Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Laaaaaid Back

This is how Luke fell asleep while I was wearing him last Sunday at a baby shower. He loves to sleep with his head in the weirdest positions. He loves to sleep. I love that he loves to sleep.

He does wake up a couple of times at night, which I fully expect to continue for a long time. What I was not expecting was this weird, almost telepathic connection between my children. HOW does Ella know every time he wakes up during the night and at naps? I pick him up and feed him before he cries, yet she still wakes up. Is he sending out a bat signal I don't know about? I wanted my children to have a close relationship, but I think this level of closeness might make me lose my sanity.

The EGR Update
Aside from fully frustrating me with her sleep regression, her uncanny knack for pooping every time I sit down to nurse, and her pretend crying every time Luke cries, she's hilarious.

On the way to school yesterday, she asked me, "Where is the gun?"
Me: Um, did you say gun?
EGR: Uh-huh.
Me: We don't have a gun.
EGR: Grandma does.
Indeed, Grandma does have a gun. And it stays at her house.

On the way home from school, we had another discussion about not touching the door handles while we are riding in the car (the child locks are on, by the way). It went like this.
EGR: You don't want to see me touch it?
Me: Touch what?
EGR: The door?
Me: Oh, the handle? No, you cannot touch it. I don't want you to fall out of the car while I'm driving. What would I do if you fell out?
EGR: You would pick me up, kiss me, and put me back.
She has an answer for everything.

The director at the preschool stopped me last week to discuss moving Ella up to an older class. Her verbal language is apparently pretty advanced compared to the other kids in her class and they want to move her to a class with other kids that talk as well as she does. The kids in the new class are six to nine months older than her and potty trained. She could be potty trained, but she hasn't made that decision yet. Dave and I decided to give the move a try and see how it goes. I'm thinking she might have been getting bored already, and I'm hoping an older class might help with some of the regression we are seeing at home. I'd also love for peer pressure to work it's magic in the area of potty training.

She had a trial period yesterday just to see how she'd react to going into the class with the other kids, and she did great. She wasn't even hesitant or shy with them. Today is the first day they were sending her to the new class from the start, and she was excited about it so I can't wait to hear what she has to say about it this afternoon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Toilet Saga

Over the weekend, Dave realized the basement toilet was leaking. He soaked up the mess with towels and turned off the water. He thought. Tuesday, he realized the water wasn't off because the valve was broken and there was water all over the floor again. He soaked that up and set up a bucket to catch the drip.

Ella came upstairs and announced, "Oh gosh, our potty's broken." As if that's the only one in the house.

Dave and I discussed a plan and I added "toilet guts" and "quarter-turn shut off valve" to my list of things to get the next day. I could hear water dripping into the bucket from the kitchen. It wasn't pretty. On the way to Lowe's, we discussed again and decided to just go ahead and buy a new toilet. The one in the basement was probably put in when the house was built. It's ancient and it has issues - issues other than the leak.

With my entourage in tow, we went to Lowe's and shopped for a toilet. I finally found the same one we just put in our new bathroom and I had my personal Lowe's assistant load it up for me. He was happy to help. Dave got home and assessed the situation again only to discover that the ancient toilet is cemented to the floor. He replaced the shut off valve so we could turn off the water and loaded the new toilet back into my car so Luke and I could return it and follow the original plan of getting the toilet guts to repair the old one.

On the way to school this morning, Ella asked me if Georgia was in the back (she usually goes to school with us) and I explained that she wasn't because the toilet was back there and I had to take it back. We talked about the leak and that Daddy had fixed it all the way to school. In the carpool line, the lady who always gets her out of the car greeted her like she has every morning for a month. For the very first time, Ella actually responded. She said,"Our toilet is broken." I burst out laughing. Then she continued with, "Water is leaking." I could hear her telling the lady all the way in the door about Daddy fixing it and making it better. Who knew a broken toilet would finally get her to talk to the carpool teachers? One of the ladies told me, "She's such a grown up in that little body." Indeed, she is.

The EGR Update

If you pay attention to her ongoing dialog while she's playing, you will hear her "reading" her books to her babies. She has many of them memorized now. You'll also hear her read her Bible, which could be any random piece of paper she finds; I think it's because of the Bible story pages they use in Sunday school. She reads it like this, in her reading voice: "The Bible loves me this I know, Jesus tells me so." I love it.

She also pretends to be the teacher now and I've heard her tell her students that she was going to paint their hands for their mommies and daddies, and to "put your hands together; we are going to say the blessing." I've heard her sing the blessing once, but she won't do it again. When I ask her what her students are learning at school, she tells me "Jesus." I have to hand it to the Concord program, Jesus is the prevailing theme there. She's learning all kinds of things: colors, letters, shapes, songs, stories, manners, etc. but Jesus is the one thing she always comes home with.

The H. Luke Update

The Little Man has started to coo at us - usually when Ella and I are having breakfast and he's sitting at the table with us. He's growing so fast, it's already time to clean some clothes out of the dresser - many of them he has never even worn because they are long-sleeved and/or footed. I also think I need to take the extra head support out of his carseat, but he still needs it. I may need to just go ahead and adjust the straps for him. I have a feeling we'll be buying him a convertible seat before he's a year old because he's going to outgrow the infant seat.

He also does something I thought only happened in movies. He cries to be laid down. Then he goes to sleep. Without help. It only happens for the naps that occur early in the day, but still, EGR has never ever done that, to this day. The only time she falls asleep without help is while she's riding.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prelude to Menopause

At my two week postpartum check up, my doctor gave me one of his prepared speeches about the state of my body. It went something like this.

"Women your age are either pregnant or not pregnant, but really there is a third state after you have a baby that is more like menopause. You'll experience nightsweats, mood swings, etc due to the changes in your hormones.. blah blah blah."

At two weeks postpartum with my second child, it wasn't necessary to tell me I'd experience nightsweats. Holy puddles, they started before I even left the hospital. There is nothing like sitting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and feeling the pool of sweat between your boobs run downward to be soaked up by your shirt. Nothing like wet hair sticking to your neck so that you have to pull it back in a ponytail. Then, then as you sit out from under the wet sheets that you previously didn't need, you quickly turn into a drippy popsicle in the air conditioning and ceiling fan (both of which you can't live without). I'm constantly sweaty, cold, sweaty, cold until morning. Yeah, no need to tell me I'd experience nightsweats - how about telling me when they will end?!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Little Waitress

Apparently we eat out a lot because there is a new game in our house. Ella has a little black, flip open note pad that she uses to take our orders in full Waffle House style. It goes like this.

EGR: Mommy, what you have?
Me: Eggs and sausage.
EGR: (pretending to write on her pad) You want milk?
Me: Yes, milk, too. (she writes)
EGR: (flipping her pad closed, smacking it on her thigh, and tapping her foot) That all for you?

I couldn't help but laugh. When she's in the basement, she's a high tech waitress using a Texas Instruments graphing calculator to take our orders. Oh, and don't forget the kids' Coke.

Last night at the supper table, we had some conversation about using our forks correctly - i.e. not raking our food into the floor with them. When said fork disappeared a few minutes later, Dave asked her if she was still using it.
EGR: Yes.
Dave: Where is it?
EGR: I'm just holding it in my toes.
Me: Because toes are a perfectly logical place to hold a fork.

Again, I lost it. We didn't even correct her that time because both of us were laughing too hard.

At bedtime now, I have to tell her to stop talking and that we can talk about XYZ again in the morning. First thing this morning, she restarted her line of questioning about Pop's CPAP machine. She's quite the interrogator. I think she could break down any criminal out there with her persistent questioning on every tiny detail of any subject.

The H. Luke Update
Luke made his acting debut as the baby Jesus in church Sunday morning. He did great; he slept right through until our part was over and then he was ready to eat.

Last week we started him on Zantac for reflux. Saturday night I decided not to give it to him any more because it upsets his stomach so much that he cried more than he did with just the reflux. I think I'll be taking him back to the doctor to talk about this.

We've indoctrinated him into the bath and bedtime routine and now I think he really looks forward to it. I bathe him in the little tub on the bathroom counter while Ella plays in the big tub. He'll sit in the warm water and listen to her until she's finished playing, then he's ready for bed.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

My KidS

That's kids with a capital S because now I have more than one. A good friend of mine told me multiple times during my pregnancy that adding the second kid was a major adjustment for him, and a lot more work than having the first one. His kids have about the same age difference between them as mine. I took his warning in with a grain of salt, but I have to say that there are times when I think he's exactly right. And, there are times when I feel like I've found my stride and I'm handling this transisition very well. It depends very much on the quantity and quality of sleep I've had.

I've never tip-toed around the fact that the middle of the night is the most challenging part of motherhood for me. This time is harder, partly because I have two to parent, but mostly because I'd gotten so accustomed to one wake up for less than 20 minutes. I've had to make a big effort to adjust my expectations back to the newborn phase. Luke only wakes up a couple of times, but it takes a whole lot longer to get him back to sleep because we have to go through the whole nurse, burp, poop, change, swaddle, etc. routine each time. It's helped for me to think back to Ella's first few weeks and remember that I did the same things with her and this is normal. I was just less prepared for all of the middle of the night awake time this time around - which seems weird to me since I've done this before. It is doubly challenging when Ella wakes up, too, sometimes more than Luke, sometimes at the same times, sometimes because his crying wakes her, sometimes her crying wakes him - it's enough to make me curse under my breath as I trudge through the house in the dark.

Luke is more receptive to Dave cuddling him to sleep than Ella ever was, so he's been able to tag team with me on nights when it's really rough because they are awake and crying at the same time. Ella doesn't mind me bringing Luke to her bed to nurse while I sit with her until she falls back to sleep, but he sounds like a very noisy piglet while he's nursing so I often wonder how she even falls asleep at all with all that noise. She does, but some nights I have to tamp down my frustration when she keeps sitting up to look at him and my frustration with him at being so loud. (I told you, I'm at my worst in the middle of the night.)

Luckily, Ella is at an age and phase in her life where she seeks Dave out and he is very effective with her. The perfect timing of this is an answered prayer because I've really needed his help with her in the last three weeks. It's been very humbling to admit that there are times when he is more effective at parenting her than me. That's one reason why kids have two parents, I guess, but it's humbling for me anyway. It also makes me love him so much more. It's been cool to see how I've fallen in love with him differently with each kid.

But on days when it's good, it's so good. When I finally had a few hours alone with both kids to figure it out by myself, I felt so validated. I managed, they were both happy at the end of it, and there was peace in our house. I've had a lot of help from my family since I came home from the hospital because I really, really needed it. My recovery has been harder this time; I had a lot more pain and obviously a lot more to handle with a two year old. However, having someone with me all the time seems to negatively affect Ella's adjustment to sharing me. Sharing me with Luke hasn't been a problem, but sharing me with the grandmothers is more than she can handle at times.

Overall, I think she's adjusting well to being a big sister. Her new relationship with Daddy has really helped in times when I can't do what she wants/needs immediately and when she needs some focused play time. She may still choose to wait for me to be available, but Dave is an option now - and often a preference. She eagerly waits for him to come home in the evenings so he can play with her. She understands that all the things I do for Luke are things I did for her when she was a baby and I validate that every time she talks about it. She loves her little brother, and there is nothing sweeter than watching her kiss, cuddle, and talk to him.

He loves her, too. His eyes light up and he seeks her out when he hears her voice, and he is content to sit and watch her for a long time. I know that there will be times when they drive each other nuts, but I'm very happy that they will have each other.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Where are your nipples?

If my precocious two year old happens to ask you this question, please gently remind her that nipples belong under shirts unless they are feeding babies. Because she will ask to see them.

I thought the biggest theme of conversation when we brought Luke home would be about penises, but I was wrong. We've had two nonchalant conversations about testicles that went something like this.

EGR: What's that?
Me: What, poop?
EGR: No, what's that on his bomom (bottom)?
Me: Oh, his testicles. They are part of his boy parts.

Then she moved on. Nursing and nipples is quite a different story. The day he was born, she was in the room when the lactation consultant visited us and helped me get Luke to latch on the first time. As soon as the lady left, Ella started the running dialog about nursing Big Baby from her nipples and pulling up her shirt to show us. Frequently, she asks where our nipples are and wants to see them. Even Georgia's nipples are a point of curiosity. When she started asking people outside of our household, we started explaining that nipples are for feeding babies and when they aren't feeding babies, they belong under our shirts because they are private parts. She gets it, but curiosity gets the best of her sometimes.

I had some worries about her reaction to my nursing Luke because it's not been too long since she was a nursling. The day we came home from the hospital, she asked to nurse and I let her try. She didn't remember how, and my willingness to let her try was enough to satisfy her. Now, she has embraced the fact that babies drink milk and regularly tells me when he cries, "You need to give him milk." Last night, I was sitting in the bathroom floor nursing Luke while she played in the bath tub. It wasn't long before her plastic dolphin toys needed to nurse from her nipples. I just tell her it's great that she nurses her babies because mommy's milk is good for them.

The H. Luke Update
It's been a week since we went to Children's and I think he's finally getting back to normal. We had some really tough days with gas and diaper rash after all the antibiotics they pumped into his little body, but today has been much better. To my satisfaction, I did manage to swaddle him tight enough to calm him and get him to sleep decently last night. This is something I've struggled with since we came home with him because he is so strong. The kid scoots away from me while I'm changing his diaper and clamps his arms down to his sides when I try to change his shirt. It's amazing. He has rolled over one time, completely on accident, but that was before he was a week old. He lifts his head now and looks around for familiar voices. This morning, EGR and I gave him his first cooking lesson. He sat in the high chair with us while we made eggs, sausage and French toast. So far, he's pretty laid back most of the time.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

When Tiny Babies Have a Fever

You get sentenced to 48 hours at Children's Hospital with IV antibiotics pumping into a tiny, taped up, flipper hand.

Monday morning Luke seemed a little off, then he went 4 hours without nursing and promptly threw up on me after he did nurse. I took his temperature then and it was normal. A few hours later, it was 100.3 so I called the doctor. They worked us in within the hour. I packed a diaper bag for him and a couple of diapers for Ella, expecting to be told it was a virus and sent home to nurse, nurse, nurse and keep and eye on him until it ran its course.

Imagine my surprise when the doctor (not our regular doctor) told me we needed to go straight to the ER at Children's so he could have the full bloodwork done. It looked like he might have an ear infection, but because of his age (12 days), they couldn't make that assumption without checking for more serious causes - like meningitis and bloodstreem infections. Yikes. He had called ahead and the ER doctor was expecting us.

In a state of shock, with 2 diapers for my two year old who was wearing flip flops that hurt her piggy toes and the crap umbrella stroller I keep in my car for just such occasions, we were on our way downtown. I worked hard to keep my composure while letting my family know and explaining to EGR that we were indeed going back to the hospital because Luke was sick. After I had assured her, that very day, that I didn't have to go back to the hospital.

At 4:30 in the afternoon, they took us right into a room in the ER and that's where I learned that a full work up means: blood work (after squeezing vials of blood from Luke's already pricked and bruised heels), urinanalysis (after a catheter), and a spinal tap. And, oh, by the way, "when we do all of this, we go ahead and admit them for 48 hours to run IV antibiotics while we wait for the blood culture to grow."

I cried with him as they poked and prodded and squeezed out his blood because it's just physically impossible for me to sit there and listen to him cry like that without doing something. I left the room when they did the spinal tap and took that opportunity to tell Ella goodbye. She spent the night with Grandmother so that Dave could go home to pack me a bag and bring it back to me.

The preliminary bloodwork came back negative for any sort of infection, so we knew before we were admitted that it was most likely viral, but they started his IV and sent us to a room to wait for the culture to grow. Overnight, his fever went up to 102.6 and I was so very thankful to already be at the hospital when that happened. At 24 hours, the blood culture was negative but we still had to wait another 24 hours to make absolutley sure there was no bacterial infection. In that time, his fever went up and down and I had to work to get him to nurse. By the 48 hour mark he was much more himself, and the culture was still negative so we were released with the tiny baby dosage for Tylenol and Mylicon (the antibiotics really upset his stomach).

Now we are home, and though he still smells like the medicine they pumped into him, he is doing amazingly better. He ate and slept and woke up normally. He may have only been home for a week, but he knows that home is way better than Children's Hospital. I, myself, was so happy to take a shower and sleep on a bed that I was nearly giddy.

The EGR Update
Dave and I thought that the second night I was at the hospital with Luke would be a good time for Ella to stay home with him and go through the whole supper, bath, bedtime routine without me. We talked and talked to her about it and I'm excited to say it went off without a hitch. Well, only a minor hitch - there were crickets chirping outside her room so she was scared to sleep in there, but she slept the whole night through in bed with Daddy. There was no crying at bedtime. No self-induced vomiting. I'm so proud of both of them. I had a good feeling that if I wasn't physically in the house, she and Dave could work out bedtime without any problems and they did. He was very excited about it, too. They were both glad when we got home yesterday, and when I tucked Ella into bed last night, she didn't even stay awake through her bedtime prayer. She's still a bit worried and asking "What is wrong with 'uke?" but she has generally been a trooper through the mayhem that was the last 2 weeks of our lives.

Thanks to our family and friends that prayed for us; I'm so very grateful.