Toddlerhood

I love this stage with Abigail. She is learning so much, and she wants to learn. I often feel inadequate to teach her because I don’t know what she is capable of, and I often don’t know how to teach her. But I am glad she is willing to learn with me and be patient as I learn with her. She picks up things so quickly whether it’s a new sign for communication or how to make her body move the way she wants it to. Her therapists are so pleased with her progress, and they are working just as hard to get her to sit and grow too! I mean just look at her sitting on the steps. She looks like such a big girl now, and I love it. My little baby is growing up slowly but surely.

As much as this is an exciting time for us all, it is also a frustrating time. We are at a weird stage right now. Abigail wants to be a toddler so bad. She wants independence and freedom. She is smart and growing everyday. From the outside she looks like a big girl. But physically she is only at about a 8 month old level (well an 8 month old who can’t sit or stand yet). It’s tough. It’s frustrating. Do you know how hard it is to play with toys when you can’t sit yet? We are limited by what we can do. Even as I took the picture of her sitting on the steps, looking so big, she fell over before I could catch her and hit her head pretty hard against the wall. That’s our life. A mix of wanting to be a big girl, but being limited by what she can do. I am just glad she has been a champ so far and is taking things so well.

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Yes, that is my toddler lifting a 2 pound weight. No, I do not let her play with weights. She just happened to find them during one of my workouts. But she can lift 2 pounds!!

I think the worst thing for us right now is not the lack of physical ability, but the lack of communication. Because we have no way of communication we get frustrated at each other. She’s beginning to want certain things or not want certain things but I’m not sure what she needs all the time. She is becoming more and more aware of her environment which is exciting, but that means she is almost waking up cognitively. She can get sassy sometimes with what she wants or does not want, and I am struggling to keep up with all her new awareness. Since I’m with her all day I can usually keep up with her needs, but there are times I have no idea what she is thinking. Thankfully we are slowly learning signs, and I pray her speech continues to improve so I can help her. I do not want her physical handicaps to slow down her cognitive development.

Bed time is another frustration for us right now. She seems to never be tired, so at 9 we make our way up to her bedroom. We read a book or two and sing a song then it’s to bed. I have to lay beside her because she scream cries if I leave her side. And I swear she has no idea how to cry because she never does, so she then gets all chocked up and it’s just a big mess. So I lay beside her and she wiggles and tossed and turns. It takes about an hour for her to finally go to sleep. So now it’s about 10:30 and I’m tired and frustrated. I miss time with Jordan in the evening. It’s just a big mess. So we are attempting some changes this week to see if they help us all. I hope they help!!

But even with all this newness and learning going on Abigail is so happy all the time. Sometimes I wish she was not. I know that sentence is weird, but sometimes her constant good moods are a detriment for her. For example this past week was r-o-u-g-h. But she seemed like a champ the whole time. Unless you know her super well you would have no idea anything was wrong with her. We started the week off constipated. It’s a struggle we often have since Abigail doesn’t move a lot. But she hadn’t gone to the bathroom for a week and the pediatrician put us on Miralax. So now I’m a worried mama about that, but of course Abigail just continues to eat like normal and not cry. I could tell she was a bit off because she was clingy and not as talkative but no one else would see that. Then this weekend we had a wedding in our family and her whole schedule was thrown off! She did not sleep much. She did not eat like normal. She was cooped up a lot. Nothing was normal on top of being constipated. What a weekend for us all!! But through it all she just laughed and was her normal self. Only at the wedding reception did she start showing the wear and tear from the long week. And then she simply just wasn’t smiley. She’s a mess!

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Her sleeping off her hard weekend. She slept so much after the wedding, and I am so thankful!

But that’s toddlerhood in our house. It’s a weird mixture of growth, excitiment and frustration. I have a two year old who has a lot of struggles other two year olds have, but they cannot be treated the same way. I have a two year old who wants to learn and be independent, yet is highly dependent on me. I have a two year old who wants to be social, but cannot express her needs. I have a two year old who often is tired or hungry, yet is laughing and smiling so most people have no idea that she really needs a nap. This is our life in toddlerhood for now. I hope Abigail continues to progress and grow. I love seeing her personality bloom. I love seeing her explore and learn. And I love that she is becoming a big girl day by day. But I also hope her limited communication and physical ability does not slow her down. I think every parent of toddlers would tell you every day is a rollercoaster, but to see that tiny little one grow into a little person is something I would not miss for the world!

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A Musing Mother

It happened again. We were in the waiting room of our doctor’s office waiting for Abigail’s eyes to dilate so we could go back to see the doctor. Abigail was in my lap eating goldfish and watching all the other children running around. Me and her are good people watchers. One particular father was having issues keeping track of his son. The little boy kept wanting to run away and run straight out the door, so the dad kept running around after him only for the son to escape again. At one point the dad sat down across from us and tried to offer his son his own goldfish, to try to entice him to be still for a minute I am sure. The dad made a passing comment that made me cringe inside. He turned to his son and said, “Why can’t you be calm like that little girl?”

It is not the first time that comment has been made about Abigail. Obviously, she is calmer than a typical two-year-old. I mean she can’t move for goodness sake. And this was not our first rodeo in a crowded doctor’s office full of typical kids. So you can imagine when parents are chasing after running toddlers, and trying to keep their young children occupied in a boring office that seeing my child just sitting in my lap calmly chowing down on her snacks could easily make you jealous. I mean selfishly does not every parent want an Abigail who does not move and get into things and all the normal toddler things that toddlers do? A selfish parent wants an Abigail, but a parent with any bit of love for their child would never wish this on their child.

I wish I could tell that father that he really does not want his son to be calm like Abigail. I wish I had the time to explain our story, but a crowded doctor’s office is not the place. That dad wouldn’t care. If anything we would just get all the pity stares from everyone when I explained why Abigail was sitting in my lap and not running around. We receive enough pity stares already, so we do not need those either. My favorite response from strangers are the ones when they comment on how cute Abigail is, or how her pink glasses are adorable, or how blonde her hair is. I just want to stop and thank those lovely strangers for taking time to talk to us and to see my girl for who she is and not what she can’t do. I know these comments will decrease and the pity stares will increase as Abigail gets bigger and we actually have to use her new adaptive stroller or wheelchair more. Kids in wheelchairs are different and our society does not like different. Right now that only thing that sets Abigail apart from a typical toddler (at least from what a stranger can see) are her glasses and we get so many comments about those!

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Abigail’s newest wheels – the adaptive stroller. We haven’t used it a lot but I think when we do this thing will get some attention.

“Why can’t you be calm like her.” I won’t ever forget that small comment. I would not wish any parent to have a child with special needs. It is a whole different world (that I am only beginning to learn about) that comes with struggles, heartaches, and a dash of hope. While I am thankful for our journey and I could not be more blessed to be a mom of a special needs child, I want more than anything for Abigail to be normal. I want her to be able to be the independent child that she thinks she is. I want her to be able to walk and run and just be a kid. I want her to play pretend with her baby dolls and help my bake a cake. I want her to talk my ear off in the backseat and tell me what a cat says. I want her to learn her ABCs and sing made up songs to me before nap time. Oh these are just some smalls dreams I want. I know she is progressing daily, and for every baby step we just cannot believe it. As long as she is moving forward we know there is hope that one day she could do all these things.

What I would say for any parent of young children out there is that I know the days are long. I know you are tired and maybe even burnt out. I know toddlers are crazy! I know you have amazing days and then you have some horrible days. But please don’t take these days for granted. Be thankful for them being toddlers. Be thankful they are learning how to be little people and how this big world works. Protect them, love them and be patient with them. Soak in every silly song, every kiss for a boo-boo, and the sound of those little feet running towards you. They grow so fast and they need you more than ever right now. And if you happen to know a parent of a special needs child, or just see one out and about please do not offer the pity stare. Just say hey like you would any other mom. Tell them their child is beautiful and get your child to wave at them. You will make that parent’s day I assure you. All a special needs parent wants is the same thing you want – someone to stop and give us a smile and say hey I notice all you’re doing and you’re rocking it!

And to all mom’s that is what I leave you with – you are rocking it! Keep going moms! Drink your coffee, take a shower, do whatever you need to do for you and then love those babies with all your heart. We are in this together, and together we can do this thing called life. So find some mom friends and encourage some mom friends and love some mom friends this week. We need each other!

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A Reflection on Motherhood

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Your day begins early as you prepare yourself and your family to start the day off right, or at least you try to start it off right but something is bound to get off track. You work hard all day whether it is at home or in an office, and then you have more work to do as the day winds down between picking up everyone’s messes or doing yet another load of laundry. The day is long, oh so long! But you are a mother and deep inside you know this is all worth it. These days will not be forever, and tomorrow will bring a whole lists of new things to do and worries to be had, so today you do your work to the best of your ability. Life is short and having children at home is even shorter, so today mother, treat this life as a blessing that will be short lived and enjoy every messy moment.

The role mothers take on is endless…

  • chef
  • fashion coordinator
  • secretary
  • taxi driver
  • photographer
  • daily planner
  • teacher
  • doctor
  • cuddler
  • discipliner
  • zoo rangler
  • lover
  • fighter
  • maid
  • librarian
  • chorus director

…and that’s not even all of the roles! We wear so many different hats, no wonder our mama brains are like scrambled eggs up there. But each of these roles means the world to our children and our family. They need us to be there through it all as they become the adults God has planned them to be. While it is a headache to be everything to everybody, the good thing is that we are not called to be anything but a child of God, and a mother to these precious children. So often we attach other titles and jobs to ourselves that the world tells us we have to do, but no where does God say we are called to be anything but a mother to these children. So let’s mother them the best we can, and go back to the simple truths of God’s Word and what He has called us to.

Emily and Laura from Risen Motherhood (you can follow them on Instagram @risenmotherhood. They also share a weekly podcast if you are into those!) shared a wonderful tidbit in their Instagram post today. She was asked, “What does the church need to give moms this Mother’s Day?” Her answer goes with exactly the point I am trying to make. She replied, “What moms really need to hear isn’t a burdensome statement about the hugeness of their calling, a heartfelt thanks that can sometimes fall on deaf ears due to guilt, or a list of ways they can do even better in motherhood…What the moms really need, if we are to give them the strength to run the race set before them, is a reminder of who they are and what they have in Christ.” Thanks Emily! What beautiful words and big Truths!! Moms need to be reminded that they are daughters of God himself and in Him they can find rest, hope, faith and love! As moms we must be so plugged into God that He is what makes us function and live. Our children need us to be so in love with God that they see Him through us! On this Mother’s Day let us remember who we are in Christ and what He offers freely to us.

Mothering is hard! Parenting is hard! But God has given us these children to raise to honor Him, so let us run our race faithfully. May you always be reminded that you are worthy and have a purpose in this life. As you change bed sheets and wipe dirty faces for the twentieth time that day may you remember that this to is God’s perfect plan. Motherhood was created by God to bless families from the beginning of the world. Without mothers children would not learn fully to love, care, and share emotionally with others. Mothers and women have specific roles that fathers and men cannot fill for God made us each unique. So mother your children as God has so given us the ability to. Mother them knowing that you are a loved and blessed child of the one true King. Mother them knowing that soon these children will be mothering and fathering children of their own.

Today may all mothers, grandmothers, and soon-to-be mothers all be blessed in a special way. May we always be thankful for the mothers in our own lives whether biological or not. Mothers are special gifts not to be taken for granted. And to all the mama’s out there – you can do this!!! Happy Mother’s Day!

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In honor of Mother’s Day here is a picture of when I became a Mommie!!

What is in a Name?

Picking out your child’s name is tough. You have to think about so many factors – does it sound good with your last name? Do you know anyone you don’t like with that name? Does the monogram look cute? Will they get picked on their whole life for this name? Do you name the baby after someone in the family? The list goes on and on. There are books and websites dedicated to helping you pick the best name for your child. How do you pick the perfect name?

When we found out we were pregnant picking out a name was one of the first things we did. We had to pick out the girl name and the boy name. The boy name was

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Our gender announcement!

a lot harder, and I still do not know if I even love it. We knew our son’s middle name would be Jordan after my husband, but we were leaning towards Asher for the first name. Apparently we like names that begin with ‘A’. As for the girl’s name, we knew it instantly without even debating. We both loved the name Abigail. I am not sure why, but it was decided 100% Abigail would be our daughter’s name if we had a girl.

Abigail Paige Lidh. Her name has so much meaning behind it, and I pray she lives up to her name as she grows and matures. Jordan allowed me to pick the middle name Paige. I have always loved it, and it adds so much to her name as I will explain. First, Abigail means ‘her father’s delight’. Well of course she is Jordan’s delight. He loves her so much and she gets so excited when he walks in the room! Those two have a very special relationship and I love it. But then there is the Abigail in the Bible. A strong, wise lady who served David and his men in the face of near destruction for her and her family. A servant through and through. Paige also means to serve. That is what I want for Abigail, for her to have a servant’s heart, and for her to love others and serve them selflessly. The world teaches you to look out for number one, but if we would serve others and treat them as people who God loves then we could make a difference in people’s lives.

And I would be amiss to not mention my favorite part of Abigail’s name – her monogram. APL or apple as I like to say, for she is the apple of our eye. She will always be as our first baby. But as I was reading Psalm one day when I was pregnant I came across this verse. “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Ps. 17:8, NIV. I knew instantly that wImage (2)as to be Abigail’s life verse. I want her to have an intimate relationship with God when the time comes, and to find shelter in Him and not in the things of this world. I want her to be in awe of the One who made her, and trusts Him fully for all things. Such simple, life-changing truths that even I wish I would apply more often. These are the things I pray for my daughter’s life.

Abigail Paige Lidh. There are so many emotions, prayers, and thoughts wrapped up in that one name. It is one of my favorites! And I am so glad that there is more to her name than just what was written on her birth certificate. Do you have a specific reason for naming your child what you named them? I love hearing naming stories!! Please comment and share below!

About Me

 

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For those who need to see hope in this world.

For those who want encouragement in parenting.

For those who want honesty about living with a child with special needs.

This blog offers a positive view on children with special needs; written for special needs moms, stay at home moms, and those who are interested in my daughter’s progress. If you love inspirational writings, adorable toddler stories, and a heart felt love for children than this is the blog for you! The posts on this site include stories of my daughter’s progress, things I have learned from being her mother, and life with a special needs toddler because she is the inspiration behind all I write. The journey with our daughter started when she was two months old. It has been an almost two year process of tests, therapy and tears and we still are not sure why causes our daughter’s developmentally delay. This blog tells our story of the day-to-day life as we discover how to love each other through the delay.

Welcome to our family! My name is Heather. My husband, Jordan and I were married February 1, 2014 and we had our beautiful daughter, Abigail in May 2015. My husband works hard providing for us at his retail job while I stay at home with our joyful little girl. She keeps me busy between occupational, physical, and speech therapy. We live in Atlanta, Georgia, and love spending time as a family. We are active in our local church and are Christians who love God and have an intimate relationship with Him. My prayer for this blog is that it would inspire you to love others more and encourage you in ways you could never imagine. Life is hard, and we are often dealt cards we were not expecting, but those hard, unexpected things are sometimes the greatest blessings. That is what Abigail is to my husband and I, a great blessing! Abigail gives us encounters everyday that we treasure with all our hearts.

So please, if this blog sounds like a good read, subscribe to my posts! Send me an e-mail with comments or questions, or find me on social media. You can find all the links on the left side of my home page. I want to tell our story and help others with theirs. Thank-you for stopping by, and hopefully we will talk to each other soon!

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One Day at a Time

I write a lot about the positive side of raising Abigail because often that is how I feel. I love her and her little personality. I would not change Abigail for anything, but I am not as strong as some may think I am. Often, people will comment about my faith or my strength or my endurance as I write about our life, but often I feel like I do not have any of those things. Here, we simply take one day at a time because we just do not know what tomorrow will hold.

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Abigail around two months old – about the time we first learned something was not quite right.

That is hard for me. I am a planner. I love lists and schedules. Part of me wants to already be looking for a school for Abigail or planning our vacation for next year (this year is already planned). That’s me. My husband says I plan way too much and way too early. He describes himself of flying by the seat of his pants but in a controlled way. He was that guy in school who wrote his paper the night before it was due and then made an A on it. I was not that person. I loved syllabus day because that night I would lay out all my syllabi and make a semester long schedule and calendar of when I would start every project or paper. Everything was done with days, if not weeks in advance of the deadline. I do not work well under pressure! I tell you all this to show you that this new life is not my favorite.

Babies mess up schedules. I usually plan out in my head how my day will go hour by hour. Even though it does not affect anyone but me if things change, I just like having order. But I have learned that babies do not live on schedules. That’s a tough one for me to learn. You never know when Abigail will have a day when she will not nap so there goes my hour I had planned to clean or organize the house. My ‘perfect’ made up schedule gets ‘ruined’ a lot. It used to bother me more than it should, but just the other day our plans got changed last-minute and my husband said that I was handling it a lot better than I used to! That was a huge compliment for me!! I am improving.

But all this is just petty worries that I am learning to dust off and move on with. There are some moments where it all just hits me that we have no idea what the future holds. There are some moments where I completely doubt myself and my ability to mother. There are some moments where I am jealous as I watch other two-year-olds with their mothers. There are moments when I fear, worry, and analyze way too much. There is no book that tells you how to parent. There definitely is no book that tells you what to do when you hear the worse about your child. That something is not right with them. One day at a time is all I can do sometimes.

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My family taking it one day at a time – enjoying some frisbee golf at the park!

We met with our Babies Can’t Wait counselor this past Thursday. Babies Can’t Wait is a program that helps special needs parents work with the local school system to prepare your child for an easier transition into school once they reach that age. She was explaining to me about the process of getting Abigail in preschool in the next few years. Then she asked the dreaded question I try not to think about “has anyone mentioned to you about getting a wheelchair and other equipment?” Yes, a wheelchair. I know that’s a huge possibility in our future, but no one in the medical field has ever asked that before and it broke my heart. I want my baby to walk and explore and be able to get around on her own. I know amazing people in wheelchairs, and I know it would not be the end of the world if Abigail was placed in one as she gets ready to go to school. But it is the thought that my baby would once again be seen for what she could not do rather than what she could do.

One day at a time. That is what I remind myself when the fears of the future prevail. Today Abigail can wiggle and twist all on her on. Tomorrow she could stand. We simply do not know what she is capable of, but I have seen that child do things I would never thought she could do. Yes, therapy helps her a lot. Yes, I work with her some at home. But she does a lot of things all on her own. She is learning and growing everyday. So no, I do not think I am strong or even capable of mothering this stubborn blonde-headed baby but I know that Abigail is strong and we will continue to fight for her each and every day!


“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.” – Karen Salmansohn

Mother/Daughter Bond

Jordan always wanted to have a girl. Even before we decided to have a child, he wanted a girl. He says it is because he has been around guys his whole life, but I think he just wanted a little look a like princess to dote on. And he got exactly that! When we first found out we were pregnant we were deciding on names. The girl’s name was not even a decision really. We both knew instantly we would name our daughter Abigail if the baby were a girl. And the day we found out it was a girl I thought my husband would burst of excitement (well as excited as Jordan can be). We were supposed to do a small gender reveal with our families, but in all my excitement I let the cat out of the bag instantly to my mom, so everyone knew it was a girl without all the pomp and circumstance.

A girl. At this point I really did not have much of an opinion. I knew nothing about babies (and still don’t), so it did not really matter to me whether we had a girl or a boy. Part of me wanted a boy because in my head a big brother should be the way it is. I am very traditional, and I grew up with a big brother. But a girl. Even though I am a girl I do not know much about hair, fashion, make-up, the latest songs or even what is the ‘in’ thing right now. I just never have been interested in that kind of thing. I knew our poor daughter would miss out on a lot of things that other moms might teach by example. But my mom never did any of those ‘girly’ things and I never felt left out, so I figured maybe our daughter would be okay too.

Then Abigail came into the world and I held her for the first time. They placed all seven pounds of her on my chest. Those eyes just looked at me trying to figure me all out. My baby girl. Abigail never cried or made any noises at all. She just laid there with those big eyes staring straight into mine. I will never forget that moment. Some people may say that moment I was connected with my daughter. But the one thing that has bonded me to her like never before has been staying at home with her. These last few months have given us a bond like nothing I could ever describe. I have learned a lot about her, and I have learned a lot about myself. I have experienced the mother/daughter bond, and I love it!

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First time I held my baby!

I dream about having tea parties and playing dress up. I want to make a million Pinterest crafts with Abigail, and teach her how to count. I want to have matching aprons so we can cook dinner for Daddy together. I dream about a lot of things. And for Abigail these may always be dreams. We are not sure what her future will hold. But we still have fun in our own way. We love to go on walks and ‘talking.’ Abigail loves to swing and play in the mirror. She’s a great shopping buddy. She is excellent at dropping all her toys off her high chair tray. And she is the best giggler in the world!! So for now we have fun doing these things, and maybe one day my mommie/daughter dreams will play out and we will have fun doing those things too. But I have learned that having a little girl is so much fun!!

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Attempting to play Candy Land. Yes, it’s a princess version and yes she just played with the cards. But she also won.

Everyone talks about the father/daughter bond, and I know Abigail and Jordan have their own relationship that Jordan treasures, but I am not Jordan so I cannot write for him. All I can tell you is that there is a very special relationship between mothers and daughters as well. My hope and my prayer is to simply be the woman of God that Abigail needs to model for her as she grows. I want to be her inspiration and her mentor. I do hope she has teachers and leaders in her life that guide her as well. She will need them so much! But I want to be her main teacher. I want her to watch me as I follow God. That is a steep calling for me, but as Abigail’s mother I do not expect anything less of myself.