Archive for the ‘The Baby’ Category
The other night as I was showering before bed I had this intense flashback to 8-9 months ago. We were in the midst of attempt number 8 million to transition Eli to his crib and I was rushing through the shower in hopes that I’d get out before Eli woke up, screaming, for the umpteenth night in a row. I remember hurrying through every step of the shower, even once forgetting to rinse out the conditioner, just hoping that unlike the past 4 nights, I’d get all the way through. And that perhaps this would be the night he didn’t wake up horribly upset at all.
I remember clearly the stress I felt about sleep training, about that transition that was so difficult for us. It was all consuming at the time. I wondered if we’d ever figure it out, if Eli would ever sleep through a night. Everything felt so important, so big, in the moment. And now, it seems so small. So insignificant.
I belong to a few mom groups and one of the things I see all the time is moms of very young babies (6 weeks!) asking how they can get their babies to nap because they don’t want to build bad habits by letting their baby nap on them. I am not criticizing these mothers, not at all, I was one of them. I get that pressure and concern because I had it. And, now, being far removed from that point of parenting, all I want to say to them is please, please hold that baby. Please let that baby nap on you. Please take an hour, maybe 2, and just soak up those snuggles, that closeness, without worrying about tomorrow or next month. Because before you know it, that tiny infant will be almost 18 months old and in the infrequent occasions where he wants to snuggle, he will take up your entire lap with his long legs and wiggly body.
I just want to tell these moms that these moments, all of them, are fleeting. This is what I’ve learned. Everything about infancy, about toddlerhood is fleeting. As soon as you get used to something, it stops. As soon as you stress about something, it’s finished. These things that feel so huge and pressing, they’re just a tiny moment in a life.
I was so absorbed in the drama around getting Eli to sleep in a crib, or at least not in a rock n play, that I couldn’t see how brief that stage really was. I couldn’t see that it would be over and we’d be onto something else soon enough. That someday I’d take a shower, leisurely, without worrying about a screaming baby and having to decide where and how to get him back to sleep. That someday, Eli would sleep peacefully through the night without my help. I couldn’t see that we would all be fine.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point where I feel like I need to enjoy every second of Eli’s life, instead of letting myself get completely wrapped up in the problem of the day. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still happen from time to time, but it happens less and I enjoy motherhood so much more. Realizing how far we’ve come, how much we’ve both learned, is a big deal.
And I think that in finally seeing how brief these moments are, it’s easier to enjoy them. To realize that though things really do feel monumental, they’re really just momentary. Every stage and struggle is fleeting, but this child is mine forever.
Last night at 2am I woke up somewhat suddenly, but for no apparent reason. I looked around to sort of settle myself and finally glanced at the baby monitor, which is when I noticed that something with Eli was off. It looked like his blanket was across his throat, but I couldn’t see either end of it, which was unusual. I thought maybe it wasn’t a blanket but a stuffed animal or his smaller lovie, but I had this nagging feeling that it needed further investigation. So I went into his room.
It turns out that it was his regular blanket (which is an Aden + Anais swaddle blanket) and it was wrapped around his neck twice. My head was positively shrieking with panic, but I managed to stay quiet, unwrap his blanket while only barely waking him up, replace his a pacifier, give him a kiss and a butt pat and leave the room.
And then I did the most incredible thing. I went back to sleep.
Look, I know that doesn’t sound incredible, but for me, it really was. After months of horribly broken sleep, and hours of laying awake panicking, this is really a huge deal. There are times I really struggle to see the progress I’ve made in the past few months, but this is one that I feel really proud of (even if a small part of me also thinks that this is entirely the fault of the medication and wants to take away all credit because that’s how I am, but whatever).
I think one of the biggest parts of that experience, for me, was feeling like I could trust my intuition. It has been really difficult to parent my child, never knowing if listening to my gut was the right thing. My gut has a tendency to overreact and I never really know if a perceived danger is serious or if I’m catastrophizing something insignificant. And last night, I was able to identify that Eli needed me to do something, do it, and not flip out in the process.
This is what I always thought parenting would be. I thought I would be supermom- not needing help, not needing reassurance, but I have been the opposite. I have felt like I can’t trust myself for months now, it’s an issue that hasn’t let up and is always intensified when my husband is out of town. I never feel like I can make a parenting decision without approval, not because my husband requires me to do so, but because I don’t trust myself to make the right decision. Last night, without hesitation, I made the right decision.
And while I have spent a fair portion of today worried about how to deal with this situation since Eli is very devoted to sleeping with a blanket (almost never under it), I was able to work through it and come up with a solution that is working for him and for me. Am I likely to check the monitor more frequently tonight? Yes. Am I still doing much better than I would’ve been 2 months ago? Absolutely.
There is still work to be done, but there’s no denying that progress has been made and that things are moving very much in the right direction. And it feels really, really good.
I had a pretty different post planned for tonight because I was tired of hearing about my own issues and because I actually got a good night of sleep last night for the first time in ages (I haven’t started the meds yet, so it’s not that). Basically, I was having a pretty great day.
After work, Eli and I headed to my former grad school for a lab for the first year students. They were analyzing walking in the very young and old and wanted Eli to come walk for them. So we did. And he was having SUCH a good time from the very first moments. It turns out my little boy really enjoys being the center of attention. Our room had somewhere between 30 and 45 students in it, in addition to 3 other children and a few parents and faculty. And he was just having the best time in there. He was walking around, taking toys from other kids, periodically trying to use people’s iPads and gleefully running around trying to escape from me or anyone else who was trying to encourage him to share.
And then, about 10 minutes into the lab, he walked up to a soccer ball that was every so slightly flat, went to kick it, like he does all the time at home, but instead accidentally stepped on the top of it and before I could even blink, he did a huge banana peel style slip and slammed the back of his head on the floor without any other body part breaking the fall.
The collective gasp from the room was just about enough to suck all the oxygen out of the universe. The sound of his head hitting the ground was one of those sounds that just makes you nauseous. It was awful.
Eli cried. He cried and cried and cried. For a solid 5 minutes he cried no matter how much I soothed him. And while I was present there in that moment, comforting my child, I was also frozen with fear. I have done this before. I’ve comforted an inconsolable child with a head injury and it all but ruined me. I was so scared.
After a few more minutes, Eli perked up and went back to playing (but avoided that ball), but I feel like my heart hasn’t resumed beating in the 7 hours since it happened. I had a therapy session planned for tonight already and before we even got in the room my therapist knew I wasn’t okay because the panic was written across my face. At one point in the session she made me stop what I was doing and breathe because I was making her anxious, which I feel is sort of impressive, really.
I was terrified that when I got home, Eli was going to be showing signs of another bleed. That he would be vomiting, or lethargic or that we’d just know in the way we had a gut feeling when it happened before. I was and continue to be so scared that that fall, which was really very hard, and like his previous injury, left absolutely no mark on his head, is very serious and rumbling under the surface.
It went against every fiber of my being to put him to bed in his room tonight. He won’t sleep in our bed and I know that, and I won’t sleep if I did that either, but I am so scared that if he has an injury, it’ll rear its head in the night. I know the odds of this are incredibly small, but the odds of it happening the first time were pretty miniscule. I can’t get past the fear of something happening and all I can do is hope that in the morning, we’ll be past the scary window. In the meantime, my heart feels like it’s being stomped on repeatedly.
I’m really very tired and frustrated. I just wish that either this wouldn’t keep happening, or that I could respond to it normally. I don’t want to feel this kind of panic every time Eli bumps his head, nor this level of fear knowing it could happen again and again. I don’t want to have to put on a brave face when I am destroyed inside.
I just want things to be easy. I really miss easy.
24 hours into my 40 hours without my baby and I am woefully sad, but surviving. Eli slept well last night and made it through bedtime tonight unscathed, which was my biggest concern. My husband has never done bedtime all by himself and the only other time that I haven’t been there to tuck Eli in was in a hotel when he was so overtired that nothing could’ve kept him awake, so I was a little afraid it was going to be rough on everyone. But as usual, Eli was the easy going baby I always take for granted. It was much harder on me, also as usual.
This afternoon I got a chance to skype with Eli, but I wasn’t entirely sure how he’d respond. When he has skyped with my husband in the past, he tends to be more interested in the iPad than the skyping, but I was pleasantly surprised. My husband had the iPad pointed at Eli and as soon as I said hi, Eli whipped his head around and then as soon as he realized it was me, his whole face lit up and he ran across the room. Things devolved pretty quickly when he started trying to stand on the iPad, but I got several kisses and it was just so nice to see him.
My course is going well, it’s interesting and I’m glad I’m here. I do think it’s good for my husband to get to take over full parenting. He is a good father, but like most spouses, I don’t think he realizes some of the things that I take care of for him (much like when he’s gone, I realize how much he does around the house). And it’s nice to get some time to myself to think and relax. But despite these positives, I still don’t think this is better than being home with my child. I’m glad to know we can all survive without me there, at least on some level.
More than anything else, being away reminds me how much I love my boys and how very lucky I am to have both of them. I absolutely cannot wait to get them back tomorrow.
Prior to having Eli, I spent a lot of time around other babies. I babysat some, I was related to others and some I worked with in my clinicals and job. I had determined through these experiences that 8-11 months was my favorite age for kids. It’s just an ideal age- they’re mobile but not everywhere, they have personality but aren’t demanding. It’s just a really, really fun age.
And you know what? 8-11 months was a really, really fun age. But I could not be more in love with toddlerhood.
Toddlerhood is loud. There are tantrums and yelling every day, often hourly. There are impossible demands and situations that you can’t even imagine until they’re presented to you. Earlier today Eli was playing with a puzzle and the pieces weren’t going in easily. He kept saying “please!” but when I’d ask if he wanted help, he very insistently shook his head no. After a while, I realized that he was literally saying please to the puzzle to make it easier. So what I’m saying is, it’s not without it’s volume control issues or frustration.
But he’s just this tiny little person and it’s incredible to watch him grow and learn. Today he was playing with a book that sings “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and as soon as it would end the song, he would start saying/singing something that sounded very, very much like “up above the…” and while at first I thought it was a coincidence, after the 4th or 5th time, I realized that he was singing along. This video is kind of terrible, but if you turn the speakers up, you can sort of hear some of it.
A few minutes later, he put two legos together and then, out of the blue threw his arms up and exclaimed “I did it!” As if that was just a phrase he always used. He occasionally tosses out a two word phrase like it’s no big deal and I’m just there, stunned.
The coolest thing about toddlerhood is that I can see him learning every single day. I can see him making connections all day long. He can answer questions with a “yea” or shaking his head no, and he’s remarkably accurate most days now. He knows what words mean and what comes next in his routines. It’s just amazing. My tiny little infant is now this kid and I find this period of increased awareness to be so freaking cool.
I miss that tiny infant from time to time, but nothing can compare to this little kid. He has preferences and desires and sometimes letting those play out is just the most fun thing in the world. I can’t tell you how many times we have sat in his tent and piled the plastic balls into our laps, laughing and clapping. I can’t tell you how many legos we have stacked, unstacked, restacked and hidden in different places (his current favorite: the dirty clothes hamper) and all the while, he’s laughing out loud and saying please when he needs help.
I can’t explain it, this essence of toddlerhood, but it is amazing. I know that the next few years are supposed to be trying ones and we already see some of that, but this little boy before me is so worth any amount of struggle. I feel lucky every single day that I get to be his mom.
On Wednesday night, I will give Eli a bath, get him in his pajamas, read him a book, brush his teeth and tuck him into bed like normal. But unlike normal nights, then I’ll get in my car and drive away. And for the first time in his life, I won’t be there overnight. I won’t be home Thursday night either. I know he’s 16 months old and more than able to handle this, but I’m 30 and I’m not.
I am going to a really, really great continuing education course that is absolutely perfect for my job and will be wonderful for me in several different ways, but it’s 80 miles away and even if I did come home in the evenings, I would spend so much time in traffic that I wouldn’t get to see Eli before bed and the gas cost would possibly tank the economy completely (I’m staying at my aunt’s house for free). And while I know that both the course and the time away are good for me, I’m scared.
I’m not scared about my husband taking care of my son. I could not be less concerned about that because my husband is an incredible father. Eli loves him dearly and they will be great with each other. It’s not about that at all.
My concern comes from control. I know there are many things that I cannot control in my son’s life. Some things are purely out of our hands, much to my great displeasure. But when I’m around, I feel like sometimes I can anticipate and soften the blow of these uncontrollable things. I can see a hazard that others might miss. I can predict a bad night and find ways to avert it. And I’m just afraid that one of the uncontrollables will happen while I’m not there. I’m afraid that Eli will get sick in the middle of the night and I won’t be there to comfort him. I’m afraid that he will feel abandoned if he needs me and I’m not there.
I know that he needs independence and truly, he is already an incredibly independent child. He plays on his own for hours at a time and when I try to join him, he hugs me and then walks away to play. But nighttime, when I struggle the most and when he struggles the most, is when I don’t think he needs independence yet. And when I’m not ready for him to have it. If something is wrong in the middle of the night, I think it’s perfectly fine for him to need his mom.
Being away makes me feel helpless and since that’s a feeling I’ve had too many brushes with already, I’m not doing well with it. I don’t know if these feelings are simply from being a very attached parent, or if they’re also from mental illness, but I know that this week will be one of the toughest for me in quite some time. I know Eli will be fine, I know I will be fine, but that doesn’t mean it feels good.
Eli will be coming to where I’m staying on Friday evening, so I don’t have to be away from him until my course is over on Sunday and I know that I am incredibly lucky to have made it to 16 months without having faced this, but I’m just so sad. It’s not that he or I are not capable of being apart, it’s that I don’t want to be, and if his meltdown at naptime is any indication, he doesn’t really want it either.
I’m hoping that our days away go smoothly and quickly and maybe some good will come out of them. But in the meantime, I’m going to soak up as much time with my sweet boy as possible.
I’m not an ardent observer of Labor Day (and hey, I don’t work on Mondays anyway), but this year, Labor Day marks the first full year of work for me (in my chosen profession). After 25 years of school, 4 years of teaching and several months of motherhood, it was a long journey to get here. And for the most part, I really love my work. I love what I do, I love where I work and I love my coworkers.
But even now, a year in, I still don’t love leaving my baby. The daycare situation has improved tremendously, which definitely helps ease my mind, but just not being there with him, knowing that he’s learning new things and trying new things without me makes me sad. I hate thinking that maybe he took his first steps there and not here, or that he started using words there instead of here (we have a great arrangement so that our daycare doesn’t tell us when he does anything until after we’ve told them, that way we never have to find out it happened there first). It’s just tough because I want to soak up every experience and every moment and so leaving Eli in someone else’s care isn’t easy.
We have a good schedule now of work/daycare, as opposed to last year’s very crazy work schedule and though my work schedule is still often a bit of a living document, the days are well for all of us. I am incredibly fortunate that I’m able to be home part time and still make all the necessary ends meet (and for the skeptics, we even have a pretty impressive savings and are paying above the minimum payment on my loans, so) because I think it’s really good for both of us. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t be fine if I worked full time or stayed home full time (all though, in either situation, one of us would lose our minds, I’m pretty sure), but this is working.
I remember shortly after Eli was born, thinking that there was no way I could ever leave that tiny infant with anyone else. That I wanted to be with him every second of every day. And I still, deep down, have that feeling every time I drop him off at daycare. Eli is the most incredible person and I love every fiber of his being in a way I never knew could even exist. But I think the last year of working has been a really great thing for both of us. It has given him independence that he really needs. It has given me independence that I really need. It has made our time together more precious and I think it’s made us both happier, in the long run.
My job isn’t perfect, Eli’s daycare situation isn’t perfect, but working is good for us. And I’m glad to finally be doing what I love and what’s best for all of us. I can’t help but realize on a regular basis how lucky we all are.
When we were in San Diego in March, we bought a ticket to a local amusement park and with it, we got a year pass to the park. We live less than 2 hours away, so we figured that we’d make pretty good use of it this year and tucked our passes away for safe keeping. A few days later, Eli fell off the bed and everything changed. The day of his injury we had been planning to swing by the park on our way out of town and after we were released from the first hospital, (but before we were admitted for several days at the second one), we decided to head to the park to see if it would perk our very sad, but (we thought) okay baby up.
We knew that there was a great little Sesame Street area there, so we took Eli to see it. He’s a Sesame Street fanatic (as much as one can be on one show a day at that age), and yet, nothing registered on his face. We took him into the souvenir shop and let him check out the stuffed animals because he’s a boy who loves nothing more than a good stuffed animal and once again, nothing. Just a sad, tired baby.
I was overly excitedly showing him every incarnation of Elmo (Elmo with a snorkel! Elmo with a bathing suit!) and he just looked up at me, so incredibly sad and tired. It had been such an awful morning and I really thought maybe we could turn the day around, but after about an hour with no success, we decided to drive home, where everything went to hell and then to a hospital.
And we hadn’t gone back since then. Partially because we’ve been busy and partially because I had no desire to ever set foot in the city of San Diego, let alone in the park again. So when my husband suggested we go before the summer was over, I hesitated. On the one hand, I knew Eli was old enough that he would get a huge kick out of it- especially the Sesame Street stuff. On the other hand, I knew that it was going to be incredibly emotionally challenging for me.
Ultimately, I set my issues aside and on Saturday, we went back.
Getting there was the first challenge since the hotel where Eli got hurt (and where A LOT of my issues still live, it seems) is less than a mile away and it’s on all the signs to get to the park. But we got there without any issue, parked and walked in. It was like getting slapped in the face with memories, ones I really never wanted to remember. We had a nice lunch and headed to the Sesame Street area. As we predicted, Eli had the best time. He played in the water fountains, watched the Sesame Street show and got to meet Elmo, Cookie Monster and Zoe. And as soon as he saw Cookie Monster, he ran up to him and waved. I melted a little.
After we got him into dry clothes, we went to that souvenir shop. I needed to do it, for me mostly, but a little bit for Eli too. We browsed the stuffed animals for a bit and Eli’s eyes were huge. Usually, if you present him with 2 stuffed animals, he’ll pick one and hug it, but on Saturday he grabbed both, and pulled them into his face, happily snuggling. And so he got 2 (Cookie Monster and Murray. I have pictures, but they’re on my husband’s phone). Frankly, I’d have bought the whole store if he wanted.
And as we walked away from the store, I cried. I’m think they were a mixture of sadness and relief. When we left the park that day in March, I had no idea what lay ahead of us. It was the worst day of my life and holds so much power over me still, even 5 months later. And so seeing Eli with those stuffed animals both served to bring me back to that day, reminding me of how very not okay he was and how horrible the experience was for us, but it also brought me forward to now. To my healthy, happy little boy.
While the emotional fallout from our trip hasn’t been insignificant, I think in some way, I needed to do this. I needed to go back (though I really, really could’ve done without driving past both the hotel and the hospital on the way home), I needed to create new, happy memories in that place that has so many sad ones.
Going back reminded me that there are 2 kinds of healing that have to take place after accidents like these. Eli’s physical healing was relatively quick and as far as we know, complete. The emotional healing is slow. It’s tenuous and arduous. But it’s happening, one day at a time. One memory at a time. One fear at a time. There are still some gaping wounds left to heal, but we’re getting there.
I really appreciate the comments and emails regarding the last few posts. A lot of this is easier for me to write than it is to say out loud, but getting feedback on it is the hardest part. It’s like, you think you have something figured out and then someone comes in and completely sets your plan on its head. Or just gives you a perspective you didn’t have and makes you feel a whole different way about everything. It’s tough, but ultimately good.
A lot of you suggested, rightly, that I need to forgive myself and remember that accidents happen. And on many levels, I agree with you on this. But I think one of the reasons I can’t brush Eli’s injury and this most recent tumble off is because they weren’t really accidents.
To me, there’s a difference between an accident and a mistake, and it’s an important distinction. Eli falling off the bed was a mistake. He never should’ve been on the bed or anywhere near the edge. I put him there, knowing the potential consequences. It was a mistake. Eli falling down the stairs was another mistake. I should’ve been watching him, especially in a house with that many easily accessed stairs. I dazed off for a few seconds and it happened. Those were mistakes. They were preventable and predictable, not the work of chance, but the work of poor decision making.
This doesn’t mean that I’m going to beat myself up for all eternity (at least not intentionally) for those mistakes, but I also can’t just shrug them off as if they were not a big deal. And distinguishing them from accidents does make it easier for me to punish myself in a way, but it also makes me feel like I’m not doomed to have these things happen over and over again. If what happened to Eli was a mistake, then I can do better next time. If it was an accident, then there’s nothing I can do.
I realize I’ve been too hard on myself, that I’ve been very negative toward myself and my parenting skills. I think a big part of it is because when I thought of what a good mom was, I thought of something that didn’t exist. In my mind, a good mom is loving, sacrifices everything, keeps her kids safe and sets good boundaries. They do everything right and nothing wrong. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that this kind of mother doesn’t exist. She just doesn’t.
I love this child more than I have ever loved anything, and with an intensity that I didn’t even know was possible. I would walk to the ends of the earth for him, there is literally nothing I wouldn’t do. And I think that is what should really be the definition of a good mother. I am going to make mistakes, I know this, I have already made many, but I’m guided by love for my child and I am learning each day from these mistakes.
I know that I need to be gentler to myself, to be more positive and more forgiving, and I want to, I truly do. But I’m finding it much harder than it sounds. Even when I consciously decide to try harder to be positive and gentle with myself, my subconscious doesn’t always get on board. I know that all of this is going to take time, and it really is something I’m working on.
I want Eli to see a mother who is happy, healthy and who loves him dearly. I don’t want him to see the worries or regrets. I think I’ve done an okay job of keeping those things from him, but I know that as he grows older, I need to try harder. I need to do better and be better and if I can’t do it for myself, I am going to have to do it for him.
Eli fell down a flight of stairs yesterday. I just. I don’t even know how to discuss this because what kind of mother lets her kid fall off a bed and get a brain injury and then somehow, also lets him fall down a flight of stairs? This kind, apparently. Eli is fine, like completely and totally great, has no lingering marks at all and tried to climb down the stairs again 4 hours later. He could not be better. I continue to be broken into many screwed up pieces and this was just about the last thing I needed.
It happened at a family member’s three story house. The living area on the second floor and is gated from the rest of the stairs. Eli had been hanging out near their gate most of the time since there are toys there and was playing happily. At one point, the gate was left open and in literally the 10 seconds I zoned out and assumed he was playing with toys quietly, I heard thump thump thump thump cry. I was less than 5 feet from the gate, there was just a chair in the way, so I couldn’t see him directly. 5 feet and 10 seconds away.
I can’t begin describe how awful it was. Knowing what was going on and racing to get there, fearing with every fiber of my being about what condition he was going to be in when I got there. It was probably 2 seconds from when I heard it and when I got to him, but it could’ve been 20 minutes for as long as it felt and as far as my mind was able to race.
I flew down the stairs (10? 12? of them) and found him on the tile landing and scooped him up, trying as hard as I could to stay calm for everyone involved, but inside I was crumbling into a million tiny pieces. How did this happen to us again?
I got him upstairs and checked him over. Everything was moving fine and painlessly. He had one small red mark on the side of his head and small goose egg on the other. He stopped crying in under a minute and demanded to be put down to play a few seconds later. I watched him like a hawk all afternoon and he’s fine. He’s totally fine. I can’t understand why I am not.
It’s funny, because I harbor absolutely no grudge or anger against the person who left the gate open. It was an accident, Eli is fine. And yet, I am so angry at myself for not keeping my eyes on him. I am his mother, my job is to protect him and I failed. Again.
I just keep picturing over and over again what it must have been like. His favorite thing is to step off his bed and I keep imagining him taking that first step down all happy and proud and then falling ass over tea kettle down all those stairs. I cannot imagine how scary that must’ve been for him and how close he came to injuring himself significantly. Again.
I feel like the first time was an accident, a mistake and whatever, it can be forgiven. But again? Really? I don’t know. I struggled to forgive myself the first time and I just don’t see how I’ll be able to this time. At one point, many months ago, I felt like I was the safer parent. I didn’t do risky things, I never tossed Eli up in the air, never dangled him upside down, watched him closely all day long. And now, twice, my son has been in serious danger while in my care. I just don’t know how it keeps happening. How I can be so vigilant, so hyperaware and intensely worried and yet, he fell down a flight of stairs while with me. Just. I don’t know.
My weariness is growing daily. My therapist wants me to try medication to treat the PTSD and I’m just not there yet. I have a hard time with that type of medication and side effects and I just don’t want to deal with titrating up and tapering down. And maybe I also feel like I deserve to feel kind of shitty about this. I’m sure that sounds crazy and it probably is, but my kid got a brain injury, came out of it okay and then I let him fall down a flight of stairs. There is a lot of crazy here.
I have never felt less competent than I do now and it’s probably the hardest thing. I love this little boy so deeply, but I keep feeling like I’m the biggest risk in his life and that is impossibly difficult to handle.