Reminder

I’ve been doing a lot of hunky-dory holiday posting recently, but one of the reasons I made this promise to blog from Oct 21 until Feb 11 promise was to remember a time in my life that wasn’t so hunky-dory, so that I could honor that time and appreciate the present. So warning, this post has some heavier stuff.

The holidays in the NICU are weird. I can remember well-meaning people asking why we weren’t going “home” for the holidays, not realizing that our home was of course next to Das Big Boy’s isolette, not with our other families. Everyone goes through this when they have children, of course. You’re your own family now in a way that you weren’t before. But when you’re somewhat cut off from your family because you’re spending every waking hour in a hospital, it’s somewhat more acute. The hospital does a wonderful job of infusing everything with cheer, but beneath it all there is of course a heartbreak that you try like hell to ignore.

Das Big Boy the day after his rough incident. Still makes me sad.

Das Big Boy the day after his rough incident. Still makes me sad.

Shortly before Das Big Boy’s first Christmas, we had what I think remains the worst night of my life. I couldn’t remember the exact anniversary, but I’ve been thinking of it for the past few days, and, as it turns out, I was right on target. On December 18, 2010, Das Big Boy had his biggest health scare of the NICU (except for almost dying the night after he was born).

I’m not sure I’m up to writing about it, but here’s part of the email I sent to the head of neonatology afterwards:

Dear [Director,]

Thank you again for the wonderful care you took of [Das Big Boy.]  Unfortunately, he had a very rough Saturday night and has yet to recover.  When [Herr Husband] and I left at 5:30 to buy him his weekly book, he was doing great.  Sating [showing blood oxygen saturations] in the mid-nineties on 28% O2, normal and even respiratory rate (for him).  When we returned at 7:30, he was bouncing between the seventies and eighties on 32% 02, and his respiratory rate was elevated.  When we asked his nurse what she thought was going on, she shared that…he had been sating in the 60s, and she had found that his CPAP [Continuous Positive Airway Pressure–his breathing support apparatus] was disconnected in back, and she didn’t know how long he’d been that way.  His nurse raised his 02 a bit more and suctioned him. He then had a major desat, which she had a very hard time bringing him back from.  He bounced between the forties and sixties for about ten minutes, and she had to raise his 02 to 60 and use blow-by to finally stabilize him, after ten or fifteen minutes.  His 02 was left at 40%, and remains there.  He remains very tachypnic [means he was breathing fast]–far more than usual–and is working hard to breathe.
When [the fellow] took us through the records on the monitor, it appears he was sating in the 60s (during the disconnection episode) for at least ten minutes.

What I don’t write about here is that during the episode, I was hysterical in a way I never had been before or since, and that I really thought he might die or never recover. That I thought it was somehow our fault for being away from him, which we so rarely were. How furious I was that some staff had implied that our constant presence was too much and possibly sometimes interfered with his care, but that we could have prevented part of this had we been there.

The truth is, I don’t think about this night very often at all. It’s still too much and there’s no use in going there. But in a way, it’s good for me to remember how lucky I am that I don’t have to worry on this level anymore (knock on some serious wood).

So let’s move away from that for a moment.

Time for a perspective shift.

Time for a perspective shift.

We had a lovely Hanukkah gathering tonight with my parents, and with the wonderful Mo who volunteered to care for our babes this morning so we could do some last minute holiday stuff–sidebar: it continues to delight me how much she loves our kids and how much they love her, even though they don’t see each other very often. It’s as if our children just know how important and wonderful she is.

After dinner, I was talking with my mom about how I’d been stressed and worried lately by balancing the two kids, school, activities, therapies, etc, and how I worry I’m not doing the right things to help Das Big Boy work on the stuff he still needs to work on. And she reminded me of something she always says about parenting that I’ve espoused, too. “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.” Now of course, there are things and events in parenting that aren’t going to be fun. (See above). Those are the crisis moments and no one expects you to have enjoy them. But the truth is, much of the stuff that gets us down as parents is just life. The struggles are different for each of us, but they’re going to be what they’re going to be. While we can’t control them, we do have some control over how they affect us. A lot of the worrying we do about our kids isn’t about our kids. It’s about us. And in fact, it’s us interfering with their being whomever it is they are going to be. Worrying isn’t productive. It doesn’t teach them anything. It’s just a way of taking what should be about them–how can I help my child become his or her best self? And making it about us, bringing their difficulties into our brain, rather than being present with them out in the real world.

FullSizeRender

That’s better.

So that’s what I’m going to try to be better at: being present. Not remembering the scary times. Not idealizing the seemingly easier semi-recent past. Not fretting and worrying about the future. Not trying to plan the perfect project that will engage Das Big Boy so he wants to work on his fine motor skills. But playing and laughing and decorating cookies and keeping my patience as I remind Das Big Boy to sit down at the dinner table for the thousandth time or as I insist that Little Liebchen wear pants because it’s cold outside.

And maybe, once in a while, we’ll jump up from the dinner table and dance around without our pants on. Because that’s the kind of family we really are.


Sick Day

Holiday card outtake: no pictures!

Holiday card outtake: no pictures! Or, he’s sneezing.

Yes, that adorable little dude from yesterday’s giggle video spent the night coughing. Coughing hard enough to vomit in his bed. Twice. Coughing hard enough that I monitored his saturations (which were slightly saggy but fine) and slept in his bed for a while. Coughing hard enough that his eyes have a permanent watery look today.

Today Das Big Boy, Little Liebchen, and I hung out on the pull out couch in the TV room and read books and watched Christmas movies. It was sad that he was sick, but it was also an awesome day. It’s unusual that he’ll sit still for long stretches of time, but his illness fatigue turned him into a lazy cuddlemouse and I kind of loved it. Both kids enjoyed some jumping on the bed. And we did lots of good snuggling. I put no pressure on us to get stuff done, be it school or a craft project or an educational game or eating a certain food. We just hung out. It was fantastic.

Yes, she's dancing to Thomas again.

Yes, she’s dropping it as if it were hot to Thomas again.

This evening, we went to the pediatrician, where this illness was deemed to be one of those viruses that gets him a little croupy and hits him a little harder. ‘Roids it is! And yes, if you’re wondering, ‘roids have historically made him seem meth addled. Tonight he’s tired enough that it shouldn’t matter (though his cough is still going strong, too), but we’ll see how the next few days go. Last time he was on steroids we gave up and let him play in his room until he fell asleep. In his closet. With all the lights on. At like midnight.

May you all sleep snug in your beds, dear readers, (rather than your closets). I’ll keep you posted on the health of the Husband Hausfraus.


World Prematurity Day

Das Big Boy. November 17, 2010.

Das Big Boy. November 17, 2010.

Today is World Prematurity Day. Obviously, I’m acutely aware of prematurity, and chances are, if you follow this blog at all, you’re aware of prematurity, too.

I have to be honest. I always have a bit of a squeamish reaction to prematurity awareness. That’s because one of the main goals of the day is to reduce prematurity. Now obviously, I’m all for reducing, nay, eliminating, prematurity! But to suggest that it can be done feels like suggesting that Das Big Boy’s premature birth was somehow preventable if I had done something differently. Prematurity prevention often talks about getting mothers prenatal care, and of stopping pregnant women from smoking and/or using cocaine. I’m here to tell you that I had topflight prenatal care, and that I didn’t have so much as an Advil before I was admitted to the hospital with PPROM. I took my bedrest extremely seriously, both at home and in the hospital. I only ate pasteurized cheese. I didn’t touch soft serve or smoothies. Or penne a la vodka. I didn’t clean a litterbox between 2010 and 2014. I was ridiculously, overly careful. And I still had a preemie and a baby who I managed to get to 36 weeks and 3 days which felt like an elephantine effort for not only me, Herr Husband, and Das Big Boy, but also my parents and Nanny Sunshine, not to mention a cadre of talented medical personnel. So preventing prematurity isn’t always possible, no matter how hard we try. And sometimes suggesting that it is fires up that tiny voice that wonders if I could have done something differently.

Das Big Boy. November 17, 2014.  And no, I didn't position him to resemble the photo from four years ago. I guess he still falls asleep the same way.

Das Big Boy. November 17, 2014.
And no, I didn’t position him to resemble the photo from four years ago. I guess he still falls asleep the same way.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t love the March of Dimes and give them money in Das Big Boy’s honor. Please feel free! They’re the ones who helped get the surfactant developed which enabled him to breathe. They conducted the research into the betamethasone that grew him the paltry lungs he had at birth so he could survive. And they fund research into PPROM’s causes, and many other issues associated with prematurity that could have helped me, Das Big Boy, and our many preemie pals.

But rather than talking about preventing prematurity, I want to think about how we can respond to it. The doctors and the organizations like MoD have the medical research and stuff covered. So we can think about the personal responses. And this is really my advice for how to support anyone going though a stressful situation: preemie, sick kid, sick parent, illness, what-have-you:

Be present. Give presents.

Call to check in even if you think the person wants some space. Send texts. Emails. Leave voicemails. Don’t expect to hear back, but be there. If you talk to the person, listen. Offer empathy. Hope, but not false hope. Support. Tell the person how awesome they’re doing (but don’t say you don’t know how they do it. They don’t have a choice. They just do), and ask what you can do. We loved when people visited the NICU (as long as they were healthy!). Our people treated Das Big Boy like a person who mattered to them, which helped him feel like part of our lives even when he was stuck in the hospital. Finally, don’t hide from even the scariest or saddest situations. I know my friends who’ve lost children love the opportunity to talk about those children, to be reminded that they existed for everyone, not just for their families.

In the outfit our friends sent while I was on hospital bedrest. Look at how big that preemie outfit is on him!

In the outfit our friends sent while I was on hospital bedrest. Look at how big that preemie outfit is on him!

And send something, if you can. I’ve written about this before, but people sent us stuff for Das Big Boy even before we knew if he would survive until birth. That meant more than I can express to this day. That people believed in him enough to send him a little outfit (Thank you still, A and M!) still brings tears to my eyes. When something is so uncertain, tiny tangible things mean so much. It’s why we took multiple photos of him every day that he was in the NICU. It was, I think, our way of proving that he was there, that he existed.

Friends also sent stuff to support us and keep our spirits up. Cupcakes delivered to the NICU. Gift cards for grocery delivery. A couples massage. Having our team care for us enabled us to care for our little dude. And it reminded us that we were part of a larger world that loved us.

Prematurity isn’t all tragedy. We loved Das Big Boy more than we thought possible. We celebrated his milestones (His first ccs of breastmilk! The first time we held him! His attempts at nursing! When we had to change his incubator because he had such an explosive poop!). We held him, cuddled him, read to him, and sang to him for up to fourteen hours a day. We befriended our nurses, doctors, and staffers, and of course the other families (and we celebrated their babies’ milestones, too!). The NICU became our community. Our home.

And during our 114 days in the NICU, Herr Husband and I also had a lot of laughs. We wrote songs like “Could be Gas, Could be Sepsis” (ok, it was a whole musical called NICU, the Musical), perfected our imitations of some of the NICUs characters and acted out scenes with them, and played a weird version of “chuck, fuck, marry,” in which we had to select a staff member to hurl from the window, one to bring to Boston, and one to leave at CHONY. We imagined setting up nurses with our friends and decided whom we would want to go for a drink with or invite to a party. Even when you’re miserable, misery doesn’t define you. You be you.

The last thing I think we can all do for World Prematurity Day is something to thank the best humans on the planet, NICU nurses. If you’re a NICU parent, you can do something to thank those nurses. Send them a treat. Donate something to the NICU that they can share with their patients. Write them a letter with a picture of your kid. And if you’re not a NICU alum, and you want to do something, you can still donate something to your local NICU. Or to the next best people: teachers or therapists or doctors who work with NICU alums. Looking for a new charity? You can give money to the Center for Healthy Infant Lung Development (CHILD) Clinic, or the Home Oxygen Parent Exchange (HOPE) program, both at Children’s Hospital Boston. These are the places in which Dr. Larry Rhein works his magic, helping preemies learn to breathe, and even more sweetly, to play. The HOPE Program is Larry’s passion project, where babies who are on germ isolation can take a music class safely without worrying about the common colds that could send them to the hospital. And where their parents can make pals with other folks who’ve had this strange introduction to parenting: (blue babies, plugged in babies, boob-to-pump-to-pump-to-belly, etc.)

So Happy World Prematurity Day, or something like that. Thanks, as always, for following our journey. Prematurity doesn’t define it anymore, but I do appreciate the opportunity to remember and reflect. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so.


Looking for…Levity

After yesterday’s emotional post (thanks for all the love in response, gang), I thought we could amuse ourselves with another favorite type of post, in which I share what people have Googled in order to stumble upon this site.

boy need hausfrau porn: With grammar like that, boy gonna be double sorry he came to an English teacher’s blog.

baby tube feeding: I did have one of those, both nasogastric and PEG/mic-key. Neither is that fun, but you get really good at either. It might be a temporary thing, in which case, yay! Most preemies only need them for a little while. Or it might be something your child needs forever if s/he has certain medical conditions. Either way, it’s great that your child can get the nutrition s/he needs. Just be careful not to let the docs overfeed your kid through the tube. You want to preserve their appetite when possible. And please, please don’t listen if a doctor tells you it’s normal that your child is vomiting constantly. Get another opinion. Keep getting opinions until you find someone who can keep your kid growing, but not puking. Else you’ll be wiping up creamed spinach barf for years to come.

2) pictures of adults wearing footie pajamas:

Like this?

Like this?

And this?

And this?

 

baby commando crawl within 8 months:
If you’re concerned about your baby’s development, you should of course talk to his/her doctor. That said, I think most people obsess about this stuff for no reason. And crawling is especially tricky. Some babies never crawl and many certainly haven’t done it, commando or otherwise, by eight months. The question to ask yourself for crawling and other tummy related skills is: Are you giving your baby enough tummy time or are you giving in when it cries because it hates tummy time. My advice (far too late if you’ve come here about your eight month old) is to start them on tummy time from birth and let them get used to it from the beginning. And don’t force it for way too long, but don’t be a sucker if they whine, either.

Remember this outfit? Clunky boots and colorful tights? Maybe a bit hipster.

Remember this outfit? Clunky boots and colorful tights? Maybe a bit hipster.

hipster mom: This is a really good question. Am I a hipster mom? Pretty sure living in suburbia disqualifies me. But in general, I think a hipster mom dresses in clothes that look like they could come from a thrift store. She drinks fair trade coffee and is into baby wearing, probably with a piece of cloth she sewed herself. She reads things like the wonderful Tove Jansson  books to her kids (seriously, check them out). They don’t watch TV, unless it’s vintage Electric Company. She wears choppy, possibly colorful hair, big glasses, and hats. Tattoos may be involved. Quirky eye-liner is a possibility. In my suburban set, I might be a bit of a hipster mom, just like when I go back to Brooklyn, I’m a total suburbanite. In general, I think I’m best identified in contrast to my environs. Like at Dartmouth, I was a super-lefty feminist who sometimes wore a dog collar. But if I’d gotten into Brown, maybe I would have worn cable-knit and become a Republican or something (perhaps that’s taking things a bit too far).

 weaning off oxygen in preemie: It will happen. It may take what feels like forever. There will be many ups and downs. But it will, in almost every single case, finally happen. And then the days of carting around a tank and taping stuff to your screaming child’s face will fade into nothing and you’ll remember his babyhood as his babyhood, not as some drawn out medical procedure.

hausfrau tube: I thought maybe these porn seekers wanted to see women doing things with a tube, like maybe a vacuum or something. It turns out, they mean tube as in YouTube. Hausfrau porn, is of course housewife porn. I did some research. Sometimes she’s hot and bored with housework, and sometimes she’s middle aged and deliberately frumped up. I like to think I fit more into the former category (I’m definitely bored with housework), but you’re not going to find porn here. I’m sorry.

Hipster clothes for big kids: Fedoras. Ironic blazers. Vintage graphic Ts. All Stars. Flannel. Skinny jeans. Glasses. Boots and dresses.

darknipple breast girl: Is this me? I like the one word darknipple. It’s like a name for a secret agent. Or a superhero. Agent Darknipple. She comes out under the cloak of night and attacks with breastmilk.

hipster glasses: I don’t wear glasses. But this is the number one search item that directs people here, so I take pity on them and post this:

Unseen Hipster Glasses. Ironic.

These are the classic hipster glasses, but maybe we’ve evolved now to pink granny frames or something.

tanglewood with kids: It’s awesome. Do it. You can bring your children AND wine, and if you sit far enough back you can still hear the incredible music and drink in the lush scenery (and your wine) even while your children frolic about.

rescue dose beyamethasone:  Dear resident who typed this. Please go home and sleep now. You’ve spelled betamethasone wrong AND I really don’t think you should be googling this. You must have better sources of info than the general internet.

mom hausfrau tube: see above.

women post and there familie post nude:  If you must know, despite my proclivities for nudity I am usually dressed as I type these posts. And my family members are in their pajamas. Nosy hole.

how do we wean our preemie off oxygen: Carefully. S/he’ll let you know when s/he’s ready. And under doctor’s supervision, obviously. Get a good pulmonologist. If you live anywhere near Boston, go to Larry Rhein.

husband sleeping carelessly:  That sounds true. I don’t know what it means, exactly, but it sounds like something husbands would do.

michelin boy: I think you’ve come to the wrong blog. We’re a fairly slender family.

hipster glass: Am I dating myself if I still think a hipster glass is a can of PBR?

yuppie parents: I can help you with this one, too. Buy a stroller that costs more than $500. Hire a decorator to do your child’s room. Drive a luxury SUV. Enroll your children in lots of lessons. Buy them fancy clothing. (Note: I am guilty of some of these things. This is why I am trying to coin the term Yipster, for yuppie-hippie-hipster, which I think REALLY embodies me as a parent/human).

fucking hausfrau over 50 years tube:
I beg your pardon! I consider myself to be a young-looking thirty-six!

feeding on cpap: It can be done. Including breastfeeding. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

commando crawling with gastric tube: Totally doable.

photos of three week old babies: here you go:

Yup. Cute.

Yup. Cute.


You forget how small they are.

You forget how small they are.

DSC_0505

And cute.

 

 

 

puppet body pattern breast: I wish I could sew. There are a LOT of breast puppets on the internet, but a quick search yielded no patterns. I’m sorry.

whats a yuppie parent: see above

liebchen vom lande boob: I don’t know what this person wanted, but I think it sounds like a charming, buxom German cartoon character.

three weeks old baby: apparently this is something for which I am known.

oma hausfrau tube: My Oma wasn’t that kind of girl, thank you very much!

state of wonder review: I wrote one.

godasbig.com: Not sure what this is or how it landed you here, but I will tell you religion is something I don’t really do.

rescue betamethasone dose: see above. The jury is out on whether rescue doses actually work (or it was when I was up on this stuff two years ago). Most docs think it’s worth trying. Any possible side effects aren’t going to matter if s/he can’t get over that breathing hurdle.

three week old baby: I mean they’re cute at three weeks but get over it already. You’re as bad as the porn dudes. And dudettes. I don’t want to assume.

brockton fair 2014:  You missed it. It was awesome. You should totally go next year.

 

Hopefully I’ve helped those wayward searchers. And to those of you who look for me on purpose, thank you. A million thank yous.


Another Version of Four

IMG_3194Today marks the four year anniversary of the first time I held Das Big Boy. That seems crazy, because it seems like forever that I’ve been slogging away at my whole “Post for every day that he was in the NICU” goal. I can’t believe I had to wait a whole week to hold my little dude. [NB: he’s is bed whining for me to come back, and I’m going to do so in honor of the gratitude I feel for being able to hold him whenever I damn well please.]

He just said to me, “I need a hug.” I don’t care if he’s working me. Swoon.

Anyway, one of the many things that sucks about the NICU is that you have to get permission to hold your kid, and doing so, especially when they’re teeny and need breathing support, is complicated and kind of scary. One of the things that’s awesome about the NICU, like life changingly awesome, is the nurses. I learned so much from them: not only how to place a naso-gastric tube in a baby, or change the diaper on a two-pound newborn with the flipping abilities of an Olympic gymnast, but how to love in the face of fear, how to have confidence in myself as a mother, how to fight for my child, and how to bathe a baby. Hey, unlike most parents, I wasn’t scared to give DBB his first bath at home, even though he was still on oxygen!

Boob is easily twice the size of baby.

Boob is easily twice the size of baby.

I still remember when D, one of our amazing primary nurses, asked me if I wanted to Kangaroo DBB. For those not in the know, Kangaroo care is when a parent holds a diapered baby on her naked chest for skin-to-skin contact. It yields amazing results for the babes (better oxygen saturation, increased tolerance of feedings, etc.), and obviously for parents, too. So when D asked me on DOL seven if I wanted to Kangaroo DBB, I was thrilled. Up until then, I hadn’t been allowed to hold him, as he’d been too fragile, first on the dreaded Oscillator and Nitric Oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide, aka, laughing gas, aka whippets), then on the regular ventilator. He’d only just been extubated to C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure, Columbia Presbyterian’s method of choice for delivering breathing support to preemies–it allows them to do the work of breathing, but makes it easier by keeping their airway open with, well, air. Your dad may also have one to help with sleep apnea, or snoring. My dad would probably want me to tell you that he has no such thing.)

With his CPAP on. We used to LOVE the few seconds it was being changed so we could see that teeny face!

With his CPAP on. We used to LOVE the few seconds it was being changed so we could see that teeny face!

Anyway, DBB had returned from the brink of death (and I mean this literally, not flippantly), but he wasn’t exactly a picture of health yet. So I was surprised when D asked if I wanted to hold him. “Are you serious?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m serious,” she replied.

“Are you sure? Is it safe?” One of the things that sucks about the NICU is you are afraid that your own yearning for your kid could hurt him.

“I see a baby on room air (note: this wouldn’t last–as you all know, DBB would go on to need some sort of 02 support for 14 months.) CPAP who’s tolerating his feeds and needs his mom as much as she needs him.”

I looked at Herr Husband, “Is it ok if I hold him first?” I asked. Keep in mind that other than birthing Das Big Boy and pumping enough breastmilk for quads (according to the nurses), Herr Husband had done just as much as I had on our journey to this point. More, maybe, if you consider that he fed my every dietary whim and emptied my bedpan seventy-six times a day and night while I was on hospital bedrest.

“Of course,” he said.

He's still awesome and cuddly.

He’s still awesome and cuddly.

I needed no more urging. I closed our curtain, stripped down to my nursing bra, sat in the chair, and waited for D to unravel DBB’s million cords, pull him from the incubator, and place him on my chest.

“Look how comfortable he is,” she said.

He felt like a kitten. Perched on my left breast, which was at least double his size, he clung to me with his little nails. He turned his face towards mine and nestled in. Like all babies, preemies lose weight after they’re born and DBB was at his lowest ever (external) weight of two pounds that night. I marveled over his tiny fingers and toes, and sang to him, and told him how amazing he was and how much I loved him. He opened his eyes to look at me a few times, and then closed them again. His head, my mother insists, was the size of a clementine, although I think it was more like a navel orange. He had the sweetest little old man face. His warmth blended into mine and, as with so many of the major things in our lives, it felt like both an instant and an eternity. The first time I held my son. I was so nervous that my arms ached after D returned him to his isolette. I’d been afraid to move for fear of sending his oxygen saturation plummeting or jostling him and making him uncomfortable.

One of several return trips to bed before he finally fell asleep. I was extra good at not begrudging them tonight.

One of several return trips to bed before he finally fell asleep. I was extra good at not begrudging them tonight.

I’ve forgotten a lot of the anniversaries this year: the anniversary of when my water broke, of when I ran out of fluid for good, of when I hit twenty-five weeks and we knew that life saving measures would be taken if he were born. But I remembered this one. It’s one that does my heart good, just like holding my boy does to this day.

So much

So much

for which to be thankful.

for which I am thankful.


Some Wonderful Things You Should Probably Know

1) Today, I got to see one of my oldest and dearest friends and her brood of three beautiful boys. She is as warm and luminous and brilliant and gorgeous as ever, and seeing her nurture her flock is just a delight.

2) Das Big Boy ate three pieces of pizza for dinner tonight, and two bites of a fourth. Remember when he couldn’t eat and had a g-tube? Rejoice, parents of tubies. It (often) gets better. (Or not. And that’s ok, too. Whatever your kid needs, s/he needs…) But seriously. That’s more pizza than I ate (by two bites, but still).

tanglewood

PB Kids chairs courtesy of the Huxtables. So cute. The first French Horn from the BSO stopped to admire them and vowed to get them for her kids.

3) We went to Tanglewood over the weekend, stayed at a wonderful house via Airbnb, and had a fantastic time at the concert. Highly recommend for localish folk. Kids are free (literally–no charge for the under-17 set) to frolic, scenery is beyond idyllic, and the music is of course top-notch. DBB and LL enjoyed the music and the picnic, and we enjoyed those things and the rosé.

sibling love

Road trip sibling love. Sigh…

4) Father of the year. Laughs of the year. Chimp of the year.


Ten Facts and an Excuse

The excuse: my kids were sick. It started with Das Big Boy’s pinkeye on a Sunday, after he’d spent Saturday having a blast at a community carnival where he’d frolicked in a rather suspect bounce house/ball pit/level 2 disease research lab.

So we went to the pediatrician on Sunday, declaring ourselves either patient zero of a town wide pinkeye infection or a victim of the aforementioned germ cave. We thought there might be more to it than pinkeye (cough and boogies were present), but didn’t lobby for antibiotics because that’s not how we roll, although afterwards (and *before* things went totally pear-shaped) we both said we thought he might need them. I guess the point of that statement was unnecessary medical smugsbyness.

Sunday night he was restless, and had a fever of 101 but normal o2 sats (we have a pediatric monitor (known as Froggy) that I bought on Amazon and use only when he seems really sick, I promise), so I gave him some Motrin and he finally slept well. But at 6 am I woke up and heard him breathing fast. Sats were 89-90, which might be ok for the Columbia Presbyterian NICU, but which isn’t exactly winning any medals in the breathing Olympics. My sat monitoring woke him up, which, as usual, fixed his sats (they only sag when he’s asleep, and only with more serious illnesses). He felt warm. I took his temperature: 105.7. Holy shit. He’d NEVER had a fever higher than 102. I woke up Herr Husband, who got on the phone with the pediatrician’s service (Superhero Dr. Larry was at a conference and unreachable, which never happens! But good for him. I had rather hoped he was on a well-deserved family vacation). I gave DBB more Motrin and took him to Children’s. His fever had come down to a somewhat more reasonable 103.5, and they diagnosed an ear infection and respiratory virus. Chest X-ray was negative, but they worried a pneumonia could be lurking or brewing. And even though he had a flu shot, and had a negative rapid flu test, they worried about flu. They even asked if he’d been around anyone with measles! Ack! Don’t even get me stated on “anti-vaxxers.” I’ll just say congratulations on intellectually aligning yourself with Kristen Cavallari. (I try not to be a judgy mama, but I get high-horsey when my kids’ health is compromised by other people’s beliefs in WRONG, discredited nonscience.) Anyway, he got antibiotics for the ear infection and possible pneumonia, Tamiflu for the slightly possible flu, and steroids for the cough which had sounded a bit croupy the night before. I had audio of it on my phone, which prompted the ER doc to declare that she loved me. Oops. More smugsbyness.
This love actually paid off, because they didn’t admit him. They decided they trusted my ability to care for him and observe him for anything more serious. Even more smugsbyness, I guess, but the real point is that I do know my kid and how to care for him (thank you NICU nurses!). So we left and he took a huge nap and I had yet another fight with my local CVS and his sister cried all that night and went to the doc the next day for antibiotics for her own ear infection and GAH!
I love that I think antibiotics are overprescribed for ear infections and I’m all opinionated and snotty about it and then my kids get sick and I’m all, “Where are the drugs!?” And I don’t even mean Xanax. I know where that is. My closet. Waiting for me to stop breast feeding already! I digress. Back to my attitude towards medical intervention. Granted, my kid had basically a 106 fever and couldn’t breathe effectively (they sort of think the fever so taxed his system that his lungs couldn’t keep up). But still. I guess I should remember that I’m not really anti-interventionist (see earlier Kristen Cavallari snipe and miracle baby saved by lots o’ intervention).

So there’s my excuse.

Here are some facts:
1) Das Big Boy has been informed that he can’t marry me because I’m married to Daddy (I left out the Oedipal explanation. He’s three, you guys). His second choice? Grover.

Playing with playdough together! You should know that Sad Owl is really a sadsack and nothing cheers him up. Not even see saws or elevator rides or hugs from Squirrel or being smushed back into a blob.

Playing with playdough together! You should know that Sad Owl is really a sadsack and nothing cheers him up. Not even see saws or elevator rides or hugs from Squirrel or being smushed back into a blob.

2) The health benefits of using glasslock over plastic storage are undercut when you drop your daughter’s glasslocked strawberries on her nose. Discuss.
3) If your kids are sick and you are stuck in the house with them, finger painting in the bathtub is really fun.
4) Ditto shaving cream wars. And a homemade playdough character named Sad Owl.
5) A fun way to get your kids to clean up is to have them fall in love with the book Trashy Town (more on that in a minute). Then push them around the house in a diaper box–their trash truck– making them pick up stray toys. Then return to the place where the toys go, refer to it as the dump, and have your kids put their toys away in the proper bins. Sorting practice and cleaning and the physical challenge/vestibular input of climbing in and out of the box. I should have been an occupational therapist.

They LOVE this cleaning game. We'll see how long it lasts.

They LOVE this cleaning game. We’ll see how long it lasts.

6) I am so fucking tired of winter and cold weather that I have shouted at the forecast my iPhone. A lot. Also, no matter how much fun you are having with your sick kids you are ready to kill them on day four if you still can’t leave the house. Thankfully, it was warm enough for the playground. Now that Little Liebchen is the best walker ever, she stomps all over the playground as if she invented it. Please note her sliding talents.

Whee!

Whee!

7) Have we discussed that my Mimi is a 101 years old? Have we discussed that she and I had a awesome chat about sexual double standards last time I visited her?
8) DBB is in LOVE with his preschool teacher, who is kind and warm and creative and nurturing and soft-spoken and young and blonde and smiley and sparkly-eyed and pretty. But I think she won him over with her reading of Trashy Town. At home, he likes to pretend to be her and have me be his other similarly awesome teacher. This is adorable, but awkward at bath time when he pretends one teacher is bathing the other. Because I am running for mayor of Awkward Town, I shared this anecdote with his teachers.

Slide boss.

Slide boss.

9) I just watched True Detective. I know people loved it, and I thought the performances were good and the visual scenery compelling. But I thought it was written by white stoner frat guys who were taking freshman philosophy and were overly impressed by their own depth and intelligence. After every episode was a chat with the writer and director and it made me sicker than the horrors of the show. If I’ve insulted you by saying so, I’m sorry. It’s no judgment on you. Is “no judgment” my new “no offense”? And also, didn’t I learn from the show that judging is how we form our identity? Now excuse me while I pack a bowl and read Lacan. (Actually, I love Lacan. So maybe I’m cut from the same cloth as the show’s writers… Uh oh… But not the stoner part. I’m a mom now, people!)

She stopped screaming.

She stopped screaming.

10) “If you are trying to have a not even that nice dinner out with your family at The Cheesecake Factory, and your daughter won’t stop screaming, you can try feeding her butter in the foil packaging,” said the worst mother ever, aka, me.