Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Waiter, There's A Chicken In My Soup

In just two days my baby girl has learned how to drink from a sippy cup and to feed herself pieces of Cheerios. (Occasionally she does forget to let go of the cereal once she has it in her mouth). She is so proud of herself! As the water from the cup rushes into her mouth the initial look of surprise is quickly replaced with a laugh and smile.

We had some snow over the weekend, so my husband took our son outside to play and build a snowman. I am ashamed to admit that I have never taken part in this wintertime tradition. As has followed every snowfall so far this year, the air warmed up and the amount of snow decreased significantly within a day or two. The poor snowfellow in the backyard has thinned dramatically due to the increase in temperature and one of his stick arms has fallen off. The neighbor bought a snowman kit so their snowman has a black hat, pipe, buttons, eyes, nose, and even a little red scarf. He looks so cool. Our snowman is bigger anyway.

My husband, being a boy, has a small collection of rubber spiders. My son happily inherited these and I keep finding them lying about the house waiting to startle any unsuspecting persons. I don’t mind the purple spider so much as it obviously fake, but that small black and yellow one looks more real, especially when I am not wearing my glasses. However, my husband can tell you that I do not startle easily; as the possessor of nerves-of-steel I have not yet screamed, shouted, or otherwise jumped when one of these six legged rubber charlatans have crossed my path. My husband used to have a small rubber chicken that he would leave in out-of-the-way places (i.e. inside drinking glasses, in the medicine cabinet, under my pillow, etc.) to see if he could make me jump. He gave up after a couple of weeks. The chicken did find its way under my husband’s pillow once and was flung mercilessly across the room out of startled revulsion. I wonder how it got there?

Now that I am on round two of antibiotics I am hoping to be back to normal any day now. I have been woozy for a week and it has become a challenge to carry the baby and also avoid walking into walls. My left ear is completely stopped up and I cannot hear a thing with it. When a mother’s auditory system is only operating at fifty percent capacity it is difficult to ascertain the subtle sounds of a toddler getting into trouble. That is not a good thing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Spy With My Little Eye

My children have started producing freckles. I can’t remember when I started to grow freckles myself, but I do know that I still have a fair few. A month or two ago a brown spot appeared on my son’s left wrist. At first I thought it was dirt or food and tried to scrub it off with a washcloth; that didn’t work so I tried to scrape it off my nail. And then, in my stupidity, I realized that it was a freckle, which shouldn’t have surprised me considering my own smattering. Since the spot on my daughter’s right thigh appeared later than my son’s she was spared the unpleasantness of a vicious washing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

God Bless Us, Everyone

Not to be outdone by the others in our house, the infected boogies in my body decided to have a potluck dinner and take up residence in my sinuses and left ear. The circle is complete. I have joined the club of antibiotic takers that started with my son; membership has reached 100%.

For those who do not remember what an ear infection feels like: there is pain, sloshing fluid in the ear canal, dull aching pain, constant ringing, general wooziness, stabbing pain, and pain. Bending over, moving from sitting to standing or lying down causes all the fluid in the ear to relocate causing more pain. I feel even more sorry for my babies, if that’s possible, now that I know first hand what they were going through.

I don’t know how I would have managed to keep my sanity without my family. My mom came as often as she could when the kids were sick, and she was here yesterday so that I could go to the doctor, rest and sleep. My mother, sister, and grandmother all brought food, so that I didn’t have to worry about cooking or getting to the grocery store. And they brought me delicious soup because I cannot chew due to the sinus infection. I love them.

It is such a blessing to know that there are people in my life that I know I can count on to help ease my burdens. I am also very proud of my husband for dragging his sick ear to work with him to provide for our family and make money to pay for all of the doctor bills and the dozen boxes, vials, tubes and bottles of medication that are scattered throughout the house.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Should Ask For a Raise

My husband has joined the ranks of the infected-ear people in our household. So far (knock on wood) I am the solitary holdout. Before I continue I would like to say that I know he is in awful pain because he conceded to staying home this morning instead of joining my dad on the worship team in church; he hasn’t had an opportunity to play his bass guitar in church for a while because of his work schedule and it is something that he really looks forward to.

Instead, he got up this morning and immediately went to our local urgent care center. The doctor that tended to him prescribed three medications, one of which is an eardrop. My husband was in too much pain to calm down enough to administer the drops himself, so I sat him down and poised myself over his writhing body with the eardrops in hand.

It is one thing to hold a toddler down and coax him to swallow his amoxicillin or attempt to keep the baby from spitting hers all over herself; it is quite another to put drops into the ear of a grown man who is over six feet tall, muscular and uncooperative. My arms are short, so I can only get so far away and still be able to drip the drops into his ear canal. I got kicked in the ankle no less than three times for my effort. He was worse than the kids.

He seems a little perkier now. When I inquired whether his ear was feeling a little bit better he immediately clutched the side of his head and moaned. I guess not. I’m quite sure that he feels entitled to a little pampering and attention since the kids get both when they are sick. A hot bowl of chicken soup, a fluffy pillow and a few “poor baby”s aught to do the trick.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Vive Le Pee-Pee Dance

It is with a huge sigh of relief that I say that my family is on the mend: the cold/virus/ear infection sickness is winding down. My son hasn’t had a temperature since Monday, and the baby’s fever is almost gone as well; we all still have the remnants of considerable congestion and both the kids are taking antibiotics, but I believe the long-awaited end should arrive toward the middle of next week.

My son was the first one to become sick this time. We had been potty training for exactly two weeks when the fever hit. He was really starting to get the hang of it. There was no way I was going to drag my lethargic, feverish child to the bathroom every couple of hours when he was hardly drinking and had stopped eating so I put him in a diaper. He was a little dehydrated and he didn’t urinate often. By the time his fever broke and his appetite returned the baby had a high temperature and need almost constant care.

The baby’s temperature is almost back to normal today so I put “big underwear” on the little man this afternoon. Things are much more manageable today, I thought, it’s time to get back on the potty wagon. I felt that it should be relatively easy to get back on track. Well.

About five minutes after he put his feet into the leg holes and we pulled those pants up, my son decided he needed to poop. He never had gotten the hang of doing this in the toilet. Wipe, wipe, wipe; scrub, scrub, scrub; clean, clean, clean. And time for new underpants. I put the pot back in his toilet and turned around in time to see him squeeze his legs together. “Pee-pee on the floor?” he says. Uh, huh. In about seven minutes we’ve gone through two pair of clean underpants.

I believe it was the intent of this horrible sickness to undermine my potty training progress. It is my most dear and cherished hope that we can recover from this setback without having to start back at the beginning. In any event, I shall endeavor to keep my priorities in line: I would much rather fight with my toddler about the appropriate places to urinate than have to watch him suffer from a double ear infection.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sick & Sick Incorporated

Thank heaven my toddler’s temperature has returned to normal. He is still congested beyond allowable snot levels, but what a huge improvement a couple doses of antibiotic can make. He and I are now vying for the most-congested-person-in-the-house award. Unfortunately, my baby has contracted this virus and is congested, running a fever and seems to have a bad headache. It’s so hard with babies because they cannot communicate exactly what is bothering them. When they cry with pain I’m always afraid that something horrible is wrong with them and that I won’t know until it is too late. Isn’t that terrible?

I sat the baby in the tub for the first time last night. She has a lovely mesh bath seat that she sits in when I bathe her, so I thought that it would be fun for both of us if she could splash around in the bath water for a change. Usually her brother is waiting impatiently for his turn, and since the baby still can’t anchor herself well when sitting her bath time tends to be a little abbreviated. It is so neat to watch a baby explore and experience something new. She slapped the water with her open palms and seemed surprised at the resistance they met from the water. The droplets of water that clung to her face displeased her at first, but she was having such a grand time splashing that she stopped minding them. I do believe she could have stayed in until she shriveled up; she cried something fierce when it was time to get out. But because she is such a happy sort of baby, she soon forgot what it was that she was upset about.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

But It Tastes Like Bubble Gum!

Why is it that a small child seems to handle sickness better than a full grown adult? My son has been running a fever for seven days now, been to the doctor twice, has a double ear infection, a cough, a stuffy nose, and no appetite. There were two days where he lied on the couch like a lump and my heart wanted to break for his sad little face and his sick eyes, but for the other five days he held his own against the evil germs and still played with his cars. If I had a double ear infection and a fever I’d probably want to drape myself over the couch and let someone feed me chicken soup while I whined about how horrible I felt; the air around me would vibrate with the my moaning and groaning. I won’t even get into how my husband behaves when he has the sniffles. (Hint: I said I would only want to drape myself over the couch and moan). But not my son: with him it’s more like drive the Matchbox Mustang along the couch cushion, :::cough:::, :::cough:::, park the Mustang at the end of a long line of assorted other Matchbox cars. Wheel an ambulance along the arm of the couch. Ask for a tissue. He’s such a trooper. If I could just get him to swallow his medicine without screaming bloody murder then I believe he would qualify for some sort of medal.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Spirit of Birthday Present

It seems that when you get older a birthday ceases to be about receiving gifts and spending some quality time with your significant other. Instead it becomes another day to spend money on home repairs and trying to figure out whether it’s worth it to take the kids out or if it’s a better idea to just stay home. Okay, that may sound a little melodramatic but there is a tiny morsel of truth in there if you happen to be me - or my husband since we share a birthday.

First of all, I must hastily clarify that I received very special and lovely gifts for my birthday. It just happened that on Sunday, the day before my actual birthday, and the day of my birthday dinner made especially for me by my Mommy, we woke up to a cold house and a non-functioning oil furnace. I may be getting older, but there was still something fun about being all snuggly and bundled up in the house. That night all four of us slept together in an attempt to stay toasty. It was exciting because it was a deviation from the norm. (Not that it’s a ton of fun when it comes to payment for the repair to the furnace, but it helps to look at the bright side of life).

We awoke to a smattering of snow on our birthday and we all huddled on the couch to watch a DVD while the repairman tinkered away in the basement. After a while the decision was made to head over to our favorite diner for a late lunch. The baby slept the whole time and our son behaved very well. Until he tried to eat a french fry that he found on the diner floor on the way out. From there we coasted over to the mall to walk our post-lunch grogginess off. It was during this bit of exercise that we became suspicious that our two-year-old was coming down with a fever. Sure enough, by the time we got him home his temperature was well above normal. I suppose a birthday is just as good a time as any other to be sick.

All said and done, it was definitely not a boring day; there was the how-much-is-this-bill-going-to-be excitement, the satisfaction of an uneventful lunch out with the kiddos, and an evening full of cuddling with a sick toddler. The truth is, even though the birthday terrain has undeniably changed, the new terrain is just as wonderful as the old. Maybe even better.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Open Up!

I can’t help but laugh at myself whenever I feed a baby. I always open my own mouth as I guide the spoon towards the baby’s mouth. It must be that same reflex that causes people to lean to the right or left as they guide their racecar around a particularly sharp corner on a video game. Many times I have played at keeping my mouth shut, but the level of concentration it requires to force it from popping open is really not worth it. I’m sure I look like a fish in a tank, sitting there scooping sweet potatoes and blowing invisible bubbles into the air. The baby on the other end of the spoon is probably thinking one of two things: either that she’s pretty certain she doesn’t want to take food from a person who appears to be deranged, or that she is too amused by the faces to distract herself from them by opening her own mouth. There is always that chance that the baby actually learns more quickly to accept a spoon by mimicking the up-and-down motions of the parent’s lower jar. I just find it frustrating that even though the baby knows how to open her mouth I can’t stop opening my own.