Yikes! I have never before had a non family person into my home to watch my kids. Never! I have once used a sitter who works at our day care, when my niece cancelled late in the day on my anniversary due to illness and I was at loose ends. That day the day care ladies sort of fought to help me because they wanted me to go out. At the time I had only Claire to be cared for and Lupita was her regular daily care provider and I knew Claire adored her, and she preferred to have Claire come to her apartment, which was sparkly clean and inviting. We have put both girls at one of the day care's special babysitting nights where they go back to their normal environment for a big party. But never have I had a semi-adult person come to my home to care for my people, unless it was my sister or my niece! Will she eat my food? Will she look in my drawers, after the kids are in bed? Do I need to hide stuff that I don't want found? I am remembering what I did when I was a teen aged babysitter, and I am NERVOUS! I haven't stopped to worry that this girl won't text me if she needs help, or that Hannah will have a metabolic crisis and die, or that Claire will be bad tempered and difficult, because the sitter works part time at the day care and full time there in the summers and she loves kids and particularly mine. I am just afraid that she will act like me. This is my penance, isn't it? I deserve this. I do. I never should have rifled through all those underwear drawers.
You may insert platitudes here about how pride goeth before a smackdown. I didn't hit publish on my last post because I wanted to put in some updates about Claire's general sassiness and Hannah's well being. Harumph!
I have now had been puked on, shat on, and had snot smeared on multiple body parts, and made one middle of the night trip to the pediatric ER. Good times!
Hannah wouldn't eat when we did our stealth milk maneuver on Saturday night, wherein we sneak up on the sleeping baby, poke a bottle of milk in her mouth to tide her over for the night, and slip away. Instead she coughed, then hurled, then wailed. We changed everyone's clothing and tried to settle in, got more barf, changed again, then again, then I headed to the hospital when it appeared she could keep nothing down. After a few hours and some time on the glucose IV, her labs looked good so we were allowed to leave, and I got the two of us in bed at 7:00 a.m. to rest a few hours. The discharge nurse told me not to feed her for 36 hours and to stick to apple juice for better digestibility. Hannah also had an "angry" ear infection in both ears so she went on antibiotics, and between the stomach virus, the juice, and the bug killing in her gut, she developed some super powerful pooping skills, and managed to go through three pairs of pants and the walker seat in the first half of the day alone. We kept the washer running just about full time. I talked to the metabolics doc on call who agreed with me, that Hannah should be given food if she wanted it, and certainly breast milk, and he spouted some common sense: no human condition is improved by starvation. Aha! Once the virus caught up with me last night, it was finally clear to me just why Hannah didn't want to eat or drink much of anything. Puking sucks! But, we muddled through and gave Hannah small amounts of whatever she would take, only some of which came back up, so we avoided going back to the ER. She seemed to sleep better on me, so I slept in the rocking chair in her room so I could 1) give her comfort 2) keep her more upright (bonus: easier to roll her over when she puked if she was right on me, and then the puke could flow in an orderly fashion downward) and 3) I would be more likely to know if her condition suddenly worsened to the signs of metabolic crisis that would leave me scrambling. And, she didn't want me to put her down. I actually used the toilet holding her, because she and Lord Honey were both sleeping and strangely, it was easier to pee without getting her off me. Perhaps the powers that be have made Hannah smaller so she is easier to carry until she is up on her own. Claire didn't get the bug until yesterday, when she "throwed up on her pretty purple dress" and got sent home. We had to put up with some extra redheaded grouchiness until the ibuprofen kicked in, and Lord Honey and I spent some time wondering just what we had done to deserve all the extra body fluids. Claire, bless her wee heart, can hurl in a bucket! The last stomach bug she had found her without any control or powers of prediction, but she is now advanced enough to have never once fouled a parent or piece of furniture. Say it loud, I'm proud! No one has actually hurled today, although we still have some chills and queasiness here and there. We learned some MCADD lessons. Learned that even at 18 months of age, spilled breast milk still doesn't stain a shirt but breast milk that has been forcibly ejected does stain, even a new Gymboree shirt. We learned that Hannah's regular and specialty docs are very invested in her care and always take my calls. We learned Oxi-clean really can remove green poopiness. We learned Pedialyte tastes like ass. We learned that if the binky is missing, we should check my bra. We learned the prescription ear drops may be worthwhile. We learned much, and we are tired.
Life was rather punishing this week, and except for the fact that I have left things undone which ought to have been done, I was still at least fifty percent or more successful. I was busy, busy, busy at work but stayed ahead of the curve on all things. I didn't strangle my mother while I spent time with my parents at the hospital as my dad recovered from his surgery. My Dad will be released today and I think I have found someone to provide personal care help to my parents in their home. It is possible that I have found the person who will be just a perfect fit but I hesitate to call it a win until she has spent a few days preparing their meals and helping them do things like laundry and making the bed. I expect my Dad will only need the help for a week or two and that he is well on the mend although he has to learn about the colostomy bag, but getting rid of the ongoing infection seems to have done him good. My Mom, however, had managed to appear more infirm than ever, kinda by choice. She needs a walker at all times, a wheelchair to visit with my Dad in the hospital, but thinks she can drive if she needs to despite the two doctors, pastor, and adult children think she should not. Possibly, we are in for a ride. We might take the kids out tubing, the inversion has lifted, leaving our valley nearly visible and the air vastly more tolerable, with all the promise of a shiny new book, just waiting to be read.
So my daughter is at physical therapy, which when you're two means going to an indoor playground with a professional playmate who challenges your skills in the guise of play. Michael and Hannah bonked heads together, and Hannah laughed so hard she had to sit down or her bum and belly laugh until she got control of herself. This, she got from me. She has Lord Honey's skinny bird like legs, but she has my love of a good pratfall or head bonking every time.
Sometimes you're the bug, sometimes you're the windshield.
My dad is having both a colostomy and hernia repair surgery on Monday, my mom is officially flipping her wig with worry that he won't live through the procedure. I have agreed to spend the MLK holiday holding her hand while she waits for the procedure to be over. I don't have the easy relationship with my mom that I hope to have with my girls.
Claire has strep, now recovered enough to sass back at every opportunity, and to not have earned my automatic sympathetic mommy response based on illness. And better enough to steal another chapstick from her dad, and ruin one, again.
My neck, fused twelve years ago after a car accident, doesn't like change. My neck is generally OK, but responds badly to increasing the standard level of exercise, decreasing the standard level of exercise, or holding a twenty pound person more than normal, say, when they are either sleepless or sick, or both.
Every night this week except the last, one child or the other robbed us of a couple of the hours of sleep we had hoped for.
However, on the other side of the box of chocolates, we have these things:
Claire is better, having been on antibiotics for more than 24 hours, and so far, Hannah has not shown signs of getting strep, which would likely mean a hospital admission as I doubt she would eat enough if her throat hurt that badly. I should not speak too soon lest I anger the Gods and bring down their wrath, but I am hopeful that I will be vindicated as a breastfeeding lactivist who believes the breast milk helped stave off the dreaded strep.
Hannah is a wee bundle of iron infused energy, expect when she is all wiped out because I can't seem to stick to her schedule on weekends.
I really enjoyed spending extra one on one time with Claire while she was sick. She wasn't too sick to enjoy herself, and she blooms with extra attention. Mostly I loved being able to hold her close and nuzzle her wee red head, and fondle her soft sweet skin, and squeeze her tiny legs, and all of those mommy based feelings that make no sense to anyone else but delight the mommy way down in the core of her soul. Yum!
So don't think it is all a vale of tears at Chez Ginger. It's just that classic mix of good and bad, hard and easy, bitter and sweet that makes up the life we have.
I have to thank you all, once again, for assisting me in sorting out my madness. Thinking about what I'll write helps me enormously in the let's get it all sorted out process.
Wee Hannah has been in her crib and out of our bedroom now for eight nights, all nights in which she lived until the morning, so I am delighted. Four of those nights she slept from the time we gave her the midnight milk snack until I woke her or she woke on her own at the time we get up. So I am now officially delighted but slightly wiggy, especially when I walk past her old bassinet and see it empty, which is unnerving. At Hannah's current weight, she can now go eight hours of fasting before she should burn up all her glycogen and have a metabolic crisis. But I am paralyzed by fear: what if I sleep in? What if she is having a growth spurt and has extra caloric needs? What if a fever comes upon her and that amps her rate up but the grogginess keeps her from waking herself up as she normally would if hungry?
Imagine you are Keanu Reeves in Speed, and Dennis Hopper narrates your situation and says WHAT DO YOU DO?? WHAT DO YOU DO?? You have a sleeping baby with a weird metabolic disorder. She is sleeping. You think she should eat. What do you do? This has weighed on my mind since we brought her home from the hospital and started setting the alarm for three hour feedings. She is at the day care. A new person is in the nursery today. She doesn't understand the MCADD diagnosis. What do you do? And it colors my view of the future. She goes to school having refused to eat much because she has to do her hair. She skips lunch because that is what skinny girls do. The dinner I make disappoints her. What do you do? You want her to sleep all night without dying so you pump milk right before bed and have the bottle handy, because breast milk can sit out for a while and be served room temp when the baby squawks. Now the nutritionists and docs want her on more calories because her growth has bottomed out. What do you do?? Do you take away the food source she is familiar with and hope she takes to liver and onions?
I am quite certain I have often said "don't borrow trouble" to my friends and family when they want to worry themselves into a state. I've said it to myself. I've said it many times since we had Hannah. I'm not very good at following this advice.
I've now been pumping milk for her for seventeen months. I loved it when she still breastfed but she is a smart cookie and knew bottles were easier. Devastated by her choice, I nonetheless continued to make milk. I am winding down and planning to stop fairly soon, but I am loaded with guilt over my choice to stop. Loads of breast milk is not enough for a person of her age, so she is now anemic and needs supplements. Iron based formula would help out here, but if I have a personal belief that Nestle scientists can't possibly do a better job than me in making Hannah designed milk, should I really switch her over when I have months worth of milk stored in my my extra large freezer? And yet I am so excited to throw away the last remaining milk stained nursing bras, the hands free pumping bras, and get that time back in my days. I'm tired of how much it hurts to have largish sensitive body parts pulled on for hours a day. I'm ready to be done. I feel no small amount of joy in believing I've suffered the pumping to give her something Enfamil can't. And a normally developing breastfed baby would at this age be just at the low end of normal in not falling in love with food, and many toddlers are said to exist on two noodles and a kiss. We are not alone in this, we just also have CP kicking up the burn rate and MCADD telling us to have a bottle of milk handy for whenever we might slip some in. I can't really have a waffle and two strips of bacon on the bedside table for midnight snack. Well, I could, but that would be for me.
She finally pulled herself up to standing. Lord Honey saw it first and failed to mention it to me. Men are rather odd.
Here is the lead up.
She shoots, she scores.
I had suspected it would happen any day as she'd suddenly gone through the kind of exponential change that had her sitting up in her wee bassinet, and therefore finally kicked out of our bedroom and into her own, and refusing to sit down, and rolling about in her big girl crib like a wild monkey just because she could, and we've been working on the parts of getting up for months.
Then I saw it today during our PT session and burst with pride. My little baby! All grown up! Suddenly she seems so mature, pulling up and hamming for the camera then expecting to be shown the picture for her approval.
I want her to walk, and to walk soon, but more so I want her to walk well. We are seeing two different PTs who recommend different things and I've focused more on the one who we met first, and how he wants Hannah working at basic skills and building up strength and balance. The other therapist, he of the pithy sayings such as "we all find our support" wanted her on walking toys (she said no), in a walker (she said fuck no) and cruising the furniture (she says OK to that). Her primary PT, he who visits my house, sometimes to comic effect, instead wants me climbing her up the stairs so she learns weight shifting and balance and bears weight on her weaker side in ways that mimic walking, and he believes in selectively splinting her elbow so she can't revert to her scrunched up arm pattern and pull herself out of balance. I went with his methods more, on instinct, and also on him saying look, she will walk late anyway so instead of pushing walking just push for the basics because her walk will look better if she shifts her weight well. After our session on Tuesday as he was readying to go he said it was one of the most fun therapy sessions he's ever done, and he's done quite a few. I haven't been able to talk about it because I can't control my emotions. Mike has always said Hannah would walk, he just couldn't say when or how steadily, but he is absolutely delighted with her progress and her many tricky skills, like cruising both directions (including to her weak side) and the way she holds her trunk and moves her shoulder and chest, and he says she'll be walking soon.
Every time I walk into the day care and find her standing at the table I think I'll just burst with pride and joy, It used to be that Hannah would bee sitting about while her peers romp about her and now here she is right in the thick if the action, leaning up against a table or shelf and looking so much more normal. 'Scuse me, I need Kleenex. Normal posting will resume soon.
Mother of two, step-mom to two more. Married. Work in the theatre of the absurd, behind the curtain, and pulling the strings. First daughter was a preemie, new Baby has MCADD, or Medium Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency (Mighty Crappy Aggravating Disorder) and mild Cerebral Palsy, because the fun never stops around here. Foggy mind. If I wore a button it would say: Lose mind now, Ask me how! Things you might find here: bits and pieces of fluff about babies with wacky disorders, mommying, knitting very slowly, and stuff I don't say at work. If you want to send me free stuff just email me at gingerbblog at gmail.