Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Matt is 2!

Matt turned 2 officially in the middle of January, but I would say he turned two behaviorally at 15 mos.  Honestly, though, I love his silly self at two, but I laugh a lot, so maybe that's wrong.  He's just totally adorable, not that I am biased or anything.

I really am enjoying two.  I understand, well, I empathize that most of the things he fusses about are because he can't communicate well enough yet.  I don't like being told no, nor do I appreciate someone trying to cut my nails without my consent. So I can come from a place of understanding.   I mean, there is still the occasional I'm completely happy until mom showed me the wrong "caw" and now I am emotionally devastated momentThat's when I just laugh...poor kid.  I can't help myself...but it's hysterical.

He continues to learn 4-5 words a day it seems...but in Matthewese which is basically consonants are optional.  Like dump truck is duh truh.  Tow truh, however is tow truck.  It's very subtle and you have to pay attention 😂.  Basically listening to Matt say words is like playing Wheel of Fortune, which he would probably pronounce "whee ah toon".  He says most all sounds...so I don't have a single concern about speech or hearing.  He does spend a lot of time still jibber-jabbering stuff.  He talks to himself and laughs at his own jokes, which is only slightly disturbing...I mean it's still kinda cute and none of the pets have been harmed...

Oh, he thinks he is hilarious.  He called BJ Ho-Ho for a couple weeks.  He started calling me Mi-Mi which is his grandmother...I didn't appreciate it...and he just throws his head back and belly laughs when he does it. *SIGH*  So funny...

I still honestly cannot imagine my life without this little goober.  He's been such a blessing.  I honestly can't think of a single time in the last two years that I have been sad for more than a fleeting moment, and it's usually because I feel torn between spending time on work/school or him.  He is simply a living symbol of joy to me.  His belly laughs (which are my absolute favorite sound in the world), determination, and sweet nature...we got more than we ever deserved in this kid. If this is terrible, I love it!   Did I mention he was adorable, too?

I officially graduated with my MSN, passed boards, and start my doctorate program next month while job hunting.  It's a barrel of fun, but I'm looking forward to warmer weather (Ahem..., anytime now...) and some more time with Matt-Matt in the interim.  BJ is happily (busily) working at UT and teaching college courses as an adjunct, and enjoying his new hobby of carpentry...or as I like to say...an excuse to buy new tools...

Peace, Love, and Twoiest of Twos,

Mary Katherine

Matt facts at 25 mos...

Height:  2 ft 10 in 48%ile (OMG!!! Thanks Carnation Instant Breakfast!)
Weight:  25 lbs 1 oz 12%ile
Cuteness factor:  11/10
Fave Toy:  Hot wheels caws,
Addictions:  "iPah"
Favorite Activity:  Jumping
Favorite word: No
Relationship Status:  Single
Toilet training:  Completely incontinent
Education:  None
Residence:  Home with parents (We don't have a basement, so he occupies a bedroom).

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hell Hath No Fury

Why Hell hath No Fury…

If you follow gymnastics (and even possibly if you don't at this point) you may have heard of the atrocious case against Lawrence “Larry” Nassar.  Under the guise of team physician he sexually abused over 140 girls – gymnasts as well as other female athletes who sought his care. It is horrifying and disgusting, but it is not shocking.

If you are shocked, you are naïve.  Child abuse scandals from the Catholic church to the atrocities of Penn State permeated our media, yet people like Larry Nassar still continue to prey on victims for years before being discovered. Chances are that you know an adult who was the victim of childhood sexual abuse.  According to RAINN, 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys have been the victims of childhood sexual abuse. Trust me, you know someone.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s just gymnastics.  This doesn’t just go away when the media coverage dies down.  It happens multiple times a day to multiple children.  As more youth sports go the way of gymnastics, swimming, tae kwon do (just to name a few) with demanding specialization at earlier ages, traveling for competitions, and longer seasons, more sports make themselves attractive to would-be sexual predators. I challenge you to Google search any youth sport and sexual abuse.  I daresay you will find more than one actual account of a prosecuted case against a professional member of that sport.

Did you try it?  Are you angry yet?

I am currently a professional member of USA Gymnastics.  I hold a “Safety Certification” as well as a “SafeSport” certification. From this I learned about not tampering with equipment because it voids your warranty and your liability insurance will not cover you.  From Safesport, I know to never be alone with a child athlete.  From the SafeSport pamphlet USAG gave me last spring, I learned that it is a responsibility of the minor child to never be alone with a coach…because minors have so much say in the affairs of the adults in their lives.

I want to share with you my experience NOT because I need validation and definitely not for pity, but I need you to understand how pervasive it is in our society.  What it looks like when it isn’t happening to international elites at a remote camp in Texas. What it looks like when it is your child because I easily could have been your child. I need you to know my perspective so you can know why you should be so angry, too. Because I am furious…

I am furious that this is still happening.

I am furious that this is not a unique case, not surprising, and not even shocking.

I was victimized by a professional member of USA Gymnastics who was also “safety certified”.  He was prosecuted for multiple counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and served time nearly 15 years ago. And I am furious.

I am furious that after hours and hours wasted, USA Gymnastics failed to even respond to my parents multiple requests for information even for USAG to just tell them they had none.

I am furious that to protect themselves then President Bob Colarossi had the “Permanently Ineligible Member” list withheld from their professional publication because the coaches who were supposed to be added (Don Peters and Steven Elliott) had national notoriety.
-       It took the pressure of national news coverage from ABC’s 20/20 to get them to publish the list. 

I am furious that so many good people I know, who are professionals and teach the sport with so much love and passion, have had their good reputations tarnished by the inactions of USA Gymnastics over so many years. How dare they!

I am furious that USA Gymnastics received concerns about coaches, enough to place them on “probation”, but would not alert authorities or even other club owners.  They enabled more children to be put at risk and abused. What good did this do?

I am furious that another precious child was victimized because I was too afraid to speak up.

I am furious that still today, children are afraid to speak up.
-       What has changed in 15 years?  Obviously, not enough!

I am furious that my grooming began when I was 11 years old.
-       I was proselytized to, lectured and made to feel poorly for the denomination my parents chose to raise me in.
-       I was praised for saying I believed things, spiritually, that aligned with my abuser’s belief systems even when my parents did not endorse nor instill in me those beliefs.

I am furious that I was made to be afraid for so long.
-       I was told constantly how it would be my fault if my abuser lost everything.
-    I was told repeatedly he would be saved, but my actions as a woman could not be forgiven.  I did not even know what my actions were at the time. 
-       I was reminded how hurt and shamed my father would be if he found out.
-       I was told repeatedly that my parents would kick me out of my house if they found out.
-       I was told repeatedly that all he had to do was get me pregnant and I would be forced to live with him.  In fact I prayed I could not get pregnant.  So when over 10 years later I desperately wanted a child and could not conceive, you cannot even begin to know how many wounds were reopened.

I am furious that he took advantage of my innocence and naivety. 

I am furious that my coach bragged about using techniques he supposedly learned from the Karolyi’s. 
-       He pitted my teammates and I against each other and worse he made us feel worthless by ignoring us for days and up to weeks at a time.
-       I am still at a loss by the time he strong armed me into the corrugated side of the gym hard enough to knock trophies over and got away with it in a gym full of people because he could.

I am furious from the emotional abuse I endured at the hands of my coach that enabled me to be groomed and preyed upon.
-       I was told I was going to Hell, repeatedly.
-       I was told that my soul was worthless, and I was doomed.
-       My abuser said he was the only person in the world who could care about me.

I am furious with how he ruined my confidence in my gymnastics and then myself.
-       I would learn a new skill and he would talk about how dangerous it was and how he would never let his child do it.

I am furious at how he made everyone believe I was emotionally unstable as if that was my desired state and not entirely his fault.

I am furious that while he was abusing me, he was grooming the parents of the next generation.

I am furious that my comfort was knowing that I would be coached for at least a couple of days after I was abused.

I am furious at how isolated he made me feel and in turn how isolated I became.
-       He pushed most of my same age peers out of the gym.
-       He repeatedly told me he was the only one who understood me, and the only person that loved my condemned soul.

I am furious for the wedge he drove between my mother and me.
-       Always taking my side in arguments when I truly was being a petulant adolescent
-       Exaggerating things my mother said about my gymnastics or worse, my life.
-       Inserting himself as a “hero” figure.

I am furious that he victimized my parents by grooming and taking advantage or their trust.
-       He employed my brother
-       He gave my parents gifts and frequently sought their advice.

I am furious that he had the audacity to buy land next door to my childhood home.

I am furious that he rented a house just down the street from me.

I am furious that he stalked me after I tried to quit gymnastics.
-       The one and only time I cut school early was to drive home earlier than usual because I knew he would be waiting for me to drive by his house.

I am furious that I couldn't tell my mom why I wanted to quit. 

I am furious that he came to my school and was permitted to leave a note.
-       I was not safe anywhere.

I am furious that I was made to feel ashamed for the actions he took.
-       I was told people would call me names and my reputation would be tarnished.
-       I was told it would not have happened if I had not wanted it to happen.

I am furious that I was victim-shamed.
-       I was shamed for “not knowing better.”
-       I was made to feel small by the investigator who told me how little 4 and 5 years olds had no problem giving statements.  As if a young child understands shame and embarrassment or the incredible amount of energy I had spent making people think everything was okay for so many years.
-       I was shamed by people who told me their daughters would have punched their abuser in the face.
-       I was shamed by a healthcare provider who said my shorts were too short.
-       I was shamed by the rumors that I was some kind of jail-bait, whore.

I am furious because the points directly above proved my abuser right.  I was shamed and my parents were hurt.

I am furious for the constant self-doubt I am ever cursed with because of my abuse.

I am furious that people said I was ruined or damaged goods and worse when they thought they were being sympathetic by saying so.

I am furious that my abuser made me question if my life was worth living.

I am furious at how many years I spent being afraid of men.

I am furious that statutes of limitations worked against myself and the other victim increasing our ages and lessening the seriousness of our case.

I am furious that my abuser was too big a coward to face either a trial or enter a plea of guilty instead of no contest.

I am furious at the Courts and the Judges who do not take the time to read investigative reports to even know what is going on with the case before accepting a plea deal.
-       The judge in my case knew my father, yet had no idea why he or my family were in his court that day in spite of the fact a lengthy investigation and psychological testing had been done on my abuser which indicated he was a risk to abuse again.

I am furious that my abuser was allowed back into gyms and around little girls by the courts.

I am furious that I spent longer in counseling than my abuser spent in jail for 19 counts of sexual battery.

I am furious that I have had to work at least three times harder for the accomplishments I do have because of this experience.

I am furious for the years of my life I was too affected by this to enjoy.

I am furious that people think that my situation was unique.

It is not.

They groom, they isolate, they abuse, they repeat. 

That child who loses her luster for her sport…
The kid who doesn’t want to go to his practice anymore…
The kid who never fully recovers from seemingly minor injuries…
…or the kid who is injured all the time from mechanical compulsion rather than focused effort.
The coach that is there constantly.
The coach that interferes with your parenting.
The coach that tells you your kid is “special”.
The coach that is overly involved in your child’s life.

As the mother of a 2 year old, I’ve not yet experienced putting my child in a competitive sport, but I hope that I will be vigilant enough to see the warning signs, to listen to my gut that I suppressed for so long.  I hope that my parenting is not fear-based but rather experience-based.  I hope that the grooming behaviors and a predator telling me my child is special, that if I sign him up for privates, or send him to a special camp that I am discouraged to attend raise hairs. I hope my pride does not get in the way of protecting my child. 

I plan to teach my child what sexual abuse is. What he should do if anyone touches him.  It’s a conversation I am not sure all of my peers are comfortable having with their children.  But how can they know they are being abused if they do not know what abuse is?

As parents we need to demand a change of culture. Demand that children are believed and in environments that are safe.  We must promote a culture by raising children who are well-versed with their bodies and who understand adults should not ask them to keep secrets that make them feel ashamed. We want our children to feel empowered to disclose things that make them feel uncomfortable.

No child should have to experience abuse.  No parent should have to pay for their child to be abused.  No gym owner should have to question whether they are getting all the information they need from the governing body of their sport when making hiring decisions. 

I want other survivors to know there is absolutely nothing that can stop you from living the life you pictured before your abuse.  You are stronger and every single bit as worthy as you were before the abuse/assault happened. There will even be a time in your life when months go by that you don’t think about your abuse.  You owe yourself every chance you would have given yourself before.  So allow yourself to go on.  Allow yourself to succeed.

I want to sincerely thank my husband, best friend, and parents for their unwavering support.  I also want to deeply thank those people, especially those with whom I’ve crossed paths in the gymnastics community for being caring, supportive and giving me a peace with the sport I fell in love with as a child. There are far too many of you to name, but my Ursinus family and my Tennessee Gymnastics family are worth noting.

And I want predators to know that "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Mary Katherine Roberts

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!!!

Is anyone still there???

First off, to anyone who reads this blog occasionally, I'm sorry for the darkness...but if there is one disadvantage to doing a mostly online educational program, it is that the last thing you really want to do when you are done schooling for the day or charting for the day at work is get on a computer for recreation. 

In brief... We are all alive and well and still sooooo very happy that we have a child to share our little adventure of a life. Happy New Year, and we hope your holidays were amazing!

Director's Cut:

I seriously didn't think it had been 6 months....oh where has the time gone?...Well, I'll tell you...

July was a bit of a whirlwind as I was only home for 1 week of it between vacation (cue sad violins) and what I like to call nurse practitioner camp, but what Frontier Nursing University [Best read with uppity Haaaarvard voice] would like for me to call Clinical Bound.  It was scary, exciting and also the most fun camp-like experience where they threaten to kick you out of the program 3 of the first 5 days...I was very fortunate to have gotten to experience this with, well to steal from my study buddy, Dan, "My Team".   
Your future healthcare team.
These four people are absolutely amazing, and somehow, we all worked it out to be able to go to our clinical bound at the same time...so they all came to my house since I live the closest to school by a little (They are from Jordan, Alaska, Texas, and Florida).  We have been through thick and thin, illness and strife, and even prodromal labor pains together.  We had SOOO much fun together from the moment Dan landed at the airport to dropping Holly off the next week. We all did really well on our assessments. I mean, I did lose a point because I didn't introduce myself to my patient, but that wasn't on the rubric...and as an introvert, basic social skills are not always innate to me.  Thank goodness for BJ... For the record, I have never once forgotten to tell the patient who I am since starting clinicals, so at least I am very trainable...

Then I moved back in with my parents to do my first two rotations for grad school in my hometown.  It has been great so far. I have a month left and then I will "move back in" with my husband in late January.  Matt has been coming with me for most of the week and we split custody every other Wednesday which makes for all sorts of interesting story lines for people staring at us during our rendezvous at random fastfood parking  lots.  'Look at her just hand her baby over like it's nothing!' 'They're still wearing their wedding bands.'  'OMG they kissed!' 'They're having an affair with their exes!' These are what I imagine people thinking as they stare at us...I also have a terrible Teen Mom habit...

BJ is basically working two full time jobs to makeup for my slackerhood/graduate student thing.  He's been a total champ.  I keep writing that I don't deserve him, and I truly mean that.  I don't know what I did right, but BJ is all of those right things in one human.  He is teaching classes at a couple of different colleges/universities on top of his full time job. He's such a good guy...well, he did make me watch the extended version of Lord of the Rings Trilogy back-to-back-to-back once, but he's pretty much an all-around good guy.

As for the star of our little 6 person and critter show, Matt is just the bee's knees.  He started school, and he has learned many things like washing his hands, drama, art, groupthink (cry when someone else starts crying cuz their mom dropped them off) all sorts of noises, but Ga-ga also helps with that.  He is in a Montessori class for 2 year-olds, and we think he has a great time.  He's the youngest and one of the smallest in his class. I would love to be a fly on the wall, because I imagine it's like herding cats, but his teachers love him and we love his teachers.  I did, however, find out that he will have to repeat the 2 year old class next year, so...basically...Matt flunked 2 year old Montessori school, which is supposed to be impossible...but then again, we weren't supposed to have kids, either...so there you go! 

He is still jibber-jabbering with a few more words thrown in that may have some similarity to a Latin word here or there.  I was always kinda annoyed by the parents that are like "my child talks so much as has so many words!" and the kid is like 'wah wah bwha, shis ba'. And they respond, "Why yes, Johnny, we can go to the art museum on this fine Sunday." And I'm like 'you just made that up.'  But now, I am starting to see that I have learned some Matthewese... Like Oc-POH, is octopus, clearly.  Shish is fish...wauer is water, who-zat is Who's that? And also, he seems to have a Boston accent which is pretty disturbing to my southern ear. Car is "Kaw" I think he's doing well for first born boy.  There are words he refuses to say...Like most P words such as please and pumpkin...yet he says poopy, and pee pee...While not a P word, he also says stinky pretty clearly.  So foul mouth and bathroom humor, here we come!

Which brings me to the topic of toilet training...BWAHAHAHAHAHA....he's gonna go to kindergarten in diapers...Honestly, he doesn't give a damn at this point.   There are physical signs he's ready (dry naps and such), but mentally, honey badger don't care. He can sit on his potty for 2 seconds, and he can flush for you..., well, if you pee fast enough...It's quite frustrating to him that it takes us so long.  My peers sing the praises of the naked weekend, and I have thought about doing the naked weekend.  I just don't quite see how this magical naked weekend is so magical for a boy, as it doesn't run down his legs and he doesn't have to clean it up... So honestly, we will just keep introducing the idea of going to the potty and hope that something sticks, eventually...ideally on this side of kindergarten.  

He's a mess.  After watching him try to ride his ride-on down stairs, or off the Fisher Price trampoline Santa got him, I have concerns.  If he's advanced in any one area, it's his gross motor skills. (I've seen his artwork, and fine motor is not really his thing.)  He's been jumping off the ground for three months and can balance on one foot for a few seconds. He's been running since about 3 weeks after he started walking consistently.  He hangs and does toes to the bar trying to turn upside down. He somersaults without hands...cuz who needs those...He loves to be upside down, and he loves to jump and "race".  He also loves his iPad, so there's that. (It's a hand-me-down iPad2...as in the 2012 model...as in you aren't making me feel guilty for judging me, because I already feel guilty....His Grammy did it!)  Anyway, so far I'm not too concerned with the amount of time, because it doesn't hold a charge very long (hehehe) and he goes back to doing the above things frequently.  It's definitely a wonder at how quickly things like "screen time" become a thing...sheesh...I mean the kid still can't even speak English, yet...or go to the bathroom by himself...GAH!

The holidays were magical with our nearly two year old...He recognized all the "Ho-hos" in decorations...(that's Santa for the perverted among you) and also like "Froshy the No-man". (That's Frosty the Snowman, clearly...also clearly is that all no-mans are Froshy).  Overall, he got way too much and he loved being with his people. This week will be a rough transition, but he usually adapts pretty quickly.  I got lucky like that.

Matt Facts:
Height:  32.75"
Weight:  23.5 lbs" give or take a dump...
Teeth: 16
Skills: Jib-jabbing, running, jumping, blowing strawberries, flirting, driving his Thomas the train backwards, brushing his teeth, car noises, tractor noises, farm animal noises, and being adorable.
Object of affection: He sleeps with his V-tech flashlight ...kinda sensible...I'll give him that...
Bane of his existence:  Rubber squeaky pig toy for dogs, Fisher Price Dragon, and getting dressed or undressed intermittently...also bananas occasionally, too
Favorite food:  Instant Carnation Breakfast Drink and ketchup, but not together...well, not yet, anway. 

Peace, Love, and Crickets,

Mary Katherine

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Months 14-18 In Which Your Mother Finally Carves Some Time Out to Write About You...

Let's call a spade a spade.  I meant to write this blog 16 weeks ago between my previous quarters of graduate school, but quite honestly, I've just not wanted to be on my computer after spending so much time on it for school.  I want to be with Matt!!!

The last 4 months have been wonderful, minus Mother's Day weekend.  However, we did get to spend that weekend together, so it wasn't a total loss.  He's growing a little bit, he's picking up some words, but mostly he just plays and is happy.  We have the happiest little soul.  And oh, that sinister sounding giggle.  I'm already having a hard time not laughing at him when he makes a poor life decision, but when I tell him no, and he sounds like the jack-a-lope from America's Funniest People (just look it up, kids), I have to bite my lip.

He LOVES the pool.  It's been so much fun playing with him in his water table or in the pool. He gets the biggest kick out of walking off the side of the pool.  Our biggest issue is he's so small, we can't find a "level 2" flotation device that works well for him...Fortunately, he tolerates his infant life-jacket better than he did last year.  But mostly we've just held him in the pool without anything.  He enjoy's splash pads, playgrounds, and mostly just being outside.

I'm sure everyone has seen those meme's that say, "Mom's a nurse, so we don't go to the doctor unless we're dying."  Well, yeah, I had that moment...

So my parents were driving into town, and we were going to take Matt to the zoo for the first time.  Matt had started to really watch animals and point at ducks...so I was really looking forward to it, as it was going to be my only day off before 3 shifts in a row over Mother's Day weekend.  So anyway, the day before, Matt seems to have a cold, but is playing and running and even eating, which he absolutely does not do when he is sick, so I just made sure to have Boogie Wipes on the ready. Anyway, he had a rough night.  Ends up sleeping with us from the early dawn hours, but he does go back to sleep after I dosed him with some baby Tylenol.  By the time Matt and I wake up, my parents have already left to meet us at Knoxville. I start to get him ready, and notice he's puny - which in my version of the nursing world, is a term we use professionally to mean you are doing the opposite of thriving, but you aren't really dying, either... So I count his respiration rate...and I'm like, 'Nope, it's not the 50s...let me do it again...OK 44...that's not 30, but it's not dying, either'...Maybe he needs to run around and loosen some congestion up...yeah, he'll be fine. Are you hot? No, you're not hot, hot...You're just puny.  Here is some ibuprofen. OK, you're OK...I mean why have a cold at home, when you can have a cold at the zoo...we'll just skip the splash pad...' After a bath with a some cold remedy stuff mixed in, he eats a few bites of oatmeal to little objection, and I let BJ watch him while I go get ready.

BJ comes up and says, "Did you see how fast he was breathing? I don't think going to the zoo is a good idea."

I agreed, all the while feeling like the biggest asshole that ever Mom'ed before. I took Matt's 'going to the zoo' outfit off and then saw the retractions - when your baby is working too hard to breathe (SUCH AN ASSHOLE). I listened to his lungs with my handy-dandy doctor's stethoscope and heard some wheezing, but also some coarse crackles, too.  So I called the pediatrician's office and left a message and then called my parents.  The nurse got back to us, and gave us an appointment time for mid afternoon.  Matt seemed okayish, miserable, but okayish.  Mom and Dad came to our house, and Mom was not impressed with Matt's condition.  I had set him up in front of a humidifier, but really he didn't look like he was improving much.  I called the pediatrician again, described what I was seeing and hearing.  She asked me if I could nebulize him at home, and I explained that I didn't have a nebulizer while thinking, 'how many people just have a nebulizer lying around?'...turns out, several do...Anyway, they moved our appointment up 2 hours and told us to take him to the ER if he got any worse.

So when we get there, the nurse looks at me and says "He's working awful hard, Mom." 'Are you shitting me? I asked you what to do, and I told you he was having retractions and what his respiration rate was!' His pulse ox is 87 (I'm a super-asshole...I get it) his respirations were still in the 40s, and wheezing was his game.  After a chest x-ray and RSV test which were negative, they tried suctioning him, and he only ended up with a nosebleed.  So then they gave him a nebulizer treatment...well, actually they gave my mother and I a nebulizer machine with a dose of albuterol and basically said, good luck and left.  So we wrestled my "sick" child, until my mother managed to put him in some sort of cross-legged sleeperhold.  I think we got as much, if not more, albuterol as Matt did, but his O2 saturation improved to 97ish so we were like, 'yeah', but not yeah, because this might mean he has asthma.  And I was devastated for him...I mean, we did all the things...he wasn't in daycare, he still has never had RSV, we exposed him to all the allergens...sigh...So they were giving us a nebulizer to use at home, when the nurse was said, "He doesn't look any better, does he?"  And honestly, he looked like he was working harder than he had earlier.  So our pediatrician sent us on to our local children's hospital.

He did have bronchiolitis, just not from RSV.  His third breathing treatment in a row which was racemic epinephrine did the trick, but he was still only saturating in the low 90s, so we got to stay overnight, and then another night because he was still retracting, and then another night because he caught norovirus somewhere among all of that...And the kid, he was smiling, saying "hai" and "bye" until norovirus overcame him the third day...but rallied later on the 4th, even smiling and waving at the nurses who started his IV the day before.  His personality is just the best.  We really scored in that department.

So let's see...He's managed to recover full cognitive function despite me depriving him of oxygen for 5 hours...He's turning into quite the jibber -jabberer. He chatters nonsense constantly, and it is totally adorable.  He answers remotes, cell phones, basically anything that may modestly look like a phone with a hello now.  He chatters a bit, and then says goodbye.

He is big into saying Emma's name, "EM-mah".  Bless him, he loves our dog, who continues to tolerate him.  He's also saying Mimi, Pah-pah, Grammy and Gaga purposefully about 50 percent of the time.  Ma-mah, and Mahm are even said somewhat purposefully.  "WOW!" that's a fun oldie he seems to have rediscovered....and then we think he's said a few phrases that even seem appropriate to what he was doing, but I don't know if it's just random or not.

Matthew is a ton of fun right now.  He loves running around the gym I take him to a few times a month.  He is enjoying "jumping" into the loose foam pit. He loves to run up and down ramps, wedges and any inclined surface. He insists on walking up and down steps like a "big boy" which is slowly becoming more successful than not, but it's kinda harrowing for your mother to watch you insist on navigating stairs by yourself.  He looks like a solid bruise from the knees down with at least 3 or more everywhere else.  He will hold your hand for a little bit, now, especially if it's to lead you.  And he loves to push things around the house, so those play lawnmowers have been very successful.

I can't stress over how much I love this age.  EVERYDAY is a new adventure. And if Matt is anything he is completely unreliable.  I have no idea what his favorite food is from minute to minute except maybe cheese puffs.  I'm not proud, but at 18 mos and 20 lbs and some change...he can have some cheese puffs. But I have no idea what he'll eat from day to day...if I'd written this last month I would have told you Mac-N-Cheese would be a reliable choice, but not anymore. I've promised myself I'm not gonna stress over my child's eating habits.  He'll eat when he is hungry enough, and we'll try to keep offering him a variety.  Lately, he's gorged himself on guacamole, started eating chicken and peas.  He hated peas when he started solids, so like I said, he's unreliable.

He loved the beach last month.  The water did not intimidate him one bit.  He thoroughly did not care about the aquarium we took him to and modestly enjoyed the water park. He loved being the apple in Ga-ga's eye.
Is this too deep, Ma?

Tomorrow we start trying to institutionalize him.  He starts going to Day School a couple of times a week.  It's a 2 year old class, so he's the youngest and smallest.  I hope he keeps up, but I'm sure he'll manipulate his way into the teacher's lap.  He will start using an open cup (better there than at my house) and partake in art projects (I'm rolling in the floor as I type this).


Peace, Love, & Cute Toddlers,

Mary Katherine Roberts

Matt Facts:

Wt.  20.75 lbs
Ht. 31 in
Fave toy:  Anything, and I mean, ANYthing he can push
Fave comfort item:  Mama
Fave food: Hell, if I know.
Fave word:  Wow! and hi-yah or Eeh-yah!
New Skills:  Going up and down stairs upright.  Walking off the edge of pools and pits.  Dancing, Kissing with sound effects, hugging girls and other people's moms. Manipulating.
Teeth:  10 - just this month, he was stuck at 8 for forever and the top two molars are making him miserable as I type this!