Friday, October 29, 2010

I Stink.

I got a fresh perm in my hair yesterday and when I got to Grandmother's house to pick up my sweet children I was greeted with a less than warm welcome. EGR ran up to me and stopped short a few feet away. She lifted her nose into the air, took a big sniff and backed away. She wouldn't come near me and if I tried to get close to her she moved away. This went on most of the evening, along with lots of discussion about why I stunk.

I had a feeling bedtime would be challenging because of my smelliness. I laid down next to her, keeping as much distance between us as possible. She kept scooting to the opposite edge of the bed. She wiggled and flopped and yawned until I finally asked her if she would like for Daddy to snuggle her since he wasn't stinky. She said yes, so I called him in. He cuddled her close and talked to her about my stinkiness. As if I weren't even in the room, she told him, "I don't want she to stink." She did ask me to sing Bingo to her and she finally fell asleep.

Later, Dave told me I smelled like I'd been in some kind of nuclear reaction but my hair was pretty. I'm still trying to accept that as a compliment. Personal stink is my weakness. I can barely tolerate others' stink (I wonder where my daughter gets it from?) and I work hard to not be stinky. Telling me I stink might be one of the best ways to insult me and make me feel self-conscious so it's no surprise that I woke up this morning with a small complex and nearly washed out my new curls before it was time. Instead I just pulled them into a ponytail and persevered. Tomorrow, clean hair.

In other news.. last night while Ella was running naked after her bath she told me she was going to potty standing up like a boy. Being unable to follow up on that bit of information because I had an actual naked boy on the changing table, I called in Dave for back up. When he got to the bathroom, she had already peed a gallon in her little potty, dumped it in the big potty, opened the cabinet and got a wipe, wiped her bottom and threw the wipe away and she instructed him how to transform the potty chair into a step so she could wash her hands. All by herself.

This morning I woke up to the noise of Luke making his morning poop. He was studying the ceiling in concentration. I leaned over him and said, "Hey!" and he answered me with a giant smile. Smiling wake ups are so much more pleasant than screaming ones.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have I told you about Big Baby?

Because one of the reasons I write this blog is to document my children's lives (I'm not good at filling in blanks in the baby books), I would be negligent if I did not write about Big Baby. I'm not talking about the Toy Story 3 character. Nope, Disney-Pixar really owes me money for that one, but I probably won't pursue it. I'm talking about the original Big Baby.

She came into my life circa 1984-ish as a Christmas gift (I think). At the time, she was nearly as big as me and looked very real - more real than she looks now with her floppy head and wonky eye. What can I say? She's nearly 30 and gravity is getting the best of her. From the time I met her she was full of mischief. She once kicked a jar of dill pickles off the shelf on aisle 3 in old Lucky's, and she's still up to mischief today. While I was pregnant with Ella, I used her to practice tying my wrap and putting a baby in it.

Ella inherited her sometime when she became interested in dolls. I encouraged her to name her, but she was, is and always will be Big Baby. All at once and separately she is Ella's daughter, grandaughter, student, babysitting charge, and alternate reality. She acts out her world on Big Baby and she uses her to process all that is happening around her. If you hang around long enough, you will hear her talk about Big Baby and all the things she does. She often uses my cell phone to call Big Baby's mama. Big Baby currently has a sinus infection and her ear hurts. She has to wash Big Baby's jacket because she throws up on it. She drops Big Baby off at her grandmother's house and picks her up after work. Big Baby has a cat named Cripsy who kills rabbits, mice, chipmunks, and turtles. She might be the only one who speaks Ella's other language - the one she reverts to when you ask a question she doesn't want to answer or when she just gets too tied up in her story to slow down and use the English words she knows. Big Baby does everything she does and some things she wishes she could do.

Without further ado, meet Big Baby, who is currently wearing Luke's hand-me-downs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Vomit Chronicles: Second Installment

I said I would write about spit up, and I'll try to include that here, but there have been more vomitous episodes since my last post so I thought I'd just prove how normal vomit is in our lives.

Last week, Luke was strapped down on the changing table, watching the animals sing and dance above him when suddenly a small geyser erupted out of him. Puke shot into the air and over the side of the table into the baby bed. I had to change all the bedding and, in moving the bed to take off the bumpers, I also found a large puddle on the floor. It must have run down the crack between the changing table (which also got scrubbed) and the bed. The poor kid looked at me with eyes the clearly said, "What the bleep was that?"

Tonight, bedtime with Ella was perfect. Daddy said goodnight early so she didn't get wound up while we read our story. The lights were out, she finished her milk, and we were working through the wiggling phase. I had reminded her couple of times to be still. She coughed. I was on alert. Then she said, "Mommy, I can't make my mouth be still." And threw up all over the bed. What must she have thought when I squealed and jumped out of reach? Okay, I didn't squeal. I'm more seasoned than that.

We went straight to the tub, her freaking out, Luke screaming because she was freaking out. Dave stripped the bed and grabbed Luke from his bed and I stripped the girlchild and bathed her. Again. She was already telling me she wouldn't throw up on Minnie - meaning her Minnie Mouse pajamas that she was about to put on since she had thrown up on her dog 'jamas. I asked if not being able to make her "mouth be still" is what it feels like when she is about to throw up. She said it is, and she also said she felt better and she could make it be still now. Let's hope so. I think we'd both like the clean Dora sheets and Minnie 'jamas to stay clean tonight.

Spit up - let's just leave it at Luke has a t-shirt he obviously doesn't like because he spits up on it as soon as I put it on him. Every time. And, it's not the milky kind of spit up that doesn't really stink. No, it's the yucky, half-processed, curdled milk spit up that reeks.

There you have it. Now, go and enjoy your kids who have control of their bodily functions.

Friday, October 22, 2010

He's Big. He's Big and He's Strong.

Luke had his 2 month check up yesterday. He weighed in at 12 lbs. 4 oz. and he was 24 1/4 inches long. Unbelievably, coming from two short parents, he's in the 90-95% for his length. He's a full 2 lbs. heavier and 2 inches longer than his sister was at this age. He showed the doctor his trick of standing on his own two feet, which led the doctor to comment that he will probably walk early. I'm not sure I'm happy about that prospect; I know I'm not ready for him to grow up so fast.

He cried a cry I've never heard before when they gave him the four shots, and then he just stopped and he was fine. I couldn't believe it. He did have sore legs and a tummy ache last night, but seems to be doing just fine today. He went to my doctor's appointment with me this morning and flirted with the nurses. They loved his one-dimpled smile.
These are my sweet sleeping babies. I love it when they sleep later than me.
You can see in this picture that EGR is like a heat-seeking missile when she's sleeping. As soon as I moved from my spot between them, she found him and snuggled up.
Here he is snoozing on the couch like his father.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quotes from Around the House

"Goldfish." - Ella, muttered sleepily when Dave kissed her goodbye at 5:45 this morning. She always knows when he has food, no matter how hard he tries to hide it.

"I love that Daddy. He's a sweet Daddy." - Ella, when I told her she had snuggled up with Daddy during the night.

"I don't wike trains." - Ella, this morning when we finally got to school after driving all over Calera to get around the train that was blocking our crossing. She was mad because the carpool line was over and I had to walk her inside.

"There is not a mouse in my shirt!" - Me, when Ella freaked out while cuddling at bedtime last night.

"Don't drink the water!" - Dave, to Luke while he was bathing him. Luke tries to catch the drips from the rag in his mouth.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Moments That Make It Worth It

Many days, sometimes many moments of many days, EGR's two-ness gets the best of me. The bull-headedness, the tantrums, the general disagreement with everything - in other words, her completely normal toddlerhood, just wears me down sometimes. But there are those moments that make it worth the struggle. Moments that melt my heart or just plain amuse me. These are a few recent ones.

I've been trying to praise her specifically for things she does that I like. For example, I might tell her, "I had a good day shopping with you today. Thank you for holding my hand while we walked in the parking lot and saying goodbye to the baby dolls when it was time to leave." This has led to her praising me, and it's so sweet. She tells me, "Thank you for having a good week with me, Mama." Once, upon parking in our driveway, she said, "Good job driving, Mom."

I recently painted her toenails pink at her request. A few days later she asked me to paint my toenails pink to match hers. I did, and now she tells me, "Thanks for painting your toenails pink like mine, Mom."

I think the best compliment I've received lately came from her. The child thinks everything stinks, and makes no bones about pronouncing things stinky - including me. I've never heard her say anything smelled good, until the other night. I was cuddling her at bed time and she turned her head into my neck and took a big sniff. I laid there waiting for her to tell me I stunk (because she has before), but she said in her sleepy voice, "You smell good, Mommy." I was so proud, I bragged about it to Dave.

We've been working hard on manners, so I've really been modeling them for her when I make requests or when she does what I ask of her. This results in lots of spontaneous "thank yous" and gradually more "pleases". It has also led to the most polite disagreement I've ever heard. When I ask her to do something she doesn't want to do, she'll respond with "No, ma'am!"

The other morning, I left her sitting with Luke at the breakfast table and when I came back into the room I overheard her talking to him. I don't know what all she said, but I heard her tell him, "There she is Wuke. Mommy's back now."

She has nicknamed her brother "Luker" which she pronounces "Wuker." It through me for a woop, I mean a loop, the first time I heard it.

Just this morning, she was trying to convince me to let her wear her black Mary Jane shoes to school. She knows that she has to wear tennis shoes so she can play on the playground, so when I told her she had to wear tennis shoes today, she told me the playground had moved to someone else's house. I had to bite my jaw to stop the laughter. I also have to give her credit for formulaing what would have been a very logical argument, had it been true.

H. Luke can't talk yet - well, not intelligible words anyway - but he makes it worth it when he smiles his toothless, one-dimple smile at me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Teething Fairy

The Teething Fairy visited us last night. Please do not confuse her with her sweet sister, The Tooth Fairy. She doesn't bring gifts and take teeth. No, she brings teeth and bad dreams of mice and bugs and lizards and things.

Last night, her plague of choice was a mouse. A mouse was in Ella's bed and I could not convince her otherwise. When I went into her room, she was screaming and running for the door. I couldn't even get her back in the bed. I turned on the light, ripped back the sheets and shook out the pillows to prove to her that there was no mouse. I think I said that phrase a thousand times. Once the light was off again, every lump and wrinkle in the blankets was a mouse.

I tried another tactic. We went to the laundry room for the fly swatter to kill the mouse. I swatted and swatted and swatted the bed everywhere she saw the mouse. She was still worried, so I called the cat in to sleep with her. I finally had to just put her back in there and cuddle her to sleep. That was no easy feat as she kept twitching and waking herself up each time she fell asleep. So, I invented a technique I call the Hand Swaddle where I held her hands and feet in my hands until she was asleep.

When I finally left her an hour after I went in there, she was sleeping tucked in with the fly swatter on one side and the cat on the other. My husband, my sweet sweet husband, thought it was hilarious when I explained all that had happened in the last hour. All I could think was, "I hope she uses that fly swatter to kill that stinking fairy."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Ella had her first field trip last Friday to the pumpkin patch. Although the day started with vomit (Yes, yes, it did. As we turned into the parking lot, the car sickness she was holding at bay got the best of her.) and it ended up being 100 degrees on that beautiful October day, we had fun. I think she might actually have had more fun without us, but that's not how preschool field trips work, so we got to have fun, too.

Here are Dave and Luke having lunch in the complete chaos that was the picnic pavilion. Did I mention that every other daycare and preschool in the area also had a field trip to the pumpkin patch that day? EGR on her mission to find the perfect pumpkin. With all the things we did, this was when she was most comfortable - trekking through a field of pumpkins looking for the smallest one she could find. She kept telling me, "Are you coming, Mom? We are almost there, Mom!"
We found it. The perfect pumpkin. It even has a handle. We also bought a tinier one in the gift shop to keep it company on the dresser in her bedroom. This was the hayride to the patch to pick out the pumpkin. Luke slept through most of the trip, and woke up twice to nurse. For the first time ever, I had a stranger approach me while I was nursing and it was to compliment me.
I'm so glad Dave got this shot because it only happened once. Ella has developed a fear of inflatables - so weird since we previously couldn't drag her out of them - and I carried her to the top of the slide and slid down with her. I thought she would decide it was fun. I was so wrong. She screamed bloody murder and cried giant tears all the way down. I felt so guilty when I realized she was truly terrified and not just afraid to try something different. I had fun though; I slid by myself 3 more times and made Dave try it, too.
This was Ella's first pony ride. She didn't want to do this either but she told me later that she liked riding the big horse and she wants to do it again one day. It was actually a very small horse, but compared to the miniature pony she got to pet that day, it was huge. The Learning Farm (a.k.a. petting zoo) was fun except for the bossy woman running the joint. She made us leave the little piglets before we were finished looking at them. Oh, and I got scolded for picking them up. How was I supposed to know I couldn't pick it up after she already told me I could pick up the baby bunnies? Ella enjoyed petting the animals that would let her and feeding them hay, which then turned into putting hay on them, but whatever.

It was a fun day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Vomit Chronicles

I was told recently about a 3-year old we know that has never thrown up until this week. Never. The burning question in my mind upon hearing this news: Where do I get one of those kids?

While I feel bad for the child because is must be disconcerting to throw up for the first time when you are so cognizant, it is mind boggling to me that a kid could eat, sleep, ride in the car, take medicine for three years and not throw up. Is that even possible?

Between us, Dave, the grandmothers, and I have cleaned up countless gallons of vomit. Vomit is so much a part of our daily lives that we actually have rules about it.
1. No fingers in your mouth. (This one prevents accidental vomit when she is exploring too deeply with all four fingers.)
2. If you throw up, you will clean it up. (This sounds harsh, but when you have a kid who can vomit at will, you have to do something to deter it.)
3. You must eat something before we ride in the car in the mornings. (Otherwise, she will throw up, typically as we turn into the parking lot wherever we are going.)
4. You must eat something before you take yucky medicine. (This rule was added just this morning when the yucky stuff bounced right off the bottom of her stomach, back up her throat, and onto my kitchen floor. This counts as Lesson 3 in the Second Medicine Wars.)
5. If you throw up your medicine, you just have to take it again. (See #4 above).
6. No opening the diaper can and sniffing it. (Yes, she does this and her sensitive gag reflex can't handle it.)

Vomit started early and often in EGR's life. Read here for our experience in The Evil Place when my very young baby puked so much that we had to have the lady with the mop clean it up. When she was merely an infant, she got car sick and still does. We've gone to great lengths to prevent and prepare for vomit. We've drugged her with Benadryl (it works). We keep a vomit cup in the car. In cold weather we put her jacket on backward over her carseat straps so we just have to shed one layer to clean up, and we keep an extra in the car. We always have a change of clothes for her. We've developed efficient techniques for cleaning puke out of the carseat buckles. We've trained her to puke in the cup, in the toilet, leaning over the hard floor with her feet spread wide so it doesn't get on her. We recognize the cough that means it's coming up, even if she's sleeping deeply. She pukes when she's riding, when she swings too long, when she smells something nasty too early in the morning, when she has sinus drainage, when the medicine is just too yucky, when she melts down completely, when she's in full tantrum - the possibilities are endless, really. Inevitably, if she has eaten shrimp (and she eats piles of it), she throws up later that night for some reason or another (No, it's not because she's allergic to shrimp, it's just coincidence.)

Even Luke, in his long 8 weeks, has thrown up on me so many times I've lost count. And, if the kids aren't throwing up, the cats or the dog leave a pile for us to find. Indeed, vomit is a part of our daily lives. It's so routine that it would take lots and lots of persistent vomit to for me to even consider that one of them might have a virus. Ironically, stomach virus is not one of the reasons Ella has ever thrown up.

Stay tuned for the next installment: Babies Who Don't Spit Up: What's that about?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Second Medicine Wars

EGR is fighting a nasty sinus infection right now and we just started the second round of antibiotics for it. She handled the first round very well - Omnicef, once a day for ten days. Day 10 got a little tricky, and included the second doctor's visit because I hadn't seen any improvement. Now, she has to take Augmentin and Mucinex twice a day, for ten days. We've gotten most of three doses in her, but it hasn't been pretty. Some things we've learned:

1. Even though she weighs nearly 33 lbs. and I'm newly recovered from a C-section (sort of), I can still hold her down if needed.
2. Spitting the medicine out really isn't worth it because then she just has to taste it again.

I hate holding her down and she hates being held down. Proving that I can really encouraged her to cooperate because I only had to do it for half a dose before she decided she would take it. It still isn't easy. The process requires an audience of people, animals, and toys that might need to know how to take medicine, counting, cheering, and bribing, but three doses are in. I'm hoping that she'll figure out that just swallowing it and getting it over with is easier than all the protesting.

This morning, Georgia, Gypsy, and Luke had to be present to watch her take it, she chased it with Diet Dr. Pepper, and I served her cheese Doritos with her biscuit for breakfast. Whatever; the medicine went down (after the first attempt was spit down her shirt). She tells me she doesn't like taking it, it's yucky. It is; it really, really is yucky. I think she's been very brave since she realized just how yucky it is. This morning, once she settled in to eat her Doritos, she told me, "I wike Motrin. It doesn't taste yucky." Poor kid.

I think the Mucinex is working already to clear her head, but I have instructions to bring her back Monday if she hasn't improved signficantly over the weekend. I'm ready for her to feel better. I need for her to feel better.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Oh, the drama...

Her ladybug sticker washed off in the bathtub.

I stepped on her foot.

She forgot to ask for her new lipstick until bedtime and her heart is broken that she has to wait until tomorrow.

She couldn't find her frog (it was in her hand).

All of these things inspired fits of tears this evening - between 7:15 and 7:45. I'm not talking about little tears; I mean great big, blubbering, slobbering, sobbing fits. It's pitiful. I just keep taking deep breaths and repeating to myself: "This too shall pass. This too shall pass."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that the ladybug sticker wasn't going to survive another bath. I think 2 is as many baths as can be expected for a sticker. She was hilarious, sitting in the bathtub with her arms propped on the sides so the stickers wouldn't get wet. All that's left now is the nasty sticky stuff that we will have to soak/scrub off over the next three days. Apparently, a sticker that would normally fall right off of a child's arm becomes cemented on after soaking in warm water.

I had a small meltdown myself last night after putting her to bed. Sometimes it just hits me that she's growing up so very fast. I can't figure out how she is two years old already, and as I laid beside her, studying her sweet face, I had a vision of her 16 years from now. I left her room and cried about it. No one ever told me it would hurt so much to watch them grow up. I think this is all hitting me a little hard right now because it's pretty likely that Luke is my last baby, and he's already outgrowing his 3 month sized clothes! Plus, I'll be going back to work in about a month, so I'm trying to soak up as much of his tiny babyhood as I can. If only there was a way to let them grow up and keep them little and cuddly, too, for those times when you just need to hold your little babies again. Two-year-old Ella is so much fun, but what I wouldn't give to hold her again when she looked like this.
I feel like everyone expects her to be even more grown up than she is because we have Luke now, and that's frustrating for me. Even I am guilty, but I'm trying to remember that she is only two. Just because she looks and talks like a three year old, doesn't mean she is as mature as one. One day, she was the baby, the next, everyone expects her to be grown and stop acting her age. When I realized that, I felt guilty. When I started thinking about how that must seem to her, I felt a stab in my heart. I pray constantly for guidance in raising her (and now Luke) - that I'll be able to teach them how to behave while still respecting them, that I won't completely screw them up, that I'll be strong enough to let go over and over again as they grow up. I'm doing the best I can, I think, and I hope that will be enough to grow them into successful, productive, empathetic, content, God-loving adults. He gave them to me to raise; I know He will help me do it.

The H. Luke Update
He was 7 weeks old on Wednesday. Monday, he rolled over from his stomach to his back. When I hold him in my lap, he will lean on my shoulder and stand up until his little legs just get too tired to support him. Just today, I watched him try to sit up straight from a semi-reclined position. I knew he was strong in the womb; he really is. He already plants his feet and scoots backward out of his diaper while I'm changing it. Like I told Dave over and over again while I was pregnant, he is a whole other ball of energy than Ella.

He consistently smiles and coos now in response to us, especially me and Ella. He loves the bouncy seat and the mobile above the changing table, otherwise he wants to be held so he can see your face or crunched up in a ball facing outward so he can see the world (depending on the time of day). Just as Ella does, he amazes me. He is beautiful and different and I love the smell of him. The smell is another thing I wish I could preserve for eternity. Heaven will smell like clean clothes and my babies' heads.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Few Pictures

This spunky face says it all, and look at the smirk on his. I think there's trouble in my future.
EGR really wants to play with him but right now she settles for holding him and chatting with him. This morning he was making noises and I asked her what he was saying. She said, "He's saying 'Elwa!'" Indeed, it did sound like he said, "Ella." He probably did.
This was his first bath as a real boy - sans cord stump. It fell off 2 days shy of 3 weeks old.
First day of church - 10 days old.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Overnight in the Roper House: A Sneak Peek

Last night was magical. Both kids were asleep for the night by 8:40, and after the evening meltdown, an early silence was much appreciated. I actually got a chance to lie on the couch by myself and have a conversation with my husband. It was glorious.

I went to bed a little after 10, and I knew that Luke would be awake soon because his last feeding was at 7 pm. He woke up at midnight and I nursed him and put him back in his little bed. When he woke again at 1:20, I realized that there was another little body half on top of me and I had my arm wrapped around her. I had no recollection of her getting in bed with me. I rolled her onto Dave's pillow and sat up to nurse Luke. Dave came to bed then (I've said it before, don't ask about his night time habits.) and I told him, "There's a pixie on your side. You can try to move her back to her bed."

He scooped her up and stepped two steps out of the room when I heard, "Miiiilk." I started laughing, then she realized he was carrying her and she said, "I want to go see Mommy." He put her back where she was, left the room for a few minutes, then came back with her milk cup. She was asleep, so he took it back to the kitchen and did something else before he came back and moved her over so he could get in bed. She responded with, "NO!" I said, "Shh, he sleeps in this bed, too." And she said, "You're a sweet daddy." All of this while she was not really awake.

We sleep in a queen-size bed. Luke's bed is a side-car next to me. There's just not enough room to sleep that many people for more than a couple of hours of early morning snuggling, so I told him I would take her back to her bed when I finished feeding Luke.

I put Luke back in his bed and got Ella up and into her bed. Then we had to get up again for the milk cup. We settled into her bed and I heard Luke's protest: "Aaack! Aaack!" Dave came to Ella's room and said, "Just take her back in there and I'll sleep in here." I said, "Just let me get Luke, and sleep in your spot." He brought Luke to me, who immediately stopped crying when I tucked him in on the other side of me. We slept like that until 3:00, when I woke up and moved Luke and I back to our bed. He woke up shortly after that to nurse and didn't want to go back into his bed so I tucked him into my armpit for the rest of the night. I think I nursed him once more before Ella came back in during the 6 o'clock hour and we cuddled three in a row until it was time to get up. I'm not sure what time Dave left for work, but it was before Ella came back. I vaguely remember hearing his alarm at 5:00. I don't know if he was in the bed then or not.

The best part was that no one pooped, so I didn't have to change a diaper until it was time to wake up this morning.

I woke up amazingly rested.