a life with style blog


slow {motherhood}


sometimes i forget that it's okay to be still. i'm constantly thinking of places to take rowan, things we need to do, classes we should enroll him in. parenthood is a competitive sport these days and it takes an effort to resist the urge to follow the tide.

as he gets older, i'm loving that he's starting to enjoy "slower" activities- storytime in a quiet corner, building lego houses and arts and crafts! 

last week, i broke out the paints and resisted the urge to direct to him. i loved seeing him use his fingers, sponges and brushes to create his own little masterpiece! we had a quiet and creative morning at home. and, it was good.



celebrating progress {motherhood}


a while back i posted our concerns with rowan's speech development. we had him evaluated and were not shocked when we received the news that he had a speech delay. we started a little more than six months ago.

at the start of therapy, rowan had about a dozen words or sounds that we recognized as words for specific things(for example, "nana" is his word for milk).  

like most child-rearing experiences, this process has been not what we anticipated it to be. we have a bright, healthy and curious little guy! our intial thoughts were that the therapist would come in, give some tips and advice. and with a little help, rowan would be talking in no time! yeah, nope.

at the start, it felt like we were making no progress at all! it was difficult to get him to stay engaged long enough to implement any of the strategies and techniques recommended to us. outings with him were a little stressful because he was all over the place!

We soon discovered that Rowan had some sensory issues. He is a sensory seeker. In the simplest terms, he needs lots of sensory stimulation-physical activity, touch, etc-in order to center himself enough to process the world around him. This factored heavily into the speech issues. We needed to really work on getting him centered and able to focus before we could even work on the speech aspect. Three or four months were spent trying to figure out what sensory stuff worked and what didn't. slowly we started seeing improvements. he sought out storytime. bringing book after book over to have me read to him. he would sit and build with his legos, play with his trains, and "talk" to his stuffed animals.

those gains were amazing! but, we still weren't seeing any improvement in his speech. we got into the habit of saying things over and over and over. emphasizing simple words. "up" "down" "on" "off" "eat" "go" "cup" and so on. initially, i felt a bit silly. but, the more i did it the more of a habit it became. our ST is always encouraging and reassuring. she seemed happy with his progress. while not adding any new words, he was becoming more verbal and making more complex sounds. 

it's been a sometimes frustrating and incredibly humbling journey. we are doing all we can but this speech thing will happen when it happens. there isn't anything else we can except to continue the things we've been doing.

last week i posted this picture to instagram with the caption "it's all good until he realizes the buses are not coming home with us" 

we were at story time in a local bookstore and the kids regularly enjoy playing with the toys. buses and trucks are his most favorite things on the planet and i was mentally preparing myself for the scene that would probably happen when he had to leave them behind.

we know ro has an excellent grasp of language but he gets really frustrated when he's unable to express or get us to understand his feelings. so, meltdowns are things that happen with regularity. also, he's two!  i tried to prepare him by telling a few times that we were leaving soon and we needed to leave the buses for other kids to enjoy. and so, he played. made friends with another little kid and played some more. i set the timer on my phone to let him know we had to leave when it beeped. just before the timer went off he looked up at me and said, "bus". (it sounded more like ush. but i knew what he meant!)he repeated it several times! i started crying in the middle of the bookstore and trying to get my phone out so i could get it on video to send doug! this is the first new word he's added to his vocabulary since we started therapy!!  he smiled and laughed! he was so pleased with himself. 

he has worked hard for every sound and syllable. he's been so good-natured and sweet through countless evaluations and appointments. we are so proud of him! obviously, i bought the damn bus!

rowan's dinosaur bash


rowan will turn two on friday! since this weekend is easter and already full of events we celebrated his birthday last week with lots of family and friends.

learning from last year, i decided to keep things fairly simple and as stress-free as possible. note to self: setting up a party for a toddler with the toddler at home is no easy feat! i chose a dinosaur theme and focused on a few fun details.  

my parents are both in their eighties! i love seeing them enjoy time with their youngest(of 14) and last grandchild!

i know this little nugget had an amazing time! thanks to all ofour loved ones that shared the day with us!

small victories{motherhood}

motherhoodcourtnee2 Comments

i recall being in the thick of raising my four older kids on my own. it was an extremely difficult time in my life. i felt isolated and alone. i'm pretty sure i was suffering from postpartum depression. i was going through a divorce. i was certain that i wasn't qualified to be a parent and i was going to screw my kids up in some irreparable way. i was navigating life with a triple stroller, three car seats and a booster, potty training for four years straight and diapers for even longer! i rolled my eyes when i heard other mothers complain about being unable to manage their one tiny human(often with the help of a husband or partner) and i had no one.

 a few weeks ago i had an epiphany of sorts. when the ratio is, at least, one parent to one child you're harder on yourself because you feel like you should be able to do a better job. you feel like you should be able to keep them from melting down in the target checkout line. it shouldn't be difficult to get them to eat your lovingly prepared organic quinoa and veggie bowl. bath time and bed time shouldn't be something you dread all day long because the 35 minutes it should take is drawn out longer than the last 40 minutes of the wolf of wall street! when the kids outnumbered me, i was too busy celebrating the fact that no matter how hellish the day was, i got through it. they got through it. and, none of us were worse for the wear! that's not to say that i didn't worry. i did!! but it wasn't something i thought about daily. there was too much other shit i needed to get done! 

so here we are. rowan is 22 months old-whyyyyy is my baby growing up so fast!!!!-and i worry. all. the. time. we just learned that he has a bit of a speech delay. i suspected it but the actual confirmation was brutal. i spend all day with him. i talk to him all the time. we read books and sing songs. what wasn't i doing? or am i doing something wrong? i beat myself up over it for several days because it's what moms do. then i remembered to celebrate the small victories. he can only say a few words but his eyes ight up when he sees me. he gives hugs and kisses abundantly. he'll stop playing and walk over to hold my hand for a few minutes before returning to play. he calms down instantly when his daddy sings to him. he is joy. these are the things i need to savor!

stop beating yourself up, mama. you got this!  

motherhood{making it work}


i've finally admitted to myself that the lack of structure in our day is making my life much harder than it needs to be.  i like to think that i'm a fairly spontaneous person but if i'm being really honest options tend to overwhelm me. i like routine. 

last week was one of the hardest parenting weeks i've had in long time. rowan is almost 19 months and is pushing boundaries like it's his job-which,technically it is. i was grumpy, impatient and stressed out!  longest week ever! i described it to one of my friends as a week of mondays!  i decided to sit down and make a schedule for our days. i've been a mom long enough to know that trying to stick to a minute to minute detailed schedule won't work for me. my goal is to provide an outline for our ideal days will look like and allow myself the flexibility to make changes when needed.  right now i spend a lot of time waiting for ro to go down for his nap and then scrambling during that time to check everything off of my to do list. it shouldn't come as a surprise that getting dressed with a toddler is extremely frustrating because he's into everything! we've already suffered burned fingertips when he grabbed my flat iron before i could stop him. getting up earlier sacrifices some sleep but also allows me to at least shower and do my hair without worrying about little hands getting into the cabinets, toilet, closets, etc 

we're going to test out this schedule for a few weeks and see how it works. 

i've allowed myself time for exercise as well as two different times when i can get some chores done. after rowan goes down for the night i'll have some time to spend with my husband, tend to blogging or paperwhites&whimsy details  i'm hopeful that having some sort of schedule will give me the work/life balance that i desperately need! 



motherhood{things i learned from my toddler}


having a toddler in the house is sometimes like living with yoda. they're tiny, odd and teach you lessons you never knew you needed to learn. the force is strong with these tiny humans! here are some of the life lessons i've picked up from master rowan.

1. enjoy the process- we're big fans of self directed play around here. i love sit and watch him. he'll dump out a bin of blocks and put them all back in. sometimes he'll leave them out and build with them. sometimes he'll have them interact with other things. sometimes he's very content to dump them out and put them back over and over and over. is he learning a lesson? trying to figure out the most efficient way to do it? or how high he can stack before the lid refuses to snap shut? perhaps. or maybe there is something soothing to the rhythm of repetition. i'm not sure what it is but he talks and giggles to himself as if he's enjoying whatever it is. 

2. one meltdown won't stop the show- i'm not really great in dealing with disruptions to my schedule. it will throw my entire day off kilter leaving me feeling out of sorts for the rest of the day. i find it difficult to pull myself out of the resulting funk which colors my interactions with people that day. if you've spent anytime with a toddler you already know that meltdowns and tiny frustrations are bound to happen. the great thing about them is once they're over, they're over. disappointments and frustrations disappear almost as quickly as they happen. trust me when i say that nothing will stop them from moving on. recognizing this in rowan as well as living on his schedule has loosened up the stickler in me. as the kids say #youmadornah    

3. confidence- i'm convinced toddlers are the most confident beings on the planet! climbing onto the table...mom, i got this. reaching the snacks on the table...mom, i got this. interacting with new kids on the playground...mom, i got this. dressing themselves in the most interesting way...mom, i can rock this. there is no task he won't attempt to do on his own. no food he's hesitant to try. no person he won't attempt to befriend. confidence is something we're born with. fear/self doubt/self consciousness are all learned.  

   when i started this motherhood gig i was so young and felt so inadequate and unprepared. i was so worried about getting it all right. it's not that i didn't think they had anything to teach me it's just that i was too afraid of losing control. it wasn't possible for me to absorb the lessons. i love that having rowan has changed me so much in such a short amount of time.



wild rumpus{rowan turns one}


way back in march ro turned one!! wtf! seriously, he is growing up way too fast for my liking. we decided to go with a where the wild things are theme for the party. i hoped that we could have hosted some of the party outside but of course the day turned out to be to cold! so we crammed about forty of our friends and family into the house to celebrate our sweet boy's first year. 

i'm pretty sure i drove doug crazy with all of the details but it was a fantastic day!