a chore for him because he has to figure out how to get his body into the chair, and through a feat of several changes of his center of gravity, get his legs in the proper position for sitting.

And so I drill the mantra "Be careful, Jonah!" like a broken record, over and over. Be careful on the stairs, be careful when your sister is on the floor, be careful when getting into a chair to sit down, be careful when you are petting the dog. Just be careful!

But recently I've come to realize that all of these warnings to be careful don't really help Jonah that much. Seconds after being warned "be careful!" he tips the chair over, or he trips over something most kids would step over.

What would be more helpful is telling Jonah *how* to be careful. He needs someone to give him information about the environment he's navigating. Saying "you're on the slippery part now, walk slowly" is better than shouting "Be careful!" when he is on the climber at the playground. Telling him that his sister is on the floor, so he should not step in that area of the room is much more effective than telling him to simply watch out for Sissy.

Imagine living life in that old computer game called minesweeper. The numbers tell you how to navigate through the cells without clicking on a mine. They give you information about the surrounding cells. You know you must be cautious, and you are gaining information to do so. Now imagine that instead of numbers (useful information) the cells only had random markings. You now have no idea which cells are safe to click on and which ones contain mines. There is no useful information. You will most likely hit a mine in just a few clicks.

This is what it is like to simply tell Jonah "be careful." He knows he must, but he cannot process any information to tell him what it means to be careful in that situation.

It's really hard to remember to do this. I usually catch myself saying "be careful" first, and then I remember to add on "be careful, the cup is very full. Don't tip it as much."

I think that this would be helpful for all children, not just those with sensory processing disorder, autism, or poor motor planning skills. I wish I had come across this little piece of wisdom when I was teaching preschool. It would have saved me from a bit of repeating myself!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato Soup Part 1

Something that I've only ever bought in a can from the grocery store, and never really gave it much thought, is tomato soup. It is one of the few things that never occurred to me to make from scratch. For whatever reasons, I've never looked at a tomato and thought "Hmmm... good soup!"

But when my sister graced upon us the bounty of her garden, I had to find something to do with all of these:
of all the suggestions I got, the most appealing was one of the simplest. Tomato soup! As usual, I did not really measure, but here's the gist of what I did!

Olive Oil
Onion, coarsely chopped
Garlic, coarsely chopped
Tomatoes, diced
Chicken Stock
heavy cream
Basil, Chives, Oregano, Cilantro, Parsley, Salt and Pepper
Corn Starch

First I diced the tomatoes. A lot of people shy away from dicing because they make it much more difficult than it should be. Dicing a tomato is simple. This is dicing a roma tomato, but I do globe tomatoes in a similar way. First you slice the tomato in half lenghtwise
then slice the halves in half again, lengthwise

Stack the two slices on top of each other again and slice from end to end
then slice across the width. It might take some practice to get used to holding all of the tomato slices together while you keep slicing in different directions. Just remember to keep your fingers clear of the blade!When you're done, you'll have a nice diced tomato for salsa, soup, tacos, or salads!

After dicing the tomatoes, I warmed a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot. I added the onions and garlic to the oil and cooked until the onion turned translucent. You don't want the oil to be too hot, or it will carmelize your onions and burn the garlic. It should be just starting to "shimmer" when you add the onions, and over a low to medium heat.

Once the onions were tranlucent, I added the tomatoes and herbs. Be careful as the oil might splatter! Stirring, I cooked over medium heat until most of the juices were released from the tomatoes and it was simmering. I added the chicken stock. I did not add water at this point, but if you are feeding a crowd you can add some, or if you are vegetarian you can use water (or veggie stock) instead of the chicken stock. Also, the one seasoning you may want to leave out until the end is pepper. Pepper can acquire a bitter taste when cooked, so it is actually best left until the end.

I let the soup simmer over medium heat for about twenty minutes. Then in a small bowl, I used a fork to whisk some heavy cream into about two tablespoons of corn starch.It's important to put the corn starch into the bowl first and add the cream to that, very slowly. Whisk until there are no lumps. Depending on how you like your soup, you might want to experiment with the amount of cornstarch. Just remember, you can always add more, but you can't take it out! Stir the cornstarch and cream mixture into the soup. Add more cream to the soup. If you are concerned about fat and calories, you can use milk instead.

I chose to leave my soup chunky, but at this point it can be blended, or for the really texture picky it can be blended and put through a strainer. The problem with straining it is that you miss out on all of the fiber and nutrients that are retained in the pulp and skins of the tomatoes! You can serve tomato soup with so many little twists. I love to add some shredded cheddar cheese, a dallop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chives on top of mine. My preschoolers always loved to put goldfish crackers into their tomato soup, and they must have been onto something because recently I saw tomato soup in the store that is canned with goldfish crackers already in it!

My family liked the soup so well that I made a condensed version to try out my new pressure canner with. Basically, I only added a little bit of water, no stock or cream. I will update later in the week about how my first attempt at pressure canning goes. Frankly, I'm a little concerned. If anyone has any tips or advice on pressure canning, please let me know!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flashback Foto Friday

The Very Hungry Jonah! About a week old (I think?)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Halloween Costumes

"What do you want to be for Halloween?" I knew he wouldn't understand this question. He has no concept of Halloween whatsoever, and we are still working on the idea of playing dress up. Last week we went to the Toledo Zoo, where they have different stations for kids to dress up like the animals. Jonah dressed up like a bee, and it was the first time that I could see an inkling of "pretend" in his play outside of his toy kitchen. In the bee costume, he climbed the giant honeycomb, peering at the behives behind the plexiglass cutouts in the wall, saying "sssssssss" (his version of a buzz.)

Yet even though I didn't expect him to understand what the question meant, he seemed to be giving it quite a bit of consideration. After few moments of what looked like deep thought, he replied "Ball!"

Ball is Jonah's answer to almost every question. Sports are one of his favorite topics. I suppose he could be a football player or basketball player. But it seems to me that a trick or treat costume should consist of more than putting a jersey on. Afterall, he wears his basketball and football jerseys all the time if given a choice. A friend suggested crafting a paper mache basketball costume for him. Yes, she suggested making him the actual ball. Cute idea, but I am not quite ready to put *that* much effort into a halloween costume. Maybe in a year or two when he really understands, and when he himself is able to put as much thought and effort into his costume, but for a two year old, I am not going to spend hours trying to turn him into a basketball!

A catalog for a costume company came in our mail. I showed it to Jonah and asked "which one does Jonah like?" He flipped through the pages and stopped on one. "DA!!!" He shouted. He was really excited "DA! DA!" He pointed to a picture of a little girl dressed as Dora the Explorer. "You want to dress as Dora?" I laughed. "Bap Bap." He went across the room and picked up his back pack. "Bap bap!" He repeated. He made me put it on him. "Da. Bap bap." He said, quite pleased with himself.

I'm wondering what the neighbors will think if I let him dress as Dora for trick or treat. Perhaps Eve can be Boots the Monkey!

I'm trying to talk him into being a lion. Then I could dress Eve as Dorothy Gail, myself as Glinda, and our puppy as Toto. But I'm not going to force him; I want him to be something he'll enjoy dressing as.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nausea and Breastfeeding

After about a week or so of breastfeeding Evelyn, I noticed something strange. Every time I nursed her, I got extremely nauseated and light headed. At first, I thought maybe the room was too warm, or perhaps I was over tired. But as the weeks passed, I realized that it is not just a coincidental occurance. I was getting nauseous right as my milk was letting down. I also noticed an extreme thirst during this nausea. Sometimes having water at hand while nursing would help the thirst, but other times it felt like I could drink all of Lake Erie and still be thirsty.

For a while I just lived with it. It no longer happens with every feeding, but still often enough to make me wonder what is causing it. And so I turned to that modern marvel we call Google.

I entered in the terms "Nausea and Breastfeeding" "Thirsty while nursing" and "Nausea Thirst Breastfeeding." I thought it might be helpful to post what I found, because other women might be suffering from this as well, and curious about what is causing it.

As usual, the culprit is hormones! A buzz word in childbearing these days is Oxytocin. The feel good hormone. The attachment hormone. The love hormone. It wears many hats. I've done quite a bit of reading about it over the past couple of years. Both women and men have a surge of it during orgasm. It causes contractions during labor, and is present in high amounts in the placenta. It is thought to create "maternal instinct" during labor, and attachment to your partner during intercourse. I read about a study that found men have a surge in oxytocin while kissing. It is shown to relieve stress and eliminate feelings of sadness and depression. And, it causes milk let down while breastfeeding. Thinking of your baby, or hearing a baby cry, can cause oxytocin to be released, which is why we have the unfortunate tendency to gush anytime we are around a crying infant.

This surge of oxytocin to bring forth the milk is the cause for nausea during let down. According to, oxytocin "helps make digestion more efficient and is associated with other gut hormones that can cause nausea."

All of the websites that I've found suggest: eating carbs and protein immediately before or during nursing, such as peanutbutter crackers; keeping well hydrated throughout the day and drinking one or two glasses of water before/during nursing; laying down to nurse; wearing seabands made for motion sickness; expressing milk from over-full breasts before nursing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Running Through Thick and Thin

"Are you CRAZY???!!!" My neighbor shouted from her driveway. I don't have time to answer that... 20 seconds..19..18.. do I really want to answer that? "JESS! What are you doing?" This is one of the few neighbors that I have gotten to know during the two years we've lived in this neighborhood. She has two children herself and is a member of our playgroup. She is the only neighbor who knew about our homebirth, and probably the only one that would have understood it. "What are you doing?" She yelled as I approached her house.

"Running!!" I panted back, passing her neatly arranged flower bed around her mailbox.

"But.. you just had a BABY!"

I raised my hand and gave a backwards wave toward her, a loose gesture to acknowledge her sentiment but also to let her know I don't have time to talk. 9 seconds... 8...5..3.. and done. I slowed the stroller down to a quick walking pace. I was using my phone to time myself. Although it isn't perfect, it does its job. A few minutes later I broke into a fast jog again.

I just had a baby. Well, I had a baby six weeks prior. It wasn't like she had come out of the womb and I jumped up and started running. It was something I had contemplated throughout pregnancy. Running, like karate and dancing (and oh yes, sleep) was something I had traded in for my "mommy" title. Before having Jonah, I was very physically active. Running was different than my other activities though. I trained in karate to make myself stronger, and to be able to defend myself against an attacker if need be. I danced to bring myself joy, to socialize, and to express myself physically and artistically. But running... I ran because I was pissed. When I had started running, I was going through a miscarriage. My husband was leaving me. I was alone, and broken, and pissed. At life, at my body, at my God. I was just pissed. And so, despite my doctor's orders to stay in bed, I ran. I had a lot to run from.

As time went on, and I grew less pissed, I learned to make running a meditation for myself. I found that it helped me control my asthma. I began losing weight. I was regaining confidence. I started dating again.

Then I met Daryl. Or I should say, I re-met Daryl. We had known each other before, but not very well. I often tell people he is the rock to my fire. I still, very sincerely, believe this. He is calm and rational, I am wild and emotional. From the moment we started dating, he has been my anchor. I didn't need to run the way that I had before. So when we found out that we were expecting a baby, I simply let it go. It didn't seem to fit. Not running as I knew it, anyway.

During this last pregnancy, I started to think about that dreaded baby weight. Women always talk about "taking that baby weight off." Well, with Jonah I resumed my pre-pregnancy weight shortly after he was born- and then proceeded to gain 25 lbs. That's an ugly number to gain *after* having a baby. I did not want the same thing to happen this time. I needed to have a plan ready. My previous weight loss before getting pregnant had been brought about by two things: preparing for my black belt test, and running. Karate is expensive and time consuming. Lots of equipment, and hours upon hours of training. Not really the best option. All I needed for running was a pair of shoes and a little time every two days.

Now, I have a different reason to be meditative when I run. I am not angry, nor do I need transformation. But I do need a means of centering myself. A way to untie knots from the stress of parenting. Something to ground myself. Although I often take the kids with me, using the jogging stroller (given to me by a truly awesome friend- I traded two jars of homemade jam for it!) Evie falls asleep and Jonah occupies himself looking for birds, so it is still time that I can dedicate inward.

I've been following the couch to 5k program, found here at cool running. Although I am now only on "week 8" of the nine week program, I decided to register for the Northeast Ohio Komen Race for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. My two goals were to run the entire 5k race in under a half hour, and to raise $200 for the cause. I only reached one goal. The final time on my clock at the finish line was 37 minutes. But I am proud of myself for trying, for crossing the finish line running, and for meeting my goal of raising $200. I achieved one goal, and now have another to aspire to.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fantastic Foto Friday

Buzzing Around at the Toledo Zoo

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Sisterhood of Travelling Breasts (finding bonds while nursing in public)

Nursing in public can seem intimidating, even for those who are experienced with it. Every time that we are out and Evelyn begins to fuss, I get a little nervous. It isn't the "terrified deer caught in the headlights" feeling that I got the first time I nursed Jonah in public, but it is still a little jolt of adrenaline as I unfasten my nursing bra. While I have no problem telling any nosy body to shove off, I really don't want to offend anyone- I just want to feed my baby. And so that overtone of "will I offend?" is always there. Lately I have seen a lot of women, on various blogs and websites, posting about their negative experiences with people over nursing their babies. I think that this makes the tinge of anxiety a little more dominant, and so I wanted to share two lovely, wonderful experiences I've had while nursing Eve while in public places.

A little over two months ago, I decided to buy myself some running shoes. This was a big deal. I was pregnant with Jonah the last time I bought myself a pair of shoes. And purchasing these shoes also meant that I was committing myself to spend at least a half hour every other day focusing on my health and well being. Also a big deal was that I was going to the mall to purchase these new running shoes. No internet shopping, no ten dollar deals from Payless; I was going to take my time and enjoy shopping for these shoes!

While we were in the sporting goods store, Eve started to fuss. There was nowhere to sit down, and Jonah was also getting restless in the double stroller. I made my purchase and headed out into the mall to find a place to feed Evie. There were plenty of benches and seats, and there was a food court, but Evie is easily distracted and I knew Jonah would get bored and start raising his antics. Then I spotted the Borders Books. I feel very comfortable in book stores, and I knew that Borders typically has comfy chairs in out-of-the-way quiet places throughout the store. And, Jonah could look at a book to keep busy! We went in, I found our quiet nook with a comfy chair, and got Jonah set up with a book and a few non-messy snacks. I sat down and started to nurse Evie. While I was nursing, Jonah wanted me to read the book to him.

I could tell at this point that there was a woman hovering near us. She kept glancing at us and then quickly flipped through a couple of CD's that were on the rack next to our chair. She did this for about ten minutes. Finally she came over to us and said "I'm sorry... that's just the most precious thing I've seen! Can I look at your baby?" I warned her that I was nursing, but she's welcome to look at the baby if she doesn't mind that. "That's why I want to look! Nursing is the most precious..." She was smiling ear to ear. She sat down and we talked for a little while about the joys of being a mother. She has three boys, all of them grown now. She told me she misses breastfeeding the most, out of all the wonderful things about having babies. This was probably one of the most intimate and meaningful conversations I've ever had with a perfect stranger. And all because I happened to be nursing my baby.

This past weekend, I took the kids to the library. Our library has a large play area for kids with a train table, duplo blocks, and a puppet theater. On the far end, near the duplo blocks, there is a big bench with pillows and cushions. Jonah went to play with the blocks and I noticed a woman with a baby crying under a blanket. The mom's face was flushed and red as she tugged and struggled between keeping the blanket on her shoulder (while the baby was kicking and pulling at it) and keeping the baby latched on. Evie was in the Ergo, and she started to fuss. Jonah was occupied with the blocks. I took Evie out of the carrier and she immediately started rooting. She cracks me up when she does this, because she will literally latch onto anything that comes into contact with her mouth- my arm, the ruffles on my shirt, etc. I sat down on the other end of the bench, keeping my eyes on what Jonah was up to, opened up my shirt, and fed Evie. I heard the other nursing mother exhale, as if she had been holding her breath the entire time. I glanced over at her and saw her looking at me and pulling the blanket off of her shoulder. Her baby stopped crying and latched on, and her face resumed it's natural color. We sat for a while, nursing our babies side by side. Then she let out a small laugh and said "thank you! I'm so glad to not be the only one nursing here."

I'm really glad to have had these experiences. It makes me feel not so alien when I have to feed Eve in a public area. It makes me feel as if I'm part of a larger sorority of breastfeeding moms. And today when we went to the zoo with our neighbor, and Eve started to fuss I caught myself wondering "will it offend my friend if I start nursing???" but I reminded myself of these two wonderful women that I met through breastfeeding and immediately I felt supported. My friend of course, did not mind a bit and I was able to confidently feed Evie throughout our playdate.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

D is for Doctors

It was around Christmas time that I realized how much more time Jonah spends in doctors offices than regular kids. I was trying to schedule a playdate with some friends, and it was just about impossible with our schedule.

"What about Tuesday?"

"He has a pediatrician follow up." I said rolling my eyes. "It's the fourth time we've been to see her this month." I was expecting empathy from the other mothers. I was expecting some kind of "Oh I know, aren't doctors offices the worst!" or "Geeze, I know. Everytime we turn around little Suzy is sick- kids are full of germs!" but instead, the other mothers gaped their mouths and I heard a resounding round of

Why does Jonah go to the doctor so much? At the time I could not answer this question. All I knew was that a typical week for us could include at least two visits to the medical complex that housed Dr. M's office and the lab. Don't other kids get croup and ear infections? Don't other kids suffer from allergies? Don't other kids get strange infections?Isn't amoxicillin a staple in every household refrigerator?

No, it turns out; most families I know simply take their child to the doctor for their well visits, and some of them don't even do that. Sure there's a random flu here or chicken pox there, but for the most part their kids hardly see the inside of a doctor's office. Most kids Jonah's age have never had their blood drawn, and other mothers are shocked if they find out how often Jonah has had bloodwork. As a matter of fact, they know him by name in the lab. And he knows the drill. He is a very brave little boy and knows he is to sit in the chair and hold his arm out. He watches them insert the needle and hardly cries. He is better than his mother who passes out at the sight of a needle!

Over time, our doctors have increased. Especially after he received the 22q deletion diagnosis. In addition to our pediatrician, Jonah has a regular cardiologist, gastro-intestinal, three ENT's, two audiologists, orthopedic surgeon, developmental pediatrician, two geneticists, a craniofacial surgeon, two speech pathologists, an immunologist, a dentist, and a partridge in a pear tree. We are lucky enough that there is a clinic being developed in Columbus specifically to treat children with 22q. Right now they are just working on logistics, but all of the specialists are there. This means that in one day, we can have all of Jonah's appointments taken care of. We have been to the "clinic" twice already, with our recent trip being this past Tuesday. Our first trip was relatively short. We visited the geneticists and had more bloodwork done, this time for the whole family. It took half of a day and we were home in Toledo by the late afternoon.

This past visit was almost unbearable. From 9:00 to 4:30, we carted both kids around the hospital to see various specialists. The "we" in that sentence refers to myself and my mother in law. I was grateful for her help, but at the same time I was already irritable from the long waits and the heat and the fact that Jonah had not had a nap. There were times that I had just wished I had brought the kids by myself. Not from anything she was doing, just from the stress of the day.

Most of the visits were pretty routine. We discussed the possibility of a future pharyngeal flap surgery with the craniofacial surgeon. Although Jonah is and has shown many signs of needing this surgery, they cannot really diagnose the problem until the child is old enough to speak on cue. We will be crossing this road again in one or two years when they can more adequately see how his muscles in the mouth are working. I was very pleased that he saw the dentist while we were there. I have been growing concerned ever since I read that children with 22q are at higher risk for tooth decay, and I had a lot of questions for her. Jonah's teeth are perfect. No cavities. Although she did call me out on giving him a pacifier, just from looking at his teeth. Now I am even more anxious to get rid of it, because the effects on his teeth are clearly visible.

The ENT and audiologist were probably the most useful, which is strange because we almost left without seeing them but at the last minute opted to have a visit while we were there. I mostly wanted to see the ENT because I suspected that Jonah had an ear infection and I wanted to know for sure. He does have one (they come with every teething episode!) and so we also decided to do a hearing test, to see how his ears respond to sound when they are infected. I wanted to know if he does have periods of time when it is harder for him to hear things.

The hearing tests were just bad all around. We found out that although his ears looked normal in March, his right eardrum is now sucked in. They are suspecting something might be wrong with his inner ear of the right ear as well. He tested for substantial hearing loss in the right ear and minimal hearing loss in the left.

This means another round of audiology down in Columbus in two months.

I am still searching for just the right answer when the question of "why does Jonah see the doctor so much?" comes up. Before all I could answer was "I don't know, he is just sick all the time." But now we do know why, and I want to be able to answer people truthfully without getting into all of the details. I'm sure that one day I'll be having a conversation, and hopefully the right thing to say will just come to me in the moment. For now, we are just taking each appointment, and each health issue that is discovered during the appointments, in stride.