Monday, August 30, 2010

My little angel...of death?

You'd never know by looking at that sweet little face, but I'm beginning to think that R is an agent of the Grim Reaper.

I've been fairly fortunate when it comes to experiencing death. Since I was born, three of my great-grandparents died, but they were all really old, and it was expected. My grandpa died unexpectedly on Christmas Day six years ago, which was pretty awful. There have also been some people in the same school/company/etc., but no one who was really in my circle.

Since R was born, however, death seems to be much more prominent in my world. In the past four months, I've been to one funeral or visitation a month. It hasn't been anyone I was personally that close to - B's fraternity brother's fiancee who we'd spent some time with, a friend's mother, a coworker's husband, and just this weekend, another coworker's baby - but the degree of separation between me and mortality has been greatly reduced.

I thought the streak would end after the third, but R continues to bring death into my orbit.
* * *
As you may have figured out, this post has nothing to do with R being a harbinger of doom (I don't really believe that, in case you were wondering), and everything to do with the death of my coworker's baby. It has really, really gotten to me.

He was her first child. He was perfect and tiny, with tons of dark hair. His mommy and daddy were so excited to have him in their lives. He turned one month old on Friday, and was gone when they went to check on him Saturday morning. No one has any more details right now, but SIDS is the likely culprit. I've felt physically ill about it since I heard the news this morning.

Sadly, this isn't the first infant death I've been associated with. A dear friend lost her daughter a couple of years ago, and though my heart broke just as much for her and her family as it it's breaking for my coworker and her husband now, it feels different this time. I think the difference is that this poor, sweet baby died after I became a mother.

The love you feel for a child is different from the love you feel for a spouse or a parent. It is fierce and it is strong. And even on the worst of my days, even when I feel like I hate my sons and despise my role as mother (which still happens occasionally, unfortunately), the love is still there. It might be deeply buried under all the negative emotions, but it's still there and I know it. The childless among you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, and I don't blame you - I would have done the same thing two years ago - but trust me on this one. It really is that intense.

Now that I know that kind of love, I'm a little better able to fathom what the loss of a person you love so deeply and strongly must feel like. And it's heartrending.

Believe it or not, I'm a deeply empathetic person. When those I love hurt, it hurts me, and I want to do anything I can to make the hurt go away for both of us. You don't have to be my BFF or my sibling for me to feel that way about you, either; you could just be someone who works in another department of my company and happens to eat lunch at the same time I do.

I hate not knowing what to do or say, fear saying or doing the wrong thing. I hate that I'm worried about how I feel in this situation. And, most of all, I hate that this precious life is already gone from the world, before he even had a chance to really be in it.

So, moms and dads, give your kids an extra hug and kiss tonight. And thank the Lord (or whatever higher power you might believe in) that you're still lucky enough to be able to love on them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The end of the easy

All my adult life, I've wondered how some people can let themselves get into certain situations. These aren't good situations, and I didn't get why people kept on those paths.

But now I do.

And the answer is simple: because it's easier.

You make what you think is a good or right choice, discover that it's not, but don't do anything to change your path because staying the wrong course is easier. You keep making the same bad choices and decisions over and over and over because they're easier.

Until one day they're not.

Denial and poor choices make a pretty flimsy dam, and all the shit that's been building up behind the dam for days or weeks or months will soon come crashing down on you. On that day, you wake up to find yourself buried under the pile of shit you've been keeping at bay.

When the dam breaks, you have two choices. You can lay there under your pile and waste away. Or you can start digging yourself out. Slowly, painfully, messily digging yourself out.

I've made some poor choices - some recent, some not - which have gotten me into a couple of bad spots, but that all changes now. Today I stop taking the easy path and start digging out.

And hope I don't suffocate before I make it to the top.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ER-ventures

Nearly 22 months into this whole parenting mess, we finally made our first trip to the emergency room on Friday night. When I got home from work W was wheezing a little, which isn't terribly unusual. Ever since he had croup last year, everything goes straight to his chest. I think he's got some pollen allergies, too, because it seems to happen when he's been out playing on high-pollen days (like Friday). I did what I normally do - gave him a breathing treatment. That magical little machine normally knocks out the wheezies, and life goes back to normal.

Not on Friday.

So, about half an hour later, I gave him a second breathing treatment with medicine number two. He was still wheezing up a storm and his little chest was heaving like crazy (I learned later that this little trick is called "retracting"). I waited about an hour after the second treatment, then called my mom. She told me to call the ped's office. I did so. Well, actually, during off hours, you have to call the nurse supervisor in the ER, who then determines whether the on-call doctor should get involved. After I sat on hold for 15 minutes, I hung up and called a local urgent care center. The sweet nurse (who made me wait less than a minute...just sayin') relayed my concerns to the doctor, who told me to take W to the ER. I was really hoping we could just do urgent care, but they apparently can't do too much with breathing problems.

So off we went. This was around 7:30. I chose an ER downtown because that's the closest of the three children's hospitals in the city. In my haste to get W to a hospital, I conveniently forgot that the location I chose is awfully damn ghetto, and isn't really a nice place to be after dark. Oops.

Even knowing that, I was shocked by how inner-city the ER was. It was trashy. This is not a crappy, inner-city-type hospital - it's a major medical center in the area - so I was slightly surprised. Regardless, they got us in and triaged pretty quickly.

We were taken directly back to the pediatric area as soon as the triage nurse was done with us. Then I sat and repeated my story about a bazillion times. I'm pretty sure no one who works at this place talks to anyone else, as I had to repeat the same thing to everyone who walked in our room (and I caught one of the interns/residents/baby doctors not listening. She was shocked when the head doctor said something about W's history of wheezing. I know I told her about the croup-wheezing connection. Tsk, tsk).

Once W was evaluated, he got a breathing treatment, and sounded a million times better. But they still sent us for a chest x-ray. Have you ever seen a toddler get a chest x-ray? It's sort of hilarious. They stick the kid in this contraption to keep them still. Even though W was screaming his head off, there was just something funny about his little hands flailing around out the top. I stood there covering my mouth and trying not to laugh. I kinda hope the techs thought I was trying to not cry; that option makes me look like less of a horrible mother.

The x-ray was fine (no pneumonia), but W started getting wheezier and was doing a lot more retracting, so he got another breathing treatment and an RSV test. That's another fun one. Really. The nurse dropped some saline in W's nostrils, then sucked it out with a snot-sucker and put it in a cup. W loves the snot-sucker so much to begin with, and having this done around 10:30 PM (AKA three hours past bedtime) was a treat.

The RSV test was negative, but W was still showing symptoms. The head doc - who was great, by the way - was kind of nervous about sending us home, even with the negative tests, because W's respiratory rate was still really high, and he was still retracting. He called the on-call ped from our practice, who gave him the go-ahead to send us home, on the condition that we came to the clinic's walk-in hours on Saturday morning. I was fine with that.

The patient (in a crappy, blurry cell phone pic) toward the end of our visit. He hated the oxygen monitor on his toe.

While we were hanging around our shared room, another kid came in. His eye was swollen, and his mom thought it was a bug bite. Turns out that this kid had what the head doc referred to as "really nasty, really long-lasting" pink eye. When I was younger I would catch pink eye if someone with the virus looked at me from a mile away. I'm serious. So as soon as I heard the word "conjunctivitis" come from the other side of the curtain, I groaned internally. The last thing we need right now is awful, awful pink eye that lasts two-to-three weeks. Yes, you read that right. And the infected person can't go to work/school/daycare until it clears up. So far, we seem good. R's eye was kind of puffy this afternoon, but I think that's more sinus-related than pink-eye-related. I'm assuming he's got the same virus that W does, which is causing some sinus stuff, which is causing the puffy eye. I'll take him to the ped tomorrow, and hope that I'm right.

Anyway, we were discharged with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis, instructions to keep up with the breathing treatments, and no real explanation for why it happened.

We got home around midnight, and Captain Perky Pants started running around like a maniac. I love albuterol...can you feel the sarcasm dripping through your monitor? Luckily for me, I was able to get him settled down and to bed around 12:30. Unluckily for me, R decided that he was going to get up for the day at 5:30. He's never done that before. He always goes back to sleep after his butt-crack-of-dawn feeding. B was working, so it was just me and my super happy baby at that ungodly hour. It was awesome.

When it got to be a more acceptable hour of the morning, we headed off to the ped's office. It took for-freaking-ever! I ran into a parade, an accident, and traffic from a semi-big-deal sporting-type-event. The doc was the same one who had been on-call the night before, so he already knew what was going on. He checked W over, told me it's probably just a virus, and if this were winter, his symptoms would be totally normal. W was back to breathing and acting mostly normal, which was a relief for everyone. Nothing's more unsettling than hearing your pediatrician tell you that he was pretty scared for W when he got the call from the ER doc the night before.

So that's the tale of our first visit to the ER. It all ended up fine, but W had me a bit scared for awhile. I'm hoping that was our last trip there for a long time to come.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Respite

W is staying at Grandma's tonight so she can take him to the county fair tomorrow.

R has been growth spurting or something lately and has been up multiple times a night, so I've been getting far less than the optimal number of hours of sleep a night. And I'm tired.

B has been working 10-hour days, six days a week, and is going to 12-hour days, seven days a week any time now. He's tired.

I have discovered that toddlers don't understand tired. They don't understand "Mommy wants to stay inside and play." My toddler only understands that he wants to go "ow-ide" as soon as we get home, wants to stay out there long past bedtime, and wants Mommy (or even Daddy, if he's feeling generous) to run and play and climb and splash with him. Which is hard when you're tired.

All of this is why I'm so, so thankful that we're getting a bit of a break tonight. Taking care of R requires far less moving and far less being vertical than taking care of W. I enjoyed being slightly sloth-like this evening.

But I'm sort of looking forward to having my crazy, hyper toddler home tomorrow night.

By popular demand

Ok, so one person asked about my RSS feed, but that counts as "popular," right?

Anyway, I've added subscription links off to the right. --->

I have no idea how that stuff works, but I have faith that Blogger will guide you through.

I've also tweaked the look a little bit. It's nothing much, but it's the best my functionally-computer-illiterate self can do until I can afford to pay someone to overhaul the whole blog for me.

Enjoy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Poop is hilarious when it's not happening to you

My mom watched the boys for me yesterday. Being the nice daughter I am, I left her a Groupon I bought for a local cupcake shop, our zoo membership, and two well-fed babies. On my way out the door, I stuck R in the Bumbo, but before I could get too far, Mom asked if he was still pooping a lot from the antibiotic he was on (not sure I mentioned it, but he had his first ear infection two weeks ago. Awesome). I told her, no, he's pretty much done with that - he hadn't pooped since Sunday. (As some background, R generally only poops once every three or four days, so this isn't all that unusual). Mom immediately went into grandma-mode and was all concerned. I reassured her that it was normal for him (which she knows), and mentioned that he was about due for a nice BM. Then I left.

As I'm pulling into the parking lot at work 30 minutes later, my phone rings. The conversation went something like this:

My mom: "You owe me."
Me: "Why?"
My mom: "R pooped. A lot. I went to pick him up from the Bumbo, felt a wet spot on his back, and found poop up to his shoulder blades. And not just a little bit of poop; there were chunks."
Me: *Hysterical laughter* "Well, I told you he was about due for one..."

A blow-out in the Bumbo is never a good thing...the poo has nowhere to go but up.

About 10 minutes later, I get a text from Mom asking if I have a shirt she can borrow because she somehow got poo on hers.

Fast forward about half an hour, and I get another text. It said, "Hoping I'm done with poop. W's came out the side of his diaper and go all over Lightning McQueen." My reply (as I'm laughing my ass off) was, "You've definitely earned your cupcakes!"

I didn't get any more calls the rest of the day, so I assumed that the poop-scapades were over. But I was wrong. There were a couple other poop-related incidents my mom had to deal with. Lucky her.

I think it's fair to say she was not pleased with the amount of fecal matter she had to handle yesterday. But I personally found it pretty damn funny. Like the title says, poop is hilarious when it's not happening to you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Help me pick out some pretty

I have a gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl, but don't know what I want to get. What do you like? Leave me a comment and help me decide!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blah, ugh, and meh

That about sums up my mood lately.

I'm just...eh. I kinda feel like I'm on the downward side of another PPD slope. I hope not, but I think that's where this is heading.

I don't know what to do to combat it, either. More meds? Probably not. Back to therapy? Not really feasible right now. Doing some of my happy things? No time or money.

So, I slide.

Sad thing is, I can pretty easily pinpoint several things that are causing the stress and anxiety that precipitated this Mood. Unfortunately, they're pretty far out of my control. So, I'll continue to plod along, like always, doing the best I can to keep my head above water.

And always hoping that the downward slope quickly turns into an upward one.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There's a disappointed birthday child out there somewhere

My cell phone rang this morning and showed an unfamiliar number. As I'm wont to do with such calls, I ignored it. I checked my voicemail later, and laughed out loud when I heard it was from Geoffrey, the Toys 'R' Us mascot. Seems like someone accidentally put my number in when they signed up for the TRU birthday club, and rather than their child getting a birthday phone call from a lovable giraffe, I got a good laugh.

So I'm sorry, Birthday Kid, whoever you are. Hopefully you get your giraffe-dial next year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Toddler troubles

Man, I swear W is going to be the death of me. That kid just keeps coming up with new ways to drive me crazy. Right now, the issues are eating, tantrums due to lack of patience, and overwhelming mommy issues. I need some advice.

Eating. The kid pretty much won't eat anything any more. He loves crap food (cookies, cake, chips, etc.), which we very rarely give him. I make a point of not eating junk food when he's awake, just so the issue doesn't come up. He's a grazer. He'd munch all day if he could (and we tend to let him do that on weekends. We leave a portion of whatever food it is on his table, and he'll go back to it off and on for a few hours).

The real problem is that he doesn't like main dish-type foods, and it's becoming an issue at daycare. Their fallback food is PB&J, which W likes, but he seems to be getting sick of. And, since he refuses to try anything new or different-looking, we're running out of options. He'll eat oatmeal, PB&J, pizza (but usually only if he's eating from my piece), waffles, pancakes, cereal...I think that's about it. He won't eat meat. At all. He used to eat lasagna (and other Italian-type foods), mac & cheese, and grilled cheese, but he's given up on all of those. Daycare is begging for some new ideas, and I just don't have any.

I'd like some new ideas for him, too. I'm kinda tired of giving him the same things over and over and over again. His meals consist of some combo of the stuff I listed above and applesauce, peas, carrots (sometimes), corn, bananas (sometimes), pineapple (sometimes), crackers (any type), yogurt, and, uh, I think that's it. Help?

The tantrums. I'm sure this is normal toddler behavior, but the kid completely loses his shit when the situation calls for a little patience. If I'm in the middle of doing something, he wants attention, and I ask him to wait a minute, he freaks. If he asks for something and I don't get it for him immediately, he freaks. Is there anything I can do about this?

Finally, the mommy issues. Oh, the mommy issues. W is a momma's boy. He likes spending time with me. He prefers me over his dad, no matter what. He wants me to do everything for him. He flips out when I leave (even if it's just to go to the bathroom). If he wants or needs anything, he comes to me. He wants my attention all.the.time. Which is all well and good until I need to nurse R or go to the bathroom (and have the audacity to try to do so with the door closed!) or leave for an appointment. Frankly, it exhausting. And it drives B nuts when he's left to deal with the fallout. It's great that he loves his mommy, but does he have to love me so much that neither of us can accomplish anything else in our lives? Someone please tell me this is just another phase (that's been going on for month and months and months). And someone please tell me how to handle this.

Switching gears. I feel like I spend so much time focusing on W that R is getting ignored. So here's a gratuitous picture (poor little guy isn't nearly as photogenic as his big brother, but this is a pretty decent shot).

"Whatchu lookin' at?"