Monday, December 22, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

fa ra ra ra ra

Tis the season. And I have no photo to post. Why is that? Because Snapfish blows. It used to be that any photos I uploaded to the service, I could easily copy and save, full-size, to my desktop. But not anymore. It only lets me save thumbnail sized photos. Booooo! Jerks. Henceforth, no recent photos of Paudie. Because I am blogging at work, pics are on home PC.

In other news...

We all survived Thanksgiving and are in fact going back for more on Tuesday. It's pretty exhausting for us at my parent's house. I don't think there is a more un-child proofed place we have ever been. Knick-knacks everywhere. Plus kleenex, a walker, a cane, a fireplace etc etc. Everyday we have to leave the house and go for a drive just to have some peace and some rest. But we are headed back and excited for Christmas - Paudie was such a blob last Christmas, this one should be much more interesting. Though he is still pretty clueless.

Paudie had his 15 month well visit last Monday. He had his last 'peace of mind' ultrasound at 5 months (to make sure nothing in his tummy that shouldn't be there) and it had been weighing on me that so much time had gone by without any additional proactive measures. Knowing that there is no way he'd tolerate another scan at this point in his life, I talked to Cian's oncologist about having a urine test done to check certain levels of things (sorry, don't know what they are) that NB tumors excrete - so the thinking is that a normal test means no tumor activity. But the test turns a lot of false positives and can be affected by diet. I had been toying with the idea of doing it for months and finally decided we would bring a sample in when he went for his shots. Subconsciously I knew we'd never get a sample and it would all be moot.

So to the appointment we go - no sample. Within one second of the nurse coming in the room, Paudie lost his shit. I mean, really, really, really lost it. She couldn't get near him to weigh or measure him at all. It was quite frightening to see how worked up he could get over really nothing. When the doc came in, the scenario repeated. We told them we had no sample and they said they would bag his peeper and try to get some, but it was unlikely given his state. But I'll be damned, they got themselves a decent sample. As soon as the nurse walked away with it I wanted to tackle her to get it back. But I didn't.

And so the urine was off to the lab. Truth be told, I didn't think about it too much until a week had gone by and no results. Then panic started to set in. I wasn't actually concerned he had cancer, it was more that the result was high and we'd opened a can of worms for him. And that yes, maybe he had cancer. A few weeks ago I was reading a letter to the editor in US News and World Report - they had recently done a cover story on the war against cancer. The letter was from a father talking about how lacking funds are for pediatric cancer research etc. He had not one, but two children with brain tumors. I read that and it's like, my heart breaks. For this man who has to endure hell with two of his beloved... and the fact that in theory, we could be halfway to his hell. I know it's sooo unlikely, but it's a unique feature of our little fam.

Anyhoo, we finally got the word yesterday, results well within normal range. Holy shit. I almost started to cry when I got the email. The weight I felt come off of me was huge.

So we are done with NB 'peace of mind' measures. We will just do our best to raise a healthy, happy little boy. I can't take the stress. There I said it.

Onto less dramatic happenings, we attempted Santa last night. Paudie was not having any of him. But when John sat down next to Santy, all was right with the world and we got an awesome picture. I will scan and post at some point.

So there you have it. 2008 is winding down and all in all, it's been quite a year. Some not so great things, and some really special moments. But we're in such a different place than we were two years ago, I really shant complain...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Losing the Plot

So Sunday Padraig wakes up with a 104 degree fever and uncontrollable drool. By afternoon, even with motrin, he was very sleepy. I almost lost my mind. Off to the doc we went and he was diagnosed with the dreaded double ear infection. By bedtime the fever was nearing 105 degrees, even with motrin and tylenol on board.

There are no two ways about it. When Padraig gets sick, I stop functioning. I am basically in the fetal position rocking in the corner. My breathing is labored. When it is time to go to the doctor, I have to clean myself up and grab snacks with the expectation that we will have to go to the hospital and live there and maybe be accused of child abuse. No PTSD here. Oh, and then after the diagnosis I doubt the doctor for hours on end. It's great. I am so mentally healthy.

I'd like to say he has really turned the corner from his illness but I can't say. Last night was a disaster. He is symptom and fever free, but he would not sleep. All he would do is cry. Scream. Screech. For hours on end. We think maybe it was his teeth but hells, what do we know. So then I went back to the doubting-the-doctor phase. He seemed okay this am when we went to daycare, but I still think John is going to pick him up early cos if he puts on the show for Miss Wendy that he put on for us last night, he is def a daycare dropout.

Hopefully tonight will be calm. We are getting up early tomorrow to drive to Rochester for Thanksgiving with my family. There will be no shortage of walkers, canes and crutches to tempt poor Paudie.

Oh, Paudie has a phrase! It's "Get Down." Apparently between hearing at home when he climbs on the stove and any other elevated item he can find, and Wendy's pug trying to eat the children's food, he hears it a lot. And he repeats it too. Good stuff.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a lot that I feel really unthankful for, but mostly life is good and I am so appreciative of my wonderful husband and amazing children.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Finally, a Halloween pic of our little lion. It actually suits today's post quite nicely given that I had to have a talk with the daycare provider about Paudie and the fact that naps are yet again posing much grief for her and some of the other kids thanks to someone's apparent and incessant crying and whining. According to Wendy, Paudie's nap skills have deteriorated badly - yesterday's note home said he would wake every couple of minutes crying in his sleep with his eyes closed and this went on for the entire nap period. I was so stressed last night upon reading this - and learning that Wendy wanted to meet with me. Argh!
So we chatted this morning. I brought in a pillow from home and a bottle - I really think his cries are a bottle jones but I know she is very pro sippy cup. I worry he will ultimately be asked to leave the group. She admits he is an awesome kid otherwise and never cries for any other reason, is always playful and smiling - it's just the nap thing. And it's really so strange as he is going great with sleep otherwise - slept in his own crib in his own room almost all night last night! For 12 hours!!

So that's the major news. Paudie: daycare dropout.

He is getting increasingly verbal, repeating things he hears - but still not great with the mamas and dadas. His latest trick is that he has to march his empty bottle to the sink every night after he finishes it. Between that and the broom obsession, I am starting to worry he may have some OCD going on. Must have order!

We are all off to Rochester next week for Thanksgiving. My dad is finally home from the hospital, about 6 weeks after his foot amputation surgery. Sounds like he is doing allright navigating around the house - we shall see. I think my mom is struggling with him being home - she is used to being the sick one, being the one that needs all of the attention - doesn't sound like she is coping with having to share resources. Good times!

Monday, November 3, 2008

loves implements.

Paudie was helping John rake last week. Very cute stuff. He is a fan of the rake, as he is a fan of the broom and dustpan. I can't even sweep up after dinner if he is in the vicinity because it is an exercise in futility. I always give in and let him have the broom which is quite possibly his favorite toy. It's not exactly child size so I keep meaning to get him a little hand brush.

The last two weeks have been busy ones. We had friends from London stay with us for a weekend. Had a lovely visit - was our first sort of "another-couple-with-a-baby" weekend. Paudie was mostly well-behaved with their 8-month old girl. We all even managed to have a nice Sunday brunch out in the south end with little drama!

Then this past weekend was Halloween of course. Paudie was a lion and I should have those pics in about, oh say 3 weeks. He really wasn't feeling the costume at all until he went outside and started to basically run wild in the street with some of the neighbor's kids. Then he played with the candy bowl, dumping it on the floor and walking on the candy. Kids would knock on the door and I'd open it and pick candy off the floor for them. Nice. We also had a lot of visitors this weekend - an old friend Becky was over for Halloween. We reminsced about crappy plastic halloween costumes of the 70's and having to wear your coat of them and how the mask would make your face sweat. Then Paudie's godmother came by for a visit as well, not to mention John's cousins visiting from Ireland. The cousins' kids were all over playing with and and minding Paudie. Made me wish I had my own 13 year old daughter from a previous relationship or something. I should have had some foresight in my 20s that I would need help in my 30s.

Day care continues to be going mostly well. Naps are still sort of hit or miss - either really good or not so much. But at least the separation anxiety has lessened.

Next weekend looks quiet. Hooray! Hopefully Paudie will adjust to daylight savings because I can't handle too many more pre-7:00 wake ups...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Life is funny. So my last posting I'm all sad about missing Paudie, the daycare situation and the impending two-year anniversary. Well, little did I know that only days after posting I'd be thrown back into medical crisis mode. My father had his foot amputated Friday morning (and for anyone reading this, my mother does not know the extent of the surgery - we will tell her at some point soon). What started out as an infection on his little toe which was initally amputated Sunday started to spread and by Thursday it was a life or death situation. So off to Rochester we were on Friday. Not where I wanted to be for the anniversary and not the circumstances I wanted to be managing. But such is life. We came back yesterday and I am exhausted on every level. The weather was amazing, and we got to eat lots of apples and appley things, in addition to Schalers, DiBellas, Pontillios and a Wegmans trip or two. We tried to make the most of it, but it was hard. Paudie was absolutely out of control. 4 days in a non-baby proof environment was almost more than he could handle. His favorite moments: stealing my mom's cane, over and over, as well as her $3 Walmart clock that she is obsessed with. He played well with Lucy, and enjoyed walking her. He also enjoyed spilling her water dish no more than 15 times. I thought I'd lose my mind by last night. Between trips to the hospital, chasing him, dealing with my mother... It was a lot. But I'm glad we went and that my dad got to see Paudie, I hope our visit lifted his very down spirits some. As for me, I couldn't even attend to Cian's anniversary which is hard thing to admit, but it's the truth. It's like on Cian's first birthday, I spent two days in the hospital for gallstones, at pain level 10 for most of it. I think he forgives me.
Times like these make me really appreciate the drama free days that feel like nothing and blah. Like today. I am sitting at work and it is just quiet. Almost peaceful.
I wonder how Paudie is doing back at daycare. He was not a happy camper when I dropped him today. I think it is going to take a few days for him to get back into his routine.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

snotty nosed kid

Paudie has his first cold. 5 days into daycare no less. He has been a real bear of late - mornings are the worst currently. Plus he is throwing temper tantrums. Did I mention this all started only 5 days into daycare? Sigh.

I know it's all an adjustment, for all of us. It just sucks. I guess the honeymoon period is over. Man that was quick. I worry about how he will adapt to napping and sippy cups. I am anxious that I don't know what he does all day in detail. I hate that I miss the best parts of him. Right now I might see him for a few mins in the morning (or not at all) and maybe 2-3 hours at night - and what fun hours they are. Last night there was lots of crying, screaming and throwing himself down on the ground. Good times!

I'm not going to lie. This is a shit time of the year for John and I. I'm sure the fact that we are thinking about Cian and his treatment and death are shading my feelings about daycare and Paudie's day-to-day life. That I hate that I am here at work while someone else is playing with him - but it doesn't bother him, he is quite happy. It's hard to reconcile this feeling of I'd-give-anything-to-have-Cian-back yet here I am away from my living child for 40 hours per week. And I'm not exactly saving the world or do-gooding. Today I packed boxes of tradeshow materials.

I think I need some candy or something to lift my spirits.

Friday, September 19, 2008

all growned up

At least that is how it feels this week. Paudie started daycare. I really didn't have any angst about putting in someone else's care, surprisingly - the provider seems excellent - very nice, very on top of things. The daycare is in her home, two streets over from us - very convenient! I was most worried about how he'd deal with table food and a regimented nap schedule (one two-hour nap later in the day - as opposed to two shorter naps, one had been in the morning).

According to Wendy, Paudie is really thriving. He plays with the other kids, he eats his lunch! He naps in a crib!! This is all shocking to me! Yesterday's report slip said he ate his whole lunch - fish sticks! It is mindboggling. The child that wouldn't eat anything is now eating. Even at home, he is eating. It is remarkable. And dumbfounding. Soon he will emerge from his 43 percentile weight status!

The napping situation isn't all that great, but he is sleeping - just not as much as she'd like him to/he needs. But I think we'll get there. But in another shocking turn of events... he fell asleep in his porta crib last night! Granted it only lasted two hours and then he was back with us, but still - the progress in shocking.

The most surprising thing to me of our new routine is that when we drop him off at daycare, as soon as he enters the door, he's off and playing, exploring. No wistful glace, no pulling at our legs, no tears. Nothing. He's over us!

And he's getting another tooth. And he said his first word: Book. What the hell is that about? Where did that come from? Is he intellectual? Cos he certainly never sees us with books - magazines, yes - a remote control, for sure. But books? Never. He himself has a large collection of books cos I read that's all good for kids- I guess so. He still doesn't really say mama or dada, but if we ask where the baba is, he'll point to a photo of Cian or of himself.

So there you have it. Our boy is officially one, officially social, officially eating and offically bored with us. We knew it wouldn't take long.
Oh, no need to call DSS on us - we usually are quite stern and scolding when Paudie hangs off the stove - but it wasn't on and John thought he'd capture the moment just once...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We made it...

One down, many many many more to go.
Some pics of our boy from his dig day - it was the best day ever. Weather was perfect and we had a blast visiting with friends.
Paudie was a superstar.
He wasn't as keen on the cake as I'd hoped for - he was more interested in smooshing it in between his fingers than on his face, but he enjoyed all of the attention and lovely gifts immensely. I am glad to say I was able to compartmentalize the yuck for the night before and the night after - this allowed me to be in the moment with Paudie, a moment we'd waited a long time for. It's been the best year ever - he gives us so much joy and hope. I can't wait to see what this year brings...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

beach babe

Okay so yeah that's a crappy picture and yeah it was taken with a camera phone - you wanna make something of it? Damn, why can't I get decent photos uploaded? We got our camera back last weekend but getting the snaps off of the memory card is a whole different story. Damn I am a crappy mom for this stuff. I would never do for a Parents magazine type article. I must improve my mommyness!

This was taken Monday at Wollaston Beach - yes we live 3 blocks from the beach and September 1st was our only family beach trip for the summer. Losers! Paudie had fun, trying to chase the seagulls, flirt with the lifeguards and play with a little boy sitting next to us. Or rather, ruin said little boy's beach time by attempting to take all of his toys from him.

Sunday is Paudie's bday and of course we are probably going to get rained out. Twenty-someodd people in a 1920s colonial - good times! Anyhoo, it will be fun no matter. We are very excited to have made it through the first year, one that was largely uneventful, in a good way. To celebrate his big day, we had a portrait taken - I was a anxiety ridden stage mom. He was incredibly charming and poseur like, but I felt all this pressure for him to perform. Yuck. A whole new side of me emerged. I must squash her.

We are gearing up for Paudie to start daycare on the 15th. He had a visit there earlier this week and I was happy to hear that he jumped right into the mix with the others, though there was an incident involving another boy and a red car that basically mowed Paudie down, to the chagrin of John and the daycare provider. Paudie was quite upset. He's really gonna have to grow some thick skin I think. We shall see... I hope it all works out (for all of us).

Reflecting back on the past few weeks, Paudie had a blast, spending lots of time with his dad, his new babysitter Kate, and lots of family from upstate NY and Ireland who came to visit him. He is also starting to really mingle with his 3 cousins who live nearby - I think his ability to walk, and destroy, has made him a real person in their eyes.

A full account of the bday along with photos will be posted next week - oh yes they will.

As I am getting ready to close this posting out, it occurrs to me I failed to acknowledge that the 24th marked the two-year anniversary of Cian's cancer diagnosis, aka, the worst day of my life. I think people are often surprised to hear that I view diagnosis as harder to cope with than the day he actually died, but it is true. I had accepted his death was an eventuality in my lifetime in the weeks leading up to his passing - his diagnosis on the other hand was a freight train out of nowhere. It's a very hard anniversary to deal with - and these 7 weeks in between the anniversary of his death aren't exactly easy either - I think that's why we have Paudie to celebrat right smack dab in the middle. He continues to keep us going... I wish Cian were physically here on Sunday to sing to him, but there is no denying his spiritual presence in Paudie's life...

Friday, August 22, 2008

you take the good you take the bad you take them both...

I realize my blogging is getting worse. My excuse this time is that we left our digital camera on the cape a few weeks back and I hate to make an entry without a photo. But since I don't know when we are getting our camera back... hopefully it is in the next two weeks before Paudie's insane first birthday party!

The last few weeks have been like a rollercoaster in Paudie's world. Highs - starting to walk, getting his top two teeth, making horsey noises, eating cookies - and Lows - falling down, getting an ear infection, having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, and getting his finger pinched in a door. But all in all he remains totally and utterly awesome. He is starting to demonstrate some hella good climbing skills - over the top of his new car, up the gate blocking our stairwell- and given his long legs and long arms, he can get to doorknobs and things on the countertop with ease. We are starting to experience some temper tantrums - it's like, you can't help but laugh at the child.

Eating remains a problem, though somedays it seems like it is getting better. His new fascination is eating fuzzies. Off the rug, from under the refrigerator... strands of hair, fibers from his diaper... kinda weird. Even his dad's chest hair. Maybe he's part cat. He's holding at about 22 lbs, will be interesting to see how his profile has changed at his well visit in two weeks - I am predicting off the chart for height, 50% for weight. Everytime I see super tall and super skinny men on the street I think, yup, that's gonna be our boy in a few years. Maybe we have another Michael Phelps on our hands! cha ching!

So as I mentioned above, we are having a small gathering for Paudie's first birthday. This is a huge milestone for us for obvious reasons. I am not yet sure of the party's theme, but I already know that in addition to his car and his PAUDIE Mass license plate, he is getting a funky pair of walking shoes. The boy has worn shoes maybe 5 times in his life? It's going to be interesting when he goes to daycare and has to wear them every day! With socks!! And pants!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

worth 1000 words

So my whole issue with keeping this blog semi up-to-date is that I am lazy when it comes to uploading digital photos. John is very good about capturing lots of moments with Paudie - but he never uploads so when I go to do it, there are like 200 new photos and they all have to be red-eye adjusted etc then sent to Snapfish so I can access them. Sigh. Hopefully this week I will grad some newer pics.

Paudie is doing soooo good! He is trying his darndest to walk - and getting scarily close. The entire house has been baby proofed - there is no furniture in the living room, a massive gate has been put up by the stairs, the dining room has been turned into a massive baby jail with lots of toys and a new play room has been set-up in the basement. Lots of options for PC to play. His top two teeth are working their way down and he is super drooly. It's quite impressive. As for food, he's getting a little better. Still gaggy, but not as barfy.

The major concession we have made is around our sleeping arrangement. Paudie will not sleep in his crib - he just won't and frankly, I don't have the heart to make him cry it out for a few nights. He's happy with us, we're happy with him. So we bought a king size bed. It came today - I don't know who is most excited between the three of us. Hopefully John and I will get more sleep with more room away from our little heat seeking missle.

Paudie has also started to point. Out of the blue, with no prompting. He points a lot at totally random things. I love these new little developments! They are fascinating to me.

I promise to post new pics soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

the living's easy

We are back from our week away and it is really feeling like summer. Man is it easier to deal with an uncooperative, squirmy baby in the summer than in the cold weather. These days its like, okay, you don't want to put clothes on? Diaper for you. Paudie has also been spending lots of time in an inflatable pool on our back deck. It's next to his sandbox, which he also loves. The problem is that he can speedily go from pool to sandbox and it makes him sorta a grimey, gritty mess. But he's happy and we're pushovers so there you have it.

Paudie did some sight-seeing last week. The petting zoo was a bust as it started to rain as soon as we arrived, but we were able to spend a day at Letchworth State Park which is quite lovely. He went for some strolls - checked out the falls and the Mt. Morris dam - not really too impressed with any of it. We also spent a morning at the Rochester Public Market which was interesting - tons to see and smell and try and touch. Oh, and he got to go for a dip in his grandpa's pool, but I think the inflatable frog pool is more his speed. It was awesome - though very exhausting - to spend a week with him. It felt like he changed so much - he is now crawling like crazy, cruising everywhere and can even stand on his own for a little bit. We feel as if he is putting all his energy into trying to walk. Food be damned.

The sleep schedule is still a disaster. Last night he slept from 10:30 to 10:30. It's great he get's his 12 hours but really he should be putting us to bed. I can't even stay awake to see him drift off most nights. But I shouldn't complain too much because with his late schedule, I do get to spend a decent amount of time with him once I get home from work.

We have a babysitter minding Paudie one day a week for the summer. It is so nervewracking for me to leave him even though she seems fabulous. I really have to learn to be okay with these things - but it's going to take time.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Amazing how a baseball cap makes a booboo look like a real little boy. John picked this up for Paudie at the Red Sox game Tuesday night and I must say, it really suits him.

This pic was taken on our back deck. We bought the walker at a garage sale - they aren't easy to find in stores. I know a lot of docs hate them - not sure if it's the risk for tumbling down the stairs or concerns of putting too much pressure on baby's legs - but Paudie loves to motor around it so there you have it.

Paudie went to the beach for the first time last weekend and it was a smashing success. Not only does he love sand, he appears to at least for now, know better than to eat it. He is content to just sit and let it sift through his hands. We have a sandbox out back and he was playing by himself in it for close to a half hour the other night which was totally awesome for us. Paudie is into everything right now. It's exhausting to have to keep pulling him away from the TV and other sharp cornered/heavy objects -no matter where you sit him, he can make his way back to wherever he is not supposed to be in about 5 crawling steps. Damn 1920s colonial.

We are road tripping to see my family in upstate NY for the week. Will be great from everyone to see and get to really interact with him. Everyone but the dog that is since they are the same size and weight now. He - Paudie, not the dog - actually waved last night and did some crude hand clapping. John and I were ecstatic. It's like we don't really believe he is going to make normal developmental milestones. Not sure at what point that disbelief will end for us. I suspect slash hope his 1st birthday which is only about 9 weeks away.

Paudie still sleeps with us and refuses to drift off before 9:30. I wonder if this all falls into what our ped referred to as creating a 'vulnerable child.' Hmmm...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paudie gets inked

Check out Paudie's tat. He got his temp ink at a lemonade stand fundraiser our good friend Ivy had at her house two weeks ago. He looked pretty badass with it and I had to wonder, is this a sign of things to come? Anyhoo we finally scrubbed it off this week.

Things are quiet in Paudie land. We think his two front teeth are going to be making some noise soon. Eating still is lackluster. Doc said not to worry and just keep on him with different options. At 9 months, Paudie clocked in at over 31 inches (99%) and 21 lbs (55%). To quote the good doctor - okay so I'm paraphrasing - giraffes have baby giraffes. I guess I understand that intellectually, I just wish he loved food as much as we do.

Nights are getting easier - we finally have given up and just let him stay up as late as he wants, usually 9:30. I know, not great parenting but we just got tired of making him angry for two hours as we try to enforce an appropriate bedtime.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

unsteady yet strikingly overconfident

Those terms come to mind to describe Paudie these days. He has learned to pull himself up into a standing position and can even make his way around the perimeter of his crib and pack n' play - just barely. He often gets sidetracked by a toy and as soon as one hand goes off the edge, the wobbling sets in. Knees like rubber. And then he's down. But his overconfidence is inspiring. He only started to stand on Monday and last night he was trying to climb up the outside of the pack n' play. Maybe it's a boy thing, but it was pretty brazen I thought considering two days ago the best he could do was roll and creep.

I can finally say that teeth are coming. I know I've been talking about them for a long time but they are on their way - you can't exactly see the pearly whites, but you can feel them - very sharp and seemingly ridiculously crooked under his gum. If one were to refer to normal teeth as horizontal in nature, I would characterize what I see in his mouth as vertical. Sort of Appalachian-like. I guess he probably will inherit my bad teeth. While my husband was blessed with perfectly straight teeth, I was not so lucky. I was one of those adolescents with way too many teeth in all the wrong places. Teeth upon teeth. Had to have 4 adult teeth removed even before braces. It's all really unfortunate as I am sure braces will cost about $5000 by the time he is ready for them. We may have to send him to a makeover show for some free dental work instead. Lumineers anyone?

We are off to the doctor on Tuesday morning. I like well visits. I like our doctor, he makes me feel calm and normal. Which is huge these days. My main questions have to do around our boy's poor eating habits. And the gagging which has returned as of last week. Two full-on barf sessions last week spurred by puffies. We went to Ikea this weekend and picked up some full body suit bibs - sort of like straight jackets. If we can't prevent the barf, perhaps we can just make the clean up a little bit easier for ourselves.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

putting our winter life away

Wow, Paudie's hat really looks kinda crazy in this photo huh? This was taken yesterday at the playground near our house. He loves the swing. Too bad I can't upload a soundtrack to this snap because it would be the sound of pure and unadulaterated joy.
Paudie had a head cold this past weekend. That's the best we can come up with to explain his out of control behavior at night when he was meant to be sleeping. There was no sleep Friday night, there was some sleep Saturday night. There was lots of crying and downward dog and attempts at crawling and fits of sleep in unusual positions. He had a runny nose and John had been sick so we are hoping he was just dealing with feeling icky.
At one point this weekend the sun caught Paudie's face a bit odd - or perhaps it was the angle I was looking at him - and his eye appeared black to me. I think I almost dropped him in a manic state of shock. Then it passed and as much as I stared, I could not see the blackness again. It was scary, surreal. A flashback. It's like I have worked so hard to convince myself IT can't happen again and in that moment it was indeed happening again. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me. Whatever it was, it was cruel.
Paudie is eating better - actually starting to devour the foods he likes (bananas, plums, prunes) - granted I wish he were devouring veggies, but I'd rather have him chow on fruits with much gusto than spend time trying to pry his mouth open and have nasty gagging fits that lead to barfing. He still has no teeth. In fact, the one iots of tooth he did have poking through the gum line appears to have retreated. The crawling effort is advancing. He is officially creeping around and rocking on all fours with his butt up in the air just raring to go. I can't believe he is going to be nine-months old. Being with him makes me the happiest I've ever been which is like mega happy since the grief of losing Cian recalibrated my mood barometer. He's an angel, pure and simple.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Paudie does not trust Elmo.

I look back at old posts and have to laugh - the boy has been teething since I started this and still no tooth. The tiniest spec of white is showing on the bottom right side - I foolishly thought that meant that a tooth was imminent, but I was wrong. I actually am a big fan of the goofy gummy smile so I'm not in a real hurry to see those pearly whites, I just wish I could stop wondering, is he not eating because he is teething? is he not drinking because he is teething? does he wake up screaming because he is teething? Those are three issues we are dealing with right now - well actually he is starting to develop an appetite - finally! We were at a picnic this weekend with another little boy, about 6 weeks older, and encourage Paudie to watch the child as he wolfed down quiche and crab cake. Maybe something rubbed off on P because since then he has been more involved and seemingly happier to eat. Even had his first egg yolk - mixed with banana though. I know, sorta gross.

Paudie still can't crawl. But he's close. And he is trying to pull himself up. We brokedown and started to childproof. Our first step - move lots of furniture out of the living room. It's quite bare but there is far less for him to get into trouble with now. We also need to buy a larger rug - the hardwood floors are just so enticing for him, maybe because he can push himself backwards and get a good slide going. But he is always coming thisclose to smacking his head off of it.

We had out picture taken Friday night for an article on our other son for CURE magazine. The photographer was an hour late and Paudie was not a happy, willing subject. I can only imagine with the shot is going to look like. I don't even know if he got anything usable. I'm sure whatever it is, Paudie will look adorable and John and I will look awkward as all getout. We weren't allowed to look at the camera. I'm sure I'll be mortified.

I almost forgot - we took Paudie to his first Gymboree music class. Guess what? Paudie hates high notes. I always knew he had weird aversions to certain noises, but when the teacher hit high notes, he lost his shiz all together. Luckily there was only one other little boy there, but I did feel bad - the teacher was like, um okay maybe Padraig isn't ready for this and the other kid was looking at him like, dude, shut it! So that was a bummer. He liked the hands-on pieces of the class - drums, maracas, the ball... but clearly he is not a fan of la, te or do.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

eight is great

Paudie celebrated his 8th monthiversary yesterday. He has boundless energy - he continues to improve on his rolling skills and considering we have a tiny living room, he doesn't have far to go to get into potential trouble. I think we are going to basically remove everything except the couch, a chair, the TV and the rug. I can't believe how fascinating every little thing is to a small person. He is particularly interested in magazines, shoes, toes, and the edge of the rug. His crawling really hasn't progressed which I am viewing as a good thing for us - gives us a bit of a break. We already joke that he's definitely going to be one of those kids on a leash once he can walk. He is also starting to show the smallest bit of tooth - but I am sure it will be several more weeks before victory is his.

I signed us up for a Gymboree music class this weekend - no clue how that will be but figure we should check it out as Paudie seems to really like music. Every time there is music on TV he watched intently and sort of zones out. I sense a future rock star. Yes!

Friday, May 2, 2008

the bigger they are...

Paudie has taken a few tumbles lately and it's really distressing. It's easy for seasoned parents to say things like - he's going to fall down, don't worry - but this is how my mind works:

Paudie falls and bumps his head
Paudie gets a bruise or lump on his head
I am calm at first and intellectually udnerstand the cause and effect
I eventually flip out that Paudie has brain tumor activity

Because I have the experience of literally watching tumor grow on Cian's skull overnight, bumps and lumps really scare the shiz out of me.

So that is why Paudie falling inspires panic. Because I DON'T want to go there. Because I don't WANT to go there. Because I don't want to go THERE. Get it?

Paudie still has no teeth. Still can't really crawl either. He just gets really frustrated. His grabbiness is still everpresent. And he's getting loud. Oh, and he hates food. Except for bananas and yobaby yogurt. Anything else mushed or mashed = gagging = masive vomit. Some days I worry he isn't going to put on weight, other days I know it will happen and we can't try and force the situation. I just wish I could experience the joy of watching him really chow down. It's no fun stalking your child with a spoon.

We're almost to the 8 month mark - another milestone. Though I did have a flash of craziness in BJ's last night as we were buying 3 cans of formula. I actually had one of those thoughts like, will he still be here in three weeks? It went as quickly as it came, but clearly I have some more healing to do...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

paudie - international jetsetter

We are back from Ireland and it was a really wonderful trip. For the most part. It got off to a really rough start. Anytime you're on a plane, well over the Atlantic Ocean, and a voice comes on asking for any medical personnel to make themselves known to the crew, chances are a pitstop is in your future. In the case of flight EI 132, the pitstop was in Goose Bay Newfoundland, at 11:30 PM. Paudie was soundly asleep when the plane landed and craziness ensued - the electrical hook-up wasn't working, the door (which we were sitting next to) had to be open for refueling (and it was arctic)... when we took off again at 1:00 AM, Paudie lost it all together. For an hour. Of screaming. Inconsolable screaming. We now refer to it as the ' Goose Bay Breakdown.' I almost lost it myself -but thankfully John got him to sleep with some heavy duty rocking. Our bad luck continued when we learned we couldn't land in Shannon but had to go to Dublin where more ridiculousness ensued (everyone off the plane! everyone back on the plane!). Anyhoo we finally landed 7 hours late and except for the GBB, Paudie was his totally awesome self.

I wish I could count how many relatives Paudie met last week. Countless. Check him and a handful of his cousins out above. His charm was in full effect. He also picked up some fab new party tricks - sticking out his tongue and making a clicky noise with it. He's waaaay more grabby than he was prior to us leaving. It's actually quite annoying, but I get it, he's just exploring his world. Testing out some things. It's just disturbing to see multiple strands of my hair stuck to his sweaty palms. Or to see him stick his index finger in a perfect stranger's mouth (who didn't seem to mind), and then watch it go into his own. God, the germs he was exposed to. I can't believe he stayed healthy the whole week. I guess that in itself is a small victory.

It was hard to come back. Ireland is beautiful, John's family very kind. Plus it was just the best to be able to spend so much time with the little guy. It's like I miss him in ways I didn't before. Cos I feel like I know him so much better than before. Sigh.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

the green green grass of home

Tomorrow is the day that we take Paudie to Ireland to meet his nana, several aunts and uncles, 10 cousins and countless extended relatives. Not to mention 3 dogs, a bunch of cows, and the occasional neighbor or schoolmate. I am both excited for this trip, and anxious. Not only has this whole week been a flashback to Cian's diagnosis as he was one-day away from his trip to Ireland when the cancer was discovered (how fortuitous that his packed bag just went to the hospital instead of the airport), then there is the matter of Paudie outliving Cian as of Monday the 14th (and throw in the 4th anniversary of John's father's death tomorrow). What does it all come back to - bittersweetness.
As you can see by the pic, Paudie digs biscuits. This is one way that he is very much like his parents. It's amazing how the child gags on like everything - but the first time he had a biscuit - no gags. He likes him some biscuits. And damn, they are messy.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day. We get to the airport in Boston at 5:00 - will get to John's mother's house in West Cork at about 10:00 AM (or 5:00 AM our time) - that's a lot of travelling. And I'm working all day of course. Our first day in Ireland is always very zombie-like, for me anyways. I could never have been a doctor as I seriously don't function without sleep. Or rather I am seriously dysfunctional.
Wish us luck. I am sure I will have anecdotes and photos to post once we return. Hoepfully we will come back to true spring. Child has cabin fever for sure.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

that's our boy!


Paudie is almost 7 months now and his development is rapid and ridiculously amazing. He is starting to babble with syllables - a ba here, a ma there - and it is glorious. Not to mention watching his motor skills advance. Last night he stuck his butt up in the air for the first time - the boy wants to be crawling. For about 30 minutes he just rolled back and forth and attempted to get onto all fours. Not only is all of this so fun to experience really for the first time - but for us, it's like - 'we're doing it. we're getting there. he's going to make it.' things are as they should be (with Paudie that is - not in the global sense of our lives). I actually find myself looking towards September and his first birthday. For six months I wouldn't let myself have any future orientation. I still have a ways to go, but I'm getting there.

Paudie still challenges us with eating, though we have discovered he loves mashed banana and had his first piece of liga biscuit last night, which he devoured with only minor gagging. Hopefully we will make the cross-over to mostly food/few bottles at some point during the summer. I swear if it were up to him he'd just get by on raw energy and adrenaline. There is no fat on this kid.

I am making progress losing the baby weight - it's coming off slowly due to a lifestyle change - reducing carbs and sugar. The tummy flab is sticking with me for good though - man the flab can be deceiving. Standing up straight it is invisible but bend over and bam, hello roll. And I suppose if we have another, it's only going to get worse. So cruel.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

clearly i suck at this

hi. how hard is it to write a post or two a week? i don't understand why i'm not better at this.

we took Paudie on his first airplane ride this weekend. he was totally enthralled with the turbulance on the weigh there. he would giggle each time we hit a bump - i would feel my stomach flip and then he'd laugh. it hit me that his stomach was flipping too and that he was enjoying it. i guess he'll be a thrillseeker type.

the flight home was a different story. paudie was a mess. it was an unfortunate situation for us all. particularly the people around us. luckily jetblue gives out headphones so most people were watching TV. but not us. apparently parents of small children don't qualify for headphones. we have to suffer and suffer well.

suffice it so say, we are all feeling a bit anxious about our flight to Ireland in a few weeks.

in other paudie news... he is rolling like a fiend. back and forth. his sitting has improved but he still can't really manage it for too long on his own. the drool continues to flourish, yet the teeth are mia. he's also starting to demo a little bit of a temper. it's a riot but i have to give him props. i know how he feels when something you aren't supposed to have is taken away and god bless him for screaming about it. i'd be a much happier employee if i could unload over otherwise trivial matters.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

catch that buzz

i'm going to depart from my downer type entries for a bit with this ode to my boy. the last week or so with paudie has been just the best. i don't know what it is, what has changed. but right now, i just couldn't be more in love. he is so effin cute. this week he has started to march his feet in his exersaucer. he tends to do it when there is music or to his dad's sad beatboxing. but i love it. it's like, he gets it. he's grooving. he's also starting to really interact with us. there is some give and take. the other night he woke up at like 11:15 and started to laugh and kick and smile. those times are so special. i love that he just goes with it. he knows no boundaries or rules or norms. i love to feed him appley yogurt and see him lap it up. it's awesome to know you are giving you child something they love.

i am totally going to get him a pony or send him to spacecamp.

i love that when he sleeps in between us he gets a full night's sleep. that tells ms he is exactly where he wants to be, feels the most comfort.

paudie paudie paudie.

i want to have like 5 of him.

did my parents ever love me this much? i don't know.

his hair. his skin. his smell. his infectious laugh. his toes. i just can't get enough of that boy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

when you know what you're missing

I went out with my girlfriends Saturday night - my first time out in nearly three years. While I was excited about a night out with my oldest and dearest friends, I also felt anxiety. Or a sense of conflict. With our first son, before he was sick, my husband and I both worked so essentially we both missed out on a good chunk of his life, from 3-5 months. But I didn't get too hung up on that because I thought there would be years and years of opportunity to be with him. Alas, I was wrong. And once he was gone, the agony of missing him was just plain cruel. But you adapt, slowly.

Now that Paudie is here, I hate to be away from him. I feel as if he is awake, and I can be with him, that is where I need to be. Because I don't want to miss any more than I have to (working). All I can describe it as is this pressure. Self-inflicted of course. I sense that is a difference between my husband and myself currently. He is home with Paudie for now so he gets hours of quality time each day so there is no guilt (I presume) should he want to do something for himself.

I guess my point is this: I hate that my life, my priorities, my needs, were rearranged for me. I didn't really need to lose my son to realize what is important and I certainly don't need to suffocate under the weight of the forced reprioritization, but I might.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

ahead of the game at 5 months, 17 days

I love that photo of Paudie. So intent. So digging the slot machine-like toy on his exersaucer.

So Sunday came and went. Paudie reached the milestone of 5 months and 17 days and no cancer diagnosis. No health issues to speak of. This is huge milestone for our little family as the last time we had a baby boy reach 5 months and 17 days, by 10:00 that night we were informed he had cancer. Instead Paudie's 170th day on this earth was an uneventful. For that we are incredibly grateful. Our next milestone will hopefully be reached when he is 7 months and 6 days.

Personality wise, Paudie is a real firecracker. In Paudie's world, things are either so good, or its polar opposite. The kid is either on top of the world and the tears are flowing copiously. He is getting the hang of rolling over from belly to back, but we still have some work to do on the return trip. He is also able to sit on his own for a bit which is too cute. Teeth are still MIA, though with the lines of drool and red rosy cheeks, it seems like his gummy smile may only be with us for a little longer.

Paudie has become an adept grabber. Loves to pull at our faces. It starts with a good slap, then a fierce grab hallmarked by razorlike little fingernails that are never short enough no matter how often we cut them.

Next week Paudie is participating in a research study at Children's Hospital that seeks to understand more around how babies recognize faces. I think that will be pretty interesting. Maybe the researchers will tell us we have a genius on our hands. But chances are he'll just poop and attempt to eat any pictures they put in front of him.

Friday, February 15, 2008

embracing the power of negative thinking

Paudie is 5 months old. Our first son was 5 months old when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Now that we are here again, it's extra hard to believe how little Cian really was when he was diagnosed. In our memories he is larger than life.

Given Paudie's age, we elected to have a proactive ultrasound done of his belly just to make sure nothing is there that shouldn't be there. It haunts us to think if we'd had even one of those with Cian, the outcome may have been different. Anyways we had the scan done last week, the second one we have done with Paudie. I know the doctors think we are nuts - Paudie is at no additional risk for the disease so there really is no medical rationale for doing it. But I suppose they realize the value of our peace of mind - even though it is a small piece of peace. The scan was clear. Though the reading radiologist was kind enough to point out that just because the belly looked clear, that's not to say disease couldn't originate further up his chest. Thanks doc!

It's also amazing to experience the differences between the two boys. Cian was very physical. He rolled over early and spent a lot of his time rolling over, playing on his activity mat, bouncing in his bouncy. Paudie is much more verbal. Always making noise, laughs very easily. I see the differences and it is somewhat heartbreaking. Maybe they are just different boys - I know that only rarely are siblings alike - but I can't help but think how truly awful Cian might have felt for a few weeks prior to diagnosis. He didn't chat or laugh like Paudie does, but he was always smiling. Even through toxic chemo treatments, the kid would sit there smiling.

Here I am rehashing it all again. I need to stop that.

So - moral of the story: Paudie's scan was unremarkable and as parents we can breathe a sigh of relief for a little bit. I try really hard not to get obsessive with my cancer fears - I like to spread my fears out evenly. Kidnapping, SIDS, accidents - I worry about them all in some feeble effort to prevent anything bad from happening. It's an approach I intellectually know is useless but I gotta work with what I got.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I am so disgusted that I haven't been devoting sufficient time to waxing poetically about my wonderous little booboo. Work is really interfering with me exercising some creativity, and some demons. I first thought this would encompass way too much boring and useless information for anyone to read - clearly hasn't been the case. Bah. So not the chronicle of Paudie's infancy I had envisioned. Damn you corporate demoralization. I will do better. In the meantime, check out Paudie rocking his antique baptism gown.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paudie - Now Sin Free!

Yes, Paudie was baptized this past weekend. Welcomed into the Catholic Church, all traces of original sin banished from his little body. It all turned out to be more enjoyable than I expected. It was a small gathering, 3 kids in total, with a deacon doing the honors. Guess when you come from a different parish you don't qualify for a bona fide priest. Still the guy was genuine, nice... a little too jokey but there are worse things. As per usual, Paudie was his ridiculously cute rock star self, flirting and smiling.

How can such a happy child come from such a glass-half-empty sorta ma. Must be the paternal genes.

Meanwhile I continue to carry around an extra 10 pounds that may just become a permanent fixture on my body. It's so hard to lose baby weight! And pretty damn unfair. I don't know when I am going to find time or willpower to exercise and stop eating sugar. I think I still feel sorry for myself and thus have this belief system that I deserve what I want. I am actually considering like Jenny Craig because if the food was in front of me, that would help half the situation. Maybe I should just come to terms with the fact that my body will never truly be the same. Wah. Or I could just get pregnant again. That actually feels like the easiest solution. That's probably why that wacky family has 16 kids, cos the mom didn't want to deal with losing baby weight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I claim this mouth in the name of incisor!

Every night Paudie gets really pink cheeks. We're not sure if it's teething or he's just warm or what it is but it's pretty damn cute if you ask me. Between the cheeks and the crazy long lashes, he's pretty glamorous.

Given Paudie's proclivity towards wanting to chew, clearly his gums must be sore. The other night he was crying and miserable and making odd faces that we interpreted as gum pain so we busted out the baby orajel and within seconds of me applying the smallest amount he fell sleep. Must be good stuff. Like I always say... better living through chemistry.

In other Paudie news, he had a decent bath Saturday because he was scheduled to have his photo taken Sunday. The photog cancelled due to illness and the first thing we thoughts was, damn, what a waste of a bath. I know, babies are supposed to love baths and get all sleepy etc. Paudie tolerates his baths and that's about as far as it goes. And I can't say I blame him. It's humiliating having to bathe in the kitchen sink. The hardest thing about giving him a bath is getting under the fat rolls of his neck and armpits and into the palms of his hands. You wouldn't believe what accumulates in those places. The other day I pried open his fist and there was a little plastic piece stuck in there, the kind used to adhere price tags to clothes.

The raspberries are still a big hit and the child still refuses to roll-over. I am trying not to worry about him missing that milestone for 4 months. I look at it like... it's not that he can't roll-over, he just has no interest. I don't think he yet understands the purpose it would serve. He's quite happy being able to see everything that is going on even if that means a slightly mis-shapen head from spending all his time laying on it. We try to work with him to accomplish the roll-over and if anyone were to hear the goings on, they would think we were training a dog.

Paudie gets baptized this weekend. We'll see if I hold it together. I know I will have flashbacks to our first son's funeral, which I don't remember much about since I was so deep in thought about his baptism which had been held at the same church only 6 months earlier. All I kept thinking about was how on that day, with all the 'welcoming' rhetoric, I assumed my son's life would be measured in decades, not months.

Some days I think... clearly we were chosen to be made an example of. I don't even bother with the 'why' anymore. I just try and accept it as fact.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cereal and Raspberries

Paudie started on solid food this week. The term solid is actually a bit of a misnomer since his rice cereal resembles a drink, one that would be much more efficiently ingested via a straw than a tiny spoon. But the experts say that in the beginning, it's all about the eating experience for a baby and not so much actual digestion. Because he actually isn't digesting his cereal. Because it is hard to digest food that is smeared on your face, hands, bib, high chair and so on. All in all he seems to really dig the experience - sitting up high and straight, the attention, the ridiculous voices and noises we employ to try to get him to open his mouth.

In other firsts... Paudie has been spending considerable time trying to make the raspberry noise. He gets rather hung up on it at certain times. I think it's extremely cute, his eagerness to perfect the raspberry. I hope to capture it on tape and post. We've also managed to figure out how to make him giggle this hearty, joyous giggle that is just too damn precious for words. Everytime we try to tape it he's all, nah. No giggle for you. Maybe later. I'll let y'all know.

Now for a little introspection.

I'd like to say I'm only 35, but I don't think the word 'only' really works that well in front of my age anymore. So I'll just say I'm 35, dammit. I'm 35 and feeling totally lost beyond my role as Paudie's ma. I find myself wondering - what the hell am I doing - at least hourly since I returned back to work. Yesterday I learned that Dr. Judah Folkman died - he was a prominant cancer researcher at Children's Hospital Boston where our son was treated for his cancer. I never met the good doctor, but was made aware of his work from other NB (neureoblastoma) families. He had taken an interest in NB and thought his work, something called angiogenesis, could play a major role in treating children with the horrid disease. He was once referred to as the man that just might cure cancer. Pretty amazing stuff he did - think of the legacy he is leaving, the impact, the inspiration. It all just makes me think - again - what am I doing? Shouldn't I be doing something that matters or something that I really love - at least one or the other. Instead I'm stuck in between. (insert raspberry wav file).

Some days I feel that my perspective as a bereaved parent has paralyzed me and not had the motivating effect that so many life changing events seemingly can. Perhaps it is something that will come with time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Cost of Admission

Meet Paudie.

I know, every parent thinks their children are the best, the brightest, and just all around totally awesome. But most parents don't have the experience of leaving a child behind in a hospital morgue and that is what I think sets my husband and I apart from most parents. Our adoration of this child is immeasurable. When we go to bed at night we silently think, "I hope he's here in the morning." When we wake up and he greets us we silently think, "High five." I'm not trying to make light of losing a child, I'm trying to relay what goes through the minds of bereaved parents because I think to most others, it's this total mystery that is better not explored.

Shortly after losing our son, the champion race horse Barbaro was euthanized. During the press conference announcing his death his owner said, "Grief is the price we all pay for love." So true. So unbeliveably true. Having our first child opened our eyes to a whole new world of devotion - the cliched level of love that no one knows is even possible until the bith of a first child. The decision to get pregnant again was simultaneously easy and agonizing - to have experienced the highest high and the lowest low, and to know that another baby could lift us back up - all tempered by the fear of 'what if' - what if we lost another. My mind can't even process the thought.

Paudie arrived in September, eleven months after his brother died, 18 months to the day that his brother was born. I can honestly say having him saved us. He's the reason I smile, eat, shower, pay bills, leave the house. You name it.

But he doesn't fix everything nor would I expect him to. He just makes it all infinitely better.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

hello? is this thing on??

yeah i'm blogging. i've got some perspective i thought someone might be trying to hear.

cos i was a mom.
then i wasn't a mom anymore.
but now i'm a mom again.

the paudie chronicles is about our baby, paudie. it might end up being a study in minutia and that's okay. cos paudie is the most fascinating person i know - and he's only four months old. he's the reason i'm typing this and not rocking the fetal position in a dark room.

we lost our first son at 7 months of age to cancer. (yes, babies get cancer.)

but the joy he brought us in those 7 months far outweighed the pain of his diagnosis, treatment and death, which all happened in only a 7 week period. the pain was significant. ridiculous. so that just tells you the extent of the joy he was responsible for. which is why we tried again.

so this blog is about motherhood (parenthood if my husband wants to get in on it), take 2.