Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Babe in Glasses

We have been on quite a journey with Eloise over the past month.

It all started at her 15 month appointment, when- after doing the flashlight-in-the-eyes exam- our doctor mentioned that Eloise had an 'abnormal red eye reflex" in her left eye.


I stopped the doctor right there and asked her to repeat what she had said as I feverishly wrote it down. She didn't act like it was a big deal, but then handed me the card to a pediatric opthamologist should we want to investigate it further.

When I called into the opthamologist's office, they got us an appointment within a week, saying that when kids got this diagnosis they wanted to get them in 'as soon as possible.'

Cue me getting on Google and FREAKING OUT about all of the possible dire outcomes this could result in, the scariest of which was a rare form of cancer called Retinblastinoma.

Of course the only appointment time the specialist had was at Eloise's nap time, and I knew the appointment was going to be extremely challenging. BC couldn't join me because he had a day of golf planned with the boys, and so it was I went solo with an overtired baby to the appointment. We drove 25 minutes to get there, waited another 20 to initially be seen, then had drops put in Eloise's eyes to dilate them for the exam. We then had to wait another 30 minutes for the drops to go into effect, at which time I had an overtired partially blind child running rampant throughout the exam room.

When the exam itself started, I had to hold Eloise's arms down as the doctor looked in detail at her eyes. That kid was NOT HAPPY.

The good, relieving news was that the diagnosis wasn't anything tragic or life threatening (thank GOD). The bad news was that Eloise's left eye has pretty bad vision, +4 on the farsightedness scale (meaning things up close aren't seen well with that eye). She has what is called anisometropic amblyopia, which means one eye sees drastically differently than the other. The risk there is that the brain will tend to use the 'good' eye and forget about the bad one, causing that bad eye's vision to worsen and sometimes causing the bad eye to go lazy and start crossing (which is often when parents first notice a problem).

What this meant for Eloise is that she needed corrective glasses ASAP to "wake up" her brain and have it start using the 'bad' eye in equal amounts to the 'good' eye. Her left eye will never get better, as this is something she was born with and has to do with the left eye actually being shorter in length.

I am so grateful this was caught early, but admittedly the diagnosis sent BC and I into mourning. Our beautiful little girl with the most beautiful big blue eyes would have to be in glasses all of her life (until she was old enough to wear a contact or eventually get surgery). We worried about her being teased by other kids or perceived as having something wrong with her by other adults. I started scanning the playgrounds at Iyla's school for kids in glasses, and would find maaaaaybe one in the crowd, and usually a boy at that.

I spent a few days in mourning before entering into my Mama Bear proactive research mode. I joined a FB group for parents of kids in glasses and started to learn all I could about kids' glasses brands, where to find them, how to get them fit correctly, etc.

It took a few weeks for me to finally get to a store with Eloise to try frames on, as I'd been waiting for the perfect time when BC could go as well. However, time was of the essence so I ended up going during that Week from Hell when BC was out of town.

Eloise was mostly a trooper trying on the frames, distracted by trying to eat all of the crayons she found in the store.

Here's the pair that was my favorite- frames that didn't compete with her beautiful eyes:

We also tried on some librarian-esque varieties:

As well as the most popular brand of baby glasses, Miraflex (due to their indestructibility):

These were a big NO for my baby! Cute on some kids, just not for Eloise.

There was a $300 price tag attached to ordering my favorite frames with prescription lenses, so I bit the bullet and put in an order.

I then discovered discount online frame sites! Several of these sites actually had a brand I was VERY interested in that no local stores carried- Dilli Dalli- in sizes small enough for Eloise. And free returns if they didn't fit! So I went about ordering up a pair of frames, and LOVED them when they came in:

Dilli Dalli Sprout frames (not yet with corrective lenses)

I then found out I could order frames WITH the prescription lenses (also with free returns!) for a fraction of the in-store price, to the tune of $90-$120 all in. Our first full set arrived just after Thanksgiving, Dilli Dalli Munchkin frames:

We LOVE them! They seem to tilt down a little to the left, which I hope can be fixed with an in-store adjustment (which I'll ask to be done when I go pick up the $300 glasses- least the guy can do, amIright?!).

The new challenge quickly became getting Eloise to KEEP THE GLASSES ON. She is in the height of toddler-hood and stubborn by nature, so Day 1 of glasses saw her continually pulling them off and trying to eat them.

However, yesterday on Day 2 she did MUCH better. I did ALL THE BRIBES to get her to keep them on, mostly telling her that once glasses were on she could watch her beloved Super Simple Songs videos.

And it WORKED.

She was still pulling them off every now and again, but we got through the majority of the day in glasses.

 Watching videos. She did get called "handsome" when out on a walk, which quickly saw me changing her into a pink shirt. ; )

This morning when I sat her on her potty I said we needed to say "good morning" to her glasses and she put them on her with NO FUSS.


And so it is- my baby girl is now a glasses wearing baby, and darn it if we don't think she is the cutest glasses wearing baby there ever was!

Onward we go.....

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

16 Months Old!

Sweet Eloise Jane, today you are 16 months old!

This past month has been marked by exponential growth with your language, your movements, and your awareness. It's crazy when I can see you growing right before my eyes- and makes me re-realize how fast this part of toddler hood flies by! You are still a little engineer who loves to study things and quickly figures out how they work. You are attracted to cause and effect type toys- things with buttons, knobs, levers, music, etc.

Here are your official 16 month updates!

How old? 16 months today

How big? You are most comfortably wearing size 6 diapers, size 5 shoes, and 18-24 month or 2T clothing.

Sleep? You are slowly but surely starting the transition to one nap! If your first nap (which still begins around 10am) goes until after 12pm, we usually skip the afternoon nap. Some days you definitely need a late afternoon snooze, but more often than not you're OK until (an earlier) bed time. You still sleep well through the night.

Food? This was a big month in that you are now officially weaned! I cut out the last remaining morning nursing session just after my birthday. I was curious how you'd react when I greeted you with a bottle of milk in the morning, but you were like: WHATEVER- give me the MILK! No big deal at all. And so it is! My migraines have come back with a rampage after this weaning as my hormones are starting to restructure themselves.

One funny thing: you really love tart things, like lemon slices!

Teeth? You've added another bottom molar, for a grand total of 11 teeth!

Potty? You sit on the potty after every sleep and before bed. Almost always with me your #2's will be on there; however when with a nanny or Papa you just as often won't go on the potty and will save it for a special present in your diaper.

Words? SO many new words this month! It seems every day you're saying something new or connecting something on a deeper level. A few new words of note: up, toy, Emma (nanny), go, yum (while eating- so cute!), apple, uckie (yucky), okay, poo, shoes, baby, key, was dat? as you point to different things. You also greet me with a "hi!" or "hello!" when I come into your room in the morning or after a nap.

And? You are FINALLY saying "Mama" with intention! Hooray!

You just started singing along to songs, which is soooo adorable. I can tell what song you are singing by the combo of beats, sounds, & tune. You'll do Twinkle Twinkle and also The Wheels on the Bus.

You're also quite adept at these party blowers!

Movements? You are getting so much more capable of climbing up and down hills, small steps, your slide ladder, etc. You have a really slow and steady command of your body, and overall a really good awareness of yourself in space.

New Skills?

*This month you've started noticing things ABOVE you a lot more- branches, fences, etc. You can now simultaneously keep track of things above without tripping on things below!

*Making cheese faces for photos! This one kills me- it's SO CUTE!

Favorite things?

*Our Sandbox: you recently "discovered" this and love to bury your toes in there.

In this shot you get a great look at your hairline too- all the hair is growing in the back, and juuuust starting to fill in from the front.

*Climbing! You LOVE to climb up on tables and chairs, and especially on Iyla's art table, where you can more easily eat her art supplies.

*Your doctor kit: you call it "doc-kit" and love to layer 2-3 stethescopes around your neck.

*Your stacking penguins. You love this set of stacking penguins we have- stacking them and arranging then in your play barn or in a play car. You'll actually sit them all upright in the car like they are going for a drive!

*Your sister. You run around the house shouting "I-YA!" and love snuggling with her and getting into all of her toys.

We love you so much sweet  Eloise Jane! Happy 16 months to you!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Holy hell was this a ROUGH week.

 Eloise's face says it all

Let's recap, shall we?

BC was out of town for 7 days.

Iyla was down for the count (and home from school for TWO days) first with pink eye and then with a virus that had (and still has) her bedridden with a fever.

Poor buddy also developed a random rash on her mouth
Eloise is in the height of separation anxiety, clinging to me at all times and making it near impossible to make meals or get anything done.

 Reasons my kid is crying? Because I stepped back to take this photo.
This separation anxiety is NO JOKE and NO FUN for anyone.

Then our nanny called in sick with a fever Friday. This saw me scrambling to get alternate care, as I had a full day of appointments set up. One of those appointments was a school tour for Iyla, which I knew another Mama friend was attending. We ended up having her babysitter (which was a newish one for her and one I'd never met!) come to our house to watch Iyla + Eloise + my friend's two boys. You know you are desperate when your only thought after leaving your children with a stranger is THANK GOD AND SEE YA LATER!

 They survived

Unfortunately I did not have help Friday afternoon, so decided to be brave and bring both girls to my eye exam.

What could go wrong?


I had thought that by bringing snacks and toys and videos Eloise would stay occupied, but I had underestimated the power of SEPARATION ANXIETY. Holy hell. That kid was on my lap the entire time either fussing or squirming or grabbing ALL THE EQUIPMENT. There was NO way she was going to let me set her down.

Also? I got a traffic citation for looking at my phone while STOPPED AT A RED LIGHT.

Also? I had no less than FOUR ocular migraines throughout the week.

Also? To add insult to injury it was absolutely gorgeous out yesterday, and here I was completely trapped at home due to being solo with a sick kid.

 How poor Iyla spent the majority of the day while I tried to keep an energetic 15 month old entertained.

This Mama is SO DONE.

BC got home late last night, and I'm taking the day to breathe, run errands, & attempt to replenish from a week that drained every.last.ounce of my reserves.

All I can say is I SURVIVED.

Serenity now

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday Iyla Grace!

Sweet Iyla Grace, today you are FIVE YEARS OLD! This is the first age that feels "old" to me, like  a rite of passage from being my sweet baby/toddler to being an independent BIG girl. It's bittersweet for sure!

At 5 years old, you are full of imagination and LOVE play acting. You are affectionate, silly, charismatic, fiesty, impatient, generous, loving, empathetic, creative, joyful, & a rule follower.

When I asked you what you wanted to do today for your birthday proper, you decided you wanted to go pick out new shoes, go rock climbing, and have dinner at the Launderette. And so it was!

Here are your official 5 YEAR old updates!

How old? 5 years today!

How big? You fit into most 5T clothing and currently wear a size 10 shoe. You are still a tiny little thing- very pixie-like in your petite stature.

At your yearly checkup you weighed in at 36 pounds (25%) and 42 5/8 inches tall (50%). You were SO courageous for your shots- you cried before and after the shots themselves, then we went promptly to the ice cream store, which truly makes everything better!

You had your birthday circle at school last Friday, where you carried an Earth around the sun 5 times to represent each year of your life. This was followed by all of your classmates giving you "wishes" for your next year. Note the outfit you chose to wear for the occasion, complete with a hood! : )

Favorite foods? Right now you love: Cliff Bars (peanut toffee buzz), "mama eggs" (eggs scrambled with spinach, onions, & cheese), pancakes, almost all fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, watermelon), asparagus, carrots, broccoli, green beans (you like to pretend they are caterpillars!), mac n cheese/pasta, chicken, cheese, grilled cheese, apple sauce.....and of course treats like donuts and popsicles!

Favorite clothes? You are a girly-girl through and through and typically choose a dress to wear each day- the more extravagant, the better! You'd wear a formal dress every day if you could.

You also love wearing your pink tennis shoes

Hair? You are VERY particular with your hair and go through what seems like month-long phases. Right now you are in a bun phase, with the oh so occasional set of ponytails thrown in for good measure.

Friends? You have two favorite friends at school- Fiona and Eila. You also love to play with Evie, Nevie, and Avery from your music class, our neighbor Juliette, and your oldest friend Sabine!

Your music class buddies at a gathering celebrating your teacher Mr. Walter (who retired)

Birthday party with school friends

Sleep? You are consistently the first one up in the family every day! We've had to come up with rules about playing quietly in your room until Papa and I wake up. When you first come in, you love to snuggle in our arms, which is the sweetest. Then you'll climb up on the bathtub walls and sink counter tops pretending to be a cheetah or lion and put on shows with your stuffed animals.

At school you still nap each day, and on the weekends we try to enforce "quiet time" in your room, and about half of the time you'll nap then too.

You usually go to bed between 7:30/8 each night, and have been preferring to sleep in your tent for over a year now! You have it completely set up with books, stuffed animals, random toys, your water bottle, a flashlight, & a package of wipes. You snuggle your teddy bear to fall asleep, which is just about the cutest thing in the world.

Last night after your party, on the eve of your 5th birthday, I asked if I could rock my 4 year old one more time. You happily obliged and climbed into my arms, and within seconds were sound asleep. As I kissed your face I could see that sweet baby girl I brought home 5 years ago. My heart was melting.

Weekly routine? You are in so many fun activities right now! Monday-Friday you go to your sweet Montessori school from 8:15-2:30. In addition to that:
Tuesday afternoons: I pick you up and take you to Theater class, then you and I have a date night dinner out while our nanny has dinner with Eloise.
Thursdays you stay later at school to have golf lessons, then Papa and I have a date night and you and Eloise play with your nanny Veronica
Friday: you and Eloise both have swim lessons at 4:30, then we meet Papa out for Mexican food!
Saturday: you have 11am dance/tap that usually Papa takes you to, followed by a trip to the donut store.
Weekend mornings Papa takes you and Eloise out to breakfast and the park while I head to a local coffee shop to work and catch up on any errands that need taking care of.

Favorite things?

*Hands down your very favorite thing in the world is pretending/make believe and dress-up- all day every day! I swear you begin every sentence with "pretend......" and then launch into a script with a magical world you've concocted, telling us what characters we are and what our lines will be. And whoa be it if we get the lines wrong! You live in your imagination, and are constantly in character. You are a bonafide actress, producer, and director!

*Drawing and coloring are also favorite pastimes right now! You love to draw pictures of people and color in your coloring books.

*Play animals! You almost NEVER play with baby dolls, but can almost always be found with a stuffed animal family or with your small plastic animals. You set up zoos and love to collect all the animals of a species or family together. For your birthday this year you were very specific in wanting a stuffed animal lion family (check) as well as a stuffed kangaroo with Joey (check!) You also requested an Elsa doll (which you got but which I suspect she will be forgotten sooner than later). ; )

*Books! You have adored books from the moment you came into this world! You will sit quietly looking through your stash and always have many books strewn about in your tent for night/morning reading. You've recently started loving toy magazines that come in the mail, and will circle the items on your 'wish' list. We also somehow have a subscription to Highlights magazine, and it's a fun day when a new one arrives, as you and I will sit and read it cover to cover, doing the activities together.

*Climbing! You love to climb trees, poles, and visit our local rock climbing gym! There is a little tree in our front yard you love to scale, pretending you are a lion or cheetah.

*Swimming! This is still a HUGE love of yours. In swim lessons you are working on the crawl stroke, back stroke, and treading water. You now wears goggles while in the pool and in the bath, and love pretending to a a mermaid, dolphin, turtle, etc. You love being underwater, and it is truly one of your very favorite happy places.

*Videos! You love watching movies and shows on your iPad.

*Your sister! You truly love Eloise, which melts Papa's and my hearts constantly. You love to snuggle her, read to her, and play with her. You've always been so patient and loving with her, and I truly hope you two continue to be buddies throughout your lives.

You are so smart, and have always had a penchant for picking up vocabulary. In that spirit, here are a few of my favorite recent Iyla-isms:

"That's a re-phew!"- combining "Phew- what a relief!"

"I can dread water now!" - as she shows off her new skill of TREADING water.

"The music is coming out of the rodeo!" -referencing the stereo.

Also? You have THE most amazing eyelashes in the world. Dark, thick, and long:

We had your birthday party yesterday, complete with cupcakes, a petting zoo, & pony rides! You had a Lion Guard theme, and loved every minute of the gathering. Some of your favorite presents this year were a Mermaid tale from Grandma and Grandpa, a kangaroo family from Mimi and Grampy, a lion family from us, and a Hatchimal animal from Aunt Sheri.

Here are a few more pictures of all of your recent adventures:

We love you so much sweet Iyla Grace! Happy 5 years to you.