Monday, February 24, 2014

Energy Bars...

Hope still hates her car seat.  I think it will soon be time to give in and try a new one.  Maybe she'll hate the new one, too, but we won't know until we try.  It's painful when I'm the only adult in the car and can't climb back to sit next to her - to stroke her cheek or offer a binky or make her smile.  
This morning I thought we had turned a corner.  I put her in her seat to take Brian to school and, what?!?  She smiled!!  Then - silence.  The entire way there.  Brian and I noticed patches of grass peeking through the snow as we drove through the park and I said, "Spring is on the way!" and I felt hopeful.  Maybe she grew out of her utter disdain for this car seat.

Not so much.

On the way home, as I listened to her scream and scream and scream... I thought of Gavin.  

Gavin had such severe and painful reflux.  He also had low tone.  Very low tone.  As an infant, he constantly threw up in the car...which was painful.  But then, probably because of his tone, he would gag and choke.  Each time he did this, I would have to jump out of the car - open his door - pray he wasn't blue (sometimes he was blue) - and suction out his mouth.  I was an expert at ripping him out of his car seat at warp speed - even on the side of the road.  Often on the side of the road.  A 15 minute trip would take me 30 minutes.  If I had to take him for an appointment at the hospital an hour away...I would need to leave two hours ahead.  Sometimes it would happen as I was backing out of the driveway.  It was bad.  Every single time we got in the car it was bad.

But one thing I learned during that time?  That Gavin was very sensitive to my energy.  If I panicked - his stress would escalate.  I remembered this every time he had a painful procedure... every time he was working hard in therapy... every time he was hurt.  If I kept my energy bars even - in the middle - he would feel it.  I would always be in his face so he could look into my eyes and sense that I was calm.  And that it would be okay.

This lesson served me well the day Brian came to say goodbye to Gavin.  I felt strongly in my heart that Brian needed to have his own experience that day - the last day he would ever see his big brother.  I didn't want him to sense our fear - our devastation.  I didn't want us to push our agenda on his goodbye or make him do anything he didn't want to.  And I certainly didn't want to make him feel like he had to care for us or tend to our emotions.  It was not easy.

So I try to remember all of this when she is crying in the car seat?  It hurts my heart... yes.  And sometimes, I feel those energy bars creeping up to high when she screams. But I will myself to keep calm... and keep those energy bars right smack in the middle.


I had a conference with Brian's teacher this afternoon!  She had handwriting and other "scored" papers to show me from the beginning of the year to now - and Brian has made so much progress in every area.  Writing his name, counting to high numbers, recognizing different shapes and listening.  I'm very proud of how he's blossomed socially.  He started the year pretty shy and his teacher remarked that he would get teary when he couldn't express what he was feeling (like frustration that someone was playing with a toy he wanted).  He's come a long way in that area.  I asked her if he ever mentioned Gavin as I was a little nervous that he'd chat about his brother dying and freak some of the other kids out.  She said that he's mentioned Gavin's name, but only that.  Then she told me something so sweet.  She thought it was around Christmas time when they might have been talking about the baby Jesus.  Brian blurted out...

Gavin died and went to Heaven - and then my Mommy got Hope.
Yep.  That is pretty accurate.


I got an update from the hospital this morning about the donations they received over the weekend!!  They had 13 donations in Gavin's memory towards the Abilities Playground - totaling $495.00!!  That's a great start and I am so grateful!  

They also were able to fix the page so our international friends can donate!  

I've been working hard (when I can!) on the fundraiser!  I really think it's going to be a GREAT evening.  I can't wait!


  1. I wonder if you would give home some type of lovey or even an animal that would play music for her while she is in the seat, before she starts crying?

  2. My daughter hated her car seat for the first couple months too, then one day it just got better. Hope it gets better for you guys soon too!

  3. Car seat haters are the hardest! Stay strong...and calm. ♡♡

  4. My middle daughter did the same thing. We had to give in and buy her the bigger cushier 5 pt seat, which, of course, could not be taken in and out of the car like the infant seat (She was 4 mo old). Never did she scream in the car again. happy as happy could be. Silly baby girl. Torture listening to her cry.

  5. My first hated his car seat with a passion! I had a rotation of songs that I would sing (loudly, over the crying) to try and comfort him a bit, and then once we got close to home, I would always narrate the final five minutes in...there's the first gray wall, and there's the first white fence, and there's the pond where we see alligators sometimes, etc. Not sure it really helped, but at least that way he heard my voice and knew I was there! Once we put him in his big boy seat and turned him around, it was all better though, but whew, that beginning part is HARD!

  6. My daughter hated her car seat as well. She would just scream and scream and it was horrible. Then something happened and all was ok. I don't know if she was cold (she was born in Jan and we live in Ohio), if she just wanted held, or if she was uncomfortable but it was a rough four months. I didn't think to try a different seat though. I just didn't take her anywhere unless absolutely necessary - like picking her brother up from preschool.

  7. Just wondering if you have a mirror for her. One where you can see her and she can see you. We had an awful time with my son in the car if I wasn't able to sit in the back with him. We decided to get a rear view mirror and after that he did a lot better because he could see me if I wasn't in the back and could see Daddy too. Just something that worked for us that I thought might help you if you aren't already using one. Thoughts go out to you! Hearing them scream knowing you can't get to them is the worst! Love and light ~Mary in SC

  8. Kate, I think I missed the link where you can donate to the project. Can someone provide me with that link? I can't attend, unfortunately, but I would very much like to donate.

    1. Thanks, Danielle! You can click the link below and click "Abilities Playground" under donor designation. And you can write Gavin's name in the comments if you wish.

    2. Looks like you have to copy and paste - sorry! :-)

  9. I'm so sorry that Hope is unhappy in her car is so hard to be driving while our babies are screaming and we can't comfort them. And, I remember the days that our son threw up in his car seat EVERY SINGLE TIME we were in the car. I spent many times along side of the road, cleaning him up, changing his clothes, and cleaning the car seat. He is also low muscle tone & his gag reflex was so sensitive. But our reaction does indeed make a huge difference. This post brought back many memories. Hope gets more beautiful with each photo, Brian is a sweet brother, and I LOVE the photo of you with Gavin on your facebook page! Sending love to you and your family.

  10. My (now 3 year old) daughter HATED her infant seat with an impressively loud passion so I sympathize. We gave up on the easy to take out infant seat and put her in a convertible seat and our car rides were about 3000% more pleasant. I pray that a change for Hope will make solo trips easier on Mommy and her heart.


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