Sunday, April 27, 2008

He may look peaceful here, but the steroids are definitely taking their toll on Daniel's disposition. If he's awake he's fussy, which is such a change from his normal calm demeanor. Unmedicated, he really only cries if he's hungry, tired, or needs to burp.

He may also soon learn the meaning of the expression, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." Given that he is not fed by hand, but, rather, by a much more delicate part of my anatomy, food could be in short supply if the biting habit doesn't exit with the steroid. They said he could be "meaner" than usual, but it was hard to imagine what that could entail in a three-month-old.

Earlier this week, before we established the infirmary and when the temperatures were in the 70s (as opposed to today's 50s) we grilled our first burgers of the new season. Edward was quite excited, even though he had to stay inside while the grill was firing. New word in the Edward lexicon: "han-ga-bur-der." Translation: hamburger. We usually don't reinforce his pronunciation by repeating it ourselves, but this one was too good to resist. When he asked for more, I said, "More hangaburder?" He said, "No, Mommy do it." He knows it's not right, but can't quite get his lips retrained.

Also, did you know that Baa baa black sheep had "bean bags" full of wool? I always thought it was "three bags" but Edward will not be dissuaded from his version. This will come as no surprise to many of my friends and some family members who have enjoyed laughs over the years at my expense when I have belted out words and phrases that bear only a phonetic resemblance to the actual lyrics.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

We hope Daniel is on the mend now, but it's been a rocky week. The ER instructions were to follow up with his doctor if he didn't seem to be getting better. He was still coughing a lot and it was definitely interrupting his sleep so Wednesday I called and got an afternoon appointment. It was a gorgeous day and I had expected that we'd spend the afternoon at the park since we had another house showing. Instead, I had to wake Ed from his nap (actually, I let Daniel's squawking do that) and then entice him out to the car by saying we could have a snack at the doctor's office. We were there for more than two hours, killing the whole afternoon.

The upshot was that the pediatrics doctors said the ER doctors were wrong. Infants don't get bronchitis, they get bronchiolitis, and it doesn't usually just go away on its own. They were concerned enough to swab for pertussis, but that had to be sent to the State Hygienic Lab for testing so we wouldn't know the results for up to a week. They also managed to remove enough wax from his ear to actually determine that he had an ear infection. So for that and the possible pertussis, they put him on a strong antibiotic (azithromycin). They gave us an albuterol inhaler with a mask and said he could use it up to four times per day. We were told to call if he needed it more than that or if he needed two treatments in quick succession. Basically, they were worried about him being able to get enough oxygen so he could eat and sleep as much as possible. Eating has not been a problem, except for the few vomiting episodes. As it turned out, his weight had actually gone up almost half a pound since just last week when we were there for the conjunctivitis.

He did OK on Thursday, but needed more than four albuterol treatments. Then he needed two in a row at about 4 a.m. Friday, so I called the 24-hour nurse again. He was able to pull up the doctor's notes from our Wednesday appointment and said that the instructions were to call the office in the morning. If we'd had trouble before midnight the instructions would have been to go back to the ER, but since it was only four hours until the office opened we were safe to wait. I called right at 8 and we got in a little after 9. The same resident was able to see him again. She'd already called the state lab to check on the pertussis question and had been told the results would be ready by the afternoon. She ordered another chest x-ray and also a nasal wash, which involved a nurse squirting saline up one nostril and suctioning it out the other, then repeating on the other side. He did not enjoy this. He wasn't too happy about the x-ray either, which hadn't bothered him during our ER visit. The nasal wash was for labs to check for RSV, influenza and a host of other possibilities.

These all came back negative along with a negative for pertussis, which on the one hand is good, since those are nasty things for a little guy to have to fight. But on the other hand, it just means we're still dealing with a plain ol' virus and can only offer "supportive" treatment. In addition to continuing the antibiotic and albuterol, they put him on a seven-day course of steroids and said to bring him back if he wasn't much better in five days and totally free of cough in seven. And, by the way, the steroid will make him hungrier than usual and crabbier than usual. Hooray--nothing like a three-month-old with 'roid rage! But if it makes him better, we'll deal with the crying.

So far things seem to be improving. He only needed one daytime albuterol treatment yesterday and one first thing this morning. He's definitely eating a lot. I can't say whether his fussiness is normal or steroid-enhanced.

Wednesday was Edward's first time to the doctor when he wasn't the patient. He did pretty well, but was getting antsy as we approached the two-hour mark. Luckily, John arrived after work, which made things a lot easier. Edward always plays with the stirrups on the examining table, pulling them out and pushing them back in. This time he realized they were hinged so he could not only pull them out from the table, but also open them up to reveal the heel support (though of course he doesn't know that's what it's for.) After doing this on both sides he looked up at me with glee and said, "Two cranes!" He also was very interested in people's names, especially the doctor, Dr. Lyon. "Where Dr. Lyon go," repeated endlessly as we waited for her to return with the prescription. Later, reading Richard Scarry's "Busy Busy Town" I noticed that the doctor in the "Lowly Worm Visits the Medical Center" section is, in fact, a lion.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Over the last several days there have been many things that triggered my "I should put that on the blog" reflex, but time and circumstances have conspired to keep me offline. Now let's see if I can remember it all.

On Friday morning (4/18) after putting Daniel back to bed after his 4 a.m. meal I felt the bed shaking. I thought John was twitching in his sleep. He felt it too and thought I was rubbing my feet together to warm up. Then we heard the closet door rattling. "Are we having an earthquake?" I asked. In fact, we were. It was centered more than 200 miles away in southern Illinois, and most people I talked to slept through it. But thanks to Daniel, we can say we felt the great Midwestern earthquake of 2008.

Our Saturday started before dawn as well when Daniel woke up coughing pretty violently around 2:30. I held him until he calmed down enough to eat, then fed him. Then he started coughing again and seemed to be having trouble getting enough air between coughs. Then he coughed so hard he threw up all over me. That's when I got on the phone to the 24-hour nurse advice line. She walked me through a sort of phone triage that ended with, "I think he should be seen in the ER." So off Daniel and I went to the newly opened Emergency Treatment Center at University Hospitals at 3 a.m. John stayed home with sleeping Edward, and luckily, was able to get back to sleep himself.

The new ER is like none I've ever seen, though admittedly I don't spend a lot of time in hospitals. There wasn't a single person in the outer waiting area when we came in. We walked right up to a registration window, I gave Daniel's name and the reason we were there, and a nurse opened the door to usher us right in to get his vitals. Then we were taken to our own room, where we stayed the whole time (except for a trip to x-ray) and we never saw another patient. At one point I heard someone start to scream in apparent pain. Within seconds, the resident who had already evaluated Daniel was in the room saying, "I'll just close the door for a bit." A few minutes later he was back to open it and all was quiet.

In addition to regular vital signs, they measured Daniel's pulse oxygenation and found him at about 95, which is the low end of acceptable. (On Tuesday when we were at the doctor for the conjunctivitis, the nurse was concerned about his chest retractions, so she measured it and it was 99.) They also took a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia or other bacterial infection. It was quite eerie to lay him out on the table and watch while they immobilized his arms over his head and weighed his legs down with a (lead?) pillow. Then we stepped away to shoot the picture. He didn't cry or fuss though--not then or really the whole time we were there. Just as we were ready to leave he was fussy so I stayed to feed him there, expecting that he could then fall asleep in the car on the way home.

The diagnosis was viral bronchitis, so nothing we can do but wait for it to clear. He's still coughing, but hasn't had any violent episodes since early Sunday. He's generally sleeping and eating well and has not had any fever. So we'll just chalk it up to building his little immune system and hope it goes away soon. Edward is also coughing, but at least I know he'd tell me if something was hurting. Plus I'd recognize a decreased activity level--anything other than full speed would be a warning sign.

So after getting home at 5:30 and sleeping until 7:30, I got up, put on my new March for Babies t-shirt and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. John was surprised to see me (he was of course already up with Edward) but I repeated what his mom says about being tired or sore while preparing for the walk: It's nothing compared to what Will went through. I can manage.

We had eight die hard Team Kenyon walkers this year plus Edward and Daniel in the stroller. Daniel slept the whole way (I had fed him in the car when we got there) and Edward basically ate the whole way (there are five sponsored rest stops along the way and they all offer treats like granola bars, graham crackers and cookies.) It was cool, humid and cloudy, but not raining, so we were good to go. (We weren't going to take the kids in case of rain--even before the ER adventure.) Thanks to all who supported us in many different ways. I know our team raised over $1,400, but more than that, we keep Will's memory alive and continue the work he started in his short life.

Saturday afternoon was nap central around here. Then Sunday morning we had a flurry of activity in preparation for our first open house. We left at nap time and headed over to Grandma and Grandpa's. It was a gorgeous sunny day, which makes our house look great, but it's not the kind of day people want to spend indoors. Especially in someone else's "doors." Our realtor seemed happy with the turn out though, so we're still in waiting (and cleaning) mode. It is really difficult to keep the house "show-worthy" on a daily basis. Mornings are that much more stressful. I know the house looks really nice this way, but once we sell and move, I'll go back to my lazy housekeeping because I just don't want to spend as much time as it takes to keep it so pristine.

6:30 p.m.--edited to add pictures and this anecdote:

Last night just after I put Daniel back to bed after feeding him (I'm not even sure what time it was--maybe around 2?) I got back in bed and then jumped out again after hearing a distinctive THUD from the next room. Ed had fallen out of bed. Those who have seen his room may be surprised that this happened. The head and one side of his bed are against walls and there is a solid bed rail penning him in on the other long side. The foot is the only open area, but sure enough, that's where he fell. We know he's an "active sleeper" based on the dried drool and snot pattern on his sheets, but I didn't think he ever got all the way down to the bottom. Guess I was wrong. I'm not sure he fully woke up. He didn't even start crying until I was already half way across the room to pick him up. John got his juice and he had a quick drink then went right back to bed. He didn't mention it this morning (and neither did we!) so I'm guessing he doesn't even remember.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here's a link to our house listing that includes the realtor's "virtual tour," which is kind of cool. (Click the circle in the upper right hand corner.) We've already had more showings in the first three days (4) than we had the whole month we had it listed last summer, so that's a positive. Now we just need someone to fall in love with it...or at least think it's a good place to spend the next few years.

On the downside this week, Daniel has conjunctivitis--pink eye, although, as we discovered, with infants you don't get the tell-tale pink, just lots and lots of goop. We'd seen goopy eye before with blocked tear ducts, but when his teachers reported Tuesday that he'd only eaten two ounces all morning, I knew something was wrong. He usually wolfs down both four-ounce bottles. So now he gets ointment rubbed in four times a day, and after not even a full 24 hours the goop is gone. He did have to stay home from daycare today though--have to be on the meds for 24 hours before you can go back. I just feel bad he was there Monday and Tuesday probably contagious. Oh well, chances are he got it there anyway so I'm not the only one sending a germy kid to school.

Even bigger news from this doctor visit though: Daniel weighed in at 15 pounds 2 ounces! I shouldn't be surprised as I'm the one lugging him around all the time and my back is breaking. Just checked the blog archives to confirm that despite Edward's rep as a chunky baby, Daniel is actually heavier now (a week after his three-month birthday) than Edward was at his 4-month check up. Perhaps its all an elaborate scheme to get out of wearing hand-me-downs. If he bulks up fast enough the seasons won't be right for the sizes. He's been wearing 3-6 month clothes since around 2 months. The tags say these are good for up to about 16 pounds. So he could be in 6-9 month clothes before he's even four months!

We had a gorgeous 70-degree day here--the kind of spring day we don't get very many of so we like to savor them. Tomorrow it will be 50 and rainy so today we basked in the sun--well, as much as the pasty can actually bask. Edward was eager to try out his new bike helmet. Seems like overkill for a big-wheel, but they have the kids wear them on bikes at the daycare so we thought consistency was probably a good idea. Edward was also excited about wearing short sleeves today. After getting dressed this morning he shouted, "I got TWO elbows!" and ran around showing them off.

Daniel thought he'd use my wrist as a teething toy as I was clipping his nails tonight. It's hard to capture in a photo, but it was cracking us up. He was gnawing and slobbering away as I tried to keep both of us steady enough for a clean clip.

Over the weekend I received a $200 check in the mail from the University. My paychecks are direct deposit (and thankfully, a bit more than that each month!) and I haven't had any expenses to reimburse lately so I couldn't figure out what it was for. I finally remembered to call today to ask about it. After reading her the invoice number and confirming the amount, she said, "This is for patient William Kenyon from 2004. You overpaid so we are sending this refund."

Will keeps popping up when we least expect him. He'll be with us Saturday for our annual March of Dimes walk. I hope he'll send us some sun, or at least hold back the rain.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We did our final cleaning blitz on Saturday in anticipation of our real estate agent arriving at noon today with her camera and the listing paperwork. (Bedroom and bathroom photos still to be added--they needed a bit of enhancement to make them lighter.) Either because of our noise or just because it was the worst possible time to do it, Edward cut his nap short and came out of his room while we had the kitchen disassembled (anything movable out of the room) to mop the floor. As a testament to the fact that we usually accomplish this task while he's otherwise occupied or asleep (and, let's be honest, we don't do it that often anyway) Edward was very interested in this process. He kept asking "What's that, Mom?" as I explained about the mop, bucket and the fact that he couldn't come in the kitchen because the floor was wet.

The whole thing must have been quite distracting, because he didn't notice the refrigerator stripped of all its adornments (including magnetic alphabet) until this morning. (After we finished cleaning, we went out to the library and for dinner because we couldn't face watching him progressively negating our back-breaking labor.) He walked in with John to have breakfast and immediately said, "What happened? My letters? My 'W,' my 'C?!" We're not sure why these two letters were singled out, but it was a funny way to start the day.

Later, when Kim, our agent, arrived, he did not understand why she didn't come straight to the kitchen where he was eating lunch. "Where Kim go?" He kept asking as she made her way through the rest of the house snapping pictures while he finished eating and we cleaned up after him. Or maybe it was just that he didn't understand why someone would be taking pictures without pointing the camera at him. (Blog readers may be wondering the same thing as we now have two posts in a row with no Edward photos!)

Today's nap schedule worked out perfectly though--he went down just as she was ready to sit down with us to sign all the listing agreement paperwork and didn't wake up until after John and I had both had a little time to just sit and veg. We needed it! After naps I took Edward and Daniel to a park across the street from a friend of mine so we could have our first chance to visit since Daniel was born. It was great to see her and we managed to squeeze in a fair amount of catching up while following Edward from swing to slide to merry-go-round.

Unfortunately, he took a little spill and managed to skin his knee just where his previous "owie" was finally almost healed. At first it seemed like we'd just be able to "brush it off" and keep playing, but he seemed to lose interest and we'd been there almost an hour so I kind of nudged him toward the car by telling him he could show K. his sunglasses. He never really cried this whole time. But once in the car he started whining and worked himself into full-scale hysteria in the five minutes it took to drive home. I had to call John from the garage to have him come out and get us because I knew Edward would not walk while I carried Daniel.

John got him in the house and cleaned the scrape before putting on the all-important band-aid. But he just kept crying and even turning on Thomas the Tank Engine on TV wasn't enough to distract him. Or at least not fully. We kept telling him we couldn't watch Thomas if he was crying so he'd stop and watch quietly for a bit, but then cry, "My owie!" and slide right back into the wailing. After dinner he was still whining about it and was actually limping and doing a stiff-leg walk to avoid bending the injured knee. So I imagine it really does hurt quite a bit. But we couldn't be too solicitous or it would be a really long summer of every little bump and scrape requiring medical treatment.

I hope it feels better by morning. He won't forget about it--he was still talking about his last owie and telling me to be "very careful" washing it in the bath last night and it happened a week ago last Tuesday!

In Daniel's world, the sleep situation is a little better. It's hard to establish cause and effect--he's not crying as much since we set the cradle on the floor, but he's still waking up and needing the pacifier or some parental soothing. I think it's an improvement as long as he'll be comforted without eating. I'm just not up for being a 24-hour buffet for the next nine months! I think the waking has to do with being very congested and having trouble breathing. Our doctor told us when Edward was an infant that babies are "obligate nose-breathers," so it's tough when your nose is full of snot and you don't realize you could be breathing through your mouth.

Here he is awake and interactive:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Daniel is three months old today. Some days I can't believe how fast the time has flown and other days it feels like he's always been with us. Then there are the days when he doesn't sleep...

This has been an ongoing issue and it's getting worse. A few times at around 10 weeks he actually slept through the night (9/9:30 to about 5:30/6 a.m.) He never did it two nights in a row but he did it three or four times in a 10-day span.

Those were the days.

For the last few nights he's been getting up to eat twice a night and fussing in need of pacifier replacement even more often. This constant up and down from the warmth and comfort of our own bed is both physically and mentally exhausting. It's hard to deal with feelings of hostility toward your own beautiful child. But when he's squawking at 3 a.m. and I realize the only solution will be to get up and feed him...again...I'm not happy. Last night at about that time I declared, "This is his LAST night in the cradle."

We've kept him in the cradle in our room this long for a couple of reasons. First of all, he's still a noisy sleeper even when he's not crying. There are enough grunts and snorts that we thought he'd wake Edward if we put them in the room together. Secondly, we are planning to try to sell our house again (probably starting next week) and as we've worked on decluttering, it seems counter-productive to set up the full-sized crib in Edward's already-crowded room.

The cradle has a stabilizing screw to keep it from fully rocking back and forth, but it still rocks a bit when Daniel shifts himself in it. I think this has been startling him awake. Or at least, that's what I'm telling myself in order to face another night. After my 3 a.m. fit, John took the cradle off it's stand and set it on the floor while I was feeding Daniel. We laid him there and he slept until we had to wake him to leave this morning a little after 7. That's his longest stretch in about two weeks. Tonight we're hoping for a repeat or even an extended remix.

Another part of the sleep problem is that, just like Edward as an infant, Daniel doesn't sleep well in bed during the day. He'll sleep in the car seat or if I'm holding him, but as soon as I put him in bed he wakes up crying. His best afternoon sleep comes if we go outside to play and I carry him in the Baby Bjorn. If he doesn't get that hour or so late in the afternoon, he has a major meltdown during or right after dinner because he's so exhausted he just can't function at any other level. The only way to calm him then is to feed him and he falls asleep. But if he starts his longest block of sleep at 7 p.m. there's no way he'll make it all the way 'til morning. So it's still a balancing act, and we'll keep working toward that elusive sleep goal. One day soon we may actually awake refreshed.

Tonight we had an eerie flashback to two years ago when our tornado sirens started blaring around 7 p.m. I was just getting Daniel out of his bath and John and Edward were playing. Edward was concerned about the "whistle" but we told him it was just to let us know there was lots of rain on the way. We turned on our local weather and saw that the storm was tracking comfortably to the west of us so we did not have to bundle the boys down to the basement. Daniel would have been fine in the car seat, but keeping Edward contained would have been a Herculean task. There's only a very small section of our basement, under the stairs, that is away from windows and doors. Another reason to look forward to a new house one day soon!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lots to catch up on after last week's abbreviated post. I'll try to stick with a few highlights (or perhaps lowlights, given the way this week started.) It was a nasty cold, but we're both on the mend and luckily Edward and John seem to have skipped it. Though I felt well enough to report back to work on Tuesday morning, the fever returned after afternoon naps so by the time John got home from work, he surveyed the living room and said to Edward, "Wow, buddy. You've really trashed the place!" With no energy for playtime and no will to enforce clean-up time, I basically let Edward do whatever he wanted as long as he wasn't in any danger. Things improved as the week went on. We managed to get up, dressed, fed and out the door on time each day, make it through the work/school morning and then get home for naps and playtime. I was in bed by 9 p.m. every night. That's not terribly unusual even when I'm not sick

To expand upon the description of Edward's daycare meltdown from the last post, it was totally out of the blue and out of character. No one at daycare could believe it when they saw/heard it, including the two little girls who are usually in Edward's class when we get there. They stared at him and kept their distance--they'd never seen him like that before. We have no idea what started it. He just had a fit about putting his jacket on when we were leaving home. We thought maybe his teeth were bothering him again so we gave him his "ice bug" (a dragonfly shaped teething toy we keep in the fridge.) He cried for three blocks in the car until we rounded the corner and saw a recycling truck AND a yellow (school) bus. This was exciting enough to stop the tears. Then the rest of the drive we had to look for more recycling trucks and yellow buses. When we saw several more buses, he wanted to know why there weren't recycling trucks with them.

I probably made a tactical error by forcing him to leave the ice bug in the car when we got to school. That got him crying again and led to the dramatic drop-off scene. I kept thinking, "If only you'd done this ANY other day in the last six weeks, I could just stay until you calm down." But I had left Daniel in his car seat in the infant room and needed to get him settled as well before heading off to work. I don't punch a clock, but since I only work four hours, I feel it's important to be there by 8 a.m. when my scheduled day starts. I thought I had Edward distracted and calmed with a tub full of maracas and tambourines, but this was only a temporary reprieve. When he started up again, I just had to hand off to the teacher and tear myself away. I've seen other kids have mornings like that and always felt sorry for their parents while thanking my lucky stars that Edward didn't do that. I would be a basket case if that were a daily occurrence!

We averted another meltdown later in the week through sheer toddler gullibility. Edward was resisting getting undressed for his bath, saying "No no no!" as John tried to pry his socks and shirt off. Even offering for him to sit on the potty, which is usually a sure-fire tactic, didn't work. I had the bath water running and suddenly I had an inspiration. "Edward, would you like to have a DEEP bath?" (tone of breathless excitement.) "Yeah!" So there you go...two inches of water instead of one and we got the bath accomplished. What will I do when he someday catches on to my methods?

Yesterday and today we've had bright sun and 60 degree temperatures--hooray for spring! Even the crocuses believe that winter is really over. Edward asked for his watering can and then proceeded to dump most of it on himself rather than the flowers. Daniel couldn't be out in his bouncy seat too long--without leaves on the trees, there's not enough shade for him. Yesterday he was out longer with us, sleeping in the Baby Bjorn carrier with a blanket over his head. Hats frustrate him by slipping down over his eyes. Even if he's sleeping, he notices this and objects.

John just got home with 15 bags of mulch. We'll see if we can stretch those into some afternoon projects, sprucing up the outside of the house a bit. We've spent the last two weekends de-cluttering the inside in anticipation of another attempt to sell. Fingers crossed for a better result this year!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Some photos for now...text to come later. It was a very busy weekend with the baptism. Daniel and I came down with colds on Monday. I almost thought I'd have to call in sick on my first day back to work. But my fever broke sometime during the night (after 2 a.m., when I was up to feed Daniel.) Edward had his first-ever morning melt-down at school and I had to leave him crying. Guess who else was crying?