GranDawn’s Log: Month 18

Dear Nathalie,

This month in review includes Christmas!!

First, the usual report:

You repeated me when I said “Uh-Oh”… and if you are accident prone or spacially unaware of your surroundings like the women in this branch of the family are prone to being, you might want to perfect your delivery on that phrase.

Grandfather has been trying to get you to say “Papa” for some time now… and it paid off. You said “Papa” for him on December 16th. (Which is also the day you said “Uh-Oh.” Coincidence? I think not.

Mommy has been teaching you how NOT to HIT people. Especially her.

Oh, I bought blocks and magnetic numbers and letters to have at our house for you. With blocks, you like to try to stack them, but you can tell you have been building with Leggo because you press down on the blocks when you stack them. Ultimately, you like to destroy anything that is constructed out of these blocks. That must be a thing you got from your father; your Mummy just wanted to build things…especially mazes for small creatures. As for the magnets, you like to swipe them down to the bottom of, and then off of, the door and put them in a container – pretty much any vessel will do.

Still no interest in having me read a book to you… Beginning to question whether or not you are my grandchild at this point.

I discovered this THING on Netflix: Little Baby Bum and they are sing-along videos to nursery rhymes. You seem to like most of them. However, they have more verses and versions of Wheels on the Bus than I care to listen. Seriously, if they still exist when you read this, go check it out. You can tell they were stretching for material. There are TWELVE parts to their version of the song! Why? Who needs 20+ minutes of Wheels on the Bus?!?!

Ok, I know you want to talk about Christmas… First, it began with some disappointment, the postal service was overextended, and the gifts from the people who love you in Ohio have yet to arrive.

You really enjoyed the video call from Aunt Pixie, and her gift, a comfy rocking chair, was a big hit for you.

The Giles brunch was where you and Mummy wore matching outfits and Grandmother enjoyed Mimosas because Papa was driving.

The Lovitt lunch is where you received a mountain of gifts from every adult there. So. Many. Things!!! It is also where Daddy hit cousin Jordan in the face with snow and made her cry…he should be wary of her for awhile, she’s feisty.

Then Mummy and I went to see Pitch Perfect 3 with Kimmee and Lauren while you hung out with Daddy.

I fell (it was an icy parking lot) into the Envoy after exiting the theater…spilled a large drink all over Mummy and the interior of Papa’s vehicle and while driving Mummy home she and I laughed so much I was wheezing and crying. Good times.

Until next time…next year…enjoy all the gifts!

Love,

GranDawn

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GranDawn’s Log: 1 year, 2 months

catnatnapDear Nathalie,

I DON’T EVEN know where to start!

You are quite the tiny person now… a toddler if you will.

You attended the Giles family reunion and ran all over the park in your socks because…well…when you can’t walk who needs shoes and shoes cost money and you did not mind and you were not injured.  You did leave cute little baby toddler footprints on the pavement after you walked through a water puddle.  footprints

You also attended some Pokemon Go Gym Raids… the highlight for you: being allowed to play with my Pokemon Go+. You were eventually able to capture your VERY FIRST POKEMON!!  It was a Natu.  Appropriate I think.  Your second capture was Oddish.  (Pokemon humor…but true)natu

After several outings where shoes might have been helpful, Mummy decided to get you some pretty cute kicks.  Ice blue, canvas mary janes with a bow.  Super cute and apparently you like them enough to take them to Mummy to have her put them on you.   You even stick your foot up to hasten the process!

The highlight for me this month, aside from having you as my Pokemongering sidekick, has been the day you visited me at work and we walked to the end of the building to visit Miss Katie and you FOUND YOUR WAY BACK TO MY OFFICE without out any guidance… you led Grandfather and I right back to where you started.  We are trying to reign in our claims of having a genius, possible future Mensa member grandchild but GIRL IT IS HARD.  You need to do some stupid things to bring us back to reality.  Oh wait, you still try to put sticks in your mouth…nevermind.  AND you still like playing with the cat toys. Reality found.

It has been a busy summer and I have not had enough quality time with you since my last letter.  But you are still as cute as ever and we are looking forward to each moment we have you in our presence.

beachready

We love you NattyGirl!

Keep Toddling!

Love, GranDawn

P.S.  I caught myself referring to MYSELF as Granny the last time you were with me. PLEASE don’t call me Granny.  I’ll accept Grammy (that’s like an award, right?). Granny is forbidden.

GranDawn’s Log: Month 9

Dear Nathalie,

Again, I am tardy with your letter.  Three whole days!  Why oh why can I not get this timing right??

Wee girl…you are full on crawling all over the place these days.  I expect you will be walking soon.  You seem much happier now that you are mobile and in control of (to an extent) what space you inhabit.

Also, rumor has it that your sleeping is starting to develop a pattern.  By “starting” I mean I just heard about it and by “pattern”, I mean that one day you sleep through most of the night and the next you are up hourly…that is a pattern, right?

Your eating is progressing with more and more foods of the baby kind being introduced – unfortunately, that spitting up thing is still an issue…

As of my last peek into your mouth…you have two little teeth on the bottom.  The IMG_4847_1489863575321only way for your Mummy to get a picture of them was for her to give you something to shove into your pie hole.  Look how cute (ignore the food all over your nostrils) your little teeth are!! Now that you have teeth, you are also learning how to adapt to having your teeth brushed.  Mummy thinks she takes better care of your teeth than she does her own…  She was always really difficult when it came to getting her to brush her teeth.  DON’T be like Mummy in that regard.

Also, SHOUT OUT TO MAXTON for getting his first tooth as well!!!   5 months old…seriously dude, cut your parents a break.   All these babies getting teeth just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  The universe was calling out to the baby food companies to create a baby food combo of corned beef and cabbage – AMIRIGHT?

IMG_4911Now, back to you Nathalie…Let us talk about your cuteness:  I must say, you are super cute when you open your mouth for one of those little Gerber puffs but when you WEAR a yogurt puff… oh…my… word… the cuteness level is a bit more than I can handle…especially when you adorn your face with them.

Okay…I’m exaggerating.  It’s cute, but I am not losing my mind over it.

However, stick you in a pair of overalls and THAT is unbearable…okay, I am exaggerating again.  The real and ridiculous truth is that all I have to do is make this wacky noise that is my version of Whale-speak – it makes you giggle and then when you try to mimic the sound…THAT puts me over the edge…ALSO, it makes Grandfather smile and I really like it when Grandfather smiles.   (PSSST…you totally have him wrapped around your little finger.)

Not too much has changed since my last letter…primarily the crawling, perhaps a battle with some dry skin issues that Mummy is concerned could be Eczema and with the crap shoot of skin conditions and allergies that are within your heritage…it is highly possible.  Here is to praying it is not… I imagine we will have an answer by my next letter.

Nathalie 9mo

Until next time sweet girl, you keep rocking that crawl and teeth growing thing…perhaps soon I can introduce you to the best food in the world…CHEESE!!!

Peace Out BABY!

Love, GranDawn

GranDawn’s Log: Month 8 (and 3 days)

Dear Nathalie,

My apologies for being tardy with this letter.  I’ve been a bit ill, and once you truly get to know me, you will learn that I go big when I get sick…no measly sniffles for me…nope.  Enough about me, this is all about you.

First, I was wrong when I posted last month that you might be getting a kitty.  My apologies…but not really, you have TWO KITTIES.  Your new fur sisters are Dash and Lucy and they are quite the cuties.  Hopefully, you will not suffer the scratches that your mother did as a child by insisting on love from the kitties…no matter what we said or did, she did not care, she did not stop…specifically with Ash, may she Rest In Peace.

spidey-crawl

You are crawling!! For the most part.  Your preference is to grab the carpet and pull yourself forward…it sort of reminds me of Spiderman.  You have also managed to acquire your very first black eye  (something about a Gatorade bottle and a tumble off a bed)…and I say FIRST because of a few reasons…you come from a line of clumsy and/or daring people and odds are you will have another or somethblack-eyeing like it somewhere along the way in your lifetime… Seriously, your mom managed to get her nose broken twice within a 6 month period.  Don’t fight it…tuck and roll.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging you to become a scrapper like Great-Grandma Sharon, I am just warning you that, in this family, shit happens and it is better to expect it than to fight it.  Protective gear is suggested.  I figure, now that you are mobile you deserve this warning – to be honest, you were much safer when you were stationary….ahhh, the good ole days.

[UPDATE:  Shortly after publishing this post, I received this message from your Mummy: “So I saw your GranDawn post and she does actually fully crawl now. LOL No belly on floor or anything! Super fast baby LOL.”]

Another new and exciting development: You have tried a green food!  Mama – or as you have said “Mum Mum Mummy,” gave you green beans!!  This is a bigger accomplishment for her than you, but I celebrate it either way.

You officially have a tooth poking through on the bottom!  I asked your mother for a photo but she stated that it is impossible to get a picture of you with an open mouth and not have you stick out your tongue.  Thanks to Aunt Pixie, sticking out your tongue is your JAM these days.  We can count on your Aunt to teach you all the weird things even though she is across the country… I don’t even know what to expect next.

8mo-nathalie-collage

I think that about covers everything…Although you have been pulling yourself up to stand on more than one occasion.  The idea of you walking anytime soon is just…well, can you hold off on that skill for at least 4 months.  Do your parents a solid…slow your roll.

Put that tongue back in your mouth!

We love you bunches,

GranDawn

 

 

I shake my fist in frustration…and I cry.

“When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras”  ~ Dr. Theodore Woodward

However, don’t forget…that zebras do exist.  I am a zebra.

I never wanted my blog to be another one of those dedicated to bringing awareness to something.  I also did not intend for it to be solely about me writing letters to my grandchild either…I just wanted a space to get things out of my head.  A place where I could share the things that I want my friends and family (F&F) to know and understand, but really don’t want to talk about.

This is my space.

Today, I am struggling again.  I am sitting in a hotel in Carlsbad, California and I am miserable. Not because the weather is bad or because I am with bad company and not even because I am here for work.  I am miserable because I am not able to do all that I want to do.  I have been forced to miss out on part of the agenda for this trip.

I am limited in my physical activity.  Most of my F&F know about my Ehlers-Danlos diagnosis but have little if any understanding of what that means.  HECK, I am still learning.  But here is the readers digest version (for me specifically, not all EDSers).

This condition is hereditary, my mother or father passed it on to me – I am guessing Mom.

It is a connective tissue disorder.  EVERY PART of and ORGAN in our bodies has connective tissue.

I have the Hypermobility type.  It won’t kill me…just cause me pain…always.  I try not to feel sorry for myself, so many others with EDS have it far worse but today I cried for me.

There are conditions that are referred to as “comorbidities” that are common to EDSers

The doctor who diagnosed me with EDS, has also stated that I have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS),  and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).

I have TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea

It has also caused my airway to be smaller/underdeveloped and contributes to sleep apnea, which I cannot wear a CPAP machine or use an oral appliance to correct because I have a reaction to both of them.  I have had to have allergy testing to figure out why I cannot wear dental devices to align my jaw and learned that my skin is sensitive to pressure due to DERMATOGRAPHISM (basically a histamine response to pressure) and an allergy to Balsam of Peru and Gold (as well as all the other environmental and animal allergies I have always dealt with).

I could keep going, but I am sick of typing about it and explaining my disorder was not the point of my post.  The point is…the frustration.  I hate being limited.  I had to accept years ago that I cannot wear cute shoes with heels.  In the past year or so I was instructed to not use stairs…  Because the worst of my pain stems from my sacroiliac joints being out of whack.  Yesterday…I was at the beach…in CaliFRICKINfornia…and I will be damned if I wasn’t going to get my toes in the sand.

There were stairs, quite a few.

And the days leading up to my trip were not what I call “down” days –  meaning, intentional  time of restoration.  The day of traveling was brutal.  I over did things.

I am paying the price.

 

(For those of you who want to learn more, this article was written by the doctor who gave me the diagnosis:  http://ehlers-danlos.com/2014-annual-conference-files/Heidi%20Collins.pdf)

 

 

The Struggle

I envision myself on a raft that is filled with air and is transparent, but blue.  I float on the ocean, but near enough to the beach that I can hear the waves hit the shore.  I hear gulls crying overhead. I feel the sun on my skin.  I have one foot dangling in the water, sunglasses on, my body is perfectly healthy, I am wearing a bikini.  No one around…just me. My body does not hurt. My mind is not preoccupied. I am at peace. With a song in my head:

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand…”

I have been seeing this image every day for the past 7 days.  I have been kicking the tires on “mindfulness” because I have been dealing with some anxiety.  I guess that, if I am to be honest, I have been dealing with anxiety for several years.  It started the year before my father died.  The stress of his poor health was getting to me.  The constant wonder of when the next call would come.  The overwhelming sense of responsibility and obligation while working two jobs, being a wife and a parent to two children…it was a bit much.  Not to mention the pain…the physical pains that were always there from an undiagnosed condition…Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but this post is not about that.

I was put on anxiety medication and after my father died, I assumed the anxiety would dissipate so I stopped taking the medication for almost a year…but I was wrong. The anxiety was still there, I just could not attribute it to anything specific.

My weight has been a constant struggle.  I tried All Of The Things that are available and affordable.  I have enough head knowledge to understand what is and what is not good for me…but I don’t have the control.

The anxiety is still there…here.  And I am an anxiety eater.

I am trapped in a vicious cycle.  It took a while to realize where my anxiety came from…the pain.  The constant thinking about whether or not I can or could or should do something and the repercussions if I try or if I don’t try.  Imagine dropping something on the floor…you would just pick it up, right?  I have to think about how to pick it up.  There may be no pain in the moment from bending or kneeling…but later…later is a different story. Dropping that thing on the floor could haunt me for days.

So I take my medication and I try to do my best to do my best, but anxiety makes me want to DO something, it makes my skin crawl and I can’t PHYSICALLY do the things I want to do to make the skin stop crawling – go for a walk, clean the bathtub, an hour of yoga, take a long drive to nowhere – so I turn to the thing that I can do… I eat.

Now if I could live in a box where the only food available to me was that which was good and healthy and necessary, I would be okay.  I think…I’m pretty sure.  But until recently, there were at least two and sometimes four others in my box and they do not share my struggle.  I also work in a box where people share their edible goodies…there are very few places in the vast building I am in for 8+ hours of my day where temptation isn’t lurking at me around a corner, or down the hall… leering at me…lying to me and telling me that just one bite, piece, nibble won’t hurt.  And I am weak in this matter.  I believe the lie. I give in to the temptation.  By eating…I am DOING something and I feel good…for a moment. Then I feel guilty and ashamed and out of control.  I stuff this feeling, these feelings…because there is nothing I can do with them, there is nothing I CAN DO WITH THEM.  The anxiety comes back.  I try to ignore it.  I long for a cigarette or a glass of wine, both of which would cause me pain in one way or another…creating more anxiety.

I begin looking up prescription weight loss medications but my insurance would not cover the cost and I look up eating disorders and cringe when I read about Binge Eating Disorder and wonder…is that me?  I contemplate calling my doctor…but I know what she will suggest, better eating habits (no kidding), exercise (pain), a dietician (costs more than I can afford), journaling my food (I have and it causes me to CONSTANTLY THINK ABOUT FOOD) … I don’t want to seem help resistant but I am tired of this vicious cycle.  I call my spouse and I cry about it and God love him, he wants to help me fix the problem…but I don’t know how he can.

I simply want to be on that raft, in my perfect body, pain-free, anxiety-free… at peace.

God hear my prayer…

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

GranDawn’s log: Month 7

Dear Nathalie,

No one can believe you are more than half a year old already!!  The years really ARE short.

nathalie7mo

You will be happy to know that the interlopers are gone and you and your parents have returned to your abode.

You will be saddened to know that Aunt Pixie and her kitty Avery moved to Washington… a mere 4 day drive away from home.  Saying goodbye to you was the hardest thing Aunt Pixie had to do that day.  I don’t think I have ever seen that many tears fall upon her face…ever. You have had two video calls with Aunt Pixie already and the most recent one was yesterday…As soon as she started talking to you from the computer you started inch-worming your way across the floor at her!  You were so smiley and pounding your little hand in excitement for quite some time…and then you saw my sock covered foot and decided to gnaw on my toes.  You really were excited to see her, though.  I pray that continues.

byeauntpixie

Your development is happening nicely.  You are sliding around and belly scooting along the floors and you even reach out occasionally to people you want.  You are becoming consistent in pulling on your ear when you are tired…specifically your left ear (or at least when I see you doing it).  You hold your bottle pretty much on your own. Your menu has expanded a bit but I am not kept current on that…you had some concoction that had chicken in it yesterday.

Unfortunately, and contrary to the doctor’s assumptions, you are still spitting up ALL. FREAKING. DAY.

Other than all of that, life seems to be back to routine…although rumor has it there may be a kitty in your future.

grandpas-girl

Happy 7th-month tiny one.  Keep doing what you are doing.

Love, GranDawn.