I decided to start blogging about Jordan from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Jordan was born with a little arm that didn't grow like most babies. Her left arm stopped just above the elbow. Now I'm committed to making sure Jordan gets everything out of life. We feel blessed to be the parents of a very special little girl.


Here you go

This video is kind of painful. The cry is brutal. It's also for show. Notice how she turns it off on the turn of a dime.

If you can't watch it, click here.

She doesn't like to be told what to do

Jordan has a new habit of throwing her food to the dogs. Usually she starts when she isn't hungry anymore. This morning she started throwing the food before she even ate it. I caught her and told her to stop throwing with a stern voice. And she started crying like I beat her to a pulp. I crushed her soul.

Now if I look at her any way other than with a smile, she collapses into tears. I'll add video later today. You can tell when I give her a smile, the crying just stops.

Gee. I wonder if she understands what I'm saying.


Can someone turn down the volume?

Jordan needs more words. She desperately needs more words. She was doing pretty well with her sign language, but her hands can't demand a toy, item or food as well as screaming.

It's high pitched, loud and mind bending.

I'm usually pretty patient about this kind of stuff. But tonight I took her out of her high chair and declared her dinner over. She's already eaten a ton and figured whatever she was demanding had nothing to do with food.

Last night she was screaming while I writhed in pain from a strange stomach bug that hit me. I went downstairs to see if I could help, but the noise and smell of dinner forced me back to bed. I'm better now, but it wasn't fun. I'm just praying Jordan doesn't catch it.


Busy weekend

I had all kinds of moments this weekend where I wanted to take pictures of Jordan and Cam... But Randy and I decided to actually move into our house almost 4 years since we moved here. We took apart the non-public side of our basement -- where the laundry piles up and boxes have sat stagnant for years. There are many, many bags of trash in the garage, I have piles of books to donate and take to work. I discovered all kinds of items that belong to an office that we don't have in this house.

But we actually have space in the back. We were motivated because of an offer for a free refrigerator. We needed to make room for it. And now there's even room for the dogs to hang out when they need to hide.

In the meantime, the kids put up with their parents working. Yesterday included therapy for Jordan. She did a great job and I learned new ways to encourage her to try to walk. I tried it on my own today... It isn't easy, but hopefully she'll start catching onto the idea.

Before bedtime, I got both kids in the tub. It's the funniest thing and I caught a moment on my cellphone:

If you can't see it, go to here.


I think we're funny

Dude. Where's my arm?
Originally uploaded by Jen.
I love this t-shirt. It makes me happy. I've waited for Jordan to grow into it and immediately made her play on the floor so I could take a picture. Silly me.

Jordan was up really late Wednesday night, so she slept in late. Past 9am! I was luckily working later into the day so I just let her sleep while I worked at home. We had a Parents as Teacher's meeting where Jordan got to show off her communication skills and amazing fine motor skills. She's amazing to watch.

I had a busy day at a conference on campus. Jordan got to attend this conference dinner last year because she was young and I wasn't ready to start pumping yet. She also went with me for another conference last May. So lots of people were asking about her. I pulled out the camera and showed off this picture. I'd have to say, not as many people have the sense of humor I have.

But the funny thing is... If I took the t-shirt off, would her arm suddenly appear? No. So why not keep a sense of humor? Why not proudly display my beautiful baby? And why not happily display the fact that I'm happy just the way she is... With a dose of humor.

The good news? The newsroom loved the shirt. Jordan's school loved the shirt. And those are the places where Jordan is the most... And I'm glad the people I'm around the most are comfortable with our world just the way it is.


She can taunt

This morning I watched Jordan joyfully taunt the pug with a Cheerio. She held it out from her high chair and lured the dog closer. Then she pulled the Cheerio away while giggling. She did it again. He got closer. She pulled pack. She taunted him until he jumped up onto the high chair, sniffed the Cheerio and she pulled back, giggled and ate it.

She taunts!

Apparently a teacher watched her do the same thing to a younger baby with a goldfish cracker.

I didn't teach her that skill. I think it's pretty funny... Until she starts taunting Cam. Then things will get challenging.


Great day

Jordan did such a fantastic job in therapy today. She climbed up and down the little step between the living room and the foyer many times with her arm off and on. AWESOME! She's getting braver and braver! It makes me so proud to watch her. We figured out how to get her to do that: Food. That motivation helped us really get her moving today. And she didn't cling to me. She was independent and happy to move.

At school she did okay -- But didn't sleep well again. I'm hoping she'll figure out how to make it work. Last week she pulled of 2 hours of sleeping one day.

When we got home, Jordan cooed and babbled during dinner. Then she climbed all over Randy, the coffee table, Cam's little desk and the couch. She was moving from one location to the other. She was getting up and down. It was so great to watch her happily explore, that I let her stay up a whole hour past her bedtime. Hopefully that won't hurt her mood tomorrow!


My lovely Valentine

Hanging at a Valentine's party
Originally uploaded by Jen.
Jordan had her second Valentine's Day... This time she got to have a classroom party. She was fashionable and enjoyed the yummy sugar. But thanks to a very short nap, she was pretty darn cranky and clingy when I took her to Cam's party. Not a lot of smiles. The eyes a gunky again, she's drippy and just uncomfortable. I was guessing teeth... But I just can't be sure.

The only thing that's making her smile is her brother being silly... But only when she wants to be amused. Poor kid. She isn't really being cranky to anyone other than Mommy... But I know something is going on and I'm sad about that. She's such a happy kid, hopefully I'll figure out how to make her feel more comfortable.


A big step

Jordan climbed onto the bottom step in the basement this morning. I had the phone on the fourth step, and she was trying to go after it. She was on her knees reaching when I noticed. She was stable, but when she decided she needed to get down, she wasn't sure what to do. I helped her out. We'll learn how to get down on another day... I was just so excited to see her trying to do new things! I'll probably feel differently when we're fighting to get her off the stairs every second of the day. Cam wasn't much of a stair user -- he was too concerned about his safety.

Tonight, she tried to climb into Cam's desk chair... Almost pushed the whole thing down. She's going to be dangerous very, very soon.


Baby's first haircut

Hair before and after
Originally uploaded by Jen.
Jordan is done with her baby mullet. Today her Poppy trimmed her hair for the first time. She was pretty darn good sitting on my lap, eating cheesy bunnies. She was so good! The funny thing is her thin hair... It's so fine that it was hard to collect a little memory for her baby book. You know, the baby book that I haven't really done a thing with.

Jordan enjoyed a visit with her Grandma and Poppy... Showing off her smiles and desire to move all over the place. She's doing a few fun things -- When she smiles at things she thinks is fun, she strikes a smirky smile where she kind of bites her lip and crunches up her nose. She's also tackling things. She and I were rolling a ball between us. Almost every time I rolled the ball past her a bit too far, she'll throw her entire body on top of the ball. Apparently she tackled the pug just like that. I also watched her try to roll a hot wheels car across the floor just like her brother. She pushes the car as far as she can until she falls down. Then she sits back up and does it again. It's sweet... And kind of sad at the same time. I never thought how challenging it will be to have car races along the floor with her brother. She'll find a way. I know she will.

And the biggest developmental moment of the day: She pulled herself up from the living room into the hallway. It's a tiny step up but I and her therapists haven't been able to get her up. Today she did it! All she needed was the right moment. I was so proud and gave her a HUGE hug.


Newsroom changes

Every semester I visit classes to talk about what I do, explain how they can be better journalists or advise students how they can do well in the newsroom where I work. A lot of these journalism students have a chance to sit in the newsroom and shadow different positions... And lately I've seen myself hanging out near these students and realize they don't know a ton about me. They don't have to. But every once and a while I go on and on talking about Jordan and Cameron when I realize they have no idea what I'm talking about. So when I start talking about therapy, they think I mean I'm going to a psychologist-type therapist. When I'm really talking about Jordan's physical or occupational therapist. Then when I start talking about arms and prosthetics, I just get funny looks.

A couple of days I pulled out a picture from my camera and was showing it off to someone and I offhanded said: "Here's a picture of the cutest one-armed baby in the world!" And this girl spun around and looked at me in horror. I just looked at her and said: "No really. She really is cute." Then I showed her the picture of Jordan.

I don't feel like I need to run around and tell people my entire life story, but my work life and home life mesh. Probably since Randy and I work together. But I talk about work and home all the time and I'm not in the mood to explain myself all the time... But I also don't want my world to be secret. I hope other parents with limb different kids can know that when they read Jordan's blog, that they aren't alone. I hope my students can learn that a child who is "different" isn't really that different... But there are challenges that they would have never known if I wasn't so open about it. I also think keeping a sense of humor about a missing limb keeps the "uncomfort zone" less uncomfortable.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm babbling about... Except that I hope I can be a public voice of a birth defect I really never knew existed. I was dancing around with Jordan this morning thinking how awesome she is. I wouldn't change a thing. But no one writes how-to guides about how to raise my kids... And they certainly don't tell you how to raise a self-confident, awesome, caring, limb different kid. And the only thing I can do is make sure as many people in Jordan's world know about it and are as comfortable about it as I am.


Photo drama

My digital camera died this evening. I was taking some pictures of Jordan playing in the basement when the camera just stopped focusing. I turned it off and it won't turn back on. After talking to the Sony online chat support people, they say I have to send it off for repairs. I'm so sad. It's not like I've used the camera a lot. I've posted more than 2,000 photos onto our Flickr site and I have more than 8,000 photos in my computer. I got this new camera at the end of June. I'd have to say I've taken at least 2 to 3,000 of those pictures since I got this new camera. It's a Sony DSC-W50 by the way if you were thinking about getting a new camera. I'm sad because I planned to take pictures of Jordan in her new classroom tomorrow!! I'll use my cellphone, but the picture quality isn't as goo!! What a bummer!!

Jordan had a good day in her new room. She only slept 45 minutes in the cot... It was the first time she'd ever slept in something like that. But I think when she gets used to it, she's going to nap longer than she ever has before at school. She also do an art project and had a ton of fun on the tumbling mats in the room. She was really happy to see me when I got there. She even called me "Mom!"

Mission accomplished

I dropped Jordan off in her new room. I was slightly nostalgic, and brought her old teachers flowers to thank them for their unending love to Jordan. She's so lucky to have had them helping her grow and learn about the world for the last 10 months.

When I put Jordan into her new room, it was like she was mesmerized by all the big kids. She just sat with them and drank some water with the rest of them... Until one of the toddlers started tugging on Jordan's prosthetic arm. That sent her into some unhappy screams, but she got over it pretty quickly.

Today she's going to sleep on a cot for the first time, I told them to take her arm off just so she'd be more comfortable. Tomorrow I'll teach them how to put it back on. It felt kind of strange... I took her bottles and extra sippy cups back to the car. I watched her get excited with the rest of the kids as they went to the reading area for a story. I look forward to finding out how the day goes! She seemed pretty happy -- Heck, she didn't even noticed when I left!

By the way, she didn't start in her new classroom yesterday because she picked up some eye gunk... Conjunctivitis. It isn't contagious, but I thought it would be better if I kept her away from the kids for a day. What a bad start to a new classroom if her teachers worried about Jordan sharing some kind of communicable disease. Her eyes look better today thanks to some eye drops. She also doesn't seem a gunky with her coughing or nose drips, so maybe she's feeling better too. It's hard to tell the difference between a cold and teething with Jordan. I guess this time around she actually had a cold!


Making the move

So I'm still angry at Jordan's school. Very angy. The director was at school on Friday and I gave her a chance to make excuses for the entry of a new baby in the toddler room BEFORE Jordan. I understand the child arrived earlier than expected, but I'm still confused why there was room for this child in the first place. The school director's excuse: There was an ill child every day. Sure there was.

Long story short, after I sat in her office unhappily, she told me Jordan would start either next week or the one after that. I told her I expected Jordan to move on Monday... She tells me that will be up to the teachers if they think she and the "other babies" are ready. Who gives a darn if the other babies are ready. Jordan has been ready for a month. A month.

When I got to school last night, it was official. One of Jordan's new teacher told me they expected Jordan to make the official move on Monday. Nothing different for me, just a different room for Jordan. That kind of makes me sad because I'll miss Jordan's old teachers. I miss the cuddly feeling of the room. I'll miss the love and devotion she was given there. But Jordan needs more encouragement to move. She needs to be around kids who can physically do things that she needs to learn.

Today she got new inserts for her shoes. It forces her toes to stay on the ground when she stands. She relies on her toes as sensory sources, so when she stands she tries to keep her toes up. Not great on her ankles and not great for her balance. She wasn't too happy about the insert addition. But she stood a good amount today. I still can't get her to pull up enough. What will be really interesting is if the new room will really help encourage her to stand up and move.

I was pondering some heavy issues after I watched this movie:

(if you can't see it, go here)

It kills me to watch that little girl identify herself with that baby doll in a negative way at such a young age. It just shows what our culture does to us... Even young girls. And I immediately worry about Jordan and how she feels about herself. She is so confident as a toddler. She knows what she wants, she isn't afraid to tell us... She is loving and happy. I want to bottle that up and make sure she has that feeling forever. But watching this short movie just makes me worry and wonder what I can do to help my daughter's self esteem BEFORE there's reason to be concerned.