Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Foto Fun

Between my knack for closing my eyes whenever a camera is present and Ella's inability to sit still, capturing a photographic moment of the family is interesting. These are a few from Thanksgiving, which is when we usually take a Christmas card picture. My sister was the photographer, but she did get to join in the fun.

Look at all those teeth we've worked so hard to grow. The last one is finally coming through this week.
Busy in the new playroom - which, by the way, she told her teacher she is thankful for.
She is probably looking for a lipstick or an eyeshadow in that purse. The girl already loves her cosmetics.
My sweet boy. He really could not be any more different from his sister. I think they will balance each other very well one day.

 My sister and I being silly.
 And Dave, making fun of us.
 I think this is my favorite one of the day.
Classic Roper family picture.
We did get a decent one for our Christmas card, and hopefully I will find the time to address them before Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"He did it again."

I am a hypocrite.

In the last week, I’ve had conversations with two different people during which I was reminding them that holding on to anger just makes you bitter. My heart is full of anger and I have not been able to let it go. I’m not sure if I’ve really tried. I have talked to God about it, but it’s like that old dish rag I just keep taking back from Him and wringing more dirty water out of. Like I think He can’t handle the job.

The truth is, I like being mad. I like to wallow in it and think about all the things I want to say, even when I can feel the bitterness taking over, turning the edges of my soul black. Anger is much easier than hurt, which is what I know will take its place when I finally let it go. So, I keep taking it back and squeezing more out until I’m just tired, but it doesn’t go away. And it doesn’t change anything.

We, my family and I, are rapidly approaching a very upsetting anniversary. The anniversary of a Sunday afternoon when I was snuggled on my couch with a sick child when the phone rang and it was my mother, who greeted me with: “He did it again.” Those are four words that are forever etched in my memory. The “he” was my youngest brother; the “it” was his second suicide attempt. We had only found out a couple of weeks before that his previous accidental overdose was actually his first suicide attempt.

I sat on my couch and cried and screamed for Dave to come upstairs and hold me. All I could think about was how I would explain to Ella that Uncle Joshua died.

He didn’t die. He spent one night in the hospital and was sent home the next day. We still don’t know why they didn’t keep him there. We spent weeks terrified that he would try again. Every time the phone rang, every time we passed an ambulance, I wondered if he had made another attempt. All the drugs in their house were hidden and under lock and key. We were cutting meat with butter knives because the sharp ones were put away somewhere. He was under 24 hour supervision. Suicide watch. Weeks turned to months and the security slacked up, as my mother and stepfather tried to find some semblance of normalcy again, whatever that may be. It was a life-changing event, and like a rock dropped in a mud puddle, it rippled outward to affect more people than he will ever know.

And, I’m mad about it. Still.

I’m mad when he doesn’t get out of bed because it sets a bad example for Ella. I’m mad when he does get out of bed because she loves him so much and I don’t trust that he won’t do it again. I’m mad that the chances of her attempting suicide are increased simply because he, an older family member, did. I’m mad that I’ve had to seriously consider changing child care arrangements, maybe even quitting my job, to limit her exposure to him. I’m mad that I feel like I should be defending him when people ask about him, but I’m too mad to find any empathy in my heart for him and then I feel guilty. I’m mad that I feel guilty about that. I’m mad about how his actions have affected the relationships around him. I’m mad that he can’t stand face to face with me and talk about it, or even admit that he did it. I’m just mad.

And, I don’t understand.

I don’t understand what makes someone decide that their very best option is to take their own life. Pack a bag and leave? That I understand. That I’ve done. But kill myself? Not bloody likely. I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I would feel like that was my only option.

So here I am, now, renewing my effort to pray without ceasing for him, for my family members, and telling others to pray also, when it occurred to me that my heart is full of anger. That I cannot pray, and that I cannot pray effectively, because of my own bitterness. So now every prayer I pray starts with, “God please take this anger from my heart. I know I keep taking it back from you, please forgive me for holding on to it.” Until I let it go, nothing I do or say will help the healing. I need a new perspective. I need to see some change. I need some sign that there is hope that this situation we’ve been fighting through for nearly a year isn’t just going to end up in more hurt and loss.

These are just a few very scary national statistics for you (from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention):

• Over 34,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
• Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years in the United States (28,628 suicides).
• Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old.
• A person dies by suicide about every 15 minutes in the United States.
• Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
• There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for every suicide death.
• Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 24 million people.
• More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (17 million), cancer (12 million) and HIV/AIDS (1 million).

The phone number you should call if you or someone you love is in danger of committing suicide:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goodbye Diapers

Today is the fifth day since my sweet daughter officially became a panty-wearer. It's the third day since her last accident. I am so proud for her. She is loving being able to handle her potty business without my help, she just lets me know when she's finished so I can empty the bowl for her. I was a nervous wreck when she insisted on wearing panties to school Monday, but she has done fantastic.

I don't know what exactly pushed her off the diaper cliff into a pile of princess, dog, frog, duck, kitty, Dora, and Sponge Bob panties, but I'm glad she finally made the leap. We have had numerous conversations during which I've told her that if she doesn't want me to change her diaper she needs to be wearing panties and using the potty. We have read Diapers Are Not Forever countless times. Then Grandmother had what might have been the eye-opening conversation with her when she pointed out that I don't wear diapers and neither to any of the other grown people in her life. It was that afternoon that she started wearing panties full-time, except for overnight. The first night, when I put the diaper on her at bedtime, she had a fit because she didn't want to wear it and she waddled around the house trying not to let it touch her.

It will be a while before I will let her wear panties at bedtime because she's not staying dry overnight yet, and she only wakes up after she pees in the diaper. However, we've put a new routine in place where she must use the potty as soon as she gets up in the morning. Two out of three mornings I've had to bodily put her there and make her sit, but she did it. Why do kids hate using the bathroom first thing in the morning? She tells me she doesn't need to. As if. I know that if the diaper doesn't weigh five pounds, she still has to pee.

The pooping still needs work, but she - WE - are working on it. She did try to poop in the potty last night as I read a large stack of books to her (which gave me flashbacks to potty training with my brother), but we finally opted for a diaper because she just couldn't make it happen and supper was on hold because Luke was requiring Dave to play with him. We will just keeping practicing that part until she gets it.

In other EGR news, she is practicing for a Christmas musical at school. I have no idea what song she is learning, but I do hear her saying "Hallelujah" occasionally and she's been reading to her babies/students about a newborn king. She found some Little People farm characters and she's pretending they are the baby Jesus. I think she's ready for me to bring out her Nativity set - which I can't wait to do, the day after Thanksgiving.

The H. Luke Update
Luker is up to his usual antics of cooing, talking, smiling, and flirting with everyone. He fusses at me in the evenings if he hears Dave come in but I don't hand him over to him. He does look forward to seeing his Daddy. He sat in the basement with Dave and I while we worked on Project Christmas over the weekend and I set him up in the bouncy seat with a musical walker toy in front of him. That child figured out that he could kick the walker and make the music play. He's wearing some 6 month sized clothes and they fit him all too well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reflux Part Deux

EGR visited the allergist this week and we found out that her reflux is a probable cause of her chronic sinusitis. The doctor offered an upper GI study, but I opted for a trial on the medicine instead. I see no reason to subject her to that test when we know she has it and she's been medicated for it before. She is now taking Prevacid once a day, and because the pharmaceutical world obviously thinks it's funny to watch harried mothers give young children medicine, I have to break open the capsules and sprinkle the granules on her food or in her drink. Yeah right. I put it her drink the first day and after one sip she said, "Mama, what's in my teeth?" I told her it was surprise. She didn't argue, and eventually the granules do dissolve so she just drinks it down. When she was on Prevacid as a baby, she ate chewable tablets. Do you think they still make those? Of course not. That would be too easy to administer. I really have beef with the pharmaceutical industry. It should just be easier to give kids medicine. Anything nasty tasting should be administered via a patch between the shoulder blades - especially narcotic pain medicine. Why should they have to suffer because it tastes bad and you can't reason with a toddler? Sorry, I'm ranting.

She no longer has to take the antihistamine the pediatrician prescribed, but now she's taking Singulair instead. It is a very tasty chewable tablet, so bedtime medicine got slightly easier in that regard. Unfortunately, she still has to use her Flonase, but I only have to do one spray in each nostril instead of two. Oh, and I should point it to the side of her nose, not straight up and down - making it that much more difficult to administer it to a wiggling child. The allergist told me to do it after she falls asleep. I gave it a try; she jumped right up after the first spray. Why does nose spray have to be sprayed so accurately?

We have a follow up appointment in two weeks, and she'll be having allergy skin testing done that day. I did get reassurance from the nurse that it's needle-less, but it will still be a bunch of scratches with little plastic sticks. I started praying last night that she'll be cooperative that day because it will be very traumatic, even without needles, if I have to hold her down for it. The whole process lasts only 10 minutes, but any mother knows how very long 10 minutes can be.

My gut tells me that the reflux is the cause. It's something that's been tickling my mind for weeks, so I'm happy to be treating it again. Her sleep has already improved dramatically after two days of new medicine. I'm quite sure reflux is the reason she sometimes cannot make her "mouth be still."

The H. Luke Update
H. Luke is three months old today. We are running into a pesky problem with that one. He's bored, but he is still a bit too wobbly on the top to put him in the Exersaucer or Johhny Jump Up. For now, I'm putting him in the high chair with a tray full of toys to work on putting in his mouth. It does keep him occupied for a while. The real issue is that he wants to be down in the floor doing what Ella does. His very favorite thing is when she interacts with him, even if she's taking things away or not being nice. He doesn't care, he just loves her attention. Yesterday, he sat up in my lap, holding my fingers for balance, and had a tea party with her and the babies.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm so tired of snot.

My snot, Ella's snot, Luke's snot, even Dave has snot. I'm tired of wiping it, blowing it, sucking it, and medicating it. When will it end? The amount of medicine Ella is taking right now is ridiculous. Last night she came into the kitchen as I was preparing her drugs and just started picking up syringes and trying to take it herself - four of them and nose spray. And, by the way, giving nose spray to a 2 year old is not a fun chore. She hates it, I hate it, and half of the time it goes in her eye as she turns her head while I spray it. Grrr.

Then...Then she goes to bed and just as she's falling asleep, she starts coughing and she has so much gunk in her throat and she coughs so hard that she throws up. Poor kid.

I spent so much time at the doctor's office during my maternity leave, I feel like we need to add the pediatrician to our Christmas card list. She's on her fourth round of antibiotics since mid-September and I just got a call from preschool to pick her up because she's running a fever and coughing too hard to sleep. We have an appointment with an allergist tomorrow for allergy testing, but I'm skeptical. She's been taking allergy medicine every night for weeks and I can't see that it's doing anything.

I think I might go pull my hair out now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Back in the Grind

Maternity leave is officially over and I am back at work today. So far, I've been very productive. I've socialized, put in my vacation requests for the rest of the year, and pumped 8 oz. of milk. Shortly, I'll go find out what form my work torture will assume, but for now, I'm updating this blog while I have access.

The leaving wasn't as hard this time as it was with Ella. In part because I've been leaving her for two years, and in other part because Luke is just different than her. I don't have the intense worry about how he will handle being away from me like I did with her. I miss his cuddly little self already, but I don't fear that he's screaming his head off in my absence. He laughed and talked all the way to Grandmother's house this morning and he gave me a giant grin when I kissed him goodbye.

EGR was completely excited to get back in the routine. The first thing she said when she became aware that I was dressing her awake was, "We are going to Grandmother's house?" She disappeared as soon as we got there, but she did spare a moment to blow me a kiss and say, "Bye, Mom" as I walked out the door. My, how she has grown up. I really can't even call her a toddler anymore. Preschooler is much more accurate.

The morning was amazingly smooth. EGR came to my room and went back to sleep before I got up to shower and H. Luke woke up at the same time, ate, and went back to sleep. I woke them both up in time to dress them and roll them out of bed and into the car. The beds aren't made, but the kitchen is clean and I didn't forget anything so I'll call it a success.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bits of Fun

Today, I noticed some blue Bic scribbling on the wall in my living room. The likely culprit was sitting in the floor reading her books, so I asked her what it was. I expected to hear something about how Big Baby did it, but as usual, she surprised me when she matter-of-factly stated, "A snake." I laughed. Hard.

Some amusing person put little tubs of Play-Doh in the treat bags at her class party last week, so of course when she found it she needed to play with it. I've been limiting it to the table on the porch for now, but then I realized that there is a beautiful thing about Play-Doh. It's technically a food product. She has given it a taste and spit it out, but Sweet Georgia Brown doesn't care that it's virtually tasteless, she eats it because it's food. I don't think EGR has realized that it is slowly disappearing. Now that I've got someone else to clean it up, I'll be a little more willing to let her play with it in the house. Then I'll check the yard for technicolor poop.

The H. Luke Update
H. Luke is happy as ever, and maybe even happier now that he's figured out how to get the trunk of his little stuffed elephant into his mouth for chewing. He's been working hard at it for about a week, and he finally got it yesterday. I swear the kid is teething already.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy Halloween

I think, in an effort to not celebrate Halloween on Sunday, we (Collective we, not me specifically because I think it's a load of dookie to trick or treat on Saturday just because Halloween is on Sunday, but that's a post for another day.) successfully stretched it into 3 days of observation. I'm glad it's over. I've had enough tantrums brought about by too much sugar, too little routine, and too little sleep. By Friday afternoon, we had a pink scull ("It's not scary") full of candy and three treat bags. We had also seen a giant chicken walking up and down Main street and had many discussions about whether the chicken would hurt her. I think she was too worried about the chicken to notice the very scary masks that kept passing by our stroller. However, by Sunday she had forgotten about the chicken and was slighty terrified of the Cat in the Hat. That did not make my life easier.

This picture sums up the evening.
This was the first picture of the afternoon. Just look at them. They look like they are about to wreak havoc on the world.

Next year, I have to think up something calm and happy for thier costumes because these ended up being a self-fulfilling prophesy. I could not get them back in thier box fast enough.

Maybe they'll be snails. Or sloths.