Google+ Followers

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not in the Cards

One of Evelyn's "chores" for lack of a better word is to do homework every day.  This means that while Vivian naps she spends a few minutes looking at books quietly by herself, as well as then working with me to practice her letters, which she has gotten very good at.  Last week I decided it was time to start working to identify numbers.  I know she can count, but she doesn't know the number symbols that go along with the words.  Plus just doing letters every day gets a little boring.

I started by just writing the numbers on cardstock and letting her count out stickers to mark each number.  She LOVED it.  I saw a cute idea on Pinterest to attach pipe cleaners to the cardstock and let her string beads to practice.  Shockingly, I had all the necessary materials in my house.  So, feeling like mom of the year, today I pulled out the pipe cleaners, punched holes in the cards and attached them.  I had to go down into the basement to get the beads, so I handed Evelyn the cards to hold while we ran down.  A trip to the basement...the joy and excitement on her face!

There's not much in our basement, but we do keep a few random toys down there that have been outgrown or that aren't used much.  It makes it a fun treat to go down to the basement.  I asked if she needed to go potty quickly before we went down.  Of course she didn't!  So we proceeded downstairs.  Evelyn dropped the cards, squatted down to play, and promptly peed all over the cards.

I might have lost my mind.  I can probably count on one hand the number of accidents she has had since we made the switch to underpants all day long, but each and every time it happens I completely go bonkers.  Because EVERY. SINGLE. TIME she wets her pants, not 5 minutes earlier I have reminded her she should try to go potty.  And I have learned that if I try to force her to go potty, she just holds it.  I guess I should just get used to it now...she is never going to listen to me when I try to give her advice.

So instead of counting and beading and learning, I cleaned pee and showered my kid and got mad at my kid.  And, once again, I was reminded that on those days that you're feeling really good about yourself and your parenting skills, your kid is always going to be right there.  Ready to bring you back down a peg or two.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another Trip to the ER

I'm a little delayed, but a few weeks ago we had to make our first ER visit with Vivian.  This made our second ER trip this year, and now both girls have had their first official emergency.

It's really no surprise that Vivian's first visit occurred at a much younger age than Evelyn, as she does everything she can to keep up with her big sister - even if she's not quite ready.  After watching her big sister do it, Vivian began climbing up onto our bed.  And one afternoon while I happened to be vacuuming, both girls climbed up onto the bed and proceeded to have a fine time jumping and carrying on.

And while the little monkey didn't fall and bump her head, she did fall and manged to do something to her foot.  She fussed for a few minutes and seemed to move on quickly.  But, when I put her down she proceeded to take one step and fall down.  I set her back up again, and she took another step and managed a step or two but was visibly limping.  She wasn't crying at all when she stepped, but it was obvious something wasn't right.

I made a quick phone call to the pediatrician, and the advice was to get to the ER for x-rays to check for anything broken.  A few more phone calls to get Aunt Kelly over to watch Evelyn and to let Steve know what was going on, and we were on our way to the ER in the middle of some crazy thunderstorms.

Our second ER visit was unfortunately not nearly as quick as our first visit, during which we waited a total of about 20 minutes in the waiting from.  We learned that Monday in general is the worst day to visit the ER, and you add on some bad thunderstorms, and that only adds to the craziness.  It was over 2 hours before we were called back, and during that time all Vivian wanted to do was walk around and flirt with everyone else who was stuck sitting there.  With each step, her walk seemed to get better and better, and it appeared more and more clear that there was most likely not a broken bone.  But at that point we were committed to being checked out, and continued to wait.  Steve and I took many turns walking around the hospital parking lot in between the rain showers.

Once we were called back, the nurses were fabulous - which we have come to expect at Chester County.  There was a lot more waiting for x-rays, and then for the results to be reviewed.  While the waiting was much more extensive this time around, the diagnosis and treatment was much, much easier to take.  Either a badly bruised big toe, or perhaps a sprain.  Ibuprofen as needed to help with any pain, and a follow up with the pediatrician if her walking wasn't back to normal in a few days.

Luckily within about 2 days she was back to normal...running, climbing, and now trying to jump as high as her sister can.    

Friday, June 17, 2016

Part of the Solution

I try really hard not to make this blog about my opinions or soap box like, but every once in a while things happen and I need to share how I'm feeling.  It's unfortunate that this post is coming after another long break in my blogging, but that's just how it goes.  And I've been writing in spurts over days, so I hope it's not too jumbled!

It's been quite a week in the news.  And when there's a week like this in the news, suddenly my newsfeed blows up with memes (I think that's the right word???) with silly pictures and short phrases meant to change my opinion about something, often by mocking another idea.  There are many grand generalizations.  And then there are also the other bloggers and posters who put in their two cents, followed often by scathing comments and opinions of the readers.

In my 30-something years I have learned some very important lessons, and I am sure you've heard them all as well.  My mom and millions of other moms have said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  And I often find myself recalling the Bible verse "Let any of you without sin be the first to throw a stone."  I really feel like these two ideas go hand in hand, but in social media land are forgotten.  And while I'm talking lessons I've learned, in my three years as a parent I have learned a lot of things, but I think that the one thing that every single parent I've ever met has shared is that parenting is hard.  So why is it that it seems that everyone is so eager to belittle, blame, and ridicule other parents?  I've read some just downright mean comments about how other parents parent.  Part of me has to believe that the commenter simply must not be a parent and doesn't realize how hard it really is?

In my time as a parent there have been countless times when something really bad could have happened.  My girls as babies both fell off beds/couches.  Vivian has fallen down stairs more times than I care to admit - once in a house full of adults, none of whom realized where she was.  And you may remember when we took Evelyn to the ER for falling into a bench.  I have "lost" Evelyn at the playground when I turn to attend to Vivian for 30 seconds.  All that separated us from disaster in most of these cases was dumb luck.  This week, another parent just wasn't as lucky when their baby did what countless other babies had done in the same spot.  Another group of parents lost their grown up babies in a senseless act.  And I feel that so much of what I am viewing after these events is finger pointing.

I also learned a very important lesson from my dad as a child.  He said countless times during my childhood that we need to "be part of the solution, not the problem."  All of the blame, ridicule, one sided memes, negative comments can only fall into the category as part of the problem.  Don't get me wrong - discussion and opinions need to and should be shared, but no solution is going to be found on social media with one-sided arguments and negative comments.  I am going to do what I can to try to be part of the solution.  I am going to pay closer attention to my local and state level representatives and their views.  I am going to try to attend some of the seminars that are being presented at my church about different religions and their impact in the world.  And I'm going to do my best to try as hard as I can to be less judgmental of others and open to listening to ideas that might be different than my own.  Instead of thinking about how I would have done something different or better when I see someone who is suffering or struggling, I will try to think, how can I help pick them back up - and I'm going to try really hard to teach my kids the same.  

I really hope this doesn't come across as superior in any way.  This is just me reflecting on the state of things and trying as a person and a parent to figure out how I can be better.  And with that, I'm putting my soap box away for the time being.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday Steve and I celebrated our 5th anniversary.  We are going away for a long weekend in a few weeks to celebrate, so yesterday was pretty normal.  I did suggest that we take the girls and go out for an early dinner as a family.  Evelyn loves to eat at a restaurant, and a milkshake sounded pretty amazing to me, so we decided to go for burgers and shakes at Ruby's Diner.

We had as relaxing a dinner as you can with a 3 and 1 year old, but Evelyn had a ball watching the trains and ordering her strawberry milkshake.  It was a night of firsts, as Vivian tried her first milkshake, too!

Oh, and speaking of firsts, Evelyn decided she wanted to experience a first of her own!  But something trivial like a first milkshake just wasn't going to cut it.  So, while one parent finished paying the check and cleaning up the belongings, the other took the kids outside to yell and carry on.  And while Evelyn was running around and carrying on, she tripped and fell right into one of the metal benches that are outside, leaving a gaping wound right above her forehead.  We were suddenly faced with our first trip to the ER!

A quick phone call to Nanny and Grampy to confirm they were home and could watch Vivian and then a quick drop off, and we were our way to the hospital.  She had one or two freak outs in the car in regard to the blood that was all over her hands (I still have NO idea how she managed to not get one. single. drop. on her shirt!).  By the time we got to the waiting room, I was actually quite amazed at how calm she had become.  I think it helped that whenever we drive by the hospital we talk about how it's the place where Aunt Kelly works, so she doesn't see the hospital as a scary place.  

She chatted with a few people in the waiting room, wanted snacks, and after only about 20 minutes or so it was our turn to go back.  As soon as we walked into the triage room she asked "What's that??" about the gurney.  I made the mistake of saying that it's a bed for when people come to the hospital who are sick.  She got checked out by a nurse and a physician's assistant, and then we were shown back to a room where she was going to get her stitches.  The next nurse said, "Let's get you up here!", and indicated she should get up onto the gurney, to which Evelyn replied, "But I'm not sick!"  Quick as a whip, that one!  

We managed to get her up on the bed, watching a movie (thank you whatever channel ABC Family has turned into - excellent movie selection this weekend!), and relatively calm.  The nurse came in to put the numbing gel on her cut, which was kind of difficult, but she did promise Evelyn a popsicle if she stayed still, and she followed through with a purple one, as requested.  Aunt Kelly showed up to say hi since she was heading into work and hung out for a little while.  Thank goodness, because when the nurse came back to put some more numbing gel on, she first had to peel off the band aid thing she had used to seal the gel in the cut, and you would have thought she was trying to remove Evelyn's appendix without any anesthesia.  Between the nurse, Kelly, and me (Steve was dealing with the lady from the front desk who showed up for our insurance info at that very moment), it was all we could do to hold her still.  Holy moly, how were they going to STITCH HER UP????  

When the time finally came to do the stitches, the poor kid had to be papoosed (AKA wrapped up in a sheet like a burrito), held down by a nurse and a tech, while the PA did the stitches.  Steve and I were told it's best if the parents step outside, so we did.  And walked very far down the hall to get away from the screams, which will probably forever haunt me.  Not even 10 minutes later, the nurse came out holding my child, who was drenched head to toe in sweat.  It was as if she had run a marathon.  All for 3 stitches.  

We received our directions, got checked out, and made our way out.  By the time we got to the parking lot, she was chattering like a monkey, telling silly little stories, and asking for snacks - the tell tale sign that she was going to be just fine.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Off to the Plastic Surgeon

When I last posted we had just been to the dermatologist about a cyst on Vivian's head.  Flash forward a few weeks and we were meeting with the plastic surgeon we had selected to have it removed.  Again, just like the dermatologist, she was super nice, and very reassuring.  If you're going to have a dermoid cyst, Vivian's was apparently in a good location.  A simple incision and scoop it out.  It was in a place were there was no chance it had already tunneled into the brain (we talked to another mom that morning who had needed to take her daughter for an MRI because her cyst was on her glad we didn't have to do that as well!).  Steve asked how often she dealt with this type of cyst (he always thinks of the good questions to ask...I usually just sit there and nod), and she said she was consulting with 5 patients that day for the same thing.  We felt good.  She explained that because of Vivian's age she would need to use general anesthesia, though, and because of that she wanted to wait until she was one.  We weren't too excited about that idea, but it had to happen.  

I scheduled the surgery for a week after her first birthday.  What I didn't know when I scheduled, was that the minute she turned one, the rules for eating prior to the procedure changed.  I didn't find this out until a few weeks before and it was too late to change anything.  The minute she turned one, she could no longer have any more solids (milk included) beginning at 11 pm the night before the procedure.  Had she been under one, she could have had breastmilk up until a few hours before.  And my kid was still getting up around 4 am for a snuggle and some milk.  This created a problem. 

It was a problem of my own creation, as it was really more of a comfort thing for Vivian.  I was going to have to get strict.  I actually tried to give her back a pacifier to get her over that 4 am need, but she refused to take it, which really was probably better in the long run.  So I spent a few nights prior to surgery implementing a new round of "cry it out".  By the night before her procedure I was fairly confident that we would be fine.  We had gotten the phone call that her scheduled arrival was 7 am, and she usually eats breakfast around 7:30 or 8:00.  At least we would be out of the house before breakfast time, and maybe could keep her a little more distracted in a new place.

The morning of her surgery came, and Steve and I got up and began to get ready.  At 6:25 Steve got her up and as quickly as possible got her changed and dressed so we could get out the door.  I tried to remain in the background as much as possible to try to avoid her wanting to nurse.  We scooted out the door, and she was her chipper self in the car.  We got checked in and she was loving the waiting area.  She was having a ball banging her hands on the little tables and checking out the outlets ( a children's surgical center you would think they would have outlet covers??).  A nurse called us back and we went through the whole medical background (that I had already given a week earlier on the phone) and got her into a gown, and still she was loving life.  Being all cute and flirty with the nurses and the doctor when she came in.

But soon the cute and flirty ended.  The minute there was no action, and we were left there just waiting, baby girl realized she was hungry.  And my child goes from zero to HANGRY in a matter of minutes.  And where does she look when she's hungry?  To me.  All she wanted was to come to me.  Steve decided to take her for a little walk in the hall and found a great, big, textured mural that she was feeling and looking at.  As long as she was distracted, we were okay.  But there are only so many toys in my bag, and only so many times walking the halls that were going to amuse a one year old.  Our super helpful nurse grabbed a toy from their collection (one of those ones that you push the buttons and the heads pop up), and Steve brought it back in the room and kept her occupied for a few more minutes.

I know the nurse felt bad we were waiting because I heard her talking to one of the other ladies about getting Vivian's anti-anxiety meds ready to go so the minute she got the call from the doctor she would be ready.  They give a very mild anti-anxiety drug prior to the procedure to help with the separation and the baby being in a strange place with strange people.  The second the nurse got the call, she was in our room ready to go.  The other benefit of the med was that it helped Vivian forget she was hungry.  Within minutes she was waving her hand in front of her face, and giggling.  Her favorite game became pushing my head back and forth, at which time I realized that it had been quite a while since I cut her finger nails.  I ended up with some serious scratches on my chin from her repeatedly grabbing me.  And those heads jumping out of the toy became the most hysterical thing in the world!

Shortly after, they came and took her back, and we were shown out to the waiting room.  I barely had time to get comfortable when the doctor came back out and said everything went perfectly.  We chatted with her for a minute, when a nurse showed up and said Vivian was already awake and fussing.  Usually they have the babies sleep for a half hour or so, but my kid was up within minutes - no surprise to me!  She did doze back off once I was holding her, but woke again a little while later, and was happy as could be!  We started to gather our things and as we walked out she was waving and laughing with all of the nurses.  We scooted out the door and were home by 11.  I couldn't believe it.

We had been told by the nurse to not let her do too much walking, and to be sure to carry her everywhere because the anesthesia wouldn't be completely out of her system for a few hours.  Well that was next to impossible.  She got in the house and, although definitely a little wobbly on her feet, instantly went for all of her usual favorite play carts to push and cars to ride on.  Steve had to remove a few things to the basement.  We also had been told to take it easy with food, and that she probably wouldn't want to eat much until dinner time.  Within minutes I was making her a peanut butter sandwich.  Truth be told, Steve and I both thought she was in a better mood than she had been in days!

She took a great nap, woke up starving and wanting more to
eat, and we went outside for a walk and even decided to go grab something for dinner.  Besides the steri-strips on her head, you would never know this was a kid who had had a surgical procedure that morning.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that this was very minor - that we could have been dealing with something much more serious.  But no one wants to see their child have to go through anything like this.  I think what made it the most stressful for me was the waiting.  It was months between each step in the process, which was fine at first when we really thought that it was going to be nothing unless WE decided we wanted it removed.  But then when we knew that she was going to have surgery, and we had to wait months for it to happen.  It was this thing just looming in the back of our minds that we had to just keep waiting for.  There was plenty of time to worry about what might happen.  But, it's over now, and we can move on to worrying about other when those top teeth are finally going to break through!  


Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Visit to the Dermatologist

Vivian was born late at night.  They put her little hat on and laid her on me and we just snuggled.  She was perfect.  They took her away and cleaned her up and we moved over to the maternity wing.  I spent the rest of the night being woken up hourly to be checked on, the pediatrician came in really early and checked her out, we both tried to sleep, and still she wore that little hat.  

Okay, it wasn't this hat.  This special hat was made by my Grammy.  She wore one not nearly as cute, but you get the idea.
Finally, later in the afternoon that second day, Steve was holding her and the hat came off.  And he immediately noticed a bump on her forehead.  We didn't think much of it.  Evelyn had a bump on her jaw when she was born from her delivery.  We kind of just figured it was normal for babies to have little bumps that eventually went away.  

The following morning the pediatrician came back again early to check her before we were discharged, and Steve mentioned the little bump.  The doctor turned on some more lights to get a better look, and spent quite a few minutes feeling the bump.  She determined that it wasn't a result of her delivery, but was in fact a cyst.  Nothing to be concerned about, just something we would keep an eye on as she grew.  It might go away on it's own she said, or we could maybe decide down the road to remove it.  

When we went for Vivian's first appointment at the pediatrician's office, we were scheduled to see a different doctor.  Steve decided it would be good to get a "second opinion", so after the doctor check her, he mentioned the bump again.  It really was a small bump, and people just didn't notice it unless it was pointed out.  This doctor did the same thing.  Spend a few minutes feeling the bump, and agreed that it was a cyst.  She did mention, though, taking Vivian to a dermatologist in a few months to have it looked at.  Nothing to worry about at the moment, let her get a little older, and then take her in.  Again, we weren't worried.  Cysts go away.  They generally aren't problematic.  It was in a place that would be covered by her hair down the road.  

At her two month check, we we referred to the dermatologist, only because it can take forever to get in to see one.  I found out that the scheduling office opens up the calendar on June 1 for the rest of the year.  So on June 1, I spent HOURS (not even exaggerating a little) calling and on hold waiting to make an appointment.  I had been given a tip not to leave a message because they won't call back for days, and by then you will be waiting months for your appointment.  So I kept calling, and calling, and calling because they automatically kicked you to voicemail after 20 minutes on hold.  So that was a fun morning, but I did make my appointment for July. 

July rolled around and we met with the dermatologist.  I was really just treating the appointment as something I had to do, no big deal.  We would learn, again, that it was a cyst, and we would wait and see what it did as she grew.  To Steve and I, it was already less noticeable because as Vivian was growing, the cyst was not.  So in came the dermatologist and he was nice as could be.  While we were chatting I mentioned that she also had a "strawberry" birthmark on her chest (we were after all at the dermatologist...might as well take full advantage).  He checked it out...and let me know that it generally would break up on it's own over many years (I knew that!).  The location concerned him, though, so he was going to prescribe a topical gel to help get rid of it faster.  Huh.  Unexpected, but no big deal.

Then he moved on to her forehead.  He felt around, and said, that it was, in fact, a cyst.  It was a type of cyst called a dermoid.  It was relatively common, and develops in babies generally around the eyes and nose, but also often along the plates of the skull.  Got it!  And then he zinged me with...if left alone it will eventually wear through the skull bone.  Say what?  That hard thing that protects her brain?  It would need to be removed, and the general practice is to have it done by age two, but he wanted us to see the plastic surgeon right away and recommended having it done by six months.

So I left with my head spinning a little.  She had a strawberry birthmark that had to go, and a cyst that REALLY had to go.  Totally not the appointment I had been expecting.  I had a list of phone numbers and recommended pediatric plastic surgeons that Steve and I were going to have to look through.  This no big deal, let's wait and see situation had suddenly turned into a little bit of a bigger deal than we anticipated.

To be continued... :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kicking the Habit

A few weeks ago something happened at our house that was a long time coming.  It was something that Steve and I both admit should have happened a lot sooner.  But the longer we waited, the harder we knew it would be.  We are so excited to announce that Evelyn finally got rid of her pacifier!!

We had been getting closer and closer to this momentous occasion, but it was definitely a very long ordeal.  We are talking over a year.  And if I'm being completely honest, I don't think either of us really wanted to deal with what we knew was coming.  Over the past year we had been gradually removing times when she was allowed to have her pacifier, and as a baby she was allowed to have it whenever she wanted so this was a drastic change when it occurred.  Our first step was to limit it to only bed, stroller, and car seat.  Stroller was soon eliminated because she refused to sit in a stroller anymore.  The car seat happened about a year ago and was relatively easy by leaving it up to her to remember to bring it, and she actually often forgot because she didn't have it as we were getting ready to leave the house.

Then that left only bed, and we really drug our feet on tackling this hurdle.  It got to the point where she would go up to her bed in the middle of the day and claim she needed a break...which really meant a paci fix.  I had to start hiding it after she woke up.  We set a goal for age three.  My mom claims that on my third birthday I woke up and threw my pacifier in the trash.  I guess I figured Evelyn would be just as easy, but no amount of talking it up would convince her that it was the time to do it.  I didn't count on just how stubborn my child is.

Part of the problem was we didn't have a real plan in place and played around with a lot of different scenarios.  The paci fairy would take it, she was a big girl now, little babies needed her pacifiers, it was gross...  By the last week or so of her having it, she started talking about the paci fairy taking it away and cleaning the old one up and giving it to a new baby because she was a big girl and didn't need it.  I guess all the different scenarios mixed together wasn't bad.  Whatever the story was, she got it - it was time to get rid of her pacifier.  And then we pulled out the big guns.  She has been dying to have a sleep over at Aunt Kelly and Uncle Jeff's for a long time now.  We decided the sleep over couldn't happen until she was a big girl and didn't need a pacifier anymore.  Kelly told her it was gross and she had to get rid of it.

Well one Tuesday afternoon, Evelyn woke up and said, "I'm going to throw out my paci!"  I asked her if she was sure and said she would never see it again.  She said yes, and we threw that sucker (ha!) away.

Flash forward a few hours to bedtime.  "I WANT MY PACI! I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED IT!"  She screamed for two straight hours.  Steve was ready for her to levitate off the bed and her head to start spinning.  She finally passed out, but a few hours later woke in the middle of the night screaming again.  The second night she required a little more cuddling than normal, and there were some tears, but she at least wasn't hysterical.  She woke up again in the middle of the night, but quickly calmed back down and fell back asleep.  By the third night she went right to bed, but took over an hour to get calmed down in the middle of the night.  By the fourth night, I think she realized it wasn't coming back and was over it.

Naps, on the other hand, have become a thing of the past.  When "break time" came around that first full day without the paci, she looked at me like I had five heads.  No thanks mom.  And she has really reached the point where she doesn't need the afternoon nap, but boy do I miss it!  I really never truly valued that hour until it was gone.  I realize now all that I could get done in an hour.  A few weeks in and I would do almost anything to even get 20 minutes of quiet time - which is the new struggle.

It's really funny how proud she is of getting rid of the pacifier.  Every few days she mentions it, but generally in reference to how she's doing something that big girls do, "So I don't need my paci anymore Mommy.  I was little, but now I am big!"  No matter how proud she acts on the outside I know she would take it back in a second if she could.  She gives a long stare down to any kid we meet when we are out and about that has their own pacifier.

Despite the few days that were hard, Steve and I both agree that it was a lot easier than we anticipated.  We also agree that we are so glad we went the pacifier route!  Even though we wished we had gotten rid of it a lot sooner (something we did better with Vivian, who hasn't had one in months), we don't regret for a second giving it to her as a baby!