16, 17 And 18 Months

Dear Benjamin

Life has been crazy busy lately, and I’m sorry for not getting to your letters sooner. Like I said the last two months have been a whirl wind, so I’ll try to sum up everything that’s happened with you.

You’re doing great eating wise. You’ll typically eat breakfast soon after getting up, but around 10:00, you’ll be hungry again and you’ll want Second Breakfast. This is different from a snack, because at Second Breakfast, you want a full on meal, not just a little something to tide you over until lunch. After Second Breakfast, you’ll typically want lunch around 12:00. After lunch you have some down time, and then you’ll nap for a while. When you wake up from a nap, you’re starving AGAIN! So, you’ll eat around 3:30 for a snack. Around 5 or 5:30, you get Hangry. And start signing that you’re hungry and want something to eat. We try to hold you off, so you won’t ruin your dinner, but you start to get mad easily at this point (again, hangry). So a really small snack is given you so you don’t have a meltdown. Then, by the time dinner rolls around at 6:30, you’ll eat a few bites, and then sign you’re all done…..

You’re still nursing. It’s about 2 times a day now. I’ll wake you up at 5:25 in the morning and nurse you in bed with me for about 35 minutes, and then I’ll put you back to bed and you’ll sleep until 7:30ish. We’ll also nurse at night before bedtime, and that’s how you fall asleep. I love this time with you. It’s quiet, peaceful and just pure snuggles. I’m cherishing this time with you. Soon enough you’ll be too independent to want to keep doing this. But, we’ll keep it up for as long as you want.

One of the things you’re really enjoying at night before bed is for me to sing to you. I’ll ask you if you want me to sing, and you’ll nod yes. And I’ll sing to you one of three songs on your list: Edelweiss, Can’t Help Falling in Love, or To La Ru La Ru La. I love singing to you. A lot of times, I’ve noticed that it’s the things that calms you down when you get upset, and I hope it always will.

Little man, you have an awful temper. When you get made, you find the nearest object and you hurl it across the room, or go over to something and hit it. And, when that doesn’t garner enough attention out of us, you start hitting your head. I don’t really know what to do about your temper, right now we’re just letting you figure it out, and guiding you as much as we can. We’re trying to teach that you hands aren’t for hitting, but for showing love, but that seems like a hard concept for an 18 month old. I hope as you get older that your temper becomes less explosive….

We’ve had good news with your PT! They think that you’re not going to need much more support! We no longer need to put an insert in your shoe which is awesome! You’re bowleggedness is improving daily. You still fall a lot, especially on new surfaces or uneven ground, but it’s slowly getting better. Hopefully soon you’ll be done with PT all together.

One thing that does have your Dad and I concerned is your language skills. You’re still not talking much. You have about 2 words that you use with regularity. Mama – this does not just apply to me, but to everyone in the house. No – you’re pretty good at saying this. You used to say “ta ta” for cat, but you haven’t said that in months. You babble a lot, and you can nod and shake your head to communicate. You’ll point to things and and use a lot of nonverbal cues to get what you want. But the lack of verbal skills is concerning to me. So, your Dad and I are going to have you evaluated for a speech delay. That will get going sometime in the next month.

Benjamin, I think you are an amazing little boy. You have the best personality. You are strong willed and determined in what you want, and what you want to do. You are incredibly loving to all of your family. You idolized your brother and try to do everything he does, and you light up whenever Henry gives you one on one attention. You are also a creature of habit, and love your routine. It provides your comfort. You love to play with blocks and cars. You love to be outside and you like slides the most on the play grounds. You know no fear! If other kids around you can do it, then you will too, or at least try and then throw a fit when you can’t. You’re amazing, and you’ve added so much fun, mischief, and adventure to our lives. I love you with all of my heart, and I always will. You will always be my little boy. I love you Benjamin.



Breastfeeding Judgement

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went to my in-laws for dinner and to hang out with family.  Our original plan was to hang out there during the day and then for the boys to spend the night there, and for J and I to have some nice adult time together that evening.

In all of our haste to get out the door on time, we forgot to pack the cooler of breast milk for Benjamin.  So, J ended up driving 45 minutes home to pack it up, and then driving 45 minutes back to his parent’s house.  When we realized we forgot it, several people tried to tell us that Benjamin didn’t need it, and we shouldn’t worry about.  J and I ignored those comments, and J headed home to get the milk.

During the time that he was gone I was asked by 5 different people (mother-in-law, father-in-law, paternal grandfather and grandmother in-law, maternal grandmother-in-law) how long I was going to breastfeed Benjamin.  Each time, I gave the same answer: “well, I nursed Henry until he was two, so I think I’ll try to do the same thing for Ben.”  Each time I’d get a “harrumph” in response.

A little while later, while J was still gone, I overheard my FIL, and GFIL talking about how it’s wrong of me to continue to breastfeed my son this long.  That it’s gross, that I should get over myself and just stop.  That I’m doing it more for me than for my son.   They even went so far to say that I was having a “junior moment,” whatever that means.  Best I can tell, I think they meant that my arrogance and shortsightedness are getting in the way of me seeing what the “right” choice is.  They were talking about me and my choices across the table from me, and never once thought to include me in the discussion.  I knew that if I piped in, that it would only end up in an argument.  But as I sat there, feeling ostracized and judged, I seriously thought about packing both my boys up and leaving.  If J and the car had been there, I might have.

I comprehend that they don’t understand my choice, but they damn well should respect it, and me.  I don’t understand why they can’t see how well Henry is doing, and how healthy and strong he is.  I’m not saying it’s all from breastfeeding, but I think it played a part.  Why can’t they see how well Benjamin is doing, and factor the same things in?  Why can’t they do a modicum of research to see that breastfeeding can make a difference in Crohn’s Disease, which runs rampant on that side of my family.  Why do they continue to judge me and find my decisions lacking?


A few weeks ago, I broke out in a rash on my stomach. It looked like a bunch of scabs: some teeny tiny, some as large as quarters. It didn’t itch, and wasn’t painful, it just looked bad.  
About a week or so after that, I got more scab like bumps on my arms, legs, chest and back. Again, they don’t itch, and don’t hurt…

These are on my forearm, but again much larger one on my stomach

I’ve been trying to self diagnose what they are, and as best I can tell, it’s psoriasis. I have a doctor appointment in about two weeks to check to be sure what it is exactly. If it is psoriasis, then that means I have an autoimmune disorder….and I’ll have to figure out what triggers it.

I have been reading that celiac disease is very common among people with psoriasis, and after doing a Whole 30 two years ago I noticed that I have a sensitivity to gluten and grains. So, I’m now really wondering about celiac or a gluten sensitivity as well.
Hopefully I’ll get some answers soon.

Occupational Therapy?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might remember that Henry had to go through physical therapy to learn to crawl and walk. He had about 6 months of PT to get him fully mobile.  He started crawling right after turning a year old, and starting walking at around 17 months.
J and I have noticed since then that Henry is still a bit behind on his motor skills. He can still do everything that he needs to, but there is a noticeable difference between him and his peers motor skill wise. He still needs some assistance getting dressed, but this is improving every day. He has trouble keeping up with his friends on the playground – can’t run or climb as fast, and doesn’t try things like the big slides or climbing walls that his friends do.  

At every well visit with the doctor we would bring up Henry’s motor skills,and we were always assured that he would catch up, and that nothing extra needed to be done.

Since Henry has started pre-school, his teacher has let us know on multiple occasions that he’s behind on his motor skills. He has trouble writing, cutting and other fine motor skill tasks. She has also reported that he gets tired very easily doing these tasks, despite the fact that they don’t work on it for long periods of time.

With all of that information whirling in my brain I decided to call Henry’s pediatrician to get his opinion on the matter. I called the office and was directed to their nurse help line. I chatted with her for a few minutes, giving her all the information listed above and I have an appointment in a week and a half to go over his motor skills, talk about getting him formally assessed, and seeing if this is something that he’ll simply outgrow, or if he needs a little bit of extra help from an OT.


I feel like I’m dropping the ball as a mother.
J and I get Ben and Henry ready for bed at the same time. Since Ben is still so young and nurses to sleep, I’ve been getting Ben ready at night, and J has been getting Henry ready.

For the past week or two, J has been doing Henry’s bedtime routine pretty much by himself: bathroom, (shower/bath as needed) brush teeth, pjs, story, song and off to bed.  

Last night was no different. As I was nursing Ben to sleep, J was getting Henry ready. J went through the whole deal with no issues. When J closed Henry’s door, everything seemed fine, but 10 minutes later Henry was calling for J. J went in to check on Henry, retucked him in and everything was again fine. Then, 10 minutes later, the same thing happened. However, then J came into Ben’s room and told me that Henry was asking for me. I hand an almost asleep Ben over to J and go into Henry’s room.

I climb onto Henry’s bed and snuggle with him, and we proceed to talk for a few minutes. He’s telling me about his day, who he played with, what happened during music class, how much he likes gym, and then he dropped a bomb on me.

Henry looked at me and said “Don’t forget me, mom.” I almost burst into tears right then and there. Instead, I hugged him to me and proceed to tell him how I could never forget him, and how much he means to me, and how special I think he is.  The emotional weight of that statement….

I’m so wrapped up in providing Ben with everything he needs that I feel like I’m putting Henry on the back burner too often, and he’s noticing. My heart is breaking. I need to do better.

How do you balance love and attention and time with more than one kid?

Month 5

Dear Benjamin,
Stop growing so quickly! I swear these days are just flying by!!! It feels like I blink and you’re another month older. A lot has happened this past month, so I hope that I can get it all down for you.

In late October I took you in to see a lactation consultant because we were having some issues with breastfeeding. You would pop on and off in rapid fire succession. You would make a lot of clicking noises while nursing. I was nursing you about every 1-1.5 hours. Add all of that together and it was making for a lot of frustration for you and me. So, off to an IBCLC we went.
This IBCLC observed a feeding and then poked around your mouth for a while, and then gave us the news that she believed that you had a tongue tie and that it would really help for us to get that cut. Apparently, this tongue tie was also responsible for your reflux and gassiness as well.

Your Dad and I chewed over this news for a while. We were researching and thinking about what would be best for you. We took you to your pediatrician on November 4, and they disagreed about the tongue tie…..now I had two conflicting assessments, which lead me to research and think on it some more.

Finally I made an appointment for you to see a doctor who specializes in tongue and lip ties so we could get a last opinion on the situation. This doctor was a dentist in Apex, and he diagnosed you with a mild – moderate tongue tie and a severe lip tie. We made the decision to have both of them cut with a laser.

Your recovery has been rough. Three days of sleepless nights for you and me, but you’re finally on the mend and doing much better.

Since it’s started to get colder out, you’ve also developed a case of eczema. We took you to your pediatrician yesterday to get your skin condition formally diagnosed. We have a steroid cream to rub on you, but I’m also smearing you in lubriderm several times a day. Also, when you do get baths, we wash you in dove and I’ve been rubbing breast milk on you as well since I’ve read that it can help. I don’t think the eczema bothers you, but it looks and feels awful…sorry baby….

You celebrated your first Halloween this past month and you were Yoda! I was Luke Skywalker and your brother was Darth Vader. Your Dad was a party pooper and refused to dress up. However, he did get about 25 of his band kids to volunteer to follow you and Henry from house to house playing the Imperial March, so that was pretty cool. It was a neighborhood sensation, and I’ve been asked by many people what we’re going to do next year….

You’re gaining weight like crazy…..yesterday at the peds office you were 18 lbs…..That’s the same size as the turkey we’re getting for Thanksgiving….Your Gram is calling you her little butterball.

The frenectomy has screwed up your sleep, and for the past week you’ve been in our bed at night so that your Dad and I don’t have to walk back and forth 17 times a night from our room to your. But, last night you actually spent the whole night in your room and didn’t wake up once. So, let’s repeat that again please.

You’re starting to reach for things, and play with things. You love to be in your exersaucer and manipulate all the stuff it has on it. You love this soft blanket bear that we call ‘fuzzy bear.’ You still love to watch Henry, and you’re even starting to interact with him, it’s pretty cool to watch.

This past month you rolled over for the first time! Your Gram sent me a message at work that you rolled over from tummy to back, and I literally cried at my desk. I was so happy for you, and so devastated that I missed that important milestone…I know that it won’t be the only one that I miss. I hate that I can’t stay home with you and be there for all of your acheivments. I would if I could.   

I love you so much Benjamin. You are amazing and fill my life with so much joy and love. Thank you for being my awesome little boy. You definitely keep me on my toes, but that’s just another reason why I love you so. Keep growing, but slow down just a tiny bit….
I love you,


Thursday evening we took Ben in to see a dentist that specializes in tongue and lip ties. This dentist was awesome, he had the best bedside manner of any doctor that I’ve ever met. The first thing He did was to go over all the symptoms of tongue and lips ties:
-Pain while nursing

-Poor latch while nursing



-Excessive drooling

-Feeding every one to two hours

We talked through all of the reasons why we brought Ben to him (most of the reasons listed above). After we talked for a good 15 minutes, he examined Ben.

The conclusion was that Ben had a mild to moderate tongue tie, and a severe lip tie. It was this dentist’s opinion that he have both of them treated, and at the same time. He then offered to do the procedure right then.

J and I looked at each other and basically had a silent conversation with one another and then we both agreed to do have the frenulums cut.

The dentist went over the procedure and the recovery period. He uses a laser, and not scissors. A laser cauterizes as it cuts, so there’s almost no risk of infection, and very little bleeding. He did not want to use a numbing agent on Ben because the biggest soother to Ben would be to nurse afterward, and if his mouth is numb he wouldn’t be able to. He told us that the procedure is very quick, a few swipes with the laser and it would be done.  

Two nurses came in and they swaddled Ben in a huge blanket very very tightly, and they held his mouth open while the dentist used the laser to cut the frenulums. J watched the whole thing. He said the tongue tie took no time at all to cut, but the lip tie took several runs with the laser.

Ben of course screamed and didn’t like the procedure at all, and it broke my heart to hear him cry like he did. But, it was quick and in a matter of moments they handed Ben to me, closed the room with a screen and let me nurse him right then and there.  There was even a glider in the room for us to use.

Everything should be healed in about two weeks. There are two diamond shaped white scabs in Ben’s mouth: one where the top lip meets the gum line, and one where the tongue meets the bottom of the mouth. 

We’re to do stretches with Ben so that the frenulums don’t reattach. So, we have to take his top lip and stretch it up to his nose and hold it for a few moments. And we also have to take his tongue and stretch it to the roof of his mouth for a few seconds as well. Ben hates it, but it needs to be done.

Overall, the cost was $650 for both frenulums to be cut, which is no small fee. We’re still waiting to see if our insurance will cover any of it.

The recovery was rough for the first 3-4 days. Ben was extremely fussy. I also think it was a mistake getting the procedure done at night. I think a morning appointment would have been better. That way we’d have the whole day to make him feel better, instead of trying to get a baby that’s hurting to go to sleep when everyone is tired…

I’m glad that we got this done. I can already tell a difference in his nursing, and I see a difference at my pumping at work. I’m getting less foremilk and more hindmilk during the work day. Hopefully this will help us to continue to be successful with breastfeeding.

This was taken about 2 hours after the frenectomy