At 6 weeks old, Holden began having severe breath holding spells. A handful of these resulted in prolonged seizures because he held his breath too long and after that first time, I worried he would have a seizure with every single spell.
With breath holding spells, there is no real diagnosis. You basically rule out everything else with cardiology and neurology and then say if it’s not this or that, it must be breath holding. In the back of my mind, I always worried it was something more serious. Of course I spent so much time researching that I found some scary stuff when googling and some of those stories that I read I just couldn’t ever get out of my head. There are no experts on breath holding spells and most pediatricians aren’t particularly educated on them because children out grow them between 4 and 6 years of age and there are no true or prolonged real health risks. I found it hard to find and trust a pediatrician because I always felt like I knew so much more about what was going on with Holden than the Doctors themselves did.
Sometimes when I told people that he held his breath, they would laugh and say nonchalantly, oh ya I know so-and-so who did that and it was so funny because every time he/she would get upset, she would throw a temper tantrum and turn blue. This was not the same as Holden’s spells. His were severe. He would turn blue, his eyes widen in fear like a person drowning but in mid-air as he desperately gasped, he would claw and scratch my face as he tried to take a breath until his body would collapse and he would pass out. We would shake him and say Holden, wake up! and after a few seconds he would regain consciousness and then begin crying again.
I didn’t ever leave him, I put him to sleep every single night, I didn’t take my eyes off of him no matter where we were, I had to avoid anyone that has even the slightest cold (getting sick made his spells 100x worse), and it was that way until he outgrew them at 4 years old. If I left him, all I did was worry about him so I could never enjoy anything when I was apart with him. It was terrifying and overwhelming when we were going through it. It dictated my life.
And yet, although a very traumatic experience, it shaped and molded who I am as a mother. My child turned blue and stopped breathing ten times or more a day for four years and every time I would wonder if he would take that breath again. This has made me grateful for every single breath and every single moment I have with him (and Gray). It has given me patience during the tough times because instead of getting upset over the fact that he was crying in the middle of the night, I would think to myself, at least he is crying, and remind myself how grateful I was to have the ability to hold him while he was crying. It doesn’t matter what the experience is, I just feel happy that I get to be able to experience every little thing with my children, even the tears, the late nights and the early mornings. I definitely look at life differently because of it.
And it changed the way we parented, choosing to do things that worked for us and our family even if they were outside the norm. I opted for extended breastfeeding and we co-slept with Holden until he decided he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed, amongst a lot of other parenting choices that I might not have considered if it hadn’t been for our experience with breath holding.
We all have different experiences and backgrounds that make us who we are as mothers, determine the decisions we make, and change the way we see the world, but just because they are different from one mother to the next doesn’t mean they are wrong. You won’t hear me complaining about a rough day or that motherhood is difficult because my experience raising Holden has forced me to be overwhelming grateful for it all…every single piece of it. And that’s just me and my experience. Breastfed/bottle fed, co-sleep/crib, rock to sleep/cry it out, stay-at-home/working, etc.
We may all do things differently but we are all just trying to raise these tiny humans to be happy and healthy the best way we know how and we should celebrate motherhood no matter what it looks like.
Living by the beach, we live in beach attire and swimwear year-round. Living in Southern California, we are really lucky that the temperature is pretty temperate throughout the entire year (I don’t know if my kids will ever understand seasons ha!) and we are able to enjoy the sand, surf, and sea almost every single day of the year. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I am constantly looking for new swimwear for the boys as they grow, that is not only cute and unique, but also protects their skin against the sun’s harsh rays.
Well Cotton On Kids just released their new swim collection for children and it is to die for!! They have board shorts, rash guards, sandals, and more, for your little ones and each piece is just so cute and unique.
It’s your lucky day because I’m partnering with the Cotton On Kids USA team to giveaway $100 store credit to Cotton On Kids Stores to one lucky winner!
Head over to Cotton On Kids, browse for a bit and then comment back which item you would choose if you won!!
The boys and I were asked by our friends Cassidy and Riley to share some Mom + Me Halloween costume ideas in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids because really is there anything cuter than a coordinating family costume concept for Halloween?
I mean, as parents we obviously can’t participate in the trick-or-treating, so why not be one of the fun parents and dress up with your little one. After four years of coordinating costumes (super heroes, pumpkins, Curious George characters, Mickey Mouse and friends), I would consider us to be almost pros at family-coordinating Halloween costumes by now, but I think this year might just take the cake since it’s not only a kid concept, but something adults can totally get as well.
Mother of Dragons and Dragon Entourage…
So in all honesty, when Cassidy told me what she wanted me to be, my first thought was “oh cute” a mom and baby dragons. My mind did not immediately go to the Emmy-winning television show Game of Thrones (gasp! I know…let’s blame it on the sleepless nights or mommy brain or something like that). And then, I realized that I was Khaleesi with my own little entourage of dragons and I decided it was the coolest “mommy” costume for the moment because it’s relevant for the adults, but a concept kids love as well for an entirely different reason.
If you can’t tell from the images, Holden LOVES his dragon costume. Since this photoshoot Holden has basically lived in it, wearing it the grocery store, the playground, museums…everywhere….despite the heat wave we have been experiencing in Southern California. He even won a costume contest with it! And it’s not even Halloween yet.
For some time, I have been wanting to share more products with you that I love that are either working for me as a mama to two boys or have worked for both of my boys because I find that some of the best information I have received is from other mothers with experience. So this is the start to our series, Bel & Beau Loves where I share some of my favorite mama, kid, and baby items that I think you should know about.
When your first child is almost four, it is easy to forget just how much stuff you have to carry with you at all times when you have a newborn baby. Before Grayson arrived, I was used to carrying around a million toy cars, animal figurines, a pencil case full of crayons and colored pencils, a notepad or activity book, sunscreen, and enough snacks for Holden to survive on for at least a couple of days (because if there is anything I have learned about toddlers, it is that constant snacking keeps them happy). Now my purse was pretty jam-packed on a daily basis with Holden’s necessities, but when Gray started joining us on our everyday outings, my bag was overflowing and I felt like I looked like a mess of a mama when lugging a bag that had baby and kid items constantly falling out the sides. And let’s not even begin to ask what happened when I actually needed to find something (just imagine an embarrassed mother dumping the entire contents of her bag out onto the shop floor while trying to find her wallet to pay for something).
When Petunia Pickle Bottom reached out to me and asked if I would like to try out one of their Downtown Totes, I desperately said yes in hopes of finding a solution to my problem…and I did! The Downtown Tote fits everything I need for both my boys and myself without looking and feeling like I’m lugging a suitcase around with me. It has plenty of pockets on the inside as well as one zippered pouch on the outside (for things you need easy access to like wallet, phone, pacifiers) so that you don’t have to spend ten minutes searching inside what seems like a black hole. It also has a zippered closure on the top so that (even if you aren’t) you appear organized to the outside world. The tote comes in a variety of fun colors and designs because of of course as mothers we all want something stylish on our arms that doesn’t necessarily look like a diaper bag. And my other favorite thing about this diaper bag is that the outside fabric is waterproof. We spend most of our days at the beach or at the pool, and so this bag of mine has already spent ample time in the sand or sitting in a puddle of water poolside and it still looks brand new.
I have honestly used this bag everyday since I got it and I don’t have enough good things to say about it. So if you are looking for a solution for your diaper bag problems, look no further than the Downtown Tote.
When I was a newborn, I slept in a vintage pram beside my parents bed. In place of a crib, each and every night during those beginning days of my life my mother would place me inside the soft, cushioned bassinet of the pram for my slumber. In the middle of the night when I would awaken in those dark hours she would reach over and rock the pram back and forth to lull me back to sleep. During the day, she would unlock the wheels and drive the pram into various rooms throughout the house so that I was always close by during my naps. It was my place of comfort and I think that was the beginning of my love affair with prams.
When I was pregnant with Holden, I was determined that his sleep beginnings would mirror mine and that he would be sleeping soundly in a vintage pram while we strolled the streets of San Francisco. But after receiving a stylish, modernized stroller at our baby shower and finding out quite soon after Holden’s arrival into this world that he did not enjoy riding in anything (not a car or not a stroller, as he only liked to be held or worn), I realized that my dreams of pushing a pram with a contently sleeping baby in it would not be coming true.
It was when I became pregnant with Gray that I found the Inglesina Classica Pram which is everything I had been dreaming of over all of these years. The Inglesina Classica Pram combines the classic good looks of an heirloom quality pram with the amenities of a modern day stroller. Not only is the pram a visual showstopper, but it is such a comfortable ride and Gray loves traveling tucked safely inside the plush pram. The seat can be adjusted to sitting instead of laying flat which makes for a relaxed and enjoyable ride for Grayson who has never loved being completely flat on his back. The pram is easy to take down and put into the car, and although I keep telling myself that it should be reserved for special occasions and not Gray’s everyday ride for our daily errands, I just can’t help myself and we end up using this romantic beauty on more occasions than not.