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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIC

WIC stands for Women, Infant & Children.  It is a program that helps provide food assistance for mothers who are pregnant, or children until the age of 3 I believe.  This has really helped us when Carter was on formula because it covered the cost of that entirely.  There is an income limit that you have to meet, and then you go into an office to qualify and go from there.  They usually give you enough vouchers for 3 months, and it basically includes:  milk, bread or rice or tortillas, some cereal, juice, canned or bagged beans, fruits & veggies, eggs and peanut butter.  If the mother is breastfeeding they will cover more of a variety of food.  If the baby is under 1 they cover formula if they need it, and then once they are 6 months they do cereal and jars of baby food, like 32 cans for a month.  My only problem was that they never seemed to give me enough jars of food, so I had to buy more on my own.  They also won't let you buy the mixed kinds, it just has to be 1 basic fruit or veggie.  They do not cover jars of meat so I had to buy that also on my own.  Once your child is 1, they switch to whole milk Vitamin D cow's milk, cereal, canned beans, fruits & veggies, bread, etc.

I have not always found the program helpful or necessary, especially when the appointments dragged on for about 2 hours.  Even though you only have to go in once every 3 months or so, it can be a bit of a pain.  The thing you also have to be careful with when doing WIC, is making sure before you sign the voucher at the cash register that the amount the cashier wrote in is correct.  If it is wrong, you will end up having to pay the difference.  Always make sure you double check the price before signing.  It can be embarrassing sometimes to have all these vouchers when going through a line, because it can hold up the line a bit, but you know what you need to do what you do for your family.  I figure it saves us about $55 a month depending how much I get.  If I don't think I will eat or use everything they give me, I don't get it because I don't want to abuse the system.  You also can't trade food to people or give it to anyone else except for the intended recipients.  So technically the Dad should not be eating or drinking any of that WIC food.  Just mom and baby.

If things are a little tight, it may be worth it to look into.  Like I said, it was most helpful when Carter was under 1 year of age because formula is super expensive as is baby food.  Now that he is older it really only gives us about $30 worth of food a month for him, but it's still something.  You can always freeze milk or process the fruits & veggies for easier eating.  Also, babies can get peanut butter you just have to ask.  If your baby needs a special formula, just have your doctor fill out a prescription and WIC should cover it.  They are huge into breastfeeding there, so if you need help with that they can also help.  They lent me a pump for 6 weeks when I had Carter, which was super nice because pumps are expensive.  It was free to use and very nice of them.  Just google for the number of your local WIC clinic; they accept Medicaid cards as proof of income and you would be automatically qualified.  Otherwise just take in pay stubs to see if you do.  They take weight, height and your iron level a few times a year to make sure you and baby are growing well.

Monday, August 22, 2011

California

We went to California over the weekend for a wedding.  We flew in late Thursday night and flew back Sunday evening.  Chris's cousin Ryan was getting married to Camille, here is their beautiful engagement photo.
We were glad that we were able to go for their wedding.  On Friday we went to Knotts Berry Farm theme park, and stayed most the day.  Carter was a trooper and was really cute.  That night we went to bed early at our hotel because we were so tired.  On Saturday we attended their wedding at the Newport Beach Temple at 9:00 am, it was beautiful.  The luncheon was around noon at a country club, they had Italian pastas.  Then we went to the beach for a few hours in between; we didn't have our swimsuits so I stayed with Carter on the beach under some shade.  That night was the reception at the Double Tree Hotel, and they had delicious finger foods and cake.

We wish them a beautiful and happy life together!  Carter was so good during the entire trip and our flights; he napped when he could, ate whatever I gave him, and wasn't grumpy even when it was hot.  I love my little guy so much!  Needless to say, after all that fun, I am so glad to be home.  It is always so nice and comfortable to be home.  Home sweet home!
Carter sleeping at the hotel and in his stroller.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Can I?

I think it has taken me a good few months after finding out Carter's diagnosis, to really feel the emotions.  I'm good at pushing things down or away so I can deal with the moment.  But lately, I've been a lot more emotional:  sad, angry and impatient.  I keep coming back to saying "It's not fair."  I know some optimist out there will say, "Nothing in life is fair."  Bite me...lol.  It's not fair that my little Carter won't have a normal life, that he won't be able to move on his own for a long time, who knows when.  That he has troubles eating and drinking, that he can't talk to me, maybe ever....that he won't be able to have friends, because he will be behind.  That he'll never be in a "normal" class, date, have a first kiss, go to Prom, go on an LDS mission, and ultimately get married and have children of his own.  I know this won't be a lighthearted post, but I feel that people should know just how hard it is.  Most days I can deal with things okay, because Carter is such a good baby...for the most part.  It's thinking ahead that terrifies me and makes me sad.

I know he is a special spirit, and his spot in Heaven is guaranteed.  I have a celestial being in my home, and I'm honored.  But I don't think I can do this, deal with all the emotions and knowing what he is missing out on.  I want more than anything to see my baby boy, 20 months now, to walk and be able to get his own toys.  To be able to hold my hand and walk beside me, to feed himself, to go to Nursery, to make friends, and to say "Mommy" or "daddy".  I'm not saying that I am limiting him in any way, because I know a lot is possible.  But the statistics, and reading other blogs, has prepared me for the future.  I will always have a baby, or at least a child that is emotionally far behind his real age.  I will have to keep doing therapy, even when I'm tired of it.  I will have to feed him, dress him, bathe him, bring him toys, entertain him, and carry him everywhere...for a long time.

I know Carter didn't ask for this, and it isn't fair to him above anyone else.  I try to do my best, to make him feel loved, wanted and well.  But when he is in bed, I feel defeated and so scared.  I know there are worse things out there, but I need to recognize that what I am going through is very hard, and I deserve to have a pity party now or then, to cry or get angry.  I know people don't understand because they don't have a child like this, but it is so tiring.  Not just because he doesn't sleep through the night most the time, but because I'm always berating myself for something I didn't get to that day, that could have helped him.  I feel like no matter how much therapy I do with him, that he'll take such a long time to progress.  It is frustrating.  I know I could do better, but sometimes just feeding him and making sure he is well, is enough.  I fortunately have a very supportive and caring husband, and parents.  I am blessed with a few special and close friends, but ones I don't see often. 

I know when you have a baby, you are already giving up a lot.  But I didn't know I signed up for this.  My dad believes Carter chose me before this life, and I don't know if that's true.  Trust me, after all that I have written, I love him with all my heart.  If I didn't, I wouldn't care like I do.  But some days I need to yell out "I've had enough!"  It may not be just because of today, but a long series of events.  I don't know if scriptures, quotes or inspiration will cheer me up right now.  I just need whoever is reading to know how hard this is..not for a pat on the back, but just to know.  I am a perfectionist, so when everyday doesn't go just right I get really frustrated with myself as a mother.  I know eventually some things will improve, but more will be added.  This is my little tantrum, thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Feeding Challenges

Carter has been quite difficult to feed lately, because he only eats pudding.  I know it sounds terrible, but it's true.  He coughed so much with applesauce that we stopped doing that.  He didn't like his yogurt or jars of baby foods anymore, so we stuck with what he liked.  I thought I was doing a pretty good job, because people kept telling me he has chunky legs and he isn't dehydrated.  We are waiting for his G Tube surgery on Sept 2nd and trying to keep him maintained until then.  Since he hasn't gained weight in about 5 months, I have been trying to get him to drink or eat as much as possible.  I went from feeding him 3 times a day, to feeding him 4 times a day and sometimes twice at night.  He isn't eating as much at each sitting, but it seems to be all he can handle.  His feeding specialist said this was quite normal.  The frustrating part is feeling like I work at it so many times a day, but overall he isn't getting much at all.  And the waking up at night part has been extremely frustrating and tiring.

His feeding specialist told me to go get a food processor and start making different foods.  Why am I so stressed out about this?  Well, because I don't like cooking at all, I am alone at nights for dinner because my hubby works, and I'm not creative with food.  I am also nervous about this change because Carter doesn't seem to like many foods, but I guess I need to at least try and introduce him to new kinds.  I know most Moms probably already do this, but since my baby isn't "normal", he provides a bit more of a challenge.  So I went and bought a food processor, a mini one, and I'm going to give it a shot.  I may not do meats because eww, that grosses me out.  She suggested making a cheese sauce and mixing it with veggies or meats.  Here is the recipe, she said it is delicious:
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a sauce pot over medium heat, then add 2 Tablespoons flour.  Mix until smooth.  Slowly add 1 Cup of milk to this and stir until it begins to get thick.  Add 1 Cup of cheese (cheddar, Swiss or Parmesan) to this and stir until melted.  Add salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg to taste.  Parmesan is great on broccoli, or if you add some pesto to this, it's great with chicken and pasta.  A combination of Swiss and Cheddar makes a really good sauce for mac and cheese. 

Sounds simple enough, and then she said to freeze in an ice tray and thaw the leftovers.  I think I'll try the cheese sauce with spinach first, then work my way to more creative things like possibly asparagus or mac & cheese.  Why cheese sauce?  Because it's high in fat, calories, calcium and more.  She said what little Carter will eat, we have to pack with as much as possible.  Any suggestions for simple things to try in my new food processor?  We are on a tight budget so I'm wondering what else to try.  I know he needs protein, so what should I try?
I know it might sound weird, but I'm having a hard time with this new change.  Some days I'm like, okay I am doing alright.  Then we have to add new things to his therapy routine, and then I get that down, and then something else comes up.  I don't complain much, but I've been getting really down about it lately.  I guess I'm nervous waiting for the next thing to happen.  Most families, not all, have healthy and normally developing kids.  Sure they have their own challenges, but it's not the same.  When I think of the future, I think that I am going to have to carry Carter around, help him dress and bathe and eat for so long...I am going to have a "baby" for a long time still and he is 20 months old.  Some days I cope well, and others like now I start to freak a little.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cool Toy Stores

I have discovered a few cool toy stores from Carter's physical therapist.  The first one is The Red Balloon Store: 
                                          2033 E 3300 S
                                Salt Lake City, UT 84109
                         What I have bought from the store:
Next is the Lakeshore Learning Store
Oakwood Village Shopping Center
5480 S. 900 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84117
They didn't have what I wanted in stock, so I ordered this online.


I discovered a great store online, Discount School Supply.  I have ordered flexi cups from them; a great way to teach kids to drink from a cup; you can pinch it to make it easier for them.  They come in different sizes.
What is coming up for Carter:  we have a trip to California next week for a cousin's wedding.  Then he has his G Tube surgery on Friday, September 2nd.  Also, he is not going into Nursery just yet.  We still have a few kinks to work out until then.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dentist

Carter is about 20 months, and he had his 1st dentist appointment.  It was rather quick because he is so young, and the dentist couldn't see any cavities.  He just has some plaque built up, so I need to be better at brushing his teeth.  He is rather difficult with that, because he has sensitivity issues and really gets upset when I brush his teeth.  No matter what brush I use, he tries to bite me and/or screams.  I guess it's just something I need to do and suck it up.  Once he has the G Tube in , depending how much he is eating orally, cavities shouldn't be an issue anymore.  But the dentist said kids with G Tubes tend to have a lot of plaque build up on their teeth, and that can also be caused by his anti seizure meds as well.  Interesting... And for those that are interested to know, his surgery is schedule for Friday, September 2nd.  The actual surgery takes maybe an hour overall including sedation and waking up time, and then he'll stay overnight to make sure all is well.  I'm taking a class later this month to learn more about the care and use of the G Tube.  So this month should be just regular therapy sessions, nothing new until next month.