Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mr. Bear

It was Family Week at preschool. The teacher, Ms. Z, invited parents to sign up to be a part of the class activities. I was excited to have the opportunity to see the boys in their school environment. I signed up for Story Time, from 11:10-11:30 am. I was really looking forward to reading with the kids!

We did extremely well getting out of the house that morning. By 8:30 am everyone was washed, dressed, fed and ready for take off. We had back packs (both of them, which is a whole other story) and the sun was shining after days of rain! Thank you God!!! I even remembered their homework!!

The plan was to drop the boys off and return to school later for story time. I decided to go a few minutes early to see how things go in class and "quietly" sit in the background. know what they say, tell God your plan and He will laugh. I am sure He was having a good laugh that day because it went from bad to worse.

When I arrived it was about 15 or 20 mins before Story Time. I walked in the door and immediately Luccio spotted me. The kids were set up at tables working on drawing pictures of their families. Luccio saw me and started yelling, "Mommy!! Mommy's here!"

So much for my quiet entrance!

Thankfully Ms. Z and the other teachers, Ms. L and Ms. D, were very welcoming! They said it was fine that I arrived early and invited me to join in with the class.

Cenzo was excited for me to be at school too. I visited his table and he introduced me to his friends. He seemed like he would be fine with me hanging out and observing the happenings of the group.

But, Luccio, my Little Bear, was not so content. He was soooooo excited! He declared Art was over. Which started a domino effect and all of the kids at his table wanted to be done with art.

Ms. Z didn't miss a beat. She quickly got everyone to clean up and move on to the next task.
Ms. L led a Music activity. My boys ended up as partners and were all over the place, not listening, dancing around like goofballs, and completely off task. Ms. Z assured me they weren't usually like this and that they normally aren't paired together.

One of the reasons I picked this preschool for my boys was because the first time I walked in the room I felt a sense of comfort. Positive energy radiates from Ms. Z. And as a twin mom herself, with 4 sons, not much ruffles her.

As my boys were getting more and more hyper and further off task during Music, I felt like running from the room and hiding. Especially when Luccio was marching to his own beat. Literally. He was marching in the opposite direction of EVERYONE else.

Ms. Z said, "He loves music!"

When we went back in to the classroom for story time, Luccio completely melted down. He was crying and carrying on because he wanted to sit on my lap and he wanted to wear his back pack to story circle and he wanted to play with the toy that was in his bag. He was yelling, "Mommy!! I want Mommy!!!"

Ms. Z said, "He is so loving! He loves his Mommy."

During Story Time, Luccio stood in front of me whining and demanding to sit on my lap and see the pictures and he didn't want me to read to his friends.

I felt my pulse racing, I was overheating and thought I would pass out from the embarrassment and stress. But, his 3 teachers sat in the circle with the other students and smiled and encouraged everyone to participate in talking about the book as if Luccio wasn't having a breakdown in the center of the circle.

Ms. Z gently guided him back to his table and gave him a hug and reassured him that he was doing great. She pointed out how exciting it is to have Mommy visit school.

I sat with him and held him on my lap and thought, "My goodness, is this my child???"

I practically ran from the building when it was time for dismissal. I couldn't believe how the day had gone. I totally disrupted everything and created chaos with my mere presence. Ughhhhhh

Luckily, we ran into Ms. Z a few days later at a basketball game. She was so positive and reassuring and said that its often difficult for kids when their parents come into the class, especially the first time. She also mentioned he wasn't the only one who had a hard time when a parent visited. She told a story of another little one from class that was crying the following day when his mom visited. I felt so relieved, even though I pitied the other Mom because I knew how she must have felt.

I am so thankful that I went with my gut instinct when I chose this school for the boys. I wanted their first school experience to be positive. I wanted a teacher who would have patience and compassion. A person who would inspire them. Before school started for the year, I had mentioned to Ms. Z that Luccio had medical issues and that he may have some developmental issues. And she said, "we love them all the same." And she does!

Its important for preschoolers to learn letters, numbers and colors. But, at the end of the day I want my sons to learn to love and to be loved. And I can tell you they are learning that this year with their amazing teachers!!

During those moments of what appeared to be complete insanity with Luccio screaming and causing a scene, Ms. Z pointed out his strengths: He loves music. He loves his Mommy. He is loving!

It really made me reflect. My Little Bear IS so loving. He is such a snuggler and so animated and funny!!! He truly brings Light wherever he goes. He is a strong little boy. He was born with a hole in the back of his skull, he underwent 3 brain surgeries and 3 other minor surgeries for various ailments. He has always endured with a smile! He has recovered faster than I ever would have been able to. He never complained and it never stomped out his inner light!!

I know that most teachers don't have the time or patience to nurture each child's fullest potential. And it is much easier to see a child's faults than strengths, especially when they are strong willed and demanding. But, our family has been so blessed to have found a place where teachers appreciate that determination and strong will are strengths. These are the exact strengths that have helped Luccio to survive and succeed!! And I am so grateful that Ms. Z reminded me what an amazing son I have!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Obama Factor

There is an old saying about never bringing up religion or politics at the dinner table because you may insult someone. But, since we are not eating (at least not together in the same room) I will get on my soap box for a moment. I wonder if the same rule should apply in an emergency room..... When I was in the ER with Isabella someone asked if she had received Synagis shots. Synagis is not a vaccine, but an anti-body that helps protect kids from getting RSV. I told her that Isabella had not received Synagis because wasn't born prematurely enough to meet the criteria. She said she thought that it covered babies born under 36 weeks. I said, no it covers a preemie born BEFORE 34 weeks and weighing LESS than 5 pounds. She said she couldn't believe how strict things have gotten and how much worse it will get with Obama's plan.

Huh?? Did a Health Care Professional just use my child's illness to further promote her own political bias?? No, can't be. Could it??

Well, I was distracted in that moment because my infant was struggling for air. However, as I sat around the hospital for a couple days with no access to Wi-Fi, I had time to process and formulate more coherent thoughts (well, slightly more coherent.)

I think what bothers me about that conversation is the COMPLETE UNTRUTH!! Synagis criteria has not suddenly gotten more strict because Barack Obama was elected to be President of The United States of America. Three years ago when I had my twin sons I learned about Synagis criteria because they qualified for it because they were born at 32 weeks AND weighed under 5 pounds.

I keep coming back to the injustice of blaming Barack Obama for every wrong under the sun, including Isabella getting RSV. Over the past few months I have heard people place blame on Obama for everything from mammogram recommendations to global warming. Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View referred to the new Mammogram recommendations as "gender genocide."

So, let me get this straight Obama hates women, children and boobs????

Does ANYONE remember George W. Bush?? The OLD, WHITE, REPUBLICAN who led our country into a war that we may never get out of? A war that cost thousands of American soldiers their lives and put America into debt that we CANNOT EVER repay? $$$$$$$ The same George W. Bush who is responsible for bringing our country to it's knees, begging for mercy in the worst financial crisis we have seen in DECADES????? The same guy who was president when the whole mammogram study was first initiated???

Obama just happened to be in office AFTER the war began, AFTER the financial crisis happened, and AFTER the Synagis and mammogram recommendations have been made.

It took George W. Bush 8 years to destroy our country, Obama will need more than a few months to put a plan in place that lets America recover what is has lost, both economically and emotionally. At a Weight Watchers meeting I was told "it took you 30 years to gain weight, don't be shocked when you can't lose it all in 4 weeks!!" I would say the same principles apply here. Time, effort and lots of hard work are needed to rebuild.

So, Obama may be YOUNG, BLACK and DEMOCRATIC, and he may have a lot of challenges ahead of him as the President of the United States. But, he did not cause Isabella to be born at 36.4 weeks and weigh nearly 8 POUNDS - therefore making her INELIGIBLE for Synagis. Nor did he sneeze, cough and snot on her to cause her RSV (that was her brothers)

He may have caused Global Warming though, I'm not sure because I don't really follow politics....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Go For the Brain

So Princess Bean has been sick. Scary sick. It was a crazy week that included a ER visits, ambulance rides and a hospital stay. We met some interesting people and received some interesting advice along the way. Some helpful, some not so much. But, I will share it all with you nonetheless...She started with a little sniffle on Sunday. Then 4 am on Tuesday morning I heard a cough that made my heart skip a few beats. I had been sleeping on my couch holding her because every time she fell asleep she was choking on phlegm. She was having a hard time breathing and needed medical attention. So I sprang into action calling the doc and getting dressed. I ended up taking her to the ER. She was diagnosed with RSV (a respiratory virus that can affect the lungs in infants) RSV can progress quickly and gets worse before it gets better. Since its viral there is no medication for it. Just treatment of the symptoms. She had 3 ER visits, 2 pediatrician visits and one hospital admission between Tuesday and Saturday. And since one hospital in town does not have a pediatric unit she also had 2 ambulance rides-one from the pediatricians office to the ER and then from there to the other hospital across town to be admitted.

Basically the docs and nurses we dealt with advised treating the congestion and coughing with various methods that included hanging her upside down and beating her back, then flooding her with saline and shoving a bulb syringe as far up her nostrils as we can to suction snot out. Then, wait for her to choke and begin to suction the phlegm from the back or her throat. Fun times.

I was "trained' by the nurses so I would be able to do this at home. It was stressful, but I gave it my best shot.

At one point I was suctioning her snot and the nurse was cheering, "Don't be afraid, go for the brain!!"

I am not kidding.

So after a couple days I took her home. I followed doctors orders, along with help from Hubby. We suctioned her nose until it bled and her throat until she vomited.

And then I fell into a puddle of tears.

We decided there MUST be a more humane way to help alleviate congestion in a coughing, choking infant. So...

Hubby built a Humidity Tent for Isabella. This was suggested to us by a different doc than the one who thought the saline and suction was effective. She said to tie a sheet over the top of the crib and use a cool air humidifier to blow moisture in. Well, nice thought. But, our Princess doesn't sleep in her crib. Hubby often wonders why he "built" a nursery for her since she never sleeps in there. I remind him that he didn't build it, he just painted it AND she is only a tiny baby. But, in fact she is getting bigger and older. And she slept in a hospital crib for 2 nights, so I thought it would be a perfect time to transition her into her own crib.

Yeah. That didn't go well.

So we moved her chair/bed into her room and Hubby tied a sheet up and put the humidifier under there with her. There was scissors, yarn, scotch tape and eventually duct tape involved. It looks like a scene from M.A.S.H., but it seems to be helping. And there is a lot less crying (on my part) than with other methods we have tried.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My Birthday celebrations tend to go on and on, I love it!!! I am spoiled and usually have more than one party. As a kid I would have a family party and a friends party and it has worked out that even as a "grown up" I usually end up with 2 or 3 parties. This year was no exception!!
My Hubby started the celebration by taking me out Thursday night to dinner and a show. We saw, Hairspray. It was fabulous!!!!!!! I have been singing the songs since! Next I had lunch with My Ladies on my actual birthday. And then the best was saved for last, a party with my sons!! When I got home from lunch with the girls, my boys had a party ready for me!!! Roses and yummy chocolate cake are a great way to end a day! Then my parents and Nonni stopped over and we looked through old photo albums. And Hubby made a DVD of the kids from the past 3 years. Its is a compilation of "mini movies" that are about 3 mins each that include: a montage of the boys' first year, first haircuts, sledding, - all adorable moments!!

Cenzo asked me what I was going to wish when I blew out my candles. I never tell a wish because it may not come true, so I asked him-What do you think I should wish for? And he said-"To spend the day with us?" Absolutely!!! There is no more perfect way to celebrate my life than with my family!! Wishes Do Come True!!!

Birthday Celebrations

For my 35th Birthday I decided to dress up my Princess and take her out to lunch. Then I invited my Mom (Stregga) to join us, she invited her mother (my Nonni) Then I talked to Crazy Cousin and invited her and her mother (Auntie)
I figured since lunch was turning into a party, I would call Zhaz and her daughters to join us. My Godmother was included on the plan too. She had to work, so we decided to have lunch at the restaurant where she Hostesses. And before you know it, it was a big Birthday Bash!!! We had a fantastic Italian meal and my favorite berries and creme cake!! We chatted for over 3 hours!!!

It was a glorious afternoon! I even got presents!! I love presents!!! I got a zebra print Snuggi -love it!!! And hot pink slippers with tiaras on them!! And chocolate red wine, yummm!! And a nice bag of bath bubbles and candles.

I am so fortunate to have a group of amazing women in my life to support me in the good times and the bad. Over the years I have been able to count on each of them individually to pick me up when I have fallen or as a group to rally around me when I have needed a moral boost. And I can always rely on them to laugh at and with me when I need a reality check!!! It was so much fun celebrating the day with them and I loved that my Princess is now part of
the group!!

Here are some highlights from the day:

My Princess All Dressed Up

Princess Met a Boyfriend from Another Table

My Cousins

Stregga with her new purple cast-arrrrrgghh!!

35 and counting...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Baby Blessings 09'

In 2005 I started keeping track of blessings in my journal. I would try to write something each day that I was grateful for. In review I was often writing about a new baby being born to a friend or family member. SO eventually it got to the point where I started a list for just Baby Blessings. At the time I was struggling with fertility issues and it helped to be positive and celebrate all the babies around me. I continued even after I had my own family because I still find it important to celebrate new life. It's interesting to me to see the trends in names, gender, etc. This year we were blessed with our baby Isabella and she was in good company. 48 other babies were born in 2009 in our circle of family, friends, or acquaintances. If you want to see some of the names and stats for previous years, check out: Baby Blessings 08' .

Here is the list of Babies that have Blessed our lives in 2009:


Nathan (2)
Ryan (2)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Heart

The big question people have been asking since I had Isabella is, "How are the boys adjusting to life as big brothers?" It's a good question. On a day to day basis things are too hectic to analyze such things. But, when someone asks me I have to pause for a moment and reflect. The other day I took Isabella to the pediatrician and she asked me about the boys too. My automatic response is, "they are great big brothers." But, how are they really feeling about their new sister?? I try to use their actions as interpretation of their feelings. They love to help feed and bathe her. They play with her and are so proud of themselves when she gives them smiles!! Every morning they wake up and immediately ask where she is. They are helpful when I need them to get something for me while I am feeding her. Every time I put a new outfit on her we do a fashion show and they ooh and ahh over her adorable little clothes and headbands.

I feel like the boys are pretty aware that Mama and Daddy can love more than one child completely and unconditionally 100% . They have shared our attention and love since before they were even born. They have never known what it is to be the one and only in our house. They get special days with one on one attention, but its not the same thing. I think they were prepared for the concept of each child is loved in a separate but equal way. They have different personalities and interests and dynamics. And Isabella is another beautiful piece of our family puzzle, it fits.

But, the seed of doubt is always in the back of my mind. Is jealousy lurking under the surface? Am I missing something? Are they feeling neglected? Do they feel replaced?? I heard Cenzo tell my cousin that "babies cry all the time, especially at night." And one day we were at the store and he said, "You always buy things for Isabella Angelina." It wasn't in anger or nastiness. He wasn't asking me to buy him anything. It was just a statement, like he observed and noticed it and commented on it. But, it got my attention is a way that felt unnerving. The doubt rose to the surface.

Then the other day, I got some reassuring feedback from the boys in a moment with their sister. They were taking turns holding her and Luccio was saying, "I love her." He was rubbing her head and saying, "I love you baby sister. You are OK. We are right here."
Then Cenzo said, "I want more baby sisters. That would make my heart happy."

That made MY heart happy!

The Circle

I remember when I met my friend Stephanie, aka "My Sister" aka "Sis" 25 years ago!
It was 1984 and I was 9 years old. I had just moved to Village Circle. I left behind my friends and moved to a new home in a town where I was the only person wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt and carrying a purse with his picture ironed onto it. I was ahead of the curve and the King of Pop craze in my new town.
So I arrived at the bus stop that first morning and there was Sis standing over the sewer drain with her brother and another boy from our neighborhood. I thought, hmmm... interesting. I wonder what they are looking at down in the sewer?? As I got closer I realized they had the cover off of the sewer and had convinced one of the neighborhood boys to climb down into the drain!! It was obvious Sis was the ring leader of this crew. I stood there thinking, what kind of place did I move to??? And I vowed that I would NEVER be friends with this girl, even if she was the only other female in the neighborhood!!!

Needless to say by the time we got off the bus that afternoon and walked up the big hill home, we were best friends for life!! Shwinns in fact!! Shwinns are a set of "sisters" who are "twins" who are not blood related. Or at least that is what we told people back in the day. Sis is 6 months older, but was one grade ahead in school. So we were friends in the neighborhood aka The Circle, but we also has our school friends. When I was in 4th grade we told one of my school friends that we were sisters, twins actually. She wanted to know why we didn't live in the same house. She was a smart one that girl! SO we had an elaborate story that included foster homes, adoption, and other such "stretches" of the truth. Once the story was rolling it was hard to back track so we just forged ahead adding details as we went.

We had a great time growing up in The Circle. We played Barbies until we were 13 (sad, but true) We built snow houses that we moved everything we owned into including a TV one winter (our Moms were not impressed) We were in love with the boy next door (well next door is relative because we had a few boys in the neighborhood that we fell for at different phases and not all lived literally next door) and we stalked the Paper Boy on a regular basis. We had countless sleepovers. We babysit every kid in the neighborhood including the 6 week old that we fought over and had to set the oven timer so that we cold take turns holding her every 15 minutes (nowadays no one would let 12 year olds watch a newborn, but in the ol' days this was a normal thing) And we tortured most of the boys that lived near us. Especially 2 that were particularly dorky. We told everyone made up stories about them, but the worst part was we told the true stories like the fact that they still had babysitters at 15 years old!! We were wicked!!!

We had it all planned out back then...we would marry twin brothers (we actually knew a set at school that we were in love with so it worked perfectly with the plan) Then we would live next door to each other, each have twin daughters, and own a beach house where we would vacation every summer. In our free time we would run our restaurant, Burger Time.

Flashforward 25 years... Well the twin husbands and daughters didn't work out, but I have twin sons. And Bruger Time never happened, but Sis married an excellent cook so that could still eb a possibility. And we don't live next door, but luckily we live on the same coast again!! So we are in driving distance of each other.

Last week I drove up to visit Sis and her newborn baby, Kaitlyn. I took Isabella with me so she could meet her future best friend. It was a fantastic visit. We hung out and held our real life baby dolls while we ate Oreos and chatted!! Just like old times, except now we have our little girls with us. And someday I can only hope that they will make as many wonderful memories as we have. The Circle continues...