Monday, February 23, 2009

Medical update: John has strep throat; Daniel has impetigo. Prescriptions are being filled. Can Edward possibly emerge unscathed?
I believe we need a quarantine sign for our front door. My mid-week mild sore throat was full-blown strep by Friday, knocking me out for a full day and leaving John a single parent. Thank goodness he was able to pick the kids up at noon, work from home during naps, and then take the rest of the day off. There is no way I could have kept them safe and entertained. I believe I was out of bed for a total of about three hours on Friday including the time it took to get to the doctor and back. I was horrified at first when the nurse said it would take 48 hours for the throat culture results. I asked about the rapid test and she said, "Oh, yeah, if that's positive they don't do the culture. It takes 40 minutes." I don't think she believed I was sick because she didn't measure a fever. I believe that was operator error on her part (or the equipment) since I'd taken 100.7 at home just before I left and deliberately did not take ibuprofen until after they'd taken my vitals. Anyway, the 40-minute test was returned in less than 15 with a positive result so I was out the door with my prescription.

I was feeling better by noonish on Saturday (24 hours after first meds) and back up to speed by Sunday. However, John started feeling sick Sunday night and Daniel woke up with a rash all over his cheek this morning. I thought I remembered something about a rash associated with strep and looked it up. This said the abdomen would show the fist signs and Daniel's is confined to his right cheek and ear. But it also said a rash like this can be a strep skin infection (rather than accompanying strep throat) if the bacteria enters the body through a cut, scrape, etc. Daniel's nose has been red, raw for at least a week from being wiped so often, so there definitely would have been opportunity for me to infect him before I knew I was contagious. Poor kid.

We couldn't get in to the dr. until 1:30 this afternoon, so John is going to take him and get his own throat culture in the same trip. Will Ed be next? Stay tuned, but we sure hope not!

The silver lining for Daniel is that he enjoyed his first Jell-O on Friday when I was having an afternoon "snack." Whenever Daniel sees someone eating, he screams and grunts, pointing at the food item until it is shared with him. Obviously, he got his own cup in this case. As you'll see, he kinda liked it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Edward has entered a very oppositional stage. His response to nearly everything is "No" or "I don't want to" even if it's something innocuous or something he clearly would enjoy. Tonight he sat in the doorway of the kitchen because he announced, "I don't want to eat dinner." This despite the fact that he'd been asking me for a second snack less than 30 minute prior. I told him he did not have to eat dinner (chicken chili, which he likes), but he could not be in the kitchen unless he was at the table eating with us, so he stood and sat in the doorway trying to get our attention while we attempted to carry on a conversation and "ignore him into submission." He eventually came to the table after we were completely done eating, so John took Daniel to play, and Edward ate while I cleaned up. It's a really irritating stage (and we PRAY it truly is something fleeting.) For the most part we are successful in either ignoring the behavior or pointing out unfavorable consequences. "Don't want to put your shoes on? OK, well then you'll have to stay home while I take Daniel to school." Of course this is a dangerous path in itself since I couldn't actually follow through and leave him at home. Oh well.

To counter-balance with cuteness, over the weekend he shoved his new stuffed dog (photo above) under his shirt and pretended he had a "baby in my belly that will come out on my birthday." One of the teachers he sometimes interacts with is pregnant, and I think has been answering the "when is the baby coming" question with "on her birthday." So this was all very cute as he wandered around for a bit in this state. Then I saw him bending and stretching backward at angles while holding his lower back in a very good imitation of a pregnant woman, and he said, "Oh, it's hard to sit down when you have a baby in your belly!" It took me a while to recover from that one!

Daniel has been expanding his vocabulary a bit. I think I'd previously reported "uh-oh" and "no" but he also says "bye-bye" with a wave and "ni-night" while laying his head on your shoulder or the floor or wherever he happens to be. He does this when tired, but also at random intervals throughout the day, as if practicing for when he actually becomes tired. He can say "ball" and what we assume to be "brother" because he seems to use it in reference to Edward. These are very hard to distinguish--context is helpful. Ball kind of sounds like "baw" and brother is more of a straight on "baa." He can also say something like "my ball," which I believe to be somewhat Darwinian in terms of self-defense/preservation. He just started saying "Hi" in the last week. He's been able to sign and say "more" for a while now, and he just had a break though over the weekend in learning to sign "help me." Thank God! The alternative is endless screeching and grunting in frustration to the point where I'm ready to join in the howl!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yesterday it was sunny and 60. Today it is rainy and 38. Yesterday all the snow melted. More snow is expected on Friday. Such is life in the Midwest. We knew it couldn't last so we bolted outside as soon as naps were over. In fact, Daniel and I ventured as far as the porch while Ed was still sleeping. Daniel was quite intrigued by the concept of the "open door." He stood there for a while looking out, then played with the inside door, opening and closing over and over. When he started banging with both hands on the screen door, I got our shoes and sweatshirts.

We were headed down the driveway with the wagon when John pulled up, home an hour early from work. Perfect day for playing hooky. We started walking while he went in to change. Progress was slow as we stopped to splash in puddles and explore what has been covered in snow for the last two months. He caught up with us in less than a block. At that point we knew both boys would have to ride if we were going to make it to the park (four blocks.) Here's what we were doing while waiting for John:

Fashion disclaimer: Edward's ladybug rain boots were a hand-me-down from our former neighbor. I just remembered they were stashed away after he soaked himself splashing on Monday. Edward LOVES them and never wants to wear any other footwear. John is less enthusiastic.

We played at the park for an hour, trying to soak up every last ray of the setting sun. Daniel is a climber--quite adventurous and with no concept of his own physical limitations. This will definitely make for an interesting spring/summer!

During Monday's afternoon adventure, which was much more puddly, we took Daniel's push walker outside. It is now permanently an outdoor toy as it is well-acquainted with mud and melted snow. In its place, we finally brought out Daniel's birthday present (a shopping cart), which did not arrive in time for his actual birthday due in part to poor planning and in part due to poor retail. (I assumed I could buy this locally and didn't realize until six days before his birthday that none of our local stores carry it. I had to order online.) As luck would have it, we also had two final Christmas presents from my aunt and uncle, delivered last weekend when my parents visited. This somewhat reduced Edward's "entitlement" attitude toward Daniel's new toy, but we still had some refereeing to do.

Fashion disclaimer 2: Edward required a change of pants after our park adventure and insisted on shorts. It wasn't really this warm, but what the heck.

In closing, one last photo I forgot to post last time. I think this is the mental picture of fatherhood John had before any actual kids arrived on the scene. It was quite cute, though, of course, short-lived. (For the pop-culture-impaired among us, this is father and son enjoying the Bruce Springsteen performance at halftime during the Superbowl.)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Edward experienced his first Iowa Hawkeye basketball game today, and while it wasn't a memorable game, I hope he had a good enough time to remember it and want to go again some day.

We decided today would be the best chance we'd have to do this for quite some time. Tickets were only $10 because the team isn't very good, it was a 5 p.m. game which puts it right between nap time and bed time, and it was warm enough that we wouldn't be fighting stiff, cold winds to trek to the arena.

We got there early and went down to courtside to see how tall the players really are. We also got to hear the band. Ed's one word review: "Loud!" My dad and his neighbor also were at the game, and even though their seats were much better than ours, we were able to sit with them for the entire time we were there (note I didn't say the entire game). It was really too long for Edward's short attention span, but he did enjoy parts of it, and actually seemed to pay attention to the game itself for a moment here or there. His favorite part was the male cheerleaders walking on their hands for the length of the court, something he told Mary about tonight after doing a somersault after we got home.

I was worried that we wouldn't make it very long. About mid-way through the first half, he turned to me and said, "I'm done, I want to leave." A well-timed hot dog dinner kept his interest through the end of the half. I had promised popcorn, too, but in the middle of halftime, he declared again that he wanted to go, putting his head down on my lap for emphasis. We grabbed our coats, said our goodbyes and walked up the 20 or so rows worth of stairs to the top. I tried to get him to put on his coat, but he refused, saying he wanted popcorn. I said we could get some to eat on the trip home, but he said, "No, I want to eat it down there," pointing back down to where we had been sitting. So, we got the popcorn and he sat on my lap, eating it happily for the first part of the second half. We finally called Mary for our ride and left with about five minutes left. It was great to have chauffeur service, and nice that the Hawks pulled off a win, 56-51, in Ed's first live game experience.
Let us all now pause for a moment to admire Daniel's first shiner. It happened at daycare on Thursday when he was attempting to maneuver around another child seated in a chair at the table. The other child decided to get up, Daniel lost his balance and "biffed it"--the exact words of his teacher when she called to report the injury. Apparently his misery was short-lived--he was back to playing after a few hugs and some ice--but the evidence remains. This photo was taken the next morning--a little puffy, but otherwise no big deal.

We're in the middle of our annual February thaw--it's 50 today and not supposed to dip below freezing until Tuesday night. We took the opportunity for some "outdoor" play yesterday--on the screen porch. There's still enough snow that full snow gear would be required outside, but it was warm enough that this probably wouldn't have been too comfortable. Plus, it's so much less effort to just throw on jackets and shoes and play on the porch. They did go out to the "melted" part of the yard for a bit, but it was pretty muddy. It actually was a little chillier than I thought because Ed asked for mittens and his hat. His mittens were still soaked from his morning play at school, but I got the hat and he seemed happy. In the end, it was Daniel who tired of the endeavor first. Both had to change pants when we came in--the porch may not be snowy, but it's still damp if you sit on the floor. Ed was disappointed that all his comfy sweats were in the laundry but he pulled out shorts and asked if he could wear them? Why not? This excitement carried through the whole evening, especially when John came home and decided he'd follow suit after changing from his work clothes.

Speaking of excitement, it seems the stars have aligned for Ed to attend his first Hawkeye basketball game later this afternoon. It's a rare 5 p.m. start time, which means no conflict with sleeping (usually they're earlier in the afternoon conflicting with naps or later in the evening conflicting with bedtime) and the team is SO abysmal this year that they've actually started selling tickets for $10 each just to get people in the seats. Attendance has been hovering at around half the arena capacity, a sad commentary on fair-weather fans, but honestly, would you pay $30+ to watch the 10th ranked team in the Big 10? We wouldn't pay that much for a three-year-old EVER. We'll see how it goes. John is hoping they'll make it through at least the first half and anything after that is gravy.

A brief update on my academic pursuits. I'm taking statistics this semester and have already made it through 1/4 of the class (3 weeks.) It's pretty boring so far, but that's almost welcome after my challenges with finance last semester. The book is open on the desk next to me, but I'm not terribly inspired to work on the homework. The time required for reading and homework (at least so far) is much more within my comfort zone.