Parenting: I Want to Be Well For Her

To say this year has exciting would be an understatement. It has been the best year ever, but it nearly was the worse year as well. The struggles my wife had in pregnancy didn’t end with delivery. She had to be rushed to the ER three times during the baby’s first week of life, had her gallbladder removed in October, and now has more issues in the abdomen region (none are life-threatening but they are life changing).

Well, with the exception of a case of food poisoning (or a bad drug interaction), this year has been pretty good for me physically.  My palindromic rheumatism has reared its head a few times, but while extremely painful, not debilitating. Except…

My mental health ran into a roadblock. I have suffered with depression and anxiety for a long time.  I used to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with mild (later severe) depression and social anxiety disorder. Funny how the things I love require me to be social, yet they are so exhausting. The medicine I was prescribed, sertraline, agreed with me. I changed jobs (this was 2003) and the co-pay for the medicine didn’t fit into my budget.  Since this is America, I quit taking it.

I really didn’t need it for a long time. I had read the anxiety and phobia workbook and learned how to cope with it. The mental exercises I learned from that book and my doctor served me well for about a decade (which included Katrina).

Yet, this year proved to be too much. I became overwhelmed. Not with the baby, but with everything. Luckily, the Mrs. understood because I have always been upfront with her about my condition. She has mentally and emotionally been my rock, as I have been there for her physically. And the baby is both of our grace.

I don’t want to put all my fear, complexes, and doubts onto my daughter.  She is very social. She loves to be carried facing forward so she can see people. She loves looking at people at the park and will interact with anyone we introduce to her. She’s damn near perfect.

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Our grace!

I’m not weak.  I’m not crazy.  I’m just not well. The important thing is I want to be well.  That’s why I returned to seeing a psychiatrist. I’m sure I could have told my GP I had anxiety and depression (mine does ask every time).  However, that’s not what he specializes in.  I needed to make sure I wasn’t wrong in my self-assessment that I needed help. My new doctor immediately realized how overwhelmed I was.

Even at my worse, when it was impossible for me to smile, I made sure I didn’t lose the ability to make her smile. If that meant tickling her, pretending to eat her toes, or giving her raspberries, I worked to make sure she knew she was loved and that I was fighting for her.

I wrote a post similar to this on Facebook a few days ago. I’ve already received a few messages about brave I was for posting.  I received lots of thoughts and prayers (don’t read sarcasm into that…I’m thankful). A couple of people privately messaged me saying that for the first time in a while, they didn’t feel alone. A few thanked me for fighting the stigma.

I’m beyond caring about the stigma.  So people know that I suffer from depression and anxiety now.

Now, they also know I’m doing something about it.

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Parenting: Look Who is Nine Months!

Nine months on the inside and nine months on the outside.

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Our little blessing turned nine months on Thanksgiving day. We can’t make time stop, no matter how hard we try.

I wish I could write how much meaning our girl brought into our lives. We weren’t lost; in fact, we were living our best lives. Yet, our lives took a new path when we found out she was coming. She has enriched it every way imaginable. She has been the one constant in our lives.

She loves life. Everything is interesting to her. She loves all her toys. She loves going to daycare. She enjoys strolling in the park. She loves being around people.

This was the best Thanksgiving yet, but we can’t wait for our future ones!

Parenting: Sick Baby Girl

About two weeks ago, the Nola Nerd Baby developed a cough. The weather had changed, and it was the beginning of cough and cold season in this area. She started with the cough on a Saturday and instantly needed more sleep than usual. We did the saline solution and the nosefrida.

By Wednesday, she didn’t want to eat solid foods nor take her bottle. I was actually worried for strep since it seemed to pain her to eat. Mommy stayed home with her and took her to the doctor. The doctor said her throat, ears, and chest were clear. She decided to run the test for RSV even though all signs pointed to her not having it. The test came back positive.  

Such a trooper…I mean Vader!!!

We caught it really early and kept her home for the rest of the week. Luckily, she never had a fever and never really lost her happiness. They prescribed breathing treatments and the first time we gave her one she was dancing and smiling. She allowed us to put the breathing mask on and often just sat there watching TV or took a nap during the treatment. 

We were lucky it didn’t develop into anything worse. This little girl is tough. She was slowed down, but she was never out.  She never really had a change in her personality.  She just ate less and slept more.  Selfishly, I didn’t mind staying home with her for two days. Neither did granny on the third day.

Being older first-time parents, we have benefited from so many friends and relatives having children.  We cherish their advice, but we have subconsciously been paying attention to how other parents handle these type of events in the hope that one day our miracle would come. We are also fortunate that our daycare is perfect for us. They watch our child during the day but help raise us as parents when we drop-off and pick up our angel every day.

Our nearest family lives an hour away. It makes it hard sometimes, but we know it’s even worse for some of our friends and family. We do appreciate all the help we get and are incredibly thankful for it!

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Parenting: Star Wars Toys for Baby

Back in May, we attended Star Wars Galactic Nights.  The Nola Nerd Baby was three months old and did a fantastic job.  She didn’t complain and slept through most of it.

On the first meeting of her great-grandfather, he slipped her twenty dollars.  We want to make sure we bought something for her.  We settled on a two sets of toys.  There were squeezable Star Wars and Princesses.  We held up both in front of her.  She raised her hand closest to the Star Wars set.  We then switched hands and she held up that hand.  We know she really didn’t pick Star Wars but we acted as if she did anyway!

Over the summer, this became her favorite set of toys.  They were too big to fit into her mouth but small enough for her to grab.  If you squeeze them they will squeak.

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Over time, one of the toys became her favorite.  In fact, when you give it to her, her face lights up.  Surprisingly, it was C3PO. She also loves R2 and Vader.  Boba and the Storm troop pick up the rear with Chewie trailing behind.

We can’t wait to share more Star Wars toys with her in the future.  We really can’t wait to shop for her at Star Wars Celebration.  Hopefully, she keeps enjoying them!

Parenting: Smiles and Pouts

Mr. Nola Nerd Couple’s grandfather passed away last week.  He lived a long, productive life full of good works.  Today, we put him to rest.

The Nola Nerd Baby spent a couple of afternoons with him.  On the first one, she was all smiles and totally enthralled with her great-grandfather.

On the second trip, she was not having a good day.  She threw one of her few tantrums that day.  Still, she was cute and her great-grandfather new it. The more she bouded (cajun for being upset…not sure if the spelling is right), the bigger her bahbin (cajun for pout…again, not sure of spelling…I did check the internet and got 3 different spellings), the larger his laugh.

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These photos, and this blog, in particular, will be shared with her when she gets older.  You can’t know where you are going unless you know where you have been.

Parenting: A Walk in the Park

For our readers that don’t live in Louisiana, you have to understand that Fall, the season, is a rare thing.  We get a few days that are in the 50s and 60s.  When we get to the low 50s and 40s, it starts to get too cold for us because we still have high humidity and the cold is sometimes miserable.

So, when we do get those high 50s and 60 degree days, we try to take advantage of it. The New Orleans area has some great parks.  City Park and Audobon Park are some of our favorites in the city proper.  We also love Lafreniere Park in Metairie.

We have been spending quite a few weekends in Lafreniere, lately.  It’s a quiet park and has some great views. We love bringing the Nola Nerd Baby there because there are a lot of different places to walk and it has plenty of shade.

During our Fall Break, we even went on a picnic, and the Baby sure did enjoy it.

 

 

On one of our trips, we came across their pumpkin patch. The Nola Nerd Baby loved hamming it up during the picture taking part.

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We can’t wait to be able to spend more days outdoors with our little one. The summer in Louisiana is too oppressively hot to do this kind of activities.  We are thankful for those sporadic days of Fall.

Parenting: Smiles Can Go a Long Way

Healthwise, the last year has been awful.  In fact, I wrote about it in last week’s parenting post.  I also used this metaphor to describe our sweet little one:

So, the Nola Nerd Baby has been at the center of this stormy, turbulent, terrifying year. But like all centers of a storm, she has been our quiet refugee.

I used it too soon.

Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s family was from the New Orleans area originally.  Her uncle moved first and then opened up his own business.  Her grandparents and family followed.  Eventually, her uncle and grandparents ended up in Panama City Beach.  Her mom resides in Panama City.

Last week was an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least.  I don’t want to get too much into it, but the bottom line is that everyone is safe and the property damage could have been worse, especially for her mom.  Her uncle’s place of business should be opening up soon, and he has power.

Her mom evacuated to this area. Wednesday was an extremely emotional day.  A day, the Mrs. and I only know too well for we lived it 13 years ago.  Nothing we could say or do could really provide them the comfort they needed.

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Silly even when she sleeps

Yet, the Nola Nerd Baby could.  She didn’t know what was going on.  She just lives in the moment.  Her favorite things are to grab things and smile at you.  She repeatedly brought my mother-in-law and step-father-in-law out of horrible realities they were facing and into a world where smiles are the only currency.  She was their quiet refugee in the center of the very real storm they were facing.

Because we have her, we can’t really go help with recovery until power and running water are restored (my mother-in-law has neither at this time, but her parents do). However, we do have a baby willing to smile and talk baby talk through FaceTime. Same with my mother-in-law’s other grandchild.

Because let’s face it, you can only rebuild if you yourself have a solid foundation.  And what is a better foundation, than the unconditional love of a child?

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How you can help?  Money is the best thing to give.  Actual supplies cause logistical problems (transporting them in and then find a place to store them.  Plus, they do have an influx of said supplies.)  Money helps because this is not a short-term problem.  This will be a long haul rebuilding of the area. Some charities include: 

Americares

Bear Creek Feline Center

Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese