Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Life with Colin

Today is Tuesday and Colin is at school.  Before he left today, we had the following conversation. 

Me:  Colin, I need to clean the house today.
Colin:  You can't clean up my office.  YOU. CAN'T.
Me:  I have to, honey.  I need to vacuum. 
Colin:  Fine.  But I will have to put it all back.  And make sure you leave everything together. 
Me:  I also have to mop the kitchen floor.
Colin:  NO!  You want to take apart my ship, too??  NO!

You see, my son is brilliant.  And he doesn't play like most kids.  And my house doesn't look like most houses.  He is lucky that I am his mom.  :-)  Colin has been officially diagnosed with something called PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), which is an autism spectrum disorder.  He's still young and I have a feeling that his diagnosis will probably change down the line to one new title or another, but the bottom line is that my boy is EXTRA SPECIAL and EXTRA AMAZING and SUPER BRILLIANT.  I would not change a single thing about him.  Well, I suppose that's not completely true.  He also has that wickedly horrible anxiety disorder that I would take away if I possibly could.  And as a mom, it's kind of my job to want to take away every single thing that could ever hurt him.  So, in that sense, I would change him if I could.  But I would never want a different little man...Colin is COLIN and I honestly feel that God gave him to me on purpose as a present.  I am suited to be his mother and we fit together perfectly.  He makes my life full and hysterical and amazing and VERY interesting.  And everyone knows that I don't like to be bored!  :-)

So, when Colin plays, he creates elaborate "set-ups".  That's what he calls set-ups.  And he doesn't play with anything the way it was marketed to be played with.  Ever.  He also likes to turn the most random things around the house into part of his plan.  Please see Exhibit A, which is the afore mentioned "office":  

The picture above used to be my entryway.  Emphasis on "used to".  Now it is Colin's "office", which includes, but is not limited to, a plastic workbench with super hero cape, Lego table, elaborate Lego office set-up, puppet theatre, end table, entry table, diaper boxes used as storage, and toy bins that normally go elsewhere.  It is clearly imperative that no one try to enter my house through the front door. 

Next on the list is his "ship" that is set up on my kitchen floor.  It is comprised of a Rescue Bot Police Station, canned goods from the pantry, a ton of old pacifiers, and squishy lizards and frogs.  I was informed that this is actually the Death Star from Star Wars and the pacifiers are Storm Troopers and the squishy guys are the Rebel Troopers.  Obviously.  :-)

The third set-up currently in play:  War Zone set up in our extra bedroom.  This one is so full of stuff that I can't name it all.  The bottom line is that there is a major war going on here and it involves a lot forces from a lot of armies.  Do you see the huge dollhouse up against the wall?  You might think it's odd that my son requested a large dollhouse for Christmas this year, but you would be wrong.  That has actually never been a "dollhouse".  At the moment, it is a military hospital for injured warriors.  So there.  :-)  The bad news for me?  Due to the fact that we have family coming to stay with us next weekend, so I am going to have the joyous task of convincing Colin that his battle scene has to go.

There is actually more to see around the house, his playroom (that is also Preston's room) has a huge scene where LOTS of vehicles were involved in a huge flood and had to be evacuated. By "evacuated", I mean piles and piles of toy vehicles moved to one side of the room and completely blocking the doorway. At least Preston doesn't sleep in there yet. :-)

I can honestly say that none of this bothers me. It really and truly doesn't. I think it is super awesome that Colin turns the most mundane household objects into toys and actual toys into something else that nobody ever thought of. I love that he sees nothing at face value and uses his mind to create distant lands and exciting adventures with cat food cans, for heavens sake! I just love him. I love him exactly the way he is. I would never want to somehow block his imagination because I prefer my house to be neater. I can't imagine stopping him from building a castle out of cans just because of something silly like pantry items not being toys. SURE they can be toys!!! I had just never thought of it before! His favorite place to go right now for a treat is Dollar Tree - the store where everything is $1. I will give him $10 and he will carefully go through the store and pick out all kinds of things for his set-ups. Last Saturday, he picked out a long rubber cabinet liner to use as a runway for airplanes. And office supplies. And cup holders. I can't even remember what those were for. But I guarantee you it was something cool.

I want Colin to look back on his childhood as being wonderful, despite his struggles. I want him to remember that we supported every single thing that made him Colin. I want our house to be where he gets to be himself and it's always okay. I want him to know that he is brilliant and amazing and that I love everything that he comes up with, even if it makes my house look a bit on the cluttered side. It just doesn't matter. HE MATTERS.

But me before you come over, okay? I really need to clear out the entry way first.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Getting Back on the Blog Wagon...

Oh, hey there!  It's St. Patrick's Day.  I have two children.  Things have changed around here.  You would think I would have written about it.  Or not.  :-)

I truly can't believe that Preston has been here for almost 3 months.  I really did want to blog about my different universe, but it is so hard to find time to sit down and collect my thoughts while taking care of a newborn and Colin Shaffer.  And trying to shower on occasion.  And sometimes sleep.  Or vacuum.  Anyway...

What I HAVE been doing plenty of is posting on Facebook.  Just about the only time I can find is the two seconds it takes to post a picture and caption to my wall.  I honestly can't even find time to return an email these days, but I have been posting little pictures and notes to my wall in the hopes that family and friends will find that to be update enough on our lives.  It is amazing how quickly the days get away from me now!  If there is ever a way to print and save Facebook walls from over the years, it would make a great baby book for Preston.  I was able to blog so much when Colin was a baby and I was home with him, but it's a different ballpark all together with two kiddos.  I am determined to post, however, because I love looking back at Colin's early days and I insist that Preston will have the same thing!  You hear me, future self?  You will blog!  (shakes fist at the sky and realizes that she needs more sleep) 

So, there is much to say regarding the new life in our house - far more than I can tackle in a single post or two.  I am going to attempt to devote my time over the next few weeks to getting things written down.  Our whole world has changed so much!!  Preston is the fattest, most adorable little bear cub in the universe.  He is a giant rolly polly baby and we are all so in love with him.  It is VERY hard to believe that in 11 short weeks, we have gone from this guy:

to THIS guy!

He has bright blue eyes right now, which I am certain will change.  However, they are so blue at the moment, so I am trying to take as many pictures as I can so that I can remember them!  He is very vocal and has no problem letting you loudly know when he is tired, hungry, wet or HUNGRY.  Did I say hungry yet?  This kiddo has been eating non-stop since he got here.  I am blessed to still be a stay at home mommy and Preston is surely reaping the rewards already.  I went back to work after 12 weeks with Colin, albeit for only 3 months, but I had to wean him in order to go back.  Once he went to the bottle, he didn't look back and quickly stopped breastfeeding.  He was on a pumped milk and formula combo from that point on.  Preston doesn't have that problem and is still 100% breastfed with no signs of stopping!  He was born at 7lbs, 5oz and dropped down to 6lbs, 12 oz at his one week appointment.  We went back a week later to do a weight check, making sure that he went back up to his birth weight by the two week mark.  He gained a whole pound in that one week, so we were happy and went on our way.  At his one month appointment, a mere 3 weeks later, he was up to more than 11 pounds and at his 2 month check, more than 13 pounds!!  He is up to the 95% for weight and he is the heaviest little sack of potatoes you ever saw!  :-)  He is literally as round as he is tall!  We just can't get enough of him. 

As far as sleep, he woke up every hour to eat for the first 2 months.  It was brutal, as it always is.  The good news is that right around the 2 month mark, a switch flipped and he started sleeping longer.  The switch actually never went off for Colin - it's easy to look back at my old posts and remember how little Colin ever slept.  It was a 2 year battle to get Colin to sleep through the night, so to have my 2 month old start showing signs of better sleep was a miracle.  As of right now, he is waking up somewhere between 2-3am and then 5-6am.  That is HEAVEN to this mama.  Colin was 18 months old before that happened.  Needless to say, I am thrilled to be getting more sleep.  It was one thing to be so exhausted when I had just one baby to take care of, but it's another thing entirely to have two children that need you.  There is NO sleeping when the baby sleeps and my Colin needs me.  I don't want him to have a mom at half speed!  It's wonderful that I am starting to feel more rested.  The next step is to move Preston to his own room, but I am petrified nervous to make the switch...I hate to mess with a good thing!  Jer's family from PA are coming down for Easter weekend, so I think maybe I will wait and make the move after they leave.  If I get my courage up.  :-) 

As far as the state of Chalna...I think I am doing pretty good, all things considered.  The first two months as a mother of two have already taught me a lot of lessons.  Preston is forced to be the laid back baby, that's for sure.  He naps where he can, which is frequently in the car, or the grocery store cart, or the swing in my bedroom, or just his car seat where he fell asleep on the way home from some errand or another.  Gone are the days of me staying home to accommodate the all-important nap schedule of an infant.  Colin has a very elaborate night time routine that requires me to lay down with him to fall asleep.  He has been having some extra trouble with his anxiety as of late (which is for another post) and I have learned that it is impossible to be in two places at the same time.  I know that should be obvious, but still.  ;-)  Dad has gotten to be in charge of Preston at bedtime while I take care of Colin, but he is often at work during the bedtime routine.  In just the last week, I have managed to put together a crazy plan that allows me to complete Colin's bedtime ritual while taking care of Preston at the same time.  It has taken work and patience, but I think my Super Mom cape is still working!  My house is a total wreck, but I have decided not to let it bother me.  I know there is time enough to clean up once things aren't so chaotic.  Preston is definitely a baby that needs to be held basically whenever he is awake, so I have a baby on me most of the time.  It doesn't lend to a lot of cleaning and I refuse to be a lunatic about it.  Don't even think about looking at my closet right now...just a warning.  I am also incredibly FAT at the moment.  Nope, I do not exaggerate in the least.  I went to the doctor a couple of days ago and I weigh just as much as I did the week after I had Preston.  LOVELY.  And keeping in mind that I gained 60 lbs this pregnancy...mama is FAT.  No other word for it.  :-)  My body clearly thinks it needs to hang on to every ounce of fat in order to produce enough milk for my giant baby bear.  This is another thing that I am forcing myself not to worry about.  I won't lie...this one is the hardest to deal with.  I can't wear a single thing in my closet with the exception of maternity clothes.  I don't even recognize myself when I pass by a mirror.  But I am reminding myself that Preston is my last baby and this is the last time that I will be able to spend every free second holding chubby baby goodness.  I love breastfeeding him and I am so happy that he is such a great nurser.  The only way for me to lose weight is to drop my calorie intake way down and I refuse to have my milk supply affected at the moment.  The best I can do is continue to eat healthy food and take Preston for as many walks as I can and deal with being fat and happy.  So there!  Take that, Gisele!  (why OH why couldn't I get just a little bit of the skinny gene?!) 

So, there is an update to get the party started.  I am getting a bit more sleep, my hair is incredibly thick and healthy (I could seriously be a hair model right now), and I weigh a freaking ton.  BUT, I am also getting to spend all my time with the two most beautiful boys in the whole world and they are mine!!!  Coming up next, I will write all about the joy that is TWO BROTHERS!!!  :-)

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