Toddler Stuff


May 22, 2019

i should be done being surprised about the twists and turns of motherhood but still, somehow everything seems to still take me by surprise. i feel like each time i mourn the passing of one stage the excitement of the next takes over. however as otto is becoming more and more like a toddler which is basically like a super opinionated 18 year old, i find myself mourning the end of the infant period more and more. trust me, i’m obsessed with the toddler phase. i find myself laughing so hard daily at otto’s antics but i caught myself re watching videos of his infancy and our days home on maternity leave and i miss pieces of them so much. i often wonder how i would have felt if things were different when otto was an infant. if the threat of a second heart surgery didn’t hang over our heads. or even if we just knew that it wasn’t going to be for however long.. like i’ve said before i have to fight not to be so angry that we were robbed of a lot of our firsts. but i’ll gladly be robbed if it means I can have a little boy who is thriving in his toddler years.

veldheers tulip farm holland michigan

we are heading back to the cardiologist in less than a month and the anxiety level is like the waves of the ocean just starting to tickle my toes. i’m not fully immersed just yet, but i know it’s coming. it happens every time. the anxiety of the what if this appointment goes different than the thumbs up we’ve been getting for almost two years. the best way i know to cope with this grief and fear is that i just allow myself to really feel it about the week before these appointments. there is no sense in wasting more precious time in worry although it’s harder to combat some days more than others. the week before appointments i just, feel it. and then i feel better prepared to handle whatever news good or bad we might get.

knowing that your child has a for lack of better words, shitty heart structure is a scary thing. because when they are high energy and happy and thriving it almost allows you to forget. i look at him and i almost just don’t believe it. but i remind myself because i never want to be taken by surprise again like i was when we got the news it was time for his first surgery. i was honestly, embarrassed that i didn’t realize how sick he was. how could i have not seen that he was in heart failure. was i an idiot for not noticing how hard it was for him to breath? i could bang my head against the wall wondering what kind of mother i was for not knowing.

veldheers tulip farm holland michigan

since we just got really real, i have a really hard time extending myself grace for not knowing. looking back at videos of him now as an infant i get so mad at myself for not noticing his color, his alertness, his caved in belly from breathing. GAH sometimes I just want to scream about it. but the past is the past because it has come and gone. i guess where i’m going with this is i just see him so happy. learning and singing and speaking and just absolutely loving mickey mouse i’m just worried there is something i’m missing again and i’ll be looking back wondering how did i not see this that then?

but despite my weird insecurities as a parent we move on and life just gets sweeter and sweeter.

veldheers tulip farm holland michigan

we got to visit the tulip farm in Holland,MI a few days ago and my mind was just blown at how he could identify colors. his sweet little voice yelling YELLOW! WED (red)! PURTLE (purple) GEEN (green). he is so smart and sweet, i just feel so incredible undeserving to have such a happy kid considering all that he has been through, continues to go through.

i can’t believe that he is almost two. time just continues to fly but all the heart scaries aside he is just a riot. He loves the water, his sunnies and his dada. whenever joe leaves for work otto will be wandering around looking everywhere for him. if joe puts his sunnies on, otto has to have his sunnies on. if joe is in the garage, otto has to be there too. it just melts my heart. if there is a puddle, pool, sink or tub i can guarantee otto will be trying to jump in it.

he is starting to have a toddler opinion too. he will insist on wearing anything and everything that has mickey mouse on it. i ordered him the same mickey sweatsuit from h&m in three different colors because if he finds it he will refuse to take it off. hence why he went to school two days in a row with the same outfit. the only way i got it off of him was taking it off while he was in a knockout sleep at 12am. he also loves wearing a watch and if joe has a watch on, otto best have one too. even if i’m the one who has to take theirs off so he can have it.

i have to say though my favorite thing about him being a toddler is his singing. he LOVES to sing. my favorite is when he tries to sing “oh mr. sun” but can only remember the PLEASE SHINE DOWN ON ME part. he will sing “Please shine down on me” all the way to school sometimes and it just AH melts me.

veldheers tulip farm holland michigan

ottos eating is also progressively getting better. he is swallowing more and actually saying what type of food he prefers. it’s usually pizza or french fries. i’m amazed at the progress he has been making and credit mrs. N at PaperPlanes therapy and his caregivers at daycare for continuing to work with him and encourage him. As hard as daycare still is for me, it has done amazing things for otto. he has started counting in english and spanish (although I don’t think he knows what it means) (unless we are doing a count down) and knows a few shapes. his favorite shape is a circle because every time he sees one he yells CIRCLE!

i love getting to spend special time with him doing things like this. although it’s a $100 fine for picking a tulip… we took our chances and had one accident but it wasn’t an intentional pick, the tulip was laying on the ground and otto stepped on it. he can’t be held responsible. if you had to ask me what my favorite part of this toddler age would be.. it would be the curiosity. he wants to explore everything and it’s just fascinating to watch.

my apologies if this is a bit repetitive. i write in this blog to share with others but also to have a record and an outlet to maintain my feelings and memories. being a mom has been the greatest gift.

Toddler in the tulips Toddler in the tulips Toddler in the tulips Toddler in the tulips Toddler in the tulips

Toddler in the tulips


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  1. Jill Hall says:

    What a wonderful way to start the day by reading your post. Since I am newer to IG, I appreciated the detail and your honesty and vulnerability. I think even if we have not experienced what you have, the feeling of not doing something right or not being good enough is universal to most women and I am old enough to be your mom. Thank God for grace and hope and that even when we wind up in the same icky place, our eternal rescuer is there and in control. I pray that in the waiting for Otto’s appointment, you are even more aware of God’s presence and love for you and your family. Keep those amazing stories and videos coming, they bring such joy, even on rainy days.

  2. Sammantha Dossey-Weathermon says:

    I could not agree more with every word written. The guilt of how could I have missed this. The pain of knowing it is not over. The already 5 open heart surgeries at 2 1/2 years old and the obstacles we have overcome in such a short period of life. All the set backs and then the one word or action that seems on track for his age is worth more than a mom could imagine. You are not alone in the journey of heart guilt or the amazing joys we share as parents of all the littles that are our BIGS. Great job and good luck on next appointment!

  3. Becca Smith says:

    Never apologize for sharing this sweet boy with us! We’re the lucky ones 🙂

  4. Briana says:

    Love your honesty. You have a way of describing those motherhood insecurities in a way that feels so real and unfiltered. Thanks, Mama.

  5. Linda Andersen says:

    I so love reading about my favorite Tot. So happy to see him being a happy toddler. You are the best Mom and do give yourself grace….you were a first time Mom not a doctor…no one could have done better. Prayers always for Otto to continue to defy the odds and keep making sweet memories for you and Joe.

  6. Melanie McCarthy says:

    The nagging milestone checks and heart issues continue but you seem to be doing a fantastic job mama.
    ‘A super opinionated 18 year old’, such a fun description of a typically trying toddler’s phase. He is still the happiest toddler in spite of everything. Be gentle on yourself. You’ve never dealt with heart issues before. He is the cuddliest, happiest toddler!!! I love seeing pictures of hiim and his unruly curls.

Abigail Albers       Author

Abby is a wife and mother, antique shopper, entrepreneur, gardener, sheep lady, sequin enthusiast and your Midwest Martha Stewart Wannabe.. Follow her on instagram @adventuresinabbyland.

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