Tag Archives: milestones

She’s 17!

First she came…

BornAddie

Then she rested…

Addie17Days

Soon she was ready to explore…

Addie17weeks

And then to conquer:

17months

Happy 17 months, Adelaide Eileen!!!

Love,
Mom and Dad

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Filed under Milestones, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Marvelous Monday

For the first official Marvelous Monday post, let’s jump right in!

Educate

First up: sitting up!
If you had asked me last week if Addie could hold herself up, the answer would have been NO! But now:

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IMAG2012That’s a whole ‘lotta sitting! Her back is super straight, and I love giving her the opportunity to see the world from another vantage point. She does not pull herself into the position, so we don’t practice this too often.

Placing a child with dwarfism (specifically one with spinal issues like kyphosis) into the seated position often leads to “tripod sitting”. While this position is fine for most children, it is not for an achondroplastic because their vertebrae crunch in on themselves on the inner part of the spine. This leads to chipping away the bone, and can case severe back issues. Addie tries so hard to not fall forward, that she often falls out backwards (hence the pillow behind her).

Children with dwarfism can expect to sit up, on their own between the ages of 11 to 14 months. While Addie is only 8 1/2 months, she is not doing this on her own! We do not use seats (Bumbo, Mamas&Papas) that assist with propping because they allow for lower spine curvature, however, on Friday (1/11/13), I went to place Addie on her back, and she would not un-fold herself. I was bending over to put her down and I let her go to readjust my positioning, and she sat. Just like that. She wasn’t leaning on the sides, or against a toy. She was just sitting there! When she does fall back, she cannot hold her head up from falling like I’ve seen lots of other children do, so I do not leave her like this, but it’s been wonderful to see her sitting up for 30 seconds (or more!) at a time and laughing and smiling the whole time. Knowing that she is doing something new is not just exciting for us as parents, but for Addie, too!

While Addie’s milestones may be well behind those of average height (AH) children, her mental and emotional skills are not delayed. She mimics us and says funny things like “dada”, when she sees a man with a beard, she loves to brush her teeth, and when the music shuts off on her Baby Einstein player, she knows to slam her hand into it until it starts again (yes, she does this in the middle of the night when she wakes up). I have a baby who puts herself back to sleep with music. I feel like I might be WINNING… sorry Charlie.

Many times people have wondered when their child will sit, and being that Addie is my first, the wait is so hard. Watching other children sit up, crawl and walk, while my beautiful girl tries to squirm on her tummy or rolls into a toy isn’t always easy, but when she curls up into me, soft and warm, I know that when she is sitting up, walking and running, I will wish for these fleeting moments and never get them back.

I send you all my love POLP. It’s never easy to be a parent. Our babies are different. We don’t want to point it out, and as they mature they will do anything any other child does, but this early in the game, it can be daunting to watch other children do what our baby cannot. I still feel those things, knowing that Addie is “behind” her peers. As first time parents, all the things we prepared for are different. If you’ve already had a baby who is AH you’re starting all over again; learning new ways to parent and raising a child completely different from your others. And to all my friends out there who have no idea about dwarfism… be patient with me. I will move on and Addie will, too, but some days I just feel very alone. Thanks for sticking by me.

Thankful For

While I’m cooking dinner, a task we begin at 6:15 every evening after Addie eats, I put the babe in her exersaucer. Previously, she stayed in her highchair and demanded puffs. Shrieks and shrill cries told me none of my offerings of mixing bowls, wooden spoons or spinning toys would appease her desires. She wanted puffs.  While I don’t think any baby needs a diet, I don’t think my baby needs to eat puffs because she is bored. And so, most nights, dinner would be started, but not completed by the time Dave got home. There was simply no way to make food and stop the tears at the same time.

Addie wakes up from her 4:30-6pm nap, eats and then wants to play. She gets some puffs so I can begin dinner, plays with spoons and makes herself into a little drummer (just like mommy) and then, at the time when my hands are covered in raw chicken or beef, she lets out the first cry. I usually get the food prepped and my hands clean before WWIII starts, at which time I pick her up and put her in her new exersaucer.

Addie Playing

And so… what am I thankful for this week? Not the exersaucer, but for the best friend who knew what I needed before I did… even if that need is an exersaucer. I am thankful for my best friend. Sometimes you meet your soul mate on the playground of kindergarten. She’s the little girl who is similar to you, with the opposite hair color, but the same shoes. Or maybe she is in your dance class, or you swim together at the Y.

Me? I met mine at a new mom’s group. I won’t get too involved, but when I heard she was a transplant (from the south, HA!), her husband works too much, she had encountered similar loss in life, and had a high-risk pregnancy, it was like we were meant to be. We are not the same person on the outside. She is blond to my brunette. I have blue eyes to her brown. My muscular, though under-toned, body is covered in tattoos and a few piercings where hers is beautiful and lean with some freckles on her otherwise bare skin (when I was little I used my mom’s eyebrow pencil to give myself freckles- I love them!). I wear flats, she wears heels… and then we’re the same height. But, what we are the same in is our adoration of our baby girls (Addie and Hadley, known as Adley or Hadelaide), born just 4 days apart. Where I thought I wanted Addie to be born on April 21st to help heal the wounds of losing my father, I am glad she was born on the 17th (my lucky number). Hadley’s birthday gives me something to celebrate, but not a party to plan, which is something I don’t think I could handle. We are the same because we don’t fit in, but we do. We love red wine and champagne with cheese and guacamole. We love our SUVs and the men who provide for us, even if we never see them. We’ve known each other for about 8 months. Almost since the girls were born. There are no pictures of us in middle school laughing on the field hockey bus, but she didn’t play field hockey and I was never a cheerleader. High school dances? Nope, we didn’t know each other. College parties… I prefer those pictures never be released, anyway. But there are memories being made now. The loneliness of my pre-mom friends being too busy to ask me if I want to come out after the baby is asleep… it doesn’t hurt anymore. I have met someone who fills all the gaps and spaces. I love all of my friends, including (of course!) my Nick, who is my rock in Philadelphia. There are lots of ladies who fill my heart with love, and a few special men who have always protected me like a sister and fought with me like brothers. I am a blessed woman to have all of the love and support a person needs. Not from numbers, but from strength in the few I’ve let in, and who locked the door behind them.

I am thankful for all of my friends, but today I am specifically thankful for my best friend because she somehow always knows what I need. Yes, even if that need is an exersaucer so I can make some darn dinner!

Random?

Dinner is never random here. We eat around 7:30 8:00 9:15. Let it be known, we eat every night. I always have dinner ready… well, since 2013 began, and I wanted to share 3 super easy dinners you can get done in less than 15 minutes… as long as your children are amused. Can’t get them to calm down? Ask your friend for an exersaucer!
Quotes like: I can’t eat this fast enough and This has been an amazing month for dinners and Are you trying to out-do your dinner from last night are what keep me going. I wanted to have dinner ready when Dave got home as a personal resolution. No more asking him to come in the door and let me drop everything for him to take care of Addie and finish dinner while I come up to the office and Facebook. And so, I’ve rearranged my schedule to ensure we are home by 4pm everyday. Addie takes her nap 4:30-6 and then we head down to the kitchen to eat (her last meal of solids for the day) and make dinner. I make sure that I am prepared for what we need ahead of time, placing all the dry, canned and jarred goods out on the counter and putting all the refrigerated goods together on the bottom shelf in the fridge- ready for grabbing. I make sure that any recipe is loaded into my phone and the oven is pre-heating while Addie eats. And so, I’ve had dinner ready every night- including wine poured!

A few faves, each serves 2-3 adults… or 2 adults, 2 kids. Dave and I eat dinner and he takes leftovers for work!

Chicken Cesar Salad
I was never a fan of prepackaged salad kits, until they were on sale and I decided to get a few.

Cesar Salad Kit
Amazing.
Add sliced black olives, 3 minutes.
Grill chicken on the Foreman, 6 minutes.
Slice chicken, throw onto salad kit in bowl.
Call yourself a chef.
Pour wine and pat yourself on the back.

Garlic Kale with Sausage and Mushrooms
Take the casing off three sweet Italian sausages, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, throw into pan with oil until brown. No casing is crucial… I think it tastes SO much better.
Meanwhile, wash and dry one bunch of kale. Cut leaves off stem. Put into wok with 1T olive oil.  Add 8oz. sliced mushrooms. Cook on medium heat.
Dice fresh garlic… as much or as little as you want. I LOVE garlic. And toss with kale after 5 minutes.
Add salt to taste. Cook until leaves are tender but still crisp and bright green, lower heat and add sausage. Mix. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.
EAT!
You can use whatever meat you want… but YUM!!!!

Lastly… I got some pork tenderloin, already seasoned.
Follow the instructions on the package, but plan on about 40 minutes of bake time (I LOVE long cook times… set and forget… without having to unload the crockpot).
Make some couscous, which is super fast and simple, and season with S&P, paprika and turmeric for some smoky flavor and color.
Steam up veggies (I used broccoli) and dinner!
Pork is super easy because you let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice the whole tenderloin and divide it for dinner and lunch the next day. Couscous and steaming veggies are super fast, and great sides.

Happy eating… and HAPPY MONDAY… to all!

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Filed under Marvelous Monday

Delaware

And so… finally. How was Delaware?

It was amazing.
It began with me missing the exit, and ended with me in tears at Saladworks.
In the middle, I suppose, is what you want to read about.

We got up early on Thursday morning and prepared ourselves before dressing Addie in her finest romper (read: simple to get her in and out of). I must have been incredibly nervous, because I didn’t take one picture. Not a single one.

Once we were in my mom’s minivan, I set the GPS and headed to the closest Dunks. We loaded up on coffee and jumped on the PA Turnpike. My hands were sweaty, despite the chill in the air, and the drive went well. It turns out that Wilmington is only 70, or so, minutes from my parents’ house. Even missing an exit, we still got to the appointment early. We arrived and were directed to the clinic, where we were welcomed with smiles and open arms. But, enough of that- onto the meat:

We learned a lot of things in our 80+ minute meeting with Dr. Bober and his assistant, Angie Duker. These were the thoughts I’d had just the day after our trip about our experience so far:

We arrived at the train station just 15 minutes before we had to board. It was perfect timing. As we ran in through the thick drops of drizzle, Dave grabbed some milk for the coffee we had made, and we waited for the All Aboard to flip up on the Amtrak screen. We loaded ourselves onto the train; baby, suitcase, duffel bag, diaper bag, toy bag, lunch bag, milk cooler bag and car seat. Once settled in our seats, Addie took her bottle of milk. We pulled into Penn Station in New York a few hours later and I moved into a window seat. As we pulled out, Addie looked out the window, then back at me. Belly-to-belly, she plopped her head down on my chest and fell asleep for her nap. Right on time.

She awoke, her noggin popping up with a smile plastered across her face. Then a frown. Time to eat! Addie chowed down her milk and then happily cooed and spit for a while.

She was wonderful the whole ride; following her nap and eating schedules as usual- and making do with having to sleep wherever- including on my legs.

Then it was Thursday, October 11. The day began like the rest had in the previous week. I was up at 4:30am, unable to sleep through the night since receiving my copy of the sleep study. Mild disordered sleep.  What did that mean?

As Dr. Bober reviewed all the papers I had so carefully sorted (Medical Records, Birth Records, Early Intervention, Genetic Testing, Skeletal Survey and Results, Growth Charts), I was still nervous. Finally, he asked Dave and me what we knew about achondroplasia. I froze. What didn’t I know. I said a few things and he stopped me. We reviewed my biggest fears, from central sleep apnea to decompression surgery and hydrocephalus. We talked about milestones (I have some new charts… I will make a page for them!) and we discussed sleep. While Dr. Bober was not concerned, he did tell me to just keep an eye on Addie and if I notice any changes in her sleep to contact him. However, as of October 15th, when we went to the sleep specialist in Boston, we are scheduled for a second sleep study in March. The sleep specialist would like to see her central sleep apnea occurrences a little lower than they are. Who knew one person could need so many doctors, yet be deemed healthy?

Beyond that, we reviewed Addie’s soft spot and it’s measurements. We were told what to look out for and that a little bit of extra fluid is common, but nothing to worry about. We were told to feel her soft spot once a week. I check every night.

Dr. Bober also talked about spinal stenosis, and the difference between it being a feature of dwarfism and critical. I felt relieved to know that Addie doesn’t present with any signs of critical stenosis, but knowing that the first 24 months of life are where hydrocephalus, bowing and stenosis will most likely show up in childhood, I feel like I’m having a private countdown while I should be enjoying each day, I am bombarded with looking and checking and feeling and testing.

I know. I need to relax.

Then, we moved onto examining Addie: 23 3/4 inches, 14 pounds 2 1/2 ounces and a head circumference of 17.8 inches!
She can’t straighten her arms all the way, which is just another feature of dwarfism that many people have, and, after reading the doctor’s notes (sent to me in less than 3 weeks!), she shows some signs of bowing (bilateral genu recurvatum). Yes, I looked that up- as well as over 10 other “musculoskeletal” notes about appearance. We will be seeing Dr. MacKenzie in April, as well, and he will probably have more to say about that then.

There really wasn’t bad news, per se-,but there were some things to look out for and preventative measures that need to be taken. For instance, a common issue with achondroplasia is kyphosis. Addie presents with lower lumbar kyphosis (when you hold her, you can feel her spine stick out in her lower back):

The fear with this is that in the lumbar region of your spine, your bones sit parallel. If your spine curves the opposite way, the bones will grind into each other, causing the bones in the spine to break and look “bullet-shaped”, instead.

This is not Addie’s spinal x-ray, just an example.

When we hold Addie, we need to provide full back support. That includes when she is up against our chest, applying slight pressure to the base of her spine to help straighten it out, and when she is in our lap, letting her lean against us. Anything she sits in needs to be a hardback, allowing her to conform to what she sits in and not the other way around.

Pressure on the low back.
Leaning back to create spinal support.

Sadly, this limits our carrier time to never. I had always imagined myself a baby wearing mama, but having a healthy baby means more- and so, my arms are always full and so is my heart!

Addie’s first pic in the Bjorn… before we knew!

What IS good for her, however, is tummy time, as it brings her back into an arch… which is great! She is a happy camper on her belly, for the most part, and (as of October 27th) if she doesn’t want to be on her back, she rolls to her belly = A total baby-body workout!

Addie playing some music on her belly!

Some more interesting facts:

* Due to the shape of the ribcage, the liver is [usually] able to be felt. This is not true on an average height child, which is something to alert doctors of should they have a concern. Sometimes, it is falsely interpreted as a swelling.
* Addie’s arms do not fulling extend by about 20% at the elbow. This is totally normal, and should not inhibit her in any way. She does have lower muscle tone, primarily in her arms, but that is just another feature of dwarfism. As well, her limb disproportions were noted in her arms as rhizomelic, and her lower extremities are rhizomelic light. This refers to her arms as short (the long bones) and her legs as mildly (for a dwarf) short. She will, most likely, be around 4 feet tall.
* The diagnosis of achondroplasia could have been made with ONE x-ray of her pelvic bone! The blood test, however, confirms it.
* Dr. Bober feels Addie is doing great! (This is my favorite fact!)

And so, this is how Delaware went.

We met with a great family when our appointment was over, there were lots of smiles and handshakes and then we were leaving… and I was shaking. I was gripping Addie so close to me I could feel her little Buddha-belly flatten against me.

Dave and I decided that we had not eaten, and so we needed to get food in Delaware. (If you’ve ever seen me hungry, you know it’s a sight better left for horror films and psychiatry studies.) We made a left out of the hospital and came across a Saladworks- one of my favorite places to eat. We walked in and parked ourselves at a table after glancing at the menu. I knew what I wanted, and as I told Dave I looked over at Addie. Perfect. Small. Addie. And I grabbed Dave, locked myself in his grasp and cried into his shoulder. I cried for the relief that Addie is OK. I cried for the fact that she will have struggles. I cried because I have not slept through the night since she was born.

We learned a lot, and we will continue to learn. Thank you for taking this journey with me as a woman, as a mom, as a parent, as a friend.

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Filed under Achondroplasia

Early Intervention

Addie went to Early Intervention for her physical interview.  She automatically qualifies for the program based on her diagnosis, but they like to get together to check where her skills are.

She’s 3 months… what skills?

I began the interview by handing the therapists toys that she likes, as she was completely disinterested in the ones that they wanted her to track and follow.  The red and yellow rubber “toys” she presented to her looked more medical than playful; I was glad that I brought along a few of her favorites. Once she proved her skills there, we moved onto a few other things, then questions about her eating.  These confused me, as they were asking about how she takes pureed foods. I’m sorry… what? She’s 3 months- update your questions to coincide with what the AMA guidelines are for feeding.

After more noise making and eye tracking, a little bit of reaching, and a whole lot of “prayer hands” (where she holds her hands in a prayer-like fashion), the therapists asked if I could pull her up by her arms to bring her into a seated position, which helps check her abdominal strength. Um, nope. Have you people seen her head size, which we discussed at length, and how I can’t let it snap back? She holds her arms and legs up in the air, she’s working her abs, let’s leave it at that.

So, we moved on. Sort of. One of the last questions included me holding her, facing me, in a slightly seated position cradled in my arms. From this point, I would drop her back, “just a bit”, to see if she startles.

You want me to drop her to see if she still has the startle reflex, which I said she did? Trust me. She does. And I’m not about to risk her head flapping back to prove it.

In the end, it was a fine visit and I agreed to worth with a therapist to come up with a care plan, but for now, that just consists of monitoring her motor skills.

I provided the therapists with a copy of the most up-top-date chart of where her motor skills should fall as an achondroplastic, and let them know I expect her scores from now on to be biased toward these age-appropriate, according to experts in dwarfism, milestones.

As it is, Addie scored at 3 to 4 months for each group, except social and verbal skills, where she is at a 4 month and 5 month mark, respectively. This was no surprise to Mima (my mom) or Daddy, as they both know how much I love face-to-face communication, always making eye contact with people I am in conversation with, as well as the fact that I love to talk. And I do so a lot!

It’s nice to see that being sure to speak with Addie everyday, encourage her to engage us in conversation and always make eye contact with her, whether she is playing with a new toy, getting dressed and counting her snaps, or in between the lines in a story- we are enhancing her communication skills.  I hope that she can keep up with her motor skills, but even if she ends up a big behind from AH kids, I know that she will reach her goals!

I do hope to add a few things to her goals, like looking at her toys more, but she just loves the social interaction she gets from the people around her, often losing focus on the object at hand and choosing to look at the people near her… unless there’s a ceiling fan.

A BIG congratulations to our tiny little girl for making her milestones thus far, and being the little chatterbox that mommy is, too!

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change, Milestones

Mystic

A day out!  …and what a day!

Addie and I went to the Mystic Aquarium to meet some new friends, and it was amazing.  Addie got loved on by some very adorable little ladies (babies are not an interest of the boys!)- and as she gets older, I know she’ll love playing with her new friends, while mommy got to talk to some parents who told me the truth: she’ll be fine!

The day started out rainy and gross, and I was nervous having just Addie with me. I feared the rain was an omen. I have to admit sometimes it’s hard to be a tattooed mom with less than $100 to your name and a hubby who is always at work. I feel like a stereotype. Like I provide everything Addie needs, but still seems like we’ll never be able to keep up with the Joneses- and why should we try? But there was not a judgement to be made- all that anyone saw was the precious little Addie. And later in the day the sun came out, reflecting how I felt on the inside (warm, not sweaty).

I finally got to talk to a mom I’d met online, and she showed me such a strong spirit- what she has watched her daughter go through could bring you to tears, but she smiles and offers nothing but the happiest and best words. And her little girl? If she doesn’t make you smile, you’re deaf- she will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about life, without ever taking a breath: the world is good, and riding on the flume is the best part of any water park (when you meet the weight requirement, that is).  I also spoke with a couple that reminded me so much of Dave and me that I found myself blabbing away to them, wishing we lived closer and then calling Dave when I got in the car and bragging about how beautiful their girls are. Then there was the littest cutie, who couldn’t take her eyes off Addie- so much love coming from a 4 year old filled me with such warmth. There were stories of surgeries and sleep issues, advice about anesthesia and the first day of school, and the final word: breathe.

Best advice I got was from a dad who reminded me so much of my own- he loves his little girls and it shows! He told me that Addiewill do what all the other kids do, she’ll just do it in her own time.

There is no rush in life. I often lament that as I child all I wanted to do was grow up so I could do whatever I wanted… now all I want to do is throw on my goalie equipment and do two-a-days until school starts, and then get a pop-quiz day two. What happened to youth? It’s wasted on the young. As an adult mom, I plan on savoring everyday that I have with Addie and enjoying her milestones. Maybe she will walk at 12 months, and maybe not til 30. Who cares? She’ll walk, she will run and until then, she will smile each and everyday. I’ve spent my days since 1984 going from one thing to another, hurrying up to finish things that should have been savored and trying to be ahead of a game that isn’t a game. Life. You can’t really win something that you make up as you go along.

Addie rolls over, smiles at silly noises, holds her head up, pulls my hair and gabs away all night when her daddy gets home! She’s doing pretty darn well at her life… and she’s made our lives complete!

Thank you to all of the parents for answering all the questions I had, loving our beautiful Addie and sharing your experiences so openly.  I feel confident that we can and will have the best care, friends and love we could ever ask for for our Miss Adelaide.

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community

Brass Tacks

When you boil it down, there is a ton of information about parenting; breast feeding, diapering, scheduling, milestones, sleep patterns, bathing tips, birthday party ideas… these things rule the Mommy World on the internet.  But where is the information for a child who is not average? You know… the child who is above average, but below in height? Where is the information for children with dwarfism? And if you can’t find anything more than general information about dwarfism, let’s make the search easier, and pin point what we’re looking for: achondroplasia.

There are a ton of “facts”, and “the genetic workings” are explained in detail, but the deeper details, multitude of growth and development charts, information on specific spinal development, and what toys, carriers and car seats work best. Where is that information?

Well, it’s not there.

It’s not in Parenting, Parents, American Baby, Family Circle, Disney Family, OR at your geneticist’s office.  It’s not that I’m angry, I’m just confused and deterred. Who do you ask if the doctors don’t know?

I love nice people as much as the next gal, but when I want answers, I want answers. I  don’t necessarily care if a doctor is nice when there is no information in hand. It’s not a hard concept- I want to know all there is to know about everything there is to know ,so that Dave and I can raise Addie in the best way possible for her and her needs, while not forgetting our own. We are good parents doing a lot of research, spending time and energy on excavating information that a working doctor does not have time to seek. Except, the one doctor I hoped would know enough to answer questions I had without reading an article she presented to me weeks ago.

I am wholly aware that I need to be Addie’s best advocate, but is there anyone out there who will help me?

The most helpful information I got from the geneticist: Addie’s measurements. For which I provided the growth charts to be plotted upon.
…And provided the accurate reading of said charts- as the assistant, a pediatric specialist, seemed unable to read the caption under the chart stating which lines were for Achondroplastics and which were for AH children.

And so, I guess I’m really just relieved that I did a ton of research so that I could tell the doctor what she was missing, and so I knew what questions I need to delve into further with the right people. But, who are the right people?

I’m hoping to find some answers in Delaware… insurance pending. Insurance; I believe that would be a whole other blog!

On a happy note: HAPPY THREE MONTHS TO THIS BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL!!


Thank you, one million times over, to the wonderful parents I’ve connected with who have given me more than advice- they have shared all of their medical knowledge with me- making disappointment easier to handle.  When I can’t find the exact answer I need, I know I can gain  a wealth of medical information from moms and dads who have walked the line before me.  Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing with me and helping me navigate my way as a new mom!

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

Corporate America. There’s Hope.

I was disappointed.  Using a baby carrier was amazing to me. I was a baby wearing mama. Holding my little girl to me while I did everything from the dishes to walking the puppy, felt so pure and natural to me. I love the Bjorn which has more support, but the organic look and feel of the K’Tan was just what I wanted, and I was lucky enough to have a friend who purchased it for me!  I used it once, but Addie was so scrunched in it, I decided to wait to use it for a few weeks; then we learned she was an achon baby, and my little miracle could not use a carrier.

Scrunched Addie (see above)

No carrier.

I walked into the small local shop where I got the K’Tan. I explained that for medical reasons Addie would not be able to use it, and that it was clean, had all the pieces, it was in the box and had the instructions and warranty card.  The woman behind the desk glanced at me, her eyes darted to Addie, then to a piece of paper, where she was writing a note. “Your name and number. “ *** “I’ll ask the owner and call you later, but I already know the answer is ‘no’. We don’t take anything back that’s been out of the box.”  I was confused, as the carrier is clean, and there is one in the store, on display- out of the box, that they will sell. I assured the woman that I just wanted store credit, but she seemed to be distracted, so I wheeled the stroller in a k-turn motion and walked out.

I left the shop feeling dejected.  I would have loved to shop in this store again- support a local business. I was sure that the owner would call, or understand, but a message, “Hi Chelley, this is Xxxxx from Xxx XxXx, I spoke with the owner and we can’t take it back. Sorry. Bye.” Short, not sweet and not helpful. Instead of helping a local mom at an already difficult time, the almighty dollar takes the cake.  Instead of spending a few hundred there over the next few years, they made $74 on one sale. One time and one time only.  What a disappointment.  I would wanted a call from the owner (this truly is a small business)- to perhaps speak with her.  In a small state, like Rhode Island, all the business you can get includes everyone, right?

Please know that I am married to a small business owner. The business is my husband’s passion: music. Often times he has had to turn people away from full-fledged returns in favor of store credit, but he always takes the time to discuss issues with his customers- and speaks to them personally. To be told, “no”, was a lot to take, especially because the woman I had spoken to was so sharp with me and didn’t seem to hear what I was saying. I love the carrier, but medically I can’t use it. Isn’t the human condition a benefit here? The rules can be changed. Exceptions can be made. But, you have to listen.

And not I have to make the request that  no one give Addie gifts from small shops… clearly they cannot bend to be helpful to a new mom who is in apparent distress. As people serving people, looking up to see your customers, instead of down at your phone/keyboard/notepad, would go a long way. Sometimes you just want to know you were heard before a decision is passed down.

At the end of this debacle, I posted the carrier on line for a fraction of the price… and my big sister saved the day. A new mommy herself, she posted on Facebook and asked around, finding a buyer!

Sadly, however, this was just one of the few items that I was told “no” to on behalf of Addie.

Which brings me to Babies R’ Us in Warwick, RI.  I originally loved the idea of registering at only small shops, but knew we would need far reaching locations due to my family being all over the east coast (and some on the west, too!)- so BRU it was! I’ve been so happy with their assistance in returns and exchanges since the baby showers, and for this alone I was so grateful.

The Baby Einstein Bouncer was awesome! I remember seeing it and wanting it immediately; colors, lights, music and a ton of tactile activities. I was sure Addie would love it as much as I would.  Alas, this was not to be so.  Not a big deal to return, right? Wrong!!!

The box that the bouncer came in was cumbersome, so we took the inside boxes out of it and tossed the main packaging into recycling months ago; a small blessing that we never put it together. Driving to the store with Dave, he was convinced they would not take it back, while I was plotting my steps from pleading with the manager to writing corporate. We loaded our returns into a cart, including the pieces of the bouncer.

As we stood in line, I was already frustrated. Why do I have to explain things, why can’t “due to a medical condition” just be enough? I walked up to the counter with my cart full of stuff and explained, “I’d like to return some toys. I’m sorry I don’t have the main box for the bouncer, but it’s never been put together.” Michaela smiled at me and asked if we had been registered there. I felt the need to continue, “I really love the bouncer, but for medical reasons Addie can’t use it.” She glanced up from typing in my information and warmly smiled again. “No problem”, she said. While making small talk and commenting on how adorable Addie is and how she hopes she is OK, the sales associate scanned my registry info, found the bouncer, scanned the rest of my stuff, swiped a merchandise return card, handed it and the receipt to me and wished me a nice day.

I walked over to Dave, who was feeding Addie her favorite [and only food], Mommy Milk, and wanted to cry. I was so pent up, convinced that the world was against me. That, already, there were issues that would hinder Addie, but Babies R’ Us proved me wrong. A corporation caring about its customers, though I’m sure not always the case, has brought some light to the sadness I feel having to return toys that are not good for our beautiful little girl.

We got this beautiful elephant, a mirror, finger puppets, 2 books and an impression kit for Addie’s hands and feet with the credit. I think these will be great to help Addie’s development for touch and vision. I’m so excited to play with her new toys and help her develop at her own pace in a fun way!

Knowing that I shouldn’t give up on the world lending a hand is a good feeling- especially because this is just the beginning of a long road.

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Community, Educate/Adovocate/Make Change

Motor Skills

I fear that some of Addie’s motor skills will be behind… because that is what I’ve read, I’ve researched and what I’ve been told.

This was June 19th, age 9weeks 1day.  She may, at some point fall behind… til then: she’s kicking tail in the milestones department!

I’ve got a million fears about how she may not be average until she’s a bit older, and I’m going to celebrate, because I’m right- currently, she’s advanced. She has amazing head control and is rolling herself over daily, although not consistently. With everything I may want to cry about in the future, I’m here to applaud the now.

Roll, Addie, roll!

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Filed under Achondroplasia, Milestones