March 4, 2013

My Spirited Little Miracle

Oh, Landon. I do love you so.

Like most blog posts, I procrastinated this long enough, that now, by the time I've sat down to record everything there is just way too much to write and no clear beginning. Excuse my thoughts if they are jumbled! 

Landon. Our Spirited Miracle. We've come to realize two very important things in the last few months. He is spirited. And he is a miracle.

First, Landon is without a doubt, one very spirited child. I never had a good word to describe the kind of boy he is. Every word traditionally used to depict his personality has negative connotations: demanding, stubborn, noisy, whiny, easily frustrated, wild, etc... All of which are most definitely true but they are lousy labels.

It wasn't until we were in a restaurant trying (and failing) to enjoy a nice dinner out, that we first heard the word "spirited." Landon went into one of his usual unending tantrums about a chair not being positioned correctly, or somebody looking at him for a second too long. I was literally at the end of my rope, physically and mentally exhausted. This wonderful mother next to us turned around and said, "I know exactly what you're going through. Does your son go into screams of bloody murder if his sock isn't on just right, or his sandwich is not cut in triangles, or if you turn the light off a second earlier than expected? Does putting him in his room alone just makes it 100 times worse?" "Yes, yes, yes YES!" I exclaimed.

She proceeded to explain how our children and just more. More intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic than other children. But, there is help. She told me about a book called, "Raising your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. She said is was (and still is) her bible for raising her daughter. I can't express how thankful I am for her reaching out to comfort and help me. I don't believe in coincidences, and there is not a doubt in my mind that we were at the same place at the same time, so that she could be that tender mercy I needed so much. I have since purchased and read through half of it. It. Is. Amazing. Best parenting book out there, for me at least.

I've included a little excerpt from the book. The quotes in each section describe Landon perfectly.

Characteristics of a Spirited Child:
1. Intensity "...the reactions of a spirited child are always powerful. There is rarely a middle of the road. They never wimper; they wail. They can skip into a room, smiling and laughing only to depart thirty seconds later inflamed. Their tantrums and raw and enduring."
2. Persistence "If an idea or activity is important to them, spirited children "lock" right in. They are committed to their task, goal-oriented, and unwilling to give up. Getting them to change their minds in a major undertaking."
3. Sensitivity "Keenly aware, spirited kids quickly respond to the slightest noises, smells, lights, textures, or changes in mood... A wayward string or a scratchy texture can render clothes intolerable."
4. Perceptiveness "It can take ten minutes to get them from the house to the car. They notice everything - the latest oil spill, the white feather in the bird's nest, and the dew in the spider web. They're often accused of not listening."
5. Adaptability "Spirited children are uncomfortable with change. They hate surprises and do not shift easily from one activity to another. If they're expecting hot dogs on the grill for supper, heaven forbid you come home and suggest going to a restaurant."

Bonus Characteristics: (Many, but not all, possess four additional characteristics that can make being their parent even more challenging.)
6. Regularity "Impossible to get them on any kind of schedule. An eight-hour night of undisturbed sleep is a mere memory lingering in your mind from the days before their birth."
7. Energy "Although sometimes viewed as wild, their energy is usually focused and has a purpose."
8. First Reaction "An unfamiliar idea, thing, place, or person may be met with a vehement, 'NO!'"
9. Mood (In regards to being very serious and critical of one's self; only trait one not applicable to Landon.)

Anyway, the book is 500 pages of brilliant ideas for how to work with spirit and really help your child succeed and learn to manage his emotions, energy, etc... Now the big undertaking is to apply them.

On to the second thing we came to realize... He is a miracle baby. Literally. A fertility doctor told us it would be a miracle if we were to get pregnant naturally. After going through test after test, we found our fertility problems stem from a very low sperm count. Since that was the only issue, we were perfect candidates for intrauterine insemination. Our doctor explained that after three inseminations, the chances of it working for a given couple drastically decreases, and other methods should be tried.

Well, our three months of inseminations came and went, each one with progressively better sperm counts, still low, but good for insemination. I responded really well to the Clomid and even had 3 healthy eggs on one attempt. None of them worked. And that's OK. Really. We're glad we did the inseminations, and now know that our "picture perfect" family of four to five kids, each two years apart is definitely not happening. But anyone who knows Landon knows that he has as much personality as five kids anyway. So we're pretty much covered.

The next step would be to start saving up for IVF, and the clinic I go to boasts a 70% success rate on it, but let's be honest here: the thought of doing IVF scares the crap out of me. I hate needles, surgery, doctors, etc... and the inseminations were bad enough. Not to mention that at this point in time, the thought of having a baby around and trying to take care of Landon scares me even more. I still am averaging 5 - 6 hours of sleep, people. Right now, I'm perfectly happy with one spirited miracle.

Happy Times
Landon does so many things that make me laugh throughout the day, but if I don't write them down, they are easily forgotten. I've been trying to make a point of recording those moments in my phone when they happen. Now I can finally transfer them all to the blog! They're super random but things I don't want to forget!

January 2013
  • At church, Landon looked up at the speaker (who was quite an old fellow) and said, "Look mom! The prophet!"
  • When he was still learning the song, "I am a Child of God," he would sing, "I am a prophet of God."
  • One conversation about nursery: Landon: "Mom, read a book in nursery." Me: "Did you read a book about Jesus in nursery?" Landon: "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! (Slight tantrum ensues) READ THE BOOK OF MORMON!!!"
  • One day he was feeling pretty sick and was laying in bed with me. I was rolling over to get comfortable and he said, "Mom, stop wiggling!" 

February 2013
  • Loves to pretend to be asleep and will tap himself on the nose to wake up, then make some very great stretching and yawning sound effects.
  • Speaking of sound effects, right now every toy he owns likes to "splash." He is very dramatic about reenacting the splash, and we usually have about 3-4 baths each day to really kick it up a notch.
  • Landon has a baby doll that he rarely plays with. He found it the other day and I caught him gently rocking the baby and singing "Rock-a-bye-baby" (all three verses), then putting him on the floor with a blanket while saying, "Lay down your sleepy head, close your eyes." Of course the baby's eyes don't close so he resorted to just covering them quite forcefully with his fingers.

Landon's becoming quite the photographer. Of course, when we took out the 5D to have his mini photo shoot, he wanted a turn as well:

The New Room
My January project was to turn Landon's room into a "big kid room." With all the flailing he does in his sleep, the little toddler bed just wasn't big enough. And his exponentially growing amount of toys were hidden away in all sorts of crevices, making it difficult for him to access and play with them on his own. So, after weeks of researching, mattress and furniture shopping, I finally ended up with this: (before/after)

I scrimped in every possible way, and splurged on a couple things. (I about died when I found that duvet cover and kitchen set!)  But I love having all his toys in organized, easy to reach bins. He also loves having his own table that we can do puzzles at, eat the food he "cooks," build a train track, and just play with all his cars. IKEA is our new favorite place. Landon and I took numerous trips up there and had a blast every time. :) I know the walls are really bare, but everything I wanted to put up creates big crater holes in the wall, and I didn't want to have to worry about fixing that up when we *hopefully* move into our own house soon.

The ER
It was inevitable that this little guy would end up in the ER at point in time. We weren't even doing anything out of the ordinary. Just chasing each other around the house, like always. Except this time, he fell and landed with the back of his head on the corner of a wall. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the size of the cut before the blood started gushing. He wouldn't even let us clean it. Thankfully Scott was home, so I hysterically woke him up and we headed to the ER at 7:30am.

Sure enough the poor tike needed staples and boy was it the most traumatic experience for all of us. Then, to top it all off, exactly 24 hours after the incident he fell again. On the kitchen floor, right on the wound. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. Of course it started bleeding a ton, and the staples got a little messed up. We were advised to take him back to the ER and make sure it was ok. That wasn't fun. Thankfully they didn't have to do anything to it.

At least now he's a slight bit more careful and even will tell himself to slow down so he doesn't hurt his head and have to go back to the hospital.

A Jaunt to Washington
Since I'll be 26 in a month and off my parents insurance, I decided to fly up to WA and have a trip full of medical and dental appointments. I took Landon with and we made a little mini-vaca out of it. He was SOOOO excited to fly and did so well on the plane. We played at the park, visited the children's museum, and most importantly, went to the beach!

Geez I miss the beach!
We decided to hit up Seaside with my mom and brother. It was 60 and sunny, with only a slight breeze. Could not have asked for a more perfect day! Definitely worth the 3+ hour drive to get there. Landon absolutely loved it. Playing in the sand, watching the water, and literally running laps up and down the beach. I can't wait to go back.

Everyday Life
  • Landon loves to "help" daddy work.
  • He likes to line up all his cars and "watch a movie" (sound effects provided by mom). Have I mentioned he doesn't watch TV at home? We stopped around Thanksgiving and it's been one of the greatest decisions. The trade off is that when we are out and about running errands, if Scott's not using the iPad, Landon can bring it and play educational games or watch his movies.
  • He loves to wear matching clothes with daddy.
  • Sometimes he can play nice with others. :) This is his friend Trevor and they both had just woken up from naps.
More Daily Snapshots
  • Since it's been getting up to a whooping 40 degrees here, this weekend Landon and I took a nice long walk to Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, and finally the mall. He loves walking on the dino tail at the mall and even applied what he learned on the beam in gymnastics, (putting his  arms out). He just started a gymnastics class last week and although he was leery about it to begin with, by the end he did not want to stop. He had such a blast and loves showing us his "gymnastics moves" at home now.
  • This weekend has also been eventful in that I started the wonderful task of potty training. After coming up with a sticker chart/rewards system and explaining it to him about 75 times, he was finally OK with going pee in the potty. The first few times were hard, he earned an M&M and sticker for his chart. After five times he got a big candy bar. Pretty soon, he got really excited when the potty timer went off and it was time to go. By ten trips to the potty, he even started initiating them himself, before the timer. (This boy drinks a ridiculous amount of water which makes going every 15 minutes quite easy.) On the first day we filled up his whole chart (20 spaces) and he didn't even remember/care that the goal was to fill it so he could get a new toy!
  • Landon is obsessed with numbers. 10 is his favorite. He loves the Chicka Chicka 123 book, and can count by himself to 30. In the picture below he was showing me various two-digit numbers. (Look mommy! 73, 32, 14, etc...) We're missing the 9 but he thought a lowercase g makes a good replacement.

Whew! Can't tell you how good it feels to finally finish this! Have a great week! :)
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Stacy Dean said...

Oh man, where to begin with my comments!

- I really appreciate your honesty and struggles with motherhood, fertility, etc. Seriously. It is hard to talk about them let alone on a bloggy, but I am so glad you found a kindred spirit in this world who could lead you to that book! And I no matter what happens in the fertility department, you guys are amazing parents and he is such a cutie little miracle! I have been thinking lately about the whole "scheduling" process of having a family every two years or so and I just decided that I am not going to be able to do it that way. It's such a personal thing, having babies, and I think that no matter how many you have, everything will be awesome in the end. This is getting so lengthy, sorry! It's just my soap box. But there are certain moments of the day where I look around at my little one running around, banging her head on things, and my huzby busy working or talking to me about this or that and I think, "yeah. If this was it, if God had planned for it to just be us three, I'm down with that." Not that more wouldn't be a blessing still, but you know what I mean ;)

And great photography! That airplane cloud shot was stunning! ANd I can't believe you were in Seaside and didn't FB me on that so we could meet up girlie! next time!

Loves S

The Cunninghams said...

So jealous of your Washington trip!

I also appreciate your honesty with your fertility experiences. It's hard when pregnancies and plans don't go exactly "right."

Meg + Taylor said...

I get so excited when you post! I have been reading a lot about different temperaments and those spirited kiddos can be quite the handful! But I couldn't think of a better person to be a mommy to a spirited child than you. You are an awesome mom!
I love what you did with his room and I laughed out loud when I saw how you lined up your books! I LOVE it! It doesn't make me feel so crazy when I do stuff like that :) What else…oh, I love the picture of you and Landon at the beach. You should frame it. I love your pictures, like always. Were the plane photos just taken with your phone? Amazing. Lastly, it made my stomach turn when I saw that picture of Landon's head with staples! I so hope I don't have to go through something like that, but having a boy I know my chances are pretty high for that :/ Anyway, I'm happy to hear how positive you are about life. I think about you often.

Jamie Blake said...

If you ever need someone to talk to about infertility and IVF, I'm your girl! I will be glad to tell you all the details. IVF is quite the process with all the needles and drugs and whatnot, but it isn't nearly as bad as what you think. You would do just great! :)

Rachel E. Bytheway said...

I have been waiting for blog on Landon's room forever! No wonder it took so long, this was awesome. Becca, you are such an amazing mom! You are doing such a great job. Love the revise primary songs hahahaha.

Adela said...

Loved your blog today. Thanks for letting me have a glimpse into your life. Landon is such an awesome little boy. I think you are doing a great job with him.

Heather said...

WHOA!!! That post had sooo much!!! I love it!!!

I don't even know where to start.

Landon is seriously the cutest, funniest, smartest, craziest little boy I know!
I'm glad you were able to find that book, it seems like it will be a huge help. Every single one of those quotes he's said had me laughing out loud and I could just picture him saying them. Reading all these stories make me miss him so much! Rachel and I seriously need to visit soon.

Also, Landon's room looks so good! I love how it turned out. You rock!

I'm also super jealous that you went to the beach while I am stuck in freezing death Rexburg.

Oh, and i'm glad the potty training is going well! It seems like you've got a really good system.

Anyhow, I think I got everything.

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